Oduu Haaraya

Is a Pragmatic, Inclusive and Smart Oromo National Liberation Organization Yet to Emerge?

As we all know, there were a lot of Oromo organizations formed to struggle for national freedom since many decades ago. Their hitherto ideolgies and visions can be categorized in to three: a multi-national federation (shared rule of Great Oromia with self rule of Golden Oromia); an independent state (Gadaa republic of Golden Oromia)' and a multi-regional federation (shared rule of Great Oromia without self rule of Golden Oromia, but with self rule of Oromia’s six or more traditional regions);. The first generation of the liberation movement took only one of the first two goals as their vision (that is why they claim to be arrab-tokkee = single toungued = “principled”); the second generation used both of the first visions as alternative goals (thus called arrab-lamee = double tounged); but there is not yet one organization, which tried/tries to accomodate or entertain the three objectives (to be arrab-sadee = triple tounged = accomodative and inclusive). The Oromo liberation struggle is part and parcel of the liberation movement of the Cushitic nations in the Horn of Africa against the alien forces of colonization, exploitation and domination in the last 3000 years. These Cushitic nations are actually called Oromota in the Macaafa Qulqullu (Bible in Afaan Oromo), the word which describes the non-Semetics, who did influence the ancient Egypt and ancient Israel. Oromota were known as the people of Cush or lately renamed by the Greeks as the people of Ethiopia (land of the burnt faces). As some part of the Cushland later became under the Semetic influence, the Cushites took the authoritarian culture of these alien forces and became Abyssinia, the name given to them by the Portuguese; and it means the ‘land of mixed.’ Actually, the Cushitic nations are neither “mixed” nor burnt, but they are the brave Cushitic Oromota.

Just leaving the ancient history of the Cushites for the interested historians, let’s look at their recent liberation struggle since the 14th century, at which time the Europeans came to Cushland and tried to manipulate one Cushitic group against the other. They described the Abyssinized part of Cushland as a superior Semetic Christians, and the other Cushitic nations, including the major part of the Oromo, as the “inferior pagans.” There was an attempt to subjugate the free Cushitic nations of the area by using the Abyssinized part as an instrument. The so called ‘the 16th century Oromo migration’ was in reality a successful Oromo liberation movement, which defended the national sovereignty of the Oromo people from these Europeans, who tried to use the Abyssinized nations in the north, and from the Ottoman Turks, who tried to use the Arabinized nations in the east. Since then, there is a struggle between the Oromians and the Abyssinians (the Abyssinized Cushites, who denied their own Cushitic base and identified themselves with the Semetic Solomon dynasty). The Abyssinans are actually the Cushitic ABASO (the Afar, Beja, Agew, Saho and Oromo), who lost their own culture and language to become firstly the speakers of the Ge’ez and now the speakers of Tigre, Amharinya and Tigrinya. They are also known or named as Abesha (Habesha).

The worst part of the struggle between the Abaso and the Oromo was during the 19th century’s movement of colonization, which was coordinated and led by Europeans during their scramble for Africa after the decision of the notorious Berlin conference. The Abyssinian King Menilik managed to get help from the Europeans so that he could subjugate the gallant Cushitic (non-Abyssinized) Oromo warriors. After this defeat, the Oromo and the other Cushites fell under the brutal political influence of the Abyssinized elites with authoritarian culture and mentality. Since then, the Oromo nation, in particular, is in a liberation struggle against the Abaso domination – the struggle consolidated itself later in a form of a freedom fighting being led by a liberation front called the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which was started in the 1960′s in parallel with the famous ESM (Ethiopian Students Movement). The first name of the Oromo liberation movement was ENLF (Ethiopian National Liberation Movement), showing the inclusive nature of the Oromo movement, lately changed to OLF, in order to emphasize the necessity of the liberation of the people, who are oppressed and exploited just for being Oromo. The OLF has got popularity among the Oromo people, and it evolves according to the objective reality of the Oromo nation. Based on this evolution, in short, there is, nowadays, a liberation movement of three generations, which are conflicting as well as cooperating with each other. Unfortunately, sometimes their conflict is stronger than their cooperation such that the Oromo liberation struggle seems to be in a sort of a gridlock.

We know that the first-generation started the struggle in 1969 as Oromo’s national existence was in danger, thus the only one original goal was ‘freedom of the Oromo with an independent Golden Oromia,’ the goal which was raised out of necessity, and which is still mandatory; or freedom of the Oromo within an integrative Great Oromia, which is usually known as Ethiopian democratization. Then came the second-generation in 1991, after securing the existence of the Oromo and Oromia, suggesting to accomodate both the independence goal and the additional alternative goal – ‘freedom of the Oromo with a possible union of free nations in the form of Golden Oromia’s self-rule with Great Oromia’s shared rule’. This generation was ready to work with the Tigrinyaa-speaking Abaso elites, for they at least formally accepted this concept of the ‘union of free nations.’ Unfortunately, the Tigrinyaa-speaking Abaso elites denied us this right of free nations, after consolidating their power in Finfinne palace. Yet the third-generation is to emerge with a full confidence to use the three alternatives and liberate, not only the Oromo people, but also all the oppressed Cushites and the non-Cushites in the region; the additional third alternative being an integrative Great Oromia with self-rule of Golden Oromia’s traditional regions (Odaa-Bisil, -Bulluqi, -Bultum, -Gaarres, -Makodi, -Nabee and -Roobaa), not necessarily self-rule of Golden Oromia as a unified state'. 

