Reviewed by Siiban Abbichuu*
Book: FIXEENSA by Boruu Barraaqaa
Afan Oromo Novel Based on a True Story
Boruu Barraaqaa, the author of the bestselling Oromo novel, MUDAAMMUDDII, is now introducing his third well structured and timely book – FIXEENSA – to the public. FIXEENSA is a novel based on a true story of the Oromo politics of the recent times. It widely reflects the socio-political life of the Oromo society in the last couple of years, both at home and abroad.
FIXEENSA can be called as the most potential, investigative, entertaining and timely Oromo literature work that has ever been published, because:
1. It focuses on how the July 2008 OLF split had happened. The author explains well, through his characters, that the 2008 OLF split had happened for various reasons. The book thoroughly examines these reasons in different stages.
2. The author widely reflects in this book that he believes in the need for a real change in the Oromo struggle camp very soon. According to his will, the change that should take place in the Oromo struggle must be all. It should be convincing, troubleshooter, be far away from causing any kind of hostility among the Oromo.
3. This novel does not only talk about the problems that had happened. It also has marvelous proposals and solutions to prevent more socio-political dangers facing the vanguard organization. Further it warns that, unless some important and timely actions are taken by nationalists, the continuity of the current trend of disunity and splits will be endless, and sadly, the Oromo political society might face new splits and isolation every coming year. In the long run, such trend may even lead the Oromo nation to the endless Somalia-like disaster.
4. In his general view, the author of FIXEENSA rigorously proposes that the Oromo nation needs inter-marriages among its numerous regions. In this book, Barraaqaa shows us the way he sees the Oromo world from political, historical and social points of view. He never hides that the Oromo nation has remained unknown to each other for over a century due to the antagonist divide-and-rule policy of the Habesha oppressors and due to lack of modern means of communications. So, he strongly reflects his wishes to see the most united strong Oromo nation in the future through re-assimilating the Oromo people from far South to North, from West to East as well as to Central by encouraging inter-clan marriages. To make this dream come true, he advocates that the inter-regional marriages across the vast Oromia are important, so that the future generation emerges from fathers and mothers of different regions.
As he quotes in his introduction one of the best sayings of the Afro American rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur (2PAC), “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world”, he proposes his ideas to his readers that he would like to see changes in the Oromo political process. The writer’s vivid descriptions in the novel clearly emphasizes that, not only the Oromo struggle, but also the nation’s social relations need some sorts of change. He observes so many weaknesses in the unity of Oromo politicians and Diaspora communities. His book calls for the need of strengthening the socio-political inter-relations of the nation as a whole. The imaginary social environment that his characters: Kitilaa Jootee, Saartuu Muummee, Furii Saaddoo, Kumalee Itichaa, Biyyaa Abbaa Garoo, Ziinet Addisuu Mohammed, Liiban Guyyoo, Birqee Gebeyehu Dhiinsaa, Tukkoo Haajii and Liidiyaa Gaanfuree, have created in this novel perfectly convinces us that the warmest love among mother, father, brother, sister, son and daughter-in-laws from different regions of Oromia shall truly emerge, no matter how long it may be.
The novel FIXEENSA is full of facts and artistic structures that can categorize the book into one of the best few Oromo literature works. All the 382 pages of the book are full of suspense. As he had done in his previous much acclaimed work, MUDAAMMUDDII, he again does another best and recommendable work, which has taken him more than two years to complete. Of course, his so far works confirm that he is the rising star in Oromo literature.
Boruu Barraaqaa began his literature career in the middle of 1990s, when he was very young, by contributing short stories to Oromia-based radio programs – though most of his short stories were not broadcast on the government-controlled radio due to their serious political contents. At the end of 1990s, he won a nationwide literature competition in Ethiopia that had been invited by a German NGO known as IIZ/DVV. With seven years of teaching and eight years of journalism experiences, he is now a well talented and successful Oromo novelist of our days.
FIXEENSA is a significant contribution to the development of Oromo literature. It is a must-read book by all those who can read Qubee Afaan Oromoo. It is a recommendable learning material for Diaspora Oromo youth that aspires to learn the language of its mother tongue. FIXEENSA is a must-read book by those who wish to see the strong united Oromo nation, and want to review the life of Diaspora Oromo and that of the home country side by side. It is a must-read book also by Oromo scholars who want to make researches on the general overview of Oromo issues.
The book will be available at the North American Oromo summer festivals. You can also order it by simply contacting Fixeensa@gmail.com
* The reviewer, Siiban Abbichuu, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org