Make an End to Ethiopia’s State Terror

An Urgent National Call

May 2022

Gurmuu Hayyoota Oromoo – Oromo Intellectual’s Society (GHO-OIS), after due deliberation on the current situation in Oromia and Ethiopia, particularly on the ongoing state terror and ethnic genocide directed at the Oromo Nation, makes the following calls upon all Oromos and friends of Oromo National Cause as a matter of urgency.

Key Notes:

At the present, the clique that wields state power in the name of the so called “Prosperity Party” in Ethiopia, has deployed all armed forces at its disposal (including foreign forces) and is committing indiscriminate mass killings and systematic genocide against the Oromo people.

The ruling party in Ethiopia has declared a systematic war against the Oromo people to eradicate Oromumma (Oromoness) and the Oromo as a nation, in a bid to renew the imperial policy of creating a unitary state under Amhara political, cultural and economic hegemony. It deployed the Ethiopian National Defence Forces, Special Forces of Oromia, Amhara, Somali and other regional states, the Amhara organized bandits called “Fanno” and units of the Eritrean military ostensibly to wipe out the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). These forces are rather killing Oromo civilians indiscriminately and with utmost brutality, looting and plundering private properties and burning down whole villages and farms like an invading foreign army of bygone times.

Although many regimes of different political makeup have risen and fallen in Ethiopia since its creation as a colonizing imperial state by king Minilik of Abyssinia, each successive regime failed to resolve its foundational predicament and thus continued on a path of repression and suppression of the quest of the colonized nations and nationalities for freedom and equality with increasingly systematic vigour and brutality. The current war of the ruling elite under the so called “Prosperity Party” against almost all the peoples of Ethiopia in general, and Tigray and Oromia in particular, is a continuation of this political culture and a clear testimony that repeated endeavours to transform the empire has unquestionably failed once again, proving that this empire can’t be democratized.

Clearly, the current ruling clique, continuing repressive and suppressive methods of the past in a more vicious manner, is conducting not only systematic ethnic and cultural genocide but also demonstrated acts of fascism against the people it is supposed to govern.

The only option left for the Oromo nation to free itself from 150 years of cyclic repression, exploitation, war and humanly suffering, and particularly to save itself from the current wholesale killings and total war of genocide, is consequently intensifying its current armed struggle led by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) to make an end to Ethiopia’s colonial occupation of Oromia.

Noting that saving the Oromo people from armed violence, state terror and mass murder now engulfing the whole of Oromia is the historic burden and responsibility bearing upon the current generation of Oromo sons and daughters;

Bearing in mind that the only option to end the vicious cycle of colonial repression and war of exterminating the Oromo as a nation is for Oromos from all walks of life to set aside minor political differences, and unite and bundle our human, material and intellectual resources to liberate our Nation from the yoke of colonial subjugation;

GHO/OIS calls upon all Oromians to rise in unity to discharge the historic responsibility we bear in common to liberate the Oromo, the last great nation that is still languishing under colonial yoke in the 21st century.•

I. Root of the Problem: Continuation of Colonial Rule

The Oromo is a great nation that counts the Horn of Africa as its origin and the cradle of its egalitarian Gadaa system and civilization. The Gadaa system is the epitome of equality and democracy, which has served as the administrative, cultural and psychological basis of the Oromo people for thousands of years.

However, through the invasion of kings Yohannes IV and Minilik II of Abyssinia starting in the 1870’s, the whole of Oromia was conquered and became part of the present Ethiopian empire. As a colonial subject, the Oromo nation has been subjected to abhorent repression, systematic exploitation of its human and material resources, and cultural genocide through prevarication of its history and attempted eradication of its language and culture. These colonial repressions aimed at cultural and ethnic genocide are being conducted by the current fascist regime in Ethiopia in a more systematic and vicious manner.

The aim of a colonizer is not only to occupy the invaded land, dispossess the indigenous people of their material wealth and labor produces and destroy their culture and identity, but also to eliminate the elites of the conquered people to root out potential leaders of resistance against the alien rule. Through such a brutal policy, the colonizer denies the subject nation of its own elites that could keep its history, culture and language for next generations, thereby leading to the eradication of cultures and languages of colonized peoples.

History of the Oromo nation under the subjugation of the Ethiopian empire bears witness to such extensive colonial repressions:

a. During the invasion by kings Yohannes and Minilik of Abyssinia, millions of people in Oromia and the current Ethiopia’s South were killed in wars of resistance or were rounded up and sold into slavery. Million others perished as a consequence of famine that followed an intentional spread of cattle plague. Historical documents show that the population of Oromia was reduced by half and some other smaller ethnics were brought to the brink of extinction. The land of the indigenous peoples was carved up among the invading army of Minilik and the natives who survived the devastation were made “Gabbar” – a brutal form of slavery – in which wholes families were made to toil their ancestral lands to feed and serve families of the new colonizers. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church also got its share of the booty according to its ancient pact with Abyssinian kings.

b. Emperor Haile-Silassie‘s regime, not only intensified the Gabbar system, but also embarked on the project of ‘modernizing’ his empire, in which all other languages except Amharic were banned from use in schools and public institutions. Orthodox Christianity and the Amharic language and culture were promoted as ‘national’ religion and culture, whereas all others languages and cultures were banned to gradually wither away. The aim was to amharanize (convert to Amhara) all the subjugated peoples into a one language – one culture – one religion unitary state.

c. The Dergue communist military dictatorship that ousted Haile-Silassie, in a bid to pacify the central ‘Land to the tiller’ demand of student movements against the Gabbar system, first declared all land in Ethiopia to be government property. It then exacted more onerous dues and services from the peasantry than before. To better control the rural population from supporting the various liberation fronts fighting against it, the regime embarked on Stalinist collectivization of peasants into villages. For additional control, the regime also settled northern farmers in the South and among the Oromo. Through consequent starvation and government killings in the name of fighting the rebels, millions of civilians lost their lives. In a vicious move, the regime also destroyed many Oromo religious centers and irreplaceable cultural artefacts.

d. After the Dergue was overthrown through the armed struggle of the Oromo and other rebel groups in 1991, an experiment at a system of ethnic federation began, in which the current borders of Oromia were demarcated and Afaan Oromo became the official language in Oromia. However, the TPLF from Tigray, which militarily monopolized state power, reduced the federal arrangement to the status of Haile-Silassie’s governorate generals, and similarly ruled from the centre through satellite organizations it created in the name of the various nations and nationalities in the empire. Oromia and other regions were more systematically looted and exploited to build Tigray and enrich Tigrayans. Evicting Oromo farmers at gun point, their farms were sold to the so-called investors and lands around cities especially around Finfinnee were carved up among the new Tigrayan rich and their lackeys to build villas and high rise buildings. Those who protested against these brazen dispossessions and consequent wiping out of innumerable Oromo farmer families were declared as terrorists and were either arrested, tortured and killed or were forced to flee the country.

e. After the TPLF was forced to vacate its dominant position in the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition mainly through the Oromo Qeerroo/Qarree movement and public uprising, the group led by Abiy Ahmed disbanded the former EPRDF coalition and leaving out the TPLF but co-opting other former satellite organizations, organized itself as the „Prosperity Party“ (PP). This party, without meeting the requirements for a political party under the country’s laws and as a new party without popular or any other legal mandate, grabbed state power and continued to rule the country. To consolidate its authoritarianism and to thwart any future contestation against its dictatorial rule, it declared war on parties and groups demanding more plural politics and cultural & political autonomy for their respective ethnics.

In general, although Ethiopia has seen despots and dictators of varying political tints and tones – from emperors to communists to „revolutionary democrats“ ala TPLF – one thing remained unchanged: the colonial nature of the empire, the suppression, repression and wars necessary to maintain it, and the consequent widespread human rights violations and human misery that is still ongoing in more brutal and vicious manner.

II. The Currently Ongoing Genocide

As stated above, the present ruling Prosperity Party clique took over state power without any formal mandate required of it as a new political party and without even meeting requirements under the country’s laws governing political parties. To maintain state power it usurped, it reverted to massively harass, intimidate and imprison its political opponents. After disenfranchising many opposition parties and mass arrest of members and supporters of the two main Oromo political parties, the OLF and OFC in particular, PP declared itself the winner of an election it planned, conducted and competed in alone.

To hang onto power uncontested for the foreseeable future, the clique furthermore,

a) co-opted remnants of the former communist junta and the terrorist EPRP group;

b) allied with extremist and expansionist Amhara nationalists who are striving to re-establish Amhara hegemony of Minilik II’s colonial era;

c) invited foreign armies especially that of Eritrea and other alien forces that are eager for land grab and other plunder;

and started a destructive war against political bodies that are striving for genuine democracy and the fundamental rights of nations and nationalities in the country.

Colonel Abiy Ahmed, head of the ruling party, taking Isayas Afawarqi of Eritrea as role model, mentor and supporter, aims to exterminate any political opposition for good and remain the uncontested strong man of Ethiopia. To this end, his regime tramples upon the country‘s laws and constitution and, in contravention of international conventions and norms, is committing widespread human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The regime’s armed and security forces and regional militia forces are currently laying waste parts of Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz, worse than they did in Tigray earlier.

The regime in Oromia particularly,

• arrested en masse leaders, members and supporters of the OLF and the OFC, the two main Oromo political parties, and holds them under criminally abominable conditions;

• hunts down and kills conscious Oromos extra-judicially and throws them into the bush for the wild beasts to devour;

• deployed the country’s national defence forces supported by fighter drones, helicopters and fighter jets, its security apparatus, police and militia forces of Oromia and neighbouring regions as well as units of Eritrean defence forces, which are currently conducting civilian massacre, burning of Oromo homesteads and whole villages, and mass eviction;

• and is openly committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

A ruling clique, however authoritarian it may be, won’t willingly surrender sovereignty of its country and become servile to a foreign entity. The group currently ruling Oromia in the name of OPDO/PP was basically doing that from the start. It is indeed organized and steered by foreign forces for the sole purpose of suppressing and repressing the Oromo people to enable these aliens exploit and plunder the resources of Oromia. In line with the crimes it was committing in the service of the TPLF for over 27 years pre 2018, the former OPDO (now PP) recently, for example, gave large sums out of Oromia‘s budget to Amhara and other regions as a gift or bribe and invited militia and special forces of these regions to invade Oromia.

Following the motto of “drying out the sea to kill the fish”, as suggested by one party member on a session of PP’s Oromia parliament, to defeat the Oromo Liberation Army, the ruling clique officially gave the army and militia forces a free reign to conduct indiscriminate massacre of civilians, burning of homes and vicious destruction of properties.

In addition, though posturing as an Oromo regime ruling Ethiopia, the clique massacres Oromos and, in collaboration with avowed anti-Oromo elements in the country and abroad, falsely reports it as if Oromos murdered Amharas, simply to present the Oromo people as monsters in the eyes of the international community. The group calling itself OPDO (now PP) has thus proved to be more anti-Oromo than the worst enemy the Oromo people ever had.

All in all, the current regime is committing boundless crimes and fascism to eliminate Oromo nationalists and to eradicate the Oromo as a nation. The ultimate goal of Prosperity Party’s war against the people is to dismantle the current multi-ethnic federal arrangement and reinstitute the old colonial system of forced Amharanization, slavery and deprivation.

The result we see today is extensive destruction, civil war and economic collapse and possible disintegration of the empire altogether.

III. National Duty as an Oromo

History of the Ethiopian Empire, especially that of the last 60 years teaches us that, though many ideologues have exchanged hands to rule the empire, at least three attempts at democratizing it proved unsuccessful. Years of endeavour to transform Ethiopia into a modern state, where all nations, nationalities and peoples in its borders have equal rights and obligations, and where individual and group rights are respected, failed to bear fruit because of its foundation as a colonial empire that remained unchanged. It proved that an empire cannot be reformed and democratized, especially in the face of Habesha resistance to modernization and democratization.

What should be done then?

Recognizing that transforming the Ethiopian empire into a democratic state proved to be unachievable, the only option left to bring about a lasting solution of setting an end to the vicious cycle of repression, war and destruction and cutting short the era of destitution and tribulation of our people, is to intensify our national liberation struggle and consummate the right of our nation to self-determination.

The present dictatorial regime in Ethiopia is making a last ditch attempt to re-establish Ethiopia under Habesha /Amhara hegemony by reversing the few rights Oromos won through the bitter sacrifices of millions of our compatriots. To this end, the regime is conducting mass murder and eviction of Oromos from their ancestral homes, a fascistic act targeting the Oromo as a people.

Our silence and disconcert at this moment of distress of our people would later cost us all dearly and won’t save us from the judgement of history. Therefore, getting organized and organizing our people to stand up together to thwart the war of extermination targeted against the Oromo nation has become the burning issue requiring immediate response from us all children of Oromia.

After repeated attempts at dismantling colonial settings to bring peace, equality and democracy to all peoples in Ethiopia have proven futile within the confines of empire, it is naive to believe that peaceful political means would lead to attainment of liberty and self-rule especially when the ruling elite is determined to quash Oromo Quest for freedom and equality through means of brute force. Recognizing that this would only confuse and demoralize our people, it is our national duty and patriotic obligation to provide due moral, material and intellectual support to our people’s armed struggle spearheaded by OLA.

IV. Let’s Bring Oromo National Liberation Struggle to its Natural Conclusion:

Whereas the Oromo people have been continuously subjected to inhuman treatments, barbarous repression, mass evictions, exploitation and plunder as the colonial policy of the Ethiopia empire for the last 150 years;

whereas many regimes of various political colour have exchanged hands in ruling Ethiopia, and that none have addressed the root cause of the incessant political turmoil in the empire, namely its colonial foundation and continued existence as such, but rather intensified colonial repression at every turn;

whereas the current ruling clique, in a scorched earth policy tries not only to suppress the Oromo Quest for freedom and equality but also to eradicate the Oromo as a nation altogether, is thus committing abhorrent human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity;

whereas liberty of the individual and freedom of every nation from alien rule are inalienable rights enshrined in UN Declaration of Human Rights, that every nation reserves the right to use any means at its disposal to regain and protect these rights and the right to self-determination;

whereas the Oromo is the last big nation still languishing under the anachronistic colonial subjugation in the 21st century, that it is imperative to close this dark chapter of African history;

To set an end to the era of brutal repression, colonial exploitation, slavery and human misery under Ethiopian colonial rule, the Oromo people have been left with a single option, namely to intensify the ongoing armed struggle led by Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and bring it to its natural conclusion of establishing an independent Democratic Republic of Oromia.

Let’s rise up in unison to realize it!

V. A National Call of Oromumma

that democratization of the Ethiopian empire proved to be a futile undertaking, and any further attempt to reform it would only prolong the suffering of the peoples in the empire, thus to quicken its demise;

that members of the OPDO/PP, while speaking Afaan Oromo and claiming to be Oromo, are from the outset committing all the atrocities in Oromia as henchmen of alien rule, so the organization proving itself to be the worst enemy of the Oromo people, and thus must be uprooted;

that providing the Oromo national liberation struggle with financial, intellectual and manpower assistance as to hasten its goal of uprooting colonial subjugation is a national duty that demands immediate response from each and every Oromo;

1) we call upon all Oromo civic, professional and political organizations to leave minor differences aside and forge strategic alliances to foil the ethnic and cultural genocide targeted against the Oromo as a nation and lead it out of the hitherto brutal colonial bondage.

2) we call upon all Oromo sons and daughters all over the world to heed the distress call of our people and rise in unison to save our nation from the barbaric atrocities and eventual annihilation targeted against it by builders and maintainers of the colonial empire of Ethiopia. We call upon Oromo intellectuals, specifically those who tried (and still try) in vain to democratize Ethiopia and in doing so only helped maintain the vicious cycle of tyranny, war and human suffering, as the last 60 years history of Ethiopia bears witness, to invest their time and resources instead to find a lasting solution, namely the realization of the right of nations and nationalities in the empire to self-determination.

3) Given the fact that the OPDO/PP proved to be the worst enemy that from the outset made as its stated duty the repression and subjugation of the Oromo people to subdue them to alien rule, and is currently conducting state terror to annihilate the Oromo, we call upon all Oromos serving this regime in any capacity to distance themselves from the body massacring their brethren. Continuing to serve this fascist regime would undoubtedly leave an indelible mark of shame on themselves and their descendants.

That the only option left to the Oromo Nation to free itself from more than a century of state terror and humanly suffering is to fight for the establishment of the free state of Oromia;

That the stated goal of the Oromo National liberation struggle is reinstating Oromo people’s cultural and political sovereignty and Oromia’s righteous place among the free nations of the world by ending the state of colonial subjugation and exploitation;

We extend our national call to all Oromo sons and daughters to rise hand in hand for this dignified and noble cause.

Victory to the Oromo people!

Oromia shall be free!

OSG Report 59 released today, documents continuing human rights failures in Ethiopia.

OSG Press Release: Beware genocide; Ethnic cleansing; Qeerroo deliberately targeted by Abiy Ahmed; Hate speech; Wallega report; OLF detainees

Although the execution of Karrayyuu Gadaa leaders on 1 December (pp.15-17) was not genocidal in extent, the ethnic cleansing and expansion of Amhara territory which preceded and followed the massacre is part of a process which is approaching genocide in its ideology and, arguably, in its practice.

Members of Karrayyuu Gadaa Leaders who executed on 1 December 2021.

It is evident within Amhara Region as the mass graves from retaliatory killings in Wollo (p.14) attest, as do previously reported killings of Agaw (Report 57, p.23) and Kemant (Report 58, pp.17-18).

The process of killing and razing villages of non-Amhara is evident around Amhara Region too – mass killings in East and West Showa (pp.9-10), East Wallega and Horo Guduru zones, Oromia Region (pp.21-22), and in Metekel zone of Benishangul-Gumuz Region (pp.28-29).

These killings are preceded, justified and followed by hate speech aimed at the victims (pp.5-7). False claims of atrocities attributing them to OLA (p.22) are another form of hate speech – designed to increase hostility and hatred.

Civilians are also killed throughout Oromia in scorched earth campaigns in West Wallega (pp.19-21) and in East and West Guji zones (p.30). Government soldiers are told ‘to do whatever they want be it legal or illegal including murders’ (p.27).

On taking power, Abiy Ahmed’s top priority, however, was the elimination of the very group which enabled his ascendancy, the Qeerroo non-violent pro-democracy protestors. Former Minister Milkessa Gemechu confirmed that the observed trend was deliberate policy (pp.3-4).

The devastating local effects of the civil war in Oromia are revealed by the third report from the Human Rights Defenders Group, based in West Wallega (pp.24-28).

OLF political prisoners remain in filthy, secret dungeons (pp.10-13) after the release of a few OFC leaders on 7 January. Bate Urgessa, OLF Public Relations head, was released from prison on a stretcher and remains severely ill.

Opposition leaders  together with civil society and grassroots organisations, must be the drivers of any dialogue to navigate Ethiopia out of its multiple crises and must be released.

Fur further details: https://advocacy4oromia.org/osg-report-59-beware-genocide/

A Diasporan Oromo Visits Kenya: A Reflection

Being from the Ethiopian side of the border, travelling and getting to know my people on the Kenyan side has brought me back down to earth regarding the way I have previously viewed the Borana Oromo.

