Before I go on and discuss about “the power of word” let me define term “empire Ethiopia”. According to dictionary, “empire” means ….. extensive group of states or countries under a
To place this topic in proper perspective, we have to go back to the very beginning of the formation of Ethiopia. If we say that is a very good place to
In other words, though the Habasha tribes are presiding or governing over the nations and nationalities who fell under their colonial rule, when we say “empire Ethiopia”, we are not saying that theses tribes are stronger than the rest of us physiologically, physically or morally. Nonetheless, the political condition under which our relationship was established with the Habasha tribes are not lawful but it has an imperium nature.
Surly then, it is significant that after the Oromo and other enslaved people were placed under the Habasha tribes control, we lost our cultural values, languages and the ability to govern ourselves. For that reason, by naming and by defining our relationships with the Habasha tribes and by not forgetting how Ethiopia was established, we fight the unfair way and manner still manifested within the so called territory “Ethiopia”.
Further more, by not forgetting how this evil state was established, we will be able to tell the story of the Habasha tribe dominion over us. Wether we like it or not, ever since the state of Ethiopia was established in the manner it did, term EMPIRE became the linguistic exercise of the oppressed nations and nationalities. As a result, the use of term empire has made it possible for us to record and transmit information from generation to generation, thereby allowing us to maintain the true nature of Ethiopia.
On the other hand, to this day, the Habasha tribes stick to the rejection of terms such as “Oromo” because they understood the power of words. Most interestingly, they keep pushing terms such as “Shawaa, Ethiopia, WE, Nazareth, Hagere-Hiwot, Debre Zeyit, Addis Ababa, the Ethiopians etc. These terms, names, words and languages remain to be the primary means by which the Habasha tribes exercised dominion or influence over the nations and nationalities who were forced into empire Ethiopia. Here, is it very important to understand the term “domination” itself. When we say “the Habasha tribe domination” we are talking about the means and ways in which they influence economic, political, and the emotion of the dominated
Economic Power of Words
The Habashas currency known as Birr, that our people spend each day was carefully crafted to reflect the Habasha language, culture and psychology. As a result, even those of us who live in America or in England use term Birr in order to say Dollar or Pound. That means, in
Further, when the Habasha news media avoid the mention of anything an Oromo, we see their effort to kill the culture that has an association with the Oromo people. Protesting Tilahun Gasasa’s Oromo songs, avoiding the mention of his original Oromo name Daandana Ayaanoo, intentionally ignoring Tafari Mokonon Gudisa’s ful name, calling Mangustu only as Mangistu Haylemariya by hiding his grand father’s name Ayana, they have introduced these men as Amharas.
Following the conquest of Oromia by Minilik, the Amharas became very cautious about re-naming the Oromo place names, animals names, trees or even the Oromos themselves. For a time they used religion as a tool to strip the Oromos and other subjects from their names and replaced them with names such as Hailamariyam, Genet, Aster, etc. Then they cautiously settled for words such as “We all are Ethiopians”. These words or names sound loving or carrying but inside them, there found the Habasha festivals, traditions, culture, names etc. Hence, the birth of words such as Shawaa, Nazareth, Hagere-Hiwot, Debre-Zeyit etc are not coincidental. Likewise, the Habasha names that the Oromos have borrowed are considered as aspirin or penicillin prescribed by seemingly loving Habasha elites, the words, the terms and the languages that the Oromos and the remaining colonized people were bombarded with for over a century are an accepted confusing linguistic messages designed to influence our thinkings.
Political Power of Words
What would the TPLF be without the power of words such as, “Ethiopiyaachin, Baandiraachin, Hageraachin, the words that inform, persuade; words that manipulate; words that tell half-truths; words that inspire; and words that confuse?. With the passage of time through earlier millennia, word “Ethiopia” undoubtedly became the most influential term used not only for confusing purposes but also for political purposes. In short, the Habasha leaders who were in political power relied on words such as “Hageraachin” as if Ethiopia is a state in which every language or culture is respected or valued. Basically, without words such as Hageraachin, Ethiopiayachin, Quwaanquachin…” etc, the Habasha tribes would have never be able to maintain the social position and power they held for over a century.
It is in this way how the Oromo culture, language and history got replaced by Amhara culture, and of course, the Habasha demagogues are still at it. They still use these words very successfully in order to mobilize a nation to gain the allegiance of many to do the things they would have not be able to do alone. Similarly, we have seen the Tigre tribe using this confusing words within these two past decades, and without the use of such words, the Tigre regime would have never be able to control the mass.
