Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Oromiya’s conquest and its problems in the eyes of history

By Leenjisoo Horo

It is now over 120 years, since Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia conquered Oromiya. In the war of conquest, over five million Oromos were slaughtered; limbs of young men, women and children were mutilated; hundreds of thousands of men and women were boiled alive. And Oromiya was turned into bloodbath. All in all, the genocide, destruction, and massacre that Ethiopia committed left mountains of human bones across Oromiya. Today, Aannolee and Calanqo standout as the witness to the crime committed. With the conquest, Oromiya fell under the yoke of Ethiopian colonial rule. And With this, the Oromo people lost their country, sovereignty, liberty, freedom and dignity.

Oftentimes, we ask ourselves as to how this great nation of ours that often referred to as “the Germans of Africa” allowed itself to be in this humiliating and tragic situation. We often seek to find answer this question outside Oromo. We tend to say, Europeans helped Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia. In this way, we often opt to blame someone else. We failed to seek the answer to the Oromo problems within Oromo. The reason is and has been to avoid taking responsibility. Here is the problem. Oromo laid condition for their own conquest and colonization. They not only created condition for their own defeat, but also participated on defeating themselves. Here is how. First, the division within leadership occurred. Second, that division weakened the Oromo institutions. And third, the enemy collaborators formed within the divided leadership. Then it was with the help, support and participation in the war of the Oromo collaborators that Menelik of Ethiopia was able to conquer and colonize Oromiya. So Menelik conquered Oromiya with the Oromo collaborators and again ruled the conquered Oromiya with their help. Following his footsteps, Emperor Haile Sillassie’s and Darg’s regimes made use of Oromo collaborators to administer the Ethiopian empire, and so now the Wayyanee’s regime.

Wayyanee has brought a reign of terror, massacre, death, and destruction to Oromiya through terrorism. It is a vicious, cruel, ruthless, and barbarian colonial regime. It has directed its henchmen to roundup Oromo villages, neighborhoods, and hamlets and gangs the residents to prison camps and to various prison centers. Throughout the occupation of Oromiya, no Oromo nationals have ever been imprisoned in so large number than under Wayyanee colonial regime. Too many Oromo nationals have been jailed. Because of this, there are shortages of prisons in Oromiya. As consequence of this, Schools in Oromiya haven been turned into prison camps instead of place for educating Oromo children. Today Oromiya is turned into prison camp.

In the prison camps, Wayyanee instructed its henchmen to beat, torment, torture, and brutalize the prisoners to extract information about the OLF. In the name of extracting information, Wayyanee has been committing atrocities and murder.

In addition, it has undertaken the rape and physical destruction of Oromiya, its lands, its forests, and its environment. Forests have been burned down. Trees have been cut down. Indeed, Wayyanee’s actions are clear and present danger to Oromiya and its people.

Wayyanee has undertaken the aforementioned heinous attacks on Oromiya and its people with aide and abet and partnership of Oromo collaborators. Initially, Wayyanee found the collaborators in the ranks of Oromo prisoners of war, those who were captured in Eritrea and Tigray. As strategy of control, Wayyanee waged a psychological war on its victims. It stripped off its victims of their national pride and dignity through humiliating, dehumanizing, shaming, and belittling them. Other collaborators were found in those freewheeling Oromo opportunists in the Diaspora. Then it brought the two together; dressed them in new outfit—in its own political line, and called them in a new name:” Oromo People’s Democratic Organization” abbreviated as “OPDO”. Hence, OPDO is Wayyanee’s creation and its puppet and protégé (maxxannee). It does not have independent political, organizational and functional existence.

Having successfully organized as its “maxxannee” and dressed it in its own political line, Wayyanee rode into Oromiya with OPDO. Once in Oromiya, Wayyanee clothed OPDO in a new costume, the “Regional government of Oromiya”, to give it an appearance of legality in order to confuse and mislead the public. In the name of “Regional government of Oromiya”, OPDO has been serving Wayyanee in multi dimensional ways:
1. To secure and safeguard Wayyanee’s interest in Oromiya: economic and political exploitation;
2. serves as security agent, as informant, and as spy;
3. Serves as police force for the colonial state police: to enforce wayyanee’s rules, laws and to carryout its orders;
4. Serves as prison gate keepers

In addition, again Wayyanee clandestinely recruited and organized opportunist Oromo nationals in the Diaspora, those who were ex-Darg party members, ex-Darg cadres, ex-Darg youths members, and ex-OPDO members who later infiltrated the OLF, the Oromo communities, the Oromo Churches, and other Oromo political organizations. Then Wayyanee dressed these recruits in new political costume and called them by a new name, the “investors”. These “investors” are the opportunists, the crooks and liars. They can do anything and say anything to grab any opportunity, they see fit them. They have been cooperating traitorously with the enemy of their people. These crooks and liars have become the new collaborators. In the name of “investment”, these crooks and liars have been hastily rushing to the Ethiopian empire to grab “the gold mine” in Oromiya. The gold mine being, the Oromo land, and Oromo homes from where Wayyanee and its puppet, the OPDO, evicted or forced out the Oromo nationals. The purpose is to make profit. And so they buy and resell those lands and homes. The so-called investors and OPDO are tightly interwoven by Wayyanee and in turn tightly controlled by Wayyanee.

