Thursday, December 4, 2014
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
By HG | December 4, 2014
The Oromo struggle for liberation has come a long way thanks to the brave men and women who showed us the road-map that the land and the nation state of Oromia was colonized by Abyssinian colonizers, and for justice to be served, Oromia should be free. These visionary brave Oromo men and women, not only paved the way for the inevitable liberation of Oromia and the whole nations South of the Abyssinian empire, they anchored the unwavering ideological foundations of Oromo Nationalism on which present and future generations Oromos apply as a means to their end goal of liberating Oromia from the in-humane, brutal and savage Abyssinian political culture and practices. These brave men and women paid the ultimate sacrifices so that the future generations of Oromos shall live without fear of prosecutions that came with the arrival of Abyssinian brutal rule that brought the wrath of misery, the exploitations and destructions of their natural resources.
I am sure everybody will agree with me that the two most overused cliché of all times are the quotes by George Santayana, which reads as “ Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and the other quote attributed to Albert Einstein, “insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.
The reason(s) why they are referred as the most commonly quotes are because it is in human nature knowingly or purposefully keep repeating the same experiments failed either due to the fault of their own or the “others” actors in the process. The above two quotes are mainly applied in a political and sociological discourses to highlight why some present and past political leaders never learn from theirs or their predecessors mistakes and keep repeating the same route that have befallen their citizens, and at best exposed the people they claim to liberate to more pain and misery.
If we agree on why these two overused quote’s define the characters of failed leaders but willing to repeat it with a full knowledge this kind of reckless practice(s) will do more damage to their people than before, the question(s) that puzzles many political pundits, and even their friends or comrades is that why these people try to sell this tried, tested but miserably failed paradigms to their audiences and at worst confuse the people they claim to represent? The response many political analysts, sociologist or academicians in varied fields, and the general public give to the above question varies. Some would simply say it is due to the lack of courage stamina that will behold such leaders with old age or memory amnesia, others would say it is a means to delay the inevitable and an attempt to keep the people under bondage, and some would describe them as sell-outs or enemy agents. As I reiterated above, the Oromo struggle for liberation begun its journey of ushering hope, peace and tranquillity to the Oromo nation and the people beyond that troubled part of Africa in the 1960’s in the valleys of Bale headed by General Waqo Gutu. Before then, although Oromos fought a brave war and defended their fatherland Oromia from the Abyssinian colonial army on many different occasions until the 1870’s, the arrival of European Colonial powers for more resources changed the balance of power in favour of the Abyssinian King Menelik, who received modern war machines that was new to the area, and as a consequent Oromos and Oromia fell under the archaic and savage Abyssinian colonization. However, Oromos of those generations did not go down easily but fought a bitter war with the advancing colonial army, and inflicted huge damages, which enraged the Abyssinian leaders and their foot soldiers to commit genocide at the battle of Anole and Cali Calaanqo. According to Oromo elders that have survived that massacre and Oromo historians, the genocide that was committed by the Abyssinians at those two battles parallels to genocide the Turkish colonial army committed on the Armenians between1915-18. Although, the current Turkish government denies these facts, many nations, including a few powerful Western nations have recognized and acknowledged the genocide that the Turks committed against the Armenians unlike the genocide committed against the Oromo nation by Abyssinian colonialist.
It took nearly a century after colonization that scattered resistance shall not save the fatherland, and few conscious Oromo nationalists like Waqo Gutu raised arms and shook the empire to its core. Despite the empire rulers managed to suppress the Bale uprising with the help of alien powers, their brave actions instilled huge confidence in the Oromo nation that was obliterated by the savage Abyssinian Empire colonial army that has destroyed not only the population of the time but their environment too.
The good lesson from the Bale uprising and the triumph of colonized people of Africa, Asia, Latin America over the European colonizers added another dimension to the then educated Oromos in the empire’s higher institutions, bureaucracy and the army to begun demanding the injustices against their people. Such movements gave birth to the foundation of the Mecha-Tulama Association, an organization that for the first time brought together Oromos of all stripes under a common goal of re-claiming once lost identity, language, and culture. These simple and genuine demands by the Association enraged the Empire rulers, and they, the Empire rulers not only banned the Association but eliminated the Association founders such as Mamo Mazmir, Tadese Biru and others.
However, one crucial truth fatal mistake the then Empire’s rulers committed was no one shall stop a colonized nation that was awoken by its jewel leaders, and the flame the Bale uprising, the Mecha-Tulama Association ignited gave birth to the formation of a pan-Oromo organization, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) in 1973. It is the OLF for the first time in the history of the Oromo nation that has an ambiguously defined, articulated and put forward the aspirations of the Oromo nation, that the Oromo struggle is to free the Oromo nation from all forms of Ethiopian empire’s colonization, to that end, the struggle shall encompass all forms of struggle, including armed, political, social, psychological, historical, and language.
As indicated above, the OLF and its road maps to free Oromia from over century old colonization was not stipulated by mere accidents, but it was the product and accumulations of a century old scattered Oromo resistance anti-colonial struggle. There are those who say both from the enemy camps and the naysayers), who try to belittle and undermine what Oromos have achieved under the OLF programs.
