The Oromo Leadership Convention and the Future of Ethiopia

ezkiel
A Reply to Tedla Woldeyohanes’s Plea for Clarity
By Ezekiel Gebissa
Questions about Oromo loyalty to Ethiopia persist though they are stale, condescending and meaningless.  The sort of questions that Tedla raises have been litigated for nearly three decades. The issue of secession, for instance, was basically settled when federalism was chosen as a solution and secession was enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution as a right in principle. For those who have remained in the mindset of the ancient regime, however, all Oromo political moves, even a call for a convention, must be scrutinized for some hidden desire for secession.  To be sure, no one Ethiopian group has the moral authority to administer the litmus test of loyalty to Ethiopia. It is unfathomable that Oromos have to answer such questions especially in the wake of what the sacrifices of generation of Oromo to liberate Ethiopia from tyrannical rule.

By responding to these questions, I am not respecting them. But I respect the spirit of dialogue in which Tedla Woldeyohannes raised them.  He did not indict anyone or besmirch anyone’s reputation. His was a plea for clarity. It is the kind of civility that befits the moment and it bodes well for the kind of dialogue we need at this critical point in time in our history. I commend him for his contribution to civil discussion. Let me try as best as I can to respond to his relevant queries.

Question #1: What does “Oromo nationhood” mean? Denying the existence of an Oromo nation was a mission of a succession of Ethiopian ruling elites, including historians of great repute. Under the policy of assimilation of the imperial period, it made sense to deny the existence of the Oromo as a distinct nation. The Oromo of Harer were called Qottuu; the southern Oromo as the Borana of Sidamo. The Oromo in Shewa were often portrayed as Amhara.   The Wallaga Oromo were said to have nothing in common with the Arsi. One historian summed it up: “the Oromo don’t have corporate history.” The conclusion is that the Oromo don’t belong to the same ethno-national group.
In addition to dividing along lines of region and lineage, assimilating the Oromo also meant denying the existence of the Oromo as a people. Until 1974, the Oromo were referred to as Galla, not Oromo. The schools foisted this charade on generations of students, including Oromos who were forced to reject their true self-designation fearing cultural alienation and other forms of retribution. So Oromo endured a culture of dehumanization encapsulated in offensive Amharic clichés. Mohammed Hassen summarizes them as follows.
In the eyes of many Ethiopians, as Donald Donham keenly observed, the “Galla were pagans. They were uncivilized. Ye Galla chewa ye gomen choma yellem (it is impossible to find a Galla gentleman as it is to find fat in greens) or again Galla inna shinfilla biyatbutim aytera (even if you wash them, stomach lining and a Galla will never come clean).” In one Amharic expression, Oromos were equated with human feces: “Gallana sagara eyadar yegamal” (Galla and human feces stink more every passing day). In another, even Oromo humanity was questioned: “Saw naw Galla?” (Is it human or Galla?).
The Galla reference was a mechanism of “othering,” an instrument of sociocultural denigration and psychological dehumanization of the Oromo.   The Oromo nation has survived the onslaught of assimilation and imperial domination. In the last four decades, Oromo has become the accepted designation though only a decade ago someone published a book insisting that Galla is the proper desigination.  The Oromo believe they have overcome the denial, denigration and dehumanization of the past.  The Ethiopian Constitution refers to the Oromo as a nation.  The Oromo nation has always been a nation. It has reclaimed its status today. We just have to get used to it.
Question #2: What does it mean Oromo is a great African nation? Is the Oromo a nation as other African nations? It should not sound strange to state that the Oromo are indeed “a great African nation.” Oromo is great, African and a nation.  Implicit in the query is a suspicion that the reference to the Oromo as a nation presages a claim to statehood.  To be sure, it takes a great a great deal of courage to even raise such a patronizing question.  Who is more Ethiopian than any other group to administer the test of Ethiopianess?
Oromo has always been a great nation. The French traveler Antoine d’Abbadi, a traveler known for his meticulous mapping of the region from Massawa to Kafa in the second half of the nineteenth century, described the Oromo as “a great African nation” in an article he published in 1882. Martial de Salviac also repeated the same description in his book title: An ancient people, Great African nation: The Oromo (1902). In today’s parlance, Oromo is a great nation. The young Oromo generation has made a compelling case for the reinstatement of the historic reference.
Where there Oromo state in the past? When Antoine d’Abbadie crossed the Blue Nile in the 1840s, he encountered a gadaa republic at Odaa Buluq in Gudru. As he travelled south, he came across five Oromo kingdoms known as the Gibe States: Limmu, Gera, Gomaa, Guma and Jimma. These were independent kingdoms that governed themselves, later made tributaries and eventually conquered by the Kingdom of Shewa. Other travelers encountered Oromo gadaa republics everywhere in the rest of Oromia, at Odaa Hule, Odaa Robba, Odaa Bultum, Mae Bokku, and Gummi Gayyoo and so on. That is the history of the Oromo kingdoms and republics, and that is how Oromo custodians of knowledge (argaa dhageetii) have documented it orally. Learning this history or argaa dhageetii (what is seen and heard) is part of being socialized into being Oromo. No text book history can erase or falsify this history. Fortunately, young Oromo scholars have also documented this history with competence and finesse.  Some people just don’t want to believe it.
The writer asks for the locational map of these Oromo entities. On a regular map, the kingdoms emerged in the region that is modern southwestern Ethiopia, to the west of the Gibe and Omo Rivers, and north of the Gojeb. The republics were all over today’s Oromia. I surmise that the question about a unified Oromia independent state in the past. This too is a tired question. Oromo historians have documented the unity of the gadaa republics as all paid homage to the Abba Muudaa at Madda Walaabuu every eight years. These historians are loyal to the cannons of historiography. Their documentation is no less valid than those who claim an exceptional epistemological authority to judge which history is authentic. History is a matter of interpretation. We can debate any one interpretation endlessly. We must muster the courage disagree on interpretations of Ethiopian history and agree on living in the future.
In the present context, self-governing means that the present Oromia Regional State, nominally self-governing today, will be truly self-governing in the future. Oromo politicians have championed the idea of self-rule regionally and shared rule nationally for quite some time now. Apparently, it never sinks in.
Question # 3: Does national liberation have the same meaning then and now? The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) adopted a political program in 1976 in which the idea of liberation was enunciated.  Since then a lot has happened and a lot has changed. It looks like some “analysts” are scrutinizing for ways to find reasons to indict the OLF. At the moment, it is not clear which OLF is still promoting the idea of “total independence.”  Over the last half century, the OLF has splintered into several factions. The Oromo Democratic Front (ODF), for instance, has a new political program that doesn’t mention total independence.
In raising it again, Tedla has pulled from a time capsule a question that was asked in 1991. It is the same allegation that the TPLF is spewing today to separate and destroy the opposition against it, which is expressed in recent Amhara-Oromo solidarity. Lumping all Oromo political parties and scrutinizing their statements to find a subterranean meaning, a “hidden agenda,” serves no purpose other than stereotyping a whole group as perpetual iconoclasts.
What is inscrutable is the fact that the idea of self-identification, self-reliance and self-rule that the OLF planted among the Oromo has grown to the sentiment of “national liberation” expressed by the #OromoProtests. The #OromoProtests has been a national drama unfolding before the entire world.  Reasonable people know the demands of the present Oromo revolution.  They don’t torment them with the same question they asked of their predecessors.
Still the idea that the “old” OLF has always been for nothing but secession is an urban legend that never goes away.  The OLF was never wedded to only one avenue of solving the Oromo question. Let me support my case by quoting OLF leaders. First, a speechdelivered by Galasa Dilbo, the former Secretary of the OLF, at the Mesqel Square in 1991 *1992, right?
Today this public assembly affirms that the Oromo nation stands for peace and democracy. It shows that the people are committed to this struggle until its goals are achieved. It wouldn’t be a misstatement to assert today that, because of the unity and freedom of the mind the people have achieved, the Oromo struggle has moved on to a new phase. For the Oromo Liberation Front, this public assembly attests the Oromo are peaceful people. Moreover, it shows that their demands are similar to those of the other oppressed people of Ethiopia. We express our solidarity with them. ….
The OLF has a message for the non-Oromo people of Ethiopia. Our struggle is directed against an oppressive system and it has never harbored hatred for any group of people. Whatever it is yesterday and or today, it has never been our intention to harm the non-Oromo people who live in Oromia. We struggle with you hand in hand to make sure that our rights and your rights are respected. Non Oromos among us have nothing to fear from the Oromo people or from the Oromo struggle.
The OLF has a message for the International Community. We need a stable democracy. We are aware that we have formidable challenges. We don’t have any time to waste. The OLF and the Oromo people do not backtrack from our commitment from working for achieving reliable peace and durable democracy. 
 
