Oromia: Untwist the Twisted History June 2, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Development, Gadaa System, Humanity and Social Civilization, Ideas, Language and Development, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Qubee Afaan Oromo, Sirna Gadaa, The Oromo Governance System, The Oromo Library, Theory of Development, Uncategorized, Wisdom.
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Traditionally, Oromo women wear necklaces with telsum amulets, triangular and crescent shaped pendants protect from the evil eye and attract the power of the moon or to improve fertility.
Oromia: The continuity of farming in Oromo society from ancient Kemetic (Kushitic) to present Oromia
Ancient Oromo culture, Irreechaa from the time before the Pyramid
As some indeed suspect, that the science which we see at the dawn of recorded history, was not science at its dawn, but represents the remnants of the science of some great and as yet untraced civilisation. Where, however, is the seat of that civilisation to be located? (J. W. S. Sewell, 1942)
Conquest and dominations are social phenomenon as are dying elsewhere will die in Oromia (Author’s Remark).
JEL: O5, D2
Oromia: Untwist the Twisted History
The topic is about Oromia’s location in space and allocation in humanity and society. It is concerned with Oromia’s physical position in terms of geography and relational to issues of economic conditions, social justices, cultural values, political history and destiny. Civilisation, Colonisation and Underdevelopment are presented in historical and geo-political perspectives. They capture both the space and time perceptions. They are also representing the economic and social conditions and positions. The portrayal we procure the present of the Oromo nation, the core of the Cush (Cushite/ Kemet)/Ham (Hamite), the children of Noah, in North & East Africa in past age from the phantom of the Solomonic dynasty, the history thought in Abyssinian high schools, their text books and elsewhere in the invaders’ literature, abusive literary and oral discourses is that they were savages and that, though Abyssinians and Europeans overrun their lands and have made mere subjects of them, they have been in a way, bestowing a great favour on them, since they have brought to them the benisons of Christian Enlightenment. With objective analysis, however, this paper obliterates and unmakes that inaccurate illustration, wanton falsifications, immorality, intellectual swindle, sham, mischievous tales, the bent and the parable of human reductionism. Hence, it is the step to delineate an authentic portrait of a human heritage, which is infinitely rich, beautiful, colourful, and varied in the retrograde of orthodox misconceptions. The paper is not only a disinclination itself but also a call for and a provocation of the new generation of historians to critically scrutinise and reinvestigate the orthodox approaches to the Oromo history and then to expose a large number of abusive scholarship authorities on the Oromo and Cushitic studies and it detects that they do not really know the intensity and profoundness of the history of these black African people and nations and the performance these Africans registered in the process of creating, making and shaping the prime civilisations of human societies. The study acknowledges and advances a strict contest to an orthodox scholarship’s rendition of Egypt as a white civilisation, which arose during the nineteenth century to fortify and intensify European imperialism and racism. Depending on massive evidences from concerned intellectual works from linguistic to archaeology, from history to philosophy, the study authenticates that Egypt was a Cushitic civilisation and that Cushite civilisation was the authentic offspring of the splendid Upper Nile/ Oromian legacy. The Greek civilisation, which has been long unveiled as the birthplace of Western philosophy and thought, owes its roots to the Cushites thoughts and achievements. The original works of Asfaw Beyene (1992) and F. Demie (in Oromia Quarterly, 1998 & 2000) are giving motivations and also greatly acknowledged. The study also expresses that radical thinkers and multi-genius African historians such as Diop (1991) have not given due attention to the epic centre of Cushitic civilisation, Oromia, the land after and Eastern and South Eastern to Nubia, pre-Aksum central Cush, Aksumite Cush and Cushites civilisation southern to Aksum, etc. The method of enquiry is qualitative and the eclectics of formal and the informal sources, rigorous, casual and careful scholarship argument. Oral history and written documents on history, economy, sociology, archaeology, geography, cosmology and anthropology are based on as references. The paper studies the Oromo history and civilisation in horizontal approach and challenges the reductionist and Ethiopianist (colonialist, racist) vertical approach (topsy-turvy, cookkoo). It goes beyond the Oromo Oral sources (burqaa mit-katabbii) and Africanist recorded studies and western civilisational studies. The approach is to magnify, illuminate and clarify the originality of humanity and civilisation to this magnificent Cushitic (African) beauty. The Origin of Humanity When and where did human life first surface on our cosmos? Who contrived the original and prime human culture and civilisation? Ancient Egyptians contended that it was in their homeland, the oldest in the world, the God modelled the first of all human beings out of a handful of ooze soddened by the vivacity of the life giving sanctified and blessed water, the Nile (see, Jackson, 1995). “The ancient Egyptians called the river Ar or Aur (Coptic: Iaro), “Black,” in allusion to the colour of the sediments carried by the river when it is in flood. Nile mud is black enough to have given the land itself its oldest name, Kem or Kemi, which also means “black” and signifies darkness. In The Odyssey, the epic poem written by the Greek poet Homer (7th century bce), Aigyptos is the name of the Nile (masculine) as well as the country of Egypt (feminine) through which it flows. The Nile in Egypt and Sudan is now called Al-Nīl, Al-Baḥr, and Baḥr Al-Nīl or Nahr Al-Nīl.”http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/415347/Nile-River Ar or Aur (Coptic: Iaro) is Booruu in modern Afaan Oromo which means turbid in English translations. Lagdi Nayili jedhamee amma waamamu maqaan kun kan akkanatti moggaasameefi, bowwaa jechuudha. Warri kushii, warri biyyaa, waarri durii laga isaanii Aur (Ooruu) jedhanii waamu. Afaan Oromoo amma uni dubbannuutti booruu jechuudha. Booruu (turbid) jechuuni gurri’aacha (Kami) jechuu miti. Booruu (Ooruu, Aur) jechuun kan taliila hin taane kan hin calaliini jechuudha. Dameen laga kanaa kan Moromor (dhidheessa) irraa maddu galaana biroo itti burqan dabalatee biyyoo loolan haramaniin waan booraweef. kaartumitti yoo damee isa (isa taliila) garba Viktooriyaati karaa Ugaanda dhufutti makamu kanasi booressee misiriitti godaana. Dameen Garba Viktooriyaati dhufu iyyuu adii (white) jedhamee mogga’uuni irra hin turre. Bishaani adiini hin jiru. Bishaani hin boora’iini bishaan taliila. Bishaani taliilatu bishaan guri’aacha. Inni ‘Blue’ jedhanisi ‘Blue’ mitti. Bishaan taliilatu, gurri’aacha ‘Blue’ dha. ‘Blue Nile’ jechuu irra ‘Brown’ Nile (Mormor Booruu, Ar, Aur) yoo jedhani ille itti dhiyaata. One of the oldest Cushites histories to account for the origin and early development of man and his culture survives in a Greek version of the thesis advanced by the ancient Cushites, Oromians and the rest. This marvellous people paraded in golden times in the region called Kush (Punt) in the Hebrew Scriptures and stamped on the present-day upper Nile Oromia (see, Jackson, 1995). Diodorus Siculus, wrote that the Cushites were of the opinion that their country was not only the birthplace of human race and the cradle land of the world’s earliest civilisation, but, indeed, the primal Eden where living things first appeared on Earth, as reported by the Scriptures. Thus, Diodorus was the first European to focus attention on the Cushites asseveration that Upper Nile (Oromia) is the cradle land of world’s earliest civilisation, the original Eden of the human race. Whether by almighty (God) or nature/ evolution (Darwin’s natural selection and survival of the fittest), Oromia was not only the birth place of man himself (e.g., Lucy) but also for many hundred years thereafter is in the vanguard of all world progress (see Diop, 1991 in his African Civilisation; Martin Bernal, 1987). These are also authenticated by the present archaeological inferences in Oromo tropical fields and rivers valleys. The original natives of Egypt, both in old and in the latter ages of development, were Cushite and there is every raison d’être for the discourse that the earliest settlers came from upper Nile Oromia. The original homeland of the Oromians and other Cushites including Chadic, Berber, Egyptian, Beja, Central Cushitic, East Cushitic, South Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic was the present day upper Nile Oromia. It was from the original Oromo (Madda Walaabu) that the rest of humanity descended diffused to other parts of the world. This can be understood in the analogue of the diffusion of two Oromo families (Borana and Barentuma). While those who expanded to other regions latter taken new family names like Macha, Tulama, Karayyu, etc and those who stayed in original place kept the original name such as Borana. In terms of linguistic, like most scholars, we believe that it is impossible to judge between the theories of monogenesis and polygenesis for human, though the inclination is towards the former. On the other hand, recent work by a small but increasing number of scholars has convinced us that there is a genetic relationship between European, Asian, and African and Cushite languages. A language family originates from a single dialect, proto Cushitic/ Oromo. From such language and culture that must have broken up into Africa, Asiatic, and European and within them a very long time a go. Professor Bernal (1987, in Black Athena, p. 11) confirmed that the unchallenged originality of Oromians and other Cushites nativity to the region and put forward that the latest possibility for initial language break up would be the Mousterian period, 50- 30,000 years Before the Present (BP), however, it may well have much earlier. He further observed that the expansion and proliferation of Cushitic and other Afroasiatic as the promulgation of a culture long pioneered in the East African Rift valley (South Eastern Oromian) at the end of the last Ice Age in the 10th and 9th millennia BC. According to Bernal (1987, p.11) the polar ice caps caged the water within itself, which was during the Ice ages, thus water was significantly less than it is nowadays. He reports that the Sahara and Arabian deserts were even bigger and more inhospitable then than they are presently. In the centuries that ensued, with the rise of heat and increase in the rainfall, greatly the regions became savannah, into which adjoining peoples voyaged. The most successful of these were, the speakers of Proto-Afroasiatic from upper Nile Oromia. Bernal further confirmed that these people not only possessed flourishing and effective skills and techniques of hippopotamus hunting with harpoons but also had domesticated cattle and food crops. The following is quoted from Black Athena: ‘Going through the savannah, the Chadic speakers renched lake Chad, the Berbers, the Maghreb, and the Proto-Egyptians, upper Egypt…. With long-term desiccation of the Sahara during the 7th and 6th millennia BC, there were movements into the Egyptian Nile Valley from the west and east as well as from the Sudan. … A similar migration took place from the Arabian savannah into lower Mesopotamia ‘(Bernal, pp.11-12).
The Origin of Civilisation
There are many things in the manners and customs and religions of the historic Egyptians that suggest that the original home of their human ancestors was in the Upper Nile region and the biblical land of Punt/ Kush (Cush) Or Oromia which include the present day of Cushitic North and East of Africa. Hence, historical records showed that the antiquity of upper Nile Cushitic Oromian civilisation had a direct link with the civilisation of ancient Egypt, Babylonian and Greece. Hence, the Egyptian and Babylonian civilisations are part and parcel of the entire Cushite civilisation. As it is described above, there is wide understanding that Cushites = Egyptians + Babylon + Oromo+ Agau + Somalis + Afars + Sidama + Neolithic Cush + other Cush. There is also an understanding that all the Cushites are branched out (descended) from their original father Oromo which can be described as Oromo = Noah=Ham= Cush= Egyptian + Bablyon+ Agau + Somali + Afar + Sidama + Neolithic Cush + other Cush. Boran and Barentuma, the two senior children and brothers were not the only children of the Oromo. Sidama, Somali, Agau, Afar and the others were children of the big family. Wolayita and the Nilotics were among the extended family and generations of the Cushite. As a hydro-tower of Africa, the present Oromia is naturally gifted and the source of Great African rivers and hosts the bank and valleys of the greatest and oldest civilisations such as Nile (Abbaya), Baro (Sobat), Gibe, Wabe, Dhidhesa, Ganale, Wabi-shebele, Omo, and Awash among others. Oromian tropical land, equatorial forest and Savannah have been the most hospitable ecology on the earth and conducive environment to life and all forms of human economic and social practices. According to Clarke (1995), many of the leading antiquarians of the time, based largely on the strength of what the classical authors, particularly Diodorus Siculus and Stephanus of Nabatea (Byzantium after Roman colonisation and Christianisation), had to say on the matter, were exponents of the vista that the Cushite, the ancient race in Africa, the Near East and the Middle East, or at any rate, the black people of remote antiquity were the earliest of all civilised peoples and that the first civilised inhabitants of ancient Egypt were members of what is referred to as the black, Cushite race who had entered the land as they expanded in their geographical space from the their birthplace in upper Nile Oromia, the surrounding Cushite river valleys and tropical fields. It was among these ancient people of Africa and Asia that classical technology advanced, old world science and cosmology originated, international trade and commerce was first developed, which was the by-product of international contacts, exchange of ideas and cultural practices that laid the foundations of the prime civilisations of the ancient world. Cushite Africa and also of the Middle East and West Asia was the key and most responsible to ancient civilisations and African history. It must also be known that there were no such geographical names, demarcations and continental classification at that time. As a whole, Cushite occupied this region; there was the kernel and the centre of the globe, the planet earth, and the universe. African history is out of stratum until ancient Cushites looked up on as a distinct African/ Asian nations. The Nile river, it tributes, Awash, Baro and Shebele or Juba, etc., played a major role in the relationship of Cushite to the nations in North, South and East Africa. The outer land Savannah, Nile, other Oromian rivers with it Adenian ecology were great cultural highways on which elements of civilisation came into and out of inner North East Africa. After expansions, there was also an offshoot, a graft, differentiation, branching out, internal separation, semi-independence and again interactions, interdependence and co-existence of the common folks. Cushites from the original home made their relationships with the people of their descendants in the South, the North, East and the West, which was as both good, and bad, depending on the period and the regime in power they formed and put in place in the autonomous regions. Cushite Egypt first became an organised autonomous nation in about 6000 B.C. In the Third Dynasty (5345-5307 B.C.) when Egypt had an earnest pharaoh named Zoser and Zoser, in turn, had for his chief counsellor and minister, an effulgent grand named Imhotep (whose name means ‘he who cometh in peace”). Imhotep constructed the famous step pyramid of Sakkarah near Memphis. The building techniques used in the facilitation of this pyramid revolutionised the architecture of the ancient world (Clarke, 1995). Of course, Independent Egypt was not the original home of these ancient technology. However, it was an extension, expansion, advancement and the technological cycle of the Upper Nile Oromia, Nubia, Beja, Agau and other Cushites. Ideas, systems, technologies and products were invented, tested and proved in upper Nile then expanded and adopted elsewhere in the entire Cush regions and beyond. . Bernal (1987, pp. 14-15) has identified strict cultural and linguistic similarities among all the people around the Mediterranean. He further attests that it was south of the Mediterranean and west to the Red Sea’s classical civilisation that give way to the respective north and east. Cushite African agriculture of the upper Nile expanded in the 9th and 8th century millennia BC and pioneering the 8th and 7th of the Indo-Hittite. Egyptian civilisation is Cushite and is clearly based on the rich pre-dynastic cultures of Upper Egypt, Nubia and upper Nile, whose Cushite African and Oromian origin is uncontested and obvious. Of course, Cushite Egypt gave the world some of the greatest personalities in the history of mankind. In this regard, Imhotep was extraordinary discernible. In ancient history of Egypt, no individual left a downright and deeper indentation than Imhotep. He was possibly the world’s first mult-genuis. He was the real originator of new medicine at the time. He revolutionised an architect of the stone building, after which the Pyramids were modelled. He became a deity and later a universal God of Medicine, whose images charmed the Temple of Imhotep, humanity’s earliest hospital. To it came sufferers from the entire world for prayer, peace, and restorative. Imhotep lived and established his eminence as a curative at the court of