The Qube Saga: Another Attack on the Oromo People

By: Tullu Liban

The change to Qube sequence has gone virial on social and mainstream media this time around. OPDO officials came out on TV screen to deny and or defend the change in a hair-raising way. One of the defenders who appeared on Oromia Radio and Television (who presumably presented himself as a language scholar), tried to explain the “rational” of the Qube change, though implausibly. He mentioned 5 points, defined as reading components viz. phonological awareness, grapho-phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
There are plenty of reasons that retrigger linguistic and pedagogical questions in these claims. Are they really the causes to change the sequence of Oromo alphabet? The OPDO officials/experts denied the change to ABCD sequence in Afan Oromo curriculum. However, they couldn’t hide that the teaching method for Afan Oromo from grade 1 to 8 has been changed as far as Oromo language teaching is concerned. What does that mean? On the one hand they say Oromo alphabet order is not changed. On the other they tell us the order is changed from ABCD to LAGM? Are they confused or try to confuse us? Leaving aside the denial tricks, let us raise some mechanical (writing), linguistic and pedagogical points.

1. The issue of mechanics (grapho-phonemics)

The OPDO TV panellists said “L” letter is the simplest sign for children to write. As we all know, Qube alphabet has got two sets of signs, which are different in shape-small and capital (lower case and upper case). Which of the signs the OPDO linguists are talking about “l” or “L”? If they are talking about small “l”, yes, one needs to write only one vertical line and if that is the case what should logically follow is ‘i’ not “a” or A, then “j” not, “g” or “G”. If they are talking about capital “L, it needs to draw two lines, vertical and horizontal and connect them at the bottom end, and the logic of simplicity becomes questionable. In that case one may probably accept the logic of drawing two lines to write “A” capital. But it needs three lines, the two which form a coned shape and connected them at the middle by another line. Worse, yet, “g” or “G” are entirely different in shape from both “L” and “A”. Where is the mechanics of simplicity, then? This fact automatically dismisses the simplicity of visual and mechanical logic claimed for writing the letters.

2. The issue of frequency of “L” sound (phonological awareness)

The magic of “L” sound in Afan Oromo is simply a surprise for one to believe. What is the magic for frequency of an “L” sound in Afan Oromo? What special linguistic quality makes it appear repeatedly when all sounds have equal value in the language? Moreover, in which text and in how many written materials the magic sound occurred in the so-called Primerpro software? What is the factor that triggered the recurrence of an “L” sound? Even if that is true, can an expert experiment become a cause to change a nation’s curriculum? There is no sufficient evidence as yet provided by the OPDO “experts” to defend their “discovery”.

3. Reading components?

The OPDO “expert” claimed fluency, vocabulary and comprehension has stirred the change to alphabetical order. These concepts have nothing to do with alphabet teaching or ability of alphabet discrimination. Alphabet is learned in preschool classes and in the case of rural Ethiopia in grade one. Alphabet teaching is not an all time exercise (from grade 1-8). However, fluency in reading, vocabulary mastery and comprehension skills are a lifetime exercise. How on earth these components serve to change sequence of a language alphabet. How much can kids read at grade one in a country like Ethiopia and what does it have with the shapes of alphabets?

4. A Counter argument

If one tries to group sounds, here is linguistic argument. One can arrange sounds based on linguistic features, in their point and manner of articulation instead of the shape of the letters that represent them. For instance, one can argue “K”, “G and “Q” are produced in the same area in oral cavity, so it is easy for children to memorize them if they are put in sequence in alphabet teaching. The same logic works for “T” and “X” of Oromo Qube and “S” and “Sh” alike. Thus, the change made to Afan Oromo alphabet has nothing to do with linguistic features.

5. Confusion of alphabets in two languages

The OPDO officials/experts talked that English alphabets will continue to be taught to children in the natural order of ABCD. As we all know, English teaching starts in grade one in Ethiopian schools. One can imagine the benefit of learning the alphabets in the two languages alike. Why do they create this confusion to children, while it is not in the interest of the children (as we watched on Oromia Television a teacher in Sululta reflecting students’ dissatisfaction and that of the teachers with the confusion of changing the alphabets)?

6. The psycholinguistic factor

One of the TV interviewees was heard saying psycholinguistic method was one of the factors that triggered the change (means, cognitive faculty captures simple words than complex ones). Apparently this claim sounds logical. But what has it got with learning “l” first and “a” next? Is “a” difficult than “l”? Dr. Firdisa Jabessa, an established educator at Addis Ababa University, told a journalist while asked the change OPDO made to Qube, that children first pronounce “A” and “B” when they learn talking at toddler stage, not “L”. They start with “Aba”. This is true for all children in the world.

7. The socio-linguistic factor
Since the coming to effect of Qube, Oromos know Qube in the order they have learnt it from day one of their acquaintance with the writing system. Kids chanted ABCD, renowned singers including Ali Birra, produced pieces of lyrics and Oromos across the world cherished ABCD unanimously. Why the TPLF masters and OPDO surrogates want to intervene in this public business? Don’t they know, the level of Oromo attachment to the Qube issue?

8. Detachment from the world
One would hardly believe that Oromo children are less intelligent than the children around the world to learn their alphabet. There is no a story of similar step where countries or communities changed their regular alphabet to teach them to their children. Alphabet teaching is not a rocket science. It needs a lot of elements to help children identify alphabets and read texts properly. Therefore, to alter the order of alphabets known to the world has nothing to do with teaching letters.
Aleqa Kidanewold Kifle, an Amharic lexicographer argues (may be before 50 years back) that Amharic should change its alphabet order from “ሀ ለ” to “አ በ ገ ደ” because the world alphabets start with “A”.