Elsewhere I have written about the issue of the OLF and the charge of secession as follows:
In a testimony of April 8, 1992 before the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Taha A. Abdi, member of the OLF Central Committee, asserted that the fall of the Derg created “an opportunity to democratize, transform and create a new Ethiopia in which the equal enjoyment of civil, economic and political rights of all the people are assured, where freedom of expression and religion are guaranteed and above all in which the supremacy of the rule of law will be established. … There is no alternative to the democratization of Ethiopia.” Leenco Lata, former deputy secretary general of the OLF, has written a whole book explaining why democratization is the only viable recourse for both the Oromo and other peoples of Ethiopia. In The Ethiopian State at the Crossroads: Decolonization & Democratization or Disintegration he asserts that, without genuine democratization and federalization, the Ethiopian state cannot escape another round of bloodbath and likely disintegration.
This position is not a matter of politicians seeking expediency. In his “Ethiopia: Missed Opportunities for Peaceful Democratic Process,” Mohammed Hassen had stated: “As an optimist who believes in the unity of free people in a free country, I have an undying dream that one day the Oromo, the Amhara, and Tigrai, and other peoples of Ethiopia will be able to establish a democratic federal system. To me only a genuine federal arrangement offers a better prospect for the future of Ethiopia.” Mohammed also states that only democratization could transform the Ethiopian state from one dominated by one ethnic group into a state of all citizens. (Full article)
It is clear that even OLF isn’t wedded to the idea of secession. In my assessement, the OLF won that battle in 1995. It is OLF’s opponents who are committed to pinning the tag of secession on the OLF. In the last year, the #OromoProtests have demanded and died for their citizens’ rights to be respected. If the blood they spilled to defend democracy, genuine federalism and constitutional rule isn’t sufficient to alley the fear of Oromo imputed secessionism, my purely didactic presentation will not change any mind. But I have offered it for what it’s worth.
Question # 4. Who colonized Oromo nation and how does Oromo relate to the colonizer?
The question of internal colonialism has been a subject of academic debates since the mid-1980s. In Ethiopian studies, the pertinent themes were outlined and discussed in several essays in The Southern Marches of Imperial Ethiopia edited Donald Donham first published in 1986. The eminent sociologist Donald Levine describes the two sides as the “colonialist narrative” and the “nationalist narrative.”  These means the debate has ended in interpretive disagreement.  A generation of students in Oromia and other regions have up grown up learning the “colonialist narrative” version over the objections of the advocates of the “nationalist narrative.” This is a settled issue to need any explanation. It is even pointless to ask for one.  The only remaining issue of interest her academic curiosity that sometimes has the characteristics of debating the number of angels that can dance on a head of a pin.
It seems that Tedla doesn’t have much problem with the intent of the Leadership Convention if it was meant to issue documents that will affirm Oromo unity on the basis of the Oromo gadaa principles and state in broader terms Oromo aspirations. But he finds it difficult to accept idea when he connects several dots in the opening paragraph with the goals of the Convention. The outlines of the documents that the convention hopes to endorse are clear. For now, let’s respect the right of Oromos to come together for a conversation on crucial issues that affect our people.
Within the Oromo community, there are different political positions. We would like to arrive at an overall consensus regarding the future of the Oromo nation. Other political communities in Ethiopia should also do the same. For those who despise “ethnic politics,” what the Oromo are trying to do for themselves as a political community is quite deplorable.  They view these efforts as an active engagement in breaking up Ethiopia. On that issue, we disagree. Oromos have always been affirmative builders. That is the next level of consensus that Ethiopians need to have.
The writer, Ezekiel Gebissa, is professor of history at Kettering University, Flint, MI

0 Comments

  1. I am a 38 years old person. Since I have known myself and my environment, I have never and ever heard such offensive stereotypes. I am sorry to say it, I really despise those older generations. I respect the writer. He is a great academician. However, I did not get the relevance to current young generation, who believe in freedom and equality and justice and a democratic system and peaceful, mutual coexistence in unity.
    Feeling disgusted by the savage rhetoric and stereotype, I have to wait and see how the Oromo politicians exploit to the advantage of their elite agenda a goal. I am pretty sure they will understand the current new generation is different from the old one and very conscientious to human dignity.
    I hope any position or decision, wound not be used to punish those young, bright and fearless young Ethiopians, at this moment, fighting tyranny.

  2. I am a 38 years old person. Since I have known myself and my environment, I have never and ever heard such offensive stereotypes. I am sorry to say it, I really despise those older generations. I respect the writer. He is a great academician. However, I did not get the relevance to current young generation, who believe in freedom and equality and justice and a democratic system and peaceful, mutual coexistence in unity.
    Feeling disgusted by the savage rhetoric and stereotype, I have to wait and see how the Oromo politicians exploit to the advantage of their elite agenda a goal. I am pretty sure they will understand the current new generation is different from the old one and very conscientious to human dignity.
    I hope any position or decision, wound not be used to punish those young, bright and fearless young Ethiopians, at this moment, fighting tyranny.

  3. Wow! Wow!!! All I can say is wow!!! The next thing we should expect to hear is African Americans should form an army because some white folks had used derogatory terms to define them. Better yet, Quebecans should began an armed insurrection because some English speaking Canadians have called them repulsive names coined just for Latins. Wait a minute…. If I tell my Amhara brothers and sisters Jimma Oromos they called them as ‘Sidamas’ or some Ziad Barre’s Somalis called as ‘Gudelas’, they have the right to start army to liberate them from such name calling. Now using the terms ‘Sidamas’ and ‘Gudelas’ has even more two edged ramifications. It is abundantly clear that our Sidama and Gudela brothers and sisters are utterly offended have the right to form an army to fight Jimma Oromos and Somalis in Somalia. I have not even mentioned what some of my own Itu Oromos describe my Amhara brothers and sisters. Now you see the vicious cycle. Hello Billy Wilder, Please rise up because I need your help. ‘I am just a writer but then nobody is perfect’.
    This professor is pocking at an old and healing wound. It shows individuals like him are suffering from a serious bout of self doubt. Such affliction has reached fever pitch on him that it is becoming a complex. What is the perfect solution for such individuals? To go it all alone with no sight of those who were calling him such derogatory terms. To him and his gangs every Amhara brother and sister still defines him in such degrading terms. Grand and the only solution? Carve out Oromia and take it to Mars or some far away places in the universe where such vile name calling will not be heard. He can’t keep Oromos safe from being called as such if Oromia stays at its current location because that rowdy Gojjame can still be heard calling Oromos all those pejorative names just by standing on the other side of the Nile River with a bull horn. Mind you that very Gojjame has been marrying into Oromo families for centuries. I thought their last kings name was Adal whose grandfather was an Oromo. He has to take Oromia to a different galaxy, right? What do you think folks? You see. That is what they use to gather support among the gullible Oromos here in the Diaspora. That is what they talk all day and all the time at their speakeasies. They preach nothing but hatred or something that create hatred towards innocent others.
    Now some of you may ask a legitimate question. Is this professor the best Oromia can produce? The answer is a resounding no. There are plenty of well educated with balanced point of view. But they have been shouted down or slung at with derogatory names every time they try to present a different opinion. They were and will be given humiliating names such as Neo-Gobenas, Amhara Bootlickers, Woyanee trunk coats and all other terms used by Eyal Al Souqs in Cairo or Piccolo Roma. Their voice has been suppressed. I am glad he came out with this response. Now all of you know what is going on behind those close doors. This is my advice to the dear editors of this esteemed website and other media outlets in the Diaspora. You have been doing a noble job of exposing the improprieties of the despotic regime back in the old country. I believe you have done a wonderful job on that one. But for this and that reason you have been very reserved and generous to this kind of deranged individuals who have been spewing around poison among historically harmonious peoples. I can only guess where your hesitation is coming from. You are worried that they may call you a chauvinist or a neftegna media. Believe me to them you are a dead giveaway. You are already just that. But your mission and responsibility is one of the noblest of all. You have to ask him and gangs for interviews and then nail him. Put him on the spot. Ask him questions loaded with a Sunday’s punch. Wind up and give him a bolo punch one, two, three because innocent lives are at stake. Just imagine this professor standing with a bull horn somewhere in Western Haraghe. Just imagine what will be the first thing coming out of his mouth. They have called you this and that. And you know what happened when such poison is thrown up without any restraints. In every society or a given ethnic group there will be considerable number of people who do not possess the sophistication to look through such diatribe. Just imagine the anger it foments!!! Just imagine.

