Are you prepared for what you are about to witness?
By Rundaasaa Asheetee Hunde, Bitootessa 17, 2018
It is often said that the stories of history are written by its victors, but if this is true, what becomes of the downtrodden, and how can they ever hope to aspire for something greater if they are never told the stories of their own glorious pasts?
Ostensibly, Irrechaa, the mere maker of ancient fabrics of Oromummaa and the modern textile of the Oromo identity remains a higher calling for the Qeerroo Oromo.
In the Habasha culture dominated empire Ethiopia, Irreechaa provides representation for all the marginalized people by narrating the importance of freedom that we no longer have to compromise ourselves just so we can fit in with an uncompromising European and Arab dominant religious cultures of empire Ethiopia. For a long time, Irreechaa was denied that it is a way of celebrating ourselves the way we see it fit. But now, it has become a powerful tool for dismantling bias and bolstering the self-images of underrepresented populations of empire Ethiopia and became vehicle for social change by inspiring cultural value filled with undying hope for the future.
For tens of million Oromians who grow up feeling the pain caused by immigrant religious philosophies designed to misguide the perceptions that we have for ourselves and for the world at large, Irreechaa remains the means by which we tell our stories, stories about joy, stories about triumph, stories about perseverance all throughout the African continent.
It tells these stories as a concerted effort to correct the historical record, because, no matter where any of us live today, each of us has history that we knew Umaa/God before the lighter skinned humans knew what it means to be human. These histories shape the way we view the world, and they mold the biases we carry around with us. To combat these biases, Irreechaa draws aesthetics from different parts of Oromia and crafts a narrative about the importance of fighting for inclusivity.
By celebrating our Oromummaa, we are able to recast ourselves in roles of prominence, providing ourselves with a degree of dignity we didn’t have under the Habasha conquest, which its world view is dominated by Arabs and the Europeans. This approach subverts the historically accepted narrative of black inferiority, and it serves as inspiration for people of color who have grown wary of seeing themselves depicted without sophistication and without grace.
This time when we are surrounded by the religious propaganda well financed by CIA, Iran, Saudi Arabia and by wealthy Arab nations, the Irreechaa narratives boldly extol the merits of African empowerment. In this way, the tools of the masters becomes masterworks to celebrate those who were once subservient.
This metaphor extends beyond the realm of simple ritual and out into the real world. When we allow ourselves the freedom to present ourselves in a manner we celebrate our own unique identity, a magical thing happens. We stand taller. We’re more proud and self-aware because we’re presenting our true, authentic selves. And those who are around us in turn become more educated, more open and more tolerant of our different points of view. In this way, our world view becomes the illustration of diplomatic soft power and serve as bridges between our seemingly disparate cultures.
And so, yeah, ostensibly, Irreechaa has become our purpose to rewrite the cultural narratives so that all people of color can be seen in a new and nuanced light, and so that we, the proud children of Africa, can traverse the globe while carrying ourselves with pride.
It was indeed true that the stories of history were told by its old victors, but the new generation of Oromia will no longer let their futures be dictated by a troubled past. Today, the Qeerroo of Oromia stand ready to tell their own stories without compromise, without apologies. But the question still remains: are you prepared for what you are about to witness? I hope you are, because we are coming regardless.
Rundaasaa Asheetee Hunde