By | March 4, 2019


Finfinnee and the Truth that the anti-Oromo Extremists Need to Know
ፍንፍኔና ፀረ-ኦሮሞ ፅንፈኞች ሊያውቁዋቸው የሚገቡ ሀቆች

By Tulluu Ayira (PhD), March 3, 2019

ESAT is a renowned Anti-Oromo news maker. Only last year, it was exposed by BBC under Africa fake news review, “A year in fake news in Africa” – BBC 2018

The Amhara, under the leadership of Emperor Menilek II, conquered the Oromo in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. They took Oromo lands and turned the people into serfs, belittled their culture and language, and imposed a system of rule that was unfair and unbearable. Their abusive rule provoked protracted resistance, sometimes active and sometimes underground, that eventually contributed to the downfall of the imperial regime in a military coup in 1974. In spite of initial hopes, the military junta became even more brutal in its treatment of the Oromo people provoking another round of armed resistance under the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). In 1991, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) with the support of Western powers and the more organized and stronger Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) entered Finfinnee and assumed the imperial authority. Initially, the TPLF came up with progressive ideas that addressed the political problems and injustices that ravaged the country for over a century. The TPLF came from a peripheral minority group who because of deep crises in the imperial system (including the military regime) succeeded in propelling itself into the center. Like any minority group with a besieged mentality, the TPLF felt insecure and soon turned into a dictatorship with a brutality of untold proportion in the history of the empire and, for that matter, unparalleled anywhere in the twenty-first century. TPLF’s viciousness provoked widespread protests among the Oromo who became its main target. Oromo protests precipitated to the TPLF’s downfall in March 2018.

Following the toppling of the TPLF, the Anti-Oromo extremist Amhara in the diaspora and their mouthpiece, the Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (Ethsat), opened a barrage of propaganda campaigns against the Oromo people and everything Oromo. The duo supports the returnee Amhara political groups who campaign to take away every gain made by the Oromo since 1991. In the name of Ethiopianism, they have staged relentless campaigns calling for the dissolution of the federal system and with it the right of the Oromo to use their language and develop their culture. Ethsat and the groups it stands for display a fascist-like behavior with an implication that the Oromo should not be allowed to exist and that everything in Oromiya belongs to the Amhara. God knows under what terms they will allow the Oromo to exist should they succeed in controlling the state of Oromiya. My assumption is that they would not even allow the Oromo to exist under any terms. My fear is that they would follow Hitler’s solution for some of the groups in his racial classifications. Having classified humanity into racial hierarchies, Hitler concluded that some groups are “unfit to live on any terms.” Among these were the Jews, Gypsies (Roma), people with disability, Jehovah’s Witnesses and several minorities.[1] Moreover, the whole world knows what happened to them.

When they conquered Oromiya, the ancestors of these groups changed the names of the towns and place names. Their descendants (current anti-Oromo extremists) have never abandoned that mentality and carried the practice to different parts of the world where they settled as the Ethiopian diaspora. Today, we see “little Ethiopia” signs in places frequented by Ethiopians in many US cities.[2] In Washington, D.C., the “9th and U Street was the unofficially designated ‘Little Ethiopia’ because of the many Ethiopian businesses and presence of a large number of the Ethiopian diaspora.”[3] But their demand to officially name the whole neighborhood “Little Ethiopia” in 2005 nearly brought them into a major collision with African Americans. This time their tactic of taking away someone’s land and renaming it faced a fierce opposition from African Americans who like the Oromo of Finfinnee have lived there for many centuries. Unlike the Oromo of Finfinnee, however, the African Americans of U-Street prevailed against displacement by the Amhara. Dominic Charles has succinctly summarized the story as follows. The area was “traditionally African American neighborhood in Northwest. Not all were pleased with the proposal, however. Strong objections came from the African–American community, which had a historic connection to the U Street corridor and Shaw neighborhood. For decades before the [1968] riots, the area had been a cultural center for African Americans, as U Street earned the moniker ‘Black Broadway.’ Many, like retired postal worker Clyde Howard, felt that the Ethiopian newcomers had not yet paid their dues. As he explained to the Washington Post, ‘Where were they during the riots? They’re Johnny-come-lately. What gives them the right? Just because you opened a store?”[4] They have never uttered a word about changing the neighborhood into “Little Ethiopia” or about this misadventure since then. But their attack on the Oromo continued unabated.