  4. Wow! Wow!!! All I can say is wow!!! The next thing we should expect to hear is African Americans should form an army because some white folks had used derogatory terms to define them. Better yet, Quebecans should began an armed insurrection because some English speaking Canadians have called them repulsive names coined just for Latins. Wait a minute…. If I tell my Amhara brothers and sisters Jimma Oromos they called them as ‘Sidamas’ or some Ziad Barre’s Somalis called as ‘Gudelas’, they have the right to start army to liberate them from such name calling. Now using the terms ‘Sidamas’ and ‘Gudelas’ has even more two edged ramifications. It is abundantly clear that our Sidama and Gudela brothers and sisters are utterly offended have the right to form an army to fight Jimma Oromos and Somalis in Somalia. I have not even mentioned what some of my own Itu Oromos describe my Amhara brothers and sisters. Now you see the vicious cycle. Hello Billy Wilder, Please rise up because I need your help. ‘I am just a writer but then nobody is perfect’.
    This professor is pocking at an old and healing wound. It shows individuals like him are suffering from a serious bout of self doubt. Such affliction has reached fever pitch on him that it is becoming a complex. What is the perfect solution for such individuals? To go it all alone with no sight of those who were calling him such derogatory terms. To him and his gangs every Amhara brother and sister still defines him in such degrading terms. Grand and the only solution? Carve out Oromia and take it to Mars or some far away places in the universe where such vile name calling will not be heard. He can’t keep Oromos safe from being called as such if Oromia stays at its current location because that rowdy Gojjame can still be heard calling Oromos all those pejorative names just by standing on the other side of the Nile River with a bull horn. Mind you that very Gojjame has been marrying into Oromo families for centuries. I thought their last kings name was Adal whose grandfather was an Oromo. He has to take Oromia to a different galaxy, right? What do you think folks? You see. That is what they use to gather support among the gullible Oromos here in the Diaspora. That is what they talk all day and all the time at their speakeasies. They preach nothing but hatred or something that create hatred towards innocent others.
    Now some of you may ask a legitimate question. Is this professor the best Oromia can produce? The answer is a resounding no. There are plenty of well educated with balanced point of view. But they have been shouted down or slung at with derogatory names every time they try to present a different opinion. They were and will be given humiliating names such as Neo-Gobenas, Amhara Bootlickers, Woyanee trunk coats and all other terms used by Eyal Al Souqs in Cairo or Piccolo Roma. Their voice has been suppressed. I am glad he came out with this response. Now all of you know what is going on behind those close doors. This is my advice to the dear editors of this esteemed website and other media outlets in the Diaspora. You have been doing a noble job of exposing the improprieties of the despotic regime back in the old country. I believe you have done a wonderful job on that one. But for this and that reason you have been very reserved and generous to this kind of deranged individuals who have been spewing around poison among historically harmonious peoples. I can only guess where your hesitation is coming from. You are worried that they may call you a chauvinist or a neftegna media. Believe me to them you are a dead giveaway. You are already just that. But your mission and responsibility is one of the noblest of all. You have to ask him and gangs for interviews and then nail him. Put him on the spot. Ask him questions loaded with a Sunday’s punch. Wind up and give him a bolo punch one, two, three because innocent lives are at stake. Just imagine this professor standing with a bull horn somewhere in Western Haraghe. Just imagine what will be the first thing coming out of his mouth. They have called you this and that. And you know what happened when such poison is thrown up without any restraints. In every society or a given ethnic group there will be considerable number of people who do not possess the sophistication to look through such diatribe. Just imagine the anger it foments!!! Just imagine.

  5. shut up and stop your lie and fabrication about oromo colonisation by what you call abbysinia. there has never been such a thing.

  6. shut up and stop your lie and fabrication about oromo colonisation by what you call abbysinia. there has never been such a thing.

  7. Oromo-Ethiopians needs not to Apply nor Request for Citizenship of Ethiopia.
    For Oromos Citizenship is Coined with their blood contrary to TPLFites
    who are the grandsons and granddaughters of Bandas.
    No one has the moral Authority nor Duty to Question Oromos about their Citizenship.
    Bystander are bringing an Old tactic played by TPLF thugs to continue marginalizing Oromos.
    Bystanders are seeding suspicion among people, create confusion, and create chaos to position
    themselves for short cut to Power.
    Their attempt is and will be to throw cold water on OromoRevolution for milestone changes that is about to take place.
    Bystander are Thieves / Looters around the Corner and we Oromos are watching you.
    *ግርግር: ለሌባ: ያመቻል: እንዳሉት*
    *የሚያጠግብ: እንጀራ: ከምጣዱ: ያስታውቃል*
    ከዳር: ቆሞ: የሚጮህ: የሀዝብን: ድል: መሰረቅ: ህልሙ: ነው::
    Say NO To OROMOPHOBIA !!!
    Say NO To Mass Inacarceratios of OROMOS !!!
    Say NO To Mass Killing of OROMOS !!!
    Say NO To TPLF-WOYANE Genocidal Actions !!
    Fight The Evil TPLF-WOYANE
    People FIRST !!!

  8. Oromo-Ethiopians needs not to Apply nor Request for Citizenship of Ethiopia.
    For Oromos Citizenship is Coined with their blood contrary to TPLFites
    who are the grandsons and granddaughters of Bandas.
    No one has the moral Authority nor Duty to Question Oromos about their Citizenship.
    Bystander are bringing an Old tactic played by TPLF thugs to continue marginalizing Oromos.
    Bystanders are seeding suspicion among people, create confusion, and create chaos to position
    themselves for short cut to Power.
    Their attempt is and will be to throw cold water on OromoRevolution for milestone changes that is about to take place.
    Bystander are Thieves / Looters around the Corner and we Oromos are watching you.
    *ግርግር: ለሌባ: ያመቻል: እንዳሉት*
    *የሚያጠግብ: እንጀራ: ከምጣዱ: ያስታውቃል*
    ከዳር: ቆሞ: የሚጮህ: የሀዝብን: ድል: መሰረቅ: ህልሙ: ነው::
    Say NO To OROMOPHOBIA !!!
    Say NO To Mass Inacarceratios of OROMOS !!!
    Say NO To Mass Killing of OROMOS !!!
    Say NO To TPLF-WOYANE Genocidal Actions !!
    Fight The Evil TPLF-WOYANE
    People FIRST !!!

  9. Must be: The Ethiopian Leadership Convention and the Future of Ethiopia: A reply to Ezekiel Gebissa
    I have read Professor Ezekiel Gebissa response to Dr. Tedla Woldeyohaes’s Plea for Clarity dated 20/10/2016 with interest. I would like to challenge the good Professor on the genesis of Oromo history and on the title of his article regardless.
    I have had personal passion of Ethiopian history, and I have spent ten solid years studying Ethiopian history out of my curiosity. This curiosity of Ethiopian history have led me to study not only Ethiopian history, but also the entire history of ancient Egypt, Greek history and Latin. I studied ancient Egyptian history and Greek, Latin History because Ethiopian history is twined with both Ancient Egypt and Greek due to the fact that Greek and Ancient Egypt used to be under Ethiopian domain. I have dug all archives I can find across the world, never came across the name of Oromo or Gala except documented books in Ethiopia and a couple of authors from Europe who spoke of Galas, not Oromo’s.
    In Ethiopian history the Oromo history starts with Oromo migration which most Oromo sclolars dread to talk about or to mention it. I have not managed to get any recorded and written history that refutes the Oromo migration. The Professor himself has failed to educate us about Oromo history except citing European references written by European writers. He said,” Oromo has always been a great nation. The French traveler Antoine d’ Abbadi, a traveler known for his meticulous mapping of the region from Massawa to Kafa in the second half the nineteenth century, described the Oromo as “ a great African nation” in an article he published in 1882. Martial de Salviac also repeated the same description in his book titled : Ancient people, Great African nation: The Oromo ( 1902). In today’s parlance, Oromo is a great nation. The young Oromo generation has made a compellig case for the reinstatment of the historic reference. “ Is this all what the good Professor can educate us about Oromo history? Does he mean that the two European writers know Oromos more than Oromo themselves? Why he did not use Oromo sources instead of educating us about snippets written by European authors, strange visitors’ narration? I have found the Professor’s narration typical OLF narration, very weak. I do not expect such a very weak article from highly educated historian. If we have to use his reference point, Oromo history starts in the 19 century in Ethiopia. However, he must know European themselves did not know Ethiopia until the 19 century. They did not even know where Nile was coming from and they believed Nile was welling up in Egypt. We Ethiopian do not use Europeans to tell us who we are because Europe even did not exist when Ethiopia was ruling the world.
    The professor’s lamentation is typical OLF lamentation based on nothing that can be refuted. He laments the Oromos were called Gala. But he does not tell us what was the Oromo’s original name was. If the people migrated with their original name, what was the original name then that was changed to Gala? How did this Gala come to exist. What is the meaning of Gala? The name of Oromo is derived from Geez Oromay. I came to know the Oromo name during derg time only. He also laments by saying Oromo were called different derogatory names.
    The truth is that all Ethiopians have had derogatory names.The Gurages were called Kuli. The Gambelas were called Shankla or Baria. The Tigreans were called Yefew Quanqa Tenagariwoch despite the fact they spoke Tigrigmea that is even more advanced than Amharic. Many other ethnics have had their own derogatory names, not only Oromos. It is apparent since Oromos were new comers, they were forced to assimilate. This is normal even now. I have assimilated now to my new host country. We migrate even now and we assimilate in Europe, North America. The Oromo had no choice but to assimilate to the new social environment. If you are migrants, you will be looked down anywhere in the world even now. Since Oromos migrated to Ethiopia and had to assimilate and face some discrimination and this is common across the world even now. Refugees are called now in South Africa, Makwarere which means foreigners and these refers to all African refugees in South Africa , but Makwarere are assimilationg to South Africa regardless the derogatory names put on them. In my view, the Prfofessor is very biased and ethnocentric and this can be even seen from the title of his article.
    Ethiopia is made of nations and nationalities, about eighty five of them. Ethiopia is mosaic country with different ethnics. Ethiopia’s future is not dictated by Oromos only. Ethiopia’s future is dictated by all Ethiopians because all Ethiopians are stake holders. There is no unique or special contribution that Oromos have offered to Ethiopia. All the ethnics have contributed their fair share to make Ethiopia. Ethiopia past, present was /is not dictated by Oromos only and will not be dictated by Oromos only even today, tomorrow and after tomorrow. The Oromo leadership convention and Ethiopia’s future idea is wrong . We must have Ethiopian leadership convention for the future of Ethiopia. Ethiopia does not belong to one or two ethnics. It belongs to all Ethiopians regardless number. The land belongs to all Ethiopians, not to a particular group or ethnic. Oromos are part and parcel of Ethiopia, not sole owners of Ethiopia who can dictated all alone. Thus the Oromo leadership convention and Ethiopia future is misplaced and wrong ethnocentric agenda. We must strive to make Ethiopia home for every Ethiopians, not to vision of ethnocentrism. The ethnic secession close is also something that must be removed, not something that must emulated.

