2018: we took a step closer to actualising our dream of freedom

By Bonsen D Wakjira

Hello everyone, my name is Bonsen and I want to welcome you to 2019’s Oromo Festival. Before we begin, I want to acknowledge the traditional and true custodians of this land and pay my respects to their elders past and present, and remind all of us here that sovereignty was never ceded. I also want to pay my respects to our dead, and remember their legacies, sacrifices and lives.

Bonsen D Wakjira gave speech at Oromia @ Federation Square on 7th of January 2019

This speech is many things, it is a call for solidarity and unity. We are different in so many ways, and to me, being Oromo is about acknowledging our differences and understanding that we are strong because of our differences, because our respective experiences and beliefs provide perspectives to our journey towards freedom that we wouldn’t get anywhere else. Difference has been used against so many people, but our differences should not be the death of us. Our differences give us strength and wisdom, and we should, and must address these differences with kindness and respect because that is the only way our goal of freedom can be actualised. To quote the great Audre Lorde, “We share a common interest, survival, and it cannot be pursued in isolation from others simply because their differences make us uncomfortable”, and this is the energy I’m claiming for us 2019 and beyond.

This speech is about community. We are a very communal people, as far as I know, we’ve organised our societies by centring community and have done an amazing job of doing so in a country that favours and encourages individualism. For diasporic youth who face so much pressure to assimilate and adapt, we have done an amazing job of being unapologetically Oromo and unwavering in our Oromo identity, and seek solace in our people and our community, and that’s one of the most beautiful things about us as a people.

2018 was a big year for us. We took a step closer to actualising our dream of freedom, so many people went back home and got to experience their country to the fullest extent and we saw that perseverance comes through. But that doesn’t mean our fight is over, if anything, it means we have to keep fighting, keep organising with Oromo folks, reach out to those who can and want to help, Oromo or not, and correct those misinformed about our purpose, we all have a role to play, whether it be a role in raising awareness, or educating, or learning and claiming your cultural roots. These are all important roles in achieving self-determination and fighting forces that kill our people and steal our land. Freedom cannot be given to us, nor can governments and political leaders give us the right to self-determination. We must take these ourselves, and we can only do so when we recognise our strengths, both as individuals and as a community, and fight relentlessly and unwaveringly for our country.

Thank you for listening, and I hope y’all have a good time.

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Oromia: Advocacy for Oromia requests urgent intervention to uphold the rights of Oromos in Oromia

(Advocacy for Oromia, 10 January 2019) Advocacy for Oromia, a non-profit advocacy organisation working to ensure that the Oromo people’s rights and wishes are respected, is highly concerned at the intimidation, the violence and the wave of arrests that have taken place during the week end in Oromia.

Advocacy for Oromia understands the security concerns of the regional and the Federal Government and the steps taken to protect the people who live in the country. The Ethiopian military established a buffer zone in Moyale town and deployed a large number of military forces in western Oromia. However, we have been informed that several innocents individuals are arrested and held at various camps and stations in a very harsh and poor condition.

The brave Chaltu Takele and other people have reportedly been detained in the town of Shambu, Oromia, on January 8, 2018. Chaltu was imprisoned by the TPLF regime multiple times, for several years over all, for having legitimately resisted the tyrannical rules of TPLF.

Furthermore, the door to door operation has involved breaking the houses of more than 500 Oromo women, elders and youth from Naqamte, Gimbi, Najjo, Dambi Dollo, Begi, and Mandi, beating them up cold-heartedly, and treating them in heartless manner and robbing their properties. However, none of the government bodies have initiated any inquiry into the matter which continues to violate human rights.

Advocacy for Oromia believes that such widespread human rights violations perpetuated against the people are one of the major contributing factors that have been destabilizing the peace of the region. Advocacy for Oromia, therefore, requests the urgent intervention to ensure that the law enforcement agencies and military forces to uphold the rights of all those arrested and to treat them in a humane and non-discriminatory manner.

Advocacy for Oromia also requests the Ethiopian government to immediately stop this recurring abuse of Oromos and release those detained, return their robbed properties and provide them the protection they deserve. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of national and international law and orders.

Advocacy for Oromia further requests the government to unconditional release and ensure that their cases proceed in a manner consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, and free expression; and to ensure their well-being while in custody, including access to legal counsel and family.

Advocacy for Oromia

For the PDF format: press letter

Advocacy for Oromian iyyannaa nagaa fi araara Oromiyaa dhiheesse

(A4O, 2 January 2019) Advocacy for Oromian mootummaan Itoophiyaa akka ABO waliin marii nagaa fi araaraa gaggeessu gaafate.

Jaarmichi ibsa har’a baaseen akka ibsetti, haalli amma Oromiyaa keessatti mul’atu abdii nagaa fi bilisummaa kan dukkaneessaa jiruu dha.

Rakkoo waldhabdee kana mariidhaan akka furamu kan gaafate Advocacy for Oromian, marii kana “qopheessuufi keessatti hirmaatee milkeessuuf yeroo kamiyyuu caalaa fedhii fi qophaa’ina guddaa qabna,”jedheera.

Itti dabaluunis, qabxiilee furmaataa kana maaliif akka akeekees hubachiiseera. “mariin nagaa fi araaraa kamiyyuu qaawwaalee jiran mara duuchee uummata Oromoofi Itoophiyaa hunda gara jaalalaa, tokkummaafi misoomaatti akka ceesisu amanna.

Guutummaan ibsa kanaas kunoo ti: Iyyannaa Nagaa fi Araara Oromiyaa