9. The true reason for kids to fail to identify alphabets

One of the scary reasons is that the majority of kids in Oromia are unable to read and write when they complete first cycle school (grades 1-4) is a policy issue. This fact is boldly told to the public by one of the OPDO officials during the TV briefing, though those who are aware of the current Ethiopian education system prettily know it. The major problem here is the so-called self-contained system where one teacher is assigned for the kids to teach all subjects in the first cycle.
Moreover, there are a lot of factors that affect the learning-teaching process at this formative stage, some of which are lack of well trained teachers, teacher-student ratio (up to 80 students in a class room), textbook-student ration, lack of pedagogical facilities such as teaching aids, (fillip chart, flash card, picture books, realia, paly boars etc.), lack of motivation from the part of the teachers, lack of incentive and party membership nepotism, lack of academic freedom among others

10. Preschool policy
The Ethiopian education system is devoid of a preschool policy. There are no publicly funded preschools or kindergartens in Ethiopia. Cities have an assortment of private preschools and kindergartens but there are fewer or no institutions in rural areas. Typically, the children from poor, urban families or those living in rural areas do not attend preschool at all. That means, children enter grade one before learning how to pronounce and spell sounds. This is a country where 85% of the population lives in rural areas and there is not policy as to how to teach basic alphabets and arithmetic to the kids and there are no preschool institutions. Therefore, one can see no liability in the order of Afan Oromo alphabet for the failure of children to read or write.

11. The undercover project
The fact lies somewhere. The change that OPDO made changes to Qube is a political intrigue, which is part and parcel of destabilizing the Oromo society. Known to all, the OPDO goons would not take any policy initiative by their own be it bad or good. The project owners are the TPLF masters. They want to narrow every space they believe benefiting and promoting Oromia. Afan Oromo is a big capital and a unifying force. TPLF wants to infiltrate in this business and disrupt the pace and progress of Afan Oromo development.

Hyenas in the olden days and hyenas of our time

Tullu Liban
An Amharic proverb has it that once upon a time a hyena went to a foreign land where nobody knew him he was a carnivorous. They say the hyena told his hosts to get him a bed made of skin for the night. I think that hyena was so scrupulous and polite that he never tried to cheat the people who knew that he could never sleep on a bed made of skin. Thus, he left the people who knew him and tried to pretend he was a good guest in a foreign land.

Hyenas of our time are shameless. They are so rude when they cry wolf. They don’t understand the intelligence of the people who know them from day one of their birth to their adult age. Hyenas of our time eat everything even sacks let alone skins. And yet, they want to have a skin made bed for their nap. Everybody knows that they eat any bit of mattresses made of skins.

These are the TPLF hyenas and the OPDO foxes. In the tales, our parents told us foxes are servants of hyenas. They told us that foxes hunt for hyenas and eat the leftover when hyenas are full. This analogy works exactly for TPLF masters and OPDO servants.
OPDOs have no the slightest moral ground to brag about economic revolution and tell the public that the Oromo people are their only masters. ( Someone quoted Lemma Megerssa as saying in his speech at the 27th birthday anniversary of OPDO). No, no OPDO boys and oldies. Your master is TPLF. Your masters are not Oromos. There are uncountable evidences to justify this fact. Do you want to know some of your scandals?
Defend these ones if you can, though.

1. TPLF created you in Tigray and told you your birth place was Dherra in Oromia. You told the public for 24 years or so you were born at Dherra. For the reason your masters know (not you) they told you to retell the public you were born in Tigray. You did so. Shame on you!
2. TPLF told you, you are one of the coalition members in EPRDF and that you each would run endowments as TPLF, OPDO, ANDM and SPDM. You were told you would each rlook after Guna, Dinsho, Ambasael and Wondo in that order. For sure Dinsho died because the masters told you to kill it while Guna has grown to a multi-billion and multi-sector company. I doubt if Wondo had better destiny than Dinsho. Ambasel is in its death bed.
3. You were told that Fana Radio (which is now called Fana Broadcasting Corporate) was the property of the four “coalition” members (TPLF, OPDO, ANDM and SPDM). You have never been part of it and it remained to be the property of TPLF.
4. You were initially told and declared in your constitution that Finfinnee is the seat of Oromia state. Ten years later you were told by the masters to evacuate hurriedly from Finfinnee and camp in Adama disregarding protests of the Oromo people. You cracked down on Mecha and Tulama and failed at least to protest in unison with the Oromo people.
5. As part of the Oromo people’s protest against the move of Oromia seat from Finfinnee, Oromo students across the country demonstrated peacefully. Finfinnee University students were in the forefront. Your masters fired 320 Oromo students in a single day from the university, killed some and jailed others. The masters told you to endorse the action. Junedi Saddo, your head, proudly appeared on a TV screen and blessed the barbaric measure.
6. When CUD shook the TPLF government the masters ordered you via telephone to come back to Finfinnee. You immediately rushed back, without any precondition. Even you didn’t wait at least to nullify the law you had enacted to move to Adama.
7. You were told right after elections 2005 that there would be established 10 high schools in the ten sub cities of Finfinnee to teach in Afan Oromo and Abadula Gemeda put cornerstones in each of the places meant for the construction of the schools. Nothing has been materialized over 12 years.
8. In 2011 the So-called Oromo Development Association (ODA), a lame organization considered as a private property of AWAD Jibril bragged to mobilize 3 billion (three billion birr) in a telethon to undertake various development projects in Oromia. Many Oromo children were motivated by the rhetoric made by Mulugeta Debebe, then ODA president, that the dream would come true. However, your masters told you to stop such kind of effort in favor of the Renaissance Dam. You zipped your mouth. You remember that in 2010 Amhara Development Association collected 1 billion birr in a telethon for similar purpose.
9. From 2015 November to 2016 October Oromia was on fire. Still the region is on hidden fire. Your masters killed Oromo children, pregnant, elders and students. They ordered you to celebrate the killings. Muktar Kedir appeared, (then your head) on a TV screen and thanked the killers and appreciated the sniper bullets that hit heads and chests of our people.
10. Your masters deployed killing regiments in various peripheral parts of Oromia (South and East) in particular, under the guise of ethnic conflicts with the neighboring tribes. You know that tribes don’t have heavy weapons, military uniform and trucks to invade Oromia. Even your spokesperson Addisu Arega told the VOA Amharic news that the armed invaders in the south and the east are in military uniforms. You kept quiet.
So, how do you boast of economic revolution as if the Oromo people don’t know your role in the system you are serving? Lol I expect you to appropriately refute these facts. Don’t shout like empty vessel. If you can’t refute, don’t talk and brag nonsense.

Economic revolution? The chain is on the dog’s neck

By: Tullu Liban
Some people seem to be touched and thrilled by Lemma Megersa’s public tizzies. Indeed, Lemma talks Afan Oromo prettily and his verbose are quite attractive, though yet to be tested in action. Such glossy talks are not bad albeit the mix-up of OPDO’s pragmatic power limit and their confused world.