  10. Must be: The Ethiopian Leadership Convention and the Future of Ethiopia: A reply to Ezekiel Gebissa
    I have read Professor Ezekiel Gebissa response to Dr. Tedla Woldeyohaes’s Plea for Clarity dated 20/10/2016 with interest. I would like to challenge the good Professor on the genesis of Oromo history and on the title of his article regardless.
    I have had personal passion of Ethiopian history, and I have spent ten solid years studying Ethiopian history out of my curiosity. This curiosity of Ethiopian history have led me to study not only Ethiopian history, but also the entire history of ancient Egypt, Greek history and Latin. I studied ancient Egyptian history and Greek, Latin History because Ethiopian history is twined with both Ancient Egypt and Greek due to the fact that Greek and Ancient Egypt used to be under Ethiopian domain. I have dug all archives I can find across the world, never came across the name of Oromo or Gala except documented books in Ethiopia and a couple of authors from Europe who spoke of Galas, not Oromo’s.
    In Ethiopian history the Oromo history starts with Oromo migration which most Oromo sclolars dread to talk about or to mention it. I have not managed to get any recorded and written history that refutes the Oromo migration. The Professor himself has failed to educate us about Oromo history except citing European references written by European writers. He said,” Oromo has always been a great nation. The French traveler Antoine d’ Abbadi, a traveler known for his meticulous mapping of the region from Massawa to Kafa in the second half the nineteenth century, described the Oromo as “ a great African nation” in an article he published in 1882. Martial de Salviac also repeated the same description in his book titled : Ancient people, Great African nation: The Oromo ( 1902). In today’s parlance, Oromo is a great nation. The young Oromo generation has made a compellig case for the reinstatment of the historic reference. “ Is this all what the good Professor can educate us about Oromo history? Does he mean that the two European writers know Oromos more than Oromo themselves? Why he did not use Oromo sources instead of educating us about snippets written by European authors, strange visitors’ narration? I have found the Professor’s narration typical OLF narration, very weak. I do not expect such a very weak article from highly educated historian. If we have to use his reference point, Oromo history starts in the 19 century in Ethiopia. However, he must know European themselves did not know Ethiopia until the 19 century. They did not even know where Nile was coming from and they believed Nile was welling up in Egypt. We Ethiopian do not use Europeans to tell us who we are because Europe even did not exist when Ethiopia was ruling the world.
    The professor’s lamentation is typical OLF lamentation based on nothing that can be refuted. He laments the Oromos were called Gala. But he does not tell us what was the Oromo’s original name was. If the people migrated with their original name, what was the original name then that was changed to Gala? How did this Gala come to exist. What is the meaning of Gala? The name of Oromo is derived from Geez Oromay. I came to know the Oromo name during derg time only. He also laments by saying Oromo were called different derogatory names.
    The truth is that all Ethiopians have had derogatory names.The Gurages were called Kuli. The Gambelas were called Shankla or Baria. The Tigreans were called Yefew Quanqa Tenagariwoch despite the fact they spoke Tigrigmea that is even more advanced than Amharic. Many other ethnics have had their own derogatory names, not only Oromos. It is apparent since Oromos were new comers, they were forced to assimilate. This is normal even now. I have assimilated now to my new host country. We migrate even now and we assimilate in Europe, North America. The Oromo had no choice but to assimilate to the new social environment. If you are migrants, you will be looked down anywhere in the world even now. Since Oromos migrated to Ethiopia and had to assimilate and face some discrimination and this is common across the world even now. Refugees are called now in South Africa, Makwarere which means foreigners and these refers to all African refugees in South Africa , but Makwarere are assimilationg to South Africa regardless the derogatory names put on them. In my view, the Prfofessor is very biased and ethnocentric and this can be even seen from the title of his article.
    Ethiopia is made of nations and nationalities, about eighty five of them. Ethiopia is mosaic country with different ethnics. Ethiopia’s future is not dictated by Oromos only. Ethiopia’s future is dictated by all Ethiopians because all Ethiopians are stake holders. There is no unique or special contribution that Oromos have offered to Ethiopia. All the ethnics have contributed their fair share to make Ethiopia. Ethiopia past, present was /is not dictated by Oromos only and will not be dictated by Oromos only even today, tomorrow and after tomorrow. The Oromo leadership convention and Ethiopia’s future idea is wrong . We must have Ethiopian leadership convention for the future of Ethiopia. Ethiopia does not belong to one or two ethnics. It belongs to all Ethiopians regardless number. The land belongs to all Ethiopians, not to a particular group or ethnic. Oromos are part and parcel of Ethiopia, not sole owners of Ethiopia who can dictated all alone. Thus the Oromo leadership convention and Ethiopia future is misplaced and wrong ethnocentric agenda. We must strive to make Ethiopia home for every Ethiopians, not to vision of ethnocentrism. The ethnic secession close is also something that must be removed, not something that must emulated.

  11. I felt very sad to read such child like reasoning from the respected professor regrading the Ethiopian Oromo issue. How can an educated professor consider a simple bulling as a reson to be a case for separation. How is it possible that name calling is the characteristic of all Amhara? In every society, tribes etc there are always a few bad apples and what you need to do is, you teach, educate them. For that matter the same name calling comes from Oromo towards Amahara or gurage, Hadiya, Tigre, etc. It is human behaviour.The same bulling happen in every country on the planet earth. It is not unique to Ethiopia., the difference is the way other countries solve the problem. They do educate the few bad apples so that it won’t happen again.
    The other point which I want to mention is that even if there was a name calling and bulling or any other issue, that was in the past. It was sorted during the era of derg or the current government. Why you should look back. Why is my generation is responsible for the past. As a porofessor he should know better. Finally at times I am a bit worried about the future. It is obvious that this government will go soon,but the future with the professor,s kind of mentality worried me a lot. As I can not see a difference between the current government and the professor when he get into power. Instead of thinking about individual right, he is thinking only about Oromo. Why one should fight woyane? The ultimate result is the same. The only difference is that the professor and his like fight for Oromo but not any other. Why does the professor fight for every single person in Ethiopia . To create a country in which every one live under the rule of law. Why not the majority becomes a force for good to every single person?
    Ethiopia is unlucky with its educated people! Is this kind of knowledge is knowledge at all??? What a wast of time.

    • Al
      Be honest-do not be superficial-this is what killed our country. The professor has raised the most important issue that we need to understand and make efforts to correct. I can’t live with you if you are bullying me with such horrific and barbaric ill behavior. You can’t accept such bullying. If I insult you and mock at you now and then, will you able to live with me? We must understand other feelings. do not just spit unjustified response. Now, is the turn-Amharas are regarded as beggars, evils, poor- all those bad things we see including prostitution is connoted as brought by Amharas. Amharas now suffer great alienation in many parts of Ethiopia. Their voices are not herd and regarded generally as second citizens. Is this really acceptable? No- you can’t do such barbaric staffs against your citizens. It is true what Prof has raised, we can educate our people of the consequences. All of us are not the same, for me, If I face this type of behaviour by a friend- I just undermine his attitude because I know I do not deserve to be called or quoted like that. I even regard such personality as primitive as stone age. BUt know for sure, those people who life themselves up; puffed up- always I see them reaping what they saw. They will suffer with emotional stress and bad attitude, while those who tolerate them- shine up and get favour from many.

