Posted: Amajjii/January 20, 2014 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com |
By Jamal Abdulkarim Hassan*
My aim is to create a strong unity that promotes a truly democratic society, not only within the Oromo people, but also throughout the African continent in my lifetime. True democracy promotes free speech! The purpose of free speech is to communicate freely without interference from anyone, including governments and other officials. Democratic societies promote educational and economic stability. In such a society, individuals are free to speak their minds and are able to criticize, not only the ones who have power, but the government as a whole in order to promote unity. As some of us know a famous Oromo proverb, “Dhalooni nama hundi walqixumaadhaan dhalate gaafa dhalte” (every one of us came into the world as a free individual – a status which we earned from God). This means, every person has a God-given right to speak freely. To me, freedom is the ability to live according to how one feels while also respecting others, following God’s and societal laws, while not fearing those in power. God gave us lives and liberty – the liberty to speak our minds and live freely accordingly.
The Oromo people cherish the Gadaa-System of living. The GadaaSystem includes everything that I have mentioned above, and even more when it comes to democracy and individual rights. According to my understanding, traditionally, the Gadaa System does not discriminate against anyone from enjoying their rights based on their religions, political views, tribal associations, or racial and gender differences. Under theGadaa-System of living, everyone is equal and has full access to their own rights of living regardless of differences. Since we, the Oromo, lost theGadaa democratic system of living, our enemies have been studying, not only how to destroy the Oromo language and culture, but also how to create divisions amongst the Oromo people. Plans for creating divisions amongst the Oromo include, but not limited to, regional and religious differences.
Therefore, today for the sake of our own good, I am calling on my Oromo brothers and sisters to unite regardless of our regions and religious differences; we must stick together in order to bring back our Gadaa-System of living to the nation. Unless we create unity based on our common background, rather than pointing to our differences, there will not be educational and economical developments in Oromia. There will not be love, peace and happiness in the Oromo Land. There will always be hunger, HIV/AIDS, and genocide in our nation unless we as an Oromo nation come together and create strong unity despite our religious, political and regional differences.
Needless to mention, let’s remember what happened between Oromo groups in the 1990s because of our political differences! Though I was only a six-year-old boy at the time, I still remember those days as if it were yesterday; as my late grandfather would say, “Nama jechuun kan waan dabre iraa baratee fuula durati deemu yaadu gaarii hojachuuf!” (A great person is the one who learns from the past and goes forward to create greatness). Therefore, we must learn from the ugly past and move forward to create strong unity that promotes educational and economical developments in our nation. Without strong unity, there cannot be stability. I know this from the fact that I am aware of our own Oromo history and world history. There are no countries, nations, and even villages that have become free places for humanity without first joining or calling on one another for national unity (Waaliif galtumaa yokan tokkummaa). Those nations like the United States of America and other free Nations in the world were not born with it or have had it all the time, just like our own. More specifically, those free and freedom-loving nations like U.S. and United Kingdom, etc. had to suffer one another because of their racial, religious, and political differences until they had realized that unity would be the only way to become economically and educationally independent – which has made those developed nations today the wealthiest and freest nations of the world.
Whether you agree or not, I for sure know that we, the Oromo, have destroyed each other because of our political differences in 1990s, instead of celebrating our differences and leaning on our similarities to build strong national unity within us. Are we going to reflect on the past or keep repeating it? Are we are going to reflect on the corrupted history, learn from it and forgive one another in order to move forward? If the answer is ‘yes,’ are we going to come back and forgive one another in order to move forward to create the freed Oromo Land and bring back our Gadaa-System for the sake of today’s seeds and tomorrow’s leaders? The question is, when are we coming back to one another in order to forgive each other for whatever we have done in the past and celebrate our unity, fight with HIV/AIDS, poverty, and finally create national educational opportunities and wealth for our next Oromo generations? As we all know, today in the 21st century, our mother Oromia is the oldest nation in the world, yet the poorest one without unity. It is not because Oromia is poor by its nature; it’s rather because of our disagreements and finding our narrow differences to vilify our sisters and brothers. It is safe to say that we need unity rather than pointing to each other based on our political, religious and regional differences. No more open door for our enemies. It is my hope, we, of theQubee Generation, are much better equipped than our past leaders. Therefore, we are ready to celebrate the independence of Oromia soon with the power of the Qubee Generation.
From now on, we must know that we are one, say ‘no’ to opening the door for the enemies. Once up on a time, the fox said to herself: Jeedaloon waan jate ja’an, “Rabbiin Qeyransaafi leenca waliti haa kaasu, hanga isaan wal nyaatan ani re’eetiin nyaadha.” The moral of the story is that when we, Oromos, fight one another, the enemies celebrate the day. I have strong hope that our Qubee Generation is much better than this and learn from the past, more specifically from the mistakes of 1990s.
No matter what one may think, we should hope and work hard to build strong unity within the Oromo nation. I hope that, with hard work, we, of theQubee Generation, will bring the Gadaa-System back to Oromia for all nations and nationalities. If there is any, the conflict within us must stop by developing strong Oromo national unity. We, of the younger generation, must come together to celebrate our independence day in a short time. “Making mistake one time is not a crime, but repeating the same mistake is a big crime.” The moral of this quote is, we, of the Qubee Generation, must remember the chance we lost in 1990s because of a simple mistake that was made by our leaders. We must look at our brothers and sisters, who have been serving in Ethiopian prisons without committing any crime other than keeping their identity. We must remember our students, professors, politicians, civilians and religious leaders who lost their lives under Meles Zenawi, Minilik, Haile Selassie, etc. The desire of creating strong unity within the Oromo nation must begin within us, not from outside. We must look forward to create strong unity in order to prevent HIV/AIDS in Oromia and bring back the Gadaa-System to the Oromo Land, which gives full rights of living and freedom, not only for the Oromo people, but also for everyone else who lives in Oromia, including, Somali, Harari, Walayta, Kambata, Hadiaya, Tigrayan, Sidama, Gurage, Amhara, and the myriad of other oppressed peoples.
Oromia Shall Be Free!
* The author, Jamal Abdulkarim Hassan, is currently working towards a Doctoral Degree at the School of Health Science of the University of Nebraska; he is an alum of the University of Minnesota.