Welcome to ESAT’s “Oromigna language”!

By Dambal Galaana

Today (February 3, 2015), I watched ESAT Afaan Oromo news program. This is the first program the channel aired since it announced the plan to launch it a few weeks ago. A good-looking lady by the name “Galaanee Sobo” as she said or “Galaanee Tarreessaa” as was written on the screen read the news stories very well. Congratulations to Galaanee!

In my earlier commentary on “ESAT Afaan Oromo Program?”, I indicated that the main motive behind ESAT’s decision is to weaken Oromo people’s struggle for self-determination. I said it will try to shape Oromo people’s attitude towards building a monolithically structured country. However, I also argued that its a success is a long shot as it will never air a program that advances the Interest of the Oromo people. Here is what I observed ESAT did today to undermine Oromo identity:

1.Covering Less about the Issues that Matters the Most
One of the ways adversaries use media to undermine or kill your identity is by not covering the things that matter to you the most. They either don’t cover about you and your identity at all, or, if they cover, they cover it only marginally. This is basically denying your existence. So, what did ESAT do today? At a time when ‪#‎OromoProtests‬ is spreading like a wildfire in Oromia and abroad, the channel covered only one story: demonstrations by Oromos who live in South Africa. By this, they are essentially telling their “Oromo audience” that this is the only newsworthy story. The Ongoing killing of the Oromos on the daily basis, statements by U.S. officials, and letters by Minnesota lawmakers to the State Department about #OromoProtests, and etc. are newsworthy stories which were not covered by ESAT.

2.Misrepresenting Oromo Language
Misrepresenting you and your identity: Has anyone seen the caption: “ESAT news in Oromigna language.” They either wrote it carelessly or did it deliberately to undermine Oromo language. If there is “Oromigna,” no need to write “language” there because the suffix “ –gna” or [ኛ] in Amharic refers to a language. Even “Oromigna” is not the right word for Oromo language. It is a direct application of Amharic rule to Afaan Oromo. So, when we speak in English we refer to our language either as “Afaan Oromo” or “Oromo Language,” or simply as “Oromo.” So, the statement: “Badhaas speaks Afaan Oromo/Oromo language/Oromo is an acceptable way, but not “Badhaas speaks Oromigna.”

3.Trying to Hide Oromo Identity
In its coverage of Oromo Protests in South Africa ESAT’s editors of the video footage were at pains hiding the OLF flag. They were instead trying to direct our focus on a lady who wore something that look like the tri-colored Ethiopian flag.

4.Trying to Make Oromo Identity Look Like unattractive
Has anyone noticed the Odaa (sycamore tree) at the background of the screen? Yes, there is Odaa covered by fogs. ESAT put up the picture of it which was taken from far away.

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