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ETHIOPIA, THEIR ETHIOPIA

Editor’s Note: The following socio-political commentary by novelist Boruu Barraaqaa is on a par with the mid-20th century (1960′s) conversations sparked by the young activist Ibsaa Gutamaa’s poem “Who’s an Ethiopian?” and the late activist Wallelign Mekonnen’s article “On the Question of Nationalities in Ethiopia.”

Over the last half a century, since the two monumental conversations were sparked by Ibsaa Gutamma and Wallelign Mekonnen, the pillars of the Ethiopian state have continued to revolve around the 3,000-years of Abyssinian history (without the inclusion of Oromo’s, Ogaden’s, Sidama’s, etc. own thousands of years of history), the Obelisks of the Axum (without the inclusion of Oromo’s Gadaa Civilization), the Fasiledes Castle (without the inclusion of centuries of the Oromo Abbaa Gadaa’s and their democratic administrations), the Abbay River (without the inclusion of the 92% of the Blue Nile tributaries, found mainly in Oromia), and the 13th-Century Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches (without the inclusion of the Sof Omar Cave and the 13th-Century Dire Sheik Hussein Mosque in Bale Zone, Oromia). These are not accidental omissions, but deliberate attempts to instill a sense of Abyssinian Supremacy over the oppressed nations, which are portrayed as history-less, heritage-less and civilization-less ‘tribes’ in the “Ethiopian Nationalism” rhetoric of the 20th-century as well as today.

Atse Meles Zenawi and Prof. Andreas Eshete have released their drama, Endegena, to “ONCE AGAIN” instill their Abyssinian Supremacy over the oppressed nations in the name of promoting development. Today, the Ethiopian state (the central government) is more homogeneously Abyssinian compared to the 1960′s, when Ibsaa Gutamma and Wallelign Mekonnen made their historic observations; and non-Abyssinian elites have been either exiled or sent to the regional states in the name of “nations and nationalities,” which are remotely controlled by key Abyssinian actors at the center. In short, in the 120-year history of the Ethiopian Empire, today – the Empire appears to be as strong as it has ever been, and with non-Abyssinians becoming more marginalized than ever before despite decades of struggles and sacrifices to decolonize and democratize it.


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ETHIOPIA, THEIR ETHIOPIA


By Boruu Barraaqaa*

The Ultimate Ideological Debate That Determines Ethiopia’s Future
Few days ago, I watched an ETV documentary film, entitled “Endegena,” which roughly translated to “Once Again.” Though the documentary had nothing new, rather than the long-aged rhetoric and drumbeating under the ‘Ethiopianism’ pretext, it could inspire me to write this short piece.

The substance that this article bears is my own personal outlook, and it does not represent the idea of a party or a society I am a member of. I strongly wish this article will spark critical ideological debates within the “Ethiopian” or the Oromo political societies, and also between the two, be it in the near or far future. I believe that such debates are important to produce a final common understanding that will support to shorten the age of the struggle for freedom and democracy in Ethiopia. I guess that some of the readers from both political societies, i.e. “Ethiopian” and Oromo, may be disappointed by how I present such a bit stranger idea. Some members of the Oromo political society may criticize me for the fact that I am an Oromo nationalist, but forwarding a different idea which expresses all the peoples as Ethiopians, i.e. Abyssinian-Ethiopians and Cushitic-Ethiopians. Here, I would like to remind those who may be disappointed by such an approach one thing: my aim is just to narrow the differences between these polarized societies, and to find out a common solution for all the peoples in Ethiopia, be them the oppressors or the oppressed. At the same time, the majority of the “Ethiopian” political society, to which my name has never been familiar, may also condemn this blog/website for posting a bit stranger article that does not limit the rhetorical “Ethiopianism” up to the usual propagation levels. I guess that such people do not like to even hear concepts, like “Abyssinian-Ethiopian” and “Cushitic-Ethiopian.” However, I have preferred to appear like this rather than limiting myself to a given political club. Here I go!

What Does “Ethiopia” Mean and Who Are the “Ethiopians”?
I cannot see widely when the name “Ethiopia” sparks debates among the Abyssinian-Ethiopians or the oppressed nations (especially, the Oromo) elites. The Abyssinian-Ethiopians use the name as a source of pride for their own identity while the Oromos cast it away for the fact that they have been marginalized since they had begun to be called under this name. Most of the non-Abyssinian oppressed political societies have been waving their own ethnic-nationalism rather than battling to deserve the typical “Ethiopian” identity. That is why for the oppressed nations, “Ethiopia” means the loss of pride and the onset of second-class citizenship, while for the Abyssinian-Ethiopians, it is the opposite: the source of pride and first-class citizenship. As this dichotomy cannot be hidden in Ethiopia, both rival political societies cannot go halfway to meet each other and work on bringing genuine reconciliation. Keeping mutual interests, and building a union that is based on national freedom and identity have remained a dawn-less dream.

