In 2012 a VOA journalist wrote about the forgotten case of more than 100 #Oromo political activists, including Obbo Bekele Gerba and Obbo Olbana Lelisa, (read here), and then the Ethiopian government’s spokesperson, Shimeles Kemal, slammed the VOA journalist for calling Bekele Gerba, Olbana Lelisa, et. al. “OROMOS.” Per the government of #Ethiopia, Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa are NOT to be called OROMOS.
Shimeles Kemal outrightly rejected Bekele Gerba’s and Olbana Lelisa’s OROMONESS and scolded the VOA journalist who called these political prisoners “Oromos.”
Today, we see similar persecutions when an Oromo person identifies themselves as OROMO. This policy is a crime called ‘ethnocide,’ i.e. genocide against an ethnic group’s social fabric (its identity, its culture, its language, its peoplehood and its nationhood).
A certain Tedla Asfaw’s bashing of an Oromo for identifying themselves as Oromo is ethnocidal, and it’s the same policy as Shimeles Kemal’s rejection of Bekele Gerba’s and Olbana Lelisa’s Oromoness.
The ultimate goal of such intimidation, bashing, harassment and persecution of Oromos whenever they identify themselves as Oromo is to cleanse Oromoness from Oromo (to eradicate Oromummaa from Oromo) by making ‘identifying as an Oromo’ equivalent to committing a crime — and, this has been the ethnocidal policy of the successive Ethiopian/Abyssinian/(Habesha) governments against the Oromo people for the last century ever since the Oromo people were conquered by Abyssinia/Ethiopia.
Shimeles Kemal’s (TPLF’s) & Tedla Asfaw’s (Diaspora Opposition’s) rejection of the Oromo identity (Oromummaa) are not isolated incidents, but a shared policy of ethnocide against the Oromo.
This is why the Oromo struggle is being waged for – it’s a struggle to survive the Oromo as a people, as an identity, as a culture and as a nation against the ethnocidal policies of Ethiopia.
Tedla Asfaw’s and Shimeles Kemal’s bashing and persecutions of Oromoness is not limited to Obbo Jawar Mohammed, Obbo Bekele Gerba or Obbo Olbana Lelisa as individuals, but applies to all persons who identify themselves as Oromos as it’s a crime of ethnocide that must not be taken lightly.
The Editor’s Notebook