By Bakalcho Barii
It has been over one and a quarter of a century ago when the proud and an exemplary Oromo Gada System and their egalitarian way of life, where everything under the sun is the works of the creator ( the Waqaa), and deserve fair and equal treatment before the law was banned and replaced by a barbaric and authoritarian rule of the Abyssinians. It took only forty odd years for the Oromos to re-claim some of these lost cultures, language, history under the pan-Oromo Nationalism spear-headed by the Oromo Liberation Front.
We heard and witnessed when the Abyssinian rulers unashamedly told us their culture and language is superior to the Oromo culture and language, and speaking Afaan Oromo is the sign of backwardness and uncivilized people. They went as far as saying “Afaan Oromo” the third widely spoken in Africa cannot be used as a medium of commination because quote “ If used in broadcasting, Afaan Oromo damages the radio or television waves” .
We owe much to the Mecha-Tulama Association founders, and the brave Oromo scholars such as Sheik Bakiri Sapaloo, Haile Fida, Terfa Dibaba, Dr Tilahun Gamtaa, Ibsa Gutuma , and many dedicated Oromo elders, Women , and the entire OLF leaders, past and present in the renaissance of the Oromo language and culture.
The main aim of my writing is not to pay due where it deserves but to say something about the recent all-out war and public campaign against the Oromo Media Network (OMN) from within and without. As a citizen and proud Oromo, I want to express my unhappiness and our failure as a nation to learn the Gada system of conflict resolution methods, and in this case took our internal issue to the public. When things burst into the public sphere, it will only widen our wounds and , and each group ( the two warring parties) make every attempt to prosecute their case not in front of a jury but in the eyes and ears of a public opinion, the outcome of such case would be very partisan and negative.
After listening to these individuals and the few media outlets that waged very negative campaign in the name of lack of transparency and accountability in the OMN structure, reminded me of one of Eleanor Roosevelt quotes, which states “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”.
The Oromo Media Network is a young Organization less than a year old, and we are not yet even near close to throw the baby out of the water, and throw those individuals who sacrificed their time and energy for the realization of this media organization under the bus. To come out and wage an all out war in the name of transparency and accountability, and failing to solve whether big or small issue(s) as an internal matter is like demanding a new born baby to run before he/she learns how to walk, and all former and current OMN board members did to me is untimely, immature, and at best reckless. Reckless in a sense, how many of us understand the negative campaign we are conducting will always benefits our enemy camps. Both Abyssinian camps are throwing every mud and spending millions of dollars to either hijack OMN for their own mission or to destroy it because our adversaries understood long time ago the role of media and its impact as psychological warfare.
Let’s not rush to throw the people working tirelessly on OMN under the bus because we disagree with them. Let’s go back to our roots and read or ask in what ways our forefathers used to resolve internal conflicts by employing “Safuu”. Our forefathers practiced any conflicts within their community using “Safuu” AND “Dubbiin habultuu” for the sake of their community harmony.
Any Organization, including the Oromo Media Network (OMN) should be criticized but any criticism must be on how to make it stronger and better so that it can serve and expose a century old human, economic, social, psychological, environmental genocide the TPLF regime is committing on our people. OMN on its part has a major role in rallying the Oromo mass, raise awareness on the above mentioned injustices on our people, scrutinize Oromo Organizations so that they protect and defend Oromo interests.
OMN has a great platform and opportunity to present and document the human rights violations past and present Abyssinian regimes have had committed and committing at this very minutes.
The opportunities for OMN as a Global Oromo media Organization is limitless, including portraying the histories of those men and women who were dead but larger than life and their contribution for the Oromo struggle to inspire the new generations of Oromos to follow in their foot–steps and also, those who survived the torture and humiliations perpetuated upon them by our enemies.
Let’s hear and document and pass on the history, biography and lives of past and living legends of extraordinary Oromos such as General Tadese Biru, Magarsa Bari, Amboma Mitiku, Genral Waqo Gutu, Mamo Mazimir, Elemo Qilxu, Milkesa Gada, Galassa Dilbo, Gutama Hawas, Negasa Tumsa, Nadi Gamada Lydia Nemara and many thousands, who were selfless and sacrificed their precious lives so that their people live in peace and dignity and re-claim their past glories and re-write their own history and destiny. Let’s the histories and biographies of our past and current heroes and heroines be told, re-told and passed on the current and future generations so that our heroes and heroines dream of a free Oromia shall be realized by current or future generations.
Finally, we are in processes of nation building and media plays a huge role in shaping the attitudes of our people towards that journey. OMN is the fruits of a century old Oromo struggle and all those who made for the realization of it deserve due respect but we are not even half way in that nation building projects.
May the Waqaa help us as a people who work towards realizing the dream and aspirations of our heroes and heroines.