Abyssinian-Ethiopian elites have been criticized for the fact that they have never tried to change their old political mindset meaningfully; as a result, the oppressed Cushitic-Ethiopian nations, prominently the Oromo, who are the largest one, have been driven to despair on the subject matter of “Ethiopianity.” Ibrahim Melka, who was once an active member of the OPDO leadership, had expressed his rage just before he defected from the regime, “Oromoneten yematawq Ethiopia shi bota tibetates,” roughly translated: “Let Ethiopia that never recognizes my Oromoness disintegrate into thousands of piece.” Today, millions of Oromo intellectuals have such rage towards “Ethiopianism.” It is impossible to hide that, nowadays, a huge number of Oromo elites, both in Diaspora and at home, claim themselves as “non-Ethiopians” – a dangerous identity difference that severely challenges the future unity and stability of the country. Seeking for their own free states, where they will never be undermined as second-class citizens, emanates from such marginalization.

It is also obvious that most of the Abyssinian-Ethiopian political actors criticize the Oromo nationalists for building their own Oromummaa (Oromo nationalism) rather than believing in the motto of “Ethiopian unity.” The Oromos have an answer for this: “it is too late to set the record straight.” Though personally, I believe that it is still not ‘too late’ to set the record straight; however, I know that most of my fellow Oromos’ patience has been running out. Due to the lack of goodwill to go halfway from all sides to reach an agreement, the problem has still remained unsolved till this very day.

As clear as it was, the question of Oromo people was not separation in the very beginning. We remember that, half a century ago, there was a giant Oromo socio-political institution, the Metcha and Tulama Welfare Association (MTWA), from which activities of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) were born. MTWA and its founders had tried their best to bring about equality, justice, freedom and sustainable peace through reforming the old Ethiopian political system. Such intentions were claimed as crimes; and the association had been banned after only three years of activities. In the meantime, until the 1974 revolution, the then Oromo intellectuals had never considered the need for separation.

In 1974 the popular student revolution was hijacked by the military junta, which latter re-stabilized the political status quo by harassing youth activists, who had been struggling to bring about genuine freedom and equality in Ethiopia. At this juncture, the Oromo political society had no choice, except founding a political organization that would precisely fight for the right of the defenseless Oromo, who were the majority people, but undermined as a minority second-class citizens by successive Abyssinian-Ethiopian regimes. As the successive regimes categorized Oromos as aliens (calling them ‘mettes’ [late comers] from Kenya or somewhere, especially as said so by Emperor Hayle Silassie at several occasions), the Oromo elites had also been forced to tending to the counter-propagation than battling to claim “Ethiopian” identity, and at the same time, they had been convinced the need for creating a sovereign state as a home of the Oromo people. The essence of OLF’s foundation had no secret, but it was just the only option left to survive the Oromo identity, which was almost on the brink of total demise. That is why OLF is praised forever for its historical sacrifice in surviving the Oromo identity.

Unsuccessful OLF Endeavors to Democratizing Ethiopia and Sacrifices Paid
Even though the first political program of the OLF, which was drafted in 1974, clearly advocated for separation, the Front had contributed a lot during the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) to democratize Ethiopia. However, all of OLF’s genuine democratic efforts were in vein due to hegemonic actions of the TPLF-led EPRDF regime. In its general assembly that was held in 2004, OLF amended its old political program to the question of self-determination-per-public-verdict. In 2006 OLF contributed a shining effort to establish the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD), the surprising action of the Front that rocked the TPLF-EPRDF camp. As clearly as almost all post-AFD statements issued by the OLF have articulated, the Front still emphasizes the indispensability of alliances, such as the AFD, not only for defeating the incumbent, undemocratic regime, but also for the long-term solution among political stakeholders in Ethiopia.

The above facts are more than enough to understand that the OLF has come halfway to work peacefully with those forces which have never accepted the Oromo struggle as a true people’s cause. By doing so, OLF has paid many sacrifices, in which its organizational unity has severely damaged since 2000. For instance, in 2006, following the declaration of the AFD, a number of active radical members had left the organization after opposing the interest to work with forces, which had never accepted the Oromo cause as a fair struggle.

The Gadaa System In Brief:

Galanee sings about Oromo’s Irreecha

The Borana Calendar In Brief:

Some important questions should be raised here. Why did not the other camp meaningfully come halfway to reach the position of the OLF? Why was the OLF alone expected to take all these more dangerous steps? Abyssinian-Ethiopian elites usually argue that OLF should cease to raise the question to self-determination in the first place. Before urging the OLF to denounce such questions, they should have also shown tangible ideological changes from their side, too. For example:

- Accepting the need for genuine federal arrangement based on national identities (not the fake ones like that of the EPRDF) that offer regional states full political, economic, lingual and cultural rights;

- Accepting the Gadaa (democratic) system and the Erecha/Irreechaa (Oromo Thanksgiving Ceremony), which are parts of the ancient Cushitic-Ethiopian civilization, as mutual heritages;

- Accepting Oromo’s Astrological Calendar (Urjii Dhahaa), which has been recognized by many world famous anthropologists as one of the ancient African wonderful civilizations.

