Editor’s Note: The following is the English translation of an article first written in Amharic by a certain professor by the name Getachew Haile on the website EthioMedia.com, where all the fake and senile anti-Oromo professors have called home in recent months. Hidden behind a local vernacular (Amharic, in this case), hate propaganda, disguised as academic articles and directed at the Oromo people, frequently appears on EthioMedia.com, thus Prof. Getachew Haile’s article is not a first on EthioMedia.com, nor that this is the first anti-Oromo piece by Prof. Getachew Haile. Regardless, in order to expose the ongoing hate propaganda on the Oromo people to the world, Gadaa.com has decided to publish the following English translation of Prof. Getachew Haile’s Amharic article in its entirety.
Dear Readers, the ideology brought up herein by Prof. Getachew Haile used to be the overt state ideology of the Ethiopian empire up until February 1974 – exactly 40 years to the date; with the ongoing struggles of the nations and nationalities, including the largest nation – the Oromo, in the Ethiopian empire, this Ethiopianist/Nefxegna ideology will soon see its final demise, and a morning star will rise in the Horn of Africa. All Oromo nationalists must fight back this Nefxegna ideology in order to protect the gains of the people’s 40-years of struggle, and bring the final victory to the people’s struggle.
Translation by Girma B. Gutema
Author’s Note: Here is the English version of Professor Getachew Haile’s recent piece. I did the translation with high curiosity, but I can’t promise to assure you perfect accuracy and precision.
Peace and Reconciliation as Life Flavors [By Professor Getachew Haile]
While reading a study, which you might have also read, I found one assertion that says, if people face hunger in a country rich in natural resources, it must be because the people have low IQ. I had to throw it away thinking that the study lacked depth and objectivity. A plethora of evidences shows that Ethiopia is a rich country in natural resources. The sheer size of its land that can be cultivated without even fertilizer is enormous. The country’s rivers flow, in excess, to all directions – crossing borders and making Ethiopia a water tower to neighboring countries. Take a listen to what Professor Seyoum Gelaye, a leading researcher on the area, had to say on this during his recent interview with SBS radio.
If the above assertion holds true, what would be at the stake is going to be the IQ of Ethiopians. Is it really because of low IQ of its people that Ethiopia still remained in hunger and poverty? I do not think so! The author of the said study must revise it as appropriate. Otherwise, he is telling us that “if one goes hungry while looking at bread behind a glass counter in a shop, the IQ of the man must be low.” Apparently, this is not the case as the hungry man can’t get the bread whatsoever high IQ he might have.
Indeed, no one denies the positive correlation between one’s IQ and quality of his/her life, though this is not always the case. Look at many Ethiopians, for instance, who unleashed their potentials once a slim of opportunity unlocked for them. They are making enormous contributions as researchers and professors across top universities in Africa, America and Europe. The same success stories can be told for Ethiopians in trade and commerce, we can count many millionaires.
No way! An in-depth investigation needs to be carried out as to how Ethiopia, a country with rich natural resources and wise people, goes hungry. In fact, as indicated by Professor Seyoum, the main factor for the country’s hunger has to do with the wrong land ownership and administration system of the country. The slogan “land to the tiller” ended up giving “land to the ruler.” Woyane took all the farmers’ land. Earlier, the number of feudal lords, to whom the roasted chicken had to be brought home, were few, but now that constitutes the whole “nations and nationalities” that farmers have to suffer to satisfy them all. The other problem is that the country is divided into regions along ethnic lines that no one is able to freely move from one region to another and cultivate land as much as he can. Today, the entire bodies of Ethiopia are not entirely for Ethiopians.
Historians tell us that our diversity has really hurt us a lot in the past. The fact that we are Christians and Muslims, Oromos and non-Oromos with failed system to accommodate our differences substantially degraded us. On the contrary, had we spoken one language, followed one religion and cherished one culture, we would not have stagnated in backwardness for centuries. The devastating impacts of our religious diversity can be seen from the demolition of the Axumite civilization by Yodit Gudit and the burning of the Amhara civilization by the invading Muslim forces of Ahmed Gragn. Perhaps, these civilizations were able to keep the country in pace with the rest of the world by the time, but they were demolished and we remained stagnated at where we were by then even to this date. Our knowledge about these two civilizations had to entirely rely on few written documents that survived the fire. Ethiopia hasn’t yet fully revived from “Ahmed Gragn’s tenderness,” a chilling devastation of Muslim forces on Christian Ethiopia. Even though the human and material costs of this invasion are infinite, what I always regret is rather the loss of some of the oldest church scriptures, only whose titles have remained with us today.
The Muslims had no reason to devour Christians except for their Jihad. The Christians established and ran the country’s government. Some tribes, like Somalis and Yifates, living in some remote parts of the country accepted Islam, and they were also allowed to govern themselves while in the Ethiopian state. Even when we see it today, what better options were available for the imperial government than this? The main objective of the Jihad war waged on the Christians was to convert them all to Islam thereby administering them under the Sharia law. The Muslims never thought of taking up only government power and let the Christians rule themselves.
The devastation that the Oromos brought to Ethiopia had to do with their massive migration that led to their occupation of the country’s central land mass. Thanks to historians like Aba Bahrey, Teklesilassie Tino and Tekleyesus Wakjira, the massive destructions that the Oromo migration caused to the Ethiopian civilization have been, by and large, documented. Following a little breathing time and space after the invasion of the Muslim forces, the Oromos came and wrecked everything, literally everything of the country’s civilization that survived from Muslims’ cruelest chaos. Establishing themselves under Gadaa, a totalitarian gang mafia military system, they slaughtered everyone from farmer to trader, from teacher to researcher – all the way to every peaceful member of the community. It was pity. With the sheer forces of their number, the Oromos ruined everything and flooded their cattle onto the farmlands and made churches the daycare fences of their calves. According to their long held tradition, their community member won’t shave his head before killing a Christian. Their devastation had to extend even to Showa, Gojam, Amhara (today’s Wollo) and all the way to Gonder.
