Wednesday, July 30, 2008

‘The Wheels of Justice Grind Slowly but They do Grind’ - The Case of Nuro Dedefo

Blogger's notes: The following piece was sent by a member of the Asmara Group of the OLF. S/He writes, "The Oromo public's right to be informed about the conduct of public figures far outweighs any concern you may have about Obbo Nuuroo's privacy. Also, the evidences are all there for everyone to check them out. Please post." The blogger agrees with the sender in this case. Except for replacing "OLF" with "[the Asmara Group of] OLF" to distingush this group from other OLF factions, the piece is posted as is. Obbo Nuro Dedefo is encouraged to respond in the interset of the Oromo public's right to balanced information.

Here you go.

‘The Wheels of Justice Grind Slowly but They do Grind’ - The Case of Nuro Dedefo

By Observer, July 2008

The wheels of justice turn slowly but they do turn surely and have finally caught up with Nuro Dedefo. On July 17, 2008, the indefinite suspension of his license to practice law in the state of MN was upheld by the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota. A couple of days later, he was suspended from his position as head of the USA chapter of the Oromo Liberation front (OLF).

What is going on? How can a lawyer, a one-time community leader and a political activist – a public person by any measure - run afoul of the law so much so that he is slapped by two separate and independent suspensions in one month by no less authority than the supreme court of Minnesota and [the Asmara group of] OLF?

Four factors make Nuro Dedefo a public person, at least in the Oromo context, and therefore public scrutiny of his behavior a public interest.

First, he had served as chairman of the board of directors of Oromo community of MN - the largest in its kind the Diaspora – for many years. Second, he has served (incompetently, some would argue) the [the Asmara Group of] OLF - the largest and oldest of Oromo political organizations – in various capacities for many years. Thirdly, and most recently, he chaired the USA chapter of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF - the largest and most influential chapter of all [the Asmara Group of] OLF chapters – for the last two years. Fourthly, he has been practicing law in the state of MN since 2002 during which he represented many Oromo individuals including himself (incompetently, according to the supreme court of Mn) and has dragged many more through the court system on frivolous [lawsuits].

As a former community leader, a former [the Asmara Group of] OLF officer and a former practicing lawyer, Nuro Dedefo is as public a person as one can be in the Oromo Diaspora which justifies this public scrutiny of his behavior.

When a man of his stature runs afoul of the law to that degree, he drags in the mud the name of the community of which he was once the face; it reflects badly on the political organization in which he held various positions of authority and the law profession itself, reaching well beyond the confines of the Oromo Diaspora.

Nuro Dedefo has broken almost every rule in Lawyers’ professional conduct book.

From abusing his wife, to incompetent representation, to “knowingly offering false evidence”, to misappropriating client funds, to obstructing justice, to engaging in harassing and frivolous litigations – you name it, Nuro Dedefo has broken it.

After hearing and considering Nuro’s appeal of a referee decision [to suspend his license indefinitely], the supreme court of MN decided that:

“Clear and convincing evidence supports the referee’s conclusions that respondent [Nuro Dedefo] failed to provide competent representation of himself, filed a false affidavit, and obstructed an opposing party’s access to relevant evidence.

Indefinite suspension is appropriate when a respondent fails to maintain required trust account books and records, commingles personal and client funds, improperly disburses client trust funds, knowingly files a false affidavit, obstructs an opposing party’s access to relevant evidence, and engages in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.” (Supreme Court of Minnesota, July 17, 2008)

In this time of political turmoil in the Oromo Diaspora, you may suspect that I am slandering him for political or other reasons. Absolutely NOT! I am only communicating to you the decisions of the Supreme Court of Minnesota; a body far removed from Oromo politics. Full text of the court’s decision can be found HERE. Another good reference on Nuro’s accomplishments as a lawyer can be found HERE .

Traditional virtues like trustworthiness, honesty and personal integrity are the hallmarks of the lawyer. These are professional obligations of those granted the privilege to practice law everywhere. Persons lacking such attributes are disgrace to any profession and even more so to the profession of law.

