WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE OROMO PEOPLE?
By Asafa Jalata (Prof) *
The future of the Oromo people depends on what the Oromo liberation and political organizations and society will do to assure the survivability of the Oromo nation and its liberation from Ethiopian colonialism. The Oromo people have achieved what I have mentioned above by the determination and sacrifices of a few nationalist Oromos. Had millions of Oromos practically contributed their fare shares to the Oromo national movement, the level of the Oromo struggle would have been on the highest level or Oromia would have achieved its liberation. Furthermore, there are still millions of mercenary Oromos who are bleeding their nation by serving the enemies of the Oromo people. As I have already mentioned, some Oromo elites have promoted clan, regional or religious politics.
Currently, the mercenary Oromo elites promote the Tigrayan colonial objectives by joining the Ethiopian military, the so-called parliament and government, educational, and business institutions. Numerically, Oromo mercenaries are the majority in the rubber-stamp parliament and the regional government of Oromia; they endorse the so-called laws of the Meles regime to enrich the Tigray region, Tigrayan elites and their domestic and international collaborators. These mercenaries participate in the criminal activities of the Meles government by taking marching order from their Tigrayan colonial masters. There are also Oromo mercenaries in churches and mosques who use the name of God, but engage in domesticating the minds of the Oromo to be subservient for their enemies. History demonstrates that churches and mosques play important roles in defending the victimized people and encouraging them to be united and struggle for their liberation. Several indigenous peoples around the world were decimated mainly because their enemies divided and turned them against one another. The colonized nations that could not defeat their traitors could not win their national victories.
If the politically consciousness Oromos start to fully contribute to the consolidation of the Oromo national movement through building the more structured organization and leadership, the Oromo nation will achieve its political victory. But, if the development Oromummaa is stagnated by the fragmentation and the political immaturity of its elites, the survival of the Oromo nation is going to be in doubt. All Habasha elites want to destroy the Oromo national movement and its independent leadership by any means necessary. So they hate the OLF and attempt to destroy this organization and erase its name from the minds of the Oromo people. The Meles regime spends its full energy, money, and intellectual power in dividing the Oromo and turning them against their national struggle. The Tigrayan elites and their collaborators make an endless effort to make the Oromo people leaderless so that they can own Oromia and exploit its resources.
Colonialist committed genocide on indigenous people to expropriate their countries and resources in different parts of the world. Indigenous Americans and Australians and others were destroyed by the mechanisms of divide and conquer, state terrorism and genocide and replaced by the European settlers and their descendants. In the racialized capitalist world system, might is right. The international system is a toothless tiger; and it cannot effectively defend peoples like the Oromo who do not have state power. To overcome Tigrayan ethno-fascism and clandestine genocide, the Oromo elites must overcome their political ignorance and immaturity and consolidate the Oromo national movement into one structured organization and leadership in order to mobilize and organize the nation to prepare it for an inevitable confrontation with the enemy.
The future of the Oromo people will be decided by farsighted Oromo nationalists who can take practical political actions both in Oromia and the Diaspora to defeat both the internal and external enemies of the Oromo nation. Otherwise, the systematic destruction of the Oromo people will continue in order to transfer Oromian lands and natural resources to Tigrayan-led colonial settlers and their supporters. The Meles regime is attempting to give a final solution to the Oromo question. It is up to the Oromo elites and people to stop this terrorist regime and to determine their destiny as a nation. Those Oromos who believe in the existence of a free Oromia must engage in self-defense by any means necessary in their country. Specifically building the Oromo Liberation Army and Oromo self-defense forces is the priority of the day.
The Oromo Liberation Army and self-defense forces will lay the foundation of a sovereign Oromia state that can establish a multinational democracy with other interested peoples. The Diaspora Oromos must make adequate financial, intellectual and other contributions to enable the victimized Oromos to defend themselves. Overall, Oromo nationalists must start to reassess the tactics and strategies of their national struggle both in Oromia in the Diaspora to engage in practical organizational, ideological, and diplomatic actions. Unfortunately, those Oromos who are neutral and passive are indirectly contributing to the demise of the Oromo people. The future of the Oromo people is not predetermined; those committed Oromos who can take concrete liberation actions with whatever they can decide it.