The fact speaks for itself, though. How come one expects economic or otherwise emancipation to come from an enslaved group? We don’t need any lecture on Oromo nationalism and economic marginalization from Lemma, for that matter. The level of Oromo self-consciousness is far way ahead than Lemma and co. would believe. We have had enough of them over years and no rhetoric can be a panacea for Oromo questions but action. The fact is that OPDO can bring neither economic nor political empowerment for the Oromo people given its obvious position in the power relations. They cannot because they are not made to do or be so. The very people who are caged in the nursery of TPLF; hived off from the people they are meant to represent, cannot liberate others before they do declare their own freedom. OPDOs (not the file and rank ones) are up in the line of politics so long they serve the interest of the masters who installed them. They are installed for a purpose. That purpose is to be an ensemble for TPLF interest in order that the latter could exploit resources of Oromia.

TPLF doesn’t want the Oromo people but their resources. Therefore, they don’t want to empower the people whom they are determined to loot indefinitely. They are not that naive to lose their grip over the resource they direly need. Thus, they don’t permit OPDOs to exercise a real power. If one believes OPDODs are exercising a real power in the Oromia leadership or in the fake federalism, one is simply foolish or far away from the tricks of Tigrian politics.
Lemma is not in the service of the Oromo people because he is not elected by free will of the people. He is an assignee of TPLF and his cabinet too. Where is the point then, that one hopes Lemma will bring about economic revolution for the Oromo people?
Lemma is instructed to deliberately speak up loudly picking up the language of honest Oromo elites: nationalism, marginalization, segregation, dehumanization etc. Yes, it seems the plan is hitting the target, it caught public attention for a moment; but couldn’t cool down public temper as it was supposed to.
TPLF emboldened Lemma Megerssa and Beker Shale to spark a dialogue to measure the thermometer of Oromo politics. In a way, TPLF will buy time, respire for a while, work out how to quell the next chapter of inevitable Oromo fight that bothers them day and night.
Those who are hoping OPDOs will change the powerline in Ethiopia’s politics are misleading themselves. OPDO is a handmade “speaking tool”. When the creators, the TPLF masters want them to speak, OPDOs speak nicely and loudly. When they are told to act, they will perform exceedingly. Don’t forget, the chain is on their neck, yet. To loosen a chain on the neck of one’s dog or tighten, fasten it, is not decided by the dog itself but by the owner. That is the situation in which the OPDO surrogates find themselves. If any change happens, in answering Oromo questions, it happens because of the irresistible smack TPLF gangs sustained because of the nonstop Oromo struggle.
Even amid the shocks it has experienced, TPLF still aspires to survive in the years to come. In 2020, TPLF will conduct another round of sham elections in Ethiopia. In the next elections, they want to cling to power by hook or crook. They deploy different tactics to achieve that dream. One of the tactics is addressing some of the Oromo questions. They may promote Afan Oromo as the second federal language, at least theoretically. They may enact a law on Oromia-Finfinnee relations, at least on paper. They may delegate regions to administer certain portions of the economy (with strict control of the center). All these cosmetic reforms will happen to legitimize the next survival of TPLF as a central powerhouse of the empire. As we can see preparations are underway in the name of political negotiation where Oromia is not represented. There will be some individuals in the name of opposition parties in the next parliament of TPLF (Tolessa Tesfaye, Lidetu Ayalew and Ayele Chamisso in mind) . And yet, the essence of the real power relations will remain under the full control of TPLF.
The whole effort of TPLF is now to finalize a groundwork to get a “pass grade” for the 2020 elections. Then, they will prepare another strategy for the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th rounds to realize the 50 year Tigrian rule dream.
The thing is that OPDO protagonists like Lemma Megerasa, are in the TPLF utmost service so that the former could buy time for power perpetuation. Lemma and his OPDO are agents of TPLF in Oromia as we know them since their creation from POWs.
One must ask Lemma when he broadly opens his mouth about Oromo marginalization where he has been hitherto. He has been an active player, a forefront striker in effecting the marginalization process. One would not have been surprised if Lemma was a newcomer to the OPDO circle. However, it wouldn’t make any sense to hear his ostentatious rhetoric he himself being one of the persons in the enemy service by heart. For heaven’s sake, how dare the thoughts of Oromo economic empowerment came through Lemma’s revelation as if he has not been part and parcel of the system that made the Oromo people sustain the pains? Okay fine, now say they came to their sense to realize the pains, how can Lemma and his comrades reverse politically designed marginalizations under the slave-master relationship with TPLF?
If politics is not a magical activity or a divine business, in this real world of humans, there will be no economic empowerment without political empowerment. If the chain on the neck of OPDO was not in the palms of TPLF, one would hope to see changes in different life aspects as far as Oromia is concerned. But the remote control is not in the palms of the dogs; the masters do hold that chain; will they loosen the grip? No! They may let the dogs relax temporarily, not permanently.
In sum, we are sure whatever reform TPLF conducts in the name of OPDO or if OPDO does something good to answer a portion of Oromo questions, they do it not because they wished to do it nor OPDO dared to demand it. If the OPDO stooges had that ability, they could have materialized many of Oromo demands long ago. The harder we hammer them, the tight we press them, the more our dreams are achieved. They are not granting us our rights. We are gabbing them through struggle. Whatever benefit comes in favor of Oromia, we welcome them because they are the result of Oromo struggle, not a gift from the enemy. They are achieved by struggle thanks to our martyrs who shed their blood selflessly for the noble cause.

Adwa is a colonial war among competing Colonial Empires despite the participation of subject peoples as footsoldiers

By: Tsegaye Ararsa

Indians, Nigerians, Ghanaians fought both World Wars (one of which is a purely colonial-imperial war) under the British. Eritreans and Lybians fought WWII for Italy. Likewise, Africans and Caribbeans fought for the French. In each case, the wars weren’t fought for their freedom. They fought the white man’s war as colonial subjects. It took decades of struggle for decolonization before these subject peoples fought for freedom.

Adwa is a colonial war of the scramble for the horn of Africa. It was a war among whites and honorary whites. Many subject peoples, most of them in chains, were weaponized against the Italians.