On July 19, 2008, as the chairman of the USA chapter of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF, Nuro Dedefo was slapped with a separate and unrelated suspension from the [the Asmara Group of] OLF for refusing to comply with organizational policies and working diligently to “spread anarchism” among members of the chapter. According to the suspension letter signed by Dr. Fido Ebba, Head of Foreign Affairs of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF, Nuro Dedefo and the committee of five he led committed a plethora of violations of [the Asmara Group of] OLF rules and regulations, including insubordination.

Among the eleven (11) points listed in that letter are,

  1. Refusing to implement recommendations of an investigative body composed of members of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF National Council and instituted by the [the Asmara Group of] OLF Executive Committee;
  2. Obstructing the organization’s Cadre training program in the USA;
  3. Refusing to report list of [the Asmara Group of] OLF members in the USA to the organization’s higher authorities;
  4. Refusing to work with a new sub-chapter organized in Philadelphia, PA, as a result of which the sub-chapter disbanded and its members dispersed;
  5. Failure to communicate to members and implement policies of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF with which Nuro and his group disagreed but other chapters of the organization communicated to their members and implemented without reservation;
  6. Refusing to recognize and work with two other sub-chapters formed in MPLS despite direct orders from the Foreign affairs department, the Executive Committee and the Rules and Regulations Monitoring Committee of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF;
  7. Licking confidential documents of the organization to the media; and many more violations ….

In other words, over the last two years, Nuro and his team engaged in repeated outright insubordination and hindering the organization’s work in the USA.

What is more concerning is that many around him are not surprised by these turn of events. Asked to comment on the issue, an [the Asmara Group of] OLF member in MPLS, Mn said, “I have known Nuro for the last six years. I wish I could say I am surprised or even shocked. The truth of the matter is, I am not. Sadly, Nuro has always considered himself the ultimate authority on rules and regulations of the organization and an infallible one at that. In his eyes, the rest of us are imbeciles when it comes to interpreting them. Some of us who questioned his actions have been given many disparaging labels by him and his group. I don’t know how he lasted this long in the law profession but I know he was able remain in and cause so much damage to the [the Asmara Group of] OLF because the organization is very lax at enforcing its rules and regulations.”

Two different systems of justice whose wheels turn at different speeds, arrived at Nuro Dedefo’s door steps in two days interval. They do grind slowly alright, but grind, they do.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Qubee as an instrument of Oromo struggle for self-determination

The historicity of the development of Qubee

By Leenjiso Horoo

First and foremost, it is fair to sketch the long journey in its historical development. In its development, it has gone through numerous transformations in time. To properly understand its journey, its development has to be narrated backwards in time. For this reason, its development, its context, its use and its political implications should be historicized.

The development of Oromiffaa had been hindered by Abyssinian occupation of Oromiyaa. Hence for a long time, Oromiffaa had remained as a spoken language. Because of colonial occupation, the Abyssinians made it illegal and forbidden to write in Oromiffaa in any script, including in Sabean script. The early writing in the Oromo language began almost two centuries ago. It is the conquest of Oromiyaa by Abyssinia that interrupted its development into full-fledged writing instrument. Of the earliest writing was vocabulary of Oromo language in 1842 in Latin script by J. Ludwig Krapf, a German national. In 1899, Abba Onesimos Nasib (aka Abbaa Gammachiis) translated the Holy Bible into the Oromo language using Sabean script. In 1935, M. Mario Moreno, an Italian national wrote dictionary of Oromo language using the Latin script. In 1939, P. Gaetino da Thiene, a Catholic priest also wrote a dictionary of Oromo language in the Latin script. Between 1948 and 1953, Sheikh Bakeri developed a new script. All of these significantly contributed to the search for Qubee.

The final breakthrough in the search for script for the Oromo language came towards the middle of 1960s and the beginning of 1970s, with a phonetic study of the Oromo language made by Dr. Haile Fida, a brilliant Oromo scholar. Out of this study was produced an Oromo grammar book in Latin alphabet entitled, “Hirmaatadubbii Afaan Oromoo” in 1973. with Qubee and Oromo language grammatical rules such as long and short vowels - a single consonant for soft or double consonants for emphasis or stress of word – and more rules were published in Qubee and Afaan Oromoo. “Hirmaatadubbii Afaan Oromoo” was republished in 1979. This is the first systematically presented grammar book in Afaan Oromoo or Oromiffaa, written by an Oromo individual using Qubee.

