Opening Speech of Mr. Robsan Itana, the Chairman of the Oromo-American Citizens’ Council (OACC) at the 4th Annual OACC Annual Conference on March 13, 2010 in Minneapolis, MN.
On behalf of the Oromo-American Citizens’ Council, I would like to welcome honored speakers, guests, friends, brothers and sisters to this historic conference. WELCOME!
OACC hopes that, this conference will initiate a dialogue among Oromos that will finally bring about a true spirit of unity. Our organization believes in unity, peace and freedom for all human beings in all nations. We believe that, if we work together, nothing can stop us; the sky is the limit.
It is my belief, and I am sure it is also yours, that the struggle for democracy and freedom is a major struggle. So that our children and grandchildren live in peace and security in their land, it is essential for all of us in our own ways, big and small, to work for freedom and democracy today. This is not something that can be postponed or left for others. We all have an urgent calling.
Freedom for Oromo people is not only a right, but also an instrument. Freedom of speech, freedom of information, freedom of assembly – these are not just theoretical principles to us; they are tools with which we can create and mold our own way of life, a way of life where our humanity and Oromoness is affirmed and blossoms together in harmony.
Freedom we can enjoy with all our neighbors and nature. This is the type of freedom we all struggle for. This is the freedom, our men, women, and children wish to see in Oromia. The coming of such freedom could be delayed, could face various hurdles, but I firmly believe that it will surely come. However, the actions we take today are determinative on when freedom will come.
Are we committed by working together to shorten the time, or are we more interested by working against each to postpone it? Are we part of the problem or part of the solution?
As you all speak to us today, I leave these questions to you: what is your solution for the current crisis? What is your plan to bring unity? What is your vision for the future of Oromo’s human rights, democracy and rule of law? Have you set your priorities correct? As you respond to these questions, we must not be bound for what happened in the past, but focus on the future and the solutions. Let us not ignore each others’ ideas, but listen to each other to find effective solutions. We must remember that we are all struggling for freedom and human rights of the Oromo people and others.
In this historic conference, let us take time to reflect on the common causes in which we have fought and achieved together. As we prepare for the challenges ahead, let us never forget that what unites us is much greater than what divides us. Together let us face common sufferings, and achieve successes, together let us build bridges toward our common goals.
Thank you and God Bless All.
Top – from left to right: Dr. Fido Ebba, OLF; Dr. Merera Gudina, OPC and Medrek; Obbo Abduljalil Abdella, COPLF;
Dr. Ezekiel Gebissa, Kettering University – Assistant Professor.
Bottom – from left to right: Obbo Hassan Hussein, OLF; Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, Oromo Evangelical Churches;
Obbo Abrahim Abaye, OLF; Dr. Asafa Jalata, University of Tennessee – Associate Professor.