These are some ideological steps expected from the side of Abyssinian-Ethiopian elites. Have they accepted these yet? Never! So, how dare they urge the Oromo vanguard organization to totally cease raising what it’s been forced to fight for as the only option while they are rejecting Oromo’s political, economic, cultural and historical identities? These are all about walking halfway forward to come to a compromise.

Once Again a Simple Question; What Does ‘Ethiopia’ Mean for Me?
I have mentioned above what “Ethiopia” means for the Abyssinian-Ethiopianists and Oromo nationalists. What does “Ethiopia” mean for me? My definition might be far different from the definition of both political societies. I personally see two politically different, but historically identical Ethiopia’s. The first one is the politically-recognized Abyssinian Ethiopia, which emerged as a modern state by the conquest of Abyssinian rulers, at the end of the 19th century. This is the Ethiopia that the world knows today. This is the Ethiopia that has undermined the identities of all the conquered nations and nationalities. The second Ethiopia is the ancient one named “Ethiops” (the burned face, that of the [Cushitic] people, who have been widely living in the North Eastern Africa), which has a wonderful civilization since more than 3000 years ago. This ancient Ethiopia includes the present day Southern Egypt, Eastern Sudan, the whole present day Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, half of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania. It is this Ethiopia that should be recognized by its contemporary civilizations, such as the Gadaa, Axum, Meroe, Napata and so on.

When we talk about civilizations, some may illustrate in their mind the Obelisks of Axum, the pyramids of Giza, the ruins of Meroe etc. However, heritages of civilizations are usually not only of physical artifacts, but also of intangible attributes of a group or society, that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. Intangible cultural heritage consists of non-physical aspects of a particular culture, often maintained by social customs during a specific period in history. The ancient democratic culture of Greek can be mentioned as the best example. The same example in Ethiopia is the Gadaa system of the Oromo. Even though intangible cultural heritages are naturally more difficult to preserve than physical objects, the concept of democratic culture, which is thousands of years old in the Oromo society, has survived all kinds of dangers of the past and is still preserved for the future. In that dark primitive age, when the human being had used to slaughter each other savagely over controlling basic needs, the Oromos had their own different democratic rules to elect their leaders peacefully, and the elected Abbaa Gadaa (president) served the society for an eight-year term, until the new elected Abbaa Gadaa took over the power. Every social and political contradiction had its own means of solution. It is a healthy and democratic culture that allows anybody from any race or any ethnic origin to become an Oromo. The wonderful concepts of GUDIFECHA and MOGASA are some of the best examples of the democratic nature of Gadaa. It was this beautiful, democratic culture that Emperor Menilik officially abolished, following his conquest. No need of social surveying to confirm that Oromos were/are not “tebab’s” (narrow-minded) as some try to illustrate them; they are rather the most “hode-sefi’s” (tolerant) people in the region. This is this fact that anybody who has or had a close social relation with the Oromo can witness. The politics of the struggle for the right to self-determination, which has diminished the “hodesefinet” (tolerance) of the Oromo, has evolved from the long-aged political and economic marginalization conducted by successive Abyssinian-Ethiopian regimes, as stated above.

History reminds us that the name “Ethiopia” represents the ancient Cushland. The name was changed to the Greek word “Ethiops,” and the ancient world began to call this particular region “Ethiopia.” In the middle of the 19th century, during the end of Zemene Mesafint, Kasa Hailu (Emperor Tewodros after his coronation) raised from Quara, Gonder, as the first Abyssinian ruler with an attempt to control all the ancient Cushland (Ethiopian) territories. I hypothesize that Emperor Tewodros had some foreign advisers, at that time, who were familiar to the ancient history of the region. They helped him understand the oneness of Cushland (Ethiopian) territories at that darker time, when the name “Ethiopia” was never familiar to the Abyssinians. I have a simple evidence to say this. In the mid 1860′s, Tewodros wrote a letter to Queen Victoria of England – seeking military and moral assistance in his campaign to seize the ancient territories of Ethiopia (Cushland) though he did not become successful. In his letter, Tewodros stated that his ancestors had ruled the whole vast region stretched up to Lake Nianza (Tanzania), and so that he wanted to re-control all those territories under his rule. This is an enough clue to enable one to believe that Tewodros used foreign advisers, first to claim himself an “Ethiopian” nationalist than to be called simply a Gonderie, and then to campaign for the annexation of territories south of Abyssinia in order to build a new state called “Ethiopia.” All the Abyssinian successive rulers, who came after Tewodros, had also the same dream to control all the Cushland areas that they had heard that they were once called under the name “Ethiopia.” It is also not far from our understanding that they all had foreign advisers to learn what “Ethiopia” meant, including its history of thousands of years. Before the rise of Tewodros, the Abyssinians had never used to be called by the name “Ethiopia.” Latter, Menilik made the longtime dream come true by conquering the ancient Cushitic Ethiopians, but was not successful to seize the rest of the ancient Cushitic Ethiopian vast regions, those outside of the present-day Ethiopia, due to the agreement reached with European colonizers during the Berlin Conference (1884-85).