This phase of Qubee in its context and use drew upon political implication. This is the Qubee known to us today. Later in 1970s, the OLF adopted it as Oromo alphabet. It was this Qubee that fundamentally changed the way the Oromo look at their own language. For the first time, Oromiffaa was transformed from a spoken language to a written language. Ever since, it has become as an instrument of struggle in the Oromo’s quest for independence. As the OLF entered Finfinee in 1991 and Obboo Ibsaa Guutamaa became Minister of Education for Transitional Government from 1991 to 1992, the implementation and its practical application officially began. Obboo Ibsaa Guutamaa single-handedly, as Minister of Education, made Qubee to reach every Oromo schools in every corners of Oromiyaa as official alphabet of teaching and work. That is, millions of teaching books were published and millions of Oromo children were taught in it. Indeed, Qubee brought the irreversible conflict between Ethiopia and Oromiyaa. It may sound clich├ęd, but the plain truth is Qubee would not have been possible as a living Qubee today without the work of Dr. Haile Fida and its adaptation by the OLF and without Obboo Ibsaa Guutama becoming Minister of education to implement it in that shortest period of time.

In the development of Qubee, in 1982, Gene B. Gragg and Tarfa Kumsa, published Oromo Dictionary. Dr. Tilahun Gamta published Oromo-English Dictionary (1989) and Comprehensive Oromo-English Dictionary (2004), among many of his previous others writings. Dr. Tilahun Gamta is the most recognized prominent Oromo scholar and educator who pushed Qubee to its height not only as instrument of instruction, but also as instrument of political struggle. When the Oromos talk about Qubee, Dr. Tilahun Gamta comes to every Oromo’s mind. He stands the tallest among his peers. Because of his commitment and persistent and tireless work and campaign, Qubee is now what it is today. And Obboo Ahimad Muudee published English-Oromo Dictionary (1995). Obboo Abiyyuu Galataa published Galma Afaan Oromoo (1996). Obboo Ibsaa Guutamaa published Special Oromo Dictionary (2004). For this, the Oromo are grateful and indebted to the late Dr. Haile Fida, Obboo Ibsaa Guutamaa, Dr. Tilahun Gamta and Obboo Ahimad Muddee and Obboo Abiyyuu Galataa for their uniquely special contribution to the growth and development of Qubee and its practical implementation in making it a living Qubee. They are rightly the founding fathers of Qubee Oromo. Their works enabled the birth of the “Qubee generation” as we know it today. It is from the above historical development of Qubee that the Qubee Generation was born.

The Qubee Generation

Understanding what is meant by the “Qubee generation” is not complex. Simply, the “Qubee Generation” is a new generation in the Oromo struggle that has came into being since 1991 with the adaptation of Qubee, a Latin alphabet, as Oromo’s writing script and thereafter. By Qubee Generation we mean the Oromo youth generation that have been born and grew since 1991 with the idea of struggle for the liberation, independence and sovereignty of Oromiyaa and a generation that has been taught in Qubee, in the Oromo school system. It is a generation that is not adulterated with Ethiopian political outlook. It is a generation that is not hostage to Ethiopian colonial empire’s policy of Oromo divide and rule. In that sense, it is a new generation that refused to accept Ethiopia, Ethiopianism, and Ethiopia’s institutions, its laws and constitution. The Qubee Generation is a new generation that sees Oromiyaa and its people with Oromo eyes; a generation that believes in truth and justice of the Oromo cause. It is a generation that has unbounded faith in the independence of Oromiyaa as those Oromo nationalists who had paid the ultimate price in lives in the struggle for the liberation of Oromiyaa and as those who are still in this struggle despite the obstacles posed by the alliance of internal and external enemy forces.