King Zoser of the Third Dynasty about 5345-5307 B.C. (Duncan, 1932). When the Cushite civilisation through Egypt afar crossed the Mediterranean to become the foundation of what we think of as Greek culture, the teachings of Imhotep were absorbed along with the axioms of other great Cushite African teachers. When Greek civilisation became consequential in the Mediterranean area, the Greeks coveted the world to ponder they were the originators of everything in its totality. They terminated to acknowledge their liability to Imhotep and other great Cushites. Imhotep was forgotten for thousands of years, and Hippocrates, a mythical posture of two thousand years latter, became known as the father of medicine. Regarding to Imhotep’s influence in Rome, Gerald Massey, noted poet, archaeologist, and philologist, says that the early Christians cherished him as one with Christ (Massey, 1907). It should be understood that, while the achievements of Cushite Egypt were one of the best, these are not the only achievements that Cushite Africans can claim. The Nubians, upper Nile, central and eastern Cushites (the Oromo, Agau, Somalia, Afar, etc) were continue to develop many aspects of civilisation independent of Cushite Egyptian interactions. These nations and states gave as much to Egypt as Egypt give to them in terms of trade, ideas and technology as well. There was also a considerable Cushite dominion on what later became Europe in the period preceding Christian era. Cushites played a major role in formative development of both Christianity and Islam. Both the Holly Bible and the Holly Quran moral texts are originated from the Oromo and other Cushite oral and moral principles, beliefs, creeds and teachings. There is a common believe and understanding that Abraham, a seminal prophet, believer and recipient of a single and eternal God was from Central Cush of present Upper Nile Oromia. The Oromos believed in a single and eternal God, Black God (Waaqa Guri’acha) also Blue God according to some scholars who translated the oral history. Waaqa also Ka. While the Oromian faith, social structure and policies were the prime and the origins of all, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were all the derivatives and originated from the Black God. Waaqayyoo in Oromo is the original, the single, the omnipotent, the prime and the greatest of all the great religions. All aspects of the present day Christian churches were developed in Cushites. One of the more notable of Cushite contributions to the early church was monasticism. Monasticism, in essence, is organised life in common, especially for religious purposes. The home of a monastic society is called a monastery or a convent. Christian monasticism probably began with the hermits of Cushite Egypt and Palestine about the time when Christianity was established as a licit religion (Clarke, 1995). Oral tradition and Arabian records confirm that Bilal, a tall, gaunt, black, bushy-haired, Oromo, was the first High Priest and treasurer of the Mohammedan empire. After Mohamet himself, the great religion, which today numbers upwards of half a billion souls, may be said to have began with Bilal. He was honoured to be the Prophet’s first neophyte. Bilal was one of the many Cushites who concurred in the founding of Islam and later made proud names for themselves in the Islamic nations and expansions. Europe was sluggishing in her Dark Ages at a time when Cushite Africa and Asia were relishing a Golden Age. In this non-European world of Africa and Asian, Cushites built and enjoyed an age of advancement in technology before a period of internal withdrawal and isolation that favoured the Europeans to move a head of them. For more than a thousand years the Cushites were in the ‘Age of Grandeur’ but the second rise of Europe, internal strife, slave trade and colonialism brought the age of catastrophic tragedy, abase and declivity. The early Cushites made spears to hunt with, stone knives to cut with, the bola, with which to catch birds and animals, the blow-gun, the hammer, the stone axe, canoes and paddles, bags and buckets, poles for carrying things, bows and arrows. The bola, stone knives, paddles, spears, harpoons, bows and arrows, bow-guns, the hammer and the axe- all of them invented first by Cushites – were the start of man’s use of power. The present’s cannon, long-range missiles, ship propellers, automatic hammers, gas engines, and even meat cleavers and upholstery tack hammers have the roots of their development in the early Cushite use of (Clarke, 1995). Cushite offered humans the earliest machine. It was the fire stick. With it, man could have fire any time. With it, a campfire could be set up almost any place. With it, the early Africans could roast food. Every time we light a match, every time we take a bath in water heated by gas, every time we cook a meal in a gas-heated oven, our use of fire simply continues a process started by early Cushites: the control of fire. Of course, those early Cushite was the first to invent how to make a thatched hut. They had to be the first because for hundreds of thousand of years they were the only people on earth. They discovered coarse basket making and weaving and how to make a watertight pot of clay hardened in a fire. In the cold weather, they found that the skins of beasts they had killed would keep them warm. They even skin covers for their feet. It was from their first effort much later clothing and shoes developed. Humanity owes the early Cushites much and even much more (Clarke, 1995). The Cushites dociled animals. They used digging sticks to obtain plant roots that could be consumed. They discovered grain as a food, how to store it and prepare it. They learnt about the fermentation of certain foods and liquids left in containers. Thus, all mankind owes to Cushites including the dog that gives companionship and protection, the cereals we eat at break-fast-time, the fermented liquids that many people drink, the woven articles of clothing we wear and the blankets that keep us warm at night, the pottery in which we bake or boil food, and even the very process (now so simple) of boiling water- a process we use every time we boil an egg, or make spaghetti, or cook corned beef. Canoes made it possible for man to travel further and farther from his early home. Over many centuries, canoes went down Baro, the Nile and the Congo and up many smaller rivers and streams. It was in this pattern that the early Cushite civilisation was advanced. From the blowgun of antiquated Cushite, there come next, in later ages, many gadget based on its standard. Some of these are: the bellows, bamboo air pumps, the rifle, the pistol, the revolver, the automatic, the machine gun- and even those industrial guns that puff grains. Modern Scientists certain that by about 3000 B.C., the Cushite farmers in the Nile Valley were growing wheat and barely, cultivating millet, sorghum, and yams. Around 1500 B.C. new crops farming were developed: – banana, sugar cane, and coconut trees and later coffee. The cultivation of bananas and coffees in particular spread rapidly which are suited to tropical forest conditions. Cushites had also domesticated pigs, donkeys, horses, chickens, ducks, and geese, etc. (Greenblatt, 1992). The agricultural revolution brought about a gradual increase in population. Then another development helped expand population still more. The technique of smelting iron innovated by Cushites. Iron working start and then advanced in the Nile valley and then started to spread to other parts of Africa and from who, by way of Egypt and Asian Minor, this art made its way into Europe and the rest of Old World. Iron greatly improved the efficiency of tools and weapons. Iron tools and weapons are much stronger and last longer than those made of stone or wood. Iron axes made it easier to chop tropical trees and clear land for farming. Iron sickles made harvest easier. Iron hoes and other farm tools helped farmers cultivate land more easily. Iron-tipped spears meant more meat. The new technologies boosted the Cushite economy; they increased food production that enabled more people to survive. In addition, iron objects became valuable items in Cushite trade and commercial activities. With his simple bellows and a charcoal fire the Cushite blacksmith reduced the ore that is found in many parts of the region and forged implements of great usefulness and beauty. In general, the Iron technology was instrumental in auguring the rise and expansion of Cushite civilisation (Greenblatt, 1992). Cushite hunters many times cut up game. There still exists for evidences, drawings of animal bones, hearts and other organs. Those early drawings as a part of man’s early beginnings in the field of Anatomy. The family, the clan, the tribe, the nation, the kingdom, the state, humanity and charity all developed first in this region of the cradle of mankind. The family relationships, which we have today, were fully developed and understood then. The clan and the tribe gave group unity and strength. The nation, the common whole was first developed here. It was by this people that early religious life, beliefs, and the belief in one God, the almighty started and expanded. The first formal education of arts, science, astronomy, times and numbers (mathematics) were visual, oral and spoken tradition given in the family, during social and religious ceremonies. Parents, Medicine men, religious leaders, etc were the education heads. Ceremonial Cushite ritual dances laid the basis for many later forms of the dance. Music existed in early Cushite Among instruments used were: reed pipes, single-stringed instruments, drum, goured rattles, blocks of wood and hollow logs. Many very good Cushite artists brought paintings and sculpture into the common culture. The early Cushites made a careful study of animal life and plant life. From knowledge of animals, mankind was able to take a long step forward to cattle rising. From the knowledge of plants and how they propagate, it was possible to take a still longer step forward to agriculture. Today, science has ways of dating events of long a go. The new methods indicate that mankind has lived in Cushite Africa over two million years. In that long, long time, Cushites and people of their descent settled in other parts of Africa and the rest. Direct descents of early Cushites went Asia Minor, Arabia, India, China, Japan and East Indies. Cushites and people of Cushite descents went to Turkey, Palestine, Greece and other countries in Europe. From Gibraltar, they went into Spain, Portugal, France, England, Wales and Ireland (Clarke, 1995). Considering this information, the pre-Colombian presence of Cushite African mariners and merchants in the New World is highly conceivable and somewhat sounds. In this context, the first Africans to be brought to the New World were not in servitude and slavery, which contrary to popular creed. Tormenting references in the Spanish chronicles and other growing body of historical studies advocate that Cushites were the founders, the pioneers and first permanent settlers of America. Commanding authentication as in Bennett (1993, p. 85) cited by Leo Veiner in his work Africa and the discovery of America suggests that African traders founded Mexico long before Columbus. Hence, the Africans influences were extended from Canada in the North to the Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilisation in the South America. The Cushite civilisation is therefore the basis of Indian civilisation. Unlike the western Sudan and in Egypt, the people and nations of upper Nile had lost written records of their ancient times and medieval history. These were destroyed and burned during war of conquests. The early travellers to these areas are also mostly not yet known. Notable kingdoms, republics and states did rise in this part of Africa and did achieve a high degree of civilisation of their time. Scholarly undertakings show that Cushite Africans such as Oromos were the first in human history to invent and implement democratic institutions (e.g. Gada system or Gadaa system), democratic forms of government, elections and unwritten constitution. Democracy was first invented in upper Nile Oromia then to Athens, Greek and to the rest. It was not the other way round. Gada, an accomplishment of Oromian social genius in socio-political organisation is one of the most complex, the world wonder and by far superior to so far other humanity’s social and political imagination and civilisation. Gada in its vector of values constitutes, political institution, the power structure, governing constitution, the ideology, the religion, the moral authority, the economic and the whole way of life of the public, the collective, the social and the private individual. Gada is the social civilization of the Oromo in the Nile civilization. Gada is an atonishing and complex social evolution in human social transformation and an Oromo social perfection. In old Egyptian (Cushite, oromo) dialect it means Ka Adaa. Ka means God. Adaa (law). It means the law of God, the law of waaqa (God). It also symbolizes the dawn of not only civilization but also human freedom as civilazation. ‘Gadaa bilisummaa saaqaa.’ Orthodox historians and some archaeologists believe that the civilisation of Egypt is the oldest in the world, while others give that priority to western Asia or India. It has also been suggested that, since all these cultures possess certain points of similarity, all of them may evolve from an older common civilisation. Men of eminent scholarship have acknowledged this possibility. In this regard, Sir E.A. Wallis Budge (1934) indicated: “It would be wrong to say that the Egyptians borrowed from the Sumerians or Sumerians from Egyptians, but it may be submitted that the literati of both peoples borrowed their theological systems from common but exceedingly ancient source… This similarity between the two companies of gods is too close to being accidental.” A pioneer American Egyptologist, Breasted (1936) advanced the following views: “In both Babylonian and Egypt the convenient and basic number (360), of fundamental importance in the division of the circle, and therefore in geography, astronomy and time-measurement, had its origin in the number of days in the year in the earliest known form of the calendar. While its use seems to be older in Egypt than in Babylonian, there is no way to determine with certainty that we owe it exclusively to either of these two countries. A common origin older than either of is possible.” Sewell (1942) said that the science, which we see at the dawn of recorded history, was not science at its dawn, but represents the remnants of the science of some great and as yet untraced civilisation. Where, however, is the seat of that civilisation to be located?” A number of scholars, both ancient and modern, have come to the conclusion that the world’s first civilisation was created by the people known as Cushite (Oromian) and also known by Greeks as Punt (Burnt Faces). The Greeks argued that these people developed their dark colouration since they were adjacent to the sun than were the fairer natives of Europe. In terms of the sources of well-informed modern authority, Herodotus describes the Cushites as in Lugard (1964) as: “ The tallest, most beautiful and long-lived of the human races,’ and before Herodotus, Homer, in even more flattering language, described them as ‘ the most just of men; the favourites of gods.’ The annals of all the great early nations of Asia Minor are full of them. The Mosaic records allude to them frequently; but while they are described as the most powerful, the most just, and the most beautiful of the human race, they are constantly spoken of as black, and there seems to be no other conclusion to be drawn, than that remote period of history the leading race of the western world was the black race.” Alexander Bulatovich (2000, p.53) of Russia in his 1896-1898 travels in Oromia described the Oromo, which is akin to Herodotus’s description as fallows: “The [Oromo] physical type is very beautiful. The men are very tall, with statuesque, lean, with oblong face and a somewhat flattened skull. The features of the face are regular and beautiful…. The mouth is moderate. The lips are not thick. They have excellent even teeth; large and in some cases oblong eyes and curly hair. Their arm bones are of moderate length, shorter than the bones of Europeans, but longer than among the Amhara tribes. The feet are moderate and not turned in. The women are shorter than the men and very beautifully built. In general, they are stouter than the men, and not as lean as they. Among them one sometimes encounters very beautiful women. And their beauty does not fade as among the Abyssinians. The skin color of both men and women ranges from dark to light brown. I did not see any completely black [Oromo].” According to Homer and Herodotus, the Cushites were inhabited in the Sudan, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, present Ethiopia, Western Asia and India. In his essay of historical analysis of ancient East Africa and ancient Middle East, roughly in the years between 500BC and 500AD. Jesse Benjamin (2001), brought to our attention that the importance of research focus on global formations, multi- and bi-directional and cultural relations, geopolitical associations, archaeology, linguistics, sociology, cosmology, production, commerce and consumption patterns of these regions. Benjamin (2001) indicates that historiographers have acknowledged and documented that the adored spices, cinnamon (qarafaa in modern Afaan Oromo) and cassia of the Mediterranean sphere produced and come from ‘Cinnamon land.’ The latter is also known in different names as ‘ The other Barbaria,’ ‘Trogodytica,’ Cush, Kush, Upper Nile. or ‘Punt’ but persistently representing the whole environs identified nowadays as the ‘Horn of African’ or that part of Oromia. These show the presence of production, consumption and commercial interactions in the regions. In line with Miller (1969), Wilding (1988), Benjamin (2001) included the Oromian pastoralism, pottery, cosmology and culture in the antiquity and old world civilisation. The identification of the Cushite Oromian civilisation with the present Abyssinia Amhara-Tigre under the name of Ethiopia made by the post civilisation Abyssinian priests translators of the Abyssinian version of the Bible in the 5th and 6th century or some other time, has been a cheating and misrepresentation of true human history. Those Abyssinians who were stealing the history were relatively recent migrant (conquerors) of the region. They occupied the present day Northern Ethiopia (central Cushitic of Agau and Oromo) long after the first human civilisation already originated and advanced in the area and spread to the rest of the world including to Arabia and Mediterranean Europe. The native residents of the region are the Cushite African people (Oromo, Agau, Somali, Sidama, Afar, Beja, Saho, etc). Ethiopian Jews (Falashas) are also Cushite Oromo and Agau who accepted Jews religion. Abyssinian tribes have fabricated their own myth and false history to claim legitimacy to the region and then established a regime truth through continuos fable story, phantom, indoctrination and falsification of the real Cushite history. Semitic immigrants did not found Aksum but the Abyssinians resettled among the Cushites cities and commercial centres in which Aksum was one and latter dominated the ruling power in this very centre of the civilisation of the central Cush. Ge’ez was invented as a language of the centre and latter used as the official language of the church and the colonising Abyssinian ruling class. Ge’ez was initially developed from the mixture of Cushitic and Greek elements that was facilitated by the Cushite trade links to the Greek world. There was also Greek resettlement in Aksum and the surrounding central Cush commercial towns with primary contacts with endogenous Cushite. The earlier rulers of Aksum and Christian converts including Ezana were Cushites. Though Ezana was the first convert from the above (the ruling class) to Christianity, he did not give up his belief in one God (Waqa) (Cushite/ black God). He was also not the first Cushite to be a Christian. In their linkages with a wider world, it is also highly likely and very logical and possible that there were Christians among the civilian Cushite trading communities who had already disseminated their new faith, as so many Oromo merchants were to do latter in the expansion of Islam. The splendid Stella, towers of solid masonry, with non-functional doors and windows at Aksum was not the earliest materialisation but it was the continuity in the manifestation of major indigenous Cushite tradition of monumental architecture in stone, which also later found expression in the rock-hewn churches of the Cushite Agau kings (see also Isichei, 1997 for some of the opinions). Abyssinians were the rulers. They were not the engineers and the builders of the stone monuments. It was the original product and brainchild of Cushite technologist. Of course, their advancement was thwarted with the unfortunate coming of the Abyssinians. Almost all of the original studies of the origin of Cushite civilisation could not penetrate far deep into regions south east to Nubia (Mereo) and could not dig out the other side of the twin, the close link and vast primary sources in present day Oromia. Though the British Museum has collected vast sources on Nubian, it has not kept on or linked any to the sister and more or less identical to the civilisation of the Oromo. For me, as native Oromo with knowledge of oral history and culture, as I observed the Nubian collection in British Museum, what they say Nubian collection is almost identical to Oromia, but in a less variety and quantity. I can say that Nubian and other Cushite civilisations were extensions (grafts) of the vast products of Oromo. I may also be enthused to the inference that the people whose manners and customs have been so thoroughly capitulated by Herodotus, Diodorus, Strabo Pliny and other were not Abyssinians and other Black people at all, but the natives of Upper Nile, Oromos, Agau, Somalis, Afar and the rest of Cushitic people of the present Horn of Africa. Sir Henry Rawlinson in his essay on the early History of Babylonian describes Oromos as the purest modern specimens of the Kushite. Thus, Oromo is Kush and Kush is Oromo. Seignobos (1910), in his scholarly works on the history of Ancient Civilisation reasoned that the first civilised natives of the Nile and Tigiris-Euphrates Valleys were a dark skinned people with short hair and prominent lips, they were called Cushites by some scholars and Hamites by others. So Cushite (Hamite) is generally recognised as the original home of human civilisation and culture both beyond and across the Red Sea. They are the original source of both the African and Asiatic (Cushitic Arabian) civilisation. Higgins in 1965 scholarly undertaking discusses: “I shall, in the course of this work, produce a number of extraordinary facts, which will be quite sufficient to prove, that a black race, in a very early times, had more influence of the affairs of the world than has been lately suspected; and I think I shall show, by some very striking circumstances yet existing, that the effects of this influence have not entirely passed away.” Baldwin in his 1869 study of Arab history expressed in his own words the following: “At the present time Arabia is inhabited by two distinct races, namely descendants of the old Adite, Kushite, …known under various appellations, and dwelling chiefly at the south, the east, and in the central parts of the country, but formerly supreme throughout the whole peninsula, and the Semitic Arabians- Mahomete’s race- found chiefly in the Hejaz and at the north. In some districts of the country these races are more or less mixed, and since the rise of Mahometanism the language of Semites, known as to us Arabic, has almost wholly suppressed the old … Kushite tongue; but the two races are very unlike in many respects, and the distinction has always been recognised by writers on Arabian ethnology. To the Kushite race belongs the purest Arabian blood, and also that great and very ancient civilisation whose ruins abound in almost every district of the country.” Poole (in Haddon, 1934) says, “Assyrians themselves are shown to have been of a very pure type of Semites, but in the Babylonians there is a sign of Kushite blood. … There is one portrait of an Elmite king on a vase found at Susa; he is painted black and thus belongs to the Kushite race.” The myths, legends, and traditions of the Sumerians point to the African Cushite as the original home of these people (see. Perry, 1923, pp. 60-61). They were also the makers of the first great civilisation in the Indus valley. Hincks, Oppert, unearthed the first Sumerian remains and Rawlinson called these people Kushites. Rawlinson in his essay on the early history of Babylonian presents that without pretending to trace up these early Babylonians to their original ethnic sources, there are certainly strong reasons for supposing them to have passed from Cushite Africa to the valley of the Euphrates shortly before the opening of the historic period: He is based on the following strong points: The system of writing, which they brought up with them, has the closest semblance with that of Egypt; in many cases in deed the two alphabets are absolutely identical. In the Biblical genealogies, while Kush and Mizrain (Egypt) are brothers, from Kush Nimrod (Babylonian) sprang. With respect to the language of ancient Babylonians, the vocabulary is absolutely Kushite, belonging to that stock of tongues, which in postscript were everywhere more or less, mixed up with Semitic languages, but of which we have with doubtless the purest existing specimens in the Mahra of Southern Arabia and the Oromo.
The Greek alphabet, the script of English today, is based on the Kemetic alphabet of Ancient Egypt/Kemet and the Upper Nile Valley of Ancient Africa. Ancient Egyptians called their words MDW NTR, or ‘Metu Neter,” which means divine speech. The Greeks called it, ‘hieroglyphics”- a Greek word. The etymology of hieroglyphics is sacred (hieros) carvings (glyph). The Oromos (the Kemet of modern age) called it Qubee.
Without OROMO, NO Amhara Culture & NO Amharic! – My Beta Israel & Zagwe Roots pt1 Ras Iadonis
African Philosophy in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Philosophical Studies II with A Memorial of Claude Sumner http://www.crvp.org/book/Series02/master-ethiopia.pdf
CHALTU AS HELEN: AN EVERYDAY STORY OF OROMOS TRAUMATIC IDENTITY CHANGE
“Chaltu as Helen”, which is based on a novelized story of Chaltu Midhaksa, a young Oromo girl from Ada’aa Barga district, also in central Oromia.
Born to a farming family in Koftu, a small village south of Addis Ababa near Akaki, Chaltu led an exuberant childhood. Raised by her grandmother’s sister Gode, a traditional storyteller who lived over 100 years, the impressionable Chaltu mastered the history and tradition of Tulama Oromos at a very young age.
Chaltu’s captivating and fairytale like story, as retold by Tesfaye, begins when she was awarded a horse named Gurraacha as a prize for winning a Tulama history contest. Though she maybe the first and only female contestant, Chaltu won the competition by resoundingly answering eleven of the twelve questions she was asked.
Guraacha, her pride and constant companion, became Chaltu’s best friend and she took a good care of him. Gurraacha was a strong horse; his jumps were high, and Chaltu understood his pace and style.
A masterful rider and an envy to even her male contemporaries, Chaltu soon distinguished herself as bold, confident, outspoken, assertive, and courageous. For this, she quickly became a household name among the Oromo from Wajitu to Walmara, Sera to Dawara, Bacho to Cuqala, and Dire to Gimbichu, according to Tesfaye.
Chaltu traces her lineage to the Galan, one of the six clans of Tulama Oromo tribe. At the height of her fame, admirers – young and old – addressed her out of respect as “Caaltuu Warra Galaan!” – Chaltu of the Galan, and “Caaltuu Haadha Gurraacha!” – Chaltu the mother of Gurraacha.
Chaltu’s disarming beauty, elegance, charisma, and intelligence coupled with her witty personality added to her popularity. Chaltu’s tattoos from her chin to her chest, easily noticeable from her light skin, made her look like of a “Red Indian descent” (Tesfaye’s words).
As per Tesfaye’s account, there wasn’t a parent among the well-to-do Oromos of the area who did not wish Chaltu betrothed to their son. At 14, Chaltu escaped a bride-kidnapping attempt by outracing her abductors.
Chaltu’s grandfather Banti Daamo, a well-known warrior and respected elder, had a big family. Growing up in Koftu, Chaltu enjoyed being surrounded by a large network of extended family, although she was the only child for her parents.
Recognizing Chaltu’s potential, her relatives suggested that she goes to school, which was not available in the area at the time. However, fearing that she would be abducted, Chaltu’s father arranged her marriage to a man of Ada’aa family from Dire when she turned 15.
Locals likened Chaltu’s mannerism to her grandfather Banti Daamo, earning her yet another nickname as “Caaltuu warra Bantii Daamo” – Chaltu of Banti Daamo. She embraced the namesake because many saw her as an heir to Banti Daamo’s legacy, a role usually preserved for the oldest male in the family. Well-wishers blessed her: prosper like your grandparents. She embraced and proudly boasted about continuing her grandfather’s heritage calling herself Chaltu Banti Daamo.
Others began to call her Akkoo [sic] Xinnoo, drawing a comparison between Chaltu and a legendary Karrayu Oromo woman leader after whom Ankobar was named.
Chaltu’s eccentric life took on a different trajectory soon after her marriage. She could not be a good wife as the local tradition and custom demanded; she could not get along with an alcoholic husband who came home drunk and abused her.
When Chaltu threatened to dissolve the marriage, as per Oromo culture, elders intervened and advised her to tolerate and reconcile with her husband. Rebellious and nonconformist by nature, Chaltu, who’s known for challenging old biases and practices, protested “an alcoholic cannot be a husband for Banti Daamo’s daughter!”
Soon she left her husband and moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to attend formal education and start a new chapter in life.
In Addis Ababa, her aunt Mulumebet’s family welcomed Chaltu. Like Chaltu, Mulumebet grew up in Koftu but later moved to Addis Ababa, and changed her given name from Gadise in order to ‘fit’ into the city life.
Subsequently, Mulumebet sat down with Chaltu to provide guidance and advice on urban [Amhara] ways.
“Learning the Amharic language is mandatory for your future life,” Mulumebet told Chaltu. “If you want to go to school, first you have to speak the language; in order to learn Amharic, you must stop speaking Afaan Oromo immediately; besides, your name Chaltu Midhaksa doesn’t match your beauty and elegance.”
“I wish they did not mess you up with these tattoos,” Mulumebet continued, “but there is nothing I could do about that…however, we have to give you a new name.”
Just like that, on her second day in Addis, Caaltuu warra Galaan became Helen Getachew.
Chaltu understood little of the dramatic twists in her life. She wished the conversation with her aunt were a dream. First, her name Chaltu means the better one, her tattoos beauty marks.
She quietly wondered, “what is wrong with my name and my tattoos? How can I be better off with a new name that I don’t even know what it means?”
Of course she had no answers for these perennial questions. Most of all, her new last name Getachew discomforted her. But she was given no option.
The indomitable Chaltu had a lot to learn.
A new name, new language, new family, and a whole new way of life, the way of civilized Amhara people. Chaltu mastered Amharic in a matter of weeks. Learning math was no problem either, because Chaltu grew up solving math problems through oral Oromo folktale and children’s games like Takkeen Takkitumaa.
Chaltu’s quick mastery amazed Dr. Getachew, Mulumebet’s husband. This also made her aunt proud and she decided to enroll Chaltu in an evening school. The school matched Chaltu, who’s never set foot in school, for fourth grade. In a year, she skipped a grade and was placed in sixth grade. That year Chaltu passed the national exit exam, given to all sixth graders in the country, with distinction.
But her achievements in school were clouded by a life filled with disappointments, questions, and loss of identity. Much of her troubles came from Mulumebet packaged as life advice.
“Helen darling, all our neighbors love and admire you a lot,” Mulumebet told Chaltu one Sunday morning as they made their way into the local Orthodox Church. “There is not a single person on this block who is not mesmerized by your beauty…you have a bright future ahead of you as long as you work on your Amharic and get rid of your Oromo accent…once you do that, we will find you a rich and educated husband.”
Chaltu knew Mulumebet had her best interest at heart. And as a result never questioned her counsel. But her unsolicited advises centered mostly on erasing Chaltu’s fond childhood memories and making her lose touch with Oromummaa – and essentially become an Amhara.
Chaltu spent most of her free time babysitting Mulumebet’s children, aged 6 and 8. She took care of them and the kids loved her. One day, while the parents were away, lost in her own thoughts, Chaltu repeatedly sang her favorite Atetee – Oromo women’s song of fertility – in front of the kids.
That night, to Chaltu’s wild surprise, the boys performed the song for their parents at the dinner table. Stunned by the revelation, Mulumebet went ballistic and shouted, “Are you teaching my children witchcraft?”
Mulumebet continued, “Don’t you ever dare do such a thing in this house again. I told you to forget everything you do not need. Helen, let me tell you for the last time, everything you knew from Koftu is now erased…forget it all! No Irreechaa, no Waaree, no Okolee, no Ibsaa, No Atetee, and no Wadaajaa.”
Amused by his wife’s dramatic reaction, Getachew inquired, “what does the song mean, Helen?” Chaltu told him she could not explain it in Amharic. He added, “If it is indeed about witchcraft, we do not need a devil in this house…Helen, praise Jesus and his mother, Mary, from now on.”
“Wait,” Getachew continued, “did you ever go to church when you were in Koftu? What do they teach you there?”
Chaltu acknowledged that she’s been to a church but never understood the sermons, conducted in Amharic, a language foreign to her until now. “Getachew couldn’t believe his ears,” writes Tesfaye. But Getachew maintained his cool and assured Chaltu that her mistake would be forgiven.
Chaltu knew Atetee was not a witchcraft but a women’s spiritual song of fertility and safety. All Oromo women had their own Atetee.
Now in her third year since moving to Addis, Chaltu spoke fluent Amharic. But at school, in the market, and around the neighborhood, children bullied her daily. It was as if they were all given the same course on how to disgrace, intimidate, and humiliate her.
“You would have been beautiful if your name was not Chaltu,” strangers and classmates, even those who knew her only as Helen, would tell her. Others would say to Chaltu, as if in compliment, “if you were not Geja (an Amharic for uncivilized), you would actually win a beauty pageant…they messed you up with these tattoos, damn Gallas!”
Her adopted name and mastery of Amharic did not save Chaltu from discrimination, blatant racism, hate speech, and ethnic slurs. As if the loss of self was not enough, seventh grade was painfully challenging for Chaltu. One day when the students returned from recess to their assigned classes, to her classmate’s collective amusement, there was a drawing of a girl with long tattooed neck on the blackboard with a caption: Helen Nikise Gala – Helen, the tattooed Gala. Gala is a disparaging term akin to a Nigger used in reference to Oromos. As Chaltu sobbed quietly, their English teacher Tsige walked in and the students’ laughter came to a sudden halt. Tsige asked the classroom monitor to identity the insulting graffiti’s artist. No one answered. He turned to Chaltu and asked, “Helen, tell me who drew this picture?”