In the end, colonialism was entrenched and legalized in the horn of Africa. Eritrea was officially ceded to Italy as their colony. In subsequent treaties, the British title over the territories of the Sudan, Kenya, and British Somaliland was readily accepted. The Italian title over Eritrea and Italian Somaliland was legally entrenched. The French got full title deeds, as it were, for 99 years over the French Somaliland.

These Menelikan colonialist adventures were the price of Abyssinian sovereignty as per the colonial international law of the time. Abyssinian sovereignty, sanctioned and sanctified by colonial international law of the time–meant “to civilize the African ‘savages'” in Ethiopia and beyond, included many subject peoples into the fold of the territory of what was officially Abyssinia until 1946.

Today, those who like to fetishize the Adwa moment tell us that Adwa is the victory of all Ethiopians because even subject peoples have fought in the war. This is an attempt to include the subject peoples into the fold of their Abyssinian imperial adventures in order to totalize their own experience of the Adwa glory as the experience of these subjects. It is a strategy of retrospective legitimation by inclusion, I understand. But including the otherwise excluded for the sake of legitimizing the hegemon is still exclusion. It is exclusion by inclusion.

Adwa is anything but an anti-colonial war. Adwa accepted, confirmed, appropriated, and amplified the first premises and the logic of European colonialism and implemented it in the horn of Africa with a more barbaric rigor effected through European rifles. As such, it was merely a local instantiation of what Kipling called “the white man’s burden”, albeit done by black bodies.

Adwa is anything but a black victory over a white colonizer. Adwa was a moment of self-hating denial of blackness. Nothing typifies this more than the emphatic Menelikan disavowal of his blackness when he was invited to be an honorary president of the global association for the improvement of the life of the “Negro”. By saying “I am not a Negro; I am Caucasian,” Menelik stipulated that he is “an honorary white man.” This stipulation, while assuming alliance and identification with white Europe (the “community of civilized nations”), also inaugurated the habasha racism that, to date, discounts blackness, devalues black culture and identity, and belittles the dignity of black persons and all darker skinned peoples. In a way, Adwa was the inaugural moment for the birth of racialized hierarchy between and among the peoples of Ethiopia.

Adwa is anything but an African triumph over global imperialism. It was in fact a moment that contributed to the subjugation of Africa–the horn region–to European colonialism. It was a local instantiation of the global imperial project of the “scramble for Africa.” Much to the dejection of genuine pan-Africanists, this happened by propagating the Ethiopian exceptionalism in Africa (claiming that it is an ancient state, that it was Judaic/semitic, that it was christian, that is was the second Zion, that it was ‘civilized’, etc). Consequently, the Adwa moment ushered in the notion that Abyssinia, is IN Africa but not OF Africa, is “African but not quite.”

And yet, I understand that there are people who are passionately attached to this moment because of the positive material and moral consequences the moment yielded for them. That is as it should be, because it is experienced by them as their moment of glory.

That does not mean that everyone experienced the moment in the same way. Nor does it mean that the same positive consequences accrued to us all in the same way.

Yes, numerous subject peoples took part in it. Some in chains, some free. Some were deployed at a leadership level owing to their skills of war. Notable names of Oromo or of other non-habasha descent may have adorned the list of fighters or war leaders. But that doesn’t make the war theirs. Nor does it make any less colonial, any less imperial, or any more African, or any blacker. That Ghanaians, Indians, or Nigerians fought for the Britain; that Eritreans, and Libyans fought for Italy; that Francophone West Africans, Caribbeans, or Algerians fought for the French made the world wars wars of freedoms for their subject peoples.

To not celebrate your party is not to stand against it. It only means that it is YOUR party, not ours.

If you can hear this voice of hesitation, maybe, therein you will also find the hope of your redemption, inclusion on the terms defined by the hitherto excluded.

If not, you will dance to your own chants alone. That is fine by us as long as you don’t ask us to dance to your chants. To be in the house isn’t exactly the same as being in the party.

PS. For the mindless and homeless political rascals: now go out and fetishize the Adwa moment like you always do, like you fetishize most everything Abyssinian alright. But don’t ask us to dance to your chants.

THE PEOPLES’ ADWA: The Imperative of Embracing Plural Interpretation

Tsegaye R. Ararssa

1 March 2016
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Every year, when March is around the corner, Ethiopian social media activists start to be noisy. The defenders of Adwa as a phenomenal black history moment and the revisionists battle it out fiercely, often in a vulgar mode of exchange. Over the last two years, I have been observing this discussion between those who seek to promote the old narrative of state orthodoxy as the only and the universal meaning of Adwa and those who take a more sceptical stance seeking to show the darker sides that the Adwa moment signifies.

The following paragraphs were written in response to those who seek to impose on the Oromo this exhausted old narrative of the ideologically motivated imperial State Orthodoxy.

1.There are right reasons to celebrate the battle of Adwa. But to say Adwa is a black man’s war fought for securing the freedom of the people of the black race is celebrating the event for the wrong reason.

2.Truth be told, it was a colonial war fought among colonial empires, framed by rules of colonial international law, with a colonizing consequence for Africa.

3.It was a war fought between two maiden empires competing over the fate of black peoples in Ethiopia and beyond. This was clearly stated by the emperor himself several times, the emperor who also clearly denied that he is black, the emperor who rather mysteriously claimed to be Caucasian, the emperor who refused to identify with Afro-Americans and Haitians who saw him as one of their own and sought to salute him for his achievements at Adwa, the emperor who brutally murdered millions of black people, the emperor who personally owned over 70, 000 black slaves, the emperor who negotiated with white colonial powers on the fate of other black peoples (Eritreans, Djiboutians, Somalis, and the Sudanese) under white colonial rule.

4.To say Adwa is a pride of black people, therefore, is a distortion of historical truth and a gross misrepresentation of the man and the event.

5.To say that our people sacrificed, especially those of them who were in chains, to preserve a semblance of an African sovereignty; to commemorate the lives lost in that war and to honor the sacrifices thereof is the right reason to celebrate it. As someone whose forefathers have paid dearly for this and for the subsequent fascist war, I feel the pain, I share the loss, and I honor their sacrifice.

6.As I honor their sacrifice and commemorate and celebrate the lives of the many black bodies lost there, I speak the truth, the whole truth, and stick only to the truth.

7.To my compatriots who insist that we should celebrate it for the wrong reason, I insist in telling you the truth, the raw truth, especially on the issues we disagree strongly.

