Who is Who in the Oromo Resistance Struggle?
#Ejjeta Feyissa of Tulema
As of today, I am starting to post short pieces that highlight the contributions of some brilliant Oromo figures in the resistance struggle against tyranny. The writings I am providing are not complete by any measure. However, they could be informative and helpful to dig out the patriotic deeds of our fallen heroines and heroes. I feel, as a society, we lack the experience of keeping things in record. We tend to adore oral stories. We need to change this tradition. We have to be able to provide our children and grandchildren in writing stories of their fathers and forefathers.
Needless to say, the Oromo resistance struggle has never stopped after the formation of the Ethiopian empire in is the current shape. The struggle has consumed countless precious lives. Unfortunately, it continued to take away more and more lives. Sad enough, the very people who claim to be Oromos have remained to be tools used against their own people. Abiy Ahmed Ali, the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia is a living example with all his Oromo followers.
We can’t count by name all brave men and women who devoted their knowledge, time, energy and their precious lives for the cause of the Oromo people and for oppressed masses beyond. Yet, we have the moral obligation to bring to light those whose accounts are available to us, no matter how scanty. We have the responsibility to pass down to the next generations accounts for our heroines and heroes so that our children can learn lessons and acknowledge those selfless souls who paid the ultimate price for freedom. Our fathers need due credit for their bravery in the fight against dictatorial systems that subjugated, distressed, impoverished and dehumanized their fellow citizens. Today I start my postings with Ejeta Feyyissa
Ejjeta Feyyissa was one of the post-Italian occupation enlightened Oromos from Tulema, in the Holotota area. He was a lawyer by trade and a close friend of Hailemarima Gemmeda. He was not only a lawyer but also a court interpreter from English to Amharic for British Magistrates who were appointed to the Ethiopian courts after Italian evacuation. Britain was a defacto colorizer of Ethiopia replacing Italy for some 10 years, even though they nominally reinstated the monarchy. And Obb Ejjeta was one of the founders of Mecha and Tulema Welfare Association. He was not only a member but also a spokesperson. When Mecha and Tulema Association was preparing for the historic Dhera Assembly, the Arsi Territorial Ruler (Teklay Gezye) Dejazmach Sahilu Defaye sent a press release that was published in Addis Zemen newspaper stating the Arsi people announced not to host any assembly and that they wouldn’t welcome anybody coming to them from Shewa.
Obb Ejjta Feyissa wrote to Addis Zeman a counter press release that the statement published in the name of Arsi people in Addis Zemen was a white lie and that the Arsi people were ready to welcome the Mecha Tulema Association. Addis Zemen refused to publish the press release. Obb Ejjeta, the fearless man, duplicated the Mecha Tulema Association press release by tensile and distributed it throughout Addis Ababa and beyond.
When the Helasisllese government jailed and persecuted the Mecha Tulema Association leaders, Obb Ejjeta was working in Tigray as a civil servant and he immediately left Tigray and crossed to Eritrea. Then he fled to Khartoum, Sudan. While in Sudan he changed his profession from law to pharmacy. He helped many Ethiopians who escaped crackdowns from the Hailesillassie regime. He also organized different groups to struggle against the feudal system, to the extent of sending insurgents to fight the system.
Obb Ejjeta Feyissa was the first person to openly introduce the three colored (Black, Red and White) Oromo flag. While in Khartoum, he duplicated the flag and sent an insurgent group to Ethiopia with it. The group was captured after crossing to Ethiopia by border security and jailed. Baro Tumssa, a man who was always attentive to such misfortune Oromos, learnt about the arrest of a mission sent from Obb Ejjeta and managed to get those messengers out of prison.
After the revolution of 1974 Obb Ejjeta Feyissa returned to Ethiopia when the Dergue government declared an amnesty for those who were in the bush and abroad in protest of the Hailessilasse system.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take the Dergue long to arrest Obb Ejjeta Feyissa. He was tortured and jailed without any due legal process for 10 years. When released from prison, he filed a request to the Ethiopian Pension Commission that he deserves a retirement pension stating that he served the Ethiopian government and was not convicted of any crime. The Commission rejected his request. He took the case to the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice. You know what? The State Minister of Justice of Ethiopia said to Obb Ejjeta “You are lucky to get out of prison alive. That is sufficient to be your pension”
Obb Ejjeta who had nothing to live on, who was also a diabetic, had no pennies to buy insulin. He was destined to die like nobody, like a needy on the street. Guys, can you see how our giants ended up? Such is the Oromo nationalism that Abiy Ahmed and the hooligans in OPDO try to ridicule.
See you soon with another story