Harás Borus Biyti Teenya Oromiyaa, Ummanni Keenya Oromoo, Kaayyoon Keenyas Bilisummaa dha!

ABO_OLFBitootessa 31, 2013 (Infoo Deeskii ABO) –Qabsoon bilisummaa Oromoo ABOdhaan hogganamu waggoota afurtamman dabran gargaarsa tokkoon maleetti fi duula diinota qabsoo kana dhabamsiisuuf irratti faraqaan bobba’an lakkoobsaan hedduu fi dandeetti guddaa qaban irra aanee hundee sabboonummaa hin buqqaane gad dhaabuu danda’ee jira. Hundeen sabboonummaa kunis Oromummaa fi hawwii (aspiration) bilisummaa Oromiyaa ti. Har’a barri itti Oromoodhaan ati Oromoo dha, biyti tee Oromiyaa dha jedhanii barsiisan dabarteetti. Akkasumas faallaa kanaan afaan alagaa tahanii Oromootti gadi bahuun, ati Itoophiyaawii dha, biyti tees Itoophiyaa dha jechuun kan qabsoo Oromoo dura dhaabbatanii maqaa Oromoo dhawatuun lallaban deddeebi’anii mul’atan illee mul’atni isaanii fudhatama hin arganne; har’as fudhatama hin qabaatu. Galanni jaallan hundee Oromummaa jabaa kana akka hin buqqaanetti gad dhaabuuf jecha wareegama qaalii baasanii fi har’s kaayyoo kanatti cichanii baasaa jiraniif haa tahuutii, har’a Oromoon eenyummaa saba isaa fi biyya isaa baruu bira dabree waan isaaf tahu murteeffachuuf illee gahummaa dammaqinsa siyaasaa amansiisaa horatee argama. Kun injifannoo hangafaa fi bu’uuraa kan milkaawina qabsichaaf akka furtuutti ilaalamuu dha.

Sabboonummaan Oromoo har’a bakkayyuu daraare diinnan Oromoo yoo yaaddessu lammiif ammoo abdii ol’aanaa dha. Sochiin diddaa gabrummaa barattoonni Oromoo yuniversiitiilee, kooleejotaa fi manneen barnoota sadarkaa adda addaa keessatti taasisaa jiran kanaaf ragaa hangafaa taha. Har’a ‘Dhaloota Qubee’ jechuun kan beekamu dhaloonni jalaa ol dhufaa jiru injifannoolee hangafootaan galmeeffame dhaalee tiksuu fi injifannoolee dabalataa galmeessuuf Oromiyaa mara keessaa of qopheessuu irratti argama. Dhaloota hangafaa kan qabsoo baroota dheeraatiin hundee sabboonummaa hin daddaaqamne kana gad dhaabeef kabajaa fi mararfannoo guddaa kan qabu dhaloonni Oromoo haaraan, tarkaanfiin itti aanu hoo maali, jedhee wal gaafachuu fi mariyachuutti jira. Sabboonummaan Oromoo kaayyoo bilisummaa Oromiyaa mirkaneessuu irratti jaarame akkamitti dhugooma kan jedhu irratti dhaloonni haaraan dirqama seenaan isa irra keesse bahachuuf sochiitti seenee akka argamus ifa galaa dha. Diinni deemsa QBO bifa abdachiisaa kanaan deemaa jiru doomsuuf ijibaachuu irraa wayta itti duubatti jedhe hin qabu. Tarkaanfii humnaa fi haxxummaatiin sabboonummaa Oromoo kolaasuu carraaquu irraa dhaabbatee hin beeku. Tarkaanfii humnaa fudhatee lubbuu qabsaayota hedduu gaaga’eera, qaama hir’iseera. Kumoota hidheera, kumoota biyya irraa baqachiiseera. Tarkaanfii haxxummaa fudhateenis dargaggootaa fi sabboontota Oromoo baay’ee kaayyoo QBO ABOdhaan durfamuu irraa maqsuuf jecha doorsisaanis tahee gowwoomsaadhaan miseensummaa dhaaba bixxillee isaa OPDO guuchifateera. QBO keessattis lukkeelee qabsicha keessaan diigan kumaan kadhimmatee jeequmsa ulfaataa mooraa QBO keessatti gaggeessaa bahee jira. Tarkaanfiileen humnaas tahee haxxummaa kun marti garuu daranuu sochii sabboonummaa fi falmaa mirga Oromummaa finiinsisan malee duubatti deebisuu hin dandeenye; gonkumaas hin dandayani. Diinas tahe kanneen bitamanii shiroota kana irratti itti fufinsaan bobba’an kana akka gaariitti beeku.