Doing this is paying a proper tribute to the agony and anguish of those who lived and died in chains to defend a state that left them outside of the polity. To do this is a sacred duty, a civic duty, an act of loyalty–even to the state that is formed on my forefathers’ graves.

This is an act of sacrifice, as I am fully aware of the past and present reality of rejection in Ethiopia, completely cognizant of its violent beginnings and violent bearings in the present, totally imbued with faith in redemption, and immensely driven by the almost impossible hope of transformation, even of transfiguration.

To those of you who don’t see the gibberish in the incoherence of, and the irony in, the Menelikan claim to be (an honorary) whiteman but think I am making a gibberish (you know who you are!);

To those of you who claimed that we prefer an Italian colonial rule to an Abyssinian one (almost all of you in the Menelikan fetish camp have said it!);

To those of you who–being the children and grandchildren of bandas and the shumbash–came out to whitewash yourself by calling me names such as banda (and you know who you are!!!);

To those of you who, because of historical misinformation–via political and cultural propaganda such as songs by Gigi, Tedy Afro and essays by Bewketu, and a self-conscious and yet a romanticizing film produced by Professor Haile Gerima, etc– to those of you who could not distinguish the right from the wrong reasons for celebrating the event as a result;

For you, I have only pity.

But I like to restate to you in the strongest possible terms that I come from a people of hope and redemption.

I note the fractured beginnings of the state.

I note its violent inauguration.

I note its deficits of pan-Africanism (which is still the reason that Ethiopia is IN Africa but not OF Africa).

I note the Ethiopian State’s imperial and colonial beginnings.

I note all of its ‘original constitutional sins’.

And I will openly tell you about it.

I will be happy to engage you in a conversation in public or private.

In fact, I encourage a deeper public conversation on the matter. Yes, a deeper national conversation that is long overdue. (This might also help us develop a sense of ‘ethical listening,’ a sense of agonistic listening, to each other as a polity.)

And I do so because I believe in the hope of transformation. I believe in the hope of going beyond and above those inaugural wounds. I believe in building a better future in spite of, and BECAUSE OF, those wounds. I believe in the transfiguration of society.

I will also tell you what I won’t do:

I will not pamper you.

I will not come to you with half-truths.

I will not mystify the objective truth.

I will not shrink the meaning of the event or the historical figures into one and only one. I insist on multiple interpretations of Adwa and all other historical events in Ethiopia. I insist on multiple popular interpretations.

I will not regurgitate and reproduce the state orthodoxy of the past as the truth or the one and only interpretation of historical truths.

For far too long, we have seen historical narratives told to us ex cathedra.

For far too long, the voices, the stories, and the narratives of peoples have been suppressed.

For far too long, your grand narratives have ignored, silenced, and erased the voices of the peoples–especially the voices of the frontier peoples (the peoples who were never people in the democratic–the demos–sense of the term).

Also, I will not flatter you, especially if the truth refuses to flatter you. I won’t spare you from my wrath if you come and write a gibberish, or, even worse, your insults (as most of you are bent on doing). I promise you: I will return the compliment in kind, or I will block you.

If you want a civil conversation, I welcome you (especially if you are willing to do your part of the home work).

To the people of hope, to the people of redemption, to the people that were not ‘people’ in the past, I say:

YOU HAVE COME A LONG WAY, EVEN TO THE MOUNT OF ADWA (for no gain or glory). You have survived darker days. You shall survive these ones, too.

As we resist the present abuse, we also resist a hegemonic discourse that fetishizes the cause of all our ills into a benign state orthodoxy.

Resist we will, in part because, to do so has now become our (unchosen) way of life.

Resist we will, because for some of us, it has now become a way of being in the world.

And we will do so in truth. … Told in love. … Told with an undying hope.

Happy celebration of the peoples’ Adwa…and, for once, a celebration for the right reason.
***** ***** *****
Source: https://advocacy4oromia.org/…/the-peoples-adwa-the-imperat…/

Untold number of Ethiopians are subject to human rights violations : Amnesty International USA

At the end of 2016 Amnesty International published a report titled Ethiopia Offline: Evidence of Social Media Blocking and Internet Censorship in Ethiopia. This report documented how social media and networks in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region were being blocked by the Ethiopian government. Among the more alarming findings is that AI and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), who co-authored the report, detected the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, which can be used to monitor and filter internet traffic. The Ethiopian government appears to be using the technology for “mass surveillance internet censorship.” The government’s actions constitute a violation of Ethiopia’s obligations to protect freedom of expression under the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also drastically restricts access to information for the Ethiopian people.The internet crackdown is linked to a brutal crackdown by the government in response to protests that started in the Oromo region in November 2015 against the Addis Ababa City Integrated Development Master Plan. This led to nationwide protests following a stampede in Oromia region on October 2, 2016 that followed attacks on foreign and local businesses. In response to the attacks and the protests, the Ethiopian government declared a State of Emergency (SOE) on October 9, 2016. The government declared that under the SOE they could “restrict freedom of expression where such freedom is abused”, and imposed a wide range of restrictions on internet access.  The government also arrested more than 11,000 people charging them with “violence and property damage.”

Based on the standards of the ICCPR, the State of Emergency in Ethiopia has resulted in many derogations that fail to meet international human rights law. For example, the Ethiopian government established a Command Post whose purpose was to “stop any media, prohibit any assembly and search and seize any person or place.”  Under the SOE, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter were either blocked or inaccessible in Ethiopia, especially in the Oromia region. Further, certain types of URLs were blocked, including news media, web pages of political opposition, LGBTI, calling for freedom of expression, and circumvention tools such as Tor and Psiphon.

The Ethiopian government continues to misuse the Anti-terrorism Proclamation (ATP) legislation to charge and arrest people critical of government policies or actions. Amnesty International believes that “the acts of censorship, conducted outside a clear legal framework, over several months and affecting dozens of websites and social media platforms as well as the State of Emergency itself – which is so broadly drafted violates Ethiopia’s international legal obligations and permits violations of numerous human rights.”

These violations include the arrest of a number of government critics such as Bekele Gerba, a leading Oromo human rights activist, Eskinder Nega a prominent journalist and a human rights defender. Who was sentenced to 18 years in jail after he wrote articles demanding freedom of expression and an end to torture in Ethiopia.. Yonatan Tesfaye, a prominent opposition figure facing a possible death sentence due to his Facebook post opposing a government plan to extend the capital’s administrative authority to the Oromia region and Merera Gudina, a human rights activist and leader in the Oromo community.