      • The problem such thing happened long ago, in the 20th and 19th century, not in the 21st century. Let me honest with you that was still racism in Ethiopia across the board and I believe still exists, but we do not talk about it. My fair or if you like Teym or bronze skinned Ethiopia unlike the lighter skin Amhara or Tigreans or Abyssianians. But all my relatives called me Baria. I was studying my high school in addis and I could not study because one Tigreans teacher will call me Baria everyday he comes to teach us. As I said I am not dark even, just fair or teym, bronze skinned which is tanned skinned. But I have endured this insulting as baria from across the board. I left Ethiopia, and I lived for 25 years with white people and never did they ever called me black or baria. We talk of black and white. They actually tell me they like my skin color which is tanned and bronse skin. I have a friend from Gambela right now. He is active in Ethiopian community in diaspora, by they do not call him by his name but they call him baricho? which means baria? I know this happens now across Ethiopian communities and they say it is a humour? but this is not humour. I think this type of abusing culture must be outlawed by a constitution and considered as abuse. In Canada, this is not illegal. You can not insult or make fun of people based on their ethnicity, tribe or culture, skin color or they feature or look or birth place or nationality or citizenship. This is considered abuse and violation of the dignity and integrity of the person. I can tell you I used to avoid family get together to avoid such remarks. People would ask my mother where she got me such baria? This happens within family member even. My Gambelan friend was telling me how it hurts him being called baricho all the time. We must stop this by law, constitution and education that skin color is a color. It does not mean anything. The Amhara and Tigreans think they are whites? kkk,this is pure ignorance. We must not persue secession because of this because this is ignorance, arrogance, lack of knowledge and education. The same is the Gurages were called Kuli which is derogatory beause they do any work. Shankla is derogatory, abusive. Why do you call other people language Yewfquenqa because you do not understand the language? This happened in Ethiopia feudal system where even elites collected taxes without giving anything. We can not say or condemn all Amhara people are responsible for this past grievances. It was perpetuated by few elites on others.
        But look, worse than that happened in South Africa. The black were stripped off their language, culture, names, and their land taken away by force and they were put in concentration camps and were not allowed to move out from the camps for 400 years. Blacks were taken from the camps to work as slaves in white families. The black would do all the job or house chores and then dropped in her or his camp and for free. They did not even give them water or food. The black girls were actually forced to have sex with the dogs after finishing the house chores. Imagine a human being forced to have sex with dogs. Blacks in South Africa were forced to provide sex to white people’s dogs? Can you imagine about it? Not only that? the blacks worked as slaves in white farms at no cost. If the white farm owner got upset with the blacks ? They used to throw the black slaves into lions den and they lion used to eat the black slaves. This is real story. In 2003, white border security of south Africa made black migrants to be eaten by dogs.
        South African blacks said, we will not take revenge because we can not do what they did us because we are much better than them. Now South Africa blacks and whites are living together. There were blacks who wanted to drive out whites as revenge, but the majority won.
        However, this did not happen in Ethiopia, not even close to that. What happened in Ethiopia is normal thing which happens across race or cultures. Even within the same ethnics this things happen anyway. What happened in South Africa was the migrants abusing the local people. With Oromo, it is understandable why they were looked down by they were new comers. The Falashs endured the same type of alienation that brought Gudith the Falasha that burnt north Ethiopia.
        We must live in the 21 century and educate our people that ethnic, tribe, race, color, birth place, … based remark is illegal because we are human beings. We must live in the 21 century, not in the 20th century. Even South Africans are living together and their difference is 100%. White South Africans and the blacks have no anything common except their country. Ethiopians have plenty of common things that can unite them than their small differences. Look, how the Oromos dress, it is the same and I doubt even the oromos came from somewhere because they do not look from somewhere. But we to find out the truth by studying historical facts instead of fabricating new fictitious stories and by bringing in alien facts like importing Latin instead of using Geez? You live in Ethiopia but you prefer to rent Latin from Europe? that is irrational and does not make sense. Even Armenians, Jews used Geez to create their own alphabet. Why would you rent a dead alphabet from Europe? what is the link between Europe and Oromo? I believe the OLF people are just too narrow and filled with deep inferiority. OLF people can not represent Oromos because I do not believe majority of Oromo suffer from this inferiority or fear complex. OLF people need to break out from their inferiority box and think out of the box. I believe OLF people have psychological problem and I see no reason to rent an alien alphabet by rejecting an Alphabet in the land. It is purely based on Irrationality, inferiority complex inherited from past experiences. You must apply reason, not be driven by fear of others. Let us join hands and make sure Ethiopia is safe for all Ethiopians and make sure Ethiopia is a country where on merit is the only way to power, virtue, excellence, not ethnic number or ethnic superiority. Thus stop this historical grievances, ethnic, tribal politics and minority or majority politics. Everything must be done based on merit, competence and ability, not based on military might or because your ethnic is large in number. you must not be allowed to be on power because you have guns or because your ethnic is large in number because that is antidemocratic and despotic.

  12. I felt very sad to read such child like reasoning from the respected professor regrading the Ethiopian Oromo issue. How can an educated professor consider a simple bulling as a reson to be a case for separation. How is it possible that name calling is the characteristic of all Amhara? In every society, tribes etc there are always a few bad apples and what you need to do is, you teach, educate them. For that matter the same name calling comes from Oromo towards Amahara or gurage, Hadiya, Tigre, etc. It is human behaviour.The same bulling happen in every country on the planet earth. It is not unique to Ethiopia., the difference is the way other countries solve the problem. They do educate the few bad apples so that it won’t happen again.
    The other point which I want to mention is that even if there was a name calling and bulling or any other issue, that was in the past. It was sorted during the era of derg or the current government. Why you should look back. Why is my generation is responsible for the past. As a porofessor he should know better. Finally at times I am a bit worried about the future. It is obvious that this government will go soon,but the future with the professor,s kind of mentality worried me a lot. As I can not see a difference between the current government and the professor when he get into power. Instead of thinking about individual right, he is thinking only about Oromo. Why one should fight woyane? The ultimate result is the same. The only difference is that the professor and his like fight for Oromo but not any other. Why does the professor fight for every single person in Ethiopia . To create a country in which every one live under the rule of law. Why not the majority becomes a force for good to every single person?
    Ethiopia is unlucky with its educated people! Is this kind of knowledge is knowledge at all??? What a wast of time.

    • Al
      Be honest-do not be superficial-this is what killed our country. The professor has raised the most important issue that we need to understand and make efforts to correct. I can’t live with you if you are bullying me with such horrific and barbaric ill behavior. You can’t accept such bullying. If I insult you and mock at you now and then, will you able to live with me? We must understand other feelings. do not just spit unjustified response. Now, is the turn-Amharas are regarded as beggars, evils, poor- all those bad things we see including prostitution is connoted as brought by Amharas. Amharas now suffer great alienation in many parts of Ethiopia. Their voices are not herd and regarded generally as second citizens. Is this really acceptable? No- you can’t do such barbaric staffs against your citizens. It is true what Prof has raised, we can educate our people of the consequences. All of us are not the same, for me, If I face this type of behaviour by a friend- I just undermine his attitude because I know I do not deserve to be called or quoted like that. I even regard such personality as primitive as stone age. BUt know for sure, those people who life themselves up; puffed up- always I see them reaping what they saw. They will suffer with emotional stress and bad attitude, while those who tolerate them- shine up and get favour from many.