When Oromo mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and heroines and heroes are massacred in their villages and/or languish in Ethiopian prisons; when Oromo girls and women are violated and raped in their homes and communities and concentration camps; when Oromo fertile lands, minerals, and natural resources are expropriated and transferred to colonial forces and their international supporters; when the Oromo people are perishing by absolute poverty, recurrent famines, malnutrition, and diseases, how can we be sure about the survival of the Oromo nation? All Oromo elites who are in the nationalist camp, who are mercenaries, and neutrals must realize that the Ethiopian “colonial school system educated [them to be] fools and clowns, fascinated by the ideas and way of life” of their colonial masters. So they must be ready to reevaluate their education, knowledge, and ideology in order to confront the challenges that are facing their people. If the Oromo elites continue to be “fools and clowns” of the Amhara-Tigrayan elites, they first allow the destruction of the Oromo nation and then the destruction of themselves. The Oromo elites cannot survive without the Oromo nation.
So what should the Oromo Diaspora in general the elites in particular should do to make sure the survival of their nation and the victory of their national struggle? History demonstrates that the determined people can liberate themselves. The Oromo elites in general and that of the Diaspora in particular must start to determine the destiny of their nation by taking the following concrete steps immediately. First, in the Diaspora, they must initiate town hall meetings in every town where the Oromo community live and discuss about the fate of the Oromo people by focusing in their achievements, failures, challenges, and constraints as a nation. In the Ethiopian Empire, the Oromo people are denied the freedom of self-expression, organization, and the media. Second, the Oromo in the Diaspora must stop the politics of self-destruction by avoiding engaging in clan, religious, and regional politics, and by isolating the Oromo mercenaries from every Oromo community.
Since the Oromo mercenaries use clan, religious, and regional politics to divide the Oromo people and turn them against one another, the Oromo community must reject them and their politics. The Oromo community must ostracize them by not relating to them and by refusing to participate on their social events, such as death and marriage. Every Oromo community must identify, expose, and expel the Oromo mercenaries from their networks, churches, mosques, associations, and other social worlds. Third, the Oromo Diaspora must challenge the Oromo activists who have built their separate organizations in order to break down barriers among different Oromo organizations and unite them under one structured organization and leadership. Fourth, Oromo youth and women should be mobilized in order to actively participate in national dialogues and town hall meetings; they must play a leading role since they are less corrupted by the ideologies of egoism, clan, religious and regional politics.
Fifth, Oromo nationalists must establish the rule law fashioning on the principles of gada and other democratic traditions to use it in running their national affairs. Sixth, since unconscious people cannot liberate themselves from colonial domination, the Oromo Diaspora should receive liberation knowledge through regular dialogues, seminars, conferences, workshops, lectures, and study circles. The Oromo must learn their history, culture, language, and traditions; they also need to learn about the world around them. At this historical moment, the number one enemy of the Oromo people is political ignorance; Oromo nationalist must smash this enemy. When this is accomplished, the Oromo people are going to play their historical role that will commensurate with their number. When this sleeping giant nation will be awakened, others cannot use the Oromos as raw materials. One of the main reasons why forty million Oromos are terrorized and ruled by the elites that emerged from five million Tigrayans is lack political consciousness.
Seventh, every self-respecting Oromo must realize that he or she has power to determine the destiny of Oromia. Every Oromo must be educated about his or her potential power and what he or she must do to translate it to real power. Eighth, the Oromo Diaspora movement must start building from bottom-up a confederation of Oromo political, religious, community, and self-help organizations to create a Global Gumii Gayyo of Oromia that will contribute ideological, organizational, and financial resources for consolidating the Oromo struggle and the Oromo Liberation Army and self-defense militias in Oromia.
Ninth, all members of the Oromo Diaspora must engage in public diplomacy by becoming members of organizations, such as the Orom-American Citizens’ Council. Tenth, Oromo nationalists in the Diaspora must start to build a well-regulated system that can provide support and security for Oromos who are determined to advance the Oromo national interest whenever they face hardship beyond their control. Finally, the Oromo must believe that they will liberate themselves by any means necessary. There is no any doubt that, despite hardships and sacrifices, the Oromo “social volcano” that is being fermented will soon burn down Ethiopian colonial structures that perpetuate terrorism, genocide, disease, absolute poverty, and malnutrition in Oromia and beyond.
* Dr. Asafa Jalata is the Professor of Global Studies and the Interm Director of African Studies Program at the University of Tennesse in Knoxville.