An untold number of Ethiopians are subject to human rights violations as a result of the State of Emergency, the Anti-terrorism Proclamation and other legislation that the government is using to impose order, and, according to the government, restore peace and security.

As 2017 begins however, the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will face very stark truths. In can continue down the current path of increasing repression, and jail anyone who it considers unacceptable, creating a nationwide detention camp, or it can display the leadership the country needs by ending the State of Emergency, allowing an independent commission of inquiry into the protests that have shaken the country for the last two years, repeal the draconian laws it created to silence opposition, and release the scores of prisoners that it will need to talk to and work with to address the governance and human rights challenges the country is facing.

The world is watching and time is running out.

See the original report HERE

Hariiroon Itoophiyaa fi Suudaan Kibbaa hammaataa dhufuun qabsoo hidhannoof foddaa saaqa

Hariiroon motummaan Itoophiyaa fi Suudaan Kibbaa (SK) jidduu jiru hammaataa fi mi’aa fixataa dhufeera. Mootummooni lamaanuu wolhimataa, wolkomataa fi gocha woliitti obsa fixataati kan dhufan. Salvaa Kiir, pirezidaantiin SK, tibbana Masrii gayee deebi’uun isaa shakkii yeroo dheeraadhaaf Itoophiyaa fi SK wolirraa qabaataa turan dhugoomseera.

Hariiroon dippiloomaasii Itoophiyaa fi Suudaan Kibbaa jidduu jiru haalaan dadhabaadha. Mootummaan lamaan yeroo kanatti wolitti gaarriffatu; hidhii walitti ciniinnatu. Itoophiyaan ambaasaadara Suudaan Kibbaa ari’uunis gabaafamee jira. Suudaan Kibbaa garuu dhugaa miit jetti. Michummaan Suudaan Kibbaa Kaayiroo waliin eegalte akka shira hidhaa Abbayyaa gufachiisuuf xaxameetti kan ilaallame, ija Abbaay Tsahaayyee fa’aan. Kana malees Suudaan Kibbaa, jaarmayaalee mootummaa Woyyaanee hidhannoodhaan dhabamsiisuu hawwaniif doohannoo laatteerti ykn laatuudhaaf fedhii agarsiisteerti oduun jedhu gara Jubaatii bayuu eegaleera. Kuni hangam dhugaa akka ta’e ammatti mirkaneeffachuudhaaf rakkisaadha. Garuu, yeroo kanatti qilleensi siyaasaa keessaa fi alaa bubbisu hundi Woyyaanetti kan fidaa jiru bowwoo qofa jedhu taajjabdoonni.

Rakkoon Suudaan Kibbaa, garee Salvaa Kiirii fi Riik Mashaar jidduu yeroo dheeraadhaaf ture, sodaa fi aabjuu mootummaa Woyyaanee isa yeroo dheeraa dhugoomsaa dhufeera. Itoophiyaan yeroo addaddatti, dhimma Suudan Kibbaa keessa harka naqataa fi waa’ee araara SK dubbataa turteerti. Yeroo kana gootu rakkoo fi naga dhabuun Suudaan Kibbaa Woyyaanee yaachsiee miti. Mootummaa naga argamsiisuuf hojjatau, isa mirga namaa fi dimokraasii argasmiisuuf tattaafatu taées miti. Jeeqamuun Suudaan Kibbaa humnoota akka ABO fi G7 doohannaa argamsiisa- deeebíanii miilaan akka gadi dhaabatan taasisa sodaa jedhu. Aabjuu kana kan Woyyaanee ganna hedduuf hirriba dhabsiise dhimma Suudaan Kibbaa keessa harka, miilaa fi waraana isii akka naqxu kan taasise.

Jarmayaaleen qawweedhaan Woyyaanee kuffisuuf carraaqan yeroo heddu biyya ollaa doohannaa isaaniif laattu dhabuun qabsoo geggeessan qancarsuu isaa dubbattu. Suudaan Kibbaa fi Itoophiyaa, akkasumas Masrii fi Itoophiyaa jidduu hariiroon jiru sadarkaa baay’ee hamaa jedhamu irra gayuun isaa amma ifatti bayeera. Kana booda, ABO fi G7 foddaa carraa banamaa jirtu kanaan hulluuqanii seenu moo hanga balballi guutummatti saaqamu taa’anii eeguun gaafii hundaati.

Jalqaba kan maxxanfame: Awash Post  irratti

 

Free OFC Leaders and All Political Prisoners!

The TPLF led Ethiopian government has jailed almost all leaders of the Oromo Federalist congress (OFC), the largest Oromo political opposition party in Ethiopia. The OFC political leaders icluding Merera Gudian (PhD) (chairman) and Bekele Garba (deputy chairman) have been jailed not because they committed crimes, but because they worked to defend the interests (political, economical and cultural) of the Oromo people.

They have been jailed for they spoke against human rights violations, land grabs (eviction of Oromo framers from their land) and the minority rule. They have been jailed for they demanded freedom, justice, equality and democracy to prevail in Ethiopia. They have been jailed for they demanded equal share of power and wealth; for they called for free and fair elections to be held; for they campaigned to enable the Oromo people to get the place they deserve in Ethiopia.

In TPLF gulag, these brave souls are at times denied basic human rights that prisoners deserve-they are abused, tortured, denied access to medication when they are sick (mostly because of the ill treatments they receive at the hands of the jailers) and prevented from meeting their family and lawyers.

We demand the TPLF/EPRDF leaders to come to their real sense and release the leaders of the Oromo Federalist Congress and all other political prisoners if they really care about peace & stability. And they must do it now!

