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There is No Ethiopia Without Oromia – Minnesota OACC Panelists

Posted: Bitootessa/March 15, 2010 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com | Comments (26)

By Qeerransoo Biyyaa*


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.

Gadaa.com
Mr. Robsan Itana, Chairman of OACC

“There is no Ethiopia without Oromia, yet the empire continues to oppress the Oromo people,” said a group composed of prominent Oromo political, religious and academic leaders at an international conference on human rights organized by the Oromo-American Citizens’ Council (OACC), a Minnesota civil society organization established to raise awareness and to advocate against human rights abuses in Ethiopia on behalf of an estimated population of 15,000 Oromo living in the State of Minnesota.

“Justice for Oromo people is a question of access to state power and the exercise of equitable power,” said Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, president of the Worldwide Union of Oromo Evangelical Churches.

Gadaa.com

Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba said there was no war in which Ethiopia did not participate. Apart from its internal internecine wars, he said Ethiopia participated in the Colonial War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Ethio-Eritrean War, and the Darfur War and the Somalia War. He stressed that most of the leaders of Ethiopia were deposed and killed, and there has never been a peaceful transition to power in the country as result of a long-standing belligerent culture of Ethiopian ruling groups.

The Reverend pleaded with Oromo political groups about the dire need for a shift in paradigm in the Oromo national movement. He said because tens of ethnic groups shared long-stretching borders with Oromia, an independent Oromia would be infeasible as that would lead to the demise of Ethiopia as we know it, hampering the security and economic development of future Oromia.

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Dr. Merera Gudina, Chairman of the Oromo People’s Congress and leader of the main Ethiopian opposition coalition Medrek, spoke metaphorically, saying that there were many ways to “heaven.” He called on Oromo elites to unite and cooperate, or desist from rivalry where there were disagreements on political programs and methods for achieving freedom for the Oromo people.

Dr. Gudina expressed that he would rather do something by participating in the May 2010 Ethiopian legislative elections than give up everything to the “almighty” ruling party and merely complain about national repressions.

“Mobilizing the Oromo people without clear action-plan and unity of Oromo political groups will expose Oromos to dangers and killings like it did in the 1990s,” warned Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba.

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Another panelist, Dr. Fido Ebba of the Oromo Liberation Front, blamed the U.S. for its continued support for the current Ethiopian government, including for allegedly providing military training to the Ethiopian Army, despite Ethiopia’s disturbing human rights records.

Some of the panelists made the case for the need for a paradigm shift in the Oromo national movement toward a struggle for an all-inclusive multinational democracy and genuine federalism or self-administration of regional states in Ethiopia.

However, it remains to be seen if the right-wing conservative Ethiopians and the ruling government reach out to and embrace the Oromo people as much as the Oromo elites at this human rights gathering did.

* Qeerransoo Biyyaa can be reached at meettaa@gmail.com and blogs at OromoPress.blogspot.com

RELATED:
Opening Speech of Mr. Itana at the 4th OACC Annual Conference


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26 Responses in THE COMMENT SECTION

  1. Lammii

    Mar 15, 10 at 2:26 am

    Thank you Dr Gammachiis!

    “Justice for Oromo people is a question of access to state power and the exercise of equitable power,” said Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, president of the Worldwide Union of Oromo Evangelical Churches.

    Well articulated!

  2. Abajifar

    Mar 15, 10 at 6:04 am

    This is really interesting. Looking the problem of and solution for the Oromo people within the boundary of Ethiopia, as Dr Marera has been doing for the past two decades,seems so feasible. Indeed, Ethiopia, as a country, is not viable without Oromia. Also, Oromiya, as encalve, surrounde by ten or more ethnic boundaries could not be viable. The only solution is democratization, sef-admonistation (only through federalism) and equality of all people.

    Peace for Ethiopia and its People!

  3. Andinet

    Mar 15, 10 at 7:07 am

    The problem I have with many of the Oromo nationalists is that they wish to make it seem as though all other groups are fighting the Oromo people. The truth is, whether you are Tigrean, Gurage, Amhara or Oromo you face the same oppression: poverty, lack of economic opportunity, lack of healthcare etc. 99% of all Ethiopians share these problems and have shared them for many, many years. Even if you agree that only Amharas and Tigreans have help power over the years (in fact, Oromos have held power too), what percent of the total population of Ethiopia does that represent? The truth is the vast majority of people, whatever their ethnicity, have suffered at the hands of feudal lords. Its time that all groups come together and work for a better future. Believe me, if we can fix our education system, it won’t matter what “group” you are from. The best and the brightest will be rewarded. But we have to stop this game of playing the victim – who has it worse than who. We have all been abused.

