Oromia’s moment of truth: The Great Oromo generation and the Oromia Flag
By Leenjiso Horo, September, 2016
Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.
The Great Oromo Generation of 1960s
The great Oromo generation of 1960s chose to fulfil its mission. Its mission has been and still is the liberation of Oromia. It rejected any political line of betraying this mission. .It is a generation of heroes and heroines of utmost patriotism. It is a generation that gave its live for political independence of its country and its people, for justice, unconditional political freedom, and democracy. Its members are too many to remember and call their names. In this national liberation struggle, hundreds of thousands of its members were martyred and buried in shallow graves; in ravines, plains, hills, and mountainsides in unmarked holes. Many of its members are still in the struggle. At the same time, thousands upon thousands have also fallen in the cities; in towns, and in villages murdered by the sadistic, cruel and barbaric fascist TPLF and Dergue regimes in front of their houses and in front of their families. Tens of thousands tortured and maimed in the prison cells and hundreds of thousands kidnapped and disappeared without trace. In this struggle and selfless-sacrifices, this generation has made eight distinctive achievements. Namely, Oromia is put on the world map, the Oromo people are made known to the world community, the Oromo Flag is raised over Oromia, Qubee-the Latin Oromo alphabet was created and made the official script for Oromo Language; the Qubee generation-a new generation was born; Oromo language is made official language, the Oromo unity is made a reality and the Political Program for independence was charted as political program of struggle.
In so doing, this generation demonstrated the highest measure of patriotism and selfless sacrifice for its country. For this, this Oromo generation has won the right to the eternal love of their people, the love of the present generation and the love of the generations yet to come.
In this national struggle, it maintained the mission, the objective and the goal of the struggle despite all obstacles posed by internal and external forces to undermine them. With unity, it overcame adversities. Above everything else, the generation of the 1960s set a shining example of faithful devotion to the objective of the Oromo struggle, to the oneness of Oromo and to Oromoness/Oromummaa. For so doing, this generation chose its unity unto death by accepting death over betraying the national struggle. This is the first time in the history of national liberation movements that the leadership of a Liberation Front was killed and buried together in one unmarked grave for rejecting political line advanced contrary to the mission, the objective and goal of the national struggle and contrary to the oneness of Oromo and the Oromoness. This historical martyrdom was made by the leadership of the OLF- the leadership of the great Oromo generation. In its death and in its blood, the leadership of this great Oromo generation and the millions of the Oromo nationals who sacrificed their precious lives in this struggle together cemented the Oromo unity and guaranteed the continuity of the Oromo struggle for liberation.
The Oromia Flag
This is the Oromia flag. It is the flag of the Oromo nation. It is created with the blood of millions of Oromo heroes and heroines. Today, this flag is the symbol of struggle for liberation.
This flag is a symbol, an identity, and an emblem of the Oromo nation. It symbolizes the honor, the inherent dignity, the identity and the beauty of the Oromo nation. It displays the pathos and ethos of the Oromo people. This flag has important interpretive features. It has red, yellow, and green colors, and Bakkalchaa, the star, and the Odaa, each of which represents an important aspect of the Oromo nation. Here I only give simple rudimentary truth of the interpretation of the Oromia flag as to what it symbolizes. Here is it. The red represents the selfless-sacrifice, fearless courage, integrity and the devotion of Oromo people in the struggle for the national independence and freedom. It symbolizes the bloodshed for over a century by the successive Oromo generations including the present one in their struggle for freedom, and independence of Oromia from Abyssinian colonial occupation. On the whole, red represents the war of national resistance against the enemy and our vigilance for protection and defense of Oromia after independence.
The yellow represents the happiness, the wisdom, the power, the peace, and our love for Oromia and for the humanity. And it further symbolizes, the beauty of Oromia’s sky, its land, and its people and the kindness, the generosity, and the hospitality of the Oromo people. And the green symbolizes the land, the lakes, rivers and the natural and man-made wealth of the Oromo people, the fertility and richness of Oromia. Bakkalchaa with its rays of light represents the bright future, the hope, the liberty and freedom. The star represents unity, equality, fraternity, strength, justice and the harmony of our people. It symbolizes one nation and one Oromia. The Odaa represents the cultural, political, economic, social, and democratic tradition- freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home and judicial aspect of our people as practiced under Gadaa System. All in all, this Oromo flag symbolizes the unity, democracy, the fertility of Oromia, and the power of the Oromo nation.
Indeed, under this flag millions of the Oromo nationals have sacrificed their precious lives for the independence of Oromia for half a century to-date. For the love of this flag and for what it stands for, the Oromo people have dearly paid in human and material resources at the hands of the colonial rulers. For the ownership of this flag and for the defense of what this flag symbolizes and stands for millions of Oromo heroes and heroines- men, women, youths, children, and elders have been sacrificed their precious lives and hundreds of thousands have been beaten, tortured, maimed, deprived of their property and ganged into the prison cells of the colonial empire. So, this flag by the Oromo people’s interpretation represents the ideals of ultimate sacrifice to liberate Oromia and establish people’s Democratic Republic of Oromia. It does not belong to anyone except to the Oromo nation.