      • The problem such thing happened long ago, in the 20th and 19th century, not in the 21st century. Let me honest with you that was still racism in Ethiopia across the board and I believe still exists, but we do not talk about it. My fair or if you like Teym or bronze skinned Ethiopia unlike the lighter skin Amhara or Tigreans or Abyssianians. But all my relatives called me Baria. I was studying my high school in addis and I could not study because one Tigreans teacher will call me Baria everyday he comes to teach us. As I said I am not dark even, just fair or teym, bronze skinned which is tanned skinned. But I have endured this insulting as baria from across the board. I left Ethiopia, and I lived for 25 years with white people and never did they ever called me black or baria. We talk of black and white. They actually tell me they like my skin color which is tanned and bronse skin. I have a friend from Gambela right now. He is active in Ethiopian community in diaspora, by they do not call him by his name but they call him baricho? which means baria? I know this happens now across Ethiopian communities and they say it is a humour? but this is not humour. I think this type of abusing culture must be outlawed by a constitution and considered as abuse. In Canada, this is not illegal. You can not insult or make fun of people based on their ethnicity, tribe or culture, skin color or they feature or look or birth place or nationality or citizenship. This is considered abuse and violation of the dignity and integrity of the person. I can tell you I used to avoid family get together to avoid such remarks. People would ask my mother where she got me such baria? This happens within family member even. My Gambelan friend was telling me how it hurts him being called baricho all the time. We must stop this by law, constitution and education that skin color is a color. It does not mean anything. The Amhara and Tigreans think they are whites? kkk,this is pure ignorance. We must not persue secession because of this because this is ignorance, arrogance, lack of knowledge and education. The same is the Gurages were called Kuli which is derogatory beause they do any work. Shankla is derogatory, abusive. Why do you call other people language Yewfquenqa because you do not understand the language? This happened in Ethiopia feudal system where even elites collected taxes without giving anything. We can not say or condemn all Amhara people are responsible for this past grievances. It was perpetuated by few elites on others.
        But look, worse than that happened in South Africa. The black were stripped off their language, culture, names, and their land taken away by force and they were put in concentration camps and were not allowed to move out from the camps for 400 years. Blacks were taken from the camps to work as slaves in white families. The black would do all the job or house chores and then dropped in her or his camp and for free. They did not even give them water or food. The black girls were actually forced to have sex with the dogs after finishing the house chores. Imagine a human being forced to have sex with dogs. Blacks in South Africa were forced to provide sex to white people’s dogs? Can you imagine about it? Not only that? the blacks worked as slaves in white farms at no cost. If the white farm owner got upset with the blacks ? They used to throw the black slaves into lions den and they lion used to eat the black slaves. This is real story. In 2003, white border security of south Africa made black migrants to be eaten by dogs.
        South African blacks said, we will not take revenge because we can not do what they did us because we are much better than them. Now South Africa blacks and whites are living together. There were blacks who wanted to drive out whites as revenge, but the majority won.
        However, this did not happen in Ethiopia, not even close to that. What happened in Ethiopia is normal thing which happens across race or cultures. Even within the same ethnics this things happen anyway. What happened in South Africa was the migrants abusing the local people. With Oromo, it is understandable why they were looked down by they were new comers. The Falashs endured the same type of alienation that brought Gudith the Falasha that burnt north Ethiopia.
        We must live in the 21 century and educate our people that ethnic, tribe, race, color, birth place, … based remark is illegal because we are human beings. We must live in the 21 century, not in the 20th century. Even South Africans are living together and their difference is 100%. White South Africans and the blacks have no anything common except their country. Ethiopians have plenty of common things that can unite them than their small differences. Look, how the Oromos dress, it is the same and I doubt even the oromos came from somewhere because they do not look from somewhere. But we to find out the truth by studying historical facts instead of fabricating new fictitious stories and by bringing in alien facts like importing Latin instead of using Geez? You live in Ethiopia but you prefer to rent Latin from Europe? that is irrational and does not make sense. Even Armenians, Jews used Geez to create their own alphabet. Why would you rent a dead alphabet from Europe? what is the link between Europe and Oromo? I believe the OLF people are just too narrow and filled with deep inferiority. OLF people can not represent Oromos because I do not believe majority of Oromo suffer from this inferiority or fear complex. OLF people need to break out from their inferiority box and think out of the box. I believe OLF people have psychological problem and I see no reason to rent an alien alphabet by rejecting an Alphabet in the land. It is purely based on Irrationality, inferiority complex inherited from past experiences. You must apply reason, not be driven by fear of others. Let us join hands and make sure Ethiopia is safe for all Ethiopians and make sure Ethiopia is a country where on merit is the only way to power, virtue, excellence, not ethnic number or ethnic superiority. Thus stop this historical grievances, ethnic, tribal politics and minority or majority politics. Everything must be done based on merit, competence and ability, not based on military might or because your ethnic is large in number. you must not be allowed to be on power because you have guns or because your ethnic is large in number because that is antidemocratic and despotic.

  13. Say NO To OROMOPHOBIA !!!
    Say NO To Mass Inacarceratios of OROMOS !!!
    Say NO To Mass Killing of OROMOS !!!
    Say NO To TPLF-WOYANE Genocidal Actions !!
    Fight The Evil TPLF-WOYANE
    People FIRST !!!

  14. Say NO To OROMOPHOBIA !!!
    Say NO To Mass Inacarceratios of OROMOS !!!
    Say NO To Mass Killing of OROMOS !!!
    Say NO To TPLF-WOYANE Genocidal Actions !!
    Fight The Evil TPLF-WOYANE
    People FIRST !!!

  15. It is good to read reactions on Ezekiel Gebissa’s explanations to the queries of Tedla Woldeyohanes. I hope Tedla will write a well thoughtout rebuttal to Ezekiel’s explanations which many Ethiopians including Oromos I know found offensive. Until this piece, compared to the extreme position of a section of OLF and some Oromo diaspora activists, Ezekiel’s writings were moderate ecouraging togetherness of all Ethiopians based on democracy and equality.
    I remeber the last ESAT conference in which Ezekiel gave a speech that most Ethiopians believed heralded unprecedented rapproachement between Oromo and non-Oromo diaspora Ethiopian opposition organizations. Now, Ezekiel looks derailed from this positive vision by alining his position with that of a section of OLF and some diaspora Oromo activists. I feel it is not late for him to review his latest position and renew the common aspirations of Ethiopians.
    Having said this, I will take the introduction from Ezekiel’s explanation to Tedla to show how his thinking is skewed from the truth. An attempt to blindly aline with others almost always mkaes one to dissociate from reality.
    “Questions about Oromo loyalty to Ethiopia persist though they are stale, condescending and meaningless. The sort of questions that Tedla raises have been litigated for nearly three decades. The issue of secession, for instance, was basically settled when federalism was chosen as a solution and secession was enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution as a right in principle. For those who have remained in the mindset of the ancient regime, however, all Oromo political moves, even a call for a convention, must be scrutinized for some hidden desire for secession. To be sure, no one Ethiopian group has the moral authority to administer the litmus test of loyalty to Ethiopia. It is unfathomable that Oromos have to answer such questions especially in the wake of what the sacrifices of generation of Oromo to liberate Ethiopia from tyrannical rule.”
    The questions is not about Oromo loyalty to Ethiopia; it is rather about the loyalty of a section of the OLF and some Oromo activists in the diaspora. Throughout Ethiopian history, Oromos have shown loyalty to Ethiopia and their loyalty has never been questioned. History is my witness here which I defer to dwell in right now.
    I think that Ezekiel failed to make a clear difference between the Oromo as people and some organizations and individuals who claim to represent the Oromo. It is true that the question of loyalty for the organizations and individuals “stale” but I sincerly doubt if it is “condescending and meaningless”. Ethiopians want to know what these organizations and individuals are upto when they emphatically and a a matter of rutine write and speak about an Oromo army and charter for colonized Oromia. They are suspecious that the goal of such preparation is told honestly and in full. So, why blame them if they “stale” the loyalty question which makes sense to them.
    The issue of secession is not settled by the Ethiopian constitution. What is settled is the right to self-determination. Secession is a possible outcome of a referendum as much as continued union is. Ezkiel’s quick jumping on secession before mentioning self-determination manifests his focus on that single outcome. Nobody knows what the Oromo would say if it gets the opportunity. As Scotts and Québecois did, it might say “ney” to separation or say “yey” and enter into a long and protracted separation process.
    If the successor state to the present Ethiopian state after the separation of Oromia declines to recognize it as independent state, it might not emerge as a state at all. Compare the processes of state formation in Eritrea and South Sudan on one hand and lack thereof in Somalia to appreciate the possible futute of independent Oromia. Why waste time which might expand to a century and resources on separation while togetherness can helps to avoid a dead-end.
    Again, accusing those who question the goal of an army and charter for Oromia as people with the “mindset of the ancient regime” is not an answer to the query. Unless honest and full answer is given, there is always a chance for speculation which includes “hidden desire for secession”. If there is no desire for secession, why don’t you say it clearly and openly. If Ethiopians get clear answer on the issue of secession, it will help them to chart out their future action in their struggle for democractic Ethiopia. If secession is the goal, they’ll have to dissociate themselves from the force advancing that position. They have been used for the separation of Eritrea; they will not o it for Oromia.
    I said above, a section of OLF and some Oromo activists in the diaspra do not hide their aspiration for independent Oromia. Now, Ezekiel seems to have joined their ranks.
    To be continued…

    • Did you even read what he wrote? Or may be you read but your grasp of the English language is very limited. Here is what he said”
      It is clear that even OLF isn’t wedded to the idea of secession. In my assessment, the OLF won that battle in 1995. It is OLF’s opponents who are committed to pinning the tag of secession on the OLF. In the last year, the #OromoProtests have demanded and died for their citizens’ rights to be respected. If the blood they spilled to defend democracy, genuine federalism and constitutional rule isn’t sufficient to alley the fear of Oromo imputed secessionism, my purely didactic presentation will not change any mind. But I have offered it for what it’s worth.
      He was clearly stating the Oromo question currently is not for secession. Where did you get the idea in your comment? And not only you, but all the humbug comments under this title.