Jijjiiramni mirgoota aadaa, afaanii fi ‘ofiin of bulchuu’ kan mootummaan Wayyaanee gurra guddisee lallabatu keessi isaa maal akka fakkaatu eenyu illee caalaatti dubbachuuf kan hamilee itti qabu ummata Oromoo biyya keessaa isa abidda cunqursaa Wayyaanee jala jiru dha. ‘Laalaa madaa ibiddaa isa gubatee beeku tu beeka’ akkuma jedhamu, haalli siyaasummaa, dinagdee fi hawaasummaa ummata keenyaa maal akka fakkaatu ummatichummaan haa dubbatu. Haala sirna siyaasaa cubbamaa impaayera Itoophiyaa keessatti kan affeelamaa jiru Oromoon Itoophiyaa irraa takkaa kabajas tahee galata argatee beeku hin qabu. Kaleessaa hanga har’aatti Itoophiyummaa dirqiitiin dabaa fi cunqursaa guutee dhangala’e keessumsiisuu irraa kan hafe guyyaa takkaaf illee akka lammii biyyaatti mirga siyaasaa abbaa biyyummaa gonfatee oolee hin beeku. Warri kaleessa impaayera tana jaaree fi har’as impaayerattii dhaalee bulchaa jiru lakkoofsaan wayyaboomuu fi dinagdeedhaan lafee dugdaa tahuu Oromoo osoma itti hadhaawuu liqimsuuf haa dirqaman malee, takkaa mirga siyaasaa fi kabajaa saba guddaa fi murteessaa kanaaf malu Oromoof deebisuu yaadanii hin beekani.

Har’a bara itti Oromoon xiqqaa guddaan of baree dabaa fi shira mootummoota Itoophiyaa A hanga Ztti gingilchee hubate kanatti kan Oromoo Itoophiyummaaf kaadhimu yoo jiraate, humni akkasii dura dursoo ummata Oromootiinuu sirriitti waan wal beeka hin fakkaatu ykn osoo beekuu dantaa ummta Oromoo gurguratuuf kan gabaa of baase qofa dha. Yeroo keessa jirru kanatti, dantaa ofiif jedhee Oromoo jilbatti kufee ‘badii kaleessaaf dhiifama nuuf godhii, maaloo si waliin akka bullu nuu eehami’ jedhee kadhachuun kan irraa eegamu, warra jaarraa tokko caalaaf saba kana cunqursaa fi madeessaa bahe malee, Oromoo isa cunqursaa seenaan hin daganneen madaa yoomuu hin fayyine madeeffamaa yoona gahe miti. Oromoo irraa kan eegamu humna isaa kurfeeffatee waaroo ulfinaa ofitti deebisuuf qabsaawee wareegama hanga har’aatti itti baase galiin gahuu dha malee, warra waaroo ulfinaa irraa mulqee waaroo salphinaa itti aguugeef jilbeenfatee kadhachuu miti.

Humnoonni siyaasaa Itoophiyaa kan kaleessa aangoo irra turanis tahee kan har’a aangoo harkatti galfatan Oromoodhaaf tuffii sodaan guutame qabaachaa turan. Tuffiin isaanii kun har’as akkuma jabaatee itti fufetti jira. Oromoon hangamuu baay’atu, hangamuu baratu, hangamuu dachii dinagdee murteessaadhaan badhaadhe irra jiraatu toyannaa keenyaan ala bahuu hin danda’u jedhanii of amansiisanii jiru. Kayyoon qabsoo Oromoo bilisummaa sabaa fi walabummaa Oromiyaa akeekkates isaan biratti “abjuu” dha. Kun amaluma cunqursitootaa ti. Hanga dirqamanitti ummata cunqursaa isaanii jala jiruuf beekkamtii gaaffii mirgaa hin kennani. Qabsaayichi Hindii Mahatma Gandhi amala cunqursitootaa kana jechoota gabaaboodhaan lafa kaaéera. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” [Jalqaba gurra si dhowwatu, itti aansuun sitti kolfu, itti aansuun siin lolu, itti aansuun ni mootaan.] Dhugaa kana irraa wanni hubatamu diinni yoomuu kadhaa fi magantaadhaan kan hin injifatamne tahuu isaa ti. Kadhaa fi magantaan hafnaan osoma muratanii qabsaayaniiyyuu hanga humni namaa jabaatee isa raasutti kan nama tuf°fatu tahuu isaa jechi Gandhi kun illee ragaa baha. Diinni eenyummaa ofii lakkisanii eenyummaa isaa ergifachuudhaanis garaa namaaf hin laafu. Sun daranuu akka diinni nama tuffattu gumaachuu irraa kan hafe akka matayyaattis tahee akka sabaatti ulfina namaaf hin kennisiisu. Eenyummaa fi kaayyoo ofiitti cichanii karaa hundaan muddanii yoo qaban malee diinni hanga namaa beekuu hin dandeessu.

