In our contemporary world, politicians are becoming synonymous with liars, deceivers, manipulators, hypocrites and corrupts. Hence, it is becoming very difficult to spot moral philosophy of politicians if they ever had one at all. The case of Ethiopians is even more troubling one as ‘right activists’ are not any different. In many nations, right activists, advocates of justice and equality are known to have clear demonstration of their moral philosophy. Ethiopian ‘right activists’, however, jump from one corner of ethical philosophy to the other in a speed of light. It is quite perplexing to see where people who have no principle of whatsoever stand in different time, place and conditions. Some people think that some ‘means’ are morally wrong when employed by ‘others’ and that same ‘means’ become automatically right when employed by themselves or their interest groups. Interestingly, the recent #NationalExamLeak exposed the paradox of morality in Ethiopian context. Let me go to the bottom of this saga.
National University entrance exam was leaked and distributed on social media via Oromo right activists who are based in diaspora. From Kantian point of view, this ‘action’ in itself and by itself is wrong. However, from Utilitarian point of view, the ultimate goal have to create the most happiness, and the least pain for the greatest number of people affected by this leak to be justified as morally right action. Let us see who stands where in this dichotomous view of morality on this exam leak issue.
From Oromo activists point of view, due to the political turmoil in Oromia region of Ethiopia for the last 6 months, Oromo students which account for at least 35% of the total population will be irreversibly harmed if the exam goes as planned. Students all over Oromia region were subjected to street shootings, enforced disappearances, psychological and physical tortures under fully armed military of Ethiopian regime for the last 6 months. There has not been a day they were not terrorized by security forces either at school or on their way home. Their school turned out to be the torture chamber. Literally, the trauma they have to endure daily didn’t allow them to focus on their study and prepare for the most crucial exam in their life. They have to think only if they could arrive home alive or not for at least half of the academic year. Therefore, forcing Oromo students to sit for this national exam for which they are unprepared equally with students of other Ethiopian regions who were well prepared without any distraction throughout the academic year amounts to killing the future of one Oromo generation. Let alone killing the future of one generation, killing the future of one person is morally wrong. Hence, this immoral act must be stopped by any means. The ‘means’ used has evolved over time up to this exam leak. First, students, parents and teachers expressed their complaint to local educational bureaus, regional authorities and federal ministry of education. Their demands are only three.
- Free all students who were imprisoned for no crime, but for practicing their democratic rights – the right to peaceful demonstration on issues that affect their future as enshrined in Ethiopian constitution.
- Extend the exam date so that students will get preparation time for this vital exam that determine their future.
- Facilitate tutorials to compensate for the lost time of the academic year during #OromoProtests.
Understandably, local authorities were not able to fulfill these demands. Then, a group of elders and elites were sent to regional authorities and ministry of education. It didn’t bear any fruit. Then activists decided to put collective external pressure on concerned authorities. The telephone numbers of authorities were distributed on social media and people were calling in mass so that their demands are heard and met. The authorities has ignored all these means and demands and vowed to continue with their immoral act of killing the future of one Oromo generation according to their time table. Therefore, it becomes the moral responsibility of Oromo utilitarians (teachers and diasporas combined) to invalidate the whole process so that the regime will be forced to hear the demands of Oromo people. Interestingly, it happened exactly as laid down by one prominent oromo activist named Girma Gutema who is based in Oslo University.
The national exam was successfully leaked and released on social media on the eve of the due date. On that same night, the minister of education audaciously appeared on national tv to falsify the leak as a mere wish of anti-piece elements and advised students to keep calm and sit for the exam. Surprisingly, that same minister has to appear on the national tv the next morning to admit that they lost the battle. The national exam is officially cancelled.
It is exactly after this success of Oromo activists that some prominent Ethiopianists like Professor Bedilu Wakjira and Mesfin Woldemariam, Dejene lake et al. turned out to be Kantians over night. They even dared to label those who helped in leaking this immoral exam as corrupts, inepts and merchants. Moreover, some has knowingly or unknowingly categorized and presented this patriotic act of stopping this immoral and unjust exam with a theft of billions of birr from sugar corporation, disappearances of 80 condominium residence blocks and all other forms of immoral and maladministration acts. What a bewilderment! What a disgrace!
Stopping the administration of this immoral and unfair exam cannot be immoral act by any standard of whatsoever except by the blinded ‘Kantians’ standard who have no problem if Oromo students future is ruined. It is rather an act of patriotic utilitarians who want to make the future of all Ethiopian students equally bright regardless of their ethnic background. As an educator, I know how essential Ethiopian University Entrance Exam is to over a quarter of million students who are supposed to sit for it. However, I prefer to take the blame for an hour long frustrated feeling of some students for the ultimate benefit of all than ruining the future of all the 35% Oromo students. That kind of irreversible generational harm is exactly what ‘the conditionally Kantian’ Ethiopianists and #TPLF sympathizers want to see. Note that the ‘conditionally Kantian’ Ethiopianists were the one who advocate to eradicate the #TPLF regime from the face of Ethiopian soil by all ‘means’ possible. This stand by itself will place them in Utilitarian category on the ‘means’ of #TPLF eradication. However, they pretend to be Kantian only when the ‘means’ that they never thought is successfully employed by others. That is the moment you learn that they have no moral principle or philosophy of whatsoever. Rather, you start to pity them for their inferiority complex just like #TPLF sympathizers regarding this particular exam leak.
Let me conclude this piece by one of the most influential quote of Socrates.
‘‘A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true’’
Thanks for taking your time🙂
1.Current situation in Ethiopia
2.Who are the Oromo people?
3.How Ethiopia mistreats Oromo People
4.What do Oromo People demand now?
5.Ethiopian regime response to these demands
6.What is special about the recent Oromo Protest?
7.Recounting few of the shocking stories from Oromia region of Ethiopia.
8.Urgent call to all direct/indirect actors
Sabni Oromoo Afrikaa keeessatti laakoofsaan guddaa, dinagdeefi humnaa siyaasaan xiqqaa ta’ee jiraachuun isaa hibboo hibboo caalu. Sabni kun nama barate dhabeeti akka hinjenne barnoota saayinsiifi teknoloojiin akkasumas hawaasummaatiin namootaa digrii lamaafi sana ol qaban kumaatamaan saba horateedha. Lafa gabbataafi qabeenya uumamaas heddu qaba. Maalire maal taanan jireenya gadadoo jiraata? Maaliif sabni bicuun itti taphata? Maal taanan harkaafi afaan waliin gayu dadhabee qamadii gargaarsaaf watwaata? Maaltu maal taanan haati ilmooshe sabbata hidhattee, rakkattee, boru naaf dabarsa jettee barsiifatte imimmaan facaasa awwaalti? Maaltu maal taanan dubartiin ulfaa ulfina dhabdee garaan ishee rasaasan reebamtee duuti? Maaliif qaroon Oromoo kumaatamaan kiyyoo diinaa keessatti kuftee, hiraaramaa mana hidhaati dhumti? Gaaffiin kuni hunduu anaaf hibboo turan. Hibboo hibboo caalu. Hardha garuu eegeen hibboo kanaa qabamee jira. Garuu akka laayyootti hinqabamne. Wareegama qaqqaalii heddutu itti kaffalame. Qabsaawonni kutatoon akka Ing.Tasfahun Camadaa, Aslan Hasan, Caala Baqqalaa, Asaffaa Damiseefi Oromoonni dhibbootan lakkawaman ru’ii bakka hinbuune itti kaffalan. Hibboon furmaata dhabee lubbuu qabsaawota Oromoo soorata ture kun bofa killee keessatti.