Let’s Commemorate the Glorious Laureate that Tried to Teach the Typical “Ethiopia”
Here I remember the great Ethiopian Laureate Tsegaye Gebre Medhin Qawweessaa. How lucky would I have been if Laureate Tsegaye had once waked up and read this piece?! Everybody who is familiar with the laureate’s creative works can understand what I want to say. Tsegaye had told us all about “Ethiopia.” He taught us all about the ancient Ethiopian civilizations, from the Gadaa to Axum, from Karnak to Meroe, from Napata to the Lalibela, from the Oromo Erecha/Irreechaa to the “Meskel” Damera. These are all what “Ethiopia” means.

Can we find a single Abyssinian-Ethiopian elite, who has had the same understanding with the Laureate Tsegaye on the term “Ethiopianity?” Is there a single historian or a political figure in the Northerners (except the great Eritrean anthropologist Professor Asmerom Legesse), who genuinely believes the Gadaa and the Erecha/Irreechaa as parts of the great Ethiopian civilizations and heritages? I know that almost all of the Abyssinian-Ethiopian political societies are fans of Laureate Tsegaye Gebre Medhin. They have great astonishment for Obbo/Gash Tsegaye’s poems, theaters and books, those teaching about the greatness of Ethiopia. However, most of the fans did not understand or never wanted to recognize what “Ethiopia” meant to the great laureate. Whether we like or not, Tsegaye’s “Ethiopia” had not been merely the Abyssinian “Ethiopia.” Rather, his Ethiopia more seemed to be the ancient Cushitic Ethiopia that extended from the present-day Egypt to the present-day Tanzania, in which Abyssinia is also located. It does not need deep study to understand that Tsegaye’s Ethiopia was the sum of both Cushitic and Abyssinian identities. For example, in his first book, The Oda Oak Oracle, which was printed in 1965 (Oxford University Press), he articulated the sense of the Oda oak, which has been familiar for over thousands of years in the Oromo culture and history, and by which, he might be even the first Oromo elite to introduce the Oromo culture and identity to the rest of world. In his poem, entitled Esat Wey Abeba, he reminded us all about the Cushitic identities of the great river Abbay/Nile. The poem, entitled Ilma Madhaa Abbaa Gadaa, which he wrote in 1972 during his field research on the Gadaa system in Dire Liban, Borana, Ethiopia, was also one of Tsegaye’s significant works that particularly focus on the greatness of the Oromo ancient civilizations.

The sum of all the above facts made Laureate Tsegaye Gebre Medhin a true Ethiopian, who genuinely embraced both his Cushitic and Abyssinian identities. He was also proud of the Axum Obelisks as the temple of the sun is a mutual heritage of all Ethiops, not only of Tigreans or Amharans. He was not a narrow-minded man like that of Meles Zenawi, who once asked, “Ye Axum hawult le welaytawu minu new?” – roughly translated: “What does the Axum obelisk mean to the Walayta?” Obbo/Gash Tsegaye had been trying to serve as a bridge between the polarized Cushitic-Ethiopia and Abyssinian-Ethiopia in order to bring them closer and enable them to be proud as Ethiopians. However, unfortunately, all his endeavors were in vein, as he himself mentioned finally in a short self portrait poem he wrote during the last days of his life. In this tragic poem Tsegaye expressed himself:

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Roughly translated:
“Having dawn-less dreams
Treating incurable wounds
Nursing stunted plants
Straightening other folks’ lives
Never have I lived for myself”

The Need to Set the Record Straight
We can find millions of individuals who claim to be proud of “Ethiopians,” but have never recognized the Cushitic origin of Ethiopia. None of the Abyssinian-Ethiopian kings were willing to call themselves indigenous Africans. They claimed themselves to be from Ze Emnegede Yihuda (The Lion of Judah). For them, Ethiopia is a Solomonic/Sheban, not a Cushite, origin. They concluded that “Ethiopians” are Habeshas, not of indigenous black African nations. The old Ethiopian educational curriculum had also taught us as if the ancient name of Ethiopia was merely “Abyssinia,” not including the typical Ethiops. The generation produced from this distorted curriculum also claims distorted meaning of his/her country. Though I appreciate his talents, I want to put here Teddy Afro, a popular singer and songwriter of the time, as one of the products of the old distorted curriculum. In his album, entitled Ja Yasteserial, which was released in 2005, Teddy urged for a genuine political reconciliation among all Ethiopians. Even though Teddy’s call for reconciliation was a blessed attempt; however, knowingly or unknowingly, he presented his lyrics with distorted words about Ethiopia:

“Ethiopia, emama
Abyssinia, emama
Ethiopiaye, emama
Sabawitwaye, emama …”

The lyrics are limited merely to express the Abyssinianity of Ethiopia. If the song’s call was for a genuine reconciliation, what about the non-Abyssinians? Aren’t they also called “Ethiopians”? Doesn’t the call concern them, or are they simply undermined as usual? How can we call for a genuine reconciliation among all nations of Ethiopia while we are recognizing only Abyssinia and ignoring the rest typical Ethiops? I hope Teddy will set the record straight in his next songs about reconciliation.

Conclusion
Building a democratic, peaceful and harmonious Ethiopia will be not an easy task. It requires ideological revolutions in both the Abyssinian-Ethiopian and the rest Cushitic-Ethiopian political societies. It needs good willing to go halfway and join each other at the mid-point. Yet, such devotions have never reflected enough, especially from the Abyssinian-Ethiopians. All the deeds of the past Abyssinian-Ethiopian rulers have extremely contributed in pushing the non-Abyssinians away from the forcefully-built modern Ethiopia so that the marginalized peoples have one option left, that is considering about building their own free and independent states, in which they will have full political, economic, social, lingual and cultural rights. In other words, this means the total disintegration of the Abyssinian-Ethiopia. In order to prevent such a result, the Abyssinian-Ethiopian political society ought to recognize the above mentioned historical, political, cultural, lingual and social identities of Cushitic-Ethiopians. It is such ideological advances that enable all nations to profit from this globalization era. The new Ethiopia will be a common homeland for all, if and only if identities of incognito nations are recognized genuinely.

* Boruu Barraaqaa, the author of this article, is a popular novelist in Afan Oromo, and he has recently collaborated with two other activists to translate Gene Sharp’s “From Dictatorship to Democracy” into Afan Oromo. He can be reached @ gulummaa75@gmail.com or on Facebook @ facebook/barraaqaa


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23 Comments

  1. temo said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 3:00 am

    What an article! I enjoyed reading it. My only concern is the classification of all Ethiopians in two groups as Abyssinian and Cushitic. There are Ethiopians who are not Abyssinians or Cushitics. Aderes are Semetic, but not Abyssinians. The same is true for Guragues. Over all it is a well written educational and timely paper. I thank you for sharing your view. It is an idea worth sharing. I also hope this will trigger a healthy debate on the subject.

  2. Ras Mitat said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 5:50 am

    Give us a break…Tsegaye Gebremedhin’s words have nothing in common with your divisive ethnic separatist ideology.

    If you have a complex about yourself, get help…don’t blame others.

  3. mulatu said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 6:40 am

    The way the author of this article defined the people as ““Ethiopian” and Oromo” and “the oppressors or the oppressed” is not clear. What is the criteria to distinguish Oromo from other Ethiopians? in blood? culture? language? hwo is an Oromo but not an Ethiopian? and how many of Ethiopias including Oromos have no mixed ethnic ancestors? First, the classification that separate Oromo from other people in Ethiopia is not rational but more of emotional. Second, which people are oppressors? Can a people be oppressor? A regime can be labelled as oppressor but not a population as a whole.

  4. abs said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 7:47 am

    I suppose you would call me an Abyssinian-Ethiopian. I understand your view-point. Personally, I have a great respect for the Oromo culture and tradition and in particularly the elaborate, fair and amazingly advanced governance structure, the Gadda. I feel that this is part of my inheritance and culture as an Ethiopian. I am an Ethiopian because when I hear Oromogna music I have got to get and dance. I am an Ethiopian because i eat Kitffo, Injera and Anbashea and call them all ‘my food’.

    I really feel bad when I see my fellow Ethiopians feeling that they are marginalised from the mainstream culture and politics in Ethiopia. I support your view that Ethiopian artists and politicians should make more effort to be inclusive, and be seen to be inclusive of all Ethiopianness. I would even go as far as saying that it is the responsibility of all Ethiopians to nurture and all inclusive Ethiopia. II pray that patience and wisdom of soul be with us as we navigate to a more perfect Ethiopia.

    This article has been a breath of fresh air – thank you for contributing.

  5. Dawaa said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    What a great article.. Born and raised in Finfinee, I always questioned the validity of the history classes given in the country’s elementary and high schools. The classes amplify the exaggerated heroic stories of the Abyssinian rulers from one class to another. As an Oromo student, it made me to feel like that I didn’t have a history that I can be proud of. It also made me to look at myself as second class citizen. I always despised the class and flunked it mostly.