Humnoonni siyaasaa tokko tokko kan har’as jaarraa kanatti bifa kanaan of gowwoomsanii ummata Oromoos gowwoomsuu barbaadan maaliif seenaa ofiifuu nama barsiisaa turan irraa barachuu akka dadhaban namaaf hin galu. Sadarkaa dammaqiinsi Oromoo har’a irra gahee argamus beekaa ija itti dunuunfatan. Har’a hafnaan kaleessa bara dukkanaa sanayyuu yaaliin walfakkaataan akkasii kun Oromoo gowwoomsee kaayyoo qabsoo ABOdhaan hogganamuu irraa maqsuu hin dandeenye. ABOn gaafa jalqaba dhalatee lafaa ol ka’us didhaalee fakkaatoo keessatti of arge. Garuu didhaalee sana mara irra aanee dhawaatumaan jabaataa yoona gahe. Har’as didhaan kun irraa hin hafne. Haa tahu malee har’aa fi kaleessi tokko miti. Kaleessa ABOn harka tokkoon Oromoo Oromummaa isaa barsiisaa harka kaaniin ammoo diinota bifdaneeyyii lolataa bahe. Har’a garuu yoo xiqqaate Oromoo Oromummaa isaa barsiisuutti milkaawee jira waan taheef didhaalee akkasii kana irra aanuun hanga kaleessaa san ulfaataa hin tahu. Waan hunda caalaa ummanni Oromoo dammaqe cinaa isaa jira waan taheef ummatichiyyuu sochii qabsoo isaa danquu fi duubatti harkisu argaa hin callisu. Qabsichi kan isaa tahuu waan hubateef isumatu qabsaayata. Kun ammoo waggootii 20 darban keessatti deddeebi’ee mula’atee jira.

Ummanni Oromoo bara keessa jirru kanatti anatu-siif-beekaa humnoota siyaasaa alagaas tahee kanneen Oromoo keessaa dhalataniituma dogoggoranii saba dogoggorsuu hawwaniif akka murtee hatattamaa kennuu danda’u fakkeenyonni ragaa tahan baay’ee dha. Akka fakkeenya guddaa tokkootti waan jalqaba bara 2012 keessa tahe yaadachiisuun ni danda’ama. Murni dhaaba irraa bahe tokko maqaa ‘ABO’ jedhu ofitti maxxanfatee ‘Bara haaraatti mul’ata haaraa! Har’a irraa qabee kaayyoo ABO jijjiireetin jira, kana booda kaayyoon ABO Itoophiyummaa malee Oromiyummaa miti …’ jechuun labsatee humnoota siyaasaa tokkummaa Itoophiyaaf dhaabatan gammachuudhaan burraaqsisuun isaa yaadannoo yeroo dhihoo ti. Kanaanis humna siyaasaa Itoophiyaa kan kufaatii ABO arguu hawwuuf onnee dabalee ABO irratti dhadachiisuunis waan dagatamu miti. Miidiyaaleen Afaan Amaaraa kan mormituus tahee kan idil addunyaa humna kanaaf yeroo qilleensaa gadhiisii kennanii akka garaa isaa akka of beeksifatu gargaaranii turan. Haa tahu malee ummanni Oromoo humna akkasitti kaayyoo bilisummaa Oromoo fi walabummaa Oromiyaa gurguratee galma diinaatti gale akkasiif deebii hatattamaa kenne. Didichaan miidiyaalee alagootaas hamilee Oromoo cabsuu hin dandeenye. Akkasitti humni sun galaana sabboonummaa Oromummaa biyya keessaa fi alaa keessaa tufame. Qurxummii bahaara keessaa baate tahe. Maayyiin isaas akkuma hanga yeroo dhihootti garre dhabama seenaa tahee hafe. Diinni murna kana dogoggorsee burraaqsisee waliin burraaqaa bahes amma wal fudhatanii mukukkula bishaan bu’e tahan. Cal calammii tahe!