OPDO and its Diaspora based new “maxxannee” - the so-called investors - were unable to convince the Oromo people to accept the sellouts of Oromiya’s independence. So, Wayyanee added a new limb to the two (i.e. to OPDO and “Investors”) in the name of “Council of Oromo elders”. The members of this limb were recruited from among professional Oromo individuals, those individuals who have been entrenched in the colonial social, political, and institutional structures and benefited the most from these structures. This “Council of Oromo elders” is tasked with activities of pacification and neutralization of Oromo nationals so as to cow them from supporting the struggle for independence of Oromiya. These individuals are the empire’s men; brought up in the mindset of the empire’s rulers; the empire’s existence heavily depends on the support of such individuals. Hence, the so-called Council of Oromo elders is a part of the nexus of illegal secret peace negotiation initiatives with the illegal colonial regime of Wayyanee to undermine the Oromo unity and the struggle for independence of Oromiya. In a bizarre twist, this “Council of Oromo elders” declared the colonial regime of Meles Zenawi, “our government”. Here one may wonder as to how a colonialist that illegally invaded and occupied ones country is taken as ones government. To declare the illegal occupier of Oromiya, “our government”, in the name of “Council of Oromo elders” has no logic to it. And indeed, it is illogical, irrational and immoral to so. This is simply an acceptance of occupation of Oromiya.

On the contrary, the OLF is a liberation front with a clear vision, a clear strategy and a clear method of operation. Its struggle is and has been for the independence of Oromiya. To this effect, the independence of Oromiya, its sovereignty, and the freedom, liberty and dignity of the Oromo people are inherently nonnegotiable.

In this struggle of ours, the OLF’s target is the Ethiopian empire, the empire under which Oromiya found itself. The OLF maintains that Ethiopia is an empire, and as all empires before it, it was born in blood and sins. And since its birth, it has been held together and maintained in blood and sins. Hence, there is no basis for an empire to be democratized. So as all empires before it, it has to disintegrate. In fact, no empire has ever been democratized in history. And so, it is a pious wish to expect the Ethiopian Empire to be democratized. It is for this, the OLF rejects a political campaign for Ethiopian empire democratization. In addition, it also opposes and rejects out of hand any alliance with any organization that does not recognize, support and respect the right of nations to self-determination, the Oromo nation included. Or it opposes any alliance with any organization whose political position or political program is in contradiction to the right of nations to self-determination. Here the OLF simply means by the term national self-determination that every nation has to have its own free, independent and sovereign state. Hence, national self-determination is a political question. Oromiya is a colony of Ethiopia and its question is a colonial question and the colonial question is a political question. And so, the answer to political question of a colonized people is political self-determination: the formation of free and sovereign independent state. Any alliance the OLF may make will depend on these conditions. It is for these, the OLF subscribes to the notion that we have, not permanent allies, but permanent interests. Among our interests is independence of Oromiya today and independence of Oromiya forever.

Finally, OLF believes that independence is neither a gift nor it is a free falling manna from the sky. It is an achievement of nationalists, an achievement in their blood and treasure. The achievement is an outcome of the unity of the nationalists and patriots. Here by uniting is meant, unity of purpose and goal on the basis of Kaayyoo, political line, Oromo nationalism (Oromummaa), tactics and strategy of the struggle. OLF was organized on principles. And so OLF has principles; it has strategies and it stands by them. Again OLF has policies; it has tactics to undertake. In the struggle, polices and tactics change but the principles and strategies endure; remain the same. The policies and tactics change only to strengthen the principles and strategies of the struggle, not to undermine, or undercut or weaken them.

In this struggle of ours, the OLF is not a parliament; it is a liberation front. So it is not organized as a parliament whose members are representatives of a certain constituents i.e. a region or province as in the case of senators or a county or district as congressmen or women. Nor it is organized on the basis of region or religion. It is not organized on the basis of quotas. OLF is liberation front as all liberation fronts before it. And so it is organized on the basis of political ideology of liberation, representing the whole nation and whole country. It’s political, organizational, and functional scope is national. Individuals join OLF as an individual Oromo nationalist or as an individual Oromo patriot but not as a representative of a region or religion nor as representative of a locality. Each individual becomes a member on the basis of accepting its political program, its political line, its ideological outlook, and its organizational structure. And in the organization, every political, diplomatic, and military position has to be earned, not assigned as a quota. Every member is evaluated by peers in the struggle. OLF, however, encourages, supports, and coordinates with any truly Oromo resistance against colonial regime and its Oromo puppet collaborators, at every level, be it at regional level or at local, village, hamlet, town and city level. But the recent split with the passion of localism, villagism, and regionalism while maintaining the name of the OLF is contrary to the spirit of nationalism, patriotism, national unity and national struggle.
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Leenjisoo Horo may be reached at



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