These camps would say OLF and the Oromo people have achieved very little or even the enemy camp claims the achievements of the Oromo people as insignificant and try to take the credits we as a nation achieved such as re-gaining our culture, language, history and Oromia’s boundaries as a gift from them as if empire rulers would grant to their subjects demand as a benevolent. The glaring facts and the victories we, as the Oromo people achieved so far would rather point to the facts that those achievements are gained by the blood and bones of our champions. Within less than forty years, we the OLF and the Oromo nation have managed to reverse and re-write a century old campaign to destroy our identity, language, culture, and political, social and psychological makeup.
However, the wheel of liberating Oromia is turning ahead despite some setbacks. Again, as far as human history is concerned and the subsequent liberation of nations that were once under colonial empires teach us, the road to freedom demands determinations, the sacrifices both humans and materials to accomplish it. The founders of the Bale uprising, the brilliant leaders of Mecha-Tulama and the OLF, have shown us what it takes to be free.
Returning back to why I say “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and “insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” is to highlight how genuine Oromos the likes of General Tadese Biru, Mamo Mezmir, and the entire Mecha-Tulama Association leaders tried peacefully to reverse the in-humane and degrading treatment of the great Oromo nation, and how the empire rulers interpreted their peaceful and genuine desires as crime against the state and sent them to the gallows is a recent memory in all Oromos of past and current generations.
The other second example and chance for the empire rulers to change course on the genuine demands of the Oromo questions came during the 1974 when the last emperor of the empire was disposed by popular uprising headed by the then higher education students. World renowned Oromo scholar such as Haile Fida, Senay Like, and many more joined the revolution assuming it was an opportunity for to bring fundamental reform and alleviate the misery brought upon all the people of the empire, particularly the Southern nations, including the Oromo nation, and their fate was death by a firing squad.
The final and last opportunity to fundamentally reform the empire came during the 1990’s when the current brutal and savage TPLF gangs entered the Menelik palace with the military and logistical support of the Eritrean Liberation Front. At the outset, this new empire’s rulers presented themselves as genuine actors to change the empire for the best, and invited the OLF to join them in that journey. Merely, before the ink the Transitional Charter was written in dried, they went the same way and negated on the promise they signed and the international communities. Following the collapse of the Transitional Charter of 1991 and the subsequent withdrawal of the OLF and other independent liberation Organizations, the new and current rulers embarked on a large project of killings of the Oromo people as OLF sympathizers and purposefully pillaging Oromos resources, and burning and polluting things they cannot take away like the beautiful forests of Oromia and its rivers to crash and destroy, not only to deny Oromos future leaders but also to reduce the Oromo people to a minority. This time, the TPLFites have learnt a lot of lessons from their predecessors that in order to quash and eliminate the ever growing Oromo nationalism, they adopted a tactic of slush and burn, and for the first time in the empire’s history, the Oromo people as a people are declared enemies of the state, and any means including forceful removal of their land, kidnapping, torture, mass killings, forcing them to flee to refugee camps, rapes, mass incarcerations has been adopted as a modus operandi to deny the rights of the Oromo people.
The above three experiences and opportunities the empire ruler’s failed to grasp and peacefully address the Oromo legitimate colonial question demonstrate, like any other empire’s in history, the Ethiopian Empire rulers will never accommodate or willing to solve in a peaceful and democratic means. Time and again, they will never let it go their autocratic, totalitarian, and the zero-sum game of their forefathers.
On the one hand, while TPLFites terrorize our people, valley and mountains at this seconds, we now publically seen and heard those among us who supposedly led the struggle in the past trying to tell us all that have been lost (human and material and the social fabrics) for defending the Oromo nation is for no avail, and “we have a new vision” to right what is wrong in the Ethiopian Empire, and democratize the entire Africa.
These individuals with this “GRAND AND NEW VISION” champion themselves to heal the wrong’s that is raging around the globe. The simple question to these individuals with such a “Grand New Vision” must be where was this vision in 1991 when the situation was manageable may be possible to apply then when the enemy was at its weakest point and there was strong and well trained OLA? Why now? When the TPLF junta has officially labelled and targeted the Oromo as the enemy of the state (empire), why now? When after your seeds of diving Oromos miserably failed and Oromos compatriots closing their ranks and supporting our brave young back home in our quest to re-write our destiny and claiming our much deserved status among the free Nations of the world. The attempt by these short-sighted groups is either to hide their past attempt to weaken Oromo nationalism or to be relevant when they are no more relevant in the eyes of the Oromo people, or at worst have never learnt from the past. That is what I call these kinds of individuals are in the state of those who cannot remember the past and are condemned to repeat it” or what Albert Einstein labelled such acts “insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.
Let’s us be the generation that shall make an end to the Abyssinian colonization in Oromia and build a vibrant, peaceful independent Oromo republic, where all her inhabitants will be governed in her Gada democratic principles. our road ahead will be up and down and full of obstacles but if we persevere and stand firm with our people back home, the victory is ours and in-sight because history and the truth is on our side.
OROMIA SHALL BE FREE!!!