The following is the Oromo Studies Association’s (OSA’s) annual conference program.
Oromo Studies Association
P.O Box 32391, Fridley, MN 55432
Examining Paths to Oromo Empowerment in the 21st Century
Dates: August 3 & 4, 2013
Place: Howard University, Blackburn Digital Auditorium
Time: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
1. Artist Kadir Said (on August 3)
Title: Jiruu fi Jireenya Artistoota Oromoo Biyya Ambaa fi Qabsoo Bilisummaa Saba Oromoo
A Brief Biography of Artist Kadir Said: Artist Kadir Said was born in Eastern Oromia, Gara Mulata district, at a place called Watar. As a person who grew in the rural Oromian region where the population practice their original culture, Kadir was raised singing and dancing Oromo traditional songs and dances of that area, such as daddaaqsaa, uruursuu, dhiichisaa, hellemaa, faaruu loonii, darashii, mirrisa. At a young age, he says he started with uruursuu, a song which is used to keep babies quiet when they are crying. Kadir says he was inspired by famous singers, mainly Ali Birra and others, such as Abdi Qophe, Abubakar Musa, Ali Shabbo, and Hessein Adam, who, at the time, were singing from Harar radio station, the only radio station in Afan Oromo which operated for few years during the final years of Haile Sellassie. He started singing with modern musical instruments with Ali Shabbo.
In 1991 when the Derg regime was overthrown and a Transitional Government was formed in Ethiopia, Oromo nationalism, which had been suppressed for over a century, exploded like a volcano. Kadir joined the Caffee Gadaa band and started singing inspirational songs about Oromo nationalism, and the struggle of the Oromo people for freedom and justice. After the then Transitional Government was aborted, many Oromo nationals were branded as members or supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the major Oromo political force which signed the Transitional Charter. Tens of thousands of suspected OLF members or supporters were thrown into jail. All Oromo singers were jailed, killed in cold blood, or forced into exile. Kadir’s fate was no different. He was exiled to Djibouti, and lived there under fear and horrific conditions until he got the chance to come to USA at the beginning of this year, 2013.
Come to the OSA annual conference of 2013 and listen as Kadir Said narrates his life, the life of Oromo artists at home and in the Diaspora, and his perspective regarding the struggle of the Oromo nation for freedom and justice.
2. Dr. Trevor Trueman, Director of Oromia Support Group (on August 4)
Title: Trampled Grass: The Human Price of 22 Years of Abuse
A Brief Biography of Dr. Trevor Trueman: Dr. Trevor Trueman is an English medical doctor who started working among Oromo refugees in the Sudan in 1988/89. While providing medical services to thousands of Oromo refugees, Dr. Trueman trained a large number of primary healthcare workers who provided valuable service to other refugees. Dr. Trueman also provided health education for thousands of Oromo refugees. In 1989 while returning from liberated areas of Western Wallaga to the Sudan, the car in which he was traveling hit landmine planted by agents of the Ethiopian military regime. Four of his Oromo friends were killed on the spot while Trevor was seriously wounded and hospitalized for months. However, amazingly, six months after he had escaped miraculously from death, Dr. Trevor was back working among Oromo refugees in the Sudan. This demonstrates his devotion to the cause of the Oromo people and his firm commitment to helping Oromo refugees.
Realizing that the TPLF-dominated Ethiopian regime intensified human rights violations in Oromia and other parts of Ethiopia, Dr. Trueman established the Oromia Support Group (OSG) in 1994. Since then, Dr. Trueman has regularly documented extensive records of human rights violations in Oromia and other parts of Ethiopia. In the past 19 years, no other human rights organization has consistently and systematically documented human rights violations in Oromia as OSG did. Besides documenting the crimes committed against the Oromo and other people in Ethiopia, Dr. Trueman traveled to Djibouti, Somaliland, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and several other places of Africa documenting the pain and sufferings of Oromo refugees everywhere. Dr. Trevor Trueman is a true humanitarian, a wonderful human being, the best friend of the Oromo people, and one of the most consistent voices of the voiceless peoples in Ethiopia.
Come to the 27th annual conference of OSA and listen as Dr. Trueman narrates and analyzes the human price of the 22 years of abuse by the Ethiopian regime.