Namas tahee murni qalbii qabu tokko kana irraa waan guddaa barata. Oromoon maal akka barbaadu dhugaa kanaa fi kana fakkaatan irraa ifee mul’ata. Oromoon kan barbaadu ABO kaayyoo isaa haqaa jabeeffatee irree gurmaaween diina irratti bobba’u arguu dha malee dhaaba irraa cabanii deemanii faaruu kaayyoo siyaasaa diinaa jajjabeessu diina waliin faarfachuu miti. Diina dagaaginni sabboonummaa Oromiyaa yeroo irraa gara yerootti jabaataa deemuu argee abdii murachuudhaan akka soogiddaa baqaa jirutti dhaqanii, ‘Itoophiyoomneerra, gammadi’ jedhanii abdii itti horuun kaayyoo fi fedhii ummata Oromoo akka hin taane ifa galaa dha. Kun Oromoo qalbii Oromummaa guutuudhaan walabummaan yaadu qofa osoo hin taane, Oromoo isa OPDO keessatti jaaramee mooraa Wayyaanee keessa jiruufuu kan liqimfamu hin tahu. Heerri Wayyaanee kan keeyyata 39ffaa jalatti maqaafuu tahu kaa’ameyyuu deemsa keessa gaaf tokko waliin jiraachuun yoo rakkoo tahe gargar galuun akka jiraatu kaa’uu isaatiin warra ifatti labsatee of Itoophiyoomse caalaa akeeka qabsoo Oromootti dhihoo dha yoo jedhame dhugaa irraa fagaachuu hin tahu.

Sagantaan ABO bara 1976 keessa bahe namoota akka Goobanaa Daaccee gantummaadhaan lafa kaa’eera. Goobana gantuu jedhamee kan ibsameef fedhii ummata Oromoon alatti Minilikiif tumsee walabummaa biyya Oromoo humnaan cabsisiisee Itoophiyaatti dabalchiisuu isaatiif akka tahe hin haalamu. Namoonni wayta sanitti sagantaa siyaasaa kana wixinanii fi har’a ABO irraa adda bahan dhugaa kanatti ni amanu jedhamee yaadama. Goobanaa jagnummaa loltummaa malee dammaqiinsa siyaasaa homaatuu hin qabaatin sanaanuu ‘gantuu’ dha eega jennee bara har’a qaroome kana keessatti kanneen dammaqiinsa siyaasaa osoma horatanii jiranii ilaalcha faayidaa ummata Oromoo miidhee kan warra kaanii guutuf dursa kennaniin hoo maal jenna ree?

Addi Bilisummaa Oromoo harás borus biyti teenya Oromiyaa, ummanni keenya Oromoo, kaayyoon keenyas bilisummaa dha jedhee amana. Warra kaayyoon isa fakkaatu waliinii fi kanneen dimokrasii dhugaa fi mirga hiree murteeffanaa ummtootaa fudhatan waliin tumsa jaarratee qabsaayaa ture, ammas ni qabsaaya. Warra kaayyoo isaa dura dhaabbatanii fi kaayyoon isa hin fakkaanneef jilbeeffatuun garuu salphina tahuutti hubata. Qabsoon addunyaa kana irratti tahaniis kanuma keessa darbanii akeeka isaanii bakkaan gahan. ‘Akka abaluuttin sirbaan morma nama jal’isa’ akkuma jedhamu, bara jireenya ofii dheeraa Oromiyaaf qabsaayanii galgala keessa Oromiyaa hallayyatti darbanii Itoophiyaa mirga Oromoo beekuufii diddee guyyuu ummata qabsaawaa jiru mana hidhaatti guurtuu fi ajjeessaa jirtuuf dursa kennuun akkeessaa fuggisoo fi abaaramaa tahuu isaa jala muruu feena. ABOn mirga warra kaanii eeguuf jecha mirga haqaa ummata Oromoo irraa muree waan kennuuf hin qabu; mirga warra kaanii tiksuuf jecha mirga siyaasaa Oromoo sharafuun barbaachisaa tahees hin dhihaatu. Yeroma mirga saba ofiif falmatanitti mirga warra kaaniifis dhaabbachuun akka danda’amu ifa galaa waan taheef, mana waloo ollootaa jaaruuf jecha mana maatii ofii of irratti diiguu ABOn ni morma. Sochii mana Oromoo diiguuf wixxifatamus qabsoon maseensa. Mirga ummta Oromoo guutuu kan bilisummaa fi walabummaa jedhu argamsiisuuf akkuma kaleessaa har’as murannoo irra daran belbeleen ni qabsaawa. Kana hundi akka hubatu irra deebiin ibsata. Ummatni Oromoos dhaaba isaa fi qabsoo isaaf kan durii caalaa wardiyyaa dhaabbatee tikfachaa qabsoo isaa ni finiinsa.