She replied, “I don’t know teacher, but Samson always called me Nikise Gala.”
Tsige was furious. Samson initially denied but eventually admitted fearing corporal punishment. Tsige gave Samson a lesson of a lifetime: “Helen speaks two language: her native Afaan Oromo and your language Amharic, and of course she is learning the third one. She is one of the top three students in the class. You speak one language and you ranked 41 out of 53 students. I have to speak to your parents tomorrow.”
Athletic and well-mannered, Chaltu was one of the best students in the entire school. But she could not fathom why people gossiped about her and hurled insults at her.
Banned from speaking Afaan Oromo, Chaltu could not fully express feelings like sorrow, regrets, fear and happiness in Amharic. To the extent that Mulumebet wished Chaltu would stop thinking in Oromo, in one instance, she asked Chaltu to go into her bedroom to lament the death of a relative by singing honorific praise as per Oromo custom. Chaltu’s break came one afternoon when the sport teacher began speaking to her in Afaan Oromo, for the first time in three years. She sobbed from a deep sense of loss as she uttered the words: “I am from Koftu, the daughter of Banti Daamo.” Saying those words alone, which were once a source of her pride, filled Chaltu with joy, even if for that moment.
Chaltu anxiously looked forward to her summer vacation and a much-needed visit to Koftu. But before she left, Mulumebet warned Chaltu not to speak Afaan Oromo during her stay in Koftu. Mulumebet told Chaltu, “Tell them that you forgot how to speak Afaan Oromo. If they talk to you in Oromo, respond only in Amharic. Also, tell them that you are no longer Chaltu. Your name is Helen.”
Getachew disagreed with his wife. But Chaltu knew she has to oblige. On her way to Koftu, Chaltu thought about her once golden life; the time she won Gurracha in what was only a boys’ competition, and how the entire village of Koftu sang her praises.
Her short stay in Koftu was dismal. Gurraacha was sold for 700 birr and she did not get to see him again. Chaltu’s parents were dismayed that her name was changed and that she no longer spoke their language.
A disgruntled and traumatized Chaltu returns to Addis Ababa and enrolls in 9th grade. She then marries a government official and move away from her aunt’s protective shield. The marriage ends shortly thereafter when Chaltu’s husband got caught up in a political crosshair following Derg’s downfall in 1991. Chaltu was in financial crisis. She refused an advice from acquintances to work as a prostitute.
At 24, the once vibrant Chaltu looked frail and exhausted. The regime change brought some welcome news. Chaltu was fascinated and surprised to watch TV programs in Afaan Oromo or hear concepts like “Oromo people’s liberation, the right to speak one’s own language, and that Amharas were feudalists.”
Chaltu did not fully grasp the systematic violence for which was very much a victim. She detested how she lost her values and ways. She despised Helen and what it was meant to represent. But it was also too late to get back to being Chaltu. She felt empty. She was neither Helen nor Chaltu.
She eventually left Addis for Koftu and asked her parents for forgiveness. She lived a few months hiding in her parent’s home. She avoided going to the market and public squares.
In a rare sign of recovery from her trauma, Chaltu briefly dated a college student who was in Koftu for a winter vacation. When he left, Chaltu lapsed back into her self-imposed loneliness and state of depression. She barely ate and refused interacting with or talking to anyone except her mother.
One afternoon, the once celebrated Chaltu warra Galaan took a nap after a coffee break and never woke up. She was 25.
The bottom line: Fictionalized or not, Chaltu’s is a truly Oromo story. Chaltu is a single character in Tesfaye’s book but lest we forget, in imperial Ethiopia, generations of Chaltu’s had to change their names and identity in order to fit in and be “genuine Ethiopians.” Until recently, one has to wear an Amhara mask in order to be beautiful, or gain access to educational and employment opportunities.
Likewise, in the Ethiopia of today’s “freedom of expression advocates” – who allegedly sought to censor Tesfaye – it appears that a story, even a work of fiction, is fit to print only when it conforms to the much-romanticized Ethiopianist storyline.
So much has changed since Chaltu’s tragic death a little over a decade ago, yet, clearly, much remains the same in Ethiopia. Honor and glory to Oromo martyrs, whose selfless sacrifices had allowed for me to transcribe this story, the Oromo today – a whole generation of Caaltuus – are ready to own, reclaim, and tell their stories.
Try, as they might, the ever-vibrant Qubee generation will never be silenced, again.
Origins of the Afro Comb: 6,000 years of culture, politics and identity
Even today, a significant number of mainstream Egyptologists, anthropologists, historians and Hollywood moviemakers continue to deny African people’s role in humankind’s first and greatest civilization in ancient Egypt. This whitewashing of history negatively impacts Black people and our image in the world. There remains a vital need to correct the misinformation of our achievements in antiquity.
Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop (1923-1986) dedicated his life to scientifically challenging Eurocentric and Arab-centric views of precolonial African culture, specifically those that suggested the ancient civilization of Egypt did not have its origins in Black Africa.
Since some people continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence that indicates ancient Egypt was built, ruled, and populated by dark-skinned African people, Atlanta Blackstar will highlight 10 of the ways Diop proved the ancient Egyptians were Black.
Physical Anthropology Evidence
Based on his review of scientific literature, Diop concluded that most of the skeletons and skulls of the ancient Egyptians clearly indicate they were Negroid people with features very similar to those of modern Black Nubians and other people of the Upper Nile and East Africa. He called attention to studies that included examinations of skulls from the predynastic period (6000 B.C.) that showed a greater percentage of Black characteristics than any other type.
From this information, Diop reasoned that a Black race existed in Egypt at that time and did not migrate at a later stage as some previous theories had suggested.
የኦሮሞ ሕዝብ መሠረተ አመጣጥ ከኩሽ ቤተሰብ የሚመደብ ነዉ። በቆዳ ቀለሙና በአካላዊ አቋሙ ከሃሜቲክ እስከ ናይሎቲክ ያጣቀሰ ዝርያ ያለዉ ሕዝብ መሆኑ ታሪክ አረጋግጦታል። በሰሜን ምሥራቅ አፍሪካ ከሚኖሩ ህዝቦች ጋር በብዙ መልኩ ተመሳሳይነት ያለዉ ነዉ። በዚህ ክልል የሚኖሩ ሕዝቦች ታሪክ መመዝገብ ከጀመረበት ጊዜ አንስቶ የኩሽ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪ መሆናቸዉ ተረጋግጧል።
ኦሮሞ የኩሽ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪ ብቻ አይደለም። ይልቁንም ይህ ሕዝብ በአህጉረ- አፍሪካ ቀደሚ ዜጋ ሆነዉ ከኖሩት ሕዝቦች መካከል የመጀመሪያ መሆኑ ይታወቃል። በዚህ የረጅም ዘመናት ታሪኩ ውስጥ ለሥልጣኔዉ የሚሆኑ ባህሎችን እስከማዳበር ደርሷል። ሊንች እና ሮቢንስ የሚባሉ ሁለት የዉጭ ምሁራን ሰሜናዊ ኬኒያ በተገኘዉ ጥንታዊ አምድ ላይ ከትጻፈዉ መረጃ በመነሳት ኦሮሞዎች በ3000 ዓመተ-ዓለም አካባቢ የራሳቸዉ የሆነ የቀን መቁጠሪያ እንደነበራቸዉ አረጋግጠዋል። ይህም ሕዝቡ በዚሁ ክልል ለመኖሩ አንዱ ተጨባጭ ማስረጃ ነው።
ከሊንች እና ሮቢንሰም ሌላ ፕራዉቲ እና ሮሴንፊልድ የተባሉ የታሪክ ሊቃዉንት “Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia” ኢንዲሁም ባትስ : “The Abyssinian Difficulty” በተባሉ ሥራዎቻቸው ; <<ኦሮሞ ጥንታዊ ዝርያና አንጋፋ; ምናልባትም ለበርካታዎቹ የምስራቅ አፍርካ ሕዝቦች የዘር ግንድ ነው>> በማለት ይገልጻሉ።
የኦሮሞ ሕዝብ የምስራቅ አፍርካ (የአፍርካ ቀንድ) ቀዳሚ ቤተኛ ስለመሆኑ አያሌ ማስረጃዎች ኣሉ። ስለዚሁ ጉዳይ ታሪካዊ ሰናዶች በብዛት ይገኛሉ። አባ ባህሬይ የተባሉ የአማራ ብሄር ተወላጅ የጋላ ታሪክ ብለው በሲዳሞና ከፋ ዉስጥ በመዘዋዋር ስላ ኦሮሞ በፃፉት መጽሃፍ በጥላቻ የተሞሉና ትክክል ያል ሆኑ ታሪኮችን ለማሳተም በቅተዋል። ክራፍ በ 1842 ፥ ፍት በ1913 በክልሉ በመዘዋወር ኦሮሞ በምስራቅ አፍርካ ከሁሉም የላቀ ስፍት ያለዉ ሀገር ባለቤት መሆኑን አረጋግጠዋል ።
ከ1850 በፊት ዲ. አባደ ቤክ፥ እስንባርገር ኢንዲሁም ክራፍ የተባሉ አዉሮፓዊያን ዘጎች የኦሮሞን ሕዝብ ፖለቲካዊ ፥ ባህላዊና ማህበራዊ አኗኗር ሥራዓት በማጥናት ለዉጭዉ ዓለም አስተዋዉቀወል። ከዚያም ወዲህ በተለይ ከ 18ኛው መቶ ክፍለ ዘመንና በኋላም ኦሮሚያ በአፄ ምንልክ ተወርራ የኢኮኖሚና የፖለቲካ ሥራዓቷን ከመነጠቋ በፊት ሲቺ የተባለ ኢጣሊያዊ እንዲሁም በሬሊ ; እና ሶሌይሌት የተባሉ የፈረንሳይ ዜጎች በኦሮሚያ ህዝብ ፖለቲኮ-ባህላዊ; ኢኮኖሚያዊና ማህበራዊ ታሪኮች ላይ ያተኮሩ ሥራዎችን አዘጋጅተዉ ለአንባቢያን አቅርበዋል።
ታሪካዊ ጥናቶች አንደሚያረጋግጡት ኦሮሞና ኢትዮጵያ ከ16ኛዉ እስከ 19ኛው መቶ ክፍለ ዘመን አንዱም ሌላዉን አሸንፎ በ ቁጥጥሩ ሥር ሳያደርግ ጎን ለጎን ሆነው ሲዋጉ መቆየታቸው ሆሎኮምብ እና ሲሳይ ኢብሳ በ 1900፥ ፕሮ. መሐመድ ሐሰን በ 1990፥ ፕሮ. አሰፋ ጃላታ በ 1990፥ መሐመድ አሊ በ 1989፥ ሌቪን በ 1965 ፥ ገዳ መልባ በ 1978… ሥራዎቻቸዉ ዉስጥ በስፋት አቅርበዋል። እንዲሁም ጄስማን የተባሉ ጸሐፊ ከ50 ዓመታት በፊት ባሳተሙት መጽሓፍ ከአፄ ምንልክ የደቡብ ወረራ በፊት የነበረችዉ ኢትዮጵያ በሰሜን ከፍታዎች አካባቢ መሆኑን ከመግለጻቸዉም በላይ ማአከሏም በሰሜን ትግራይ ፥ በጌምድር ፥ ላስታና ወሎ ፥ በመሃል ጉራጌ ፥ በ ደቡብ ሸዋ ነው ያሉት ከላይ የተጠቀሱ ምሁራን ያ ቀረቡኣቸዉን ቁም ነገሮች በተጨባጭ መልክኣ ምድራዊ ገጽታ የሚያረጋግጥ ሆኗል።
ጥንታዊቷ አበሲኒያ ቀደም ብሎ በተጠቀሱት ክልሎች ላይ ብቻ የተወሰንች ለመሆኗ አፄ ቴዎድሮስ ኢየሩሳሌም ሳሙኤል ጎባ ለተባሉ የእንግሊዝ ጳጳስ በጻፉት ድብዳቤ ውስጥ ከጠቀሱትም ቁም ነገር መገንዘብ ይቻላል። እችሳቸውም:-
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Beneath the surface of the Africa rising illusion May 29, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Finfinne is Oromia's land, Finfinnee is the Capital City of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Oromian Voices, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
Tags: Africa, African Studies, Development, Economic and Social Freedom, Genocide against the Oromo, Governance issues, Horn of Africa, Human rights, Human Rights and Liberties, National Self Determination, Oromia Region, Oromo, State and Development, Tyranny
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The Africa Rising illusion: continent needs more than just growth – By K.Y. Amoako @ The African Arguments
We hear a lot these days about “Africa Rising” – and with good reason. … Enabled by reforms in macroeconomic management, by high commodity prices, and by increasing exports of extractives, this growth has created a spirit of optimism, encouraged foreign investment, and provided an incentive for young Africans to return home after being educated abroad. Increasing earnings among some sectors of society have supported the emergence of an African middle class, with promising purchasing power. But beneath the surface it’s not that simple. The rate of African growth may have increased, but the structure of most Sub-Saharan economies has not changed much over the past 40 years. African economies are still narrowly based on the production and export of unprocessed agricultural products, minerals, and crude oil. There is little manufacturing— indeed, in many countries the share of manufacturing in GDP is lower now than in the 1970s. Competitiveness on global markets – apart from crude extractive products – is low due to poor productivity and underdeveloped technology. And in most countries, more than 80% of the labor force is employed in low-yield agriculture or informal activities in towns and cities. Thus the headline statistics disguise both residual problems and inherent vulnerabilities. Recent economic growth has not eliminated inequalities between or within countries, and has done little to reduce hunger. While the proportion of Africa’s population living in extreme poverty is falling, the total number of extremely poor people rose by more than 20 million between 2002 and 2012. Youth unemployment threatens instability, and while access to education has improved significantly, standards are still low. This is not the first time that the continent has experienced growth of an unequal or unstable nature. Indeed, in the years after independence, the region’s economy was booming. But growth faltered in the mid-1970s following the first oil price shock, and the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s saw incomes fall and poverty increase. How can we prevent this pattern repeating itself? – Read more @http://africanarguments.org/2014/05/29/the-africa-rising-illusion-continent-needs-more-than-just-growth-by-k-y-amoako/
The silent recolonisation of Africa is happening on a mass scale.