Projected Panels, Paper Titles and Speakers
Panel I. Revisiting and Retrieving Gadaa Civilization for Developing Oromummaa
Asafa Jalata (Chair): Gadaa as the Fountain of Oromummaa and the Theoretical Base of Oromo Liberation
Harwood Schaffer: Indigenous Oromo Religious Values
Daniel Ayana: Moisture as a Source of Life: Environment and Religion Among Classical Oromo
Panel II. Oromummaa in Theory and Action
Asafa Jalata (Chair)
Tesfa Guma: Oromo Introspection (Of Ilaalee Oromoo)
Abera Tefera: Qooda Oromummaan Qabsoo Bilisummaa Oromoo Keessatti Qabu (The Role of Oromummaa in Advancing Oromo National Liberation Struggle)
Ahmed Hussein: Tolerance as a Prerequisite for Oromummaa to Flourish
Haile Hirpa: Compatibility of Oromtittii and Oromticha
Panel III. US Foreign Policy in Ethiopia and Its Repercussions for the Oromo
Mohammed Hassen (Chair)
Kadiro Elemo: The U.S. Foreign Policy on Ethiopia During the Era of Emperor Lij Iyyasu to Haile Sillase
Habtamu Dugo: U.S. Interventions and Conflict in Multinational Ethiopia
Bona Legesse: Silencing the Oromo under the Guise of Countering Terrorism: Proclamation No. 652/2009 and Human Rights
Panel IV. Liberating Voices: Historical and Contemporary Forms of Women’s Empowerment
Peri Klemo (Chair): Malicious Monarch or Our Mothers’ Muse?: The Myth of Mote Qorqee
Leila Qashu: Singing Ateetee: Arsi Oromo Women’s Means of Upholding and Asserting their Rights
Tsehai Wodajo: Passing the Torch: Cultural Ways of Knowing and Empowerment Practices of Oromo Women
Kuwee Kumsa: Songs of Exile: Singing the Past into the Future
Fatuma Guyyo: From Oromia to Kenya: How Orma Women Roles and Practices Illustrate Oromo Cultural Continuity
Panel V. Ongoing Violence Against the Oromo
Bonnie Holcomb (Chair)
Gemetchu Megersa: The Rule of Violence in Ethiopia
Trevor Trueman: South Africa: Sanctuary at a Price
Garoma Bekele: Violence Against the Oromo Today
Hussein Ahmed, Fayera Nagara, Abebe Etana (Joint): Testimony from Torture Survivors
Panel VI. Land Grab in Ethiopia with Emphasis on Oromia
Gobena Huluka (Chair)
Garoma Bekele: Land Grab and Human Rights in Ethiopia
Melkamu Jate, Habtamu Dugo, and Joanne Eisen (Joint): Countering Land Grabs by Establishing a Data Bank of Customary Land Ownership Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Bichaka Fayissa: Disparities in Land Holding Sizes in Oromia and Other Regions in Ethiopia: Livelihood Implications for Oromo Farmers
Panel VII. Revisiting Key Epochs and Episodes in the Oromo National Struggle
Guluma Gemeda (Chair)
Zakia Posey: The Years Sky Opened up: A look at the Legacy of the Watershed Era of Oromo Resistance from 1963-1973
Taye Nedhi: The Contrast between the Derg Villagization and Woyane Land Looting
Dirribi Demisse: The History of Madda Walaabu and Macca Tuulama
Kadiro Elemo: The Wallo Oromo under Tewodros and Yohannes
Teferi Tafa: Cultural Annihilation in Ethiopia
Panel VIII. Ethiopia’s Unhealthy Public Health Policy in Oromia
Mesfin Abdissa (Chair)
Begna Dugassa: History of Public Health in Oromia (1890 – 1920)
Ibrahim Elemo: The Human Cost of Cholera Outbreaks in Ethiopia. Why secrecy and who is to blame?
Panel IX. Religion, Nationalism and the Oromo National Movement
Gemetchu Megerssa (Chair)
Ezekiel Gebissa: Protestantism and the Formation of Modern Oromo Nationalism; A Study of Agency and Transformation
Jawar Mohammed: The Oromo National Movement and Religions: Interaction and Interdependence
Mekuria Bulcha: The Irreecha Festival: From a Suppressed Tradition to a Vibrant Pan-Oromo Movement
Panel X: Media, Film, and Education: a Transnational Approach
Steve Thomas: Transnational Education
Mohammed Ademo: Media Outreach and the State of Journalism among the Oromo
Dhaba Wayessa: Hollywood and Finfinnewood: International Partnerships for Building Skills in Media and Film
Arijeta Lajka: The Aggressive Nature of the Media and Changing Perceptions on Oromia and Ethiopia
For the pdf version of the tentative program, please click here (OromoStudies.org).