Injifannoo Ummata Oromoof!

Infoo Deeskii ABO

Bitootessa 31, bara 2013

INFO DESK ABO haala yeroo irratti  -Afaan Oromoo

OLF INFO DESK on current affairs – Amharic

FDG Ka’een Barattooti Oromoo Lama Rasaasa Wayyaaneen Rukutamanii Hosptala Naqamtee Seenan

Bitootessa 26,2013 Naqamte

OromiaALutaContinua2011FDGBitootessaa 23,2013 Godina Wallaaggaa Bahaa Onaa Heebbantuuttii  Baratootni Oromoo mana barumsaa Qeelloo sadarkaa 2ffaa FDG kachiisuun gaffii mirgaa hiree murteeffaannaa uummataa Oromoo kaasuun ilmaan Oromoo maaliif dhabbiilee barnotaa ol aanoo Universty garagaraa irraa arii’atamu jechuun gaaffiin diricteerotaa barrestuu mana barumsaabQeelloo sadarkaa 2ffaa sardan. gaffii baratootaa Oromootiif deebiin Wayyaanee rasaasa waan ta’eef sa’aa boodaa, humnonnii poolisaa Onaa Heebantuu kan nama dhimmaa nageenyaa onaa Heebantuu ta’ee Mokonnoon Raggaasaa hogganamuun, goototaa baratootaa Oromoo dhagaan diina dura dhaabbatanitti rasaasa roobsuun barattoota lama akka malee madeesse, Kaan mana hidhaatti geeessuu qeerroon onichaa gabaasa

1, Lammeessaa Kabbadaa fi
2.Barataa Darajjee Mokonnoon

Kanneen jedhamaanitu baratootaa gara FDG kakaasa waan ta’eef maatii fi barattooti kun itti gaafatama isaa fudhatu jechuun poolisoonni haa hokkaran malee ummannii fi barattooti diddaa isaanii itti fufanii akka jiran gabaafame. Barataa Lammeessaa Kabbadaa Bataraa Mana Barumsaa Qeelloo sadarkaa 2ffaa Kutaa 10ffaa
rasaasa poolisotaa irraa itti dhukaafameen millaa bitaa rukutamee yeroo ammaa kana hospitaala Neqemtee galee jiraachuun gabaafame,, , 2, barataa Darajjee Mokonnoon barataa kutaa 10ffaa immoo dhagaan
rukkutamee kan baay’ee midhamee jiruu ta’uun gabaafamee jira.

Qabsoon itti fufa! Gabrummaan ni kufa!

The Oromo and the Ethiopian state: identity, marginalization and diaspora blues

by Nuunja Kahina

(Image credit: OPride)

(Image credit: OPride)

March 20, 2013 (This is Africa) — “I am Bekele Gerba” reads an image created by OPride, anOromo news and analysis website based in the United States and run by diasporic activist and journalist Mohammed Ademo. [The Oromo are an ethnic group found in Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and parts of Somalia.] Gerba, an English teacher at Addis Ababa University, is a political prisoner in Ethiopia and a leader of the Oromo Federal Democratic Movement (OFDM), an opposition party. Along with another Oromo leader Olbana Lelisa, Gerba was arrested on August 27th, 2011 for his political activism, specifically for allegations of association with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). [Outlawed by the Ethiopian government and labeled a terrorist organization, the OLF was established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to promote self-determination for the Oromo people against what they call “Abyssinian colonial rule”.] In response to his continued imprisonment, there have been recent protests, organized and conducted primarily by the substantial Oromo diaspora living in the United States and Europe.  In Washington D.C. and London, for instance, hundreds took part in recent demonstrations and rallies, calling for the release of political prisoners in Ethiopia. Profiles of some of of these Oromo prisoners – many of them parents, students and professionals – can be found on the OPride website

w430.68de7The Oromo, with an estimated population of 40 million, are the single largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Despite their numerical majority, they have historically been subjected to political, social, and cultural injustices. Systematic discrimination against Oromo people has left them politically disenfranchised even today, although they have struggled against oppression since the formation of the modern Ethiopian state. There are currently an estimated 20,000 Oromo political prisoners in Ethiopia, lending an urgency to the political situation.  The arrest and treatment of these prisoners has been strongly criticized by international human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

w430.68de7-2The Amnesty International report on the Ethiopian crackdown on political dissent focuses heavily on Oromo prisoners, and specifically details the use of torture against prisoners at theMaikelawi detention center, the use of information obtained through the use of torture in trials, and the continued imprisonment of members of Oromo opposition parties like theOromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) and the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC).