Tragically, a silent recolonisation on a mass scale is happening through further dispossession in areas where the original colonisation had not been complete. The new colonisation is dressed in the language of economic development and fighting poverty but its interest is the satisfaction of the needs of multinational companies for markets and land to grow food for export – to satisfy the food needs of their primary market while depriving Africans the satisfaction of their needs.- Read more @
Statement of Oromo Community Organizations in the U.S. and Oromo Studies Association (OSA) to condemn the heinous crimes committed against defenseless and innocent Oromo University students and those who joined their just movements in solidarity May 3, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Dictatorship, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinne is Oromia's land, Finfinnee, Finfinnee is the Capital City of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Hetosa, Human Rights, Humanity and Social Civilization, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., No to land grabs in Oromia, No to the Addis Ababa Master Plan, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromia Satelite Radio and TV Channels, Oromia Support Group, Oromia Support Group Australia, Oromia wide Oromo Universtiy students Protested Addis Ababa Expansion Master Plan, Oromian Voices, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Media Network, Oromo students movement, Oromo students protests, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromo University students and their national demands, Oromummaa, Say no to the expansions of Addis Ababa, Self determination, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
Tags: African Studies, Genocide against the Oromo, Human rights violations, Land grabbing, Land grabs in Africa, National Self Determination, Oromia, Oromia Region, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo culture, Oromo people, Oromummaa, State and Development, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tyranny, United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, World Bank
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Ibsa Ijjannoo Waldaa Qorannoo Oromoo fi Waldaalee Hawaasa Oromoo Ameerikaa Kaabaa: Ijjechaa Barattootaa Oromootiif Ummata Oromoo Ilaalchisee | Statement of Oromo Community Organizations in the U.S. and Oromo Studies Association (OSA)
Posted: Caamsaa/May 3, 2014 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com
We, Oromo Community Organizations in USA, and OSA jointly prepared this press statement in Afaan Oromoo to condemn the heinous crimes committed against defenseless and innocent Oromo University students and those who joined their just movements in solidarity. We also expressed our readiness to stand in solidarity with the Oromo University Students and the #OromoProtests. We ask the Ethiopian regime to unconditionally release the hundreds of University Students detained by the Federal Security Forces and bring to justice those who ordered the use of live bullets to put down the protest. We ask the Oromo in Diaspora to protest in all major cities where the Oromo live in large numbers and fund raise money to support the victims of the massacre and affected families by covering some of their medical and miscellaneous expenses. We have formed a National committee to coordinate the fund raising activities during rallies and at prayer places (Mosques, Churches). This is a work in progress and seek your support as we go forward. We strongly believed that the regime can only be defeated through concerted and sustained resistance movements which requires our collective material and intellectual resources. The Oromo must be ready to pay the utmost sacrifices the struggle demands to free our nation and heal the broken hearts of its oppressed masses.
Ibsa Ijjannoo Waldaa Qorannoo Oromoo fi Waldaalee Hawaasa Oromoo Ameerikaa Kaabaa: Ijjechaa Barattootaa Oromootiif Ummata Oromoo Ilaalchisee
Nuuti Waldaleen Hawaasa Oromoo Ameerikaa Kaabaa keessaa tiif Waldaan Qorannoo Oromoo yeroo ammaan kanaa mootummaa abbaa irree Impaayeera Itoophiyaatiin sochii mormii barattoota Yunivarsittii, barattoota mana barumsaa sadarkaa adda addaa fi ummmata Oromoo dhaamsuuf jechaa ijjechaa garaa hammeennaan barattoota irratti raawwatameen lubbuun barataa hedduu dhabamuun haalaan nu gaddisiise jira.
Mootummaan Itoophiyaa mootummaa mirga ummattoota Itoophiyaa hiree ofii ofiin murteeffachuu humnaan ittisee karaa seeraan alaatiin angoo siyaasaa ofii dheerrafachuuf tattafataa jiruudha. Mootummaa Itoophiyaa TPLFn durfamu jalatti waggoottan 23 dabran keessatti ummatii Oromoo hiree siyaasaa biyya isaa irratti wal-qixxummaan murtessuu dhabee, akka bineensa bosonaa mootummaan yeroo fedhutti ijjeessu ta’ee jira. Ummatii Oromoo mirga bilisummaan gurmaa’uu, dhaabbata siyaasa fedhu deeggaru, mirgaa odeeffannoo walabaa midiyaa walabaa irraa argachuu, hiriira nagaa bahuu dhorkamee biyya isaa irratti lammii lammaffaa fi garboota ta’anii jiraachaa jiru. Haallii Sabii Oromoo tiif ummattootii Itoophiyaa biro keessa jiran gonkummaa fudhatama kan hin qabneef jijjiramuu kan qabuudha.
Guyyaa hardhaa Camsaa 2, 2014 walga’ii hatattamaa Waldaaleen Hawaasa Oromoo Ameerikaa Kaabaa tiif Waldaan Qorannoo Oromoo godheen ibsa ijjannoo waloo kana baafne jirra. Ibsii ijjannoo kun deeggarsa hawaasi Oromoo biyya alaa keessa jiru sochii didda gabrummaa fi fincila barattoota Oromoo Yunivarsitii Oromiyaa/biyyoleessa keessa jiraniif qabnu muldhisuudhaaf kan qophaa’eedha.
1. Gocha farrummaa ummataa Oromotiif qabu irraa kan ka’e mootummaan Itoophiyaa Ijjechaa seeraan alaa barattoota Oromoo tiif ummata Oromoo hiriira nagaa bahe irratti raawwate cimsinee kan balaaleffannu ta’u keenna ibsina. Ijjeechaa garaa hammeennaan barattoota Oromoo irratti raawwatameef hoggantoota mootummaa abbaa irreetiin ala qaamnii biraa itti gaafatamu akka hin jirre amanna. Ijjechaan bara baraan dhala Oromoo irratti raawwatamu gocha fixiinsa sanyii Oromoo ta’uuti hubbanna. Hoggantootii mootummaan Itoophiyaa TPLFn durfamu Dhiiga ilmaan Oromoo jissuu irraa akka of-qusatan akkeekkachiifna.
2. Maqaa misooma qindomina qabuu fiduuf jechuudhaan tarsiisoo mootummaan abbaa irree lafa Oromoo ummata Oromoo irraa buqqisuudhaan deeggartootaa fi abbaa fedheef kennuuf maqaa “Addis Ababa and Oromiya Special Zone Joint Development Master Plan” jedhuun moggaase raawwii isaaf tattafachaa jiru cimsinee kan balaleeffannu ta’uu ibsina. Karoorrii kun akkuma ummata Oromoo biyya keessa jiruuf dhimmii kun kallatiin ilaalu biratti fudhatama hin qabne, nu Oromoota biyya ambaa jiraannu birattis akka fudhatama hin qabne ibsuu barbaanna. Mootummaan abbaa irree Impaayeera Itoophiyaa qondaaltoota siyaasaa isaa ijjechaa ilmaan Oromoo keessatti kallatiin qooda qaban hatattamaan too’annoo jala oolanii gara seeraati akka dhiihatan akka godhu akkeekachiifna. Galmaa’an gahuu kaayyoo kanatiif dhaabbileen mirga dhala namaatiif falman hudumtuu mootummaa Itoophiyaa irratti akka dhiibbaa godhan gaafanna. Gochaan ummata Oromotiif ummattoota biroo Itoophiyaa Keessa jiran ukkamsuudhaaf mootummaan Itoophiyaan yeroo yerooti fudhatamaa jiru, fixiinsa sanyii namaa akka ta’e hubatamee qaamnii dhimmii Kun ilaalu kan akka International Criminal Court (ICC) qorannoo shakkamtoota yakka kanaa gara seeraati dhiheessuuf barbaachisu amumma akka eegalan gaafanna.
3. Maatii Wareegamtoota ilmaan Oromoo ijjechaa mootummaan TPLFn raawwatameen dhuman hundaaf gadda guddaa nutti nagahame ibsina. Dhiigii ilmaan Oromoo dhiiga bineensa bosonaa akka hin taane hubannee gumaa isaanii deebisuudhaaf qabsoo gaggeeffamu keessatti deeggarsa nurra barbaadamu godhuudhaaf qophii ta’uu keenna ibsina. Gaddii keessan gadda keennaaf gadda ummata Oromoo cufaa. Kanaafuu,gadda keessan isan waliin dhaabbanne isin sabbarsiisuuf qophii ta’uu keenna ibsina. Galatii ilmaan Oromoo qabsoo mirgaa Oromootiif kufanii bilisummaa saba Oromootiif walabummaa Oromiyaa callaa akka ta’e hubbanna.
4. Barattoota hidhaman hundaa haala duree tokko malee akka gad dhiifaman cimsinee gaafanna. Hidhaamtoota Siyaasa mana hidhaa Impaayeera Itoophiyaa keessa jiran maraa akka gad dhiifaman cimsinee gaafanna. Ummatii Oromoo Ameerikaa kaabaa keessa jiraannu qabsoo haqaa Oromoo keessatti ummata Oromoo biyya jiru cinaa jiraachuu keenna yeroon mirkaneessinu ammaan kana jennee amanna.
Qabsa’aan ni kufa, Qabsoon itti fufa!
Tokkummaan Ummata Oromoo haa jabaatu!
Ibsa Waloo Waldaalee Oromoo armaan gadiiti maqaan tarreeffame:
1. Waldaa Qorannoo Oromoo
2. Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Chicago
3. Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Ohio
4. Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Michigan
5. Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Nashville fi Memphis, Tennessee
6. Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Kentucky
7. Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Seattle
8. Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo South Dakota
9. Waldaa Manguddoo Oromoo Minnesota
10. Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Denver
Stop aid to Tyrants: It is time to a new development model April 14, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Facebook and Africa, Finfinnee, Food Production, Free development vs authoritarian model, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Land Grabs in Africa, Opportunity Cost, Oromia, Oromia Support Group, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Poverty, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Theory of Development, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Youth Unemployment.
Tags: Africa, African Studies, Developing country, Economic and Social Freedom, Genocide against the Oromo, Horn of Africa, Human Rights and Liberties, Human rights violations, Land grabbing, Land grabs in Africa, National Self Determination, Oromia, Oromia Region, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo people, Politics of Ethiopia, poverty, State and Development, Tyranny, United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, World Bank
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“Compare free development in Botswana with authoritarian development in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia in 2010, Human Rights Watch documented how the autocrat Meles Zenawi selectively withheld aid-financed famine relief from everyone except ruling-party members. Meanwhile democratic Botswana, although drought-prone like Ethiopia, has enjoyed decades of success in preventing famine. Government relief directed by local activists goes wherever drought strikes.”- http://time.com/23075/william-easterly-stop-sending-aid-to-dictators/
Traditional foreign aid often props up tyrants more than it helps the poor. It’s time for a new model.
Too much of America’s foreign aid funds what I call authoritarian development. That’s when the international community–experts from the U.N. and other bodies–swoop into third-world countries and offer purely technical assistance to dictatorships like Uganda or Ethiopia on how to solve poverty.
Unfortunately, dictators’ sole motivation is to stay in power. So the development experts may get some roads built, but they are not maintained. Experts may sink boreholes for clean water, but the wells break down. Individuals do not have the political rights to protest disastrous public services, so they never improve. Meanwhile, dictators are left with cash and services to prop themselves up–while punishing their enemies.
But there is another model: free development, in which poor individuals, asserting their political and economic rights, motivate government and private actors to solve their problems or to give them the means to solve their own problems.
Compare free development in Botswana with authoritarian development in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia in 2010, Human Rights Watch documented how the autocrat Meles Zenawi selectively withheld aid-financed famine relief from everyone except ruling-party members. Meanwhile democratic Botswana, although drought-prone like Ethiopia, has enjoyed decades of success in preventing famine. Government relief directed by local activists goes wherever drought strikes.
In the postwar period, countries such as Chile, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have successfully followed the path of free development–often in spite of international aid, not because of it. While foreign policy concerns have often led America to prop up dictatorial regimes, we need a new rule: no democracy, no aid. If we truly want to help the poor, we can’t accept the dictators’ false bargain: ignore our rights abuses, and meet the material needs of those we oppress. Instead, we must advocate that the poor have the same rights as the rich everywhere, so they can aid themselves.
Easterly is the co-director of New York University’s Development Research Institute and author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor.
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As protestors from Kiev to Khartoum to Caracas take to the streets against autocracy, a new book from economist William Easterly reminds us that Western aid is too often on the wrong side of the battle for freedom and democracy. In The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, Easterly slams thedevelopment community for supporting autocrats, not democrats, in the name of helping the world’s poorest. Ignoring human rights abuses and giving aid to oppressive regimes, he maintains, harms those in need and in many ways “un-develops” countries.
The Tyranny of Experts takes on the notion that autocracies deliver stronger economic growth than freer societies. Easterly argues that when economic growth occurs under autocratic regimes, it is more often achieved at the local level in spite of the regime’s efforts. In some instances, growth under autocracies can be attributed to relative increases in freedoms. He points to China as an example of this, attributing the country’s phenomenal growth to its adoption of greater personal and economic freedoms, especially compared to the crippling Maoist policies of the past.
Easterly also rejects the myth that dictators are dependable and that a certain level of oppression should be overlooked for the sake of economic growth and overall prosperity. Most recently, the violence and chaos following the 2011 Arab uprisings has made some nostalgic for the stable, if undemocratic, governments that kept civil unrest in check, allowing for a measure of economic development to take hold. Easterly stresses that instability and tumult in the wake of ousting a dictator is not the fault of an emerging democracy, but instead an understandable result of years of autocratic rule. The answer is not to continue to support autocrats in the name of stability, but rather to start the inevitably messy process of democratization sooner.
Easterly is of course not the first to call attention to the importance of prioritizing rights and freedoms in the development agenda. Scholars from Amartya Sen to more recently, Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont, have also advocated for a rights-based approach to development. In Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, my coauthors and I similarly found that economic growth and political freedom go hand-in-hand.
Still, the hard questions remain: how to help those without economic and political freedoms? And when should donors walk away from desperately poor people because their government is undemocratic? Easterly argues that the donor community should draw the line with far more scrutiny than it does today – not just at the obvious cases, such as North Korea, but with other undemocratic countries, such as Ethiopia, where human rights abuses are rampant. He debunks the notion that aid can be “apolitical,” arguing that it is inherently political: giving resources to a government allows it to control and allocate (or withhold) resources as it sees fit. The aid community should focus on ways to help oppressed populations without helping their oppressors. For example, scholarship programs, trade, and other people-to-people exchanges can give opportunities to people in need. At the very least, Easterly argues, development actors should not praise oppressive regimes or congratulate them on economic growth they did not create.
Rather than being seduced by “benevolent dictators,” Easterly urges donors to focus their energy on “freedom loving” governments that need help. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is a step in the right direction but, as Easterly pointed out during the CFR meeting, MCC’s approach is undermined by other U.S. aid agencies, such as USAID, that continue to assist countries even when they don’t meet certain good governance and human rights standards.
Easterly also emphasizes the need for aid organizations to be more transparent about where their money is going. Robert Zoellick made strides in this direction during his tenure as World Bank president. But more recent developments suggest that the Bank still has a way to go in becoming more open and accountable. (Easterly noted that an initial invitation to speak about The Tyranny of Experts at the World Bank was later rescinded for “scheduling reasons.”) http://blogs.cfr.org/development-channel/2014/03/14/helping-the-oppressed-not-the-oppressors/#cid=soc-facebook-at-blogs-helping_the_oppressed_not_the_-031414
No democracy, no aid
March 26, 2014 (The Seattle Times) — SOMEHOW — probably my own fault — I have wound up on Bill Gates’ list of the world’s most misguided economists. Gates singled me out by name in his annual 2014 letter to his foundation as an “aid critic” spreading harmful myths about ineffective aid programs.
I actually admire Gates for his generosity and advocacy for the fight againstglobal poverty through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. We just disagree about how to end poverty throughout the world.
Gates believes poverty will end by identifying technical solutions. My research shows that the first step is not identifying technical solutions, but ensuring poor people’s rights.
Gates concentrates his foundation’s efforts on finding the right fixes to the problems of the world’s poor, such as bed nets to prevent malarial mosquito bites or drought-tolerant varieties of corn to prevent famine. Along with official aid donors, such as USAID and the World Bank, the foundation works together with local, generally autocratic, governments on these technical solutions.