Lukkuun killee baay’ee dhaltu, kabiraas yoojala kaayan ittuma maktee haammatti. Hoo’ashee kenniteefi lubbuu itti horti. Diinni Oromoos akkasum nugodhe. Killee bofaa nukeessa buuse. Killeen nuti cuucii irraa eegnu bofa dhale. Bofti lubbuu ilmaan Oromoo sooratu kun qola killeesa caccabseeti gadii bayeera amma. Ijji gamnaa dura boochi akka jedhan warri killee bofaa nugidduu kaaye ittis fayyadamaa, irraas fayyadama ture garuu ‘fuulle ijaa keessani qulqulleessati, yeroo fudhadhaati ilaala, waanti kottee hinqabne, kan garaan lowu kunis cuuciidhuma bar’ jechuutti ka’an. Ajaa’iba! Eega yoomi cuucin yeroo feete akkasitti dheeratte, yeroo feetemmoo dhaqnashee ofiin martee, gundoo fakkaattee, mataashe balaarra ittiftee beekti? Laakki! Ammawoo nibaay’istan. Oromoon kana caala hingowwoomu. Hinsobamus.
Yeroo bofti keessan qaroo Oromoo nyaatu callisee ilaaluu hindanda’u. Oromummaatu nadirqa. Namummaatu nadirqa. Kanaaf gaaga’ama bofti keessan ammallee qaroo Oromoorran geessisuu malu hambisuun dirqama Oromoo hundaati. Kanaaf waanti kana gaditti barrawu hundi isinitti hadhaawus liqimsaati mala maladhaa. Daldala dhuunfa maqaa qabsoo Oromootin godhamus baraa.
- Girma Xuruna eenyu?
Namichi kun lixa Oromiyaa, godina Horro Guduruu aanaa Jaarte Jardagaa magaala Alibbootti dhalate. Maati harka qalleeyyirraa waan dhalateef suuqii Obbo Asfaw Fiqaaduu Goshu eegaafi isaan biratti barate. Haati isaa Aaddee Hortee jedhamti, fira hayyu duree ABO obbo Dawud ibsaa ta’uutu himama. Abbaan isaa sanyii amaara hojii xinqolaatiin beekame ta’uu jirattonni magaala Alibbo raga bayu. Eega guddattes yunivarsiiti haramayaa galuun Agricultural Engineering yogguu barataa turetti barattoota sabboontota Oromoo heddu GAAO (Gumii Aadaafi Afaan Oromoo) keessati hirmaacha turan nyaachisa akka ture miidhamtoonni raga bayu. Eega Haramayaadha eebbifamees maatisa gara finfinneetti fidachuun hojii basaastummarrati bobba’ee akka jiraatu ragaa heddutu jira. Akka fakkeenyaatti:
- Hojii mindaan isaa beekamu osoo hinqabaatiin konkolaata dhuunfaa Toyota korollaa koodi 2, lakkofsa gabatee 76763 AA shufeerrri afaan Oromo hin dubbanne qacarameefi ittiin deemaa jiraachuu isaa.
- Finfinnee boolee bulbulaatti lafa kaare meetira dhibba jaha (600) hidhata mootummaa waajjin qabutti fayyadamee namarra doorsisee fudhachun kaarta maqaa isaatiin baasisee, gamoo ijaaru calqabe osoo hinfixiin birri miliyoona 4.5ti gurguruu isaa.
- Ofoosha Oromoota jechuun namoota akka Oromotti gurmaayu barbaadan walitti qabee alaaba ABO itti kenne isaan qabsiise ofii nagaan jiraachuu isaa
- Ilmaan Oromoo wayyaanen himattu heddurrati raga bayee hiisisuu isaaf ragaan qabatamaan heddu kan amma yoona hinbaaneelle harka miidhamtoota nagaa isaaniif sodaatanii jiraachuusa.
- Dubree Naasifay Adunya, qunnamti dhunfaa cimaa Ing.Girma Xurana faana kan qabdu, isuma baqattee biyya bayuunsheefi ragaaf jiraachuun ishee.
Kuni hundi otoo beekamu dhaabni Oromoon bilisa baasaakooti jedhee ittin dhaadatu calqaba irratti tooftaa hedduun akka hin saaxilamne harka irra qabaa ture. Eega namichi kun saaxilameelle isa qulqulleessufi namoota isa saaxilan kaanirra Oromumma mulquu, kaaninimmo atis bar basaastuudhuma jechuun olola irrati banuutti seene. Akka fakkeenyyatti kanaa ilaala.
Dubbi himaan ABO obbo Odaa Xaase calqaba irratti namni kun caasa ABO keessa hin jiru jedhee haale. Battalumattimmo waan dura jedhe hunda dagachuun gantuudha, hireesas ni argata jedhe.Ajaa’iba kuni. Abban ofinarguu, qofa moti edaa, abban of-hindhagawuunis dhugaadha.
Waan nama dhibu keessa qabxiin biraa, Obbo Odaan qabxii ittin falmu beekuu dhiisu isaati. Qabxiin inni namoota heddu saaxilamuun sansalata Girmaa Xuruna sirrii miti jedhee ittiin amansiisuf yaala ture inni guddaan ijolle Oromo biyya keessatti funyaan wayyane jala taa’anii raadiyoo qeerroo bilisummaa Oromoo irra dalagan saaxiluun gaari miti jechaa ture. Mee ammaaf dalagaan – oduun sobaa isaan SQBO irratti dubbisaa turan qabsoo Oromoo laanshessa jiramoo, jabeessa jira? isa jedhu qorachu dhiisne, namni kun sirrii dubbate haajennu. Ofii isaatiiho dubbi hima dhaaba ta’ee yoo viidiyoo ijoolle biyyatti guyyaa Gootota Oromo kabajan magaala isaan jiraniifi guyyaa isaa faana yoo facebook irrati gadi dhiisu nageenyi ijoolle sana maaf isa hin yaaddessine laata? Moo wanti walfakkaatu yoo nama biroon godhamu dogoggora ta’eetu yoo Obbo Odaa Xaasen godhamemmo sirrii ta’a laata? Mee dhaqaati kana ilaala.
Viidiyoo kana atiho maalif dabaltee dhoobda jettanii yoo na gaafattan , hagam jarri kun nageenya uummataaf dantaa akka hin qabne argarsiisufi gocha isaani kana saaxiluuf qofa . Dabalataan immoo viidiyoon kun harka diina akka gale shakkii waan hin qabaneefi, ammatti deebisee dhoobuunkoo koo nageenya joollee kanaa waan gaaga’u miti jedhee waanan amaneefi. Na oofkalcha!
2. Obbo Odaa Xaasee eenyu?
Obbo Odaa Xaasee ilma fiwudaala Dajazmach Alii Xaaseti. Bara dargii Ihaappaa (EPRP) tahe nama Itoophiyummaa leellisa tureedha. Kan nama ajaa’ibu garuu amma anatu isin caala Oromoodha jechaa jira. Galma walgayii tokko keessatti namonni Itoophiyaa dhuftan harkaa baasaa jennaan Obbo Nageessa Oddoo Duubeefi Obbo Ashanaffi Adunyaa harka baasun isaani akka yakkaatti itti dhiyeessa jira. Waan dabaati, Oromoon biyya Itoophiyaatin dhufe jechuun, haga dhugaan (realistic) taanetti akkamitti Oromummaa namarra mulqa? Namni kun nama ‘principle’ takkalle hinqabne ta’uun beekamu qaba. Eega ABOti dabalamees qawwee dhaabni itti hidhe gurguratee gara Jibuutitti baqachuun dhaaba ganee turuun isaa adiidha. Waggaa dheera Siyatil riphee eega tureen boda abbaa angoo ta’e nama as deebi’eedha. Amalli fiwudalummas akka malee irra calaqisa. Walgayii hawaasa Oromo siyaatil akka dhaqee hinbeekneefi hawaasni inni keessa jiratu isa tufuunsa otoo beekamu. Dhaaba qubee Afaan Oromo tolchee saba badhaasef dubbi himaa ta’ee, namuma qubee afaan Oromoos ta’e afaan biyya jiraatuu sirriiti qajeelche hin katabneedha. Dabalatees akkuma saree marattee namuma tasgabbiin ragaa Girmaa irratti dhiyeesse hundaan sinqoradha, atis basaastu wayyaaneeti jechaa, ciniinaa oluun isaa dhaaba kanaaf fafa (disgrace to OLF). Dhaabni kunis namoota harcaatu Ihaappa ykn dargii iddoo hundatti hogganaa godhee dhiyeessutti saalfachu qaba.Akkanumatti ololtuufi harcaatun oofamtu taanan dhaloonni qubee qaxaleen gurra ittiin isin dhageessu hin qabaattu baraa.