  4. des

    Mar 15, 10 at 9:00 am

    “Justice for Oromo people is a question of access to state power and the exercise of equitable power,”

    ?? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????? ??? ??? ??????:: ???? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ????? ??::
    ???? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ??:: ?? ???? ????? ???? ?????:: ?? ????? ??? ?? ????? ???::

    ?? ????? ??? ?? ????????? ???? ????? ????? ???? ?? ???????? ?? ????? ??? ??? ???? ??????? ??? ????? ????? ????? ??? ??::

  5. Alemu wayou

    Mar 15, 10 at 9:58 am

    Dear Gadda.com
    I am so fascinated and wish to see the Oromo elites coming together putting aside their difference and fight to eradicate the poverty of all Ethiopian people.It is my conviction that if they come together the majority of Ethiopian people’s problem would be solved.It is also my strong believe that there is no country called Ethiopia without Oromia.In this regard i have been the staunch supportor of Dr.Merera’s line of argument in that the Oromo elites ,like other elites in Ethiopia(Amhara,Tigrie)were ruling the Ethiopian people at large.For me i cannot imagine Oromia without Ethiopia and Ethiopia without Oromia.The best way is to come together ,work together and live together.This is what our history taught us.

    wish to see a united and strong state called Ethiopia!!!

  6. DHANGAA

    Mar 15, 10 at 11:20 am

    i prefer to read the idia of the whole speakers.ppl from gadaa.com,why dont you paste the idia of rest speakers????

  7. Galan

    Mar 15, 10 at 12:13 pm

    The intellectuals concluded well “No Ethiopia Without Oromia”

    Andinet

    U advised not to say who has it worse than who? for me it is same as who is better than who? But it is there on the table, that is the CAUSE FOR ALL THIS. Some fighting self identity but others for the asset they owe behind their home.

    The main problem is that you used to speak the pain that you did not feel and you keep doing it. Have you ever thought that you will be in the same position if you were in such unfair situation?

  8. Jebesa

    Mar 15, 10 at 1:43 pm

    It is good to see that the Oromo elites are coming to understand that Omiya and the rest of Ethiopia are inseparable. The struggle should focus on getting democracy and peace to all those who live in every corner of Ethiopia regardless of their ethnicity. Please do not fool yourself. We are one. Let us join other groups who are struggling for democracy and good governance. It is few dictators and who are around them who are always benefiting from the ruthless leaderships in Ethiopia. The majority, regardless of its ethnicity, is poor and helpless. The majority need the help of our educated elites. Please have a wider focus and bigger dream. Do not think of your village. What is the difference between poor Amhara who is being killed and poor Oromo who is being persecuted?

  9. Madda

    Mar 15, 10 at 1:47 pm

    Unless Ethiopia disintegrated and Oromia gets its freedom, there is no way to end prolonged exploitation, oppression and of course never ending poverty that shames us all. Although, tens of ethnic groups shared long-stretching borders with Oromia, still we can live together side by side peacfilly as Europeans have done. If need be, we will create a bloc based on our own free will and common interest. Dr. Gemechis Buba 99% of Oromo people wouldn’t agree with your notion. So, disintegration of hell empire (Ethiopia) isn’t only good for Oromo but also for others who have lived under subjugation since Minilk I. There is no way to bring peace and stability in the horn of Africa unless Oromia will be liberated from Abisinian invasion.

    Oromia Shall be Free!
    Madda

  10. mercato

    Mar 15, 10 at 2:50 pm

    Finally, some sensible politics is coming from Oromos. I am born and raised in Mercato, Addis, exposed to almost all ethnic groups in real life including business, poverty, theft, street vendor, street kids etc. I always thought that the politics that can save us is the one coming from the non-Amhara and tigrians and far from feudalist mind. Oromos should be the leaders. (pls I am not Oromo by ethnicity). They are honest hard working people- genuine capitalist- ***. There were Oromo peasants bringing Aib and wotet and selling it to people including my mom. When I lost one of my parents, the farmers who know my family for long time, kept bringing the Aid and wotet =but this time it was for free and for more than 10 years.

    For long OLF and OPDO were talking resentment politics- a politics of vulnerability and being oppressed. They made it difficult to relate to Oromos. Even when I talk to Oromos due to my love to their genuine culture they became mistrustful and at times, (sadly though) hateful. Now if they are removing resentful politics and become proud of themselves, feel capable and talk for everyone AS LEADERS- then that is a blessing.