Last year, Gates cited Ethiopia in a Wall Street Journal guest column as an example, a country where he described the donors and government as setting “clear goals, choosing an approach, measuring results, and then using those measurements to continually refine our approach.”
This approach, Gates said, “helps us to deliver tools and services to everybody who will benefit.” Gates then gives credit for progress to the rulers. When the tragically high death rates of Ethiopian children fell from 2005 to 2010, Gates said this was “in large part thanks to” such a measurement-driven program by Ethiopia’s autocrat Meles Zenawi, who had ruled since 1991. Gates later said Meles’ death in August 2012 was “a great loss for Ethiopia.”
Do autocratic rulers like Meles really deserve the credit?
Gates’ technocratic approach to poverty, combining expert advice and cooperative local rulers, is a view that has appealed for decades to foundations and aid agencies. But if technical solutions to poverty are so straightforward, why had these rulers not already used them?
The technical solutions have been missing for so long in Ethiopia and other poor countries because autocrats are more motivated to stay in power than to fix the problems of poverty. Autocracy itself perpetuates poverty.
Meles violently suppressed demonstrations after rigged elections in 2005. He even manipulated donor-financed famine relief in 2010 to go only to his own ruling party’s supporters. The donors failed to investigate this abuse after its exposure by Human Rights Watch, continuing a long technocratic tradition of silence on poor people’s rights.
Rulers only reliably become benevolent when citizens can force them to be so — when citizens exert their democratic rights.
Our own history in the U.S. shows how we can protest bad government actions and reward good actions with our rights to protest and to vote. We won’t even let New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie get away with a traffic jam on a bridge.
Such democratic rights make technical fixes happen, and produce a far better long-run record onreducing poverty, disease and hunger than autocracies. We saw this first in the now-rich countries, which are often unfairly excluded from the evidence base.
Some developing countries such as Botswana had high economic growth through big increases in democratic rights after independence. Botswana’s democrats prevented famines during droughts, unlike the regular famines during droughts under Ethiopia’s autocrats.
Worldwide, the impressive number of developing countries that have shifted to democracy includes successes such as Brazil, Chile, Ghana, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as former Soviet Bloc countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia.
If the democratic view of development is correct, the lessons for Gates are clear: Don’t give undeserved credit and praise to autocrats. Don’t campaign for more official aid to autocrats. Redirect aid to democrats. If the democratic view is wrong, I do deserve to be on Gates’ list of the world’s most misguided economists.
The UK government is providing financial aid to human rights abusers in Ethiopia through funding training paramilitaries, who perpetrate summary killings, rape and torture in the impoverished African country, local media reported.
Through its foreign aid budget, the UK government provides financial support to an Ethiopian government security force known as the “special police” as part of its “peace and development programme”, which would cost up to £15 million in five years, The Guardian reported.
The Department for International Development warned in a leaked document of the “reputational risks” of working with organizations that are “frequently cited in human rights violationallegations”, according to the report.
The Ethiopian government’s counter-insurgency campaign in Ogaden, a troubled region largely populated by ethnic Somalis is being enforced by the 14,000-strong special police.
This is while police forces are repeatedly accused by Human Rights Watch of serious human rights abuses.
Claire Beston, the Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher, said it was highly concerning that Britain was planning to work with the paramilitary force.
Ethiopia: Farmer gets legal aid from UK to sue Britain for giving aid to the brutal regime of Ethiopia March 30, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa Rising, Aid to Africa, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethnic Cleansing, Hadiya and the Omo Valley, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Kambata, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromia Support Group Australia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
Tags: African Studies, Development, Economic and Social Freedom, Economic development, Economic growth, Governance issues, Horn of Africa, Human Rights and Liberties, Human rights violations, Land grabbing, Land grabs in Africa, National Self Determination, Oromia, Oromia Region, Oromummaa, State and Development, Sub-Saharan Africa, United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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An Ethiopian farmer has been given legal aid in the UK to sue Britain – because he claims millions of pounds sent by the UK to his country is supporting a brutal regime that has ruined his life.
He says UK taxpayers’ money – £1.3 billion over the five years of the coalition Government – is funding a despotic one-party state in his country that is forcing thousands of villagers such as him from their land using murder, torture and rape.
The landmark case is highly embarrassing for the Government, which has poured vast amounts of extra cash into foreign aid despite belt-tightening austerity measures at home.
Prime Minister David Cameron claims the donations are a mark of Britain’s compassion.
But the farmer – whose case is set to cost tens of thousands of pounds – argues that huge sums handed to Ethiopia are breaching the Department for International Development’s (DFID) own human rights rules.
He accuses the Government of devastating the lives of some of the world’s poorest people rather than fulfilling promises to help them. The case comes amid growing global concern over Western aid propping up corrupt and repressive regimes.
If the farmer is successful, Ministers might have to review major donations to other nations accused of atrocities, such as Pakistan and Rwanda – and it could open up Britain to compensation claims from around the world.
Ethiopia, a key ally in the West’s war on terror, is the biggest recipient of British aid, despite repeated claims from human rights groups that the cash is used to crush opposition.
DFID was served papers last month by lawyers acting on behalf of ‘Mr O’, a 33-year-old forced to abandon his family and flee to a refugee camp in Kenya after being beaten and tortured for trying to protect his farm.
He is not seeking compensation but to challenge the Government’s approach to aid. His name is being withheld to protect his wife and six children who remain in Ethiopia.
‘My client’s life has been shattered by what has happened,’ said Rosa Curling, the lawyer handling the case. ‘It goes entirely against what our aid purports to stand for.’
Oromia Media Network Launch — Live! March 27, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Beat, African Music, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Dictatorship, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinnee, Gadaa System, Hadiya and the Omo Valley, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Humanity and Social Civilization, Ideas, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Language and Development, Nubia, Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Artists, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Media Network, Oromo Music, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo Sport, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Poverty, Qubee Afaan Oromo, Self determination, Sidama, Sirna Gadaa, Slavery, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Governance System, The Oromo Library, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Theory of Development, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Youth Unemployment.
Tags: Africa, Development and Change, Economic and Social Freedom, Governance issues, Horn of Africa, Human Rights and Liberties, Human rights violations, Oromia, Oromia Region, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo culture, Oromo people, State and Development, Sub-Saharan Africa, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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Oromia Media Network Launch — Live! 1st March 2014
Millions of Oromos now have the chance to enjoy quality media focusing on the needs and aspirations of the Oromo people.
“The Oromia Media Network (OMN) is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit news enterprise whose mission is to produce original and citizen-driven reporting on Oromia, the largest and most populous state in Ethiopia. OMN seeks to offer thought-provoking, contextual, and nuanced coverage of critical public interest issues thereby bringing much needed attention to under-reported stories in the region. Our goal is to create a strong and sustainable multilingual newsroom that will serve as a reliable source of information about the Oromo people, the Ethiopian state, and the greater Horn of Africa region. ” – http://www.oromiamedia.org/
Copyright © OromianEconomist 2014 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
The tyranny of experts vs the real cause of poverty:The unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights March 11, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Poverty, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, African Studies, Aid, Developing country, Development, Development and Change, Economic and Social Freedom, Economic development, Economic growth, economics, Ethiopia, Genocide against the Oromo, Horn of Africa, Human rights, Human Rights and Liberties, Human rights violations, Land grabs in Africa, National Self Determination, Oromia Region, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromummaa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tyranny, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, World Bank
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How development experts have empowered dictators and helped to trap millions and millions of people in poverty
“Ethiopia, for example, reaps money and plaudits from development giants such as the Gates Foundation while remaining a bastion of authoritarian rule. Economic growth and other positive development outcomes in such states are a mirage, the author argues. His central claim is that no matter how much international aid is poured in, the lives of citizens won’t durably improve without freedom.” -SARAH CHAYES, Book Review, Wall Street Journal
‘The international professionals perpetrate an illusion that poverty is purely a technical problem, distracting attention away from the real cause: the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights. The dictators whom experts are advising are not the solution — they are the problem. The individual economic and political rights crucial to development include all those we take for granted at home, such as the right to your own property, the right to trade with whomever you wish, the right to protest bad government actions (don’t burn down our houses!), and the right to vote for politicians who do beneficial actions (clean our water!). Technical experts in development sometimes concede some rights and deny others, which disrespects rights for what they are: unalienable. The Uganda story shows the Mubende farmers’ lack of both economic rights (rights to their own property) and political rights (prevented at gunpoint from protesting). The tyranny of experts that neglects rights is first of all a moral tragedy. It reflects a double standard in which we respect rights for the world’s rich — is it conceivable that we would forget these farmers if the story had happened in Ohio? — but not for the poor.
The technocratic approach of dictators advised by experts is also a pragmatic tragedy, because it does not actually work to end poverty. New research by economists on history and modern experience suggest that free individuals with political and economic rights make up remarkably successful problem-solving systems. Such systems based on rights reward a decentralized array of people: Economic entrepreneurs with property rights get to keep the rewards of solving the problems of their consumers. Political entrepreneurs at many government levels and in many departments get rewarded with a longer tenure in office if they solve the citizens’ problems, and they are driven out of office if they don’t. …Focusing on rights yields two perspectives on how development success happens. First, societies that have already attained individual freedom are likely to have already escaped poverty. Economists have gone back deep into our own history to confirm this widely-accepted story for how we in the West escaped our own poverty, but we seem unwilling to consider that the same story could play out in the rest of the world. Second, societies in which there is a positive change in in freedom will likely see a positive change in prosperity (ergo, rapid economic growth and fall in poverty). So what should we do about rights for the poor? Possible starting places for Western policy changes are to not fund dictators, to not support projects that torch farms, to not break promises to investigate rights abuses, and to not let us forget such abuses and missing investigations. But obsessing too much on the “what should we do?” question should not hand the agenda back to the same technical experts who have showed so little interest in the rights of the poor in the first place. The danger of such a tyranny of experts is illustrated by a long history of politicians using technical poverty debates as an excuse to avoid debating rights for the poor. The danger of such a tyranny of experts is illustrated by a long history of politicians using technical poverty debates as an excuse to avoid debating rights for the poor.’ – Read the details and analysis at the original source: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/03/10/the_new_tyranny
Book Review: ‘The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor’ by William Easterly
By SARAH CHAYES
March 7, 2014 (The Wall Street Journal) — Why does poverty persist across so much of the world, despite billions of dollars in international aid and the efforts of armies of development professionals? That is the question that William Easterly explores in “The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor.” His answer: a lack of respect for liberty—not just on the part of governments of impoverished countries but also, more provocatively, on the part of the would-be developers themselves.
Mr. Easterly, an economics professor at New York University, joins other students of international aid in decrying the preference for technical fixes when the political structures of recipient states are built to deny political participation and economic opportunity to most of their citizens. “The technocratic illusion,” he writes, “is that poverty results from a shortage of expertise, whereas poverty is really about a shortage of rights.”
Ethiopia, for example, reaps money and plaudits from development giants such as the Gates Foundation while remaining a bastion of authoritarian rule. Economic growth and other positive development outcomes in such states are a mirage, the author argues. His central claim is that no matter how much international aid is poured in, the lives of citizens won’t durably improve without freedom.
Mr. Easterly recalls that the very notion of development assistance was born in a period of unabashed racism, out of a conjunction of two opposing demands. One was the need for late colonial empires to provide a different rationale than racial superiority for their continued domination of the Third World. The other was the desire of Third World leaders to legitimize seizing authoritarian power themselves.
Touting the virtues of development designed by “experts” and delivered by autocrats proved to be a useful strategy for both camps. “Sun Yat-sen,” writes Mr. Easterly of China in 1924, “suggested the idea of technocratic development to resist European imperialism in China, while at the same time in Versailles, the Allies suggested technocratic development to expand European imperialism in Africa.” And, a few decades later, “the new African leaders found state-led technocratic development to be a justification for their own aspirations to unchecked power.”
This marriage of convenience may have sabotaged democracy’s chances of emerging from the rubble of empire, Mr. Easterly suggests, drawing on evidence from China, Colombia and West Africa. The bias in favor of technocratic fixes, and against fundamental political reform, has certainly helped enable autocratic regimes, which, now as then, capture development aid like any other rent. In Yemen, for example, before counterterrorism security cooperation grew to its current scale, aid was a key source of funding for the Ali Abdullah Saleh regime.
Mr. Easterly’s alternative to the autocrat-driven, technocratic model of development is simple: Apply abroad what we know has worked at home—bottom-up solutions, a free flow of ideas leading to innovative experiments and democratic politics. His positive examples aren’t drawn from the international-assistance realm but rather from the organic emergence of economic prosperity in such environments as 12th-century Italian city-states or the Korean auto industry. Hyundai’s rise is presented as an example of an efficient division of labor engineered almost as a matter of course by free-market forces. Unable to farm his infertile land, Chung Ju Yung, who liked tinkering with cars, set up as a mechanic, thereby exchanging “his problem-solving talents . . . for the problem-solving talents of others in producing food for him.” He would go on to found Hyundai.
Mr. Easterly is hardly the first to criticize the international-development community for its avoidance of politics and fixation on technical solutions. But his belabored insistence that freedom and democracy are the only reliable paths to economic prosperity is too general and thus not very helpful for anyone thinking seriously about how to reform development assistance. While he is right to castigate the many aid efforts undertaken in autocratic contexts, few serious Western development professionals today actively promote dictatorship. Indeed, acceptance of much of Mr. Easterly’s reasoning has driven, from the 1990s on, a sharp increase in support for grass-roots development and democratization efforts.
But Mr. Easterly fails to acknowledge such evolutions. And he thereby misses an opportunity to highlight the obstacles that this approach, in turn, has encountered: the tendency of such grass-roots organizations to respond to the desires of donors rather than their own constituencies, their inability to live up to outsize expectations or, when successful, their tendency to suffer repression at the hands of authoritarian states. Nor does Mr. Easterly contend in detail with the fundamental question raised by his book: What explains the persistence of such a “momentous double standard on rights for the West and not for the Rest?”
Some explanations do emerge in passing. Geostrategic priorities, for example, have impelled the U.S. to use foreign aid to reward autocratic allies in the fights against Communism and terrorism. Racism, blatant or otherwise, has made Westerners doubt non-white non-Westerners’ desire for rights and ability to handle them. The desire to self-perpetuate has also been a powerful motive to stick to the status quo for an industry as large as international assistance—a motive Mr. Easterly doesn’t emphasize. Challenging entrenched power structures is a good way to get thrown out of a country, as a number of democracy-promotion organizations recently learned in Egypt.
Apart from these gaps, and the book’s lack of explicit recommendations, its analysis raises some philosophical problems. It draws too sharp an opposition between individualism and collective values. By depicting a global “East” caught in a feedback loop of autocracy and “collectivist values,” Mr. Easterly falls into Samuel Huntingtonesque generalizations. Similarly, he seems to suggest that geography and climate predisposed the Southern Hemisphere to slave-based or extractive economies.
