Melbourne’s Oromo Martyrs Day celebration was held in a warm atmosphere.
(April 15, Melbourne) The commemoration began with the Oromo National Anthem and the blessing of the Oromo elders.
Then the history of the Oromo Heroes Day_April 15 and the Oromo freedom struggle were explained to the participants.
Speaking at the celebration, Jaal Bultum Biyyoo, Former Deputy Leader of the ABO, stressed the importance of the awakened community in strengthening the Oromo freedom struggle.
“If a people have strong awareness and understanding, the enemy cannot drive them up and down as he pleases,” he said.
Member of OLF Executive Committee, Jaal Gaashuu Lammeessaa, also recalled that the shortcomings in the Oromo liberation struggle have prevented the cause of the heroes from being sacrificed and weakened the struggle.
“If we had acted under the banner and cause of the ABO, the freedom of the Oromo people would have been successful;
He added that the fighters should fight together to achieve the goals of the Oromo struggle.
The Oromo Heroes Day commemoration ceremony in Melbourne was attended by Jaal Olumaa Qubee who performed a wonderful poem entitled “The fighter will fall; the struggle will continue,”
The ceremony began with the blessing of the elders. A memorial candles were also lit at the ceremony; the Oromo flag anthem was sung by the Oromo children and the participants.
Reasons for Celebrating the Oromo Martyrs’ Day
There are four major reasons why we commemorate this day.
First, this day allows us to remember those Oromo heroines and heroes who sacrificed their lives to restore Oromo culture, identity, and human dignity that were wounded by Ethiopian colonialism. In other words, this Commemoration assists us to recognize the dialectical connection between martyrdom, bravery, patriotism and Oromummaa.
Until Oromo heroes and heroines created the OLF and maintained it survival by paying ultimate sacrifices, Oromo peoplehood, culture, language, and history were dumped into the trashcan of Ethiopian history. These heroes and heroines had clearly understood the significance of Oromo culture, history, language, and identity in building Oromummaa and victorious consciousness to consolidate the Oromo national struggle for achieving Oromian statehood, sovereignty, and democracy.
Second, this commemoration day reminds us that Oromo liberation requires heavy sacrifices, and those who have given their lives for our freedom are our revolutionary models. Such patriots created a dignified history for our nation.
Third, this day reminds us that we have historical obligations to continue the struggle that Oromo martyrs started until victory.
Fourth, this celebration helps us recognize that Oromo heroes and heroines are still fighting in Oromia today.
Why April 15?
Mid 1978-1979 is remembered as the period when the survival of the Oromo national liberation struggle led by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) was under severe threat of extinction. It was feared that OLA units in Arsi, Bale, and Hararghe would disintegrate and their channel of connection and supplies would be cut off by the Dergue army that just recuperated from the Ethio-Somalia war. Upon defeating the Siad Barre army, the Dergue turned its face on OLA.
The OLA in the fronts of Arsi, Bale, and Hararghe fought steadfastly and scored victory over the Dergue army and regrouped once again in January 1st 1980. In the wake of their military victory, OLF intensified its political struggle inside the country and abroad. The initial political victory includes the persuasion of the Siad Barre government to allow the opening of OLF office in Moqaddisho, Somalia in 1980, to serve as a center of consultation and deliberation between OLF political and military leaders.
In the same year, a ten member high-ranking military delegates* were on their way to Somalia to meet with political leaders there when they were captured by Somali bandits in Shinniga desert (in Ogaden). These bandits were members of a splinter group from the Siad Barre army that harbored bitter hatred towards Oromo and OLF. These bandits abused and severely tortured their Oromo captives; they were strip naked in the desert with their hands tied behind their backs. The bandits finally ordered the Muslims and Christians to segregate before their execution. These Oromo comrades chose to stay together and face any eventualities than identifying themselves as nothing else but Oromo.
On the day of April 15, 1980 all the ten were executed and their bodies thrown in a single grave. The heroes who were martyred at that time were:
1. Magarsaa Barii Hogganaa ABO yeroo sanaa
2. Gadaa Gammadaa Itti aanaa Hogganaa
3. Abboomaa Mitikkuu
4. Yiggazuu Bantii
6. Faafam Dooyyoo
7. Irra aanaa Qacalee
8. Marii Galaan
9. Dhaddachoo Boruu
10. Dhaddachoo Mul’ata
The Heroes Day has been celebrated since the early 1980s, in the field of struggle and in various places.
And this year, also the Day has been celebrated in a beautiful and warm atmosphere in various places this year.
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