Oromo identity, although often politicised due to marginalization, is about more than politics, though; the experiences of Oromo immigrants in the West are strongly related to ideas of transnationalism, for example. To learn more about diasporic Oromo activism and identity I spoke with Lensa Ahmed, a young scholar and Oromo activist who participated in the Washington

D.C. rally on behalf of Oromo prisoners. Her thoughts on identity, solidarity and diaspora will not be unfamiliar to young Africans from other countries.  A great deal of Oromo activism comes out of the Oromo diaspora, as exemplified by the protests in D.C. and London, but the lives of those immigrants and their children have also been affected by living in the West and the experience of becoming diasporic. Lensa explains, for example, many of the Black American influences on her own thought and work, as well as the difficulty of identifying as Oromo in the United States. From this purview, she interrogates meanings of Ethiopian identity, unity and multiculturalism in both the United States and Ethiopia.

What does being Ethiopian mean to you?

Ethiopia is a country that is very misunderstood. When people outside of Ethiopia, particularly other Africans and those in the West, hear about it, it stands as a symbol of African pride, as a country that successfully fought off colonialism. Ethiopia is often described as the only African country that has never been colonized by Europeans. While this is partly true, the relationship between Ethiopia and European colonizers is much more intimately complex. Although Europeans did not colonize Ethiopia formally, they have had immense influence over the country’s founding and its subsequent history. Ethiopia was formerly known as Abyssinia, but came to be in its current form as a result of Abyssinian expansion South. So early Ethiopian leaders formed a sort of neo-colonial relationship with European colonizers through which they were able to expand their territories South. As a result, we have over 80 nations and nationalities in the country.

Despite Ethiopia’s diversity, the people of the North have dominated the country politically, culturally and socially. It is only recently that Ethiopia’s numerous ethnic groups have been able to openly share and celebrate their cultures. The violent assimilationist policies pursued by the Ethiopian state have left deep and painful memories in the minds of the people. Which is why today many Oromos in the diaspora refuse to self-identify as Ethiopian.

What gets lost in the dominant narrative on Ethiopia is this complex history and how it impacts current Ethiopian politics. Understanding Ethiopian history is important for understanding current Ethiopian politics.

The sycamore tree, under which traditional councils are held, is a symbol of Oromo governance and participatory democracy

The sycamore tree, under which traditional councils are held, is a symbol of Oromo governance and participatory democracy

Oromo people are the largest ethnic group in the Ethiopian state but remain politically marginalized. Many of us in the diaspora resist the label “Ethiopian” for one reason or another. For some of us, it is political, while for others it simply does not reflect our lived experiences. I grew up as an Oromo; I spent most of my life outside of Ethiopia but I grew up speaking Afaan Oromo and listening to Oromo music, and in my family we never really identified as Ethiopian. I have friends who spent much of their lives in Ethiopia and remain fiercely against the idea of being categorized as “Ethiopian.” But I also have Oromo friends who identify as Ethiopian. Ethiopia’s complicated history affects how different people see themselves even today. This is even more pronounced amongst young people who might not understand or be confused about all of the complexity surrounding the many identities.

When I was 13 or 14, we lived in the same building as Oromo singers who were in exile in Kenya. After the EPRDF (the current regime) consolidated power in the early 1990s, a lot of Oromo people, including activists and artists, fled the country amidst ensuing violence.  As a way of empowering themselves and their Oromo compatriots, the exiled singers used to put on these concerts. One of my fondest childhood memories is of these concerts and the feelings of euphoria and empowerment they provided. That kind of public cultural expression has largely been prohibited in Ethiopia. Even today, the Ethiopian government goes out of its way to control and micromanage Oromo people’s social and cultural gatherings. Oromo musicians continue to face major censorship. Music has always been a form of resistance for Oromo people throughout history. So the diaspora provides a space for the rehabilitation, celebration and preservation, of our culture and identity.  In Ethiopia, just being Oromo is a very political thing.  In the diaspora, I can just be myself.

For more information, including song lyrics of influential Oromo music, read Kulani Jalata’s article “The Role of Revolutonary Oromo Artists in Building Oromumma.”

In the diaspora, at least in America, identity becomes even more complicated because the average American has no clue what Oromo is, or even where Ethiopia is located. So, sometimes, it is exhausting trying to explain where you are from or what your identity is. Often I just say that I’m Oromo, or explain I am from Ethiopia, or East Africa.  A layer of invisibility accompanies being an immigrant in the United States, as issues of race and culture complicate identity.  A lot of people in the U.S. would first consider me Black, then an immigrant, then maybe African, and finally, if I am lucky, I might have time to explain how I am from Ethiopia but do not necessarily feel Ethiopian.  That’s part of living in a state like the U.S. The existence of a multitude of identities can sometimes complicate how we see ourselves and how others might see us.

