Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In a Letter to the Deutsche Welle (DW) Broadcasting Board, Oromo Activist Announced Boycott of DW Amharic Service Over Ethnically-Motivated Biased Program Against the Oromo Nation | December 10, 2013
Dear Broadcasting Board
We, the Oromos allover the world, are deeply offended by DW’s Amharic Service racial/ethnic attack aired against the Oromo people of Ethiopia on December 8, 2013. The DW host invited two guests from Amhara ethnic group and one guests from the Oromo of Ethiopia. To make it easy for distorting history, the two Amhara guests were professors of history while the Oromo guest was an economist by profession. The two professors were making inflammatory remarks about the Oromo people. The host journalist, who is also from Amhara ethnic group, clearly took the position against the Oromos and involved in harassing the Oromo guest. What’s more disheartening was the fact that these inflammatory remarks fitted the editor’s one-sided editorial position on praising the controversial king Minilik of Ethiopia who masterminded the chopping off 3000 Oromo women’s breasts and Oromo men’s hands in a single day (Abbas 1995, Hassen, 2002, Jalata 1998 and Bulcha 2006). To put it in relative terms, it is praising Adolf Hitler to Jews community on air.
Dear Broadcasting Board, the Oromo make up a significant portion of the population occupying the Horn of Africa. In the Ethiopian Empire alone, Oromo constitute about ~50% of the population (close to 40 million) of the Ethiopian Empire (CSA 2012 and Zahoric 2011). During their long history, the Oromo developed their own uniquely democratic political and social institution known as the Gadaa system. During the late 19th century, King Menelik of Abyssinia conquered the vast Oromo land that now constitutes most of the landmass of the present day Ethiopia. The conquest was very bloody with an estimated 5 million Oromos either killed as a result of the wars or the aftermath plagues. The survivors were evicted from their ancestral land and turned into serfs with no national right to the Oromo language, culture, history and the Gadaa system – all of which were banned in the Oromo country (Oromia) under the imperial regimes of Menelik and then Haile-Selassie II (Gow 2001 and Jaenen 1956). To make the case more psych, they had been calling the Oromos with derogatory name called “Galla,” which is banned in Ethiopia today. The views reflected on the December 8, 2013 program were from such extremist forces which explicitly stated on air that the name Oromo itself was controversial, implying Oromos should be called ‘Galla’ even today. One of the invited guests, Dr. Haile Larebo, stated that the entire history of the Oromo people, was “myth and fiction” – rejecting numerous scholarly works and firm historical evidences. What’s deeply saddening is, all through this, the DW’s Amharic Service moderator did not stop the inflammatory statements of the guest. This position of tolerating inflammatory statements against the Oromo people was taken by the moderator since the remarks fitted his editorial position.
Dear Broadcasting Board, due to this unfair, unbalanced and unethical racially/ethnically biased report of DW’s Amharic Service against the Oromos, we are deeply saddened and, therefore, we are boycotting the DW’s Amharic Service until it starts to present the facts as they are. We are also campaigning so that all Oromos and friends of the Oromo in Ethiopia and around the world boycott the DW’s Amharic Service. The Oromo people are systematically ridiculed by media owned by the Amharas in Ethiopia. It is utterly unacceptable that one of the free media outlets in the world, DW, is being used by those extremist Amharas praising the ‘Hitler of Oromo people.’ Lastly, we are kindly asking DW to air a balanced program on this issue again and requesting an official apology for the Oromo people for the moral damages the program caused.
With Kind Regards!

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