3. Qabsoo Oromootiin daldaluu
Duubbin dabballoonni ABO giddu kana oofan waan ajaa’ibaati. Maaliif dhaabni Oromoof dhaabbate tokko ittisa bofaa kille cabsitee gadi baate ta’a. Lubbuu meeqatu wareegamu qaba badii takkitti amanuuf? Dubbichi heddu walxaxaa ta’us hogganoonni dhaaba kanaa Girmaa Xurana faana fayidaa fi qunnamtii addaa qabaachuun ifatti bayaa jira.
Kana jechuun Girma Xurunaf mormuu jeechuun daldala waliin qaban balaarra ittisuu jechuudha. Daldalli kun biyya alaafi biyya keessattille hundee cimaa qaba. Burqaan maallaqa kanaas diyaaspooradhuma Oromoo maqaa qabsootiin gowwomfama turefi ammas itti jiru ta’uun beekamu qaba. Ragoolen haga yoona jiran qofti:
- Dabballoonni ABO akka odaa Xaaseefi konyaan isaani biyyota alaatti argaman hundi (iddon ani jiraadhu dabalatee) gargaarsi miidhamtoota #OromoProtestiif hawaasotarra walitti qabame karaa qaama ijaaramee lakkofsa baankii qabuu (Qeerro International support group) akka ergamuuf yaala turuun isaani adiidha.
- Hawaasonni hedduun garuu shira kanatti dammaquun didanii kallattiin miidhamtootaf erguun isaani.
- Hogganni qeerro ibsa baaseerratti, abban fedhe daldalaaf ilmaan Oromo maqaa qabsootiin gowwomsee yoogurgurate dantaa (mormii) akka hin qabne dubbachuufi ABO faana akka quba walqaban dubbachuun isaani. Liinki kana (https://qeerroo.org/2016/05/09/breaking-news-ibsa-qeerroo-bilisummaa-irraa-kenname/) tuqaati daqiiqa 59-61 dhageeffadha.
- Hayyu dureen ABO Obbo Dawud Ibsaa karaa nama Taarraqany Amantee jedhamuun investimentii Dubayitti godhama jiru keessa harka akka qabu.
- Qaarshiin diyaaspoorarra walitti guuramu kunis karaa nama obbo Dawud muudani biyya Australayiya jiraatu kan Gaashuu Lammeessa jedhamuun akka hogganamu.
- Maallaqa argame kanarra muraasni bifa mindaatiin gaazexessitoota miidiyaa madda walaabufi Sagalee qeerro bilisumma Oromoof kennama akka jiru.
- Maallaqa diyaaspora Oromoorra walitti qabamu kanaan gazexeessitoota oduu sobaa gabaasan, basaastuu akka Girmaa qulqulleessuf dhama’an, warra afuura lolaa hawaasota keessatti facaasan qacaruun ummanni Oromoo Qeerroon kun sobduudha jedhee akka abdi kutatu gochaa jiraachuu isaani. Akka fakkeenyaati Qeerroon miidiya keenya kan jettu SBO irratti oduu dharaa kan akka armaan gadiitti gadhiisun, sobaan gurra sabaa duuchaa jiraachuu isaani. Afuuftuun akkanaa baayyachuurran kan ka’e dargaggoon Oromoo hedduun otoo akka oduu kanaa ta’ee yoona loltuun wayyaane hundi dhumatte jirti jedhu.
Ummanni Oromoo roorroon wayyanee, hiyyummaanifi tuffiin akka malee itti baay’ate jira. Kanaaf tokkuumman ka’ee diina raase gara lixxu dhorke. Yeroo murteessa kanatti mandhee diina qabsoo sabaa duubatti harkistee ittiin daldaltuuti dammaqee socho’uun hojii yeroo namaaf hin kenineedha. Kana gochuun shira diinni nugidduutti xaxeefi fuldurattille xaxuuf jiruti dammaqne qaroo Oromoo baraarufi. Qabso sobduufi hattuun keessatti walguurte, dhiiga ilmaan Oromo ittiin xuxxuu kanas qabsaawota qaroo, dhugaafi kaayyo sabaatin masakamanitti dabarsuun dirqama. Kanaaf garee rakkoo hamtuu qabsoo saba keenya mudatte kana kan haamilee dargaggoo keenyaa qoraa jirtu furuuf:
- Garee dhimma kana qoratte, qulqulleeffatte ummataaf ibsitu uummuf yaalii eegaluu.
- Gareen kun lagaafi amantiin otoo wal hinqoodiin – beektonni, maanguddoon, aartistoonni, dubartoonnifi dargaggoon dhimma Girma Xurunaan walqabate shakiirra bilisa ta’an hatattamaan walitti dhufani otoo qulqulleessani fayidaa heddu qabaata.
- Miidhamtoonnifi maatiin miidhamtoota raga barruun jiruufi miidhama isaaniis akka himataniif haalli otoo mijate. Keessattu namoonni heddun gareen kun aaduu/Kaarraa qara lamaati, humna cimaas qabu jedhanii waan sodaataniif, karaa ragooleen nageenya isaanii balaarra hinbuusneen sassaabufi qorachuun otoo danda’ame.
How can the bare-handed masses without guns or bullets, be able to neutralize the enemy, and bravely carry out effective action in war? The first thing is to overcome fear. When we see the enemy, simply because he/she has a weapon in his/her hands, we must not be frightened to death like a rat who sees a cat. We must not be afraid of approaching him/her or infiltrating into his/her midst in order to carry out sabotage. We are men/women; our enemies are also men/women; we are all men/women, so what should we fear? The fact that he/she has weapons? If we think sharp, we can find a way to seize his/her weapons. All we are afraid of is getting killed by the enemy. But when the enemy is so ruthless and merciless to exterminate all of us and committing it before our eyes, how can anyone still fear death? And if we do not fear death, then what is there to fear about the enemy? So when we encounter the enemy, whether its many or few, we must act as though he is bread that can satisfy our hunger, and immediately swallow him.
The primary function of our enemy’s weapon is simply to kill us, and finally reduce or destroy our fighting strength. Well, in our daily life, is there any object that cannot be used to neutralize the enemy or any type of action that cannot reduce or destroy his/her fighting strength? For example, a kitchen knife, an arrow, a wooden cudgel, an axe, a hoe, a wooden stool, or a stone can all be used to neutralize the enemy. Such actions as cutting electric lines, starting rumors, poisoning the enemy, or cutting off supplies can cause inconvenience and significant damage to the enemy and thereby reduce its fighting strength. If we really want to win over our enemy, there are weapons for us everywhere and work for us to be doing the job all times, in order to ensure effective united action by the army and the people.
If one thinks to overcome his/her enemy, there is always a way!
There is nothing one have to celebrate for being in exile. To be in exile is a curse. It just mean that you are thrown far away to die or live on generosity of others, to be silenced so that your voice cannot come home. But most importantly, to make you harmless so that the enemy can exploit your people at a will. Hence, there is nothing to celebrate for an activist to turn from revolutionary to modern day slave overnight. There is absolutely nothing to celebrate about being detached from the real struggle and daily lives of your people. It is a sweet and safest victory for the enemy and loss for you and your people.
If you really want to make a difference, don’t rush to find your way out. That is not what courageous people do. Look at bunch of losers like Dawud and Lencho et al….and even me! They are cursing the day they left home; they live in world of regret and helplessness. Don’t follow losers! You have brave people by your side. Look at Bekele et al. Stay where you are; observe what is going on. Then, plan and execute a set of actions that will expose, weaken and paralyze the tools of oppression under your feet. Employ smart tactics and strategies that is quite simple for your people, something within their experience, but strange to the enemies. In all of your actions consider taking the highest moral ground. That will make a real difference, not exile.
