Monthly Archives: June 2010
ODAA is a symbol which represents the GADAA system of Oromia. ODAA consists of Leaves, branches, stem & one root. They depend on each other to survive but nobody carries anyone. No corner stone, no King , no emperor, No pope or No Sultan …..but there is /are Abba Gadda(s), Abba Dulla(s) & Abba Mudda(s) which are elected from Society by the society but not by the God. It represents the diverse society of Oromo with Vast job like Time keeping, farming, defending the system.It is the national symbols of Oromia which was reinvented over the past few decades come courtesy of our vanguard nationalist organisations such as the Oromo Liberation Front-OLF and/or pioneer Oromoo nationalists.
As we know from our past generation knowledge and wisdom, Odaa is a national symbol of Gadaa-Oromcracy. Gadaa is an Oromo democratic system in which people are elected to serve people in a definite period of eight years national election. Even though, the Oromcracy was marginalized for a century we can see that it continuous in many forms to be flourished again. Thanks to our forefathers stories, we can see our shared history and culture with a new perspective.Oromo Elders played their best role in keeping the tradition and culture. Hence, heritages like Gadaa and Odaa have been survived against continued habasha colonization for a century.
Generation after Generation at least as we know it, in all Oromo oral history, all gathering for governinig purpose and dispute settlement has taken place under this sacred tree, Odaa. When we talk about Bokkuu, Raabaa Doorii, walgayaa Galmaa, haasawaa Gumaa all held under Odaa, beside retaulizing further, among all Oromo trees, Odaa. This has been seen in all Oromo outlook for centuries.
Many Elders express the strong spiritual connections which tie Oromo people to their lands. Oromo Land- Biyya Oromo remains significant place for Oromo people. As always, the land holds the history and culture of the people and their spirits remain their. Their spirit live on within the land , joining the spirit of the ancestors from before the invasion. Today, we can see that Odaa is simply a symbol of Oromo unity because of not its bigness but for heritage of our survived identity that reconnecting our spirit to our stolen culture and history.
In fact Odaa has immense brunch and leaves that ensures great cover from the sun. It also has potential power to reconnect to the natural Law. Although different symbols have been used in different parts of Oromo kingdoms, Odaa has been known to all Oromos for its beauty and longevity. Here, one thing we know for sure Odaa never been worshiped among greatest Oromo trees.
As wee can see from our written history, there were no time when Oromo worshiped Odaa. The only written material that exist about Oromo gathering/ occassions associates with this tree is in Fatul Habasha in 18th century by Othoman empire( explorer who ventured deep in Oromia) have said briefly about this tree connection with Oromo gathering.
From our past glorious history we can feel that Odaa is one of the symbolical elements of Oromummaa. Here Oromummaa is about culture and history, not colour. Hence, Odaa had played and plays a great role in the Oromo political order. Moreover, Odaa is a sacred tree, which had been used by our great forefathers for not only its shade for gathering, but also for holding the spirituality and the history of Oromo people in Oromo Land.
Gadaa is also not only a democratic tradition of Oromo nation. It is a political order of Oromon people, which has been substituted through the repressive Ethiopian political order- a colonial system. Odaa is not only a simple tree which has been used by Oromo community in a limited part of BiyyaOromoo, rather it is an administrative structure of our nation which has been used to bridge the diverse and heterogeneous social, cultural, economic etc relationship Oromo society at large. This has been substituted through the divide and rule policy of repressive Ethiopian colonial system too. Qaalluu and Siiqqee institutions were also intentionally banned by unjust Law of Habasha colonial law.
We know that, seera Gadaa- Gadaa Law and Waaqeffannaa- believe in the Law of Waaqaa- God have been been substituted through the repressive Ethiopian judicial and spiritual institutions- religious institutions. The Oromos are still not allowed to talk and conduct research on all these Oromummaa elements. Amazingly,our new generation continue their struggle for freedom and justice of Oromia under their true slogan, "Odaa is one of the symbolic elements of Oromummaa".
Oromo new generation also continued their struggle with protests and various forms of cultural resistance. Their determination to keep their land and culture remained, and latter developed to freedom movement. As a new generation of the 21st century it’s time to face the truth of our past and move on in the Oromia freedom struggle process. The time has come to listen to each other with open hearts and minds.
The Oromo elders determination to survive their culture and history paved the way for further social victory. As Oromo new generation, we can still over come our multi-faces obstacles as fast as we holding our glory history and culture-Oromummaa as a master identity under Odaa tree to ensure the survival of their culture and history. A day whenOdaa as a symbol of Oromcracy, a symbol suppressed for a century, coming into view is not far. As our freedom fighters say, for the peace and harmony to truly turn to Oromia, our stolen natural rights must be respected.
Living with a Glory of Oromummaa!!
Oromo proverbs and moral values
Aspect of development
1. love and friendliness
a) Hiriyyaan wal hinamanne, malkaa ceetutti wal kakti
a) Friends who do not trust each other, do solemn oaths on every spot.