The third-generation also has to believe in Golden Oromia, which includes all the Oromo people living in the area from the northern tip of lake Hashange to the southern tip of the sea port Lamu of the Indian Ocean. It should consider this Oromia as a core of the Cushland/Great Oromia extending from southern Egypt to Tanzania, as Obbo Boruu Barraaqaa put it well in one of his articles: http://gadaa.com/oduu/10224/2011/07/26/ … -ethiopia/ . To be more pragmatic, inclusive and smart, the latest generation need to be even ready to break the hitherto taboo of the Oromo nationalists and try to work with the Amharinya-speaking Abaso elites, who are traditionally against the right of nations to self-determination because of the fact that every pro-democracy and pro-freedom movement is de facto alliance of the Oromo national liberation struggle. Even though we do now see the different generations of the Oromo liberation movement with different approaches in the Oromo uprising, the reality on the ground is that, for the struggle to move forwards, the imperative unity of purpose among all the three generations is very necessary. From the three visions, the multi-national federation is most likely feasible; an independent Golden Oromia is conditionally feasible (if Oromo people want to push further and vote for it); and the multi-regional federation; is most unlikely feasible, for the structure of the currently existing pseudo-federation is almost irreversible. Despite this irreversibility, we need to support the most vocal advocators of the multi-regional federation as long as they fight against the Woyane, for their move de facto promotes the liberation struggle of the Oromo people.The accomodative three visions of the yet to emerge third generation Oromo individuals and organizations can be summarized as self rule of Golden Oromia and/or shared rule of Great Oromia&.

If the future rule of the political game in the region will be freedom and democracy, considering Great Oromia be the same to Cushitic Ethiopia is not against the interest of the Oromo people, who can have the upper hand in the integrated future Great Oromia, where Afaan Oromo will be the federal language. Thus, the move of this third-generation, having three alternative goals in mind, seems to be pragmatic, inclusive and smart. Therefore, the current Qeerroo movement against the Woyane (against the current oppressive Abaso elites), which is inclusive of all the oppressed nations is really commendable. The common denominator of all the three generations is ‘freedom of the Oromo,’ even if the three movements can be different in their vision regarding the type of Oromia’s sovereignity, we, as a nation, can forge in the future and which type will prevail can be decided per referendum on the three options. That is why, as long as anyone is not against this concept of ‘freedom of the Oromo,’ his/her move to democratize Great Oromia using the Gadaa principle is not bad. This can be a nice move towards the position of the third-generation with its additional goal of transforming the Abyssinized Ethiopia, which up to now oppressed Oromummaa (Oromo nationalism), to an emancipated Great Oromia, where Oromummaa will flourish unrestrictedly.

Being a citizen of such Great Oromia is not against the concept of Oromummaa, but, surely, it is against the notion of Abyssiniyawinnet or Abeshaannet. Oromummaa is a symbol for equality (egalitarian society), democracy (Gadaa), freedom, and justice. It is an antidote against Abyssinianism (usually masked as Ethiopiawinnet), which is characterized by authoritarianism, dictatorship (hegemony), oppression and injustice. That is why any political group struggling for the above mentioned values of Oromummaa can be considered as part of the Oromo liberation movement. Then, we can see why the move of the third-generation, who are also active within the so called “multi-national” parties and even in the notoriously anti-OLF parties, is pragmatic and beneficial. The Oromo liberation movement has already compelled the Abyssinized elites in such organizations to believe in freedom and democracy (both being main elements of the Gadaa principle), thus to do the bidding of the Oromo libertion movement. That is why the future inclusive approach of the third-generation in forging an all-inclusive alliance against the oppressive Woyane need to be commended. Only the Woyane and the very few nostalgic Abaso feudal warlords, who still salivate for the comeback to rule over the Oromo and other oppressed nations, are against this smart move of the third-generation. I personally do appreciate such common struggle of all the Cushites and the non-Cushitic nations in the region in order to realize the new common home, Great Oromia.

I think we, the Oromo nationals, need to support all the three generations and persuade them to coordinate their move. The first-generation has done its best till 1991, at the time, when the ‘unconditional independence of Oromia’ was very mandatory. The second-generation used the opportunity to cooperate with other oppressed nations of the region, including with the Tigirinya-speaking Abaso, who were under the oppression of the Amharinya-speaking Abaso, so that we achieved partial cultural autonomy for the Oromo people. Now, the third-generation has to emerge and then break the taboo in order to work with the old archenemy, i.e. with the Amharinyaa-speaking Abaso, who are now suffering themselves under the subjugation of the currently ruling Tigrinyaa-speaking Abaso elites. The move of these Amharinya-speaking Abaso elites to struggle for freedom and democracy is in harmony with the approach of the third-generation. This generation has to understood the fact that, if the rule of the game in the political community of the region will really be freedom and democracy, the Oromo people do have nothing to lose, be it the type of the future sovereignty we choose per referendum will be ‘an integrative Great Oromia devoid of Golden Oromia’ or ‘an independent Golden Oromia within an integrated Great Oromia’ or ‘an independent Golden Oromia without Great Oromia – i.e Gadaa Republic of Golden Oromia.’ Thus, I do just encourage the first- and the second-generation to have a genuine insight about this future emerging move of the third-generation and to try not to oppose the pragmatic and smart move, even if they can not support it. Long live the Oromo national liberation movement with only one goal of reedom, but with the three possible outcomes of the óbjective regarding the type of Oromia’s sovereignity.


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