By Soreti Kadir

I left Oromia just before turning two years old and I grew up among the first Oromo people to call Melbourne home. I vividly remember the days when we were so few that, in Clayton South, the suburb in which I spent 16 years of my life, there was an Oromo family on almost every block. Being such a small community, we didn’t scatter across the breadth of the city but huddled together in a small enclave for safety, support, and the comfort of familiarity. In those days, weddings, birthday parties, funerals, and other community events were attended by people from all the regions of Oromia who made up our little community.

But as our community grew in number, and as the number of people from every region of Oromia grew, I started to see a divide in how we congregated. By my mid-teens, I was almost completely disconnected from the spaces and networks that included Oromo people from outside the Arsi region, where I come from. Naturally, as I reached adulthood, I attended cultural and community events on my own initiative rather than at the invitation of my family.

I started to learn about my community all over again. And in the course of this experience, I was never directly and deliberately taught who the Oromo are, who I was as an Oromo, and how and why other Oromo people were different, or the same, to my family.  Whereas this learning is experiential for one growing up in Oromia, there are gaps when this way of learning is transferred to the diaspora, or even to urban areas in Oromia, and so more recent generations are developing different tools and spaces for learning Oromo identity, culture, and history. What I did learn experientially though, were the nuances that make one a person from Wallaga, another from Haararge, Shewa, Arsi, etc.

Still, l had little knowledge regarding the Borana Oromo. As one who developed Oromomumma (Oromo identity) in the diaspora, and as someone who has spent over a year and a half living in the homes of Borana and Orma Oromo in Kenya, my relationship with this part of my community has developed in an intriguing and adventurous way, and it holds a special place in my heart.

I met Addee Jiloo, a Borana woman, in my early twenties. Each time I had attended Irreechaa (an Oromo thanksgiving festival), it was Addee Jiloo that led the procession to the water. If a woman needed her Gutino (Borana cultural dress) tied at an event, we would frantically search for Addee Jiloo. If we had public events, she would be the one conducting the coffee ceremonies. In many ways, she was collectively identified as a keeper of cultural knowledge, a leader of cultural practice, and an advisor on cultural affairs.

Over the years, I remember repeatedly hearing that “Borannii Hangafaa Oromo”, that the Borana are the oldest of the Oromo. This refers to the position Borana and Bareentu, as the first sons of Oromo, hold as the moieties of the Oromo nation. I had also come to learn that the Borana were among the few Oromo to still practice the Gadaa system, one of the greatest cultural assets of the Oromo nation.  To me, the Borana felt almost like a thing of legend, a mystery to be revered and respected. They seemed to know things about being an Oromo that others didn’t. They seemed to have succeeded in preserving practices that the rest of us were no longer connected to. They seemed to be Oromo with the kind of defiance, resilience, and resistance that I wanted to embody. Although, from what I could see, it seemed like the Borana did so without the existential effort I sometimes felt it took to embody Oromummaa.

Language

I stayed with a Borana family for a few months when I first moved to Nairobi, but for the first few weeks of my stay, I had almost no idea what anybody was saying. I was used to most Afaan Oromoo dialects and Addee Jiloo’s dialect never sounded very different from anybody else’s, so my Kenyan experience sent me into a state of severe culture shock. With time, however, I became used to the difference in dialect and was able to improve my communication and now you can probably detect the influence of the Borana dialect in my spoken Afaan Oromoo.

In many ways, she was collectively identified as a keeper of cultural knowledge, a leader of cultural practice, and an advisor on cultural affairs.

Almost simultaneously with this sense of shock came a sense of overwhelming awe and admiration. Afaan Oromoo is a language that you feel. It is poetry in motion. Intimate, alive, revealing.  I found this exemplified in the Borana dialect.

When I first heard my host answer the phone and greet the person on the other line with, “Qileensii urgooftuu?” Is the air fragrant? I almost wept. Welcoming a guest, the Orma of Tana River along the northern Kenyan coast, say “Diyaadhaa”, come closer, be close. This is a common saying among the Borana and Orma people, and I experienced it frequently during my stay in Tana River. If language is supposed to connect us, I think that the breadth of the Oromo language does so profoundly, and the dialect spoken amongst the Borana and Orma achieves this objective to grand effect.

Traveling up north

When I travelled to northern Kenya, I was bubbling with expectation. I remember sitting at a small shop trying to recover from the long journey, and striking up a conversation in Afaan Oromoo with the shop owner. He responded in a mix of Swahili and Afaan Oromoo. We continued talking and I told him that I was an Oromo from the other side of the border. This meant, well, not much at all to him.

I had expected a dramatic reunion. What I got was a shopkeeper who was not surprised or touched in any way by my presence. The cultural and linguistic relationship that we shared, despite the borders, was not profound for him. The reason that this surprised me was that, when I visited Tana River, there was a palpable sense of connection with everyone I met, for the very reason that we had a shared identity across borders.

Given that I was closer to the border of Oromia and I was in a place that was, in many ways, more engaged with the Oromo cultural and political identity, I think I expected this sense of connection to be amplified. What I experienced after leaving this shop showed me that it was actually because of the consequence of this proximity to Oromia’s border and the political landscape of the area at large, that meant that Oromos connecting and sharing experiences across borders was no special occurrence.

I sat for lunch in the compound of an ordinary looking house. As we ate, a friend, someone who had grown up in the town we were in, began to tell me stories about where we were. In 2002, the house we were in was the target of a bombing by Ethiopian government forces. Luckily, nobody was home. Chief Ibrahim Abdi Dido and his family lived in the house at the time. In the same year, Chief Buke Liban, Chief Taro Sora, Chief Denge Okotu, Chief Huqa Guled, Boru Jiloo, Sheikh Hassan (Moyale), Qasim Abdi and many others were similarly targeted by Ethiopian government forces and in most cases, these community leaders, and oftentimes, their families, did not survive.  Although I knew a little about how the Ethiopian government targeted Oromo people across the border in Kenya, including the kidnapping and assassination of political refugees in urban centres, the arrest and extrajudicial killing of young people, and the displacement of communities, in the months that followed, I learned that the extent and severity of this persecution was far greater than I had first understood.

When I first heard my host answer the phone and greet the person on the other line with, “Qileensii urgooftuu?” Is the air fragrant? I almost wept.

Through listening to the stories of the many people I met on my travels, I also learned that local cultural leaders played and continue to play a role in this persecution by collaborating with the Ethiopian security forces. This was sobering to understand because it resembled the dynamic that’s been at play across Oromia since the onset of Abyssinian colonisation, whereby Oromo people, including local leaders, have opted to participate in the violence perpetrated against their own people.

My experience in northern Kenya brought me back down to earth regarding the way I viewed the Borana Oromo. I was in a place where the people were living with the challenges and consequences of choosing to live their Oromoness every day. Just as it would be incredibly weird for me to go to Wallaga or somewhere in Eastern Haragee or Balee and start wandering around asking people if they thought it was wonderful that we share a language, culture, and political reality (which I have never done), it was weird for me to do so in northern Kenya too.

The Oromo of Ethiopia and the Oromo of Kenya are, in many ways, fighting the same fight. Both make huge sacrifices for the political struggle, and suffer the consequences of this, along with enduring the consequences of simply being an Oromo in relation to the Ethiopian state, political activity or not. The indifference of the shopkeeper I met at the beginning of my travels makes sense. He experienced the same, if not more, breadth and depth of Oromummaa as I did; there was nothing novel I offered him in being an Oromo from the other side of the border.

The Borana-Gabra conflict 

When I arrived in northern Kenya, I remember getting off the bus from Nairobi and wondering why on earth it had dropped me so far away from the town I was going to, only to learn that it was an Orma-owned bus company, and they were careful about infringing on the territory of the Borana. The same person who told me the story about the house in which we ate lunch has lost family to protracted conflict between the Borana and Gabra people. When I asked him what the root cause of the conflict was, he said, “It just started a long time ago. We speak the same language, we are the same people, but a feud that started between a few, a long time ago, has continued on.” I didn’t know if the origins of the conflict were as vague as my friend described them to be, or if his description is just how the existence of the conflict feels to someone who has suffered because of it, but I did come to learn that access to resources like water and land between nomadic pastoralists (Borana) and settled subsistence farmers (Gabra) and ongoing political power struggles play a huge role in the enduring and deadly conflict.

Lamu

Many years ago I spent some time in Lamu and I met two Orma people on the Island. At the time I thought that it was just a bizarre coincidence that they were there but I now know that the Orma have been living in the northern coastal region of Kenya since the late 1800s.

Being from the Ethiopian side of the border, a landlocked country, it is very interesting for me to think that I share a language, history and, even if only in small ways, a culture with a people that have lived along the coast for over a century. The Oromo worldview places great emphasis on our relationship with and duty towards land. As one develops the essence of Oromummaa, I believe that a person intuitively connects with this worldview. From this perspective, learning that we are connected to a people whose relationship to land is connected to the ocean — there is just something about that that stirs something in me.

I was in a place where the people were living with the challenges and consequences of choosing to live their Oromoness every day.

Who we are as a people is infinitely complex. I am talking about the Oromo, of course, but I think I’m also talking about us all. If I have learned anything over the past year and seven months, it is that I will only ever keep living and reliving this one truth: people, their stories, and their lived realities are not linear, rigid, or made to be easily and simply comprehended. Life exists on a continuum of relationships and storytelling. I want to remain willing to relate to who people are, as they are, rather than clinging onto what I have constructed of a people through imagination, hearsay, and the effects of groupthink. I want my analysis of the world to shift and change as I learn and grow, and I want my posture of service to people to also shift and change as I learn anew. Getting to know my people on the other side of the border has taught me that state violence is pervasive, unconfined by borders, and resistances adapt accordingly. I also learned that I can do little to effect real and lasting change if I do not cultivate my ability to meet the complexity in individuals and in communities with a willingness to learn and an openness of heart and mind.

Read more at: https://www.theelephant.info/op-eds/2022/04/22/a-diasporan-oromo-visits-kenya-a-reflection/?fbclid=IwAR1b_0cRJRYE3niprfAoV_nuwBv7BYauY6bEAwVeIdezs0IaK_Cc8rpu7rw#.YmM2ZklBDSg.facebook
The Elephant – Speaking truth to power.

New Book: Dressing Modern Like Our Mothers: Dress, Identity, and Cultural Praxis in Oromia

(17 February 2022, A4O) Author Peri Klemm has published new book titled ‘Dressing Modern Like Our Mothers: Dress, Identity, and Cultural Praxis in Oromia’.

Oromo women live as traders, wood carriers, shepherds, and farmers in and around the ancient trade center of Harar, Ethiopia. They have lived with the uncertainties of drought, famine, war, and political unrest for several generations and experienced poverty, disease, and severe restrictions in personal freedom.

These same women, both young and old, adorn themselves with an array of body modifications and supplements.

What is it about the objects and practices themselves that appear to hold such significance? This rich ethnography illustrates why Oromo women decorate their bodies in particular ways and why they invest so much timeand effort in doing so.

By tracing the development of dress within the Oromo social system from the mid-nineteenth century to today, and through a close examination of dress activated on the body in particular contexts like lifecycle rituals, spirit possession practice, and nationalist movements, the reader will uncover how truly valuable a woman’s decorated body is as an aesthetic and symbolic system.

The cover features a painting of an Afran Qallo Oromo woman by the talented Yadesa Bojia.

You can order the book online from the following links.

Africa world press books: https://africaworldpressbooks.com/dressing-modern-like-our-mothers-dress-identity-and-cultural-praxis-in-oromia-by-peri-m-klemm-hb/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dressing-Modern-Like-Our-Mothers/dp/1569027803

Tarkaanfii Lagannaa Nyaataa Hooganootaafi Qondaalota ABO Geessees Fi Haala Keessa Jiran

(A4O, Gabaasa Addaa, Finfinnee, 14/02/2022) Tarkaanfii lagannaa nyaataa Hooganooti fi Qondaaloti ABO hidhaa keessa jiran gaggeessanii fi haala isaan keessa jiran irratti gabaasa addaa qindeeffame.

Hoogganootni fi qondaalotni ABO kanneen akka :

Jaal Mikaa’el Booran,

Jaal Kennesaa Ayyaanaa,

Jaal Lammii Beenyaa,

Jaal Dawwit Abdataa,

Jaal Battee Urgessaa fi

Jaal Gadaa Gabbisaa kan jedhaman miseensota fi hoggantoota ABO biroo waliin yeroo turtii waggaa lamaaf hidhaa Keessa turuun ni yaadatama.

Waggaa lamaan kana kessatti garii isaanii manni murtii bilisa isaan gadhiisee, garii isaanii abbaa Alangaa <<himata irraa hin qabu, >> jedhee, kaan ammoo himatni homaatuu osoo itti hin dhihaatiin haala ulfaataa ilmaan namaaf hin malle keesaatti bakka tokkorraa bakka biraatti adaraa kennamaa dabarsan.

Manni murtii adeemsa seeraan bilisa isaan godhus Koomishiniin Poolisii Oromiyaa itti cichee isaan gadhiisuu dide.

Dhimma isaanii yeroo gaafataniis, Poolisiis ta’e qoratan, << Dhimmi keessan nu bira miti, furmaata isiniif kennuu hin dandeenyuu! >> deebii jedhu argataa turan.

Baatii jahan darbe ammoo bakka maatii, abukaatoo fi ummatni isaan hin arginetti geessanii dhoksaatti hidhan. Gaaffii mirgaa isaan deddeebisanii kaasaa turaniif afaaniin sobuu malee falli hin argamne.

Kanaaf isaaniis dhumarratti hidhaa seeraan alaa, roorroo fi daba kana jalatti roorrifamaa jiraachuurra du’a nuuf wayya jedhanii takkaahuu hiikamuu ykn kabajaan falmataa du’uuf murteessanii waliif kakachuun gaafa Guraandhala 1, 2022 lagannaa nyaataa eegalan.

Yeroo kanatti qondaalotni Koomishiniin Poolisii Oromiyaa itti deddeebi’an, << Dhimmi keessan guyyaa muraasa keessatti furamaa nyaata nyaadhaa!>> jedhanii kadhatan. Isaanis, << takkaahuu ammuma nu furaa, ykn nutu of fura!>> jechuun ejjennoo isaaniitti cichan.

Kana gidduutti gaafa 05/02/2022 Jaal Kennesaa Ayyaanaa waan laaffataniif hospitaala geeffamanii yaalii xiqqoo booda deebifamanii lagannaa eegalanii guyyaa saddeet booda lubbuu isaaniif waan sodaataniif bakka dhoksaatii isaan baasuun Q/P/B/Magaalaa Buraayyuutti isaan darbatan.

Achitti lagannaa waan itti fufaniif gaafa guyyaa kurnaffaa manguddoonni Waldaa Maccaa fi Tuulamaa, Abbootiin Gadaa fi Haadholii Siiqqee marga qabatanii jilbeenfatanii itti booyan.

Obbo Dirribii Damisee fi Pirooeser Asaffaa Tafarraa isaan keessatti argamu. Isaanis haala suukanneessaa keessatti dararaman ibsaniifi , << hidhaan seeraan alaa fi roorroo hamtuu kana keessa hiikamuu ykn murtii keenyan of furuu qabna!>> ejjennoo jedhu ibsaniif.

Yeroo kanatti manguddoonni jilbeenfatanii, << Nuti gama keenyaan dirqama ofitti fudhannee dhiibbaa kamuu ni goona, isin hanga tole nuuf jettanitti hin deemnu!>> jechuun imimmaan buusanii isaan kadhatan. Hoogganooti fi qondaaltonni ABOs kabaja manguddootaaf jecha mana yaalaa deemuuf waliigalan.

Haala Kanan gaafa guyyaa kurnaffaa galgala hospitaala seenanii gaafa guyyaa kudha tokkoffaa hospitaala Poolisii fi Beetezaataatti yaalaman.

Qormaata hospitaalatti taasifamaniin Jaal Battee Urgessaa dhibee tiruuf saaxilamuun hubatame. Hundi isaaniituu miidhaa qaamaaf waan saaxilamaniif hanga qaamni isaanii deebisee of danda’utti guyyaa Shanan itti aanan nyaata sasalphaa ogeessi fayyaa tartiibaan akka fayyadaman gorse fudhatu. Amma nyaata sasalphaa eegalaniiru.

Ethiopia Government forces kill 14 civilians in Oromia

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the independent organization funded by the Government of Ethiopia, today exposed the assassination of 14 civilians in Oromia Region by the Oromia Special Force at the end of last November.

The traditional leader of Kereyu – Abba Geda Kedir Hassen, is among the 14 civilians killed (described as ‘extra judicial killing’ in the report) by the Oromia special force, according to the report of the Commission released today. The report stated that the revenge killing by the Oromia special forces has occurred around Fentale – Metehara area in Oromia region of Ethiopia a day after 11 Oromia special force members are killed by unknown armed group.

The 8 pages report of the Commission has interviewed 46 witnesses. The report released in Amharic language stated that before killing the civilians the Oromia Special force members has taken the 30 civilians and made 14 of them to lie on the ground and assassinated them.

It is stated that before taking them to the bush for assassination, the members of the special forces of Oromia have asked the dead to tell them who killed their 11 colleges (members of Oromia Special forces) the previous day.

After the brutal revenge killings of the 14 civilians who are members of the Kereyu Michle Geda Jilla tribe, the relatives of the dead are forbidden by the killers (members of Oromia Special forces) from taking and burying their family members, according to the report. So far neither Oromia Police nor the attorney general of the region or that of Ethiopia has responded for the investigation of the Commission.

It is recalled that about a week ago, at the outskirt of Addis Ababa around Burayu area 3 civilians (followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) are killed by the Oromia special force members during the celebration of Ethiopia’s Timkat (Epiphany). The three civilians are allegedly killed for weaving Ethiopia’s old smooth green, yellow and red colored flag.

Following the killing Ethiopia Government Communication Service head Legesse Tulu has indicated that the issue is being investigated. Meanwhile so far neither the Oromia Region nor the federal Government of Ethiopia has issued public statement about who from the Oromia special force have assassinated the three individuals and what action has been taken against them.

The Commission in its report urged the Government of Ethiopia to compensate the relatives of the people who lost their lives and those who are sustaining severe injuries due to the attack by the Oromia special forces.

Before the investigation of the Commission, the Government media at the time reported that the 14 civilians are killed by the armed group designated as a terrorist group in Ethiopia – Oromia Liberation Front (OLF-Shene).

