May 28, 2013 at 9:00 am · Gadaa.com
I read the letter written in Amharic and posted on the Habesha website:http://www.zehabesha.com/amharic/archives/3573 on 05/24/2013 by Dr. Fikre Tolossa to Dr. Beyan Asoba. In his letter, Dr. Fikre narrates the role Oromo played in Ethiopian history and argues for the unity of the country. He also suggested treasuring and using the old Ethiopian flag. Moreover, he suggested replacing the Latin alphabet with the Ge’ez (Sabean) alphabet. He further accused parties and people who struggled for Oromo’s right and freedom for causing identity crises on the Oromo people. He advised to reject the “narrow and small” Oromia and rather live in the larger Ethiopia.
I haven’t read much about Dr. Fikre, but I would like to appreciate his attempt to bring to light the role Oromos played in Ethiopia. However, although I recognize and respect Dr. Fikre’s right to express his views, I also disagree with many of his arguments.
First, we read Dr. Fikre’s claims about the role of Oromo in Ethiopian history on a simple letter, not on academic paper, and we are not sure about its authenticity. Even if it is authentic and true, he wrote the letter to Dr. Beyan Asoba and urged him to take his stand against what the Oromos have been dying for for more than a century. We love and respect Dr. Beyan Asoba and other Oromo sons and daughters for their contribution in the struggle for freedom of Oromia. However, in my opinion, Dr. Fikre is wrong to think that Dr. Beyan can decide on the fate and destiny of the Oromo people and Oromia. Dr. Beyan, or any Oromo leader, cannot be Meles Zenawi or any dictator who decides on the fate of the Oromo people. Dear Dr. Fikre, I would like you to understand that the Oromo struggle is not guided by individuals, or groups, but by kaayyoo which cannot be twisted or manipulated by any individual or group. Period!
I also reject his argument that Oromos should live with other Ethiopians simply because they had a role in Ethiopian history. In his claims Dr. Fikire assumes that history alone can be a factor on political decision. What about culture, language, and philosophy among other things? I have this simple question for Dr. Fikre and others who might share his idea: Do I or any Oromo need to support UJD because Dr. Negasso Gidada is their chairperson at present? I think Dr. Fikire and his likes don’t understand the depth and width of the Oromo struggle.
Dr. Fikre also asked to use Ethiopian flag, the banner that does not make any sense to the Oromo people. We remember that this banner was hoisted on the soils of Oromia after the Oromo people lost their land to the Habesha invaders. Dr. Fikre himself mentioned that the original flag was green, yellow and blue. But the blue color was later replaced by red. But he found it easier to ask Dr. Beyan and his newly found party to adopt the present Ethiopian flag than to ask why the original blue color was replaced by red in the first place. I don’t know how old Dr. Fikre is, but even my uneducated father in one of the remote villages of Oromia understands that behind the green, yellow and red colored present Ethiopian flag are hidden hands that amputated Oromos and let their blood flow on the ground. He well understands that the killers of our Oromo brothers and sisters are heroes of our enemies.
Dr. Fikre also suggested the use of Ge’ez instead of the Latin alphabet. But he did not give us any linguistic and phonological evidence that suggest Ge’ez expresses Afan Oromo better than the Latin alphabet. It was attempted, but our scholars concluded that Ge’ez is not sophisticated enough to be used in Afan Oromo. There is plethora of evidences that suggest Ge’ez has limitations even to be used for Amharic and Tigrigna, let alone for Afan Oromo. So, I would like to advice Dr. Fikre not to make such sterile claim about the candidacy of the Ge’ez alphabet. Reading a little bit of phonetics and phonology might help.
Dr. Fikre, you also accused Oromo forces for creating “identity crises” among the Oromo people. Really?! This is ridiculous. I don’t want to say much on this, but I invite you to do a simple survey on Oromos’ attitude about their identity. Today, Oromos say “I’m an Oromo” loudly and comfortably more than anyone in Ethiopia. Unlike some who like to hide their identities under the shadow of “Ethiopians,” Oromos are happy more than ever to say who they are.
Dr. Fikre also misspelled the name of Dr. Beyan Asoba as “Bayyaanaa Subaa” and tried to define it. Dr. Beyan himself can better explain his name and what it means. But if what Dr. Fikre said about the name is based on this wrong spelling, how can we possibly trust about his other claims? I would like to ask Oromo historians and politicians to write and explain the kaayyoo and what Oromo struggle stands for to people like Dr. Fikre Tolossa and others.
Victory for the Oromo People
* Baran Bahan: firstname.lastname@example.org