This last vestige of colonial empires is in the middle of preparations to celebrate its millennium with much pomp and ceremonies unparalleled in the empire’s history.
First, A look back in time...
In 1972, Haile Sellassie’s 80th birthday was celebrated amidst much pomp and ceremonies. While his entourage and cronies were busy congratulating him, unbeknownst to the world and even to the other parts of the empire, a large famine was devouring Wollo. Had it not been for Jonathan Dimbleby, the world would not have known the scope of the famine and the loss of life it caused. While Haile Sellasie’s subjects were starving, Haile Sellassie, his family and their cronies were busy lining up their pockets and stashing away millions of dollars in foreign banks. As a conquered indigenous nation, the Oromo were people without land relegated to serfdom for the conquistadors. Conquered and humiliated, their language, culture, music, art and every thing Oromo was ridiculed and languished under harsh suppression. This was the state of the Oromo nation and the empire when Haile Sellasie’s 80th birthday celebration came around.
Fast forward to 1984. Twelve years later, when the tyrant before this one - Mengistu Haile Mariam - celebrated his 10th anniversary of coming to power, with no less ostentatious display, another famine was ravaging the empire. Liberation struggles were raging in the east, west and north of the empire. Unconcerned and oblivious to the suffering of the people, just like their predecessors, Mengistu and his officials were busy enjoying life and accumulating wealth. Not much had changed for the Oromo people. Still a conquered and humiliated nation, they continued to toil the land but only this time for a different land lord – the DERG. “Disappearance,” incarceration, murder and torture visited those who dared to speak up in defense of their people’s rights. This was the state of the empire and the Oromo people when the DERG celebrated its 10th anniversary with a great deal of fanfare.
Fast forward to the Wayyanee era …
Today, another exercise in pomp and cermonies is in the making with no change in the Oromo situation.
Preparation is underway for a year long celebration of the Ethiopian millennium.
A millennium festival council, whose Members are hand picked TPLF cronies reporting directly to Meles Zenawi or Seyoum Mesfin, has been put together to oversee the preparation. The TPLF propaganda machine is hard at work round-the-clock trying to entice the habasha diaspora to join in the celebrations. International organizations, foreign governments, NGOs and wealthy individuals are urged to fund this extravagant celebration. As in the preceding two cases, today, the empire is awash with political conflicts. Grinding poverty has not loosened its grip on the people. Oblivious to the suffering around them, just like their counterparts in the previous regimes, TPLF officials are lining up their pockets and stashing away millions in foreign banks. They do so through EFFORT (Endowment Fund For Rehabilitation of Tigray), the vast business conglomerate, only second to Sheik Al-Amudi’s MIDROC (Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies) in the empire.
What of the Oromo situation?
The Oromo situation is no different today than it was under the previous two tyrants. Our people continue to “disappear”, be murdered and incarcerated for prolonged period of time for political reasons. Don't take my words for it; visit Oromia Support Group and other respected Human Rights advocates. Oromo children continue to grow up without fathers while their fathers are either murdered and buried 6 feet under or languishing in TPLF dungeons. Oromo resources continue to be taken advantage of to develop other regions – Tigray in this case.
Will the empire ever learn from history? You think? As an Oromo national would you have any part in this millennium celebration? Would you step over the bodies of our fallen heroes and heroines for a one night high?
Have your say!