Press Release: Macha Tulama USA on loss of Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa, an Oromo Hero
Macha Tulama Cooperative and
Development Association, USA Inc
March 19, 2013
It is with great sadness that members of the Macha Tulama Cooperative and Development Association USA write of the passing away of an Oromo hero Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa. Members of the Macha Tulama Cooperative and Development Association USA extend our deepest condolences to the family of Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa. Oromo at large has lost one of its strongest advocates and heroes. Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa, Obbo Abdulkarim Ibrahim Hamid, dedicated his life to bringing freedom to the Oromo people.
Dr. Mohammed Hassen recently wrote an account of Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa’s contributions to the Oromo struggle. Dr. Hassen wrote of, how in 1961, Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa established an Oromo Student Union in the city of Harar at a time when Oromo were the most abused by the Ethiopian state and society (1). During the 1960s, all other ethnicities in the state of Ethiopia enjoyed their culture and religious Holidays. Since Oromo were not allowed to even speak Afan Oromo, Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa formed the Oromo Student Union so Oromo students would meet at one place and hold Oromo culture shows (1). Among the members were Dr. Mohammed Hassen, and Obbo Taha Ali Abdi, a founding member of the Oromo Liberation Front.
It was also well document that Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa joined the Bale Oromo armed struggle under the leadership of another great Oromo hero, General Waaqoo Guutuu. Dr. Mohammed interviewed a number of Oromo hero to learn that Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa’s bravery and strength were noticed by his comrades. Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa’s military savvy was also well understood, as he sought to obtain advanced military training and equipment from other nations. According to Dr. Mohammed Hassen, it was through his efforts that he learned of Somalia’s General Said Barre’s attempt to annex Oromo (1). Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa worked with another Oromo hero, Obbo Elemo Qilixxuu, in obtaining military training in Iraq. Dr. Hassen notes that after the military training, Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa formed the first guerrilla team dispatched to Hararghe, Oromia. It was during this campaign where many agree that Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa started the first Oromo Liberation Army (1).
Oromo heroes, such as Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa, General Waaqoo Guutuu and Obbo Sisai Ibssa, understood the need for Oromo collective efforts. General Waaqoo Guutuu attracted Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa to the Bale Resistance. Similarly, General Waaqoo Guutuu secretly contacted leaders of the Macha Tulama Self-Help Association in Finfinne (Addis Abeba) in 1965 to expand the Oromo struggle (2).
A recent radio interview on Radio Afuura Biyyaa, March 7 2013, of journalist and family member Obbo Jaafer Ali revealed that Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa was supporting relatives of Obbo Elemo Qilxuu currently struggling in Yemen (3). This display and commitment to children of Oromia, including to our heroes, is a guide for future generations.
Obbo Jamal Karu (Vice Chairman FIDO) recalled the life of Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa, his family and legacy on the same Radio Afuura Biyyaa interview (3). During the last few conversations, Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa told Obbo Jamal that the struggle must return back to Oromia. He also stressed the need to bring Oromo together at this time to better the conditions for the Oromo people (3).
Obbo Galaasa Dilbo (former OLF Chairman) stated that the passing of Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa’s brought great sadness to him as well as all Oromo, particularly those who struggle for freedom. Obbo Galaasa recalled having “met [Obbo Jaarra Abbaa Gadaa] several times, discussed several crucial issues and solved many problems together (3).” On Radio Afuura Biyyaa, Obbo Galaasa spoke of Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa struggles for unity among Oromo organizations, including becoming the second Chairman of the United Liberation Forces of Oromia after General Waaqoo Guutuu (3).
During the earlier years of the ULFO, General Waaqoo Guutuu was the chairman, Obbo Sisai Ibsaa was the spokesperson and editor; Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa, Vice Chair; Obbo Daoud Ibsaa was Vice Chair; Obbo Galaasa Dilbo Secretary; Jemal Hajii Ibrahim Second Secretary; and Abbagiddi as Third Secretary (4).
Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa’s lifelong legacy demonstrates the strengths within the Oromo society established by our ancestors, particularly the Gadaa system. The foundations of Gadaa system are what continue to produce the great Oromo heroes and heroines, Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa. It is within these chapters of our history that our future generations continue the struggle for freedom by the sons and daughters of Oromia. Obbo Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa will be missed by his immediate family and extended Oromo family. His struggle for Oromo freedom will continue with generations of Oromo sons and daughters.
Secretary of Macha-Tulama Cooperative
and Cooperative Association, USA, Inc.
(1) Mohammed Hassen, Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa: a hero and legend in his own time
(2) Maatii, Daraaraa and Hassan, Mohammed, Goota Oromiyaa (Oromia Publishing LLC, Atlanta GA, 2008): pp. 384 – 385.
(3) Ali, Jaafar Ali (March 7, 2013). RAB: The Life and Legacy of Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa – Interviews with Jaal Jamal Karu, Jaal Taha Abdi, Jaal Galaasaa Dilboo and Journalist Jaafar Ali. Retrieved from http://gadaa.com/GadaaTube/6934/2013/03/08/rab-the-life-and-legacy-of-jaarraa-abbaa-gadaa-interviews-with-jaal-jamal-karu-jaal-taha-abdi-jaal-galaasaa-dilboo-and-journalist-jaafar-ali/
(4) Holcomb, Bonnie K; Birruu, Lubee; Jalataa, Asafa; Hassen Mohammed; Selassie, Bereket H; Tafarra, Abarra). “Examining Sisai Ibssa’s Organizational Work on Oromo National Unity.” The Journal of Oromo Studies, July 2011. Volume 18 Number 1. pg 104, Oromo Studies Association.
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