By: Najat Hamza
I want to apologize to my fellow Oromos beforehand if my following statements will offend anyone. I have noticed there is a lot of an tasteless statement on social media on our political organizations, individual activists and various ideologies at this time. I might not the total history of all of Oromo struggle nor do I see myself as a historian, however I do have a basic understanding of it. The Oromo struggle was born out of a prolong repression with devastating impact on every sphere of our people dehumanizing us and reducing our person-hood to nothing more than a subject of various regimes. The struggle started to challenge this historic injustice and to speak for our people who are shuttered under these oppressive systems. The struggle did not have amazing acronyms or political programs at first; it was just the desire to be free and to bring ourselves out of the darkness they put us in. It has achieved many things, like the sense of Oromo nationalism, reclaiming our identity, revival of our culture and even the recognition of Oromia on the map not to mention the creation of our alphabets. These are done with Oromo sons and daughters with nothing more than aspiration to see our people free and to someday live in dignity. We have established various organizations with different political programs but the same basic idea of freedom for all Oromo people
The Oromo struggle have passed through various transformations, progresses and regressions however, no one organization is an isolated success or failure. We have to stop isolating each other by trying to be relevant and more influential by disrespecting the legacies of all organizations or individuals who have handed us the torch for struggle. I do not want us to think of any past or present organizations as an entity that stands on it’s own but a continuation of all before it. We have nothing to gain by promoting one organization over another but we have much more to gain by promoting the vision we all share for Oromo people and Oromia.
I am disappointed that our supposed leaders, intellectuals and even activists are playing the game of who is better than who, who is more relevant at this time, when Oromia is drenched with the blood of our youth, women, children and the elderly and our prisons is over populated with our people. I just want to point out, no one, or no organization past or present is above the Oromo people, but rather an agent of change or support systems for our people. I have respect for all Oromo individuals, organizations, and ideologies as a person because I know it is birthed from the spirit of resistance. I will ask all of you who are listening, can we please stop being an instrument for our own repression!!! We have to work together by recognizing our common goals, ideas and more importantly uniting against an enemy currently busy gunning down our people. But, if you think self promotion, individual ego, and the culture of comparison is the game plan to combat our enemy, we will be a hamster on the wheels and we maybe peddling non-stop but we are not going anywhere fast!!! In a free and independent Oromia any Oromo, political party operating currently or some that may form then will have an equal participation with people who are free to choose. However, right now the state of emergency we face in Oromia is not a competition of candidates or party systems but the struggle for liberation.
We should operate with this sense of urgency to answer the call of our people by consolidating all of the resources we have, whether it is money, intellectual power, and tactical knowledge and so on. I have no desire for anything or endorsement of my views, I only want my people to achieve liberation and live the lives they deserve with respect and dignity. It is crucial to remember the current nationalism, identity, and pride of Oromia and the Oromo people come with the culmination of the entire past struggle and the continuation of who we are now. It was not without a price, they fought together, they died together to give us the inheritance, our stolen identity. I want us not to defecate on their graves by turning it into a petty agenda, but rather honor them by finishing the goal they died for. I refuse to participate in the manifestation of our oppression to self sabotage our own progress. Because, I am ashamed of what to say if our precious youth that perished this past two years alone can come back and ask us the value of their scarifies!!! I refuse to see my Oromo brothers and sisters as a member of political party, religious beliefs, or their regional environment, to me you are all my Oromo brothers and sisters who have endured and still enduring unimaginable pain. I will see you all as a reflection of those who have given their lives for all of us to restore our dignity and respect in this world.
We are resilient people, we are proud people, we are brave people and we are people who have been subjected to inhumane act of the denial of our very humanity. So, my people, if you are angry, be angry at the unfair systems put in place to suffocate you. If you are angry, be angry at a government who is targeting and cleansing us from our homes. If you are angry, be angry at those who still re-offend our trauma while telling us to forget about the past and how they know what is best for us. If you are angry, be angry at our ineffective response to the level of violence we have come to normalize in Oromia!!! What we cannot get angry at is EACH OTHER!!! How can I get angry at an Oromo who is hurt like me? How can I get angry at our political organization when it belongs to the people and we are the force to make it better? How can we sit on social media and forget the task we were entrusted with when our brilliant heroes handed us the torch never to be returned? How can we be the instrument of those who are weak, those without honor and those who can run a well oiled propaganda machine with zero networks on the ground, when we are the owners of the #OromoProtests? The protest that brought the Ethiopian regime to its knees!!! Rise UP and You can Rise Up!!! We can all rise up, We can all rise above the perpetuated defaming of our accomplishment so far!!! Because, we are Oromos, we are people of Truth!!!
I want share the concept I love called “Sankofa” from ewe people of Ghana, Sankof is a mythical bird that flies forward by looking backward. The concept of “Sankofa” basically explains in order for us to move forward, we have to carry our history with us as permanent reminder of who we want to be in the future, pay respect to those who gave us that insight and use our insight to achieve the vision in its totality!!!
I quit when I am Free!!!
We quit fighting when we are Free!!!
We fight for each other, for our country, for our people NOT each Other!!!