An even more bizarre story is their invasion of the twin cities right after Prime Minister Abiy’s visit.  In July 2018, many Amhara Ethiopians flocked to Minneapolis to see Dr. Abiy during which they noticed the existence of a large number of the Oromo and Somali. To their disappointment, extremist elements among these Amhara Ethiopians saw streets named for the Oromo and the Somali in Saint Paul (one of the twin cities). In the extremists’ judgement, the Oromo and the Somali do not represent Ethiopia and thus do not deserve streets in their names. They organized what they called “Ethiopia Day Fest” in Minnesota on September 2, 2018, and celebrated with festivities to prove that they are the true Ethiopians.[5] They even requested a street to be named after Ethiopia (who knows by changing Oromo and Somali streets into an Ethiopian Street.) I do not know how much they have succeeded in this venture, but it followed their forefathers’ pattern of grabbing land from owners and giving them Amharic names.

The same ancestors these anti-Oromo extremists signed treaties with the Italians and when they turned against one another, they called upon the Oromo to fight for them. Oromo role decided the outcome of the war at Adwa and Adwa guaranteed the creation of Ethiopia we know today. Under adverse circumstances, the Oromo made significant contributions to the empire that conquered them. Yet, today’s extremists and their mouthpiece unashamedly deny the Oromo their very fundamental rights, existence and ownership of their resources. Moreover, the abuse and provocation have never ceased. In the last four years, the Oromo made a determined resistance to end a close-to 150 years of oppression. At the beginning of 2018, it has become clear that the Oromo were close to bringing the empire to its knees by force, but only halted their march on Finfinnee in March 2018 to give a breathing space for the new premier, Abiy Ahmed. The extremists, however, are exploiting the premier’s slow move to introduce and implement radical policies in an effort to reconcile differences and avert further conflicts. Still, the extremists are losing patience and trying to cleanse the Oromo from Finfinnee. On the eve of the return of leaders of the Oromo Liberation Front on September 5, 2018, they incited a violence in Finfinnee and the adjacent Oromo township of Burayu that targeted the Oromo and their property in Finfinnee. When the mayors of Laga Tafo and Laga Dadi, two other towns adjacent townships, took legal administrate measures against squatters in February 2018, Ethsat and its extremist surrogates turned it into an anti-Oromo propaganda. Meanwhile, they targeted the Oromo Qeerro (youngsters) who died in thousands to remove the TPLF. As if they had not praised them as heroes and liberators from TPLF tyranny, Ethsat and anti-Oromo extremists made the Qeerro their ideal targets labelling them terrorists and unruly hooligans.

In the last six months, these groups have intensified their attacks on the Oromo over the ownership of Finfinnee. As the first step to destroy Oromiya in the post-TPLF period, the groups blatantly argued that Finfinnee is not an Oromo city. Unlike these groups, the Oromo never questioned that Mekele belongs to the Tigre, Gondar and Bahr Dar to the Amhara, Hawasa to the Sidama and Dincha to the Gamo. As if Finfinnee is not enough, the extremists have also laid claim on Jimmaa, Adama, Bushoftu, Naqamte, Ghimbi, Shashamanne and all other towns of Oromiya simply because there are individual Amharas living in them. The excuse is to protect the Amhara but the objective is to take over the towns and dismember the state of Oromiya.

What Ethsat and the anti-extremists need to know is that as the African Americans have historic right to U Street, so do the Oromo to Finfinnee and their other towns. In this matter, the Oromo take note of President John F. Kennedy’s warning to the Soviet Union in his famous speech in Berlin on July 25, 1961 that “We cannot negotiate with people who say ‘What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.’”[6] Everything in Oromiya belongs to the Oromo and they will not negotiate on anything any longer. What would you say if an Oromo fishing squad from Bale comes to Lake Tana to fish?