The generalizations, moreover, evade a lot of contrary nuance. The Nordic countries are widely seen as more respectful of community values than the U.S. or Britain. And many of their health and development outcomes outstrip ours. Some might argue that these are smaller, more homogeneous societies, but so are some of the negative examples of “collectivist values” that Mr. Easterly cites, such as the “Maghribi” network, a 10th-century Cairo-based Jewish trading community. And the world economic meltdown of 2008, with devastating development effects for tens of millions, was the result not of excessively collectivist values but the reverse. Poor development outcomes, in other words, aren’t only a matter of rights, as Mr. Easterly argues. At issue is also the distribution of power—justice as well as liberty.
The book’s argument about the power of freedom and democracy to beget development is made by way of a vast historical tableau. From the 12th-century Italian city-states, the narrative winds past the slave trade, expounds the virtues of migration, explores the ideas of Adam Smith and ruminates on the structure of technological innovation. Supporting anecdotes include a Senegalese religious trading community, the Korean automotive industry and an evolving Manhattan neighborhood.
It is hard to trust an author to command such a welter of detail. And indeed, the result is too often haphazard, self-contradictory or erroneous. For example, while the Maghribi traders are said to demonstrate self-sabotaging collectivist values, the Mourides, a modern Somali religious brotherhood that is organized along nearly the same principles, is cited to illustrate the virtues of migration. The Korean auto industry, depicted as embodying “the amazing potentials of specialization and trade,” emerged under an autocratic government applying protectionist laws.
By my count, finally, about 15% of Mr. Easterly’s text recaps what was just said or announces items from later chapters. Subheadings like “Another Key Moment in This Book” suggest an argument that isn’t tight enough to convince on its own merits. And that’s too bad. Mr. Easterly calls for a profound overhaul of the way powerful nations conceive of and implement aid—and, more important, of the broader foreign-policy decision-making of which aid is a component. That change is needed. It’s just not clear this book is crisp or cogent enough to help advance it.
—Ms. Chayes is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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Ethiopia’s Land & Water Grabs Devastate Communities: New Satellite Imagery Shows Extensive Clearance of Land Used By Indigenous People to Make Way for State-Run Sugar Plantations February 25, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa Rising, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Environment, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Food Production, Hadiya, Human Traffickings, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Kambata, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, Ogaden, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Nation, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Self determination, Sidama, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, African culture, African Studies, Developing country, Development, Economic and Social Freedom, Economic development, Economic growth, economics, Ethiopia, Gambella and Omo Valley, Genocide against the Oromo, Human rights, Human Rights and Liberties, Land grabbing, Land grabs in Africa, National Self Determination, Oromia, Oromia Region, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo culture, Oromo people, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tyranny, United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Water and Land Grabs in Ormia, World Bank
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‘Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to 200,000 agro-pastoralists, is under development for sugar plantations and processing. The early stages of the development have resulted in the loss of land and livelihoods for thousands of Ethiopia’s most vulnerable citizens. The future of 500,000 agro-pastoralists in Ethiopia and Kenya is at risk.’ – Human Rights Watch
(Nairobi) – New satellite imagery shows extensive clearance of land used by indigenous groups to make way for state-run sugar plantations in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley, Human Rights Watch and International Rivers said today. Virtually all of the traditional lands of the 7,000-member Bodi indigenous group have been cleared in the last 15 months, without adequate consultation or compensation. Human Rights Watch has also documented the forced resettlement of some indigenous people in the area.
The land clearing is part of a broader Ethiopian government development scheme in the Omo Valley, a United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, including dam construction, sugar plantations, and commercial agriculture. The project will consume the vast majority of the water in the Omo River basin, potentially devastating the livelihoods of the 500,000 indigenous people in Ethiopia and neighboring Kenya who directly or indirectly rely on the Omo’s waters for their livelihoods.
“Ethiopia can develop its land and resources but it shouldn’t run roughshod over the rights of its indigenous communities,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The people who rely on the land for their livelihoods have the right to compensation and the right to reject plans that will completely transform their lives.”
A prerequisite to the government’s development plans for the Lower Omo Valley is the relocation of 150,000 indigenous people who live in the vicinity of the sugar plantations into permanent sedentary villages under the government’s deeply unpopular “villagization” program. Under this program, people are to be moved into sedentary villages and provided with schools, clinics, and other infrastructure. As has been seen in other parts of Ethiopia, these movements are not all voluntary.
Satellite images analyzed by Human Rights Watch show devastating changes to the Lower Omo Valley between November 2010 and January 2013, with large areas originally used for grazing cleared of all vegetation and new roads and irrigation canals crisscrossing the valley. Lands critical for the livelihoods of the agro-pastoralist Bodi and Mursi peoples have been cleared for the sugar plantations. These changes are happening without their consent or compensation, local people told Human Rights Watch. Governments have a duty to consult and cooperate with indigenous people to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources.
The imagery also shows the impact of a rudimentary dam built in July 2012 that diverted the waters of the Omo River into the sugar plantations. Water rapidly built up behind the shoddily built mud structure before breaking it twice. The reservoir created behind the dam forced approximately 200 Bodi families to flee to high ground, leaving behind their crops and their homes.
In a 2012 report Human Rights Watchwarned of the risk to livelihoods and potential for increased conflict and food insecurity if the government continued to clear the land. The report also documented how government security forces used violence and intimidation to make communities in the Lower Omo Valley relocate from their traditional lands, threatening their entire way of life with no compensation or choice of alternative livelihoods.
The development in the Lower Omo Valley depends on the construction upstream of a much larger hydropower dam – the Gibe III, which will regulate river flows to support year-round commercial agriculture.
A new film produced by International Rivers, “A Cascade of Development on the Omo River,” reveals how and why the Gibe III will cause hydrological havoc on both sides of the Kenya-Ethiopia border. Most significantly, the changes in river flow caused by the dam and associated irrigated plantations could cause a huge drop in the water levels of Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake and another UNESCO World Heritage site.
Lake Turkana receives 90 percent of its water from the Omo River and is projected to drop by about two meters during the initial filling of the dam, which is estimated to begin around May 2014. If current plans to create new plantations continue to move forward, the lake could drop as much as 16 to 22 meters. The average depth of the lake is just 31 meters.
The river flow past the Gibe III will be almost completely blocked beginning in 2014. According to government documents, it will take up to three years to fill the reservoir, during which the Omo River’s annual flow could drop by as much as 70 percent. After this initial shock, regular dam operations will further devastate ecosystems and local livelihoods. Changes to the river’s flooding regime will harm agricultural yields, prevent the replenishment of important grazing areas, and reduce fish populations, all critical resources for livelihoods of certain indigenous groups.
The government of Ethiopia should halt development of the sugar plantations and the water offtakes until affected indigenous communities have been properly consulted and give their free, prior, and informed consent to the developments, Human Rights Watch and International Rivers said. The impact of all planned developments in the Omo/Turkana basin on indigenous people’s livelihoods should be assessed through a transparent, independent impact assessment process.
“If Ethiopia continues to bulldoze ahead with these developments, it will devastate the livelihoods of half a million people who depend on the Omo River,” said Lori Pottinger, head of International Rivers’ Ethiopia program. “It doesn’t have to be this way – Ethiopia has options for managing this river more sustainably, and pursuing developments that won’t harm the people who call this watershed home.”
Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley is one of the most isolated and underdeveloped areas in East Africa. At least eight different groups call the Omo River Valley home and the livelihood of each of these groups is intimately tied to the Omo River and the surrounding lands. Many of the indigenous people that inhabit the valley are agro-pastoralist, growing crops along the Omo River and grazing cattle.
In 2010, Ethiopia announced plans for the construction of Africa’s tallest dam, the 1,870 megawatt Gibe III dam on the Omo River. Controversy has dogged the Gibe III dam ever since. Of all the major funders who considered the dam, only China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) provided financing (the World Bank, African Development Bank, and European Investment Bank all declined to fund it, though the World Bank and African Development Bank have financed related power lines).
The Ethiopian government announced even more ambitious plans for the region in 2011, including the development of at least 245,000 hectares of irrigated state-run sugar plantations. Downstream, the water-intensive sugar plantations, will depend on irrigation canals. Although there have been some independent assessments of the Gibe dam project and its impact on river flow and Lake Turkana, to date the Ethiopian government has not published any environmental or social impact assessments for the sugar plantations and other commercial agricultural developments in the Omo valley.
According to the regional government plan for villagization in Lower Omo, the World Bank-supported Pastoral Community Development Project (PCDP) is funding some of the infrastructure in the new villages. Despite concerns over human rights abuses associated with the villagization program that were communicated to Bank management, in December 2013 the World Bank Board approved funding of the third phase of the PCDP III. PCDP III ostensibly provides much-needed services to pastoral communities throughout Ethiopia, but according to government documents PCDP also pays for infrastructure being used in the sedentary villages that pastoralists are being moved to.
The United States Congress in January included language in the 2014 Appropriations Act that puts conditions on US development assistance in the Lower Omo Valley requiring that there should be consultation with local communities; that the assistance “supports initiatives of local communities to improve their livelihoods”; and that no activities should be supported that directly or indirectly involve forced evictions.
However other donors have not publicly raised concerns about Ethiopia’s Lower Omo development plans. Justine Greening, the British Secretary of State for International Development, in 2012 stated that her Department for International Development (DFID) was not able to “substantiate the human rights concerns” in the Lower Omo Valley despite DFID officials hearing these concerns directly from impacted communities in January 2012.
Ethiopia: Land, Water Grabs Devastate Communities | Human Rights Watch
Afaan Oromo After 100 Years of Disincentives: Toltu Tufa of the Afaan Publications on radio with Jon Faine on the Conversation Hour at ABC Studios Melbourne February 19, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Afaan Publication, Africa, Humanity and Social Civilization, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Language and Development, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Artists, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Social System, Oromummaa, Qubee Afaan Oromo, Self determination, Sirna Gadaa, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Governance System, The Oromo Library, Toltu Tufa, Uncategorized.
Tags: Afaan Oromo, Afaan Oromo Kushitic Kemetic language, Afaan publication, Africa, African culture, African Studies, Development and Change, Gadaa System, Genocide against the Oromo, Kushitic Languages, Language and Development, National Self Determination, Oromia, Oromia Region, Oromiyaa, Oromo people, Oromummaa, Qubee Afaan Oromo, Toltu Tufa, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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‘EVERY CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO LEARN THEIR MOTHER TONGUE.’
AFAAN Publication: Commemorating UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day on Feb. 21, 2014; Highlighting Past Achievements; and Laying out Plans for 2014
February 21 is UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day. AFAAN Publications’ successful campaign to raise funds to produce children books in Afaan Oromo is the highlight of 2013. The Oromo language, Afaan Oromo, is Africa’s 4th most widelyspoken language, which was banned for 100 years until 1991. AFAAN Publications is based in Melbourne.
AFAAN Publication recounts the 2013 successfulfundraising campaign by recognizing some of the international cities which supported the Melbourne’s drive to create children’s books in Afaan Oromo, and AFAAN Publications was also featured last week on 774 Radio ABC Melbourne.
The communications team is available for comments and interview via telephone. Enquiries can be made via email on email@example.com
AFAAN Publication: Commemorating UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day on Feb. 21, 2014; Highlighting Past Achievements; and Laying out Plans for 2014.
Copyright © OromianEconomist 2014 & Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.
Stop Clearing Oromo from their Land in the Name of Boosting Economic Development: Who Will Stand for the Oromo People Living on the Outskirts of Finfinnee? February 11, 2014Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Culture, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinnee, Food Production, Gadaa System, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Humanity and Social Civilization, ICC, Ideas, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land Grabs in Africa, Nubia, Ogaden, Omo, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, Sirna Gadaa, Slavery, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
Tags: Africa, African Studies, Developing country, Development, Development and Change, Economic and Social Freedom, economics, Ethiopia, Finfinnee, Gadaa System, Genocide, Genocide against the Oromo, Governance issues, Horn of Africa, Human rights, Human Rights and Liberties, Human rights violations, Land grabbing, Land grabs in Africa, National Self Determination, Ogaden, Omo, Oromia, Oromia Region, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo culture, Oromo people, Oromummaa, Politics of Ethiopia, poverty, Raya under destruction, Social Sciences, State and Development, Sub-Saharan Africa, Tyranny, United Nations, World Bank
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It is to be recalled that Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) was founded as the present capital city the so called Ethiopian in 1886 by a man called Minilik II. During this time, the area was inhabited by the Oromo people and the area was almost covered with natural forest. Initially the Shawa government made it seat at Ankober. Hence, before the founding of Finfinee as a political and economic capital of the king, all the areas within the present Finfinnee and the surround areas was free like any other Oromia lands. However, after 1886 the Semitic people from the northern segments and others had taken the land and the Oromo people who were used to live in these areas were forced lost their land through time.
For example, according to Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia (2007) Out of the 2,738,248 100% total population living in Finfinnee, the total number of the Oromo people living in the city was only 534,255 (19.51%). Since its founding as a capital, Finfinnee remained the capital city for the successive Ethiopian regimes (Menilik II, Lij Eyassu, Zawuditu, Hailesillasse I, Mengistu, Melles and HaileMariam). Through time, the number of inhabitants increased and urbanization expanded greatly. The deliberate and implicitly planned mission and decision of the Semitic people to erase any sign of Oromo history from Finfinnee was started during the forcefully integration of Oromo people into Ethiopia as second-class citizens and the process has continued in the present government.
Different people mostly from the northern part of the so called Ethiopia have come from the various ethnic groups come and settled in the capital owing to its supper suitable agro-climatic and exploit the natural within the outside today’s Finfinne from the near distance in the name of work and investment. Where did those Oromo farmers go when Finfinnee became the property of new invaders? Be in mind that the Oromo’s are pushed to the peripheral areas of the capital and the number of Oromo people inhabitants decreased from time to time, as the above data depicts. The indigenous people of the land were pushed out one after the other and were replaced by the invaders from the north. What is happening to the Oromo people living on the outskirt of Finfinne today? It is simply the continuation of a process, which had resulted in a massive displacement of an indigenous Oromo people.
B. The New Master Plan of Fifinnee and Areas to be Incorporated
For the last 100 or so years the Master Plan of Finfinnee city was revised several times. The recent proposal of preparing new Master Plan for City administration that planned to incorporates all the towns and districts lying within the range of 1 hour commuting distance from the Finfinnee, justifies the blatant violation of the constitution and their voracious appetite to systematically replacing resource and land deficient people to these fertile lands owned by the Oromo people. According to the proposed plan of established the “Integrated Regional Development Plan”, an additional 36 towns and 17 districts currently administered by the Oromia regional State will be merged with Finfinnee so that the right of the land use will be determined by the central mayor .
The new Master Plan was intended to incorporate Oromia’s land locating in 100kms around the Finfinnee city. According to Ethiopia Government preparation, the following 36 Towns and 17 Districts are included in the newly planned Master plan. (See the figure 1.)
Some of the Towns are: Adama, Sodere, Mojo, Wenji Adama, Ejere, Alem Tena, Koka, Adulala, Bushoftu, Dukem, Gelen, Akaki Beseka, Godino, Chefe Donsa, Sebeta , Sendafa, Milkewa, Wendoda, Sirti, Duber,Gorfo, Chancho, Mulo, Debra,Muger , Ulo, Adis Alem, Holota, Burayu,Debre Genet, Illu Teji, Tefki, Sebeta, Boneya, Melka Kunture and etc.
Some of the Districts areas are: Adama, Dodota, Bora, Lome, Liben chukala, Adea (around Bushoftu), Akaki, Gimbichu, Bereh(around Sebeta), Aleltu, Jida, Sulultu, Ejere, Welmera, Illu, Sebeta Hawas and etc.