በከረዩ የሚችሌ ገዳ የጅላ አባላት ግድያ ላይ የተደረገ የምርመራ ሪፖርት

የኢትዮጵያ ሰብአዊ መብቶች ኮሚሽን (ኢሰመኮ) በኦሮሚያ ክልል ምሥራቅ ሸዋ ዞን ፈንታሌ ወረዳ በኅዳር 22 ቀን 2014 ዓ.ም. የከረዩ የሚችሌ ገዳ አባላት አርዳ ጅላ ላይ በተፈጸመ ጥቃት የሕይወትና የአካል ጉዳት ስለመፈጸሙ በደረሰው ጥቆማ መሰረት፣ ከታኅሣሥ 7 እስከ ታኅሣሥ 12 ቀን 2014 ዓ.ም. በቦታው በመገኘት ምርመራ አካሂዷል።

Some of Karrayyu’s Gadda Michille leaders, Councilors and Qallu (Spiritual leaders) who were executed on December 1, 2021

Dhaabbileen Oromoo Jaatamaa ol Ta’an Marii Biyyalessaa Irratti Yaaddoo Qaban Ibsan

Finfinnee, Amajjii 21/2022-Dhaabbileen hawaasaa Oromoo jaatamaa ol ta’an hundeeffamuu Komishiini Marii Biyyalessaa Itoophiyaa ilaalchisuun ibsa kennan. Yeroo jalqabaaf dhaabbilee Sivikii, Falmattoota Mirga Dhala Namaa fi Waldaalee Hawaaasaa Oromoo idil-addunyaa walitti dhufanii marii biyyaalessaa adeemsifamuuf jiru irratti yaaddoo qaban ibsan.

Sadaasa darbe manni maree bakka bu’oota uummaataa labsii hundeeffama Komishiini Marii Biyyaalessaa raggaasisuun isaa ni yaadatama. Manni  maree bakka bu’oota uummaataa labsiin kun beekumsa biyyaa keessaa fayyadamuun furmaata waaraa ni fida, akkasumas duudhaalee hawaasaa walitti ni hidha jedhe. Manni marichaa hoggansa Komishiini Marii biyyaalessaa uummataan akka kadhimamuu fi mana maree bakka bu’oota uummaataatiin akka ragga’u eere.

Dhaabbileen kunneen adeemsa fi tarkaanfileen marii biyyaalessaa keessatti  fudhatamanii amanamuummaa uumuun marii dhugaatiif haala ni mijeessuu danda’an lafa kaa’an. Ibsi kun marii biyyaalessaan dura tarkaanfilee fudhatamuu qaban tarreessa. Isaanis Lammilee waraanan miidhaman hundaaf haal duree tokko malee deeggarsa namooma adda hin cinne taasisuu, hidhamtoota siyaasaa hunda haalduree tokko malee hiikuu fi Humnootni alaa hunduu,  keessumaa humni nageenyaa, loltootni fi basaastotni Ertiraa, Itoophiyaa keessaa akka ba’an  dabalata. Dhaabbileen Oromoo kunneen  mootummaa Itoophiyaa fi qooda fudhattoota hundaaf tarkaanfii waraana dhaabsisuu fi marii walabaa, hunda haammate fi hunda hirmaachise akka taasifamuuf qooda isaanii akka ba’atan waamicha dhiyeessan. 

“Marii  biyyaalessaa keessatti adeemsii fi tarkaanfileen fudhataman amanamuummaa uumuun marii dhugaatiif haala mijeessa. Kunis Oromiyaa keessattii  fi naannoollee hundatti alatti dirree siyaasaa jiru bal’isuun miidiyaaleen walabaa akka jiraatan, mariiwwaan bu’uraa fi lammilee hundaa hirmaachisu taasisutu barbaachisa. Haaluma kanaan marii bal’aani fi hirmaachisaan qamoolee dhimmi ilaallatu waliin,yeroo, turtii, raawwii, iddoo, qabiyyee, saffisa, adeemsa, fi hojiirra oolmaa marichaa irratti akka taasifamu irra deebi’uun waamicha dhiyeessina.” jedha ibsichi. 

Ibsa Guutuu

Ibsa hundeeffama Komishinii Marii Biyyalessaa (KMB) Itoophiyaa ilaalchisuun Dhaabbilee Sivikii, Falmattoota Mirga Dhala Namaa fi Waldaalee Hawaaasaa Oromoo idil-addunyaa irraa kenname.

Nuti dhabbileen asii gaditti maqaan keenya dhahame, qophii mootummaan Itoophiyaa dhimmoota bu’uraa biyyaalessaa irratti waliigaltee umuuf, marii biyyaalessaa  jalqabuuf taasisu itti dhiyeenyan hordofaa jirra.

Mootummaan labsii hundeeffama KMB ulaagaa ifa hin taaneen kophaa isaa raggaasiseera. Yeroo  ammaa kana, hojimaata ifa hin taanee fi abbootii dhimmaa ijoofi deeggartoota waliin marii ga’aan utuu hin taasifamiin namoonni  Komishiini Marii Biyyaalessaa gaggeessan filatamaa jira. 

Hidhamtootni siyaasaa muraasni hiikamuu isaanii agarree jirra; garuu hidhamtootni  kuma hedduu  ta’an ammayyuu mana hidhaa jiru. Tarkaanfiin dura  kun  mootummaan biyya bulchaa jiru hidhamtoota siyaasaa hafanillee hiikuuf akka yaade fi  qalbii guutuun  maricha irratti hirmaachuuf fedhii qabaachu agarsiisa jennee abdanna.

Haa ta’u malee, mootummaan Itoophiyaa qaama walaba, Komishiinii loogii  siyaasa irraa bilisa ta’e hundeessuu danda’u miti.  Kuni ammoo marii biyyaalessaa hunda hammate godhuuf ulaagaa ijoofi barbaachisaadha  .

Kanaafuu, ibsa Hagayya 18, 2021 basneen waraanii akka  dhaabatuu fi mariin hunda hirmaachise akka taasifamu  gaafatu irra deebi’uun, gaaga’amni  siyaasaa walxaxaan biyyattiin keessa jirtu  furamee  nageenni  waaraan akka dhufu  gorsa armaan gadii dhiyeessuu barbanna.

1.Waraanni hatattamaan akka dhaabbatu taasisuun, humnoota federaalaa fi garee hidhattootaa naannoo Oromiyaa, Tigraay, Beenishaangul Gumuz, Amhaara fi Affaar keessa jiran giddutti walii galteen dhukaasa dhaabuu taasifamee, mariin siyaasaa hunda hirmaachise akka godhamuuf haala miijessuu.

2.Lammilee waraanan miidhaman hundaaf dhiyeessii nyaataa fi qorichaa dabalatee deeggarsa namooma adda hin cinne haal duree tokko malee akka  taasifamu; kanneen amma sababa hongeetiin beelaaf saaxilaman deeggaruu  fi tajaajiloota bu’uura akka baankii, telekoomi, geejjibaa fi tajaajila ibsaa, lammilee miliyoonan lakkaa’aman naannolee Oromiyaa, Tigraayi, Beenishaangul Gumuuz, Affaar, Amaaraa fi Somaalee keessatti argamaniif akka deebi’u.

3.Hoggantoota Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo (ABO) dabalatee, hidhamtootni siyaasaa hundi haalduree tokko malee akka hiikaman. Caamsaa 2021 irraa eegalee hidhaa mana keessaarra kan jiran hayyu dureen dhabichaafi, dargaggootni Oromoo kumatamootan  mana hidhaa adda addaa keessa jiranii fi hidhamtootni biroo haalaa sabummaa irratti xiyyeffateen erga  labsiin yeroo muddamaa bahe hidhaman hundi akka hiikaman.

4.Humnootni biyya alaa hunduu,  keessumaa humni nageenyaa, loltootni fi basaastotni Ertiraa, Itoophiyaa keessaa akka ba’an taasisuun  biyyootni naannoo gaanfa Afrikaa  fi biyyootni Itoophiyaa wajjiin walitti dhufeenya qaban deeggarsa akka godhaanii fi haala dhiittaan mirgaa akkasumas wal waraansi waliinii itti  dhaabbatu haala miijessuu. 

5.Komishiinii marii biyyaalessaa walaba ta’e, qooda fudhattoota hundaa biratti fudhatamummaa qabu fi  marii biyyaalessaa ifaa fi hunda haammataa  ta’eef haalaa miijessu danda’u hundeessuu.   KMB mootummaan deeggaramu itti gafatamummaa barbaachisaa fi seena qabeessa kana amanamummaan ba’uu danda’a jennee hin amannuu;  komishiiniin qaama kamirrayyuu walaba ta’e akka hundeeffamuuf hawaasni idil-addunyaa deeggarsa barbaachisa akka taasisu waamicha dhiyeessina.

6. Marii  biyyaalessaa keessatti adeemsii fi tarkaanfileen fudhataman amanamuummaa uumuun marii dhugaatiif haala mijeessa. Kunis Oromiyaa  fi naannoollee hundatti  dirree siyaasaa bal’isuun miidiyaaleen walabaa akka jiraatan, mariiwwaan bu’uraa fi lammilee hundaa hirmaachisu taasisutu barbaachisa. Haaluma kanaan marii bal’aani fi hirmaachisaan qamoolee dhimmi ilaallatu waliin,yeroo, turtii, raawwii, iddoo, qabiyyee, saffisa, adeemsa, fi hojiirra oolmaa marichaa irratti akka taasifamu irra deebi’uun waamicha dhiyeessina.

Nuti dhabbileen asii gaditti maqaan keenna eeramee,  waldaaleen hawaaasaa, dhaabbileen Ogeeyyii, falmattoonni mirgoota namoomaa fi hawaasni waligalaa Oromoo, mootummaa Itoophiyaa fi qooda fudhattootni biyyattii hundaa akkasumas Hawaasa idil addunyaa,  Dhabbatni Motummoota Gamtoomanii, Yunaayitid Isteets, Chaayinaa, Gamtaan Awurooppaa fi biyyootni miseensa gamtichaa, Gamtaan Afrikaa fi  biyyootni miseensa gamtichaa, Gamtaan Emireetota Arabaa, Turkii fi Iraan, naannolee Itoophiyaa hunda keessatti walitti bu’iinsi akka dhaabbatuu fi  adeemsi marii biyyalessaa haqa qabessaa fi hirmaachisaa ta’e akka itti fufuf tarkaanfii barbaachisu akka fudhattan gaafanna.

A Dagger to the Heart: Ethiopian Party Officials Order the Killing of 14 Indigenous Oromo Leaders

Matt Williams on Twitter: "A massacre in #Ethiopia. @Quen10Tarantino and I  have been investigating a massacre that took place between December 1st and  December 2nd, 2021 in #Oromo, #Ethiopia. THREAD ⬇️ Warning:
#KarayyuMassacre that took place between December 1st and December 2nd, 2021 in #Oromo, #Oromia.

On the evening of December 1, 2021, 14 respected, experienced and culturally venerated leaders
in the Karrayyuu Oromo community of 100,000 in central Ethiopia were killed in minutes by
Oromia Special Police and Federal forces operating on orders by ruling party officials sitting a
hundred kilometers away in Adama city. The murdered men were located at Fantalle district,
East Shewa Zone of the Oromia regional state in Ethiopia. They were killed execution-style at
7:00 PM far from the village where they were abducted when Prosperity Party bosses gave the
go-ahead signal via cell phone message to awaiting members of the special forces. The murdered
men had just finished conducting Waaqa Kadhaa, a sacred indigenous prayer ceremony held on
special ground designated for that purpose. In the close-knit iconic livestock-rearing culture of
the Karrayyuu people, this was an unthinkable atrocity.


We, a coalition of Oromo advocacy and human rights groups operating internationally consider
that this horrifying series of events indicate the intentionality and destructiveness of Abiy
Ahmed’s government against Oromo and other Southern and marginalized peoples who do not
support his direction for the country. We urge the international community, in particular those
concerned with justice, peace, stability and human rights, to take note of what has happened in
Karrayyuu. Those who were deeply committed to spirituality and to democratic principles above
all, were brutally massacred with lightning speed: an act that sends a menacing warning to the
populace that no one is safe right now in Ethiopia.


Historic, Political and Economic Contexts


The shocking massacre was carried out amid ongoing brutal wars between Ethiopian Defence
Forces and the Tigray Defence Forces in the north of the country and with the Oromo Liberation
Army in the south. The site of the killing is the Karrayyuu camel-rearing, pastoral grazing and
watering lands located near coveted trade routes for lucrative commodities in a cash-strapped
economy. This valued territory has become a target of territorial expansionism by Amhara
militias emboldened by Abiy Ahmed’s government’s failure to protect vulnerable peoples like
the Karrayyuu. In the days leading to the event, the Karrayyuu Oromo’s community leaders had
resisted releasing young people to be conscripted to leave their homeland to fight as part of the
Ethiopian Defense Forces in the north. Among Oromo communities throughout Ethiopia, the
Karrayyuu are well-known and esteemed for their consistent practice of the principles of the
time-honored Gadaa system of socio-political organization that encompassed all Oromo prior to
incorporation into Ethiopia at the turn of the 20th century. These and other factors make the
tragedy of December 1 resonate throughout the population and account for an ongoing sense of
threat and foreboding among other vulnerable groups in the country.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ‘A Consensus Oromo Statement on the NDC’

We, the initiators of the idea behind the joint statement by worldwide Oromo Civic, Professional, Advocacy, Human Rights, and Community organizations, would like to express our deepest gratitude for all the co-signers of the joint statement for taking your time, receiving and approving the joint statement. As it stands now the joint statement is co-signed by a total of 64 Oromo civic organizations of various backgrounds and portfolios.

For that purpose it is safe to refer to the joint statement as an ‘A Consensus Oromo Statement on the NDC’ calling for careful sequencing of actions leading to inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia. We are scheduled to release the statement to the public through the media in the late afternoon on Friday 21 January.

To that end, we would like to make the following important points:

1 – The Statement BELONGS to all the co-signers. No single individual or institution lays exclusive claim on its ownership. Each co-signer owns it and is free to make use of it to advance the Oromo civic organizations’ recommendation with regard to inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia.

2 – We encourage all the co-signers to release the statement using respective institutional communication channels of each institution/organization which is the co-signer.

3 – We encourage all the co-signers to consider and promote the statement as ‘Consensus Oromo Statement on the NDC’ for various purposes, including during lobbying, awareness creating campaigns, distribution to the media and the international community including members of Parliaments /House /Senate, among others, in your respective districts. Let the world know what 64 Oromo civic organizations are recommending as a way out of Ethiopia’s crisis.

4 – We encourage all the co-signers to communicate and distribute the statement to their grassroots members and encourage them to use it during campaigns and lobbying works as well as social media engagements to create global awareness on what more than 60 Oromo civic organizations are recommending to be done before the commencement of inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia.

Once again, we thank each and every Oromo institution/organization for co-signing on this important statement. Together, we can be heard loud and clear.

Regards,

21 January 2022

For full statement click below link:

Oromo Peace Ambassadors Graduate

(A4O, Melbourne, 2019) Advocacy for Oromia held a series of 10 Peace Education Project workshops from July to August 2019 at Ross House.

Our first Oromo Peace ambassadors at Ross House. Photo © A4O

The course, which was hosted by the Perm Rawat Foundation, held in
collaboration with Advocacy for Oromia, is called the Oromo Peace
Education Project. “The workshops help us not only to recognise, but also
to build our inner strength and hope,” said Dabessa Gemelal, the Peace
Education coordinator at Advocacy for Oromia.

The Peace Education Program is a series of 10 sessions that guide an
individual toward discovering inner resources integral in developing healthy
life skills. Each session focuses on one of ten topics: Peace, Appreciation,
Inner Strength, Self-Awareness, Clarity, Understanding, Dignity, Choice,
Hope, and Contentment.

A graduation ceremony for our first Oromo Peace Ambassadors was held at
Ross House on August 3, 2019; 8 Oromo Peace Ambassadors graduated.
“The impact of this program is very positive, it has helped us to cultivate
inner strength,” Dabessa said. “I myself have grown from it, and I have
seen the positive effect it has had on the participants.” The Oromo Peace
Ambassadors were handed their graduation certificates by Gerry O’Connor
and Beatrice & Jeremy Collier from the Peace Education Team, Melbourne,
who facilitated the workshops.

The Oromo Peace Education Program helped participants feel empowered
to face past events, gain a willingness to change, better manage their day
to day life and spread a culture of peace and love.

By attending the peace education, the participants gained a deeper
understanding of different cultures and an enhanced capability in analysing
and solving conflicts by peaceful means. They also learned the importance
of mutual respect and co-operation and were taught about human rights,
causes of conflict and peaceful solutions.

Advocacy for Oromia work with Australian-Oromos to change lives for the
better and we couldn’t run these significant events without the support of
Ross House. We are proud of our achievements so far, however there is so
much more exploring and discovering left for us to do in the future.

Our thanks to the many, many people who have contributed to this peace
education project along the way. We appreciate the constant support of
Ross House and we proudly call the space, the Oromo House, where we
feel at home – for this we wish to thank Ross House and its staff for always
being so helpful and friendly.

Freedom Rally stages in Melbourne

(Advocacy4Oromia, Melbourne, 9 December 2021) Australian Oromo and Tigray communities stage Multicultural Freedom Rally in Melbourne today.

Freedom Rally stages at Victorian Parliament, 9 December 2021

According to the organisers the rally is a part of world-wide action to condemn a recent series of atrocities, mass arrests, and airstrikes against civilians.

Melbourne’s Oromo, Tigray and other communities marched from Victorian Parliament to Federation Square, where community leaders spoke of unity in the face of oppression.

Freedom Rally stages in Melbourne, 9 December 2021

The participant states that the aim of the rally is to express their grave concerns and to demand the international community to pay attention to the development in Ethiopia.

“We’re not afraid to stand together, to be able to stand against violence and repression.  Today, we join the Multicultural Freedom Rally in Melbourne to help raise our voices against a shared experience of brutal repression by Abiy regime.”

Freedom Rally stages in Melbourne, 9 December 2021

Demonstrators denounced the killings and violent repressions being meted out by the Abiy regime.

“We’re here today in the spirit of freedom rally to denounce any forms of violence. Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. Abiy regime must respect the Oromo and Tegaru dignity, peace and freedom.”

Freedom Rally stages in Melbourne, 9 December 2021

Rights groups say Abiy regime has opened wide ranging military campaign in many parts of Oromia; continuously carrying out hostilities and mass arrests on these civilians. Journalist, book author, translator and bookstore owner, Hinsene Mekuria, has been arrested by gov’t security forces from his workplace in Finfinne on 4th Dec 2021 around 1:30 local time. He often writes on social media and speaks for the cause of the Oromo people. His whereabouts is unknown.

Hinsene Mekuria who was arrested by the security forces from his workplace on 4th Dec 2021

Reports by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Amnesty International describe widespread arrests of ethnic Tigrayans, including Orthodox priests, older people, and mothers with children.

Freedom Rally stages in Melbourne, 9 December 2021

In many parts of the country individuals are being arrested and detained without charges or a court hearing and are reportedly being held in inhumane conditions.

Demonstrators also appealed to the Government of Australia and the wider international community to put diplomatic, political, economic pressure on the Ethiopian regime.

“We URGE the good people of our international community to avoid the ultimate tragedy of silence over cruelty of the worst genocide in Ethiopia. We specifically urge the Australia and the wider international community, to take action and help stop the heinous crimes of the regime before Ethiopia potentially becomes a historic African tragedy.”