Nehemiah Oromo Choir. (Photo credit: David Joles, Star Tribune.)

Nehemiah Oromo Choir. (Photo credit: David Joles, Star Tribune.)

As a college student I took a lot of classes in which I was the only Black person, especially the only Black woman.  In that context it didn’t matter that I was Oromo or even African, just that I was a Black woman.  I’ve come to embrace these different identities, but I have also learned that they do not always mean the same things to others as they might to me. I am Black in America, so I also identify as African American.  Without the struggles of Black people in America, I wouldn’t be here and that’s relevant to my experiences as an African immigrant. So, diasporic living entails negotiating multiple identities and communities.

Among Africans, particularly Ethiopians, other dynamics also come into play. For instance, there is an uneasy tension between those who choose to identify as Oromo and those who identify as Ethiopian. For one reason or another, I find that Ethiopians get bothered whenever I say I am Oromo. There’s an Ethiopian nationalist notion of “we’re all Ethiopian, let’s unite.”  But how can we unite when there’s ongoing, systematic oppression of various groups of people within the Ethiopian state? Many people tell us, Ethiopia does not have an ethnic issue, but what explains the fact that more than half of the prisoners across Ethiopia are Oromo men and women?  How can we explain the fact that being an Oromo alone can warrant suspicion and undue harassment from the Ethiopian government?  A lot of Ethiopians try to talk about unity, but only on their terms.  Unity happens between equals, so when they force their identity on me it is not unity: it is domination.

w430.68de7-5People often associate Oromo identity with secessionism, but that’s not always true.  Some Oromo people do support independence, but others want to build a new Ethiopia, one that reflects the diversity and complex history of the country and allows our people more political power. We’re accused of being divisive just by identifying as Oromo, but we can’t erase our identity, history or our memories of oppression within the Ethiopian state.  Ethiopia is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country, so we have to be open to the multiple possibilities of what being from Ethiopia might entail. No single group of people can maintain a monopoly on that.

This is Africa

THOUSANDS OF ETHIOPIAN REFUGEES HELD FOR RANSOM IN SAUDI ARABIA

 

Ethiopian refugee tied to a tree by his Arab captives in Saudi Arabia

Ethiopian refugee tied to a tree by his Arab captives in Saudi Arabia

 

Ethiopian refugee tortured and burned dead by his Arab captives in Saudi Arabia

Ethiopian refugee tortured and burned dead by his Arab captives in Saudi Arabia

March 19, 2013 (durame) — Thousands of Ethiopian refugees are being held captive for ransom in the border regions of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, according to Mohammed Najad, a Yemeni security official.

Making the situation worsedocumentaries in late February that depict Ethiopian refugees as gangs involved in illicit activities.

As a result, many Saudis and Yemeni vigilante groups have sprung up near their common border, under the guise of defending their territories but in reality, most are there to take Ethiopian migrants captive for ransom.

Fleeing from economic hardship and a repressive dictatorship in Ethiopia, the Middle East is seen as a place where young Ethiopians can earn a higher standard of living to support their families back home.

Despite the dangerous risks involved, over 84,000 Ethiopian refugees cross the traitorous waters of the Gulf of Aden each year, according to the United Nation’s refugee agency.

Once in Yemen, most Ethiopians head straight for the Yemeni-Saudi border, where bandits, vigilantes, and smugglers frequently hold migrants captive and demand thousands of dollars in ransom for their release.

A recent report by UNHCR reveals thousands of Ethiopian men, women and children are being held captive for extortion on both sides of the Yemeni-Saudi border by armed criminal gangs and vigilantes.

The gangs use rape and torture against their victims to make their families pay for their release. Those who fail to have their ransom paid are killed and their organs harvested for sale on the black market.

“It was horrible. If your ransom wasn’t paid, they tortured and raped you,” recounted one of the victims, who requested anonymity. “I am lucky I was able to flee. My friends who came with me were killed.”

–Durame

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Former President George W. Bush lawyer fighting for Kenya prime minister in election loss case

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP)– A former lawyer for President George W. Bush now representing Kenya’s prime minister in his fight to win a new presidential election says he doesn’t think Kenya’s election commission is impartial.

William Burck told The Associated Press that Kenya’s election commission failed in its duty to ensure the March 4 presidential election was fair. Among the faults was what Burck called an inexplicable rise in the number of registered voters just before the vote.