Baqattummaan nama mirqaansu hin qabu. Baqattumman abaarsa. Baqattumman akka duutuf ykn tola nama birootiin jiraattuf faggeessani sigatuudha. Sibaqachiisun sagaleen kee akka ukkaamamee uummatakee, qeeyee warrakeefi hiryootakee bira hingeenye gochuufi bari. Hunda caala garuu akka saree karri itti cufamee alaa duttuu sigochuufi. Sareen karri itti cufame dutuu malee diina ciniinte dhiigsu hin dandeessu. Atis diina baqannaan akkasuma.. Akka fedhetti, waan fedhe gochuu akka danda’u jala gorteetta waan ta’eef baqachuunkee diinaf boqonna guddaadha. Garuu sabaakeefis, siifis badiidha.
Kanaaf yoo dhuguma badiin, tuffin, ajjechaanifi roorroon sabakeerra gahu akka dhaabbatu feete hin baqatiin. Gootni hinbaqatu. Sodaattuutu baqata. Baaqattu hin hordofiin. Mee xiinxalii ilaali kuftuufi baqattu akka Lencoo, Daawudiifi jala deemtuusaani… Mee ilaali sodaattu wayyaaneen na ajjeesti jedhee baqate bahe ykn bahe hafe anallee dabalatee. Guyyaa baqatanii biyyaa abbaafi haadha ofirraa bayan arrabsaa jiraachuun, gaabbiifi nama bishaan nyaate ta’anii hoomacha qabachaa jiraachuun maalsaatu siharkisa,? Maalsaatu sihawwissiisa? Mee maalsaatu akkasaani akka taatu sikakaasa? Kanaaf yaaqomooko hin baqatiin, baqattuumaan gadhummaadha. Mee gootota sicinaa bookisan kan akka Baqqalaafi maatiisaa ilaali. Bakkuma jirtu taa’i waan ta’u hunda xinxalii ilaali. Sharrii diinni sabakee ittin nyaachuuf xaxatteefi xaxachuuf jiru xiinxali. Sana booda tooftaa ittin shira diinaa saaxiltu, laffistuufi hojiin ala gootu barbaadi. Toofta ummannikee akka salphaatti hubatuufi rawwatu karoorsi, diriirsi, jijjiiri ammas jijjiiri. Toftaan kun hundi garuu diinaaf haaraafi bitaa ta’uu qaba. Yoosan diinni unkuramti. Yoosan abbaa biyya taatee nagaan jiraatta. Gochiikee hundi safuu Oromoo eggachufi kabajuutu irra jira. Jijjiiramni dhugaa baqaan miti yoosan dhufa.
By Ibsa Gutama
The story of Akkoo Manooyee was one of the unfairly told tales of the era of women. It was retold in a manner that ridiculed women. Attempted distortion of her story couldn’t hide that Manooyee was a great and wise woman. Male chauvinism was then at sprouting stage. Even from bits and pieces of what was told we can understand that Civilization reached its peak during her reign. Manooyee ruled the country for a very long time that she almost outlived most of her peers. For this reason people referred to her as Akkoo Manooyee (Akkoo means grandma in Afaan Oromo). The story teller said in conclusion that grandmas were highly revered and loved by ancient Oromo.
One of the listening children called out to him, Abbayyee! But, weren’t you there yesterday when our neighboring family had a heated argument on naming their new born child? I heard Obbo Callaa saying that Manooyee was a cruel, blood thirsty, arrogant and irrational woman monster. Was that true he inquired.
Sayyittii had heard about Manooyee from a famous Boran story teller and adored her. Callaa heard about Akkoo Manooyee being referred to as child eater when he was a little boy. His source was a purely male view hers was a historical source. In short the attitudes of the husband and wife are hangovers from the days of Women’s Gadaa. So far the union of men and women is necessary for the continuity of human race. Antagonism in its sharp or mild form will continue as long as gender based inequality is around. To bring an end to the conflict biological and role differences as the base of superiority of one over the other gender has to seize.
Having said so as introduction let as try to uncover the legend of Manooyee said the story teller. What ever was told so far was not necessarily true, my son. During those days information was gathered directly through human beings. Its speed of travel was faster horizontally than vertical. The chance of its reaching its target depends on individuals that carry them. Then lying was also safuu so each transmitter had the obligation to the laws of God and humans to tell the truth.
Nowadays information is centrally controlled and feed back to the source is distorted and its broad cast done through the air. For this reason the rulers can control it and disseminate what they felt fitted their interest. It reached each individual and groups targeted without obstacle. All in all the powerful had the fastest means to reach to the masses and disseminate the misinformation it designed to control their way of thinking.
On the other hand those who have the truth have no means to reach with equal speed. Lies and distortions are covered by rulers in a capsule coated with honey. You can feel the true taste only after cracking the upper layer. Those who brought an end to a system or those who feel they are born to dominate cannot be expected to tell the truth. The truth will take time to be revealed. There is no shame in lying; to lie is rather skill which has turned into commodity for the powerful and is no more under the observation of safuu.
What we heard was that a woman called Akkoo Manooyee was given a chance to rule the country. The first thing she did was banish wise men old and midgets from the country to “manipulate ignorant masses” as she wished. But one of the midgets beseeched the people to spare him for they may need him in the future. It was traditionally believed that midgets were experts of court intrigues. Manooyee was lied to that all midgets were gotten rid off. She was happy now. Getting rid of saboteurs she now felt she could implement her plans smoothly. Just as she thought since then she didn’t have difficulty in implementing her plan. She got many difficult tasks done. But her ultimate plan was going to be a testing one. It was building floating structures. So one day she started by asking the people to build her a floating house that doesn’t touch the ground.
The people were bewildered. They didn’t know how to do it. It was also difficult to disobey the ruler. It was then that the hidden midget comes to the scene. They referred the puzzle to him. He told them that by law and tradition owners lay down foundations. Therefore they have to make ready the building material required for the building and request her to plant the “utubaa” (pillar). If she refuses that absolves you from your obligation as subjects. In that case be ready to take action and get rid of her once and for all.
Then as advised they asked her to plant the utubaa. After pondering for a while she asked the assembled people if there was any midget left in her realm.
Then they replied, what does it matter if there were midgets or not? You have ordered us to build you a floating house in the air. We are willing build it but you as the owner have to lay the foundation according to law and tradition. But when she was unable to do it they took action. They didn’t give her a chance to rethink her order.
A grinding stone was tied on her back and she was thrown down a Qilee (cliff). Then the multitude resolved that woman were unfit to rule. From then on the rule of women was replaced with that of men. That was what we were told said the story teller. Since then woman are being ridiculed for the alleged utopian view of Akkoo Manooyee.
That is how patriarchal rulers want to justify their imbalanced rule over society. By it they had subjected women which are half the population of humanity to miserable life. How the whole process of pulling down Akkoo Manooyee was carried out shows that there was element of discussion under women’s rule. Under men that was wiped out. For this reason strives were common place throughout history. Women movements we see today are result of those strives. From what we observed under male dominance it would be hard to imagine women’s rule could be as harsh as that one. The character of being a mother and grandmother doesn’t reflect that aspect of harshness from our own experience. Could mothers and grammas turn monsters we were told by male chauvinist story tellers? Think for yourself!
Similar legend exists in Sidamaa. There the woman leader was called Furra. Her courage and wisdom was similar to that of Akkoo Manooyee. Unlike Akkoo Manooyee whom the womenfolk had forgotten women of Sidamaa remember Furra and sing songs of praise for her to this day. They look on the liberty of Furra’s day with nostalgia. She also was overthrown by men. She was tied alive it was told, to the tail of wild giraffe and her body scattered all over places the giraffe reached in Sidamaa land.
For this reason in place of Qilee they have names of places after her body parts. Could she be the same woman told in different versions? Could she be a leader of Kuusaa (Kush) that lead the southward migration long, long ago during time immemorial? Can Furra and Manooyee be one or two of the Candaces?
Mothers love for children is based not only on claim of ownership like men but is also hormonal. For this reason we assume that women in general are more compassionate and loving than men. Based on this assumption women’s rule was the most enviable thing we missed. Let us be fair to Akkoo Manooyee in imagining the reign of women. Follow me with patience asked the story teller.