    When I saw recently one journalist asked the PM whether a statue is going to be built for the emperor Haile Shelase on the street of Addis Ababa, it reminded me how Habashas are always pushing for ways to glorify their rulers without being considerate for other ethnics in the country. The way I look at it, the erection of the Minilik statue in finfinee who slaughtered many Oromos is not justifiable. As writer mentioned, Teddy afro’s song is also another example the same situation. I hope the Oromo students are now learning the true heroic history of their forefathers.

    Reconciliation is very important if we want to heal all the wounds that have existed for generation and continue moving forward as one nation and. However, in order to accomplish this, the mind change and understanding in the Habashas group must occur first. Otherwise, we will continue in the same path for generation to come..
    I am not a writer, but thought I share my perspective..

  6. abdi said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    You can not creat an ethiopia that has never existed. There are 30 million oromos (40 %) with their own language and culture, there are 6 million Somali Ogadens with their own land, culture, and langauge. There are 3 million Sidamas with their own culture, language and land. How can these people and lands be classified as one thiopia, and are the same people same as Konso, Gumaze, Nuers, Amhara, when they are much bigger than them and have nothing in common. Ethiopia is a fake, never give up on the hope that one day Oromia (30 million+), Ogden and Sidama will be free. You may eat injera or rice, but an Oromo is an Oromo, an Amhara is an Amhara and a Somali is a Somali. All with their own lands, cultures and lnaguages. Never sell your selve on a fake identity. Be proud to be from Oromiya and have a hope for self determination for Oromos.

  7. abdi said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

    I have lived in the Uk and the Irish people were under britain for well over 400 years, but finally fought for their land in 1921. They speak English and lost their language but they still fought for the independence. Oromos are 30 million +, never sell you language, your culture ( including gadaa) and your land.

    Believing in this imginenary Ethiopia, is like believing anything.

  8. Wisdom said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    Thank you very much for your sincere and thoughtful article. Your ability of supporting your point with strong evidence mainly the tangible evidences that the majority of Ethiopian-Abyssinia and Cush peoples understood should be appreciated. I think understanding your article needs wisdom and patience. That is why few commentators asking the same question which you have already answered. They are still asking who is marginalized? I know unless you live it, you can’t understand how others pass the experience. At this point it is even not worthy to debate, rather search a solution through a healthy dialog between the communities in both Ethiopian- Abyssinia and the Cush peoples. Denying the truth will not bring sustainable solution for a century long problem. So it is good to face the reality and build peaceful society for the future generation.

    Thank you Boruu for you critical analysis of our number 1 problem.

  9. abuugiidaa said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    I am writing this comment for the respond of some absinains who do not agree with the article wrotten above.look you have the right to express your oppnion but what you have forgotten is this, none of your elite or history tellers of your parents has written or said any thing about the rich cultural and democratic system of oromo people.loving oromo music ,loving oromo food and loving what ever thing that connected to cushitic heritage does not make you carring about the cushitic nation.None of the ethiopian history book revealed the true image of the cush culture rather than magnifing the absinains history.writing true history is different from writing trush history.

  10. old said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

    Dear all,

    If we read between the lines of this article and if we make use of our genuine (unbiased)mind and our life experience this article has more inputs contributing to the reconcilation of all the oresssed and the operessors; all the marginalizing and the marginalized, the ruller and the rulled, etc….than it has rivalery element. In fact it has no single element that triger rivalery. It is just expressing the reality of the country’s experience.

    I personally feel that be we young or old, man or woman, boy or girl,… this article could be used as a turning point to look forwarded and think how we (all nations and nationalities) agree to forgive for what happened in the past and work for the betterment of future through national reconcilation that could bring all people to have equal human rights and etc. Should all people in ethiopia need to be equal citizen the true history of the country need to be re-written in such a way that the mistakes, wrong done things be reflcted and rectified so that the true history reflects the culture, language, relegions and so forth of all the nationas and nationalities. If this article is to be considerd as a starting point for rebuilding true country then this is an important chance to grab abd build upon. I am not a history person or not a writter. But I decided to write this note from my genuine wish to have a country built on true histrory, true living-together and true citizenship. I wish our country people respect each other, their culture, religion, langiage and live together. This is why I gave my genuine idea as to hwo we could build our contry togethr and own it together unlike so far.

    Sincerely,

    OLD

  11. Langanno said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

    I am Oromo and also proud Ethiopian. Why our so called elites are always playing victim-hood and blaming the so called “Abysinnians.” when in fact the political-problem could easily solved by embracing democracy. Ethiopia is home to all people that are living in it and no one is second class citizen. All you have to do is change the bad politics of the country by working with the rest of Ethiopian people.

