Report: Oromo Seminar on National Interests, Conflicts of Identity Politics and Conflict Resolution Successfully Concluded in Oslo, Norway
Report by Buttaa Duuloo
Prof. Hamdesa Tuso at the Seminar in Oslo, Norway
Teaching and celebrating Oromummaa is an ongoing and continuous process in order to develop the Oromian national interests in the predominantly Oromo country, Oromia, and elsewhere in the world, where the Oromo people live. Discourses on identity politics as well as the socioeconomic and political conditions of the Oromo society emanate partly from reinforcing Oromummaa at home and in Diaspora with a special weight and focus on uplifting of Oromians’ national consciousness of their identity both at the community and the national levels. By virtue of exercising these very natural rights, the contemporary Oromo society is facing many conflicts. According to Dr. Tuso, commencing with the regime of King Sahle-Silassie of Showa/Abyssinia, the Abyssinian elites have deployed strategies to conquer and control the Oromo country. Strategies and schemes, backed by their foreign technical advisers, have been intensively executed and implemented to destroy the Oromo identity from the world. Hence, Oromos have been exposed to both external and internal conflicts since the Abyssinian domination of the Oromo country.
Why Conflicts and How to Handle Them? On March 14, 2015, the energetic leaders of the Oromo Community in Oslo and its adjacent area organized a very timely seminar, where three outstanding Oromo scholars, namely Drs. Hamdesa Tuso, Mekuria Bulcha and Girma G/senbet, made their ways to Oslo and presented their long-awaited scholarly works. The seminar aimed at pinpointing the concept of conflicts, and conflict resolution and management in order to restore harmony between individuals, family members, neighboring communities, and/or political entities at the local, regional or inter-regional levels.
Dr. Tuso, the main presenter at the seminar, started the discussion by sharing his own life experiences – reflecting upon his own journey of resistance against the Abyssinian domination of the Oromo identity and culture to stigmatize and demolish anything reflecting the indigenous Oromo culture or Oromummaa. He emphasized on the assertions and views about conflicts by stressing that, theoretically, conflicts are the relational processes where there is a power imbalance between the complicating parties. The unmet needs of human beings pave ways for conflicts to erupt at all social levels and at any time. However, Dr. Tuso maintained that, under the right leadership and right circumstances, conflicts can be prevented and resolved.
Dr. Tuso’s research-based knowledge about the politics of power relations between different parties, and his career specialty in peace and conflict studies focusing on the Oromo indigenous-based knowledge of conflict management (i.e. Jaarsummaa) made his presentation very attractive to participants. He gave a two-part detailed and elaborative presentation using both Afan Oromo and English. Departing from the contemporary definitions of conflict and theories of conflicts, he went on to link these concepts to the characteristics of conflicts manifesting themselves in colonized peoples and societies. The case in point is the case of conflicts that have been erupting within the Oromo national liberation movement and other scenarios pertaining to the cause and effect of conflicts, and their implication for any conflict escalating parties.
According to Dr. Tuso, the mainstream Oromo worldview – which is built on the notion of peace for every living body (nagaa Waaqaa waan hundumaaf) – is the underlying and core element that a modern Oromo society need to nurture and develop by scrutinizing those environmental changes that make and shape the new world order. Oromos have an ancient and indigenous civilization of governance – the Gadaa social and political system, that should be studied and adopted in a way it could contribute to the ongoing human and social developments of the international community.
Following Dr. Tuso’s informative and educative presentation, the panel discussants, Drs. Girma G/senbet and Mekuria Bulcha, gave their comments.
Dr. Girma further elaborated the ABC’s of conflicts covered by Dr. Tuso, and recommended that such a scholarly forum be held regularly in all Oromo communities across the global as it is very important to build confidence among the Oromo public and political parties both at home and in Diaspora.
Dr. Mekuria also complimented the presentation as informative and educative – which can uplift the moral dignity of all Oromos who are languishing under the total subjugation of a minority regime.
The seminar discussants also commented that the development of Oromo identity can pave the way for the emancipation of, not only the Oromo nation, but also the other oppressed nations and nationalities that are being overlooked by the international community.
Conflicting parties have to adopt constructive and the accommodative approaches of conflict-resolving mechanisms, which they deem apply to them and work on to minimize the scale of conflicting views at the community, regional an/or national levels. The harmony in the Oromo community is crucial for the Oromian national interest, and it is very important to halt erupting and escalating conflicts that can disrupt the camp of the Oromo national liberation.
CONCLUSION After the Amhara-Abyssinian rulers’ demise in 1991, the current Tigrean-Abyssinian ruling elites accepted and accommodated the diversity and identities of nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian Empire. The Oromo has taken this advantage and emerged as a regional political force in the post-Communist Ethiopia. However, the ruling party, TPLF, has imposed conflicts and hostilities, not only on Oromos, but also on other nations and nationalities that they consider are threats to their political position, which they have assumed after the collapse of the Communist regime. History attest that all successive Abyssinian rulers, including the current ones, have obtained lethal weapons from foreigners to conquer and control Oromos on their homeland. The Oromo worldview – which is based on the notion of nagaa Waaqa andAraara Waaqa fi Lafaa are built upon optimism and principles that conflicts can be handled, managed and resolved between the conflicting parties.
The participants attended the seminar with interest, thereby suggesting that such a forum must be adopted and explored on issues that are of paramount importance to minimize conflicting views and interests among the Oromo public, whose wish and dream are the restorations of peace, freedom and justice, rather than escalation of conflicts that erupt at the cost of peace and stability between community members and different parties within the Oromo society at the local, regional and national levels.