Oromia-Ethiopia: Can Oromummaa and Ethiopianism Be Reconciled?
By Asafa Jalata, PhD* | Ayyaantuu.com
This paper critically examines how the duality inherent in the concept of Ethiopianism shifts back and forth between claims of a “Semitic” identity when appealing to the White, Christian, racist/ethnocentric, occidental hegemonic power center and claims of an African identity when cultivating the support of sub-Saharan Africans and the African diaspora while, at the same time, ruthlessly suppressing or destroying the history and culture of non-Semitic Africans of the various colonized nations, such as Oromos. Successive Ethiopian state elites have used their Blackness to mobilize other Africans and the African diaspora for their political projects by confusing original Africa, Ethiopia, or the Black world with contemporary Ethiopia (former Abyssinia) and at the same time have allied with Euro-American powers and practiced racism, state terrorism, genocide, and continued subjugation on the indigenous Africans who are, today, struggling for self-determination and multinational democracy. Exposing the racist discourse of Ethiopianism and liberating the mentality of all Africans and the African diaspora from this “social cancer” must be one of the tasks of a critical paradigm of Oromummaa. Developing Oromummaa (Oromo culture, identity, and nationalism), the Oromo national movement engages in such a liberation project. Those intermediary Oromos who have been joining the Tigrayan or Amhara camps as collaborators have promoted Ethiopianism at the cost of Oromummaa. Those diaspora Oromo elites who are claiming to change the program of the Oromo Liberation Front are part and parcel of these subservient forces that have perpetuated Ethiopian colonialism and political slavery.
The critical and thorough examination of the essence and duality of Ethiopianism demonstrates the negative impact of this ideology on the processes of identity formation, state building, and development in the Ethiopian Empire. Ethiopians/Abyssinians or Habashas consider themselves Semitic and suppress their African-ness or Blackness by claiming their racial and cultural superiority to Blacks in general and the indigenous Africans they colonized in particular. Successive Ethiopian state elites have used the discourses of civilization, race, culture, and religion to justify and rationalize the colonization and dehumanization of the indigenous Africans, such as Agaos, Oromos, Ogaden-Somalis, Afars, Sidamas, and Walayitas, and have selectively utilized the politics of African-ness or Blackness without actually practicing this aspect of Ethiopianism. The duality of Ethiopianism and the politics of building contemporary Ethiopia as an empire on the foundation of racial/ethno-national hierarchy have prevented successive Ethiopian state elites from building a viable country. Consequently, Ethiopia has remained one of the most impoverished countries in the world and has become infamous for its recurrent famines and a series of internal and external wars and massive human rights violations.
* Asafa Jalata (email@example.com) is a Professor of Sociology, Global Studies, and Africana Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.He has published and edited eight books and authored sixty refereed articles in regional and international journals and several book chapters.
RULES FOR COMMENTING:
Gadaa.com values your inputs, and to maintain a positive environment of discussion, the following rules will be enforced for comments. When you click SUBMIT COMMENT below, you are agreeing to abide by the following rules.
1. Apply common-sense respect and courtesy. Feel free to express your thoughts within the limits of civility.
2. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed.
3. By submitting your comments, you take all the responsibility, legal or otherwise, for your comments.
4. Comments are naturally short. Long comments may be removed; for long comments, feel free to submit them as articles to be posted on their own.
5. Gadaa.com reserves the right to remove comments that do not follow the rules stated here.
6. Frequent offenders of the above rules will lose future posting privileges.
How to Use the New Comment Section
1. One can sign in using social networking services (if using this, click on "Sign In With your preferred social networking service")
2. One can also comment as "Guest" (no log-in required; for this, click on "Pick A Name" AND check the "I'd rather post as guest" button.)
(ONLY NAME and EMAIL are required; no password needed if commenting as Guest.)
3. To SUBMIT comments for moderation, click on the "Arrow" sign.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in comments do not reflected the views of Gadaa.com unless explicitly stated otherwise by Gadaa.com; Gadaa.com IS NOT accountable for any thought and content of comments.