Imagining the Reign of Akkoo Manooyee
Once upon a time said a pro-feminine story teller, women were the rulers of Kuusaa (Kush) land. A dynasty of women known as Candace with its capital at Merowe was well known throughout Africa and the world of that period. War, famine and internal strife forced a segment of the people of Kuusaa to migrate southward. The people of Ilmoo Ormaa (Oromoo) were the largest group of that segment. It was this group that transformed itself from centralized monarchical system to democratic Gadaa one.
All political offices continued to be led by woman as in Merowe tradition. Other JOBS were occupied by competition of citizens irrespective of gender. Then every thing was in abundance. Draught never threatened them for they had kept reserves of grain enough for years and had also dug several tulaa (water wells).
Women led every unit from family to nation. At all levels they imposed strict discipline of work. Laziness was not tolerated. Their aim was to create a passionate and hard working society in the image of women. Training of children started from babyhood. Every eight years there were initiation to higher levels. Every thing was set for eight years. Training included cattle herding, history, horse riding, military science, public administration etc. A Gadaa stays in power only for eight years.
An ideal society where every body was treated with equality and dignity was evolving. Women’s love for their children cannot discriminate female against male. The secret of equal treatment lies in the umbilical cord that separated them more than the rule of law. Fathers didn’t have that gift. A father’s love is a product of socialization not biological.
It was women power that laid down the basic law of the land. In it things against which an individual or group will not be discriminate were enumerated. Among these were Gadaa, Odaa, Karaa (roads), Malkaa (rivers) and Gabaa (markets). Gadaa is the right to participate in a democratic process. Odaa is the right to justice, assemble and be heard; Karaa is freedom of movement; Malkaa is the freedom to water, crossing and worship; Gabaa is the freedom to buy and sell. These had remained the corner stone of Oromummaa that had got their way through even in male dominated society’s heera.
By all their activities woman dwarfed lazy men. Envious of their power and capability, some men started to feel uncomfortable. They were unhappy about being subservient to such frail beings as woman when on the other hand they have superior muscular strength. So they started to device ways of disrupting women’s rule. On their ranks were also the misogynists. They maliciously started creating gender dissentions between siblings to take the contradiction deep into the basic unit of society, the family.
To that end they waged many coup de’étas but were harshly suppressed by woman power and all involved were mercilessly dealt with. There was no capital punishment under woman but banishment and hard labor. After every rebellion culprit hunt for possible plotters were set in motion. In particular during those days midgets were considered to be malicious. So it was ordered that they be hunted and banished from the land.
After midgets were put out of way peace and prosperity reigned again. The government became stable. So it became easy to take care of social problems. Building and engineering works flourished. Storied buildings and bridge building became common place.
Civilization reached its peak during the reign of a Haadha Gadaa called Manooyee. She was a wise decisive and courageous leader. Above all she had adda (lucky forehead). Her bravery was said to have no match. She opened routes through hazardous cliffs and canyons and led her people towards the Ocean in the southeast. Her forces included a cavalry of agile horse persons.
The culture of horse raising and riding was brought from Nuubbiyaa (Nubia), from where they migrated. One route known to this day by her name is Karra Akkoo (Akkoo Pass) distortedly referred to as Ankobar or Alkobar by some. She waged several wars to defend her territory and had never tasted defeat.
Manooyee was the oldest of her Gadaa peers. For this reason people referred to her as Akkoo Manooyee (Akkoo means grandma in Afaan Oromo). Grammas were highly revered and loved by ancient Oromo. It is also believed that they were more open and caring for grand children than parents.
Akkoo Manooyee’s hair was braided or combed with patches on both ear side decorated with cowries. On the forehead she wore oval metal object with the shape of two bows joined on the string side. That was tied with leather strip on the back of the head. She wore Caaccuu made of diamond and mixture of beads across her bust tied under her armpit. She carries a stick symbol of power called Siiqqee. The stick had little axel with bulged base at the head. The axle and oval shapes are the dhalfa (yoni) symbolizing femininity as seeruu (phallus) shaped kallacha symbolizes masculinity.
She wore waalluu, skirt made of leather toped with hand woven qoloo/qomee with mixed colors of white red and black. She ties her waist by sabbata (cummerbund) with stripes of the three colors at both ends. Black is for known future, red is for courage and sacrifice and white is for the known and proud past. She inserts her butaa (sword) between the sabbata and her dress on the left side. On occasions she wore a conical cap, with narrow side going onto the head, decorated with yoni shaped figure in the front.
Akkoo Manooyee it was said once summoned all wise and skilled persons of the country and told them of her vision for the future. Listen carefully my country folks she said, I have been thinking of gliding birds, plants sending their seeds far away by air, blotted bodies floating over water, children blowing bladders and making them to be carried away by wind and of Waaqaa’s residence above Qoolloo.
All these float. There must be a wisdom that kept them suspended. If we can understand this wisdom we can also build a floating palace for the glory of our nation. We can protect our sit of power from earthquakes and floods. We can also have a command center that no enemy can rout.
If people drown in river first they go down and stay there for some time then they come up and start to float, what brought the change? Look at some hovering birds, specially nitii qilleensaa (a type of hawk that can stay hovering in one place for long time, people refer to her as “wife of the wind”) they can glide at will and stay in the same spot for long time, how did they do it? There must be some wisdom that made them different from us. We claim to have bigger heads to think with than all animals. That seems also true. So why can’t we learn from them and use it to improve our life.
Waaq lives far above the sky, so tells us the Qaalluu. Even the sky seems a round thing that involves dachee (earth) and the seas. It has no root on dachee. From observation it is not imperative that something stands on earth. There must be a way that an object is kept afloat. So I urge you to study and come up with ways and means that this vision of mine will be realized.
Another thing that came to my mind is the speed we need to do things. The fastest means we use so far is one headed horse. If the horse can perform that much with a head it could perform miracle with more heads. Can you look into that also said Akkoo. Few spoke for the possibility. But most of the participant said that it was sacrilegious. Waaqaa has willed that we limit ourselves on dachee and him and the Ayyaanaas to float above dachee. They said to her, that we don’t reach the end of the sky doesn’t mean it is round as you said. We are not Waaqaa and cannot create or destroy absolutely. So forget about the horse.
Akkoo Manooyee like all Akko’s beseeched them and promised to reward them with the best. But she couldn’t bring them in line. She gave them time to think over and the meeting was adjourned.
During the discussion few women engineers were positive on the possibility of fulfilling her wish. But men as a whole adamantly opposed the idea. There were even some in the meeting who were planted by anti woman-rule movement. These immediately started to turn the event into a propaganda material.
The news reached every part of the country in most case purposely distorted. Since there were no centralized communication it was not easy to falsify the rumors. Conspirators grasped this opportunity and spread the distortions. It was not presented as a genuine proposition but as an order with hidden motives. They even accused her to conspire with aliens to change the Gadaa system of government.
As a rule controversial issues were to be resolved by Gumii the highest Gadaa Assembly, in its ordinary or extraordinary meetings. But the conspirators alleged that she is taking the heera to her hand and must be stopped immediately.
For ordinary people what they heard were against the law and nature. So defies the nation’s and Waaqaa’s laws. All simple tone men and women agreed on this. Curses and protests started to be heard against once a beloved ruler. Conspirators were successful in swaying the mass towards them. Remnants of earlier defeated rebels and banished midgets started to come out from the under ground and lead the conspiracy to overthrow Akkoo Manooyee and the reign of women.
Akkoo Manooyee was startled that her ideas were not taken positively. She started to remember the legend of the Arroojjii Gadaa and how it came to a sadden end. The Arroojjii wanted to build a device that could take them beyond the sky. Saboteurs were able to disintegrate the team of builders. It was a disagreement of change and status quo. History, she said was going to repeat itself.
But her conscience was clear her suggestions were meant to elevate the moral of the nation. And so she has no regrets. The lack of feed back on her proposal indicates the seriousness of the situation. She has sensed that there was failure in the system. The faroo or asaabala (birds that foretell) has tried to tell her something which she only realized at later stage. It was true; her security chiefs were won over by the conspirators.