First and foremost, this generation is different from its predecessor generation, the generation of the Darg era. Their difference is fundamentally profound. The Darg era generation was raised as Ethiopians; taught as Ethiopians in Abyssinian political outlook and prepared for Ethiopia. In this way, to make them loyal to the empire, Darg had imprinted a political servitude on the characters of its era generation. It is for this reason, the Darg era Oromo generation has irretrievably failed to distinguish and understand the difference between democratization of Ethiopia and the independence of Oromiyaa.

As political difference sprouted within the OLF between pro independence of Oromiyaa and pro Ethiopian democratization faction, the Darg era generation overwhelmingly took side in favor of pro Ethiopian democratization. And so the Darg era generation supported Shanee [the Asmara Group], the pro Ethiopian democratization faction and went along with it and its political platform against the platform of the independence of Oromiyaa. Oromo nationalism or patriotism has not deeply ingrained in this Darg era Oromo generation; whereas it has irrevocably penetrated and instilled in the minds of the Qubee generation. This Qubee generation is raised as Oromo, taught as Oromo and prepared for Oromiyaa. This generation is raised in the spirit of struggle for independence of Oromiyaa and of its ‘bilisummaa’ whereas the Darg era generation were raised in the spirit of Ethiopian unity. It is for this the Qubee generation has been called the future of Oromiyaa and its people.

To reiterate what have been said above, despite the loyalty of capitulationists to Ethiopia, the Oromo are not loyal to Ethiopia; they have never been; they will never be. Their sacred loyalty is to Oromiyaa, their own country. The Abyssinians perfectly know this. It is by knowing this truth the successive Ethiopian empire rulers and their supporters coined a phrase that says, “Gaallaan maaman kamootee bichaa naw” which literally means to trust Oromo is only after his/her death. Later on, as time went by, they realized the political implication of this phrase and so they rephrased it as “sawuun maaman kamootee bichaa naw”, which means to trust a man is onlyafter his death. Since the last century to date, this has been Abyssinians’ long-standing policy towards Oromo. The Abyssinians believe that the Oromo are the threat to Ethiopian empire, the empire they build. That is rightly so.

In Abyssinian political view, even the most loyalist Oromo, as loyalist as Goobana Daacee and Habte Giorgis Qusees Dinagdee were considered as an eventual threat. For this, the Abyssinians see Oromo with skepticism and suspicion. It was because of this, Goobana Daacee, the man who helped Abyssinia to colonize his own country and Fit Habte Giorgis Dinagdee, the man who skillfully helped Menelik to rule the newly created empire were eventually poisoned to death. Throughout the history of this empire, all Oromo nationals who had made alliance with Abyssinians and served them and their empire with distinction and in good faith were dishonored, and discarded, and finally murdered. And if history is any guide, the new collaborators too will face the same destiny, the same fate that their predecessors like Gobanaa Daaccee and the rest had faced.


Have your say.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Diaspora Based New Collaborators

By Leenjisoo Horoo

In a national struggle, real nationalists clearly understand that the journey in the national struggle is as important as the destination itself. The journey ends when it reaches its destination. In the life of the journey, the nationalists understand that the struggle can run into bumps, curves, turning and twisting points and into mountaintops and valleys. In the process there are bruises and wounds. The Diaspora new collaborators are these bumps; their goals are to cause bruises, and wounds to the Oromo struggle in this journey of national struggle. It is with understanding of these; nationalists equally focus both on the journey and the destination itself.

Now, it is proper to examine the actions of the Diaspora based opportunists. And it is time to show their danger to the Oromo struggle. For years, we talked about the purpose of “Agenda for Peace”, about “Democratization of Ethiopian Empire”, and about “Regional Government of Oromiyaa”, -- a “government” formed by the colonial authorities as its subordinate in controlling Oromiyaa , as a dangerous scheme created to impede the struggle for independence of Oromiyaa. We now know their purposes have been to embattle and siege the Oromo struggle. Here the purpose is not to talk about them. The purpose is to say few things about the new collaborators that came into existence in 2006. In the year 2006, the colonial regime and its agent cleverly devised a new system to lure some Oromo nationals in the Diaspora into collaboration. The system goes by the name of “Developing Oromiyaa” or by the name of creating “Little Minnesota in Oromiyaa”. The participants in this schemed plan are the Oromo nationals, who were known for years, as the “honorary” bystanders or “honorary” nationalists, only in good times. In bad times, when they perceive that the national struggle is weak or in stagnation, or when the struggle faces a setback, they turn into monster and begin biting their own country, and their own people. These are individuals who are always ready, always willing and able to betray their country and people to advance their own financial and political craves. This is what is taking place in Oromiyaa today.