Let it be crystal-clear that the Oromo will never negotiate on the question of Finfinnee (for that matter on anything that rightfully belongs to them) under any circumstances. First, there has never been any problem between the Oromo and the population of Finfinnee (who come from different ethnic backgrounds). They lived amicably with one another in a mutually respectful and interdependent manner. By the way, most of these anti-Oromo extremists and their Ethsat hatemongers are foreign nationals-coming from the US, UK and several countries-and have no right to determine the fate of Finfinnee or Oromiya. The second, and most important, the extremists and Ethsat people should know is that their home states have not contributed (and are not contributing, as we speak) anything to the livelihood of Finfinnee residents. They have not brought to Finfinnee a grain of teff, a seed of barely, wheat or oat, a bushel of corn, a bean of coffee, no single count of mango, banana, orange, papaya, sugar cane (or any fruit that we see in groceries or Atikilt Tera), a drop of water, milk or honey, a teaspoon of butter and the many spices people use to make their popular stew. You have never carried a piece firewood to the city for cooking or building. Finfinnee has never obtained power supply that could light up a single bulb from Ethsat country. No single milligram of gold for the jewelry shops in Finfinnee, no single piece of marble or granite or bar of iron to build houses in the city originated in Ethsat country. Everything for Finfinnee comes from Oromiya and the south to some degree. You are not helping the people of Finfinnee who have been living amicably with the Oromo people. There has not been any problem between the two peoples in the last 130 years’ of Finfinnee’s existence. You Ethsat and you anti-Oromo extremists, you are the problem. Your extremism pushes the Oromo closer and closer to what you hate to hear, ultimate independence.

[1] Findley and Rothney, Twentieth Century World History, 7th ed., 223.
[2] See for instance, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ethiopia,_Los_Angeles. I have no problem with people naming their niches after their ethnic group. It is a problem when you take a place by force from its rightful owners and give it your ethnic name.
[3] Misty Showalter, Inside Washington D.C.’s ‘Little Ethiopia’ http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/10/22/little.ethiopia.washington/index.html
[4] Dominic Charles, “Claiming a Neighborhood: Shaw and Little Ethiopia”, https://blogs.weta.org/boundarystones/2018/08/14/claiming-neighborhood-shaw-and-little-ethiopia, accessed 3/1/2019
[5] “Ethiopian Day Fest, September 2, 2018”, https://www.globaltwincities.com/event/ethiopian-day-fest/ (accessed 3/1/2019). I have no objection to their act, they can go anywhere and do whatever they like. But the intention was clearly anti-Oromo.
[6] John F. Kennedy, “Radio and Television Address: The Berlin Crisis”, http://www.networker.www3.50megs.com/jfk10.html

4 thoughts on “Finfinnee and the Truth that the anti-Oromo Extremists Need to Know. ፍንፍኔና ፀረ-ኦሮሞ ፅንፈኞች ሊያውቁዋቸው የሚገቡ ሀቆች

  1. Olana Abbalichie

    Well articulated, Dr Tulluu Ayira!

    The attack on Oromo by anti-Oromo media outlets and individuals has intensified after qeerroo and qaree forced the tyranny (TPLF) out of power and created the opportunity for free expressions. The shameless and unethical individuals who have crowded social media and Neftegna media outlets are engaged in hate- mongering propaganda against the Oromo, denying them of their ancestral land, Finfinne. They try to fabricate lies and fear in order to lay claim to Oromo land by down-playing the crimes their forefathers and fathers committed against the Oromo and other nation nationalities in Empire Ethiopia. They try to kill the truth by presenting ‘inventions and lies, making fascist style endless repetition to make their fiction plausible, abandoning reason blatantly and making self-defying claims’. It has become common place for the anti-Oromo individuals to spill their backward and hateful propaganda against our people in particular and those they consider ‘others’ in general. Their views are fascist in all measures and must be scrutinized and counterd by the Oromo people and all Ethiopians alike. As Snyder, Timothy (2017) states, ‘fascists despised the small truths of daily existence, loved slogans that resonated like a new religion, … They used new media, which at the time was radio, to create a drumbeat of propaganda that aroused feelings before people had time to ascertain facts’. Similarly, the anti-Oromo individuals utilize social media, TV and print media to discount and deny the Oromo people of their ownership to their land. They try to mislead and use the unaware residents of Finfinne (Addis Ababa) by pretending to represent their interests.

    Watch out the residents of Finfinne (Addis Ababa)! It is the Oromo people who is your genuine ally not the individuals creating hostilities by misrepresenting facts and denying the truths. The residents of Addis Ababa must ask themselves crucial questions such as do hatemongers really represent us? Are they entitled to tell us that as residents of Finfinne we do not belong to any nation nationalities? Have we just found ourselves in Addis without belonging to any ethnic groups in Ethiopia? Why do anti-Oromo individuals try to alienate us from our brothers the Oromo? Is it fair to deny the fact that Finfinne is the centre of Oromia region while the Amhara have full right to Bahirdar? Does the extreme approach by the anti-Oromo bring solutions to the problems of Addis Ababa/Finfinne? As Sidama, Somali, Tigre, Gamo, Gurage, Gambella, Amhara, etc., residing in Finfinne, will my long term security be guaranteed by blindly watching or subscribing to the hostile propaganda by anti-Oromo individuals and media outlets?