Moral value deduced
a) Unity and oneness is desirable
ii. mutual trust
Aspect of development
2. honesty and truthfulness
a) Qullaa lafa hindhoksan; dhugaa Waaqa hindhoksan
b) Dhugaan aduuma diida teettu tana
a) One cannot hide his private part from the ground, as one cannot hide truth from God.
b) Truth is that sunlight out there
Moral value deduced
a) Truth is all-pervading
Aspect of development
3. self-respect and esteem
a) Of-hinagarre raafuu lagatti
a) He who doesn’t’ know himself very well despises cabbage simmer
Moral value deduced
a) To over-judge oneself spoils relation
1. ‘what shall i add for the poor?’ asked god. ‘fingernails and itch,’ answered the poor.
2. To fight once shows bravery, but to fight all the time is stupid.
The country of the Oromo is called Biyya-Oromo (Oromo country) or Oromia (Oromiya). Oromia is a name given by the Oromo Liberation Front to Oromoland, now part of the Ethiopian Empire. Krapf (1860) proposed the term Ormania to designate the nationality or the country of the Oromo people. This, most probably, originated from his reference to the people as Orma or Oroma. Oromia was one of the free nations in the Horn of Africa until its colonization and occupation by Abyssinia at the end of the nineteenth century. It is approximately located between 2 degree and 12 degree N and between 34 degree and 44 degree E. It is bordered in the East by Somali and Afar lands and Djibouti, in the West by the Sudan, in the South by Somalia, Kenya and others and in the North by Amhara and Tigre land or Abyssinia proper. The land area is about 600 000 square kilometres. Out of the 50 or so African countries it is exceeded in size by only 17 countries. It is larger than France, and if Cuba, Bulgaria and Britain were put together, they would be approximately equal to Oromia in size.
The physical geography of Oromia is quite varied. It varies from rugged mountain ranges in the centre and north to flat grassland in most of the lowlands of the west, east and south. Among the many mountain ranges are the Karra in Arsi (4340 m), Baatu in Baaie (4307 m), Enkelo in Arsi (4300 m), Mui’ataa in Hararge (3392m) and Baddaa Roggee in Shawa (3350 m).
Similarly, there are many rivers and lakes in Oromia. Many of the rivers flow westwards into either the Blue Nile or the White Nile, and others flow eastwards to Somalia and Afar land. Among the large rivers are the Abbaya (the Nile), Hawas (Awash), Gannaaiee, Waabee, Dhidheessa, Gibe and Baaroo.
For the peoples of Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia, life would be impossible without these rivers. They carry millions of tons of rich soil to Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia every year. Somalia depends heavily on the Gannaaiee (Juba) and Waabee (Shaballe) rivers which come from Oromia. In fact Oromia supplies almost 100 per cent of the fresh water for Somalia, Djibouti and Afars. At present the Ethiopian government depends heavily on Hawas (Awash) water as a source of electric power for its industries and irrigation water to grow sugar cane, cotton and fruits. The Wanji and Matahara sugar estates are good examples. There is a great potential in all these rivers for the production of electric power and for irrigation. Qoqaa, Fincha, Malkaa Waakkenne, Gibee Tiqqaa dams are examples of where hydro-electric power is already being produced or in the process of being harnessed.
Among the Oromo lakes are Abbaya, Hora, Bishofitu, Qoqaa, Langanno and Shaalaa. Many of these lakes possess a great variety of fish and birds on their islands and shores.
The climate is as varied as the physical geography, although close to the equator (to the north of it), because of the mountain ranges, high altitudes and vegetation, the climate is very mild and favourable for habitation. Snow can be found on the mountains such as Baatu and Karra. In the medium altitudes (1800-2500 m) the climate is very mild throughout the year and one of the best. Up to 80 per cent of the population lives at this altitude and agriculture flourishes.
The low altitude areas (below 1500 m) in west, south and central part are relatively warm and humid with lush tropical vegetation, and although few live there permanently most graze their cattle and tend their beehives there. Although there is little agriculture at this altitude at present, it has great potential for the future. As the highland areas are already eroded and over populated, people are gradually moving to the lowlands. The low altitude areas in the east and south-east are mostly semi-arid and used by pastoralists seasonally.
The vegetation of Oromia ranges from savanna grassland and tropical forest to alpine vegetation on the mountaintops. The forests contain a variety of excellent and valuable timbers. Oromia is known for its unique native vegetation as well as for being, the centre of diversity for many different species. For instance, crops like coffee, anchote (root crop), okra, etc. are indigenous to this area.
Oromian story is a web based story that presents the historical, cultural, and current issues of Oromian. Stories are mostly narrated by the subjects themselves. The story aims to present a varied and contrasting picture of contemporary Oromia and Oromians from many different perspectives and to contribute to the wider spectrum of coverage of issues and individuals.
The aim of the feature, and its success, will be measured by the degree to which it can expose an additional dimension to the famous lives through the prism of other mass media, and to which it can express the fullest meaning of being alive in Oromia through the elderly stories of our citizens.
The Oromian elders’ voices is a dynamic part of Oromian culture and identity. Therefore, the Oromian story program presents the maintenance and continued development of Oromo culture at the community level. It also promotes activities that encourage culturally vibrant communities and contribute to the cultural wellbeing of Oromia.
The program supports activities that:
- maintain Oromo culture through community involvement;
- support new forms of Oromo cultural expression;
- increase public awareness of Oromo culture, including through the presentation and exchange of culture; and
- support the sustainable development of community organisations involved in cultural activities.