True, we all are guilty of “doublespeak”. We either should have rejected Ethiopia from the get go, or accept it as is, forget the Oromo identity, live in these euphemistic terms dense jargon being masked with our unpleasant realities. Sometimes zeal for a political power or money, some Oromos have misrepresent the truth to achieve their ends. Such misrepresentation is obvious, ludicrous and directed at the colonized people. In general, our own shallow “yes men” who depicted the evil system are the worst when it comes to the use and the spread of wrong words or languages.
Especially this time when this fast-paced world has given rise to a sound-bite culture in which half-truths can be easily disseminated without adequate discussion or rebuttal to gain a good understanding of an issue, terms such as Shawaa or Wallaggaa have been misused by our own opportunists who can never see beyond the language or words they are molded with.
In our own recorded history, many Oromos have contributed to the death of their own people not to mention those political cadres who barked for the Habasha governments they have served. Fortunately, we also have men and women of integrity such as, Nadhii, Baroo, Mul’is abba Gadaa, Jaraa, Galaasaa and the like who spoke the truth with plainness and deserve our admiration. They carry our trust and our hopes for a better tomorrow. We are grateful they used the power of words properly.
Further more, languages or terms such as “UNITY” have been used throughout the Habasha eras to justify horrible actions by those who dominated the mass. Just like Tafari and Mangistu eras, the Tigre rulers labeled those who challenged them with terms that make them seem less than human so that killing them is more tolerable. Slavery in the United States and the atrocities of the Holocaust were perpetuated by defining African Blacks as something less than human. Some modern uses of racist languages are not far from the same abuses that the TPLF gangsters use today. In an attempt to discredit or marginalize the OLF, the Tigre tribal rulers have developed a definition that conveniently and ironically excludes the OLF. As they strain to define words to justify their actions, their results became self-contradictory, as we have seen within these past 24 years.
Emotional Power of Words
We may begin to think that language use or abuse is mainly an economic or political issue, but it is also a very personal and emotional one. The power of language does not stop at what or whom we can control with it. In fact, one of the most significant functions of language is quite beyond our conscious control. We might even say it controls us. It is the function of establishing our identities.
Consider how we feel when we have a term paper returned with negative comments about our use of language. Millions of Oromians feel discriminated against because they speak Amharic with an accent. The Habashas find others’ speech amusing, whereas their own is perfectly normal. As a result, the Oromo children who moved to towns and cities rapidly learned Amharic vocabularies and pronunciations in order to be part of the Amhara group. That made our Oromo identity less important at national level. Our accent also defined us as less intelligent. But consider the French-speaking Canadians who have agitated for the creation of their own country or the Estonian World War II refugees who continued to teach Estonian to their children for more than 50 years in the hope of returning to their homeland when it would be free once again.
Every country and every region in the world has its own linguistic pride and idiosyncracies that define it for good or ill. Even the names by which we are known influence our hopes, our aspirations, and our behaviors in empire Ethiopia. What yesteryear Tolasa and today’s Asfawu, Michael, Taha, Qassim, Abraham, Sara, and Israel do not think about is the significance of their new names. The truth is that their new names carry a new power that has the capacity to lift them from their inferiority complexes. When their names are mentioned, they feel that they are dignified to the level of Abraham or Sara.
On the other hand, many of us have been hurt by being called names just because we kept our Oromo names. As children we heard, terms such as “Bisbis Galla”. We all know that such words hurt so much to the same degree being called stupid, ugly or dumb. The damage done by such words is worse than the damage done by physical violence.
Spiritual Power of Words
I have tried to illustrate ever so briefly some of the economic, political, and emotional power of words. Let us now consider the spiritual power of words.
Being called Kufar, Pagan and Galla invoke the power that none Oromos have over the Oromo. In the process, abandoning Oromo original belief value became a norm. In a sense, if a person is called Galla, Kufar or Pagan, he or she will never be able to receive blessings from God. Such expressions slowly took away Oromos confidence and forced them to abandon their identity and adopt other people’s values and norms.
Hence, it is important to understand the significance of the words we use. Without such realization, combined with an awareness of the influences of words, we will not be able to know the truthfulness of the words we use. In this case, word “empire Ethiopia” tells so much story about the political process that shaped the Habashas beliefs and defined our fate. For them, Ethiopia is an entity to which their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual inner self is attached. However, for the colonized people who still live under the Habasha domination, the connection between word “empire” and domination are greatly linked