Today, when the world is concerned about preserving ecology and wild life in their natural habitat, it is an Ethiopian Government that is clearing an indigenous Oromo people from their home Land in the name of inequitable Economic Development. Hence, who should stand and speak for these innocent people and argue to preserve the right of the extremely vulnerable Oromo people living in the proposed territories and to preserve the indigenous Oromo people, culture, Languages and etc. Otherwise sooner than latter these great people will be marginalized and lost their identities.
Figure 1: The newly Developed and proposed Master Plan of the tomorrow’s Finfinne over the coming 25 years
C. The Agenda behind the “Integrated Regional Development Plan (IRDP)”
An office called “Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia Integrated Development Plan” prepared an International and National Conference on June 2013 at Adama Town, Galma Abba Gadaa. The Objective of organizing the conference of the top ranking government cadres (mostly OPDO’s) was to work on the manifesting of the proposed Integrated Regional Development Plan (IRDP) and prepare the cadre’s to work on the people.
On the Conference, it was stated that, the Purposes of the “IRDP” are:
Instrumental to unleashing Regional Development Potentials
Enables localities addressing their mutual development challenges
Enables localities addressing their mutual development challenges
Strengthens complementarities and interconnection of localities
These purposes can be the explicit or clear objectives of the plan. However, the plan have hidden or implicit agenda. Systematically bringing the land under their custody so that, it will sooner or later scramble among their impoverished people in their region. For example, the Finfinnee City Administration and Finfinnee Special Zone can address their mutual development challenges without being incorporated into one master plan. However, the Master plan is not prepared on mutual benefit as the plan is solely prepared by Finfinnee City Administration, despite the name of the office. Hence, though development is boldly emphasized, the main purpose seems to clear the Oromo farmers from their lands in the name of unfair Economic Development.
It was also stated that the Pillars of the Integrated Regional Development Plan are:
Regional Infrastructure Networks
Natural Resource and Environment Stewardship
Cross – Boundary Investments/ e.g FDI)
Joint Regional Projects
However, there seem hidden agenda behind these pillars. For example, in the name of cross-Boundary Investments, local Oromo farmers are going to lose their land for the so-called “investors” and under the pretext of promoting national economy through FDI initiatives In addition, if the plan is going to be realized natural and environmental degradation is inevitable.
In addition, the Basic Principles of the Integrated Regional Development Plan are:
Ensuring Mutual Benefits
A joint development Framework – not a substitute for local plans
An Integrated Regional Plan voluntarily accepted by participating partners
Differences resolved through negotiation and under in-win scenario
Nevertheless, the plan will not ensure a mutual benefit at it is largely intended to displace Oromo farmers from their land. In additions, the populations of the two areas are not homogenous. Hence, they have no common interest. Even though it is said the “IRDP’ will be voluntarily accepted by participating partners, the top cadres in Oromia themselves have strongly opposed the plan on the conference. Beside, the implicit objective of the plan is to remove/avoid the differences in language and culture there by to plant “Ethiopianism or Tigreans” on Oromo land. The plan is intended to say good bye to Oromo Culture and language. The other thing is that the differences between Oromo and others cannot be resolved as it is intended to eradicate Oromo identity, culture and language. As we know from history, Oromo’s never compromised on these issues. Hence, if the plan is to be implemented, peaceful co-existence may not be there.
D. Problems that may come because of the Integrated Regional Development Plan
As different sources shown, many Oromo’s living in Special Zone has already lost their land in the name of foreign direct investment and land grasping. This is because of several fa3ctories are constructed in the special zone by taking the Lands from local Oromo farmers. It is not new to see Oromo labor workers or guards in their own land. Family members are highly displaced by this measure. Many went to street. Not only the displaced Oromos damaged by this. It is said chemical coming out of the factories are also hurting the health of the remaining Oromos. It is said that “In Central Oromia, thousands of people and their livestock died due to the industrial pollution directly released to rivers and lakes.”
Taking the above as an experience, there also different reasons why the newly Master plan of Finfinne should not be implemented on Oromo people. Some of the reasons are:
1. It will bring Extreme Poverty: It is inevitable that the local Oromo farmers lost their land in the name of investment and urbanization. This means that the Oromos are systematically cleaned from their own land, as they were cleaned from Finfinnee in earlier days. Hence, the local farmers lose their land which is part of their permanent asset. After the lose their land, the farmers will going to work for 300 birrr in the factory or serve as house servant or home guard, which is already started. By doing so, the farmers face extreme poverty. In addition, the gap between rich and poor will very high. For example, one writer described the impact of “investment” saying:
“The current regime has sold out more than 3 million hectares of fertile land to the foreigner investors after forcefully displacing Oromo farmers from their ancestral land. The grabbing of land ended the indigenous people without shelter and foods. This displacement of the Oromo people accompanied by limitless human rights violations set the Oromo to be the vast number of immigrants in the Horn of Africa.”
2. Family displacement and disintegration: Members of a family will be displaced and disintegrated as a result of loosing their land. In addition, the workers of Finfinnee special zone will be displaced as they are working in Afan Oromo.
3. Abuse of constitutional rights: After long year of struggle and sacrifice of thousands of Life, Afan Oromo given constitution right to be used in administration, school and other sectors in Oromia region. This is one of the basic objectives that Oromos has been struggling. However, if the master plan is going to be implemented, working language of Finfinnee City, Amharic, is going to be used in the areas. By doing so, the local people will be forced to learn new language to use it for different purpose. The measure will take back Oromo to the “Atse” region. The Federal Constitution states “Every people, nation and nationality have the right to speak, to write and to develop their own language, as well as to express, to develop and to promote their culture and history.Article 39” will be clearly violated. The Oromo living in Finfinnee Special Zone will lose the rights that the FDRE constitution guarantees them.
4. Academic and psychological impacts on Oromo students: If the newly proposed master plan of Finfinnee City is going to be implemented, Oromo students living in the surrounding area will attend their education in Amharic, which is second language to the students. It is strongly argued that using the native languages of students as a medium of instruction is a decisive factor for effective learning However, this situation, failure to give a role to native languages and largely depending on second/foreign language instruction, brought various difficulties to students. The students are expected to entangle not only with learning the subject matters but also the language itself. It also creates difficulty to students in expressing themselves and as a result it limits their classroom participation as there is fear of making mistakes. In addition, it is a barrier to smooth classroom communication. It is also argued that use of a second/foreign language in education negatively affects the ability and the ease with which knowledge is acquired by students. It also affects the performance of students and creates difficulties in developing their cognitive skills. Moreover, giving low status to native languages of students in educational setting leads to marginalization of majority of the citizens from active engagement in the development arena. In general, the master plan will have negative impacts on Oromo students in various academic aspects.
5. Impact on Identity and Culture of Local Oromo People: The new plan will make Oromos to lose their identity and culture, like the previous regimes did. This is because people having different identity and culture are going to settle on Oromo land. The settlers will push out the Oromo identity and replace by their own. The Oromo’s will have very limited opportunity to exercise their cultural value and linguistic form. The language and cultural development will be also hampered by the new plan.
6. Economic impact: If the master plan is going to be realized, the Finfinnee City Adminstration will control all economic aspects of the areas. The income that is collected from different factories will be taken. The Oromiya government will loose great income to Finfinnee city administration.
7. Impact on Natural Resource and Environment: As the result of the plan, there will be overspread ground and surface water pollution. In addition, there will be severe deforestation and natural resource depletion.
8. Cutting Oromia into East and West Regions: The new Master Plan of Finfinne city will cut the current Oromia into two parts i.e. Eastern and Western. This is because the Central and great part of Oromia is proposed to be taken and incorporated into Finfinnee. Hence, the Central part that joins East and West will be taken.
D. What Should be done to Save the Oromo People around Finfinnee
As shown above, the master plan is so disadvantage for Oromia. In general, if we see the plan, it will affect local Oromo people in various aspects. However, the government who is supposed to represent the Oromo people is unable to see the danger. So we kindly ask the Oromos at home and Diaspora and other concerned bodies to forward ways and mechanisms to stop the intended plan. We ask the Oromo people and international communities, who will stand for the Oromo’s living around Finfinnee??
If we read an honest history of the present and past Governments of Ethiopia, we would conclude that the present Government is truly facing a difficult dilemma. At the dawn of the 21st century, we can neither run away from ourselves nor hide our realities. We have to face our generation and the historical realities of our time. It is undeniable that today, people demand respect for their human and national rights. Above all, people will not rest until their identity and their sovereignty over what is theirs is ensured. These are the peoples’ most burning issues. They realize that they have to make utmost effort of their own. It is within the context of the above-mentioned framework that the Oromo people resolutely demand their rights and freedom. It is to those who want to deny the rights and freedoms of the people that we are most bitterly opposed. It is a crime to deny the national identity and sovereignty of a people no matter how sophisticated the tactics used to do so. It is equally wrong to see the national desire of a people from a selfish perspective. It is based on the above concepts and precepts that the Oromo people continue their unceasing and bitter struggle against being treated as second class citizens. We know that our struggle is just for it is motivated by our desire to preserve our dignity and identity as a people.
We, the sons and daughters of the Oromo people, strenuously oppose the implementation of new Master Plan for Finfinne administration because we fully understand the historical development of the desire of other people to displace the Oromo people in order to benefit the non-Oromo new comers and their lackeys in this country. This highly orchestrated conspiracy, the present Oromo generation shall not tolerate at any cost. It will steadfastly and resolutely resist the conspiracy.
We also request international communities to put pressure on FDRE/TPLF Government and Finfinnee City Administration to stop the proposed Master Plan, which directly or indirectly harm the Oromo people.
We call on the Federal Government of Ethiopia, House of Peoples’ Representatives, the Federation Council, the Oromia Council to stop clearing Oromo people from their home Land in the name of inequitable Development and replacing others on their land.
Please generate comments as many as possible on what should be done about the plan.
May Waaq Gurraacha help us!
From: Sabbontoota Oromoo, Oromia.
We are always Oromo First!!!!
Sabbontoota Oromo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ethiopia: Raya under destruction
Raya refers a tract of land stretching from Ala wuha in the south to Alaje in the north. That is bigger than Adwa and Axum awrajas combined. Historically, this is where the Weyane rebellion started in 1928 as a spontaneous reaction to a repressive system of the time. Originating in their present day Kobo wereda, the revolt would quickly spread to cover the entire Raya and Wejerat provinces. Later, the inhabitants of Enderta joined the revolt and a sort of quasi-organized alliance was formed after a decade of Raya and Wejerat rebellion. This alliance, Weyane, would emerge so potent that by its heyday it practically liberated the provinces of Raya, Wejerat and Enderta. The imperial government with the support of British Air force resorted to aerial bombardment of the rebel held areas which caused a wide-spread damage, including complete erasure of villages. However, the most detrimental factor that actually caused the demise of Weyane was to come from none other than Adwa people. In 1943, Dejazmach Gebrehiwot Meshesha along with a dozen of Adwans exploited the trust vested on them to assassinate the leaders of the Weyane movement. This is significant for in the Ethiopian tradition, at least until then, if one manages to kill the leader one will win the battle. Meshesha and co. breach of the traditional trust and value was so venomous that even to this date mistrust and resentment runs high in Raya. It is to be noted that if not for Meshesha of Adwa, the people were in a very strong bargaining position and if one has to look how similar revolts in Bale and other regions were resolved, the rebels demand for better governance was within reach. As a thank you for their contribution, Meshesha and his fellow Adwans were rewarded heavily by Haileselasse while a series of punitive attacks continued on the ‘originators’ of Weyane and ultimately Raya was divided between Wollo and Tigray.
When the TPLF started the armed insurrection in Ethiopia, it took little time to transform itself as an Adwa-only club by the same inherited act of treachery. The legacy of resentment that Meshesha and co. left means TPLF-Adwa had hard time to set foot in Raya. Hence, they needed to come up with a trick and did it so by cosmetically inserting the word Weyane in the Tigrigna version of its name. Taken with the harsher realities under DERG, Rayans reluctantly sided with TPLF on the principle of the lesser devil. Soon, tens of thousands of Raya youth joined the TPLF, including forming the majority and the backbone of Hadush “Hayelom” Ariaya’s fighting force that brought the little known“Hayelom” into prominence. However, if the experience of my village is anything, it is fair to conclude that almost all the Raya recruits ended up as cannon fodders. Those who survived, especially the independent and rational ones, would have never escaped the Meles-Sebhat death squad. In Raya, for example, it is not uncommon to talk to your relative TPLF fighter over the phone in the morning only to be notified of his death of “natural” consequences on the same day. I will say more on the motives next time. But for now, I want to draw your attention to the following Table, which is taken from the 1994 and 2007 population census of Ethiopia. I think this illustrates how the Raya and Adwa are faring under the TPLF-Adwa administration.
Clearly, 7 towns (Robit, Gobiye, Waja, Mersa, Korem, Wedisemro, Chelena) of Raya from the total 11, i.e., 64% of the town that existed in the 1994 Census Ethiopia have died or are dying. Well, with Adwa awraja towns the figures show a hard-to-believe growth registering as ridiculous as 1033% for Gerhusenay, Idegaarbi(377%), Nebelet(266%); even noticeable is the emergence of a novel city (Diobdibo) in the 2007 census, attesting to the developmental and modernization campaigns in Adwa rural areas as well. The bar graph of the rate at which towns are expanding (Adwa) or shrinking (Raya) shown below can only be a proof that in the so-called Tigray “killil” both, depending on the area, de-constructive and constructive policies are in operation. To the unsuspecting, it may occur that this might have to do with the pre-1991 TPLF bandit caused civil war. However, it is not quite so for, for instance, there was no single bomb that was dropped on Adwa towns nor was a confrontation in populated areas in the entire Adwa awraja. There was insignificant causality as far as the civilian population of Adwa is concerned for the TPLF military engagement tactic in Adwa/Axum area was totally different from the rest awrajas. For example, Korem town alone might have received far more arial bombardment than the entire Adwa awraja. From SehulMikael (the Godfather of Ethiopia’s disintegration), to Meshesha-Sebhat-Meles-Sebhat(again), there exist very little dissimilarity.Right now, Alamata, the only remaining city not to die fast enough as Adwans would have liked to see, is under open destruction. The residents never complained on the absence of developmental activity but never expected that the Adwa administration of the city will come-up with a destruction agenda. Surprised by the revelation, the unsuspecting residents went to Mekelle to air their grievances in the hope that the big men there might be rational and take proper action. However, Abay Woldu’s administration did not give it a second to listen; just ordered more Bulldozers, armored tanks and a battalion to effectively carry out the planned destruction. Worse, those who complained the demolishing of their belonging are rounded-up and now languish in Adwa operated secret Tigrayan jails
- Central Statistical Authority Ethiopia: The 1994 populaion and Housing Census of Ethiopia. Results for Tigray region, Volume 1, Statistical report.Table 2.2, Page 11
- Central Statistical Authority Ethiopia: The 1994 populaion and Housing Census of Ethiopia. Results for Amhara Region, Volume 1, Statistical report.Table 2.2, Page 13
- The 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Statistical Report for Tigray Region, Table 2.1, page 7
- The 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Statistical Report for Amhara Region, Table 2.2, page 11