Burck is representing Prime Minister Raila Odinga in his petition to Kenya’s Supreme Court asking that the results be scrapped and a new election held. Uhuru Kenyatta — the son of Kenya’s founding father — was named the winner with 50.07 percent.

The Supreme Court has until a week from Saturday to rule on Odinga’s petition.

–AP

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Kenya’s Kenyatta urges ICC to drop charges

NAIROBI, Kenya (Aljazeera)–Hearing to consider war crimes charges facing president-elect comes a week after case against his co-accused collapsed.

Lawyers for Uhuru Kenyatta have argued that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should dismiss crimes against humanity charges against Kenya’s president-elect over post-2007 election violence.

Lawyer Steven Kay asked a three-judge bench at The Hague-based court on Monday to scrap his client’s July trial date and send the case back to the pre-trial chamber, after prosecutors last week dropped all charges against Kenyatta’s co-accused.

The evidence against top civil servant Francis Muthaura was critically undermined by the withdrawal of key witness testimony, and Kay said the five charges against Kenyatta, including rape and murder, should now also be reconsidered.

Should the charges against Kenyatta stand, he will become the first-ever president to have to go to The Hague to face a trial that could last at least two years shortly after taking office.

Pre-trial hearing

The case against Kenyatta, charged with crimes against humanity over deadly violence in the wake of Kenya’s election in 2007, has been further complicated by his victory in a ballot which was held largely peacefully this month.

A status conference, or pre-trial hearing, has been called by judges in The Hague for 14:00GMT on Friday, and will look at the consequences of the withdrawal of the charges against Muthaura for the case against Kenyatta.

Kenyatta and former civil servant Muthaura were among six suspects initially charged by ICC prosecutors with orchestrating violence after the 2007 election, when some 1,200 people were killed.

On March 11, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the decision of a key witness to recant testimony had forced her to drop charges against Muthaura.

Bensouda said the decision would have no impact on Kenyatta’s case.

Kenyatta’s lawyers will call on Friday for the case against him to be dropped or at least postponed, said one lawyer who was familiar with the case, but did not want to be quoted by name.” The collapse of the case against Muthaura has a profound impact on the viability of the prosecution’s case against Kenyatta,” the lawyer said.

The prosecutions are based to a large extent on similar evidence, with both men denying any wrongdoing.

Ethnic divisions

Kenyatta, 51, elected by a slim margin earlier this month, faces a big challenge in bridging Kenya’s ethnic divides even without the court case.

His opponent, Raila Odinga, challenged the election result in court on Saturday, alleging widespread ballot rigging.

The prosecution would then have to show again that it has a strong enough case to go to trial.

Judges have not yet formally dropped the case against Muthaura.

The case is an important test for the Netherlands court, which was set up more than a decade ago as the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal, but has so far only secured one conviction.

–Aljazeera

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Car bomb in Somalia’s capital kills 10

NAIROBI (Washinton Post) — A suicide bomber driving a car filled with explosives killed at least 10 people in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Monday, illuminating the lingering security challenges faced by the U.S.- and U.N.-backed government.

Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked militia, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest this year in Mogadishu. The militia continues to stage guerrilla assaults, more than a year after African Union peacekeepers pushed the militants out of the capital.

The bombing appeared to target a group of Somali government officials, including Mogadishu’s security chief, near the presidential palace, but instead struck a minivan filled with passengers, according to police and witnesses. The attack occurred on a main road, lined with shops and tearooms, between the palace and the national theater.

“The suicide car bomber targeted a senior national security officer whose car was passing near the theater,” senior police officer Abdiqadir Mohamud told Reuters, adding that the official was injured and that most of the people who died were civilians on the minibus. “This public vehicle coincidentally came between the government car and the car bomb when it was hit. Littered at the scene are human hands and flesh,” the news agency reported.

Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for al-Shabab, told Reuters that the attack was revenge for the deaths of its members targeted by the Somali national security forces. The militia still controls large swaths of rural Somalia, even as it has been pushed out of major cities, including the Indian Ocean port city of Kismayo, which has severely damaged its ability to raise money.

Since late 2011, security in Mogadishu has improved considerably, prompting the United Nations and some countries to reopen offices and embassies in the capital. A nearly 18,000-strong African Union force still protects the fragile central government.

Nevertheless, Monday’s bombing was a reminder of the militia’s ability to create havoc and disrupt efforts by Somali President Hassan Sheik Mohamud to pull the nation out of more than two decades of civil war. Mohamud was elected last year in Somalia’s first nationwide vote since the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991, an event that helped trigger the country’s descent into turmoil.

–Washington Post