    *** = Edited for Civility

  11. Bultum Waquma

    Mar 15, 10 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Andinet
    Thanks for your comment
    I Think You are right.
    But know that many of the Oromo nationalists are not seem as though all other groups are fighting the Oromo people, as you have stated. What they want to address is that just to uncover some of the problems our people in Ethiopia facing right now!!!!!!
    Thanks

  12. Habtamu

    Mar 15, 10 at 5:40 pm

    Even if I don’t agree with some of their statements, I am proud of all these individuals for having an educated discussion that hits at the heart of the problems we face. I had always thought that there were on one side those that hate Ethiopia and just want to distroy it and those that think every thing is ok and nothing should change. This discussion seems to be a balance between the two radical means. I now see the Oromo movements are diverse and in many ways right headed. Thank you for this reporting.

  13. Hubataa

    Mar 15, 10 at 7:08 pm

    What about the opinion of the other Panelists? Why did Gadaa.com or Qeerransoo Biyyaa picked few of the Panelists? We would like to hear from all. I would like your fairness. Thanks

  14. Toko

    Mar 15, 10 at 7:41 pm

    I dont believe that the Oromo people have not been operssed. Though,the problem of some Oromo brothers has been that they were always thinking that Ethiopia belongs to few extremists and outdated individuals. They dont consider the majority ethiopian people who want to live together in peace and unity. take an ordinary person from any where in Ethiopia, do you think he will want to opress oromo or any one? no never. The average Ethiopian dont entertain the idea of operssion. But few people can do it like those who were and are in power. and those few individuals gave the impression that they represent the tribes they come from.

    Bottom line is, The only problem for Ethiopia is lack of genuine democracy and good governance. what Oromo elites have done is good start. I have always liked Ato bulcha for his genuine approach in pariament even if the ruling party was not ready to embrace him. Thanks ato bulcha thanks dr merara. please unite us. we know strong and united multi ethenic countries like ghana but we need leaders like you to unite and give us direction.

  15. Risaa

    Mar 15, 10 at 9:02 pm

    What does it imply? “There is No Ethiopia Without Oromia – Minnesota OACC Panelists
    Opening Speech of Mr. Itana at the 4th OACC Annual Conference ” (Panalists)

    The Ethiopian history has taught us that Ethiopia had even existed 3000 years before she conquered and colonized Oromia, Ogadenia, Affar, Sidama and others. She has contued to exist by annexing and expanding her territories in this part of Africa ever since. Is it not, the panalists statement, a denial to Ethiopia’s prestigious history of existence for 3000 years?

    Great Britain has continued to exist after her colonies from the sunrise in the east to the sunset in the west declared their independence from her. The same to France, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium. When Oromia regains its independence from Ethiopia, which is inevitable, it is only the COERCIVE EMPIRE Of ETHIOIA that will be out of function. That means, the Empire will stop to exist. Apart from the death of the coercive empire, Ethiopians and their country Ethiopia or Abyssinia will continue to live for another 3000 years and even more. Oromos shall not give up to continue to fight for the death of the oppressive empire of Ethiopia, not against the country called Ethiopia or Abyssinia. We hope Ethiopians,with full heart, will stand to the side of the coloniszed and oppressed Oromos,Sidamas, Somalis to work for the demise of the empire and the brutal dictators she is ever bearing on innocent peoples to coerce them . Thus, the panalists’ assertion is wrongly calculated for Ethiopia’s existence as they have no positive attitudes for Oromia’ liberation from the empire’s atrocity. Such people do not want to see the demise of the Empire, as they do not want to see the re-liberation of Oromia.

  16. Getachew Teklu

    Mar 15, 10 at 10:21 pm

    My brother Jebesa said it all. That is the vision we need. Let’s be unted for One Ethiopia, for one common goal.

  17. bekele

    Mar 15, 10 at 11:25 pm

    you did the right things and keep up it. I wondar for you what ever you done. we need peace for our socity but we do not need war because nothing did for fourty years ago. Dr. Ge. please prey for oromo people

  18. Hagos

    Mar 16, 10 at 3:51 am

    Hi:

    There is no Oromia without Ethiopia and there is no Ethiopia with our the Oromos. The crocodile movement of liberating one ethnic line should be obsolete.

    We all should stand together against injustice every where.

  19. WIIRUU

    Mar 16, 10 at 3:59 am

    As the Chinese proverb goes, “a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step” and I applaud OACC to have such courage to bring different points of views to the table & let it play in the course of public discourse. I also tip my huts off for the panelists and the audience (the Oromo community of Minnesota) to show such a grace under pressure and to discuss issues of such magnitude in a very civil manner is commendable and it is the only way we can have a productive conversation the futures to come.
    Everyone is entitled to express hi/her own opinion, but not everyone is entitled to his/her own facts. This is the time we Oromos pause for a while to thoroughly and intellectually examining the past and foreshadows the journey ahead. The time of emotion driven utopian thinking is over. We’ve to face the truth face to face and tell to each other no matter how bitter it is… we can not move further an inch by biting only our own drums. We need to learn how to work in concert with each other. Let’s not jump into hugging others before putting our own house in order. Learn… learn… learn how to ignite hard conversation in a civil manner.
    Before you make a comment always think, if you’re building to tearing down others. That’s a true sign of civility. MAY THIS DISCUSSION GOES ON PLEASE.