    It is up to the Oromo people and the residents of Finfinne to reach mutual understanding and ascertain peaceful coexistence. The Oromo people have overcome century old marginalization and is marching towards freedom not only for the Oromo but also for the disadvantaged Ethiopians as a whole. It is wise for the residents of Addis/Finfinne to be aboard the freedom train which is speeding forwards rather than wasting time with the fascists who are dreaming to reimpose their dark past in order to hold the new generation hostages. The residents of Addis/Finfinne must understand that they can stand out by rejecting anti-Oromo propaganda and refusing to follow along. Fearing to do something different when those who have access to undeserved media use their access to attack the Oromo people amounts to gross complacency. City dwellers must understand that their daily lives have rested on the shoulders of the Oromo people who supply everything and afford them due respects by refusing to listen to anti-Oromo individuals and media, showing solidarity with the Oromo people who have been victimized in their homeland.

    Above all, the Oromo people in general and qaree and qeerroo in particular, your future is in your hands. The full rights of all nation nationalities living in Oromia in general and Finfinne residents in particular must be protected while you must demand and gain what is yours. Of course, your friends, neighbours and the entire Ethiopian people must be assured that your inclusive culture is their guarantee. You demonstrated your civilty and inclusiveness during your recent testing protests (‘the Oromo Revolution’).

    Finally, as you paid with your blood to bring freedom closer, never be distructed by obstacles you may come across here and there; you can smash anything if you are ready to go forwards. Neftegna propaganda which is trying to set the time back can never stop you from bringing freedom and stability to Oromia in particular and Ethiopia at large. That is, there may be confusion and sabotage on the way, however, ‘without unease, there is no freedom. Remember Rosa Parks. The moment you set example, the spell of status quo is broken, and others will follow’. Dark empire, no more! Never again! ODP and other political parties, beware that it is impossible to ignore Finfinne affairs and not to fully answer Oromo fundamental questions.

    May truth and Justice prevail!

    OA

    Reply
  2. Jaawwii

    Dr Tulluu fi Olana,
    Galatoomaa qomoowan keeygna. Indeed, such a highly thought, well-articulated and truthfully expressed analysis is vital to ensure the unalienated right of the Oromo people to its resource, environment, culture dignity and nationhood. Amidst all the 24/7 harassment and anti-ormoo groups and media-inflicted propaganda on our people, qerroo, Oromoo parties and our leaders, we need to be more and more enlightened to know and protect our rights and enhance our role in the country’s future destiny more than ever. We need to also embrace the other oppressed people, strengthen ties with to harness the benefits of solidarity. Victory to the Oromoo people, glory to the fallen heroes & heroine who enabled us see this day and embrace the freedom!

    Reply
  3. bariisoo

    For those who longing for the glory of king of kings the time is over. It is in vain attempting to block the change that sparks hope for all. Those who languished in the prison cell of the beastly mannerd TPLF klepto_crats should think twice before running to attack our people and Qerroo who martyred for justice,freedom,equality and fair treatments. we, the Oromos tried willingly or unwillingly for the last 150 years to carry the burden of all arrogant merciless Abyssinian elites. They are not satisfied ,their egoism has no limits,their lie fabrication and false claim has no bounds .The more we allow them to ride over our national interest the more destruction we inflict on our people.Those who falsly claim to democratization through nonviolence means in Ethiopia should observe the way they trafficked illegal weapons through out the country.what is the aim of trafficking weapons to the center of the capital? who is behind it?The arrogant with empty pride Abyssinians and their collaborators to create disorders and chaotic situation to weaken Oromia and Oromo people.The unconditional reorganization of Oromo forces to challenge and protect our people should be the priority issue of the day. For Abbyssinians peace is war,respection is fear,collabortion is slavery,democracy is Abbyssiniocracy. They blocked 1974 revolution from bringing tangible change through EPRP, too much blood was shade.For the last 27 years collaborating with TPLF mafia that controlled the state they robbed us and silent .Now in the name of democracy they are barking as dog here and there with shading crocodile tear.The only way for Oromo to defend itself get reorganize all its political and military forces under one umbrella.if there is no the balance of armed people there is no peace and democracy.tigray armed to its teeth acting as independent state,Amhara trying to arm itself to its teeth and monitor all,Oromia is disarming its people to be the prey of day light beasts.prepare yourself to defend yourself.

    Reply

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