  12. Gecho said,

    July 26, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

    This is a wonderful piece. I was truly educated. Learning and embracing our heritage should make us more proud. Let’s supplant ignorance and Fear with knowledge and courage to build an Ethiopia that transcends but includes all its past (which may be known or unknown at present). I never had the opportunity/choice to know much about the Oromo culture or civilization. My Orthodox Christian upbringing (which I am not now) inculcated the belief that elements of the Oromo culture (like irrecha, Borenticha, Atete, etc.) were not becoming to a Christian and must be shunned. That seems to me, for people like me, one of the greatest obstacles to learning or having an open mind about the Oromo (Ethiopian) Civization/culture in addition to the multi-pronged efforts to crush all cultures in to one manageable (mostly for political purposes) identity.

  13. belachew Ibsa said,

    July 27, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    Our historical (Oromo) problem is not the name Ethiopia. But, what has been done by the name of Ethiopia on Oromo for a century.
    Let us recall the first genocide made by Minilik on millions of Oromo at the begining of the war and the same still continues. If we were Ethiopians Abashas would not torture oromo stil today. Shortly, we need and further struggle to free oromo generation from Abyssinia colonization. Please, dont try to confuse oromo intellectuals. You go to Oromo farmers, probably who honestly approach and accept you. We Oromos totally dont want to hear even the name Ethiopia. The end will come in the near future ***. Do you know why we are silent today? Time!!! Time!!! condition.

    Ethiopia is yours. Dont kill your time merely

  14. Waqjiraa Gudataa said,

    July 27, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    Dear Obbo Boruu,
    NO, Thanks! for such interesting article which provokes the Cushitich at most while encouraging the semetic Abyssinian criminals against humanity, the attempt carried out against the Great Oromos and others by the name of the so-called Ethiopia which neither represents Cushitic nor Semetic at ALL. It is simply a fake based on myth in protecting the Ahmara supermacy over others while the Tigreans use it to scape from their dry land to Oromia to loot our natural resources in order to develop their great Tigray by the expenses of others as the British benefited by occupying India and Africa for more than 300 years.
    In the memorial of Oromo history including Oromo legend Thegaye G. Medin never ever Oromos considered themselves as an Ethiopians rather than a drama of gumgummi towards their own Identity the best to mention is “The Oda Oak Oracle” in exposing himselve for the death row for the cause of his nation who will remain our hero too.As I am an Oromo-Italian born in Oromiyaa and educated in both Czech and Italy I have a great love ,royalty and patriotism for both as much as my country Oromiyaa whereas I never ever considered myself as an Ethiopian. My heartly revenge against this tragical name is that by its myth name tried everything to destroy my Identity, injustice happened to my (eg. Abishee Garbbaa, Gen. Tadassa Birru and Gen. Waqoo

  15. Waqjiraa Gudataa said,

    July 27, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    Continued from the above, Guutu. I do not want my children to be called by that criminal name. For that matter my children Bilisee and Abishee like any true Oromo nation were educated by their Oromummaa root to stand for the royalty and patriotism of Oromiyaa in denying the existence of Ethiopia. Take the least reality, Tigreans never ever expressed themselves as Ethiopians, always a Tigray when it comes for Idenity, “Ethiopia” they use only as a Trading Mark if possible to sell as much as they can, the Ahmaras only influenced by nostalgia . So what is the point to defend the empire used for interest by others when Cushitic are the victimised on their land by the outsiders?.Did the Slovens, Croatians, Kosovo Albanians and others expressed as Yugoslavians Or otherwise?.when the later is the only answer, the Author of this article tried to keep the status quo of the empire only by cosmetic change in trading on Oromiyaan and others Independency and Sovierignty. His reconciliation and democratisation theory of the empire is seen as the same attempt of SERBS who in persona the Miloslovic and his group failed even by Russian supper power support Obbo “Fayyis Oromia” and his likes tried to advocate for the democratisation of the empire where totally humiliated by the anger of our nation against such move. As a result the Oromos globally organised by Oromummaa in search for their Identiy and the World is closely watching us after the South Sudan and now it is the time broke such taboo of reconciliation and concentrate on our own strength. The Cushitic never to belong with the myth of Ethiopia.
    Nagaan

  16. tewelde said,

    July 28, 2011 @ 1:27 am

    i appreciate the writer for his article. I share his view that all the people should live equally in a sense that they should be paid according to they productivity irrespective of their origin. but i am a bit confused on the demarcation. I see gadaa.com considering the boundary of oromia to be all ethiopia except tigray. that is really debatable. we know how menelik expanded and controlled territories of others. We also know how the oromos expanded and controlled other areas 500 years ago- like kemise and wollo.
    I doubt the knowledge of the writer in this respect.

    discussion is a sign of civilization and I still appreciate your view

  17. Sirreessaa said,

    July 28, 2011 @ 3:02 am

    The writer is politically naive to say the least. It is good that he states that he is not a politician from the outset.
    In todays world of 21st century there is no reason for apersaon oe group to accept to be reduced to second class citizen.
    Either you are a full citizen of a state or you ar non-citizen.

    For a nation the best form of governance that best suitsts the interests of the nation is a national state. That simply
    means if the prestnt arrangement does not fit you go ahead and build your own state. Taht is it.