Image may contain: 4 people, text

#FreeBekeleGerba

#FreeMereraGudina

#FreeDejeneTafa
#FreeAddisuBulala

#FreeGurmessaAyana

#FreeOlbanaLelisa
#FreeAllOtherPoliticalPrisoners

Before Embarking on Implementing the Master Plan; Resolve the Master Problem

By: Jawar Mohammed
The TPLF state media has announced Addis Ababa Master Plan will be implemented soon. I have seen documents pertaining to this matter. Here is my take:

1) The regime claims this master plan is for Addis Ababa city only. That is the controversial Integrated Master Plan of Addis Ababa and surrounding towns have been disentangled and split into two. In other words Addis Ababa has given up on a joint master plan with its neighboring Oromia towns and forging ahead with separate plan. Yet…

2) A cursory review of the ‘new’ plan shows it isn’t that new. For a starter, the land that is incorporated in this plan that’s supposed to be just for city of Addis Ababa is way larger than the current & constitutional limits of the city. There are localities and districts (according to the constitutionally stipulated jurisdictions of both the Oromia state & the AA city council administration) laying in the current Oromia proper like Gelan, Semit, Jamo etc which are surprisingly made part of the city and covered in the “new master plan”. In short, there’s is huge tract of land from surrounding Oromia villages that have still been incorporated into Addis Ababa. In other words, this master plan expands the city limit violating the existing boarders and aims to remove hundreds of thousands of farmers, just as previously planned.

3) Just as the earlier ‘integrated’ master plan, this ‘new’ plan states that the city will get water from Oromia (Gefersa, Laga Dadhi, Aqaqi) and dry waste will be dumped in Sandafa as well. It assumes the city will continue to use these resources and services free of charge. But there is no agreement between Oromia and the city administration.

4) The regime promised to resolve the constitutionally guaranteed Oromia’s Special interest over Addis Ababa by this past October. Yet that has not been materialized yet. Trying to implement a 25 year Master Plan for Addis Ababa before resolving this thorny issue is tantamount to inviting further complications.

5) In general, this ‘new’ master plan is different from the integrated master plan only in name. They have tried to make it look different. They said the previous plan was based on Frances city of Lyon while the new one is based on Seoul city of Korea. Yet the same people who devised the previous plan are behind this one. Abay Tsehaye is the man who is pushing it. Mathiwos Asefa the manager of the ‘integrated plan’ is again manager of the ‘new’ plan. The old plan was supposedly scrapped in January 2016. In their own admission its takes years to develop a master plan that lasts 25 years. Which means they did not develop any new plan but renamed the same old bloody one.

No automatic alt text available.

Picture: The so called ‘New Addis Abeba Master PLan’

The bottom line is Finfinne (Addis Ababa) is at the heart of Oromia, geographically, politically, culturally and economically. Any plan developed for the city without the participation and approval of the Oromo people and Oromia state for the city is bound to adversely affect Oromo people, economically, culturally and politically. Hence, it has been and it will be rejected and resisted.Similarly any plan contested by the Oromos and bound to fail harming residents of the city. Thus, before you embark on any fancy talk of Master Plan, sit down and resolve the Master Problem…Oromia’s historical and constitutionally affirmed right and interest over the city of Addis Ababa.

Mootummaan Wayyaanee Dhimma Maaster Pilaanii Magaalaa Finfinnee kan Duraan Dhiise jedhe Amma Maaliif Afarsaa Jira?

Yaayyaa Bashir (Boruu Barraaqaa) tiin

Dhimmi Maaster Pilaanii magaalaa Finfinnee amma dura eegalame mormii jabaa ummanni Oromoo godheen hambisiifamuu danda’ee akka ture ni yaadatama. Yeroo sanitti dabballoonni OPDO arraba damma dibatanii gad bahuudhaan ‘’yoo ummata Oromoo kan hin gammachiifne tahe maaluu ni hafa’’ jechuun ololaa bahan. Mormiin ummata Oromoo yeroo sana Maaster Pilaaniitti qabatee eegalame garuu salphaatti kan dhaabatu hin turre. Gaaffiin Oromoo gaaffii mirga abbaa biyyummaa waan taheef boris salphaatti kan aguugamee hafu hin tahu. Haa tahuutii mormii sirnicha hundee irraa raasuu danda’e kana ukkaamsuuf jecha Labsa Yeroo Muddamaa Oromoo irratti labsan. Humnaan ummata afaan qabanii, harka isaa micciiranii, miila isaa hidhanii callisiisuu filatan.

Dhimmi Maaster Pilaanii magaalaa Finfinnee ammas xixxiixaa jira. Miidiyaaleen Wayyaanee gurguddoon EBC fi FBCn dhimma kana qabatanii ifatti gad bahanii jirani. Keessumattuu miidiyaa karoora mootummaa dursee beeksisuudhaan beekamu kan tahe Faanaan (FBC) oduu Mudde 8, 2009 (ALH)tti dabarseen ‘’Maaster Pilaaniin magaalaa Finfinnee dhiheenyatti akka ragga’u Komishiniin Pilaanii Magaalaa Finfinnee beeksise’’ jechuun gabaasee jira. Gaaffiin as irratti ka’uu qabu, Wayyaaneen maaliif yeroo kanatti dhimma master pilaanii kana amma kaasuu filatte kan jedhuu dha. An akka naa galetti sababaan isaa waan gurguddaa lama.

Kan duraa, sirnichi wayta ammaa kana jabaa nama Oromoo hanga danda’e guuree mana hidhaatti naqee jira. Warra silaa ummata kakaasuu fi mormii ummataa qindeessuu danda’u jedhee shakku qabee hidhaa keessatti toyatee argama. Ummata isa hafe ammoo bittaa waraanummaa Komaand Poostiitiin sodaachisee bitaa jira. Ammaantana hamilee fi kaka’umsa ummanni Oromoo qabsoo mirga isaaf qabu onnee isaa keessatti buruqsee, boquu gad cabseen jira jedhee waan of amansiise fakkaata. Kana irraa ka’uun wayta kanatti kaayyoo biyya Oromoo saamuu fi Oromoo salphisuuf qabate san hojii irra oolchuu irraa wanni na hanqisu hin jiru jedhee of amansiisee jira. Oromoon hangamuu baay’atu, hangamuu sadarkaan mormii isaa addunyaatti dhagahamu, toyannoo koo jalaa hin bahu, dirqisiisee doorsisee waanin barbaadu waga’uu nan danda’a jedhee of hubachuu isaa argaa jirra. Dhimma Master Pilaanii magaalaa Finfinnee irratti Oromoodhaan salphifamee boquu cabsatee kan ture sirni Wayyaanee amma xiiqii san Oromoo irratti bahachuuf yeroo aanjaa uummadheera jedhee yaadaa jira.