Freedom Rally stages in Melbourne, 9 December 2021

The message of Australian Oromo and Tigray communities is just calling for peace and freedom. “We’re not afraid to stand together, to be able to stand against violence and repression.  We join this Freedom Rally to help raise our voices against a shared experience of brutal repression by the State.”

Freedom Rally stages in Melbourne, 9 December 2021

NEWS: AUSTRALIA, CANADA, DENMARK, THE NETHERLANDS, UK, & US CALL FOR “LARGE NUMBERS” DETENTION OF TIGRAYANS IN ETHIOPIA TO “CEASE IMMEDIATELY”

Finfinnee, Oromia

Addis Abeba, December 06/2021 – A joint statement signed by the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States and released this afternoon expressed profound concern about the “detention of certain ethnic groups” in Ethiopia and called on the government for the detentions to “cease immediately.”

Full Statement

We, Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are profoundly concerned by recent reports of the Ethiopian government’s detention of large numbers of Ethiopian citizens on the basis of their ethnicity and without charge. The Ethiopian government’s announcement of a State of Emergency on November 2 is no justification for the mass detention of individuals from certain ethnic groups.

MANY OF THESE ACTS LIKELY CONSTITUTE VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND MUST CEASE IMMEDIATELY. WE URGE UNHINDERED AND TIMELY ACCESS BY INTERNATIONAL MONITORS

JOINT STATEMENT

Reports by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Amnesty International describe widespread arrests of ethnic Tigrayans, including Orthodox priests, older people, and mothers with children. Individuals are being arrested and detained without charges or a court hearing and are reportedly being held in inhumane conditions. Many of these acts likely constitute violations of international law and must cease immediately. We urge unhindered and timely access by international monitors.

We reiterate our grave concern at the human rights abuses and violations, such as those involving conflict related sexual violence, identified in the joint investigation report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the EHRC, and at ongoing reports of atrocities being committed by all parties to the conflicts. All parties must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, including those regarding the protection of civilians and humanitarian and medical personnel.

It is clear that there is no military solution to this conflict, and we denounce any and all violence against civilians, past, present and future. All armed actors should cease fighting and the Eritrean Defense Forces should withdraw from Ethiopia.  We reiterate our call for all parties to seize the opportunity to negotiate a sustainable ceasefire without preconditions. Fundamentally, Ethiopians must build an inclusive political process and national consensus through political and legal means, and all those responsible for violations and abuses of human rights must be held accountable.

War in Ethiopia: Oromo Liberation Army

Oromo guerrilla: Abiy is like a dying horse

Oromo-gerillan: Abiy är som en döende häst - P1-morgon
Sveriges Radios Afrikakorrespondent har mött Oromo Liberation Army i södra Etiopien. Foto: Richard Myrenberg/Sveriges Radio.

Published yesterday at 06.22
Swedish Radio has, as one of the few media, met one of the main actors in the Ethiopian civil war – Oromo Liberation Army, OLA.

The OLA, together with Tigranian armed forces, will soon surround the capital Addis Ababa, which could lead to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed being forced out of power and the entire political landscape being redrawn.

Addis Ababa is increasingly isolated and Abiy Ahmed has now decided to head to the front line. OLA’s commander describes Abiy as a dying horse kicking for the last time.

We are a bit across the Kenyan border into southern Ethiopia. It is hot, dry and mountainous. In the background, a dromedary roars. Here I meet a force of young soldiers from the armed group Oromo Liberation Army, some years ago a relatively unknown guerrilla, now one of the main actors in the Ethiopian drama.

Maybe they are a hundred . Most were former university students, some from high school, who joined here to fight the federal government and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and for what they see as an oppression of Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest population. Sure, it’s a bit of a show here, far from the front line, but just a few weeks ago, most people here were involved in battles further north, here they now get a much-needed but short rest.

One of them is Galmo, 22 years old. She joined the armed struggle as a teenager.

  • I’m not afraid of fighting, she explains. I’m determined to free the Oromo people, I’m not afraid.
  • I fight against the oppression that Oromos lived under. That is what drives me, to live a free life where the rights of Oromos are taken advantage of.

The Oromo warriors show their strength with a march and a short maneuver through the bushes. They wear simple uniforms, wear their equipment in shawls around their upper bodies, and wear only sandals in the barren landscape. The weapons are automatic rifles and machine guns and not much more. Yet here, and thousands of others in the Oromo Liberation Army, the Federal Ethiopian Army has fallen to its knees.

They have now surrounded Addis Ababa from three directions, from the west, south and southeast. In the northeast, they are acting together with the Tigranian armed forces, which may soon cut off the capital from the strategic road leading to the port city of neighboring Djibouti.

Jaal Gammachii’s Aboye is the second highest commander of the Oromo Liberation Army. For 20 years he has been in the armed forces and now it may be nearing an end. He says that Addis Ababa or Finfinne as the city is called in Oromo, will fall soon.

“No matter how much the federal Ethiopian army tries to resist, we are constantly approaching the capital together with the Tigranian forces,” he says. The main challenges have been the difficulties for communication, because the murderous regime in Addis, as he puts it, does not want the abuses to be known in the outside world, they have shut down the internet and mobile network, despite that we are steadily moving forward, he says.

The Ethiopian government has been widely criticized for almost completely isolating the Tigray region, preventing emergency aid from entering and allowing looting and mass rape. Hundreds of thousands are threatened with starvation there now. But all parties to this conflict are accused of abusing the civilian population, both the Ethiopian army, Tigranian forces and the Oromo Liberation Army.

However, this is something that is rejected by all parties. It is clear, however, that hatred and violence have led some observers to believe that reconciliation is possible between the second largest group of Amharis on the one hand and Oromos and Tigers on the other. Former Peace Prize laureate and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has long been criticized for his harsh rhetoric, in which he specifically accused tigers of all guilt in the conflict.

Several of his posts on social media have therefore been removed because they were considered to drive ethnic hatred. As the one who can now try to get out of Addis Ababa, Abiy Ahmed decided to go to the front, which some see as a sign of desperation. So did the second-in-command of the Oromo Liberation Army.

  • It’s like one last kick from a dying horse, says master Jaal Gammachii’s Aboye. This is a way for him to show courage in the end. Even if he were not killed on the battlefield, this is a way for him to show some form of pride before he is ousted from power, he says.

But if now the Tigranian forces and the Oromo Liberation Army take over Addis and get rid of Abiy Ahmed – what happens then?

  • Our goal is to liberate the Oromo people. But when all this is over, it is up to Oromos to vote for themselves about how they want to see their future and what the relations with the other groups should look like. The Ethiopian government has not defended our rights, that is what has driven us to this armed struggle, he says. But this may be decided later.

While the commander expresses himself a little cautiously, there is no doubt in the case of the young guerrilla warrior Galmo.

  • Our long struggle is soon over, she says. I see a bright future for our people.

Richard Myrenberg, Ethiopia
richard.myrenberg@sverigesradio.se

Source: https://sverigesradio.se/artikel/oromo-gerillan-abiy-ar-som-en-doende-hast

Genocidal Conquest, Plunder of Resources and Dehumanization of the Oromo in Ethiopia

By Prof. Mohamed Hasasan*

To cite this article: Mohammed Hassen (2021): Genocidal Conquest, Plunder of Resources
and Dehumanization of the Oromo in Ethiopia, Journal of Genocide Research, DOI:
10.1080/14623528.2021.1992925
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/14623528.2021.1992925

Ernest Gellner aptly described Ethiopia as “a prison-house of nations if ever there was one.”75 In that prison-house of nations the Oromo language was banned from being used for radio broadcasting and publishing up to 1974. Up to 1991, it was neither permissible to teach nor to produce literature in the Oromo language, and nor was it possible to use it in legal forums. “In court or before an official an Oromo had to speak Amharic or use an interpreter. Even a case between two Oromos, before an Oromo-speaking magistrate, had to be heard in Amharic.”76 Even today, Oromo Orthodox Church clergy are not permitted to preach in their language. Oromo Orthodox Christians are denied the right for learning and understanding their religion in their language.


From the time of its creation during the 1880s and 1890s and up to 1991, the Ethiopian state never recognized the identities, languages, and cultures of most of its peoples, including the Oromo. The identity of the Amhara national group, their language,
culture, religion and way of life were projected as pan-Ethiopian identity. It was only after the establishment of federal system in Ethiopia in 1992, that the Oromo were able to administer themselves in Oromia, and for the first time to write and develop literature in their own language.

At stake in the current genocidal war in Tigray, Oromia and other parts of Ethiopia is the existence of the federal system, and the threat that the Oromo will lose their democratic rights if it is dismantled. The Oromo fear that their language will be banned from being used for teaching, governmental services, and publishing in their country.

The history of the Oromo reveals the meaning of Ethiopian imperial-nationalism and warns against its revival: “It remains the belief of the Amhara elites that to be an Ethiopian one has to cease to be an Oromo. The two things were/are seen as incompatible.”77

A must read article just published:

74 Bulcha, “The Making of the Oromo Diaspora,” 192.

75 Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 85.

76 Paul Baxter, “Ethiopia’s Unacknowledged Problem: The Oromo,” African Affairs 77 (1978): 288.

77 Mekuria Bulcha, “The Language Policies of Ethiopian Regimes and the History of Written Afaan Oromo: 1844–1994,”
Journal of Oromo Studies 2, nos. 1–2 (1994): 101.

*Mohammed Hassen joined Department of History at Georgia State University in January 1992 and
retired in 2017. His research interest is in Ethiopian history, with special focus on Oromo history, the
area in which he has published extensively.

Irreecha Birraa to be held October 3

(Melbourne, Irreechaa, September 30, 2021)-The Oromia Irreechaa Organising Committee in Victoria is preparing to celebrate Irreecha Birraa in Melbourne on 3rd October.

Irreechaa is the annual Oromo people Thanksgiving Day that is celebrated every year in Birraa near the river bank or water and tree.

Head of the Committee, Ob Abdeta Homa, said the celebration marks the end of the rainy season (June to September and the beginning of the spring season for planting (September to June).

Irreechaa is celebrated every year in the end of September or beginning of October in various part of the globe where the Oromo community resides.

The organisers states that this year celebration in Melbourne will be held in the context of the country at family level due to COVID-19 lockdown while cultural values of the Irreechaa celebration are maintained. The celebration still helps to strengthen and promote the Oromo tradition of respect for nature and gratefulness for life in Melbourne.

Head of Cultural Education Committee, Danye Dafarsha, also said the Irreecha festiv­ity celebrated in Birraa (in September and October) is the cultural expression of thankfulness to Waaqaa  for providing life necessities to human beings and other living things.

This is because the Oromo believe Waaqaa is the sole creator of everything and source of all life. It is also regarded as pure, omnipresent, infinite, incomprehensible and intolerant to injus­tice, crime, sin and all falsehood. It can do and undo anything.

On this day, family come to gather at their best place (near the river bank or water) depending on their states lockdown restrictions, to give thanks to the almighty Waaqaa(God) for all the blessings throughout the past dry season and ask for Araaraa (Reconciliation), Nagaa (Peace), Walooma (Harmony) and Finnaa (Holistic Development) for the present and the future.

Australian Oromo formally celebrated this Irreecha every year in Birraa near the river bank or water and tree.

According to the Irreechaa Organising Committee, all Oromos in Victoria are expected to take part in the celebration at the family level.

“What a wonderful time we had on a cooler than typical spring day in 2021 enjoying all that the Irreechaa Festival presented,” Ob Abdeta Homa added.

Accordning to Ob Oluma Qubee, the Oromo elder who has been involved in nurturing Oromo culture for many years, Irreechaa is the celebration of peace, unity and cooperation where the celebrants carrying bunch of straw and daisies in their hands praising, blessing and praying Waaqa in their songs.

“The Oromo people celebrate Irreechaa not only to thank Waaqaa (God) but also to welcome the new season of plentiful harvests after the dark and rainy winter season associated with nature and creature,” Ob Oluma added.

In the traditional religion of the Oromos, the spirit is the power through which Waaqaa  (The Almighty God) governs all over the world. Thus, Oromos believe that every creation of Waaqaa has its own spirit.

The ceremony honors elders’ blessings and wisdom, preserves the heritage and assesses the progress of humanity.

“Here in Australia, Melbourne, we continue this fabulous event every year for since 2007.

“The celebrations are unique in that the Melbourne celebration has come again and that contributes to the development of Oromummaa in the Diaspora,” Ob Abdeta said.

There is also a ceremony of thanking all forebears for their endurance and determination to survive their culture and history – paving the way for further social victory.

In the Oromo tradition river banks, the tops of mountains, the hills and other elevated grounds are respected landscapes because they believe that these landscapes represent the value of life and nature.

It is a unique Oromo cultural, historical and natural beautification in their full glory at the height of the season.

Oromos are celebrating this auspicious event to mark the end of rainy season[1], known as Birraa, was established by Oromo forefathers, in the time of Gadaa Melbaa[2] in Mormor, Oromia.

The auspicious day on which this last Mormor[3] Day of Gadaa Belbaa[4]-the Dark Time of starvation and hunger- was established on the 1st Sunday of last week of September or the 1stSunday of the 1st week of October according to the Gadaa lunar calendar ‐‐ has been designated as our National Thanksgiving Day by modern‐day Oromo people.    Oromo communities both at home and abroad celebrate this National Thanksgiving Day every year.

Irreechaa as a medium for bringing all Oromias together

The Oromian Irreechaa Festival will not only serve as a medium for bringing all Oromias together, from all its diasporas, as one voice, but will also focus on promoting and enhancing Oromummaa in freedom struggle, tourism, arts and crafts, business, restaurants and hospitality, and entertainment.

Moreover as a moving and flourishing heritage, Irreechaa also connects our Oromo identity with the global civilization in which the industrial and manufacturing sectors of heavy and light machinery of natural resources and raw materials.

During the event, we will be serving with Oromo foods and featuring with traditional dances by Oromo children, youth and dance troupes. Irreechaa is about a lot more than just putting on shows, it encourages engagement and participation from everyone in the greater community across our great city, country and the globe.

On Irreechaa festivals, friends, family, and relatives gather together and celebrate with joy and happiness. Irreechaa festivals bring people closer to each other and make social bonds.

Irreecha is one of the previous Cushitic religious traditions of praying to God (Waaqa). It has been observed by the Oromo people for more than 6400 years.

[1] Rainy season symbolized as a dark, disunity and challenging time in Oromia.

[2] Gadaa Melbaa was established before 6400 years ago at Odaa Mormor, North-west Oromia.

[3] Mormor in Oromo means division, disunity, chaos.

[4] Gadaa Belbaa is the end time of starvation.

Advocacy for Oromia Statement over the safety of OLF Chairman

(A4O, 29 May 2021) Advocacy for Oromo request to the international community expressing concern over the safety of Chairman of Oromo Liberation Front, Dawud Ibsa.

Advocacy for Oromia called on the international community “to pressure the Abiy government to ensure the safety of Mr. Dawud Ibsa, the Chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front, and his family who are under PM Abiy’s security siege during this volatile time.” 

Find full statement

Irreecha Arfaasa to be held May 30

(Melbourne, Irreechaa, September 20, 2021)-The Oromia Irreechaa Organising Committee in Victoria is preparing to celebrate Irreecha Arfaasaa in Melbourne on 30th May.

Head of the Committee, Ob Abdeta Homa, said the celebration marks the end of the dry season (October to April) and the beginning of the rainy season for planting (May to September).

The organisers states that the celebration helps to strengthen and promote the Oromo tradition of respect for nature and gratefulness for life in Melbourne.

Irreecha Arfaasaa Awustiraaliyaatti
Oromo children attendance @MountDandenong-File from 2019

Australian Oromo celebrated this Irreecha on the Mount Dandenong which is found in the South Eastern region of Melbourne.

On this day, people come to gather on mountain tops to give thanks to the almighty Waaqaa(God) for all the blessings throughout the past dry season and ask for Araaraa (Reconciliation), Nagaa (Peace), Walooma (Harmony) and Finnaa (Holistic Development) for the present and the future.

Irreecha Arfaasaa Awustiraaliyaatti
Oromo Elders Blessing @MountDandenong-File from 2019

Irreecha Arfaasaa is another annual Oromo Thanksgiving Day that repeats once in a year to mark the end of the dry season and beginning of the rainy and planting season.

The ceremony honors elders’ blessings and wisdom, preserves the heritage and assesses the progress of humanity.

There is also a ceremony of thanking all forebears for their endurance and determination to survive their culture and history – paving the way for further social victory.

In the Oromo tradition the tops of mountains, the hills and other elevated grounds are respected landscapes because they believe that these landscapes represent the value of life and nature.

It is a unique Oromo cultural, historical and natural beautification (planting) in their full glory at the height of the season.

Irreecha Arfaasaa is one of the previous Cushitic religious traditions of praying to God (Waaqa). It has been observed by the Oromo people for more than 6400 years.

Advocacy for Oromia Press Release

(Advocacy for Oromia, 15 May 2021) Advocacy for Oromia condemns the illegal, brutal, barbaric killing of Amanuel Wandimu.

On its press release, Advocacy for Oromia calls all concerned bodies to exert the maximum possible pressure on the Ethiopian government

  • to immediately give appropriate political space to the Ethiopian people,
  • to address their long-term grievances and demands,
  • to allow all-inclusive National Dialogues among political organizations, and
  • to extend the election time to include all political parties in the upcoming national poll.

Oromia Support Group (OSG) report 55 and press release – 5 April 2021

OMRHO e.V. Report for the year 2020

(A4O, 12/01/2021) OMRHO reports documents extrajudicial killings of civilians & other violence perpetrated by Ethiopian govt forces in the year 2020.

“Human Rights Abuses Committed by the Ethiopian Army and the so called ‘’Oromia Special
Forces’’ in Different Parts of Oromia and Ethiopia,” says OMRHO.

The atrocity encompasses extra-judicial killings, mass detentions, torture, arrest of members and supporters of Oromo political parties, without court warrants and etc.

OMRHO e.V. Presents the state of Human Rights violations in Ethiopia since the incumbent group
came to power.

This Report claims by no means a complete coverage of Human Rights abuses in the Empire as:
• people are detained in military camps and in hidden places as opposed to official prisons,
• arrests and detentions are arbitrary and without court warrants,
• the relatives of the imprisoned get no information where the victims are.
• Those who who ask whereabout of prisoner face dangers of arbitrary arrests, abuses etc.
• Lack of access and capacity to cover comprehensively.

Here below is the full report:

OSG Report 54: The Ethiopian government is using extreme violence to force a unitary state on an unwilling population.

Empire strikes back: catastrophic consequences


There seems to be a pattern to all this. It is very worrying.
Teshale Abera, former President of Oromia Region Supreme Court, November 2020.

Despite severe restrictions on the flow of information from Ethiopia OSG continues to record a relentless rise in the death toll as the government stifles all aspirations for selfdetermination for the peoples of Ethiopia.
Particularly large numbers have been killed in Western Oromia, especially in Wallega, where another 92 killings of Oromo have been added to the 350 recorded previously since October 2018. Of these 92, 54 died before mid-2019 and 38 in 2020. An additional 60 Amhara settlers died by government hands in Guliso on 1 November. Government forces have been responsible for at least 442 civilian deaths in Western Oromia, 340 in 2020 alone.