  16. It is good to read reactions on Ezekiel Gebissa’s explanations to the queries of Tedla Woldeyohanes. I hope Tedla will write a well thoughtout rebuttal to Ezekiel’s explanations which many Ethiopians including Oromos I know found offensive. Until this piece, compared to the extreme position of a section of OLF and some Oromo diaspora activists, Ezekiel’s writings were moderate ecouraging togetherness of all Ethiopians based on democracy and equality.
    I remeber the last ESAT conference in which Ezekiel gave a speech that most Ethiopians believed heralded unprecedented rapproachement between Oromo and non-Oromo diaspora Ethiopian opposition organizations. Now, Ezekiel looks derailed from this positive vision by alining his position with that of a section of OLF and some diaspora Oromo activists. I feel it is not late for him to review his latest position and renew the common aspirations of Ethiopians.
    Having said this, I will take the introduction from Ezekiel’s explanation to Tedla to show how his thinking is skewed from the truth. An attempt to blindly aline with others almost always mkaes one to dissociate from reality.
    “Questions about Oromo loyalty to Ethiopia persist though they are stale, condescending and meaningless. The sort of questions that Tedla raises have been litigated for nearly three decades. The issue of secession, for instance, was basically settled when federalism was chosen as a solution and secession was enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution as a right in principle. For those who have remained in the mindset of the ancient regime, however, all Oromo political moves, even a call for a convention, must be scrutinized for some hidden desire for secession. To be sure, no one Ethiopian group has the moral authority to administer the litmus test of loyalty to Ethiopia. It is unfathomable that Oromos have to answer such questions especially in the wake of what the sacrifices of generation of Oromo to liberate Ethiopia from tyrannical rule.”
    The questions is not about Oromo loyalty to Ethiopia; it is rather about the loyalty of a section of the OLF and some Oromo activists in the diaspora. Throughout Ethiopian history, Oromos have shown loyalty to Ethiopia and their loyalty has never been questioned. History is my witness here which I defer to dwell in right now.
    I think that Ezekiel failed to make a clear difference between the Oromo as people and some organizations and individuals who claim to represent the Oromo. It is true that the question of loyalty for the organizations and individuals “stale” but I sincerly doubt if it is “condescending and meaningless”. Ethiopians want to know what these organizations and individuals are upto when they emphatically and a a matter of rutine write and speak about an Oromo army and charter for colonized Oromia. They are suspecious that the goal of such preparation is told honestly and in full. So, why blame them if they “stale” the loyalty question which makes sense to them.
    The issue of secession is not settled by the Ethiopian constitution. What is settled is the right to self-determination. Secession is a possible outcome of a referendum as much as continued union is. Ezkiel’s quick jumping on secession before mentioning self-determination manifests his focus on that single outcome. Nobody knows what the Oromo would say if it gets the opportunity. As Scotts and Québecois did, it might say “ney” to separation or say “yey” and enter into a long and protracted separation process.
    If the successor state to the present Ethiopian state after the separation of Oromia declines to recognize it as independent state, it might not emerge as a state at all. Compare the processes of state formation in Eritrea and South Sudan on one hand and lack thereof in Somalia to appreciate the possible futute of independent Oromia. Why waste time which might expand to a century and resources on separation while togetherness can helps to avoid a dead-end.
    Again, accusing those who question the goal of an army and charter for Oromia as people with the “mindset of the ancient regime” is not an answer to the query. Unless honest and full answer is given, there is always a chance for speculation which includes “hidden desire for secession”. If there is no desire for secession, why don’t you say it clearly and openly. If Ethiopians get clear answer on the issue of secession, it will help them to chart out their future action in their struggle for democractic Ethiopia. If secession is the goal, they’ll have to dissociate themselves from the force advancing that position. They have been used for the separation of Eritrea; they will not o it for Oromia.
    I said above, a section of OLF and some Oromo activists in the diaspra do not hide their aspiration for independent Oromia. Now, Ezekiel seems to have joined their ranks.
    To be continued…

    • Did you even read what he wrote? Or may be you read but your grasp of the English language is very limited. Here is what he said”
      It is clear that even OLF isn’t wedded to the idea of secession. In my assessment, the OLF won that battle in 1995. It is OLF’s opponents who are committed to pinning the tag of secession on the OLF. In the last year, the #OromoProtests have demanded and died for their citizens’ rights to be respected. If the blood they spilled to defend democracy, genuine federalism and constitutional rule isn’t sufficient to alley the fear of Oromo imputed secessionism, my purely didactic presentation will not change any mind. But I have offered it for what it’s worth.
      He was clearly stating the Oromo question currently is not for secession. Where did you get the idea in your comment? And not only you, but all the humbug comments under this title.

  17. Continued …
    In the above piece, Ezekiel admits that he does not respect Tedla’s questions. For a person like me who follows Ethiopian politics for about decade, Ezekiel’s opening phrase is not that surprising. Much to my disuest, I see it all the time spiwed out by some Oromo scholars. It is unfortunate that Ezekiel happened to be the latest one.
    As you might remeber, Tedla’s questions relate to the recent moves of a section of the OLF and some Oromo activists in the diaspora. Without clearly stating the motive to all Ethiopins, they wanted Oromo army and charter. Tedla’s questions were on this unprecedented development.
    Not only Tedla, but an overwhelming number of Ethiopians both at home and in the diaspora have exactly the same questions. Many have thanked him for raising them in a subtle and academic manner to get the response of some of the people at the center of the development. Ezekiel happened to be the one to step in. He deserves thanks for doing that.
    As a continuation of my comment on Ezekiel’s response, I will take the second paragraph of his introduction and say a few words.
    For convenience sakes, I have copied and pasted the paragraph below :
    “By responding to these questions, I am not respecting them. But I respect the spirit of dialogue in which Tedla Woldeyohannes raised them. He did not indict anyone or besmirch anyone’s reputation. His was a plea for clarity. It is the kind of civility that befits the moment and it bodes well for the kind of dialogue we need at this critical point in time in our history. I commend him for his contribution to civil discussion. Let me try as best as I can to respond to his relevant queries.”
    In a typical fashion manifest by some Oromos in the diaspora, it is obvious from the above quote that Ezekiel does not want to answer questions raised by non-Oromo Ethiopians. He says in no uncertain terms that he does not respect their questions. As I said above, Tedla’s questions are what Ethiopians including Oromos believe important as they clearly relate to the future of their country.
    Be it Ezekiel or other, anyone who tells them their questions in an important matter that concerns their country does not deserve respect is not only disgracious but also arrogant. I feel this is unwelcome attitude and practice toward a community that is worried about its future. I also feel that questions should be raised and answers given without castigating people raising them as ignorant that do not deserve response. That’s is a typical sign of silencing people.
    It’s good that Ezekiel says that he accepts “the spirit of dialogue”, but everything he wrote from Question 1 to 4 above suggests that he has incontestable and definite answers to everything. He wrote with authority on all issues and closed on a “take it or leave it basis”. That’s not dialoge since it leaves no room for further questions.
    “Take it or leave it” kind of mind-setis the main problem many Ethiopians with a section og OLF and some Oromo activists in the diaspora who think all the arguements on Oromo issues have settled. They do not realize that it just started in earnest. Oromo and non-Oromo Ethiopians are now studying – deeply and extensively at that – the claims of a section of these political enntities. I hope they will debunk the recent propagation of false Oromo history with a view to separate one of the founding members of our country.
    To be continued…
    Again, dividing people who raise questions dear to them as “civil” and “uncivil” is unhelpful for the dialogue between some Oromo organizations and indivduals on one side and people who want true dialoge and the truth about the goals of these organizations and indivduals on the the other.

    • Where is the beef? What is your comment on his substantive idea? you just go around and comment about the manner he said things, which is of a secondary importance. Ezeikel clearly and forcefully explained the purpose and aim of the conference and his stand on some of the thorny issues. What else do you want him to do? For your dialogue means accepting your point of view. That day has long gone my friend. Adjust to the changing time, or else you will lose the moving train.

