Oromo:Saving the Endangered Species at Home and Abroad
It is rare to come across any other nationality groups like the Oromo from the Horn of Africa who are as subjected to overwhelming abuses at home under subjugation and occupation and overseas as refugees with no safe haven. From destructive events developing at unprecedented rate in Oromia and in countries of exile, we can observe that the Oromo people are facing a greater danger to their survival as a group and as individuals from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia, Yemen to Libya, Somaliland to Kenya and everywhere in between. We hear of increasingly darker and gorier circumstances our people find themselves in every passing day.
The recent crackdown in Saudi Arabia on immigrants and refugees from Oromia and Ethiopia and this Qeerroo report on massive rights abuses inside Oromia from 2012-2013 demonstrate just how much fragile, weak and endangered the Oromo species has become everywhere. The suffering is obviously enormous, but the local and global voices conveying these sufferings are tragically dwindled or hijacked. It behooves every concerned Oromo to pause and think: where are we headed as a people? And it is necessary that every Oromo political and economic organization rethinks home-based, Oromia, approaches to preventing the slow extinction of this species from the face of the earth.
Documenting extreme brutality against Oromian/Ethiopian refugees and immigrant in Saudi Arabia, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa presents us with 13 confirmed deaths most whom are expected to be Oromos. Surely the three who were killed brutally were clearly Oromos. The dead are not just numbers coming out of a building somewhere; they are human beings with names, goals, aspirations, families and many other unknown stories just like the rest of us. But, their dreams were cut short in brutal ways they may have never imagined. HRLHA puts the extreme brutality as:
…the information from the migrants and from the publicly released video confirmed that the three Ethiopians killed were murdered by the brutal action of police. Among the victims was Umere Abdurahiman Ali , 24 an Oromo national from Ethiopia who was gunned down on November 5. After the crackdown resumed, more than 10 Ethiopians were killed and thrown into the bush and eaten by hyenas.
These are the number of confirmed deaths. The murders are likely to be higher given the fact that it is commonly reported that people are wantonly taken out of cities and killed out of sight in surrounding deserts. How can they communicate since when they are denied access to any type of phone or communication? Denial of access to communication devices is also the main feature of repression behind the closed door at home.
These developments at home and abroad are worth sharing because we have been following them on social media for a few days now. There has been numerous actual protests around the world and tons of information, hate speeches and misinformation shared on social-media under the untwitterly long and opposing hashtags #SomeOneTellSaudiArabia and #SomeoneTellEthiopia.The hashtags are channels for further escalating conflicts online.
One would say any opposition against the abusive actions of Saudi Arabia under whatever banner is welcome, minus hate-based nationalism thing. This is not without reservation. I have my doubts about how things are developing online.
Three Worrisome Trends
1) Endless racist slurs from Saudi Arabian tweeps and activists who are comfortable pictweeting the picture of a banana with an accompanying racist captions such as:
“@TheAdele_ #SomeoneTellEthiopia this is a banana.You illegal monkeys like it.
http://twitter.com/TheAdele_/status/402165965355745280/photo/1pic.twitter.com/ISw6BtXCxs ” #SomeoneTellSaudiArabi.
The Saudis are vehemently denying that the killings happened and pointing out how “evil” and “criminal” the immigrants were, mostly falsely. In contrast, KSA police were coercing immigrants to pose for pictures with them to show how “nice” and “warm” people they are. Oil-fattened Saudi hypernationalits share pictures of Saudi police taken handing food and bottled water to immigrants ad nauseam. It is clear there is so much hatred even toward our people who share the same values, names and faith with the Saudis, which failed to spare them, including the ones murdered.
2) The way Ethiopianists are using social media and actual rally opportunities to promote reactionary Ethiopian nationalism, aka preaching unity and “national pride” as if there is one. Ethiopian nationalism and all its symbols from the use of Amharic to the imperial tri-color flag to “we are one” mantras are actually scary if you think about it. Interestingly, it is also non-Oromo Ethiopian tweeps (Twitter users) who are dominating the social media landscape and standing up to Saudi Arabia. That is a plus. Other than the obvious and welcome pro-immigrant advocacy, it is not clear why Habeshas are much more intensely invested in this than any other group. At some of the rallies, Oromo voices and symbols are not visible. Those who are Oromo also tend to use Amharic and call themselves Ethiopians effectively rendering themselves invisible. This raises an additional identity issue and many other questions, which I will pass for now.
3) Ethiopia regime’s crackdown on anti-Saudi Arabia protesters in Finfinne instead of leading such a protest as any other legitimate regime would do. The Ethiopian government is not telling the public whether the dead bodies of the 13 above were returned to home to families for burial. This important given the sacredness attached to the burial customs of our society.
What you see is a pattern of Oromos becoming an endangered and muted human species in exile and in the homeland, Oromia. This path is a path of inevitable extinction. Everybody should be hard pressed to think about the future of the stateless Oromo people and the dangers they face at home and abroad and come up with domestic solutions.
Gabaabumatti waantoota godhuu qabinu himoota lamaanan kaa’a: “Ajjeechawwan sukaneessoon lammii Oromoorra biyya baqaatti raawwataman, adeemsi qabsoo keenyaa irra deebi’amee akka laallamu affeera. Ummata keenyaaf baqattummaa akka fakkeenya gaaritti kaa’ufirrra, dhaabbatee biyya abbaa isaarratti falmatee akka jiraatu barsiisuu qabina.”