She called for an emergency meeting to demand for a briefing on the progress of her proposal. Very few turned up to discussed the pros and cons of her proposal. But were not helpful for her queries of what was going on in society. She then sent out word for all artisans and wise men as well as community leaders to meet at the proposed site of the building. Conspirators prepared a company of hardened fighters and arranged for an attack in case the situation were conducive.
They had already convinced most of those going for the meeting that the old leader was not fit to govern. They even accused her of possible senility. They demanded that her mental condition be checked. If she was senile traditionally she will die stampeded by cattle. If she did what she ordered from blasphemy she had to be tried by gaaddisa (court). Sinister men pushed some known woman to the front of this conspiracy.
Akkoo Manooyee was ready to defend her position through argument. But her gut feelings told her that the meeting could have a far reaching consequence. But for her age fear does have no place. She was known as the black panther and has never been known for turning her back on problems. She was not only courageous but also wise. Today she weighed all possibilities and decided to avoid physical confrontation come what may. And so, she started towards the site without any precaution.
As soon as she arrived she noticed certain faces that she believed were not around. Then she knew that her senses were right, she has fallen into a trap. She surprised the assembly by telling them what she sensed before she left her home. I have so far maintained discipline necessary for development and peace of the land, she told them. I have led wars against the enemy at the head of gallant women and men and with blood and bones of our heroes registered so many honorable victories.
Today she continued, though information was curtailed from me by traitors I had my feelings as to what might happen. The bird had told me the outcome of this meeting. But I didn’t mobilize the army for I am fed up of interfering in shaping of history. It is almost time for my Gadaa to step down. Therefore I didn’t want to shed any more blood of my compatriots for an ending Gadaa. If it is the will of my people and Waaq to end the Gadaa of women faster than usual as it ended the Gadaa of Arroojjii in time immemorial let it be.
What ever happens today in defiance of the legal power of my Gadaa might slow the progress of development but cannot stop the wheel of history. Women shall continue to fight for righteous cause. It would take women centuries to get what they may lose today. Treachery is in the blood of individuals. Such individuals are divisive, greedy and deceitful. They had already bored into woman power and left it porous. Some women have started to think with their buttocks instead of using it to command loyalty and obedience.
Their focus is only on their selfish ends. To gain that they would split the nation into several antagonistic units. One can see this from how conspirators infiltrated the women folks and divided them against their own reign. For this reason beware the unity of Ilmoo Ormaa is in danger. Feud of the family, the clan and tribe which we have overcome long ago is going to return. Contradiction between the secularist and Ayyaanist we resolved during our fore-mothers is coming back.
As for the projects in hand, I don’t think our knowledgeable have reached the level of entertaining such a lofty idea. I simply requested them to study if we can build our sit of power that floats in the air. I only asked them if we could increase our speed. That could have in the process helped us to discover things beyond the clouds. If we can mange to make two headed horse we can also try to have a wing for it. That could also taken us beyond the sky. Waaqaa is knowledge; there will be no blasphemy in discovering what ever is knowledgeable. Instead of surveying the possibilities they chose to spread rumors of the project being sacrilegious.
My proposal exposed their ignorance. That is what they want to cover-up by siding with the sworn enemies of the state. Let alone giving a learned opinion they didn’t understand the concept of what they were asked about. We have a lesson of history from the failure of ancient Arroojjii’s ladder to the sky project.
Progressive ideas, though promising, go against the interest of some greedy citizens. They are so narrow minded that they see every thing from what could be in it for them. If they don’t see some personal benefits in it they will sabotage any noble idea as they did to Arroojjii. She then said if my project faces obstacles today it will certainly become an idea that future generation cannot ignore.
Women of this country have tried to uplift the moral and technical standards of our nation, she asserted. As mothers we have always wished the best for our children irrespective of gender. For this all the wise men and woman are witness. I gave you a proposal but you fizzled out. My heart tells that this was the work of men in particular midgets, bodily stunted but mentally over matured in the womb of their mothers. These were products of bad omen and sworn to bring catastrophe on our Gadaadom.
What I couldn’t understand is how distinguished seeming woman collaborated with this good for nothing lots. Such women do not understand that they are committing suicide by siding with conspirators manipulated by midget against their own rule. If something was wrong with the ruler they have the law of buqqisaa (pulling out) by which they can change the Haadha Siiqqee Qaraa (Premier). Why didn’t they bring up their case according to the law rather than trying to use a planning platform?
I know, and I can see the commotion around me that my authority is being questioned. I can see faces of traitors who several times flee the battle field in this meeting; those cowards who were in the pay of enemies of the nation. They have been on the run from the law but now they are coming out of their hideouts helped by worshipers of phallus. It was prophesied by our raagaas of the old that a time would come when the Gadaa of woman phase out. But we failed to see the signs.
We cannot stop what time had ordained but we could have prolonged it had we had internal harmony. Women spent time on admiring men who grew cleverer every passing day. They learned a lot from us to harm us but we failed to learn from them and counter the evils that come from that side.
I hold all women in government responsible for that. By their weakness an era of peace, liberty and prosperity is coming down crushing. The change that is going to come is unprecedented. Society is going to pay for the consequences in centuries to come. People whose muscles blur their vision are going to take over for unlimited time.
For any act that defy the heera, with the power tradition gave me as an oldest woman here and holder of the Siiqqee and feminine Kallacha, I curse you to suffer the consequences for centuries to come. You have given up your rights with your own hands. Let you not be denied that of your hands. She then said, “Long live the nation of Ilmoo Ormaa” and paused for a moment her eyes surveying with contempt those officials who betrayed her.
Many of these officials couldn’t see her in the eye. The audience started to look sympathetic towards her. A change in the mood was observable. The conspirators didn’t like the tendencies of the gathering. So they decided to act fast. My last reminder Manooyee said, but before she finished the sentence some one got up and interrupted her. He then took to the stage.
He enumerated her crimes against her own people and Waaq. He said that she was trying to fool the assembly by holding others responsible for acts she created. It was she not fear of the enemy that chased those she called traitors from the battle field. Alleged evidences were made up by her running dogs. She can cause great damage if left in power until the Gumii is called. It is better to remove her and be blamed for overlooking procedures. As the saying goes “it is better to eat the hyena and later get cleansed rather than the hyena eating one.”
I am asking this said the speaker, for the good of the nation. Today she asked us to build a palace in the air and create a horse with two heads. What about tomorrow would her fantasies end with that? She is out to bring bad omen on the nation. Instead of giving security for our cattle and farm land which are daily threatened by wild beasts and marauders, she want us to fly in the air outside our nature.
We need grain reserve, medicine men and strong army not fantasies said the man who interrupted her. All he is demanding was lies, said the story teller. The country never had such abundance of reserve ever; there had been no organized health facility as under this woman ever, there had been no such strong army in times before her. But no one got up and defended the truth. That was and is; cadres of evil get away with lies by paralyzing their audience with fear and threat embedded words. The interrupter finally said with air of authority filled with arrogance, I earnestly demand that she be removed from power just now and be arraigned.
No sooner than the man finished his accusation armed men came marching towards the stage. She jumped up with her famous sword pulled out of it sheath the head of the speaker was gone. The armed men stopped stunned by the unexpected. She told them she has nothing with them, they were only barking dogs set by conspirators. I want to deal with them first. She called out names and challenged them to a duel than putting innocent fighters in harms way.
A brave soul doesn’t give up without a fight she cried with loud voice that she was clearly heard, come out she demanded. They are bound to respond by tradition. They came one by one, her focus, her hand and foot work was just like before. She sent all heads off. And then she kissed her sword and threw it up into the sky bragging but it came back and stuck into the ground before she could catch it as it used to be.
It is over she said jumping onto the stage. The sword that has defended the independence and honor of our nation had performed its last duty and refused to go further. Hence forth I leave to my Ayyaana to haunt enemies of the Siiqqee at all times. She then shouted at the top of her voice, “Long live the nation, long live the Siiqqee”, before the conspiratorial force jumped on her and removed her from the stage.
Protesting voices from the crowd didn’t bar them. She didn’t show any resistance and requested for nothing. Some sort of satisfaction was radiating from her face as she was led away. The onlookers were stunned. Inside, one could feel them saying baraar (save us). They all felt something awful was in the pipeline. But they chose to wait until disaster comes to them in turns. Manooyee’s agony ended then and there but for them their silence was going to haunt them down generations.