Today in the name of “developing Oromiyaa” and in the name of creating “Little Minnesota in Oromiyaa”, some Oromo Diaspora turncoats (gantuus) are also in alliance with the occupation army and its agents of Oromo descent, the OPDO. They are helping the colonizer in expunging our people from their lands and their homes. Then they turn around and buy those lands and homes. In this way, these national traitors are fattening the coffer of the colonizer and its local agents of Oromo descent. They are a newly created army of Abyssinia within Oromo nationals in the Diaspora. This means the Abyssinians and its agents of Oromo descent have been luring these individuals and groups with the promised of lands, business investments, and political positions if they avoid joining or supporting the Oromo struggle. Throughout the occupation of Oromiyaa to date, successive Abyssinian regimes have been using Oromo opportunists and collaborators to help Abyssinia to seize Oromo lands, to decimate Oromo institutions, to humiliate the Oromo, to cause the Oromo pain, to torment the Oromo, and to torture and kill Oromo and the rest of the colonized peoples in the empire. These opportunists are collaborating with their people’s enemies in order to accelerate their personal gains.

In their collaboration, they sanctify barbarism, cruelty, repression, and violence that Wayyaanee has been inflicting on the Oromo people and on their resources. By using the colonial regime and its agents, the Diaspora based collaborators are snatching, robbing, and looting the Oromo lands by expunging the Oromo people from their lands. These actions are very rampant in and around Finfinnee, Haqaaqii, Bushooftuu, Adaamaa, and Shaashamannee and in and around all major cities of Oromiyaa. Oromo are losing their lands, their homes, and their possessions to the Diaspora Oromo, those Oromo who are collaborating with the colonial regime and its agents of the Oromo descent. These Oromo individuals are untroubled and unconcerned by the torture, the brutality, the cruelty inflicted upon the Oromo people by the colonial Wayyaanee regime and its Oromo collaborators, the OPDO. They are untroubled when the colonizer razed the Oromo villages; when it turned Oromiyaa into concentration camps and torture centers and when hundreds of thousands of the Oromo nationals are confined and tortured in these torture centers. These collaborators are not bothered when Oromo nationals are ganged into prison cells. These opportunists are not bothered when their countrymen, women and children are displaced, disappeared, tortured, maimed, and killed. They are not concerned, not troubled, and not bothered when they take Oromo lands and homes for themselves. They are not bothered when they sell these lands and make profit on them. And yet they happily chase the lands to snatch from the Oromo people with the help of the prisoners of war, the OPDO. For their harmful action against their people, they do not show human concern. The capitulationists are harming our people. They have no feelings, no emotions, and no remorse for the harm they caused to our people. This is a sink to barbarity, a moral abdication. They failed to learn from what had happened to Goobanaa Daaccee. Goobanaa Daaccee was an Oromo, as these new collaborators. He sold out his country and allowed the colonizer to massacre his countrymen, women, and children for political power and for financial benefits, and yet despite this he too was finally consumed by the same Abyssinians that he helped. This will be the fate and the destiny that all collaborators including the Diaspora ones eventually will face.

Again there are other groups in the waiting in the closet. These groups’ have been taking back seat or have been sitting on the sidelines gleefully watching which argument wins the day. They give blind eyes to the Oromo struggle. And as the political debate between pro-independence of Oromiyaa and pro-Ethiopian democratization gets heated, this group looks the other way in waiting to where the political winds below. They seek to ride a political wind that benefits them. These groups, talk about liberation and about independence of Oromiyaa only in private, but they avoid public; they avoid being in organization and they avoid to help financially and politically. And they avoid commitment to the national cause, their people’s cause. These group not only afraid of Amaaraas, or Tigress, or Oromo, but they are also afraid of their own shadows.