The names of another 42 killed within days of Hachalu Hundessa’s assassination on 29 June are recorded (all except 6 in Central Oromia) and added to the 42 already named as being killed in Report 53.

OSG has now documented 505 killings in 2019, including 100 Qimant in Amhara Region and 150 Sidama in SNNPR. Up to publication, OSG has recorded 777 killings in 2020, including 58 Walaita in SNNPR and 60 Amhara in Oromia Region. Those civilians killed in the war in Tigray have not been included in this total or in this report.

A most worrying development is the increase in reports of detainees being taken from police custody and summarily executed. At least ten of the killings by security forces recorded in this report occurred in custody or when detainees were removed from custody by soldiers.

Another significant development is the arrest of Oromo who are prominent in development, finance, the Oromo Relief Association and the Human Rights League for the Horn of Africa.

No longer are government forces restricting arrests to political activists and journalists. Just as in 1992/3, any prominent Oromo in any sphere is at risk of arrest or killing.

In this report, another 208 killings by government forces are recorded, making the total, despite poor access to information, of over 1,342 killings of civilians by Ethiopian government forces since October 2018.

“Independence is a natural way of being!”

“Independence is a natural way of being!”, says, the apologetic younger generation of Oromia.

The energetic, highly educated, self-respecting, self-confident, very assertive, young and smart Oromo generation is fully determined to be independent by destroying all shackles of colonialism, and the psychology of bondage to Abyssinian/Ethiopian Empire.

Their weekly program, a podcast aims to educate the inferior Oromos, who internalized colonial oppression, and enlighten the world public at large.

We are very much proud of the new generation, and thank the parents who brought them up, teaching them “Independence is a natural way of being” – the way we are created – free from any external subjugation.

Here, please, listen to the weekly podcasts, from ‘Free Oromia Team’: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1447450

OROMIA: OSG Releases its 53 Reports on Human Rights Violations in Ethiopia

Interview with Dr Trevor Trueman, OSG chairman, regarding OHRG Conference 2020

OHRG, a recently set Human Rights group, has organised a two-days public conference to be held on October 24 & 25, 2020.

The theme of the Forum will be “Human Right Crisis in Transition”. 

Appeal letter to UN et al

October 15, 2020

From:
Human Rights Organizations and Civic Institute
Contact email: Globaloag@gmail.com

To:
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson – 52, rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
E-mail:ccpr@ohchr.org

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District
Western Region P.O. Box 673 Banjul, The Gambia
E-mail: au-banjul@africa-union.org ,
africancommission@yahoo.com

European Commission
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 170
B-1049 Bruxelles/Brussel
Belgique/België
Email: eric.mamer@ec.europa.eu

International Committee of the Red Cross
19 Avenue de la paix
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Eamil: press@icrc.org

Committee to Protect Journalists
P.O. Box 2675
New York, NY 10108
Email: info@cpj.org

CC;
Amnesty International, East Africa
Riverside Studios, PO Box 1527, 00606 Sarit
Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
contactus@amnesty.org

Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
hrwpress@hrw.org

The Genocide Watch
S-CAR, George Mason University. 3351
North Fairfax Drive, MS4D3
Arlington, VA 22201
communications@genocidewatch.org

We, the undersigned Human Rights Organizations and civic institutes, write this letter to you out of grave concern with the current political and constitutional crises in Ethiopia and the foreseen human catastrophe. International human rights organizations like Amnesty International and various National and International media outlets have reported that the Ethiopian government has continuously engaged in massive human rights violations*.

some of which may, in fact, amount to genocide. The rule of law has never shone in Ethiopia both in its literary meaning as well as the politico-legal context. Arbitrarily arresting citizens and dictatorial rule have remained the hallmarks of the Ethiopian rulers for more than one hundred and fifty years. The people of Ethiopia, particularly the Oromo people and people of the Southern Nations and Nationalities, however, continue to yearn for democratic governance.

The fall of the barbaric feudal system in 1974 that was in place since the 1940s gave way to the military junta that ruled Ethiopia with a brute force for 17 long years. The death of the military regime in 1991 paved a chance for a multi-ethnic coalition transitional government and a new federal structure meant to ease a century-long conflict and hegemony of a single ethnic culture. However, the bright light quickly dimmed when the TPLF acted to purge the OLF (a major Political Organization representing the Oromo people) out of the transitional government, paving a way for a protracted war and continued marginalization of the Oromo people. The resistance waged by the OLF against the TPLF via armed struggle, clandestine resistance, and mass uprising eventually forced the EPRDF to kneel down, ending the hegemony of the TPLF in 2018. It also gave a golden opportunity for the emergence of individuals like the current Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, to usurp the movement from within under the guise of reform.

In the beginning, the PM presented himself as someone who has the will to chart a new path for the country. Internally, however, he was making pacts with those who adore old Ethiopia and vowing to restore the glory of the imperial system known for its racist and hegemonic strata – the single source of all evils stirring Ethiopia to this date. Given his public gesture and the desire of the mass in Ethiopia for change, many opposition political parties including the OLF consented to work with the regime on building a new path for the country and they showed their commitments by taking bold steps: declaring unilateral ceasefire, agreeing to demobilize their armed forces, and relocating their leadership from exile back to Ethiopia.

However, it did not take the Abiy government more than a few months to abrogate on these concessions and embark on the usual culture of intimidation of the leaders of the OLF, rounding up of their supporters, and subsequently, declaring a war of annihilation on the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) that were in the process of demobilizing. Ever since, the supporters of the OLF and the Oromo people have been living under a constant threat of military command, abductions from their homes and workplaces, and being hoarded into premises with little or no facilities to house human beings. Numerous representatives of the OLF, prominent elders, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs have, therefore, fallen prey to Abiy Ahmed’s police state inherited from his time working for the TPLF.

The official tenure of Abiy Ahmed’s regime has also ended on October 5, 2020. Given the precarious state of affairs facing the country, the OLF has called for the establishment of a transitional government in Oromia. And this OLF call has gained popular support from the Oromo people both within and outside of the country.

However, it appears that the call has served as a de facto reason for the ire of the Abiy Ahmed government to be directed against the OLF and the Oromo people. The October 12, 2020, blatant attack by the Armed forces dispatched with the direct order of Abiy Ahmed on the OLF chairman, Mr. Dawud Ibsa is one such example and an alarming recipe for disaster in the country. When Mr. Ibsa’s home was raided, renowned Oromo elders, political figures, and community leaders along with some non-government affiliated media Journalists were also rounded up by Ethiopia’s federal police and security personnel with no court order.

Besides interrupting Mr. Ibsa’s media briefing related to the current political and constitutional crises in the country, particularly in Oromia, the Federal Police has arrested several of the participants including the Oromo elders and journalists and more than dozens of the Audiences of the media briefing were ordered to remain in house arrest. The same day, the Federal Police have also rounded up a fundraising event organized by the Oromo Relief Association (ORA) for humanitarian aid in Sebeta, a city located on the South West of Finfinne. There too, the Federal Police has arrested serval people, including Mr. Dechasa Nuguse, chairman of the Association, Mrs. Yerosan Takele, and Mr. Jaleta Abdissa, who were facilitators of the event. Three Journalists who were reporting the event have also been arrested.

We feel that the October 12, 2020 incidence on a peaceful gathering of people at a private residence of a major leader of a political organization constitutes state terrorism and is the making of a fascist act targeted at the Oromo people. We note that the attack on Mr. Dawud Ibsaa, a symbol of the Oromo political capital and an icon of endurance, resilience, principle, and resistance, is the last bell to ring before the canon goes loose in the country. Putting the very fact that Ethiopia (a country of over 110 million out of which the Oromo alone roughly constitute 50 million) cannot afford armed civil strife, therefore, we call upon;

1) all peace-loving countries, representatives, and the international community to help avert the looming crisis in Ethiopia by intervening as outlined in OLF’s press statement of September 13, 2020, that called for international arbitration of Ethiopia’s complex constellation of conflicts;

2) the UN, AU, EU, and major donor governments to the regime in Ethiopia to exert maximum pressure as they have the leverage to stop Abiy Ahmed’ killing spree and a mass crackdown from going awry;

3) the International community that has the leverage to help the call for a peaceful transition to succeed by providing the necessary material, financial, diplomatic, and security assistance to the national stakeholders as needed;

4) the international community to understand that inaction to this call may lead to the repeat of the carnage in the Balkans and the tragedy in Rwanda that occurred during the first half of the 1990s in both instances.

5) the international Human Rights Organizations to diligently follow the situation in Ethiopia, particularly in Oromia, and expose the human rights violations perpetrated by the Abiy government’s military and security forces.

Sincerely

1. Advocacy for Oromia
2. Global Oromo Advocacy Group
3. Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
4. International Oromo Women’s Organization
5. International Qeerroo Support Group
6. Oromo Parliamentarians Council
7. Oromo Political Prisoners Association
8. Oromia Support Group – Australia
9. United Oromo Christian Church of Australia

Here is the PDF format of the Appeal Letter: Appeal letter_GOAG_2020_4_10-16-20

* Ethiopia: “Beyond law enforcement” human rights violations by Ethiopian security forces in Amhara and Oromia
(https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr25/2358/2020/en/)

#MoveForMentalHealth!

Community mental wellbeing doesn’t just appear. We must CREATE IT by setting up safe spaces where people can connect with others, talk, be heard & find a sense of belonging. #MentalHealthForAll#TimeToInvest#WMHD2020

The Fundamental Solution to Ethiopian Politics – New Approach

[VOL – October 08,2020] The current political crisis in Ethiopia, specially, that of Oromia, are not only meant to make Oromia war and insecure zone; rather, driving Ethiopia to irreversible misery. Oromia Regional State is under the State of Emergency. Because of the failure to timely solve political crisis, the former government structure is already broken down. Currently, there is no elected administrative organ expected to solve problems of the people. There is nowhere the people go and complains for solution even when: killed, robbed and their property are destructed. If this continues, the worse would follow. In addition, we hope that operation of various forces contributed for Dissolution of Oromia, and further aggravated not to come out of those chaos. Finally, this will inevitably mislead our way.

It is crystal clear that the dissolution of Oromia will not only bring troubles to the Oromo people, besides, it will bring continuous sufferings to the Citizens of Oromia. No one could deny the fact that massive troubles are coming towards every individual, family and Ethiopia as a country. Thus, in order to bring about a sustainable peace and security, looking for an immediate resolution and systematic way out is very much needed.

Oromos and the Citizens of Oromia have many things in common. They share same country, lifestyle, political problems, culture as well economic system, for so long period of time. Specially, it is known that we have struggled and have been struggling the with the problems brought by the political culture of Ethiopia, from generation to generation. This also shows the strong relationships the Oromo people has with other Peoples of Ethiopia.

As we have went through many struggles, again these days, we believe that it is time for Oromos and Citizens of Oromia to Unite and establish our Transitional Government in common; and thereby alienate from our problems, and fulfill our common and personal interests.

Ethiopian People in general should bear your responsibilities in stabilizing the Oromia region. By doing so, you wouldn’t only rescue your citizens residing in Oromia; rather, it would help us in fundametalizing what we have, as a country.

Dissolution of Oromia brings enormous happenings. It shall not only be problems of the Oromos and Citizens of Oromia, rather, we should consider that it will be problem of Ethiopia and that of the Horn of Africa in general. Therefore, immediately establishing Oromia National Transitional Government, is found decisive. What we have to understand here is that: The objective of establishing a Transitional Government is not to dissolve the country; besides, we would like to confirm to the Peoples of Ethiopia, Countries of the Horn of Africa and African Countries, as well, the United Nations, that it is aimed at solving the challenges to dissolve the country, and rescue the Country and Horn of Africa from the potential threats.

In history, Oromo has never dissolved, rather, it has built the Country. Oromo has never thought only for himself, and it has been shade for the other Nations and Nationalities. This shall be evident that the Nations and Nationalities settled in Oromia than other regions of the County. As a result, we shall confidently say that Oromia is Model of Ethiopia, where Nations and Nationalities reside. Establishment of the Transitional Government shall be important in securing those nations and nationalities residing in Oromia; and thereby strengthen their Unity and Cohabitation.

We again affirm that this Transitional Government, has an intent of strengthening the history and culture of the People which were already built. Besides, has no aim to dissolve the country. We want to drive the relationship of the Oromos and Citizens of Oromia to better level, and let it based on love and mutually building the country. We hope that this will be base for the sustainable peace of the rest regions of Ethiopia.

In this journey, OLF hereby send its message to Oromo and Citizens of Oromia, solve their daily problems together. This message of ours for the wider Oromo and Citizens of Oromia, and the planned Transitional Government shall be the first in history, and it is a stage in which government of the people, by the people and for the people shall be built and facilitate conditions for the same.

We are striving to make sure our future bright, in which every person shall have a determinant vote. Our objective and intent is to change the Partisan Political Culture of Ethiopia, and substituting the same, by the inclusive government made up of the entire citizens of Oromia, elected by the People and for the People.

OLF has no interest to make its political policy be burden on others, however, tries its best to hearing various entities and building common administration, in such a way that shall be good for the entire citizens. For the attainment of the same, we hereby express that: with the Citizens of Oromia, we will create a basic environment conducive from the very beginning to final. We hope this will bring about sustainable peace and stability.

If we change the political culture of Ethiopia, and build a stabilized, inclusive, impartial and all serving government in Oromia, every one shall predict what our country will looks like in a short period. If a government based on the equality of the citizens and interest of the people; if there shall be a clear interest and foreign relations of the country; if independency of the judiciary ensured; ìf the Peace keeping and the National Defense shall not loose own stand under the order of the ruling party; if the government shall be held responsible for their wrong doings; if human rights (individually and collectively) respected; we believe that our country shall be a place where its citizens lead a respectful and happy life.

When there shall be peace and stability, and if the Nations and Nationalities show their sense of belongingness about their country and government, it will not be difficult to bring development and prosperity. Our country is full of resources and attracts global investment. However, when the country lacks peace and stability, even operating investors leave. In order to enable domestic and foreign investors, to invest in the country without any threat and alienate our country from begging; if and only if, there is peace and stabilized government.

Youths and Skilled labour shall get employment opportunity and engage in building the country, only if there shall be peace and stabilized government. Citizens shall move from place to place and administer their families. Individual and collective properties shall get secured. Our children will learn or work peacefully. Love and Cooperation flourishes in our people, than hate and fighting. Using this, we will again build our culture of helping and encouraging each other.

Finally, the current political crisis of our country is very complex. Solving the complex problems under the rotten and outdated political culture became impossible. Although it was repeatedly tried, many lives were lost and enormous properties were destructed; it was unsuccessful. We shall only overcome these problems if and only if we come together, discuss and pace the way.

For time being, we should together build a Transitional Government of Oromia, that shall be basis of peace for other governments and regions. This shall also be a stage where we contribute our share and express our interest. On top of this, we shall solve the current problems related with peace and stability, if we come together and discuss, and establish the Transitional Government of Oromia interpret and succeed with the said Transitional Government, OLF again ensures that it has been working having deployed with full force. We also affirm that we are ready than ever to receive opinion of the public and concerned bodies, and make it for the best interest of the people. OLF reassures to you that, it will openly work with you, on the process of establishment and implementation of the National Transitional Government of Oromia.

Eventually, I would like to extend my Esteems Respect for the Citizens of Oromia and other Nations and Nationalities lost their lives in the last fifty years, for Democracy, Human Rights and Equality of the Nations and Nationalities. Specially, I hereby bestow our Eternal Respect for our Freedom Fighters who have helped us, to see this.

As well, I would like to extend my respect to Peace Keepers, who fought and lost their lives in protecting the people, standing with the people and bringing about peace.

In addition, I admire and respect the Addis Ababa Peace Keeping Police Forces (shortly: Addis Ababa Police), those who have kept human rights and dignities, as well, carried out their responsibilities lawfully, in a difficult political situation, leaving their family and life aside, and keeping peace day and night. Again, I bestow my deepest thank to those who stood with us individually, collectively and as institution, that you have encouraged us to further developour commitment and reach this level.

Since our statement of invitation for the establishment of the National Transitional Government of Oromia, those of the following, who stood with us, lined up with us and striving for the attainment of the same, are bestowed with esteemed thanks:

1. Honorable Citizens of Oromia who have accepted the invitation and stood with us

2. Political parties, specially, our partner OFC

3. Leaders of the OLF in and outside countries

4. Officials of OLF in and outside countries

5. Qeerro National Youth Movement for Freedom and Liberation 6. Oromo Supporters and Community

7. The Oromo Scholars and Professional Group

8. Oromo Global Forum

9. Leaders of different religions, who became voice of our people and transferred the invitation

10. Global Oromia Journalist Association

11. Global 39 Movement Support Group

12. Committee of Members and Supporters of OLF, working on getting Political Prisoners of Citizens of Oromia released

13. Those who were not mentioned

Thanks for listening.

Victory to the Mass

Dawud Ibsa Chairperson of the Oromo Liberation Front

October 8, 2020

Finfinne (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Political crisis can only be resolved through a political process.

Global Oromia Journalists Association

8 October 2020

(A4O, 8 October 2020) Global Oromia Journalists Association, GOJA, is a non-profit organization that provides a networking and resource forum for journalists of Oromia and Diaspora would like support the call of the major Oromo political parties, OLF and OFC, who have a majority number of supporters, for a transitional government in Oromia.

At this critical time the Global Oromia Journalists Association is observing five major contradictory processes have started to emerge in Ethiopia and Oromia.

Firstly, the decomposition of the Ethiopian colonial system and its institutional infrastructures such as the nafxanya government and other institutions.

Secondly, the emergence of progressive forces that are determined to establish a true multinational democracy in the context of federation or confederation, which guarantees national self-determination.

Thirdly, Oromia has become the hotspot of the emerging political contestation between the old and dying forces on one hand and the new and energized political and social movements on the other.

Fourthly, Abiy’s security infrastructure has detained most of the known OLF leadership to make it a marionette of PP or to simply destroy it.

Lastly, working to avoid the looming state collapse and the possible emergence of an empire-wide conflict and war will lead to a peaceful transition. Failure to wrap up this chapter of our struggle in a way it ensures our freedom and liberty will have huge consequences for our future.

The Global Oromia Journalists Association believe that mass media are regarded as one of the key democratic institutions vital in facilitating the process of democratisation, and peace-building. At this critical time, media can play an instrumental role in preventing the danger of state collapse and the total breakdown of the empire resulting in unimaginable human tragedy. At this critical time, journalists can play a vital role in supporting peaceful transition through critical reporting issues that matter.

The global powers should learn from the consequences of ignoring the national crises in Somalia, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Ruanda, etc. Early intervention in the impending crisis in Ethiopia can save millions of human lives, and can avert enormous refugee crisis and human misery of the local populations, and can also save humanitarian aid costs to international organizations and governments.

Therefore, Global Oromia Journalists Association calls upon all Oromo media residing in different parts of the world to support the call for a transitional government in Oromia. Our collaboration and support at this crucial time will lead to a peaceful transition paving the way to our nation freedom.