From her speech no body can accuse Manooyee for senility. She was composed and rational. So, that accusation was dropped. The major allegation was crimes against humanity and spirituality. On the second level were the refusal to give up and the slaughter she caused after it. A mock trial was organized with her traitors sitting in judgment. She was immediately convicted.
The verdict was that a heavy stone tied on her back and she be thrown into an abyss. This was carried out within hours of the verdict so that no help could come for her from unexpected quarter. The sword which many considered as (falfalaa) (magical) was also sent down with her. They turned to the audience and asked them to clap their hands and ululate for the occasion. They started throwing those who were found with tears down the cliff to show they meant business.
The whole system was disrupted and it took years to put situations under control. Women lost power once and for all. The yoni shaped Kallacha was changed to phallic one. That symbol now remained only as diamond shaped ornamental gear of girls worn on the forehead. Siiqqee, a rod with yoni shaped head that used to serve as scepter depicting national power, now serves as symbolic expression of right of womanhood. It was replaced by Bokkuu with the shape of phallus or masculinity. Ateetee who was the Ayyaanaa of national fertility now is left only to women affairs.
It is said that many gorges in Oromiya are referred to as “Qilee Akkoo Manooyee”. No body could tell the exact spot where she was executed. But to remind where those who may think to rebel against male supremacy could land every community had a gorge to point to. Men usually raise about the Gadaa of woman when they want to ridicule and show how silly women can be.
Many women echo this comment without critically looking at it. By their own folly they deny the excellence of their glorious past. They fail to understand the strategy of the conspiracy that brought down Akkoo Manooyee. Their ignorance and indifference only strengthened men’s chauvinist stance.
After getting rid of Manooyee all leading woman that collaborated with her over throw were pampered for that moment. But after stabilizing themselves the new ruling group rounded them up and sent them to oblivion. That was and that would be the end of collaborators continued the story teller. A figure head woman was named as head of the state for a transitional period. Real executive powers were given to men from the party of conspirators. A transitional assembly was formed from a coalition of groups of men and woman with the head of the conspiracy as its chairman.
That was to pave the way for Men’s Gadaa that was going to oppress woman for a long time to come. For that short period much was talked about the virtues of the new Gadaa revolution. The equality, liberty and prosperity that could be achieved by all citizens under men’s rule irrespective of gender, creed and class were propagated.
How can all these be achieved under a system that came with violence? Why should those who got power by force share it with others freely? Can we consider the mind that believes this as sane, asked the story teller? Even then their were wise women who tried to advise through sayings. The saying “Hin sobu yaa marqaa si afuufuun si liqimsuufii” (oh porridge they are lying the purpose of blowing is to swallow not to pamper you) was coined then.
The new rulers formulated a new heera and got it endorsed by a rubberstamp Kora heera (constitutional council). The heera was then proclaimed as law of the land. In it all the virtues mentioned early were all put down. At face value it is a great positive change from the past. Governmental and societal structures were redesigned to fit the new change. The rulers did that single handedly.
Participation of the aggrieved was not felt necessary implying the sinister motif behind the whole exercise. There was no power they fear if they break it. But by simply recognizing those rights they had registered the sympathy of unsuspecting minds. But on the long run they have made themselves accountable to history.
Male members above the age of eight were divided into peer groups and trained according to the role they could play. The training was meant to prepare them for eventual leadership. Women are not included in those roles. Women’s training was left to their mothers. With that the equality of genders clause was gone. Their role was limited to hut building, domestic and around the home service. They were not allowed to bear arms as they used to do. They were given the privilege of participation in some ritual performances that empower men.
The spiritual leader was woman during the reign of female members of society. She was called Qaallitii and her husband Qaalluu. Now the roles changed and Qaalluu became the leader. The role of Qaallittii was limited to producing Qaalluu. Only male born from the first wife can become spiritual chief. The destiny of girls born to Qaallittii was determined by the male Gadaa law. They will not be allowed to remain with their mother. The National spiritual leader now became Abbaa Muudaa rather than Haadha Muudaa. It was a total reverse from what was.
The fall of Akkoo Manooyee thus made woman subservient to men in practice though the heera tells of equality of both genders. Akkoo Manooyee was a pan Oromoo ruler. After her, men rulers couldn’t maintain the unity of the nation. Men thrive only on setting their subjects one against the other what ever the consequence on the national solidarity. And when such men had the background of treachery and divisiveness a slight positive consideration could not be expected. Thence subgroups created their own polity wherever they reached. It stayed so until the formation of national Caffee (Parliament) at Odaa Nabee in the 15th century.
When in the twentieth century world women’s movement for emancipation got momentum, Oromoo woman were hoping it would have effect on their own male thinking. Though they got some fringe benefit it stopped short of empowering them. There was no renaissance of the period of Manooyee. Like their counter parts in the other parts of the world they didn’t push for organized feminist Oromoo movement. It seems they are still under paralysis imposed on them by the spell of the curse of the martyr Akkoo Manooyee.
The general condition being as it is, with the degree of consciousness they got from the sixties they were able to challenge their oppressors. As members of a nation they are being oppressed by the colonial oppressive machine. So they rose in arms with their brethren to challenge it. As woman they are still looked down by men of low political and social consciousness. They have to tackle both oppressors simultaneously and continue to pray for araaraa of the spirit of Akkoo Manooyee for absolution from the curse. For the prayer to be heard they need to get organized more firmly, and speak in one strong voice. Always the better organized is heard. The better organized wins battles and wars.
With Akkoo Manooyee the Gadaa of Woman came to an end allegedly demanding the impossible task of building a floating palace and creating two headed horse. It was said the house divided against its self cannot stand. Women lost their rights by giving up on the common goal they cherished in common for generations. They fall prey to traitors and divisive elements to the determent of their gender and their nation. By that they put at risk not only their polity but also the interest of womanhoods.
Today floating structures are not strange for the world. Blips are hovering in the area to view and also film what is performed on the ground. Space stations and satellites are now floating in the outer space beyond the atmospheric space Akko Manooyee wished to have her palace. Multiple engine machines are now employed to enhance speed for human activity. Idea starts from what we saw said the story teller, Akkoo started from possible common frame of reference. What then seemed fantasy is now a concrete reality. History has proved Manooyee right. The time to correct all wrongs done has now come. The world has advanced in technology. No reaction can stop it any more. But still the rampant treachery and deceit has to be overcome.
The story teller ended his reconstruction of the legend of Akkoo Manooyee by saying; this is only a modest reconstruction of that most intelligent, forward looking tough woman. She was a woman, who led her people through tortuous routes, hostile lands and ferocious warriors to where they are found this day.
By her death she marked the end of an era. When the time comes there will be no doubt that the children of Oromiyaa shall search the bottom of every gorge named after her to find her remains and the infamous grinding stone that was condemned to press her out.
At the end the story teller asked the listeners to come with their own imagined reconstruction for the next session. He reminded them not to forget referring to the history of Furra of Sidamaa, the Kantake (Candace) dynasty and the Nubian Ethiopia civilization for a better understanding. That with your own oral tradition on history of the Ilmoo Ormaa will help you get a good picture of that woman leader.
The names of Kantakes (Candaces) or Cushitic woman leaders from BCE 4530 to CE 308 are very important. They include such names as Dalukaha, Mout, Akawa, Amanitore, Amanishabheto, Nikoses, Bartara, Amanirnas, Wakana, Maleqorobar, Nahidemani etc. Don’t these names have similarity to Sidamaa Oromo names? Could Furra or Manooyee be names of southern Kantakes? Don’t worry of lying as long as it is a white lie; the whole world lies.
By Geresu Tufa
It is heartbreaking to see a despicable cruelty that our sisters and brothers are enduring in South Africa. The brutality is abhorrent and unjustifiable. Every one of us should do our best if there is anything we can contribute to alleviate this situation. At same time, I have observed that some of our brothers and sisters become so emotional and put complete responsibility and blame only to the obviously naked brutality of the perpetrators.