Opportunists in their mirrors

The opportunist’s mirrors are surrender, betrayal, and unprincipled compromise. Their mirrors are betrayal of the ideals of national liberation struggle and the aspiration of the Oromo people for self-determination. Opportunists seize opportunities given to them by the enemy of their people’s struggle and then hope for gains of their opportunistic positioning to outweigh the costs of their betrayal. The opportunists are obscurantist. Their work is to obscure, to twist, pervert, distort and retard the national struggle for independence. To do this, they wear different masks. Some wear the masks of religion. And others wear the masks of region. And others wear both. Opportunists are those who are trapped within the confines of localism and unable to see the big picture, the whole nation and the whole country. Politically, socially, and ideologically, they are disconnected from their fellow countrymen and women. Their particular characters are, they appeal to provincialism, localism, and one’s own clan so as to divide their own fellow countrymen and women. They plunge members into chaos of conflicts in an attempt to factionalize the Oromo nationals. They eclectically select a few facts in Oromiyaa regional and local diversities, and then treat these diversities as irreconcilable difference so as to dismiss the historical, political, cultural, and the national unity of our people that made the Oromo people proud and glorious in history. In this way, they poison civic and political discourses and political debates. In essence, their attacks are directed at the very core of the struggle for the independence of Oromiya and on the Oromo national characteristics.

The opportunists discard, abandon and impede the struggle for the independence of Oromiyaa and yet to hide their true color from the public, they dress up as nationalists, talk as nationalists and as patriots. Their purpose is to serve the colonizer in order to be rewarded with material benefit in return. As their predecessors, these groups too are participating in the rape, blunder, and pillaging of Oromiyaa with aide of the colonial regime and its local agent of Oromo descent, the OPDO. They are fortune seeking opportunist Oromo nationals in the Diaspora running back and forth between Ethiopian empire and Diaspora areas. They are groups and individuals bought off by the colonial regime with the promise of giving them the Oromo land. Today, many Oromo nationals in the Diaspora are flooding Oromiyaa to buy the lands that the colonial regime confiscated from the Oromo people. In their ambitious quest for Oromo lands, they allied with the occupier of Oromiyaa.

They go to the colonial authorities and tell them that their hands are clean from Oromo political and armed struggle. They swear in the name of Ethiopia, telling the colonial authorities that they do not support the independence of Oromiyaa. Hence to convince the colonial regime, these pacifists sanctify the rape, the murder, the torture, the repression, the persecution, the blunder and pillaging of Oromiyaa and the Oromo people by the colonial regime. Some of them dressed up in the phrase “Little Minnesota in Oromiya” as a passport to the resources of Oromiyaa or as a means to exploit the Oromo people and take their land. And others are dressed up in the language, “Gadaan Gadaa Bilisummaa ti”. Literally it means the decade is a decade of liberation. And yet, they fight “bilisummaa” or liberation in the name of liberation, the “liberation” they coined in their platform, the Ethiopian democratization. For them, liberation means Ethiopian empire democratization. It is a twisted logic to claim to democratize a colonial state. These groups are captives of irrationality. They do not have confidence in the ability, and wisdom of their people. They trust the colonizer and its agent within Oromo ranks and other external forces. Oromo nationalism has left them; patriotism has departed them, and they are replaced with pacifism and surrender. They are politically incoherent and ideologically fragmented groups. Opportunists love to shake the hands of colonizer, in the name of business, the hands that soaked with the blood of innocent Oromo nationals that it murdered. They love to shake for their personal benefit the hands of those Oromo nationals who have been aiding and abetting in the crimes against Oromiyaa and its people. Opportunists’ motivational driving force is a pursuit of their personal greed and self-interest at the great cost and harm to their people and their cause.

These are the identifying characters of the opportunists and so those of the Oromo opportunists.



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