We believe that any political crisis can only be resolved through a political process. Thus, the proposal of establishing an all-inclusive transitional government is crucial, and it will require the support of all peace-loving entities.

With best regards,

Global Oromia Journalists Association

8 October 2020

A collective effort and responsibility of Oromummaa: Oromo’s role in executing the Oromia Transitional Government

October 4, 2020
Contact: Globaloag@gmail.com

Madda Walaabuu Press: OROMO AND OROMIA

It has been over two years since Dr. Abiy Ahmed became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Abiy came to power after the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that has dominated the Ethiopian politics for almost three decades, was toppled by the struggle of the Oromo people, visibly by the Oromo Youth Movement also known as Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromo. When TPLF was forced to give up power and Dr. Abiy Ahmed took over the premiership, many, including the Oromo people, were optimistic that the Ethiopian Government will transition into a democratic state where citizens of all nations and nationalities will eventually be treated equally and with respect and dignity. Most welcomed this change with open arms, for they believed this would bring the much-needed changes including ending inequality, injustice, and human rights violations. Therefore, Abiy’s premiership position was to transition the country into an all-inclusive democratic political system. With believes, multiple opposition parties have also participated in the nation’s political realm.

Unfortunately, Abiy’s Government has been doing quite the contrary to his assignment and took an unexpected turn transitioning the country towards lawlessness, turmoil and complete lack of peace and stability. Abiy’s failure to uphold his promise and responsibilities led the country to where we are today, unstable and on the verge of collapsing. The political, economic and social crises in the country, particularly in Oromia, is at its worst juncture. Although Oromia has been under tight military command post rule for over two years, since the death of the prominent Oromo singer Hacaaluu Hundeessaa, the grip of the military and security forces and the extents of oppression on the Oromo people worsened. Military and security forces indiscriminately crackdown on innocent civilians, political dissent, activities, journalist and prominent Oromo community and religious leaders have intensified like never before. As we speak, hundreds of thousands of Oromo prisoners, including Oromo opposition party leaders, executive members, Oromo journalists, and civilians are suffering behind bars. Most of these detainees, especially the civilians, have not been brought to court or charged with any crime. Though the Abiy Government publicly condemned his predecessor, the TPLF, for terrorizing the Oromo people, he has been doing exactly the same since he became the Prime Minister.

A country should only be governed by a civilian government elected through fair and free election, not by a fully armed military. Command post should only be implemented temporarily in a valid state of emergency circumstances or during a time of war to ensure the safety and wellbeing of civilians. Therefore, in the current situation, the citizens of Oromia and other nations and nationalities do have a sovereign right to request and facilitate a transitional government in Oromia as well as at Federal level.
According to the Ethiopian constitution, Abiy’s Government was supposed to hold a national election in May 2020. However, with a pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national election was postponed indefinitely. Using COVID-19 as a reason, when in fact the number was not significantly high, to postpone an election is not a valid reason. According to the constitution, the legal term of Mr. Abiy government ends on October 5, 2020 and as of today, no announcement is made about the next steps. As a result, while we get closer to the end date of the term, uncertainty and anxiety are particularly rising in Oromia. At the same time, the government continues its propaganda and exclusion of Oromo political opponents, such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which have a significant number of supporters, from key political dialogues.

Regardless of the political exclusion, intimidation and imprisonment of its high-ranking officials, the OLF has released a press statement detailing what should be done to thwart the current constitutional crises in the country. In this press statement (click here to read the details), released on September 13, 2020, OLF laid out solutions focused approach for the current crises and called for the international communities, governments, AU, EU and the UN to put utmost pressure on the Abiy’s government to implement the resolution. We, the undersigned Human Rights Advocates, human rights organizations, and civic institutes also genuinely believe that the political solution OLF puts forward, which is also supported by Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), would resolve the current political crises in the country.
Since, for the past two years, the Oromo people were illegally deprived of their rights to elect their leaders democratically. We believe, as also stated in the Charter of the United Nations, the Oromo people have the right to self-determination. Therefore, to form a transitional government for Oromia is a matter of human rights, to stabilize the country and facilitate proper policies, institutions and to ultimately provide the citizens the rights to elect their own government and provide a better run nation.

We, the undersigned human rights organizations, support the call of the major Oromo political parties, OLF and OFC, who have a majority number of supporters, for a transitional government in Oromia. A political crisis can only be resolved through a political process. Therefore, to ensure peace, security and order in the region, we believe that establishing an all-inclusive transitional government is crucial, and it will require the support of all peace-loving entities. A government attempts to quash the formation of this transitional government in Oromia will be unproductive, and therefore, we call for the Abiy government to refrain from such endeavors.
We would also like to call for all nations and nationalities in Ethiopia to support the OLF’s call to peacefully resolve these crises in Oromia and beyond. A peace in Oromia ensures peace in our neighbor’s state, and the vice versa. We are currently at a very critical juncture. Failure to wrap up this chapter of our struggle in a way it ensures our freedom and liberty will have huge consequences for our future. Therefore, we, the undersigned Oromo human rights organizations and civic institutes call upon the Oromo people residing in different parts of the world to support the call for a transitional government in Oromia. Your collaboration and support at this crucial time will lead to a peaceful transition paving the way to our freedom.

With these notions that all Oromos should play our part (Oromummaa), we invite and encourage everyone who is concerned about the well-being and safety of the Oromo people and the stability of Oromia to participate according to their capabilities and interest. When the current government becomes void or illegitimate as of October 5th, 2020, we should understand the fact that there will not be an official government in Oromia. Therefore, we the Oromo communities, civic and Oromo human rights organizations and elites in the diaspora should not simply sit back and watch when Oromia falls in disarray and becomes a lawless country. It is our moral and Oromummaa obligation to step up and play our roles in assisting the establishment of a peaceful transitional government called by OLF and OFC paving the way to a democratic, fair and free election. This will be realized only through our collective efforts and assuming our due responsibilities of Oromummaa.

Thus, we pledge to contribute our part according to our own mandate, and we also call for all Oromo organizations, whether political or non-political, to do the same.

Justice for All

  1. Advocacy for Oromia
  2. Global Oromo Advocacy Group
  3. Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
  4. International Oromo Women’s Organization
  5. International Qeerroo Support Group
  6. Oromo Parliamentarians Council
  7. Oromo Political Prisoners Association
  8. Oromia Support Group – Australia
  9. United Oromo Christian Church of Australia

THE PRESENT PHASE OF THE OROMO NATIONAL MOVEMENT: CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND ACTION ITEMS

The Oromo Scholars and Professional Group

Realizing the fact that the effort of transitioning the Ethiopian Empire to democracy has been derailed primarily because of the incompetency and ill will of the Abiy Ahmed government, which emerged in 2018 from the EPRDF and later formed the Prosperity Party (PP) to gain political legitimacy without shedding the authoritarian and colonial essence of the former party, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) issued a declaration on September 13, 2020. In this declaration the front proposed the formation of an inclusive “national” convention in which all political parties and fronts in the empire as stakeholders would participate in developing a political road map, which would be acceptable to a broad majority of them, to avoid the looming state collapse and the possible emergence of an empire-wide conflict and war, and to ensure the transition to a genuine multinational democracy. Furthermore, the OLF invites international bodies such as the United Nations and its Security Council, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and regional organizations such as the African Union and the European Union to be actively involved in the process of preventing the danger of state collapse and the total breakdown of the empire resulting in unimaginable human tragedy.

More importantly, the front calls upon all citizens of Oromia in general and independent Oromo political organizations, civic institutions, and professional associations in particular, to initiate the process of forming an Oromia transitional government to protect their society from the emerging political and security crises in Oromia and beyond. The Oromo Scholars and Professionals group believes that two major contradictory processes have started to emerge in Ethiopia and Oromia: 1) the decomposition of the Ethiopian colonial system and its institutional infrastructures such as the nafxanya government and other institutions, and 2) the emergence of progressive forces that are determined to establish a true multinational democracy in the context of federation or confederation, which guarantees national self-determination. Consequently, the Oromo Scholars and Professionals Group concurs with the explanations of the OLF and endorses its declaration.

Because of its abundant economic resources and geographical landmass, the size of its population, and the recent development of the Qeerroo/Qarree movement, which has mobilized the entire Oromo nation to fight against injustices and gross human rights violations, Oromia has become the hotspot of the emerging political contestation between the old and dying forces on one hand and the new and energized political and social movements on the other. Despite facing monumental challenges from its external and internal enemies, the Oromo national movement appears to have embarked on the final phase of its journey toward the long sought national self-determination. Particularly, the OLF, which mapped out the ideological and political roadmap of the Oromo nation in the 1970s by introducing an ideological innovation and the knowledge for liberation to Oromo society has challenged the underpinnings of Ethiopianism and nafxanyaa philosophy that have provided the justification for the abuse of Oromo humanity and identity, liberated the minds of millions of Oromos, and mobilized them to struggle for their freedom and liberate their country from Abyssinian/Habasha domination.

Consequently, the flourishing of national Oromummaa (Oromo national history, culture, and nationalism) and the consolidation of Oromo unity as demonstrated by the recent Qeerro/Qarree movement have revealed the potential of Oromo society to bring about fundamental transformations in Oromia, the Ethiopian Empire, and the Horn of Africa. In disapproval and objection to the development of Oromo political consciousness and national Oromummaa, the neo-nafxanya government of Abiy Ahmed and all external and internal enemies of the Oromo national struggle are currently attacking Oromo nationalists in general and independent Oromo political organizations such as the OLF and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and their key leaders, members and sympathizers in particular in order to deny the people the institutional and organizational capacity, which is absolutely necessary to empower the Oromo nation. The main objectives of the neo-nafxanayaa government and its collaborators are to continue disempowering the Oromo people by dispossessing their lands and other resources and by keeping them in the status of colonial subjects, who are disorganized and easily terrorized and dominated.

The recent ideological and intellectual victories of the Oromo national movement have disturbed the neo-nafxanyaas and their government. They are worried that they cannot successfully implement their grand plans for dismantling Oromia and Oromo nationhood/peoplehood. Their strategies are to fragment the Oromo nation into local and religious identities, partition Oromia again into colonial administrative regions, reimpose Habasha/Amhara culture and language, and to continue looting Oromia resources. The OLF and OFC have become the main obstacles to these grand schemes while some Oromo organizations and former politicians/activists are willingly becoming the agents of the neo-nafxanyaa government to satisfy their personal interests at the expense of the Oromo nation. Currently, Abiy and his government are trying to dismantle the independent leaderships of OLF and OFC and replace them by a subservient leadership that will be commanded by the neo-nafxanyaa government. They do this to continue Habasha/Amhara hegemony and to securely institutionalize Ethiopian settler colonialism and its nafxanyaa system.

In its attempt to destroy or diminish the Oromo national movement and its organizational infrastructures, Abiy and his government have developed and used four main political and ideological schemes.

  1. Using the carrot and stick strategy, the Abiy government has corrupted and incorporated some Oromo political activists/politicians, who were members of the now defunct Oromo Democratic Front, as well as some of the leaders of the so-called OLF-United, using them in the struggle against Oromo independent political and civic organizations and Oromo society.
  2. Claiming the rise of Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) as a pretext, it has mobilized politically naive and/or Oromo opportunists and subservient organizations to ideologically attack the OLF and the OLA, justifying the establishment of a brutal military rule under command posts in many regions of Oromia.
  3. While cementing his political relationship with his nafxanyaa brethren, Abiy has defamed and devalued Oromo nationalism by falsely claiming it has reduced the significance of the Oromo nation to a local phenomenon.
  4. Creating animosity and hatred for Oromo nationalists, Abiy’s government used the assassination of Hacaalu Hundessa (for which it is either directly or indirectly responsible) to amass Oromo political leaders, nationalists, and activists and jam them in overcrowded and filthy jails, which are infested with Covid-19 and other dangerous diseases. Following the killing of Hacaalu Hundessa on June 29, 2020, the government massacred hundreds of people and incarcerated more than 9,000 Oromos, charging them with terrorism.
  5. Abiy and his nafxanyaa comrades are campaigning hard to misinform the world community by portraying Oromo nationalists as extremists and terrorists. The fact on the ground, however, is that the Oromo people have never resorted to terrorism or extremism in their bitter struggle to liberate themselves from the yoke of barbaric subjugation and economic marginalization.

Preemptive political crimes have been concocted and implemented to enable the PP to win the upcoming elections and keep Abiy in power. Above all, Abiy’s security infrastructure has detained most of the known OLF leadership to make it a marionette of PP or to simply destroy it. When these efforts failed, the government sponsored the creation of what is now called the Hilton group, a renegade group corrupted from the ranks of the OLF that takes its orders from Abiy’s government. The fact that the Abiy government is now calling for a general election is clear evidence that COVID-19 was not the reason for postponing the May 2020 election. If that was the reason, the government does not reverse the decision now when COVID-19 is more prevalent. The true intention for illegally and unconstitutionally postponing the election was to weaken formidable political opponents so that Abiy and his party can declare victory by running against themselves, as they did in the 2015 sham election.

The declaration by agents of the government of Ethiopia and the neo-nafxanyaa media outlets that the chairman of the OLF was replaced by his deputy chairman was intended to spread confusion and to demoralize the Oromo people and promote the renegade group. Overall, the assassination of Hacaalu and the attack on the Oromo people and their leaders have renewed the commitment of the people to intensify the Oromo national movement in Oromia and the diaspora. Ongoing rebellions, economic boycotts and shutting down of highways are clear examples. The Oromo diaspora has come out in en masse in support of the Oromo struggle in Oromia by engaging in series of demonstrations and by engaging in public diplomacy on behalf their people. The demand to release all political prisoners and to abolish command posts in Oromia with emphatic support for the Oromo Liberation Army have dominated Oromo medias and other media outlets.

Recommended actions

Our people, while aspiring for the liberation of their society and country under such dire conditions, must know that they need independent political organizations that lead their national movement through the rough roads ahead. Consequently, while engaging in different political activities, they must consider the following.

  1. Support the call for the formation of the Transitional Government of Oromia and contribute their fair share to its implementation;
  2. Become members or supporters of independent Oromo political organizations and provide human and financial resources to build the Oromo national organizational capacity;
  3. Join or support independent national civic institutions such as Oromia Global Forum;
  4. Centralize and coordinate the Qeerroo/Qarree movement with new strategies and tactics, armed with a robust network of firm and honest leadership that can resist corruption and infiltration by government security networks;
  5. Like any society in the world, the Oromo need their national defense army, which will protect them and their country from tyranny that have become too common these days. Therefore, every Oromo has a moral and national obligation to support the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) financially, ideologically, and intellectually.
  6. Support Oromo media outlets that focus on the Oromo national struggle to engage in knowledge dissemination and propaganda more actively. The enemies of the Oromo have been depicting the Oromo nation negatively and calling them foreigners in their own country. Currently, our external and internal enemies are painting members of Oromo society as extremists and terrorists, who hate non-Oromos and commit genocide on them. These nafxanyaa forces and their collaborators are well organized and financed, with powerful media outlets that attack the Oromo people day and night. In order to defend themselves from such attacks, the Oromo need to consolidate their media capacity, in order to equip our people with liberation knowledge by focusing on Oromo national culture, history, and national Oromummaa.
  7. Support our firm and historic initiatives to immediately start national dialogue among independent political groups or organizations, activists, scholars, religious institutions, etc., toward the creation of an independent Oromia democratic state to, once and for all, liberate Oromia from a stubborn adversary that is unwilling to live together with Oromos as equals by respecting Oromo national identity, lives, and culture.
  8. In summary, rather than waiting for Oromo political parties to mobilize and organize the Oromo people at home or in the diaspora, all freedom loving Oromos must voluntarily join or support our independent organizations and build their national leadership and organizational capacity. At the same time, Oromo nationalists and others must marshal their economic and intellectual resources to build OLA as the Oromo national defense force. It is a high time to stop appealing to and begging our morally corrupt external and internal enemies, and to take our national destiny in our hands. Once the independent Oromia democratic state is formed, the Oromo can freely decide on the process of forming a multinational confederation or federation within the context of a multinational democracy.

Respectfully,

Signatories,

  1. Adugna Birhanu (Ph.D)
  2. Alemayehu Biru (Ph.D)
  3. Amanuel Gobena (Ph.D)
  4. Asefa Jalata (Ph.D)
  5. Asfaw Beyene (Ph.D)
  6. Ayana Gobena (Ph.D)
  7. Bahiru Duguma (Ph.D)
  8. Baro Deressa (MD)
  9. Bedassa Tadesse (Ph.D)
  10. Begna Dugassa (Ph.D)
  11. Bekele Temesgen (Ph.D)
  12. Benti Getahun (Ph.D)
  13. Berhanu Kedida (MD)
  14. Bersisa Berri (Ph.D)
  15. Bichaka Fayissa (Ph.D)
  16. Daniel Ayana (Ph.D)
  17. Degefa Abdissa Ph.D)
  18. Dessalegn Negeri (Ph.D)
  19. Desta Yebassa (Ph.D)
  20. Gizachew Tesso (Ph.D)
  21. Guluma Gemeda (Ph.D)
  22. Haile Hirpa (Ph.D)
  23. Ibrahim Elemo (Ph.D)
  24. Iddoosaa Ejeta (Ph.D)
  25. Ismael Abdullahi (Ph.D)
  26. Jamal Ebrahim (MD)
  27. Jemal Hebano (PharmD)
  28. Jenberu Feyisa (Ph.D)
  29. Junaidi Ahmed (MD)
  30. Koste Abdissa (Ph.D)
  31. Mekbib Gebeyehu (Ph.D)
  32. Mekuria Bulcha (Ph.D)
  33. Moa Apagodu (Ph.D)
  34. Mohammed Hassan(Ph.D)
  35. Mosisa Aga (Ph.D)
  36. Namara Garbaba (Ph.D)
  37. Oli Bachie (Ph.D)
  38. Rundassa Eshete (Ph.D)
  39. Samuel Geleta (Ph.D)
  40. Solomon Geleta (Ph.D)
  41. Teferi Margo (Ph.D)
  42. Tekleab Shibru (Ph.D)
  43. Tesfaye Negeri (Ph.D)
  44. Tesfaye Tesso (Ph.D)
  45. Thomas Baisa (MD)
  46. Tolawak Beyene (MD)
  47. Workineh Torben (Ph.D)
  48. Worku Burayu (Ph.D)
  49. Hambisa Belina (Ph.D)
  50. Habtalem Kenea (Ph.D)
  51. Alemayehu Kumsa (Ph.D)
  52. Alem Hika (Ph.D)
  53. Galaana Balcha (MD)
  54. Henok Gabisa (Ph.D)
  55. Mohammed Tahiro (Ph.D)
  56. Jirenya Gudeta (M.Sc)
  57. Imiru Itana (M.Sc)
  58. Itana Habte (Ph.D)
  59. Tsegaye Ararsa (Ph.D)
  60. Beyan Asoba (Ph.D)
  61. Mesfin Abdi (Ph.D)
  62. Gobena Huluka (Ph.D)
  63. Benti Ujulu (Ph.D)
  64. Kano Banjaa (Ph.D)
  65. Zelalem Abera (M.Sc)
  66. Teshome Dime (M.Sc)
  67. Abdisa Koricho (Ph.D)
  68. Geremew Nigatu (Ph.D)
  69. Ayele Teressa (Ph.D)

=======================<>=======================

Declaration by the Qeerroo National Youth Movement and Citizens of Oromia

(A4O, 5 October 2020) Supporting the idea of Establishment of the Transitional Government led by OLF is not only necessary, rather, is found Crucial.