  20. WIIRTUU

    Mar 16, 10 at 4:02 am

    FORGET ABOUT LIBERATING THE NATION, ARE YOU MENTALLY FREE YOURSELF?

  21. Lammii

    Mar 16, 10 at 4:44 am

    Those you are bragging, shamelessly, for independent Oromia are those you are not doing anything in that effect. We have seen how bitter gabrummaa is; being in the hands of Wayyaanee. Rome was not built over night! And don’t forget also that MIGHTY is RIGHT in the present world. Gadaa.com bahii marii OACC nu dubbisiisuu keessaniif GALATOOMAA!

  22. Nagamua

    Mar 16, 10 at 4:55 pm

    This is a good start to overcome our differences and give attention to blissuma which is every oromos objectives and goal. Today too many Oromos are dying just because they are Oromos. More over they are loosing not their lives only but their land too. If we all working to liberate the Oromos why don’t all OLFs unite and make the people rally behind them and lead to liberation of our people.

  23. ABdiGudda

    Mar 17, 10 at 1:36 pm

    Ibrahim Aboye in his speech was responding to a letter that OACC sent to panelists. Why is that letter not disclosed to everyone of us so that we can discuss it? Galatoma.

  24. Walfidaa

    Mar 19, 10 at 4:44 pm

    Instead of saying there is no Ethiopia without Oromia, it is appropriate to write: there is no Walfaanummaa without walabummaa! No regional walfaanummaa without national walabummaa! No Ethiopian regional walfaanummaa without Oromian national walabummaa. The only walfaanummaa to be accepted by Oromo people is: Walfaanummaa WITH Walabummaa or the other way round Walabummaa WITH Walfaanummaa (National Oromian Walabummaa WITH Regional Ethiopian/Horn Walfaanummaa). This should have been the conclusion of the conference or the panelists!!

  25. Dhimma Sabaa

    Mar 21, 10 at 8:10 am

    Yaadasaa Dafaa
    Gltm…
    As Mr. Yaadasaa stated I believe we all know where we coming from, so except your “Blackness” and try for coming to understand the different between colonizer and being black. Like we Oromos have come!!
    To those who try speaking for one Ethiopia thank you fro realizing what colonization would be like of course not because you have experienced it like oromos, but just because you know what has been done to Oromos and still on going. There fore, i suggest you better stop talking for oromo people like you know better for them.

    I will a sure you that there will never gonna bee Walfaanummaa within a colonizer till one state of independent Oromia then letter we can be walfaanummaa as one United African Nation UAN or AUN. Again i would like to suggest you to learn the differences between being free from colonialism and As UAN or AUN such Unity because thy really are different. whatever you write here will just come to me as in offence not as a useful think thing just you understand. Laalaa ibiddaa kan gubatteetuu bekkaa jettee Oromon
    Any how I would like to thank Gadaa.com for making this possible again thank you

  26. Kuulani

    Mar 21, 10 at 10:37 am

    Obbo Yaadasaa,
    you wrote:
    “…Just think, presenting these three Kaayyoos as though they are concrete truth, (without any validation to the concept)may appear to be not a far fetched truth to assume that it might originated from the long term colonial designers. As it serves the Colonial interest dedicatedly, they -the colonialists should be behind it one way or the other, even though it was written by an Oromo writer with excellent reputation.”

    Obbo,
    I hope that you are a genuine Oromo advocating “the ONLY truth of Kaayyoo-Ganama”. I said like this for we nowadays know that Weyane cadres are the most advocates of this “ONLY truth”. They used to act like “pro Oromian independence” just to demonize and discredit the “pro self-determination” OLF-SG. At the same time they also acted like the “pro self-determination” OLF-SG just to accuse and blame the “secessionist” position of OLF-QC. They used the “parallel-thinking” of your likes to sow a discord between “Oromo federalists” like OFC, “Oromo secessionists” like OLF-QC and “Oromo self-determinationists” like OLF-SG. Fayyis Oromia’s approach of “series thinking” killed this devilish work of the Weyane cadres and it reconciled the move of the three Oromo groups, so that they started to look at each other as complementary forces, rather than fitghting each other as if they are contradictory forces. Now you come out of a blue and start the same “my Kaayyoo is the ONLY truth” approach of the probably few ignorantly arrogant Oromo nationalists. Or are you such a “very smart” Weyane cadre being clothed with all the known Oromo nationalist jargons (which of course you also “don’t understand” as you your self said), whom we failed to detect?