After all that destruction, the Muslims initially considered replacing Ethiopia’s writing systems with their own. Yet, as the Oromos were cattle herders, they had no system of writings to replace it with. On the other hand, they assimilated parts of the invaded people and reduced the rest to slavery. If we had to erect monuments in places where the Muslims and the Oromos annihilated humans, the country would have turned into a mere museum of monumental blocks. In addition to killings, cutting genitalia had been rampant in their tradition as it can be illustrated by poems and other literary pieces retained to this date. Instead of neglecting such evil deeds of the past and moving on, creating fictitious yet horrific stories of crimes as if committed by the soldiers of Ras Gobena Dache would help no one, if not to fool the already fooled. Fiction story can never be history.
The Ethiopian kings had no problem whoever came and settle in their territories, especially if the land is unoccupied. The problems with the Oromo migrants were that instead of settling on free and unoccupied places, they had such barbaric tendencies of taking away lands that others developed by demolishing everything on it. On top of that, after occupying the central land mass of the country, they started refusing to pay taxes to the central government. So by this time, what other options were available for the central government to deal with these people?
The disease of the past relapsed
In this era we live in, when I see, on YouTube, Muslims burning churches and Oromos throwing humans off cliff, it reminds me of a verbal analogy that people say when something bad comes all over again in their lives. It goes “hello everyone, won’t one be cured of sickness; did I get relapse of my past disease?” A relapsed disease is always fatal. It kills everybody. One can only kill while being killed.
No one knows what happens in the meantime. For instance, we all know that protestant Christians from Wollaga were leading the Oromo violence. Now this leadership role has been taken over by Muslim Oromos who claim to constitute 40% of the whole Oromo population. They might have exaggerated it but yet, there is no doubt that their number exceeds that of the Protestants. The irony is that the struggle as led by Protestant Christians against Orthodox Christian government of Ethiopia refusing to be governed by Fitihanegest is going to be hijacked by those who want to declare sharia as the law of the land. On a coincidental line of argument, we saw in history that Egyptian Christians trapped themselves into an endless regret by helping the Arabian Muslim takeover of their country in refusal of the hegemony by the Melekan Christians.
The way out:
1. As I clearly indicated above, the destruction that the Muslims and Oromos caused to Ethiopia has been boldly encrypted on the pages of history books. Yet, peace and reconciliation are desperately needed, and hence without deleting and denying this history, we can find way out of the current ignorance and destitution that we are immersed in. The first step would be that the Oromos and Muslims should seek apologies from the Ethiopian people for all those destructions their fathers and forefathers caused to Ethiopia. Instead of continuing with the destructive pathway of their fathers and forefathers thereby sustaining the destructions, they have to turn apologetic so soonest. There shouldn’t be any complaint about the writers of their destructive acts in history as these writers constitute people among their own clans or religion. Muslim writers like Shihab Edin Arab Faqih and Amhara-Oromos like Aba Bahrey, Teklesillassie Tino, Teklemariam Waqjira wrote accounts of this history. Those who say “debteras won’t write our history” might not have known who these writers were. The complete list of other historians on this subject matter is given in my book on the writings of Aba Bahrey together with other documents on the Oromo.
2. The second measure has to do exclusively with the Oromos. It’s known that emperor Minilik and Ras Gobana Dache worked hard to bring together and unite the rather dispersed Oromo tribes and clans who waged war on one another. Oromos should therefore dedicate a day and celebrate this. Since the two leaders didn’t achieve that over a single day, today’s Oromos can decide which day to celebrate on their Caffee. But one thing should be part of the annual celebration as a matter of must: putting dread flowers under the monument of king Minilk. Moreover, as no one has so far erected Monument for Ras Gobena, Oromos should select a gracious public square where a monument can be erected for him thereby commissioning its construction so soon.
3. The third measure should be transforming themselves from primitive to modern people. Primitive people think in a scale of a village and they consider people from other villages as their enemies. Modern people on the other hand consider themselves as global citizens. In the thoughts of a modern man, coming from this village or speaking that language is a matter of mere social coincidence that shouldn’t be valued at all. We cannot expect primitive people to transcend to modern and global citizens in a matter short period of time. That isn’t our interest either, at least for the time being. But one thing is for sure: to lead a peaceful and prosperous life in this modern era, such a transformation is a must in the democratic world.
As per my observation, the relations that ethnic nationalists have with democracy are trapped in between love and hate. The basic essence of democracy is respecting human right. Everybody except dictators and their supporters accept this, and in fact ethnic nationalist are in love with democracy on this point. But are only individuals or both individuals and groups who are entitled to human rights? If ‘yes’ is for the former not the later, ethnic nationalist reject democracy. They hate it. Right basically belongs to an individual. However, it doesn’t mean that groups don’t have rights. If they have the capacity, they have the right to develop their language and culture. When they get together to do this, government ensures their security. Establishing an ethnic-based political party in one country would however mean denying shared interest with other ethnic communities of that country. At the bottom rock of establishing a political party lays a basic objective of ensuring and enhancing economic beneficence of an individual and that has nothing to do with getting organized on ethnic lines, be it Gurage, Gumuz or Guji. However, members of any ethnic community may predominantly vote for one party or another in a bid to ensure their collective interest. In a democratic system, that is the way for ethnic nationalists to benefit their constituencies.