Following the Political Violence the Ethiopian Empire has sustained, the country lacks sustainable peace and stability. Specially, Oromia became war zone of the ruling government, and the people has risked many lives and destructed lots of properties.

Including high ranking officers and members of the opposition political parties, many more nationalists were detained and being tortured in various detention centers. In general, to elongate its political power, the terrorist group running the government post, has grossly violated human rights and putting the people under pressure.

In order to rescue the country from further crisis, especially, to transform Oromia from the Unitary System to that of Democratic System, making Oromia clear from violence zone and setting peace should be the primary duty of every one of us. OLF, in its statement of September 13, 2020, has taken political responsibility to enable Oromia get sustainable peace and security, and thereby ensure establishment of the Transitional Government of Oromia; and OFC also has accepted the same.

On its statement of September 28, 2020, OFC has also supported importance of the Transitional Government. Therefore, in order to ensure the establishment of the Transitional Government of Oromia which is declared by the Oromo Political Parties; Committee made up of Qeerroo National Youth Movement and Oromia Citizens determined to held demonstration showing support for establishment of a Transitional Government.

The Committee, in its message sent to its members in and outside country, it has stated: “For the achievement of a Transitional Government, all of the Wider Oromo Population, Citizens of Oromia in the country, neighboring and foreign countries, Oromo Activists, Oromo Medias as well Human Rights Activists, should be ready to carry out your responsibilities”.

Subsequently, when demonstration for support of the Transitional Government of Oromia is declared, besides our support for the same intent; Organizing Committee strictly advised every one to refrain from touching the residential area and property of others in words or action; framing other citizens and diplomats, as well as, clashing with security officers on national and country obligations like Oromia Police, and other Oromia Security Forces.

In general, without leaving Oromia Struggle Camp, supporting the principles declared by the Oromo Liberation Struggle Camp Officers, are asked to show only their support for the establishment of the Transitional Government of Oromia. The intended demonstration shall be fully peaceful. By this peaceful demonstration, which shall be made for the establishment of the Transitional Government, the Committee has highlighted that it will also concentrate on releasing the Political prisoners detained without a crime.

Finally, message is transferred by the Committee of the Transitional Government of Oromia, to the Oromia Citizens and various Community groups of the people of the country in the level of the Federal Region explained that: “Those who take measure on residential areas and properties of others in the name of the establishment of the Transitional Government, will not represent the Committee, and we shall also condemn those acts!”

Oromia First!

Victory for the Citizens of Oromia!

Request to support the Establishment of Oromia Transitional Caretaker Government

Dear Sir,

Subject: Request to support the Establishment of Oromia Transitional Caretaker Government, and to intervene to resolve the Ethiopian Constitutional Crisis

We, the undersigned members of the Oromia Global Forum, are writing to request your support for formation of Transitional Caretaker Government of Oromia as proposed by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). We also request you to urgently intervene and avert the impending constitutional crisis in Ethiopia which, if left unattended to, can most likely result in a civil war with potentials for genocide and refugee crisis. 

On October 5, 2020, the term of office for both federal and regional governments in Ethiopia will expire. However, the regime in power has unconstitutionally and forcefully postponed national and regional elections indefinitely. Rejected by the Oromo and other nations and nationalities, the government is engaged in conducting vindictive, politically motivated, imprisonments, extrajudicial killings, looting of properties, and all sort of crimes in Oromia state, in particular.

The Oromo people have endured unprecedented brutality, deprivation, expropriation of their ancestral lands, enslavement, and relentless attack on their cultural heritage, language, institution, and national identity ever since the Abyssinian (later named Ethiopian) rulers invaded and conquered Oromia and southern nations between 1880 and 1913. Erving E. BeaureGard (1976, PP24) vividly described Menelik II of Abyssinia conducted wanton aggression and invasion of Oromia using weapons purchased from the French adventurers [1]. In the article published by the New York Times on February 26, 1895, under the title of “Menelik’s terrible expedition,” the newspaper describes that an expedition sent by king Menelik of Shewa Amhara (1866-1889), and later the emperor of Ethiopia (1889-1913), against the “Galla tribes” (the then reference to the Oromo people by Amharas and Abyssinian rulers) slew 70,000 tribesmen and captured 15,000 men [2]. The brutal attack continued and decimated the Oromo population from 10 million by half to 5 million resulting in the extermination of millions of the Oromos, according to Martial De Salviac, a French missionary who lived among the Oromos [3, 4].

Abyssinia had neither the knowledge nor the capacity to conquer neighboring free nations if it were not for the firearms and military advice emperor Menelik received from European colonial powers including Great Britain, France, and Italy, during “the European scramble for Africa”. There was practical consanguinity between other African colonization and invasion of Oromia and similar states neighboring Abyssinia. European colonizers and Abyssinians used identical tools and pursued a similar objective of dominating and exploiting others’ economic and human resources.

With the continued advice and support of European colonial powers, the Abyssinian empire joined the League of Nations as a junior colonial partner, to gain protection and to consolidate its expansion into Oromia, southern, and eastern states, under the reign of king Haile Selassie. Later, the Abyssinian empire was renamed to the Ethiopian empire under the leadership of Haile Selassie in 1931. Both king Menelik and Haile Selassie turned Oromos into serfs, dispossessed them of their properties, lands, and human rights for over eight decades until the communist military junta regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam rose to power in 1974 following the civilian disobedience led by the Oromos and other oppressed nations.

It is unfortunate that the United Nations that replaced the League of Nations and promoted freedom and the independence of nations following World War II chose to turn a blind eye to the subjugation of the Oromo people in contravention of its own policies elsewhere and the Charter of the United Nations which affirms the Right to Self-determination of all peoples. Throughout history, UN and Western Powers have protected the Ethiopian empire with no regard for the Oromo people’s welfare and their right to self-determination, thereby perpetuating their subjugation. Regardless, Oromia has never voluntarily accepted the union with Abyssinia. It is involuntarily kept in Ethiopia and endures continued violence and tyranny.

  In 1991, the Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military regime was removed from power by the bitter struggle of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), and the Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF) which was followed by the London Conference, led by the United States government, which ended by rewarding the Eritreans with their independence, and TPLF with “state responsibility” of forming the Ethiopian Transitional Government. The Oromo and other nations and nationalities accepted the Transitional Charter that outlined the formation of a multi-national federal arrangement that recognized the nations’, nationalities’, and peoples’ right to self-determination and self-rule. However, in practice, they were denied these rights. The OLF was eventually forced out of the Transitional Government in 1992, and Oromia has been subjected to military rule ever since.

Before it assumed state power, the TPLF had created the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) from Afaan Oromo-speaking prisoners of war, with the mission of suppressing dissent in, and exploiting, Oromia. It had also created the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) which included OPDO and its other servile parties that it controlled, and in whose name it ruled the country with an iron fist, before it was forced to retreat to Tigray by Oromo non-violent revolution.

The Oromo non-violent revolution which started in 2014, culminated in the expulsion of TPLF from the seats of federal power in 2018, and was hoped to usher in freedom for the Oromo and other peoples of the country. Despite costing the Oromo nation thousands of lives, the revolution was hijacked by Afaan Oromo-speaking Neo-neftegna group led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed within the OPDO. To hide its true colors, the Neo-Neftegna team promised to respect human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of press, abide by the constitution, rule of law and transition to democratic governance. The promised reform and transition to democracy was derailed by the backward-looking imperial ambition of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to become the 7th king of the empire and to stay in power against the will of the peoples of Ethiopia.

As a result, Ethiopia is on the verge of becoming a failed state under the visionless, Machiavellian style leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. While Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is busy with glorifying and building statues for the most barbaric brutal feudal kings of Abysinia, the whole world is demolishing statues of such brutal figures everywhere. He is working hard to dismantle the multi-national constitution currently in place and to take back Ethiopia to the feudal era instead of crafting a forward-looking system that could hold together the diverse multinational empire of Ethiopia. To this end, he has fully deployed military rule (command post) by commanding the army, national security and police forces to silence all progressive Organizations that support transition to democracy, self-determination and respect human rights in all parts of the country.

Furthermore, to remain in power indefinitely, the neo-neftegna group led by Abiy Ahmed has illegally and forcefully postponed national and regional elections indefinitely, and beyond its five years term of office ending on October 5, 2020, thereby creating a clear constitutional crisis.  

To resolve the constitutional crisis and to bring about a solution to the Oromo people’s long-standing political demands, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), two leading independent Oromo opposition parties that are legally registered with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, had formally called on the Ethiopian government to chart a political solution in the form of a Transitional Caretaker government involving all legally registered independent political parties in the country. Instead of heeding their advice, the government of the PM Abiy Ahmed decided to extend his power through an unconstitutional interpretation of the constitution.

As a result, come October 5, 2020, due to the absence of a constitutionally mandated government in Oromia and Ethiopia, chaos and civil war are very likely to ensue, resulting in refugee crisis and potential genocide by the illegitimate military government of Abiy Ahmed. To avert this impending catastrophe, Oromia urgently needs the establishment of a Transitional Caretaker Government.

The Tigray region has been enjoying absolute freedom since 1992 and has now defied the federal government and held a regional election as a reflection of its status as a genuinely autonomous state in the Ethiopian empire [5]. The Amhara region also enjoys autonomy. Its leaders advance the Amhara people’s interests both in their region and at the federal government level. Oromia, however, has been transformed into a battlefield by this regime through imposition of illegal state of emergency. Since the invasion and occupation of Oromia by Abysinia, the Oromo have never been allowed to choose their representatives and form their own government. All rulers of Oromia, including the current pseudo-government led by deputy president Shimalis Abdissa, have been installed and imposed on the Oromo people by the central government. 

Taking the gravity of the situation into account, the Oromo Liberation Front and the Oromo Federalist Congress have proposed the establishment of Oromia Transitional Caretaker Government involving all Oromo stakeholders, and have called for support and intervention of the global powers and your leadership.

As a coalition of 45 Oromo civic, professional, human right, and faith-based organizations, the Oromo Global Forum calls on the UN, US, EU, AU, and all global stakeholders to intervene in the political and constitutional crisis of Ethiopia, and to support the formation of Transitional Caretaker Government of Oromia involving independent Oromo institutions. The proposed Transitional Caretaker Government of Oromia will oversee a peaceful, free, and fair elections led by an impartial and independent Electoral Commission it shall establish under the supervision of UN, US, EU, and AU.

We believe disregard for this call and continued indifference to seek a permanent resolution for the Oromo political demands will be regrettable. We consider all global powers who have contributed to emboldening the regime in power through financial and military support are equally responsible for the ongoing crimes the regime in power is committing against Oromos and other nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian empire.

The global powers should learn from the consequences of ignoring the national crises in Somalia, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Ruanda, etc. Early intervention in the impending crisis in Ethiopia can save millions of human lives, and can avert enormous refugee crisis and human misery of the local populations, and can also save humanitarian aid costs to international organizations and governments.

Thus, as advocates for the Oromo people, we reiterate our call for your intervention and support for the OLF and OFC proposed establishment of an autonomous Oromia Transitional Caretaker Government that shall establish an impartial and independent Electoral Commission to ensure a free and fair elections and govern Oromia for the duration of the transitional period.    

We sincerely hope you will take our advice seriously and play a leading role in ending the suffering of the Oromo and other marginalized peoples in Ethiopia preventing a potentially devastating civil war.

With best regards,

The Oromia Global Forum

OGF Signatories:

  1. Advocacy4Oromia
  2. Bilal Oromo Dawa Center
  3. Canaan Oromo Evangelical Church
  4. Charismatic International Fellowship Church
  5. DMV Oromo Islamic Center
  6. FOCAS
  7. Gaadisa Sabboontottaa KP
  8. Global Gumii Oromia
  9. Global Oromo Advocacy Group
  10. Global Waaqeffannaa Council
  11. Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
  12. Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
  13. International Oromo Lawyers Association
  14. International Oromo Women’s Organization
  15. International Qeerroo Support Group
  16. Network of Oromo Studies
  17. Mana Kiristaanaa Fayyisaa Addunyaa
  18. Oromo Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
  19. Oromo Communities’ Association of North America
  20. Oromo Community of Bergen
  21. Oromo Community of Columbus Ohio
  22. Oromo Community of Oslo
  23. Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles
  24. Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Washington DC Metropolitan Area
  25. Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society
  26. Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organization
  27. Oromo Legacy, Leadership and Advocacy Association
  28. Oromo Lutheran Church of Baltimore
  29. Oromo Parliamentarians Council
  30. Oromo Political Prisoners Association
  31. Oromo Relief Organization, ORA in USA
  32. Oromo Resurrection Evangelical Church
  33. Oromo Scholars and Professionals
  34. Oromo Seniors Welfare & Benevolent Association In Victoria (OSWBAV) Inc
  35. Oromo Studies Association
  36. Oromia Support Group
  37. Our Redeemer Oromo Evangelical Church
  38. Tawfiq Islamic Center
  39. Tawhid Oromo Islamic Center in Minnesota
  40. Tumsa Sochii Haqa Oromoo
  41. Union of Oromo Communities in Canada
  42. United Oromo Chirstian Church in Australia
  43. United Oromo Evangelical Church
  44. Wabii Maccaa Association
  45. Washington DC Metropolitan Oromo SDA Church

Reference:

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24520234?seq=1
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/1895/02/26/archives/meneleks-terrible-expedition.html (please see the attached image of the NY Times article)
  3. De Salviac, Un peuple antique au pays de Ménãik, 86-87, 278.
  4. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41931279?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
  5. https://addisstandard.com/news-tigray-region-says-it-will-defy-federal-laws-enacted-as-of-oct-05-edp-calls-for-transitional-govt-inclusive-dialogue-reconciliation

THE OROMO NATION HAVE RIGHTS TO CELEBRATE IRREECHA FREE FROM ATTACK

(A4O, Press Release, 30 Sept 2020) We support the right of the Oromo people in their home state of Oromia to peacefully celebrate one of the most important Oromo cultural holidays, Irreecha, on October 3-4, 2020.  Each year, massive crowds gather in Finfinnee and Bishoftuu, Oromia for the Oromo annual festival, Irreechaa.  

The Irreecha -Oromo Thanksgiving Day, has gone on for many years to celebrate the harvest season. Irreechaa is celebrated as a sign of reciprocating Waaqa in the form of providing praise for what they got in the past and is also a forum of prayer for the future.  In the past, it has also been a forum for peaceful political protest and expression.  In Oromo culture, both types of peaceful demonstrations are fully permissible.

This year’s festival, on October 3 and 4, occurs against the backdrop of escalating tensions and unrest in Oromia. Both federal and regional officials have stated that they will limit participation and political expression in this longstanding peaceful celebration. What is perhaps most concerning is the increased military-style presence of security forces in Oromia.

Our Appeals

We view the government’s attempts to limit participation in Irreechaa with suspicion. Though, reasonable restrictions on public gatherings may be justified during this pandemic period, the government should show restraint at upcoming festival.  

In this forum, the Oromo people have every right to peacefully voice their opposition to the government’s policies and governance.  Any effort by the security forces to stop such free speech should be considered a limit on freedom of speech and unacceptable.

We urge caution by Ethiopian security forces and respect for citizen rights to avoid a repeat of 2016 attack and aggression that left hundreds of dead.

The Oromo nation have rights to celebrate Irreechaa free from any repression and attach.

Thanks to God for all the blessing

This festival is a spectacular show of cultural, historical, and natural beautification in their full glory at the height of the season. It has spawned somewhat of a science of knowing just when the blooms will peak at blooms and decline, depending on the wind, rain, and sunshine they get.

Now it is the beginning of 2020 Irreechaa celebrations, the premier holiday of the Oromo people marks the end of the dark-rainy season and the beginning of a blossom harvest season. The event is very important for our nation as it brings the nation together and helps to connect and share experiences in their day to day life.

The theme of this year Irreechaa is “Moving Forward: A Year of Consensus” in which it aims to celebrate Irreechaa as a medium for bringing all Oromias together to promote a process of our tradition group decision-making where the members are willing to work together to find the solution that meets the needs of Oromo people.

Together, we can make our destiny better everywhere.

Yours faithfully,

Dabessa W Gemelal,

Director, Advocacy for Oromia

Response from CARE Ethiopia

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us.  We take all allegations seriously.

CARE International in Ethiopia has issued a statement on the matter, as follows:

“CARE International in Ethiopia would like to note that as an organization held accountable by strong, globally agreed core values of respect, integrity and diversity, we are a non-partisan, non-religious entity that does not discriminate on any basis.  We recognize that the erroneous language used in an internal advisory has understandably caused pain and anger.  We confirm that no ill will was intended.  The communication was purely intended as an internal advisory in advance of any festivals or holidays, to keep our staff safe and secure.”

CARE is investigating this matter in order to ensure that any actions taken are consistent with our values as an organization.  

Oromia’s Pride

Abdi Raggasa, Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Dejene Tafa, Dhaqqaba Wario, Gammachu Ayyana, Mallasa Dirribsaa, Lammii Beenyaa, Yaasoo Kabbabaa and many thousands of Oromo political leaders, human rights defenders and journalists behind bars: you are the Freedom’s Pride; you are the Oromia’s Pride.

Your bravery, strength and passion for peace, freedom, justice and democracy will prevail.

A4O sent a letter to CARE Ethiopia

(A4O, 27 Sept 2020) Advocacy for Oromia expresses its great concern regarding recently leaked email sent out to CARE Ethiopia staff.

In the letter sent to CARE Ethiopia, Advocacy for Oromia indicated that the email sent out to give advice to the staff contained oppressive content.

“The email was unprofessional, based in propaganda, unethical, and violates the code of conduct of CARE International,” says the letter.

Advocacy for Oromia further indicates that the content of the internal email contained highly biased words, sensationalised warnings which were discriminatory and vilified Oromos.

The writer of the leaked email, Mr. Abreham Abebe made a bold and false allegation about Jawar Mohammed with no evidence, again inserting highly politicized propaganda into a professional email without context.

Advocacy for Oromia says such remarks are very harmful to the Oromo people (which CARE serves) who are currently facing a government that is accusing and detaining all prominent Oromo leaders to prevent them from participating in the election.

The leaked email is currently circulating on social media and raising concern about CARE Ethiopia’s political involvement in Ethiopia.

Though, Advocacy for Oromia appreciates the services that CARE Ethiopia provides for our community, we also expect respect and dignity to the people being served.

We kindly ask your office to carefully investigate this allegation and to make your stance clear regarding the content of this email sent by Mr. Abebe on 23 September 2020,” says A4O in its letter

Ethiopia detains – then releases – Norwegian academic after he observed Tigray election

MARTIN PLAUTETHIOPIANEWS

The arrest and detention of Kjetil Tronvoll, a highly regarded and engaged scholar with a particular expertise on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa, will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and academic inquiry.