I agree with the fact that this kind of heinous crimes against humanity should be unconditionally condemned by every conscious human being. However, while we are doing this, we shouldn’t forget two things.
First, we must not forget that primarily, it is the failure of our home regimes in protecting and providing us with economic and over all development opportunities without a bias for one group over the other that made us prey to this kind of cruelty.
Second, we shouldn’t forget the context in which this brutality is ongoing. Even though the Apartheid South Africa system has been replaced by new system, the issue of social justice and wealth distribution is yet to be resolved. Such kind of utmost violence often emanates from an extreme marginalization, severe social exclusion and deprivation in the existing system. The current situation in South Africa may remind you a book title by Ugandan thinker Mahmood Mamdani “When the victims become Killers”. Of course the context is totally different. However, what makes the situation similar is that, those who are becoming victim of this brutality are now those who had been forced to flee their home country as result of extreme social exclusion of the type the perpetuators themselves are suffering from.
I think we shouldn’t be trapped in one sided story. Both the apparently victimizers and victims are the victims of repressive and exploitive system. Some people claim as if the presence of formal democracy in South Africa overturned the whole exploitive systems of the past. However, this kind of lopsided analysis is far away from the reality in South Africa. As long as social injustice endures and wealth is still accumulated among few oligarchies, such kind of social vices are/will be there to shock us not only in South Africa, but also in any country that create and sustain such kind of exploitive systems that favors few and impoverish the majorities/masses. Therefore, both the victims and victimizers need our empathy and compassion.
Lastly, I want all readers to ask yourself if this kind of vice may not happen in country like Ethiopia where 70% of total economy is controlled by less than 1000 people and the eviction and social exclusion continue unabated.
The writer Geresu Tufa is fellow Human Right activist based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He can be reached on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The recent gaffe of ODF has obviously caused temporary controversy and damage than its conception. Many of our activists have reacted to this saga harshly. Some kept silent to let the turbulence go. I am among those who reacted harshly. Let’s go to the bottom of this controversy. N.B: I am writing this remark not for the sake of injecting fuel to the ongoing controversy. My intention is only to settle these unfounded disputes and lay down what is required from my Qubee generation to play our share in emancipating our people from prolonged tyranny.
Oromos from all walk of life badly need freedom now more than ever in history. Despite our numerical advantages in the horn of Africa and availability of countless platforms to organize ourselves for common goods, we are still on the verge of entering practically irreversible tyrannical cycle. Our real adversaries are accumulating immense wealth by dispossessing our farmers of their land and livelihoods daily. They are also systematically removing our people’s ability to make informed decisions by brainwashing, fearmongering and silencing brilliant minds of the nation. I lived the last 22 years among my people and witnessed all these cruelties first hand.
My generation is the primary victim of this tyrannical regime more than all political forces who are experienced in writing ‘Ibsa Ijannoo’ from abroad everytime the regime mow down Oromo students in the streets. Therefore, the decision of ODF to take the struggle back to where it belongs can only be seen as transformational for their members. For Oromo youth in Oromia, ODF move is nothing more than very late response to their long time call. You can watch this video if you want to grasp how emotions were running high to welcome ‘Ujummoo isa diima’ at critical times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPQ590cezEQ This urgent need for freedom has made us less tolerant to different ideas and resolvable disputes overtime. Let me put some of the unfounded assumptions that fueled the current controversy:
- Oromos or outsiders who did not loudly praised the ODF move are Leencoo haters.
- The outcome of ODF move is a victory for Oromo people.
- Some Oromos are cheering/cheered the failure of ODF negotiations with Ethiopian dictators.
- Every status updates in the last three days are intended to attack ODF.
Let’s see these points one by one:
First of all, I would like to point out that there is no organized group of Leencoo haters among my generation. However, I cannot deny the existence of some individuals (perhaps oldies that pretend to be younger on facebook) with old grudges on Leencoo and other OLF leaders or vice versa as seen during the ‘hundred times’ split of their mother organization. I cannot identify myself with both Leenco haters and Leencoo celebrants. As a result, putting me or my generation in either box is simply baseless accusation to divert public attention from the bigger picture. I respect Leencoo et al. for the mere fact that I am fruit of their struggle in one way or another. But that doesn’t hold me back from rejecting ODF PR assertion of ‘Leencoo means Oromoo and Oromoo means Leencoo’. This kind of assertion that reduces our nation to individual failure and success is very dangeros and must be challenged by my generation. In addition, the mystification of Leencoo by some group has already passed its threshold and should be challenged before it is too late like that of late dictator Meles Zenawi as ‘visionary leader’. Leencoo if at all happen to lead this nation must be criticized where necessary.Therefore, challenging Leencoo’s move should not simply qualify someone as his hater. Criticizing our leaders must not be amounted to treason of our nation. Our future could only be pretty bleak when we let this kind mystifications go unchallenged.
I can now see that the unwelcomed and unproductive travel of ODF president to Ethiopia is seen as a victory for the Oromos only in the eyes of ODF members. It is crystal clear that ODF miscalculated the political reality in Ethiopia. Instead of admitting this miscalculation based on their idealistic assessments, they are seen trying to use the short lived fact distortions and face saving campaign which actually backfired on them. Moreover, their trial of presenting their humiliating moment as a vectory of the nation is a contradiction by itself. How can their failure be a victory for the nation they fight for? This unintended failure should be only presented as failure. Denying our failure will only pave ways for another failure. My generation who did not witness the move of OLF in early 90’s can now sense what kind of unrealistic assessments have stagnated our struggle for freedom in the last two decades. Presenting accumulation of these failures as a victory is deluding the ordinary victims of that empire which I see it as immoral act of unsuccessful politicians. It is very shameful that one claim to learn only after 20 years of repeated failures which my generation don’t afford anymore.
Many ODF members are also claiming that some Oromos are cheering the failures of ODF. I tried to surf over the web until my hands get tired to find a single Oromo that cheered this failure. It is again unfounded accusation for the sake of blaming someone else about their own miscalculation. How can Oromos who even get mad when OPDOs get humiliated cheer up by the flop of their old freedom fighters. Criticizing lack of transparency about the move and cheering their failure are totally different. If any ODF member feel their party is transparent enough about this travel, he/she is either a liar or don’t know what transparency means at all. Lack of transparency and fact distortions in ODF move clearly hinted what this party can offer if they happen to grab the state power that they crave for. ‘Biddeeena nama quubsu eelerrati beekuu’ jedha/jetti Oromoon.
The over sensitivity that we witnessed on every single status update as if they are intended to attack ODF shows where the problem lies clearly. How can an intelligent being who did not commit any crime look over his/her shoulder ten times in a minute. Taking every remark as personal and the use of defamation and insults as last resort is seen on many comments of ODF members. Given the humiliation that come out of Leencoo’s unsuccessful trip, it is understandable that some kind of reaction is expected. However, running after every post and trying to link with ODF move is laughable if not childish.
Oromo let’s come to our senses and reality! The world that we live in today is obviously not the world that we wish to live in; but it is what we have got to begin with. In my view, most of us want to hear or read only what we wish to hear/read. As I noted at the beginning of this piece, we badly need to get organized now more than ever. We are at the verge of irreversible risks in many aspects if we don’t act now. The unfounded/founded disputes that exists among us are not typical to us or ‘Abaarsa qabna’ as many call it. We are very diverse and largest single nation in Ethiopia; the presence of competing ideas are untapped resources if we use them constructively. It is very healthy to have different opinions even among family members, let alone among the member of this big nation. I would like to forward one point for discussion as concluding remark. I don’t think we still need to argue about taking the struggle back to where it belongs. That must be a prerequisite for any organized group/party before they claim to appear as a group…. to liberate Oromo people from this prolonged tyranny. My last point however is that, do we still afford to let our old freedom fighters to lead our struggle in frontline after all those years of repeated failures but with immense struggle experiences or we need to exert the neccessary pressure on them to resign and get organized in a way that fits our demand? This question includes all parties that are currently lead by old revolutionaries like, Leencoo, Mararaa, Dawud, Ibsaa….Thank you!