Kan lammaffaa wanni Wayyaaneef onnee kenne haala faca’iinsa gurmuu siyaasaa Oromoo ti. Dhaaba siyaasaa biyya keessaa (KFO) yoo taheef guutummaatti mataa hanga jalaatti jabaa namoota dhaabichaa hidhaa naqanii jirani. Dhaabicha guutummaatti laamshessanii jiru. Wayta Wayyaaneen bulchiinsa Komaand Poostii Oromiyaa irratti labsitee halkanii guyyaa Oromoo kumootaan mana hidhaatti guurtu, rukuttee madeessitu, ajjeeftu, qabeenya isaa aduu saafaatiin saamtu dhaabni siyaasaa Oromoo jabaan sabichaaf dirmatee salphina kana irraa Oromoo baraaruu danda’e hin jiru. Keessoon dhaabota siyaasaa Oromoos tahee aktiivistoota Oromoo biyya keessattis tahee alatti irree qabaatee kan sirnicha sodaachisu hin taane. Ummatatu muratee natti ka’e malee dhaabni siyaasaa kan sagantaa mataa isaatiin haleellaa narraan gahuu danda’u Oromoo keessa hin jiru jettee murteessiteetti Wayyaaneen. Duula karaa miidiyaa hawaasummaa ummata kakaasuuf godhamu Facebook fi karaalee wal qunnamtii biroo cufuudhaan ummata dukkana keessatti iggitte.

Haalli amma jiru waan fedhan Oromoo irratti labsuuf yeroo aanjaa tahee laalameera. Wayyaneen balaa siyaasaa hamaa, keessumattuu Oromiyaa keessatti mudatte irraa humna qawweetiin akka of baraartee amma hafuura bitattetti of fudhatteetti. Kunis Oromoo tuffachuu irraa madda. ‘Ofiif wacitu malee homaa na gochuu hin dandeessan, keessi keessan bukoo dha’ nuun jedhaa jirti. Ummata keessaa warra mormii dabre keessatti seenaa hojjete garii ajjeeftee, kuun madeessitee qaama hir’iftee, kuun ammoo kumoota kudhanootaan hidhaatti naqxee affeelaa waan jirtuuf, tarkaanfii akkasii kanaan umrii dheereffachuun akka danda’amu shaakalaa jirti.

Kanaafuu maaltu mala? Hegereen qabsoo kanaa maal tahuuf deemaa jira? Kan durii yoo hafe wareegamni gootonni Oromoo qabsoo waggaa tokkoo keessatti kafalan bilaash tahee hafaa? Wayyaaneen humna qawweetiin Oromoo afaan qabdee deebitee akka bofaa biyyee arraabdee yoo ol kaatu, akkasumatti wacnee dhiifna moo tarsiimoo qabsoo haaraa wayiitiin gad baanee dheebuu bilisummaa ummata keenya baafna? Gaaffilee kana qaamonni ‘humnoota siyaasaa’ Oromoo ofiin jedhan of gaafachuu qabu. Warri jaaramee jiru waliin hojjechuu ni dandeenya moo hin dandeenyu jedhaa wal gaafadhaa. Waliin haasawuu fi waliin deemuu hin dandeessan taanaan maqaa qabsoo lafa kaayaatii jireenya mataa keessanii jiraadhaa. Ummanni isin eega, isinis qilleensuma irratti jirra jirra ofiin jettu, lafa irratti garuu hin mul’atani, gidduutti kan bu’aa hangana hin jedhamne hammaarrachaa jiru diina keenya.

Wayyaaneen mormii lafa raasu waggaa tokkoo san irraa dandamattee tuffii isii itti fufuu kan dandeesse hanqina keenyaan malee jabina mataa ishiin miti. Keessoon jaarmayummaa siyaasaa Oromoo baay’ee dheedhii dha. Corqaa dha. Bakka ummanni keenya gahe gahuufuu fagoo jira. Wayyaanee kan lubbuu itti hores isa kana. Ummanni yoomuu mirga isaaf ni falmata. Garuu jaarmayaa siyaasaa jabaa kan tarsiimoo jabaadhaan isa hogganu hin qabu taanaan maayyii irratti irbaata diinaa taha. Wayyaaneen bulchiinsa Komaand Poostii labsuu ishii dura ibsoonni dhaabonni siyaasaa Oromoo tokko tokko baasaa turan sirnichaaf gargaarsa guddaa godhe. Jaarmayoonni siyaasaa Oromoo walii isaanii gidduutti wal dorgoommii diigaa godhan irraa kan ka’e ‘qabsoo biyya keessaa deemaa jiru natu hogganaa jira’ jedhanii miidiyaatti bahanii labsuun ummata keenya rukuchiise malee bu’aa Oromoofis tahee jaarmayaa sanaaf fide homaa hin qabu. Diraamaa Wayyaaneen ‘ABO fi Masriitu na goolaa jira’ jettee hojjetatteef karaa bane. Diraamaa kanaan qabdees labsa yeroo muddamaa baafatte. Bulchiinsa waraanaa ‘Comand Post’ jedhamu Oromoo irratti labsitee haleellaa abbaa irrummaa kan durattuu raaw’achaa turte seerawaa godhachuuf ittiin gargaaramte. Dheedhummaan siyaasaa keenyaa balaa kana fakkaatu nu mude.

Gara fuulduraas of keessa deebinee hanqina keenya hin guuttannu taanaa, dogoggora keenya irraa hin barannu taanaan, akka qara eebootti qeeqa sodaachuu dhiifnee wal hin dhageeffannu taanaan, ego keenya of duuba goonee sabichaaf waa hojjechuu qofa irratti wal hin dorgoomnu taanaan salphinni kana caalu itti fufuun gaaffii hin qabu. Laafina keenya irraa barannee qaama laafinaa san jabinatti jijjiirrachuu dandeenyaan garuu ni injifanna. Yoo san gochuu hin dandeenye ammoo dhiiga ummanni keenya bilisummaa isaaf dhangalaasaa jiru dhiiga saree gochuu manna Oromoon akka furmaata barbaaddattu itti himnee karaa irraa maquu dha. Dhaamsi kun warra tuqata siyaasaa Oromoo qabu kan matayyaas tahee gurmuudhaan gumaachaa jirra jedhan maraaf tahuu qaba.

Sabni keenya ni injifata!