Kjetil has now been freed and is on his way home. He has attended two Eritrea conferences hosted by Eritrea Focus.

Source: Blankspot

Norwegian professor detained at Ethiopia airport

By Martin Schibbye | September 13, 2020

Norwegian professor Kjetil Tronvoll is said to have been abducted by police at Bole Airport in the capital Addis Ababa. He most recently came from Mekelle in the Tigray region, where he followed the “illegal election” criticized by the central government.

According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, information was received during the evening that a Norwegian citizen had been detained at the airport.

– We have also been informed that he has now had the opportunity to travel further, says Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde at the press service at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Blankspot.

Kjetil Tronvoll is head of the think tank Oslo Analytica as well as professor of peace and conflict knowledge at Bjorknes University. For the past thirty years, he has conducted field studies in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Zanzibar and also worked as an advisor and mediator in several peace processes.

One of his special areas is the development of democracy on the African continent.

But his presence during the election, which was won by the former ruling TPLF party, has been criticized by supporters of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for taking a stand for the opposition party.

Something he rejected on twitter this week.

“Just to clarify. I observe the election as part of my 30-year research on political developments in Tigray and Ethiopia. Studying a process does not mean supporting it, but the empirical reality is a key to later being able to analyze the situation. Some seem to confuse this, “wrote the Norwegian professor.

In another follow-up comment on twitter, Kjetil Tronvoll wrote that there was a smear campaign against his presence with allegations that he was there and working illegally on a tourist visa.

“It’s fake! I am here as part of my work as an adjunct professor at the University of Mekelle on an official visa issued by the Ethiopian government. ”

The whole of Ethiopia was supposed to go to the polls in August, but they were postponed to the future. However, politicians in the Tigray region have opposed the postponement of national elections indefinitely, criticizing the Prime Minister for remaining in power without winning any election.

That is why the region’s politicians have arranged their own.

In an interview that Kjetil Tronvoll did recently with Al-Jazeera, he highlighted that both the people in the region and the TPLF party have undergone radical changes in recent years.

According to the ruling party TPLF, what has now taken place is a historic election that has given citizens an opportunity to choose between different political alternatives. They have also warned the government against intervening or in any way trying to stop the election because, according to them, it would be “a declaration of war”.

Relations between Tigray and the central government in Addis Ababa are strained, and in the past the TPLF, the dominant party in Tigray, has dropped out of government cooperation.

When asked by state television (EBC) about the election, the prime minister replied that it was a “minor headache” and that “the election is illegal because only the country’s national election commission can organize elections in Ethiopia”.

When Professor Kjetil Tronvoll returned to Addis Ababa’s airport Bole, he was taken away and detained, according to other passengers.

On Twitter, The Economist correspondent Tom Gardner writes that he was taken to a hotel.

According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs , he now has the opportunity to continue his journey.

Youth Lead Summer of Oromo Protests in Minnesota

By Niko Georgiades & Jenn Schreiter, Unicorn Riot  September 9, 2020

Saint Paul, MN – On June 29, famed Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa was assassinated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sparking renewed rounds of protests by Oromo people across the world.

Hundreds have been killed protesting in Ethiopia since Hachalu’s murder, with upwards of 10,000 arrested in a government crackdown that included a three-week Internet shutdown.

While Oromo people make up Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, with over 36 million people, they’ve struggled for land rights and human rights for centuries.

The Oromo population in Minnesota is upwards of 40,000 people and has been a hotspot for recent #OromoProtests.

Oromo women marching down University Ave. in Saint Paul (Photo taken August 7, 2020)
Oromo women marching down University Ave. in Saint Paul (photo taken August 7, 2020)

Dozens of demonstrations have occurred this summer in the Twin Cities metro area, including: protests and car caravans on the interstate; religious actions; women’s marches; hunger strikes; a 48-hour protest at the state capitol; and an ongoing occupation outside the new Ethiopian Consulate General office in St. Paul.

In August, Unicorn Riot reported from several Oromo protests—you can find the live streams below. During our coverage, we heard the opinions of many Oromo people, from youths to elders.

We listened for hours before and after the demonstrations. We heard of forced assimilation, of cycles of generational trauma and horror stories going from past generations leading up to newly arrived refugees who escaped persecution, torture, and possible death.

We also heard from Ethiopians who said they were against the protests, which they view as furthering an already-existing tension amongst ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

The following report links to some of the Oromo protests Unicorn Riot covered in Saint Paul during the summer of 2020 and attempts to contextualize some of the reasons behind them and this East African conflict.

Oromo Protests in Saint Paul–Minneapolis

Similar to the ‘qeerroo/qarree’ (youth) uprising that has occurred this summer in Ethiopia, Oromo youth in the Twin Cities are the driving force behind a movement demanding human rights for the Oromo people and justice for Hachalu.

In Saint Paul, Oromo youths with Qeerroo Minnesota have occupied an area outside of the Ethiopian Consulate on University Avenue since August 6. Their planned sit-in turned into an occupation of the property after workers in the consulate refused to meet with them.

Doors of the Ethiopian Consulate in Saint Paul – youth continue an outside occupation of the building (Photo taken August 6, 2020)
Doors of the Ethiopian Consulate in Saint Paul. Oromo youth continue an outside occupation of the building (photo taken August 6, 2020)

The qeerroo staged the occupation seeking to speak with the consulate, draw attention to what they deem human rights violations against the Oromo people, have an ongoing vigil space for Hachalu Hundessa, and to protest the government crackdown and detention of opposition leaders such as Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba.

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As the qeerroo and qarree set up their occupation on August 6, we streamed live from the steps of the building that houses the consulate. Oromo flags were flown and a large sign reading “Abiy Must Go,” referring to Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy, was placed in sight of the busy University Avenue.

Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister. Though he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his efforts in brokering peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia, members of the Oromo diaspora are split when it comes to backing Abiy.

A constant demand during the Oromo protests is that Abiy and his administration resign and he be stripped of his Peace Prize due to his human rights violations.

Unicorn Riot heard from Qeerroo Minnesota organizers at the start of their occupation outside the Ethiopian Embassy in Saint Paul:https://www.youtube.com/embed/mqRaExw1ggU?feature=oembed

One protester at the occupation emphasized that although the number of protesters that day in St. Paul was small, their worldwide energy was apparent.

Members of younger generations of the Oromo Diaspora have been rallying across the earth to demand an end to human rights violations in their homeland. Protests and occupations have taken place outside of Ethiopian embassies throughout Europe, including the embassy in Berlin, Germany:

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There’s a lot of protests going on, and I feel like this generation, our generation, will end it, you know?” — protester at sit-in outside Ethiopian consulate in St. Paul, August 6, 2020

Although the qeerroo in Minnesota said they’re demanding justice for the Oromo people, they were there “for humans in general. There’s a lot of human rights violations going on in this world.

We’re here for people in Kashmir; we’re here for Palestine; we’re here for #BlackLivesMatter; we’re here for the Uyghur Muslims who are suffering at the hands of the Chinese government. We’re here for all humans. But our people, Oromo people, they’ve have been suffering for so long. And it’s the government that’s been hurting our people—it’s systematic oppression.

While the consulate is supposed to act as a conduit of access for Ethiopians in Minnesota to Ethiopian government officials, the youths said that the consulate was nowhere to be found after Hachalu’s assassination—hence the occupation at the embassy to demand a meeting.

The internet was turned off earlier this summer as turmoil, unrest, and violence swept areas of the Oromia region, making communication challenging for those in America with loved ones back home. People were not able to speak with ambassadors, and could only attempt to contact their family and friends through landlines.

Very young child holds Rest in Power Hundessa sign
Young child holds sign that says “Rest in Power Hachalu Hundessa” outside of the building that houses the Ethiopian Consulate (Photo taken August 6, 2020)

After nearly a month of camping outside the consulate, one of the youths’ demands was met—a video meeting with the consulate. A Qeerroo Minnesota organizer told Unicorn Riot that although during the meeting the ambassadors “pretty much avoided all questions” youths were able to share their thoughts and demand the consulate make a public statement.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=ur_ninja&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1295645281804079106&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Funicornriot.ninja%2F2020%2Fyouth-lead-summer-of-oromo-protests-in-minnesota%2F&siteScreenName=ur_ninja&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

Many Oromo Minnesotans have family members who’ve been affected by the happenings in Ethiopia. On August 7, women organized a large march in protest of the repressive policies in Ethiopia and demanding freedom for political prisoners, and that the U.S. stop funding the Ethiopian government. Participants marched to Governor Walz’ residence from the Oromo Community Center in St. Paul.

Since 2016, total U.S aid to Ethiopia has averaged around $1B a year. Last month, disagreements over the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River led to about $130 billion of U.S. aid to Ethiopia being cut by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

During the women’s march in Saint Paul, one participant explained, “People are out here because there’s a huge government crackdown going on in Ethiopia. We also have minority groups that have been attacked.” The Ethiopian government, she said, is scapegoating protesters for the violence rather than investigating the hundreds of deaths that have occurred.

Watch our stream from the women’s march on August 7, 2020:https://web.facebook.com/v8.0/plugins/video.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Df1cedf43c851e84%26domain%3Dunicornriot.ninja%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Funicornriot.ninja%252Ff6eb1385bb74b%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Funicornriot.ninja%2Fvideos%2F306507303940525%2F&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&width=640

This journey for change has also steered its way onto Twin Cities highways. In one of the roadway takeovers, on August 12 (see below), dozens of vehicles crawled slowly along I-94 West in Saint Paul, stalling traffic during rush hour.

After portions of the caravan exited the interstate in Minneapolis that day, a few vehicles were pulled over by Minnesota State Troopers and given traffic citations.https://player.vimeo.com/video/447572600?dnt=1&app_id=122963

During a late-night visit to the occupation outside of the Ethiopian Consulate on August 13, numerous qeerroo shared their perspectives with Unicorn Riot during a nearly two-hour long live stream (see below).https://www.youtube.com/embed/tUKBPowNlR8?feature=oembed

Many of the youth compared aspects of the movement for Oromo liberation to the movement for Black lives in the United States.

Asked about reports of buildings being burned down in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, one man used the example of the property set aflame in the George Floyd protests, saying:

Oromo people are not just burning anything down. We’re trying to be heard. We’ve tried the peaceful protest. BLM has tried the peaceful protests, and nothing has been changed from that.” — Qeerroo organizer in Minnesota

After meeting with members of the consulate, organizers with Qeerroo Minnesota are no longer sleeping outside the building, but are still holding space in front of the embassy during business hours to continue to demand a public statement and to protest.

Assassination of Hachalu Hundessa

Imprisoned in Ethiopia at age 17 for political activities, Hachalu Hundessa released his first album in 2009, one year after his five-year sentence had ended.

Hundessa became increasingly popular as his songs about the struggles of the Oromo people struck a chord with the public. On June 22, 2020, a week before his murder Hundessa commented on the repression of Oromos during an interview on Oromo Media Network (OMN). After this he received intense criticism and threats on social media, which many say directly led to his death.

Hundessa was shot to death on June 29, 2020 in a suburb of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. The government claims members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) perpetrated the assassination; the OLF has denied responsibility.

Oromo women point to a poster of Hachalu Hundessa before the August 7 Women’s March
Oromo women point to a poster of Hachalu Hundessa before the August 7 Women’s March

Immediately after Hachalu’s murder, the Ethiopian government shut down the internet and arrested about 50 top-level government officials. Mass protests erupted. Buildings across dozens of districts were set ablaze and entire regions were wrought with intercommunal violence.

At least 5,000 people, mostly Oromo, were rounded up in the following days. Filling the jails, many more were locked up in the subsequent weeks, leading the government to set up makeshift jails in school buildings.

Hundreds of imprisoned people crowded together in close quarters during the COVID-19 pandemic has predictably led to more outbreaks of the virus. Community members at the Oromo Community Center of Minnesota allege that government forces have sent inmates who tested positive for coronavirus to jails with no infections in a deliberate attempt to spread the disease among Oromo protesters.

Oromia Media Network and Jawar Mohammed

Oromo Media Network, a nonprofit news organization headquartered in Minnesota, was created in part by a prominent leader of the 2016 Oromo protests and the ‘Qeerroo’ movement, Jawar Mohammed.

Educated at Stanford and Columbia University, 34-year-old Mohammed recently lived in Minnesota for some years before returning to Ethiopia in 2018 after Abiy became Prime Minister and lifted bans on opposition groups. Jawar stepped down from his role at OMN after setting up a branch in Addis Ababa, and joined the Oromo Federalist Congress to run for office in Ethiopia.

On June 30, Jawar Mohammed was arrested after a disagreement with the government over the location of Hachalu Hundessa’s burial site. Members of his family were also arrested, along with political leader Bekela Gerba and others. Many of these political prisoners are still locked up.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=ur_ninja&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1295645281804079106&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Funicornriot.ninja%2F2020%2Fyouth-lead-summer-of-oromo-protests-in-minnesota%2F&siteScreenName=ur_ninja&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

OMN continues to operate, playing a vital role in broadcasting information to the Oromo Diaspora and consistently posting to social media. On September 4, OMN interviewed Minnesota-based human rights advocate Najat Hamza about recent occurrences in Oromia and through the diaspora.https://web.facebook.com/v8.0/plugins/video.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Dfaa2880cc001b%26domain%3Dunicornriot.ninja%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Funicornriot.ninja%252Ff6eb1385bb74b%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FOromiaMedia%2Fvideos%2F314417556504565%2F&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&width=640

There is a notable lack of free press in Ethiopia. An interviewee during the women’s march explained to Unicorn Riot that the Ethiopian courts work with the government, and that lawyers don’t have “any right to advocate for the people.

Itichaa Guddataa, a journalist formerly with OMN and now with Oromo Diaspora Media, said that ‘”there is no press freedom” and that journalists, bloggers, radio hosts, and others are locked up simply for reporting on Oromo news.

Since Jawar Mohammed’s arrest, OMN employees based in Addis Ababa have been detained by the Ethiopian federal government on suspicion of “operation of illegal communication equipment.” Several other journalists have also been recently arrested or detained.

Outside the embassy in Saint Paul, OMN has interviewed the protesters at the occupation a few times, including during an occupation eviction scare.https://web.facebook.com/v8.0/plugins/video.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Df3aefba78b423%26domain%3Dunicornriot.ninja%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Funicornriot.ninja%252Ff6eb1385bb74b%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FOromiaMedia%2Fvideos%2F3878772145483121%2F&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&width=640

As of this article’s publication, Jawar Mohammed is still incarcerated, along with a litany of other political prisoners.

In late August, two Minnesota politicians wrote a letter to Ambassador Nagy, the American ambassador to Ethiopia, condemning Ethiopia’s detention of Jawar Mohammed and Mishi Chiri. Misha also works with OMN and came to Ethiopia from Minnesota in 2018 with Jawar.

The politicians urged the State Department to take every appropriate action “to ensure that they [Jawar and Mishi] are treated humanely and assist them in protecting and exercising their full legal rights.“https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=ur_ninja&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1291833062867775488&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Funicornriot.ninja%2F2020%2Fyouth-lead-summer-of-oromo-protests-in-minnesota%2F&siteScreenName=ur_ninja&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

A week before the letter for Jawar and Mishi, 20 members of Congress, led by Congressman Dean Philips (D-MN), wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the U.S. administration to work with Ethiopia to ensure dialogue and political opposition to Prime Minister Abiy and among other demands, an independent investigation into Hundessa’s killing.

Oromia and Ethiopia

Oromia is a region in Ethiopia, the second-most-populated country on the African continent. The Oromo people are indigenous to east and northeastern Africa and historic regions of Oromia spread beyond Ethiopia into Somalia and Kenya.

image: the country of Ethiopia divided into regions and zones.
Ethiopia divided into regions and zones (sub-regions) the Oromia region is listed in blue. Image by NordNordWest (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Ethiopia is the home of over 80 ethnic groups and multiple religions and languages. At about one-third of Ethiopia’s population, Oromo people make up the largest ethnic group in the country.

Historically rooted as one of the first Christian states in the world, over 60% of those living in Ethiopia are Christian, with another third of the population practicing Islam. Judiasm, Baháʼí, and traditional indigenous beliefs such as Waaqeffannaa are also practiced, among others.

The Oromo language is the most-spoken language in Ethiopia, yet Oromo is not recognized as an official federal language in the country.

Sign reads “We oppose division of Oromo by religion and region” at the women’s march on August 7, 2020 in Saint Paul, MN
Sign reads “We oppose division of Oromo by religion and region” at the women’s march on August 7, 2020 in Saint Paul, MN

While in the last 150 years Ethiopia has been celebrated for resisting white supremacist colonization, the country has continued to suffer through ethnic violence. Abyssinian rule in the 19th and 20th centuries laid out a continuing regime of systematic oppression against groups like the Oromo.

Oromo people are faced with forced assimilation in their homeland and an erasure of their history. Oromo have been branded by Abyssinians as outsiders and called the derogatory term ‘galla’, meaning ‘savage’, ‘slave’, or ‘enemy’.

Oromo youth outside the consulate in Saint Paul compared the Oromo people’s forced assimilation through religion, language, and cultural conversion to the genocide enacted on Indigenous North American populations by the United States.

Statutes of Emperor Menelik II have been targeted in Ethiopia, in a worldwide wave of colonialist statutes being toppled. In London, a bust of Haile Selassie and his father were both destroyed during the 2020 protests.

Oromo women stand in front of BLM mural saying "With Justice Comes Peace"
Oromo women stand in front of BLM mural saying “With Justice Comes Peace” on August 7, 2020 in Saint Paul, MN

Marginalization of Oromo-based political movements from national politics has continued into the 2000s. Massacres of Oromo and political activists have been perpetrated by the Ethiopian government numerous times in the last 20 years, including killings of hundreds in 2005 and 2015.

In 2016, mass Oromo protests were sparked from a government plan to take over Oromo land in and around the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. Hundreds were killed during the protests and thousands were jailed.

Two years later, protests helped pave the way for the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn; this is when Abiy Ahmed was placed into power. Since then, the country has experienced “an increase in killings of people critical of the government and political personalities in the country“, according to Amnesty International.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=ur_ninja&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-5&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1291824136474566658&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Funicornriot.ninja%2F2020%2Fyouth-lead-summer-of-oromo-protests-in-minnesota%2F&siteScreenName=ur_ninja&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

As new information out of Ethiopia is slowly gleaned, Oromo protests following Hundessa’s killing earlier this summer are continuing to happen in Oromia and across the world.

Continue to follow Unicorn Riot for further specials on the Oromo protests in Minnesota.

Georgia Fort contributed to this report.


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About this postCategories: CommunityGlobalTagged: #oromoprotestsabiy ahmedaddis ababaethiopiahachaluhachalu hundessahundessajawar mohammedMinnesotaoromiaoromia media networkoromooromo community center of minnesotaoromo diasporaoromo diaspora mediapolitical prisonerqarreeqeerrooqeerroo minnesotaTwin Citieswomens marchPublished September 9, 2020MORE FROM UNICORN RIOTHistoric Squats, Rosa Nera and Terra Incognita, Raided by Greek Police

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