  18. Continued …
    In the above piece, Ezekiel admits that he does not respect Tedla’s questions. For a person like me who follows Ethiopian politics for about decade, Ezekiel’s opening phrase is not that surprising. Much to my disuest, I see it all the time spiwed out by some Oromo scholars. It is unfortunate that Ezekiel happened to be the latest one.
    As you might remeber, Tedla’s questions relate to the recent moves of a section of the OLF and some Oromo activists in the diaspora. Without clearly stating the motive to all Ethiopins, they wanted Oromo army and charter. Tedla’s questions were on this unprecedented development.
    Not only Tedla, but an overwhelming number of Ethiopians both at home and in the diaspora have exactly the same questions. Many have thanked him for raising them in a subtle and academic manner to get the response of some of the people at the center of the development. Ezekiel happened to be the one to step in. He deserves thanks for doing that.
    As a continuation of my comment on Ezekiel’s response, I will take the second paragraph of his introduction and say a few words.
    For convenience sakes, I have copied and pasted the paragraph below :
    “By responding to these questions, I am not respecting them. But I respect the spirit of dialogue in which Tedla Woldeyohannes raised them. He did not indict anyone or besmirch anyone’s reputation. His was a plea for clarity. It is the kind of civility that befits the moment and it bodes well for the kind of dialogue we need at this critical point in time in our history. I commend him for his contribution to civil discussion. Let me try as best as I can to respond to his relevant queries.”
    In a typical fashion manifest by some Oromos in the diaspora, it is obvious from the above quote that Ezekiel does not want to answer questions raised by non-Oromo Ethiopians. He says in no uncertain terms that he does not respect their questions. As I said above, Tedla’s questions are what Ethiopians including Oromos believe important as they clearly relate to the future of their country.
    Be it Ezekiel or other, anyone who tells them their questions in an important matter that concerns their country does not deserve respect is not only disgracious but also arrogant. I feel this is unwelcome attitude and practice toward a community that is worried about its future. I also feel that questions should be raised and answers given without castigating people raising them as ignorant that do not deserve response. That’s is a typical sign of silencing people.
    It’s good that Ezekiel says that he accepts “the spirit of dialogue”, but everything he wrote from Question 1 to 4 above suggests that he has incontestable and definite answers to everything. He wrote with authority on all issues and closed on a “take it or leave it basis”. That’s not dialoge since it leaves no room for further questions.
    “Take it or leave it” kind of mind-setis the main problem many Ethiopians with a section og OLF and some Oromo activists in the diaspora who think all the arguements on Oromo issues have settled. They do not realize that it just started in earnest. Oromo and non-Oromo Ethiopians are now studying – deeply and extensively at that – the claims of a section of these political enntities. I hope they will debunk the recent propagation of false Oromo history with a view to separate one of the founding members of our country.
    To be continued…
    Again, dividing people who raise questions dear to them as “civil” and “uncivil” is unhelpful for the dialogue between some Oromo organizations and indivduals on one side and people who want true dialoge and the truth about the goals of these organizations and indivduals on the the other.

    • Where is the beef? What is your comment on his substantive idea? you just go around and comment about the manner he said things, which is of a secondary importance. Ezeikel clearly and forcefully explained the purpose and aim of the conference and his stand on some of the thorny issues. What else do you want him to do? For your dialogue means accepting your point of view. That day has long gone my friend. Adjust to the changing time, or else you will lose the moving train.

  19. Continued …
    Let’s take what Ezekiel called “Question #1: What does “Oromo nationhood” mean?” Read his discussion under this section to realize how he miserably failed the establish Oromo nationhood by how Oromos were allegedly treated in Ethiopia. With due respect, the points he mentions do not serve the purpose he intended them to serve. A nation is clearly defined under article 39 (5) of the constitution as “people having a common culture reflecting considerable uniformity or similarity of custom, a common language, belief in a common bond and identity, and a common consciousness the majority of whom live within a common territory”. BAsed on this definition Oromo is a nation and is mentioned as such in the constitution. That’s why we say stick to the constitution. If insults constitution the criteria for a nation, then we’ll have many in Ethiopia. But even those are covered as peoples and nationalities even if not mentioned by name.
    To be continued…
    Denying the existence of an Oromo nation was a mission of a succession of Ethiopian ruling elites, including historians of great repute. Under the policy of assimilation of the imperial period, it made sense to deny the existence of the Oromo as a distinct nation. The Oromo of Harer were called Qottuu; the southern Oromo as the Borana of Sidamo. The Oromo in Shewa were often portrayed as Amhara. The Wallaga Oromo were said to have nothing in common with the Arsi. One historian summed it up: “the Oromo don’t have corporate history.” The conclusion is that the Oromo don’t belong to the same ethno-national group.
    In addition to dividing along lines of region and lineage, assimilating the Oromo also meant denying the existence of the Oromo as a people. Until 1974, the Oromo were referred to as Galla, not Oromo. The schools foisted this charade on generations of students, including Oromos who were forced to reject their true self-designation fearing cultural alienation and other forms of retribution. So Oromo endured a culture of dehumanization encapsulated in offensive Amharic clichés. Mohammed Hassen summarizes them as follows.
    In the eyes of many Ethiopians, as Donald Donham keenly observed, the “Galla were pagans. They were uncivilized. Ye Galla chewa ye gomen choma yellem (it is impossible to find a Galla gentleman as it is to find fat in greens) or again Galla inna shinfilla biyatbutim aytera (even if you wash them, stomach lining and a Galla will never come clean).” In one Amharic expression, Oromos were equated with human feces: “Gallana sagara eyadar yegamal” (Galla and human feces stink more every passing day). In another, even Oromo humanity was questioned: “Saw naw Galla?” (Is it human or Galla?).
    The Galla reference was a mechanism of “othering,” an instrument of sociocultural denigration and psychological dehumanization of the Oromo. The Oromo nation has survived the onslaught of assimilation and imperial domination. In the last four decades, Oromo has become the accepted designation though only a decade ago someone published a book insisting that Galla is the proper desigination. The Oromo believe they have overcome the denial, denigration and dehumanization of the past. The Ethiopian Constitution refers to the Oromo as a nation. The Oromo nation has always been a nation. It has reclaimed its status today. We just have to get used to it.

  20. Continued …
    Let’s take what Ezekiel called “Question #1: What does “Oromo nationhood” mean?” Read his discussion under this section to realize how he miserably failed the establish Oromo nationhood by how Oromos were allegedly treated in Ethiopia. With due respect, the points he mentions do not serve the purpose he intended them to serve. A nation is clearly defined under article 39 (5) of the constitution as “people having a common culture reflecting considerable uniformity or similarity of custom, a common language, belief in a common bond and identity, and a common consciousness the majority of whom live within a common territory”. BAsed on this definition Oromo is a nation and is mentioned as such in the constitution. That’s why we say stick to the constitution. If insults constitution the criteria for a nation, then we’ll have many in Ethiopia. But even those are covered as peoples and nationalities even if not mentioned by name.
    To be continued…
    Denying the existence of an Oromo nation was a mission of a succession of Ethiopian ruling elites, including historians of great repute. Under the policy of assimilation of the imperial period, it made sense to deny the existence of the Oromo as a distinct nation. The Oromo of Harer were called Qottuu; the southern Oromo as the Borana of Sidamo. The Oromo in Shewa were often portrayed as Amhara. The Wallaga Oromo were said to have nothing in common with the Arsi. One historian summed it up: “the Oromo don’t have corporate history.” The conclusion is that the Oromo don’t belong to the same ethno-national group.
    In addition to dividing along lines of region and lineage, assimilating the Oromo also meant denying the existence of the Oromo as a people. Until 1974, the Oromo were referred to as Galla, not Oromo. The schools foisted this charade on generations of students, including Oromos who were forced to reject their true self-designation fearing cultural alienation and other forms of retribution. So Oromo endured a culture of dehumanization encapsulated in offensive Amharic clichés. Mohammed Hassen summarizes them as follows.
    In the eyes of many Ethiopians, as Donald Donham keenly observed, the “Galla were pagans. They were uncivilized. Ye Galla chewa ye gomen choma yellem (it is impossible to find a Galla gentleman as it is to find fat in greens) or again Galla inna shinfilla biyatbutim aytera (even if you wash them, stomach lining and a Galla will never come clean).” In one Amharic expression, Oromos were equated with human feces: “Gallana sagara eyadar yegamal” (Galla and human feces stink more every passing day). In another, even Oromo humanity was questioned: “Saw naw Galla?” (Is it human or Galla?).
    The Galla reference was a mechanism of “othering,” an instrument of sociocultural denigration and psychological dehumanization of the Oromo. The Oromo nation has survived the onslaught of assimilation and imperial domination. In the last four decades, Oromo has become the accepted designation though only a decade ago someone published a book insisting that Galla is the proper desigination. The Oromo believe they have overcome the denial, denigration and dehumanization of the past. The Ethiopian Constitution refers to the Oromo as a nation. The Oromo nation has always been a nation. It has reclaimed its status today. We just have to get used to it.

  21. think like modern human being don’t close your eye when you read something first I am oromo b/c there is no one whose blood is called Ethiopia.even in Europe when a people of Britain prefer to live alone no body oppose them.you false ethiopianist stop blaming us to call us 1st oromo.if you do that whether you like or not you will see the country called republic of oromia to achieve this million of us who born not just like you in urban but in country side to sacrifice our god given soul is read to accomplish that mission.

  22. ምን ቢያቃስት!ቢዘላብድ
    ያቺ የደገስናት ድግስ ሳትባረክ:መፏደድ?
    ትግሬ ባገሩ በቋንቋው ረገዳ ሲወርድ
    ዓማራ በወንዙ ዓባይን ሲንድ

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