    There is no need to artificially redifine “Ehiopia” to save the entity that never fits the aspirations of the great majority
    of the people concerned. Ethiopia is doomed to desappear soon for just the simple reason that the great majority
    living within its boudaries feel that they are at great loss and will urgently change their own situation for the better.
    They know that the right way to do that is to break the enslaving and degrading chain of “ethiopia” and go straight
    forward to building their national states as they see if fit.

    But in the process it is useful to talk to all parties and listen to everybody’s ideas. Old Abyssinias that continue to deny
    the existence of others have not much to contribute. But the new abyssinians in Amahara of todaty and especially the
    Tigre can be reasonable partners for discussion to find out a future solution. They are not nafznyas and can understand
    others much better.

    It is also useful for those seeking freedom to explain their view and put forward suggestions that can be solutions.

    Please do not speak so much about democracy here. We do not have democracy today and cannot have it if we
    continue to deny the existece of the great majority of the pople around us.If we had democracy we wouldn’t engage
    ourselves in these discussions.

    A good question is – Starting from where we stand today how do we go about to achieve democracy?
    Thank you.

  18. abdi said,

    July 28, 2011 @ 11:44 am

    I can’t believ what some of the writers are syaing:’I am an Ethiopian, and also an Oromo’ and ‘The problem with Ethiopia is no democracy and after that we can all live happily as Ethiopians’

    Can anybody define an Ethiopian for me? What langauge do you have to speak to be an Ethiopian? And What do Ethiopian have in common?

    This is a basic slave mentality nonsence. People are allowing themselves to be brain washed. Self determination is everyone’s right? What will happen when the Oromo population reaches 40 million in the next 9 years. 40 million Oromos not allowed to have democracy for self determination and not allowed to speak Oromo- their national langauge. By that time Ahmara population will be declining due to AId and slow population growth.

    Scotish people (5 million) are allowed to hold referendum to break away from Britain, but 40 million Oromos in Oromyia will not be allowed to do that, It is an absolute madness.

    Read the Lonely planet on Ethiopia and the Oromia people; Largest ethnic group, want slef determination for Oromya and centuries of oppression and subjectgation by minority Amhara and Tigray rulers.

  19. temo said,

    August 1, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    I hate to say this but democracy keeps a nation together. Although the woyane gov is not anything near democracy, the fact that it instituted the federal system of self governance highly improved the confidence of the different ethnic groups in their identity and citizenship. As we go forward, with better democratic rights and functioning democracy, Ethiopians of all stripes will appreciate the benefits of unity as it allows them to access more resources and opportunities while retaining their identity and culture. Aside from the “Still we want to rule” shouting Amharas, and intolerable human right abuse of Tegres, Ethiopia can be saved as a nation. In my opinion, the unity of the country is more threatened by the mentality of Amharas than the tplf dictatorship. That is why I loved this article. Amharas have never taken responsiblity for a 100 year of occupation, murder, robbery and ridicule of non amhara cultures. They still want to send a balambaras from Gonder to run a village in Wollega. That will break up Ethiopia. Nothing else will.

  20. Cushite said,

    August 6, 2011 @ 7:53 am

    Obbo Boruu,
    what a nice take! Oromo nationalists should be smart enough to think inclusive and act pragmatic. Sovereign Gadaa Oromia within a stable Cushitic Ethiopia can be our Oromo vision. As long as the rule of the game is freedom and democracy, there is nothing the Oromo people can lose, if we struggle for the NATIONAL issue of Oromia and the REGIONAL issue of the Cushland. Otherwise, I did understand the “Abyssinian Ethiopia” you mentioned is the same to the Abyssinized part of the Cushitic Ethiopia as described here: http://gadaa.com/oduu/?cat=369

  21. Jirata said,

    August 13, 2011 @ 3:46 am

    Thank you for your impressive article. You clearly put the three different conceptions of Ethiopa, which were in my mind, but I failed to articulate: The Ethiopia of the Solomonic origin, The Ethiopia of the oppressed, and the Ethiopia of ancient civilization ( That of yours and Gash/Obbo Tsegaye).Our conflict comes from the first two conceptions. Unfortunately, it is only the first two that most of us know for we are fed them either in the so called modern education and/or the politicized writings and sayings. The last one is understood by only few. Here comes why we have a lot of identity conflicts.
    I hope our politicians benefit a lot from your imput.

  22. babo said,

    August 25, 2011 @ 7:34 am

    mulatu, if u cant differentiate who is oppressed and oppressor. you never lived or born in the area. as i guess, atleast u parents/families did, so it amazes me how u raise such a question. cos i m afraid it is same mentality i m fade up with which swims in denial

  23. danny said,

    September 4, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    Correction, Amhara and tigre people are cushitic too. Stop the myth that they come from yemen. Other then that you can have whatever political solution you want as long as people “volunteer” to it.