The Oromo nation has raised this national Flag so high for the world to see. In totality, this flag represents the values of unity, freedom, liberty, justice, independence and hope for the citizens of Oromia. Indeed, this flag is a declaration for independence of Oromia, and of the struggles, the Oromo people have been going through for over a century to achieve their independence. Thus, this flag is not a slogan, not a decoration, not a piece of cloth, not a flag of a group, but it is the symbol of a living nation-the Oromo nation. Indeed, this Oromo flag remains a living piece of history for the generations to come and it is a source of pride and unity for the Oromo people. All in all, the Odaa, the star, the rays of sun and the red, green and yellow colors embody the very qualities that make our nation great: liberty, justice, freedom, democracy, love of country and national purpose.
Here, one must understand that we do not know the names of millions of the Oromo farmers, peasants, and their sons and daughters who fought and perished in this national liberation struggle, and the names of those tens of thousands who had perished in the Dergue’s notorious torture Chambers. And, of course, we do not still know the names of hundreds of thousands of Oromo nationals who have already been perished in the Tigrayan regime’s notorious torture concentration camps. Still arrests, tortures, mass murders, annihilation and the evictions of the millions from their lands are continuing. The colonialist crime must be stopped. It can only be stopped in unity. This is the Oromo way to defeat the enemy.
The new Oromo generation: The Qubee Generation
Now, it is time for the Qubee generation to take up the torch of struggle that commenced with the great Oromo generation of the 1960s. The ultimate aim of the Oromo struggle is total political independence. For this, many forms of strategy and tactics have been used. In this struggle, a partial victory has already been won by the generation of the 1960s. The Oromo unity is achieve; Oromia is put on the map, Oromo are known to the world community, the Oromo flag is made a realty, Qubee has been created, the new Qubee generation is born, and Oromo language has become a working language. Now, it is for the Oromo Qubee generation to raise the struggle to higher level to achieve full victory. For this, it is time for this generation to engage in armed liberation struggle. This requires the mobilization and organization of the population. The armed struggle for liberation, confronts the challenge of the enemy. It is impossible to defeat the enemy with empty hands, by staging peaceful demonstrations, by witting letters to the UN and to the governments of foreign countries, and by words of mouth even though they are important.
The Qubee generation must clearly understand that TPLF is in a war of its own destruction. It is in chaos. It is about to fall to pieces. Everywhere there are fighting with it; everywhere it is hated; and so everywhere it is weak. Despite all these, some Oromo political groups have shamelessly preaching the gospel of rescuing it from its collapse and disintegration. The truth is to rescue this dying fascist regime is a betrayal of the Oromo national liberation struggle and of the Oromo people who have been its victims. These groups have been negotiating terms of surrender to establish “transitional government/Caretaker government” with the TPLF- a fascist regime that has been committing genocide against the Oromo and others peoples. The Oromo Democratic Front (ODF), the OFC, the Medrek and the Blue Party are in charge of the term of negotiation for surrender. It is time to expose and fight these opportunist reactionary dark forces until they unconditionally surrender to the will and aspiration of the Oromo people and to the will of the Oromo patriots and nationalists. This should be done not next month, not next week, not tomorrow—but now. At the same time, it is time to mercilessly expose and fight the poisonous propaganda of collaborationists the internal traitors whose aim is to undermine the Oromo unity and struggle. It is time to politically disarm these collaborationist forces. On the contrary, the energy and enthusiasm in the Oromo people’s heart is rising for liberation. The Qubee generation has risen up and has raised the Oromo flag so high. It is united in the purpose, in the mission, and in the objective of the struggle. It is generation with a fighting spirit; with firmness and the determination to continue the struggle that commenced with the Great Oromo Generation. It is also a generation that firmly resolved to defeat the enemies of the fatherland, the enemies of our people, the enemy of our unity and our struggle and the enemy of liberation of Oromia. Its voice of struggle is being echoing all over Oromia and beyond.
Now, it is time for Qubee generation to take the role of leadership of the struggle. It is time to organize, to rise up, stand up, to be armed and fight to defeat the primary enemy of Oromia and its people-the Tigrayan fascist regime in order to liberate Oromia. For this, the time has come to us with only two choices –whether to submit or fight. The decision is ours and only ours alone as to which one to choose. I believe, we shall not submit and we have no choice but to fight back by all available means in our power in defense of our people, our country, our future, and our freedom.
Hence, to bring a real change in the life of the people, it is time to cast away illusions of peaceful struggle or non-violence struggle to resolve the conflict with Tigrayan fascist regime. Non-violent struggle does not and cannot work when the enemy’s swords are at peoples’ hearts. TPLF never yield to anything but to open and secret violence alone. In this case, choosing to play a peaceful means of struggle with a fascist regime or fascist organization is only a choice between two ways of losing playing political game. One choice is to be sent to prison, or to exile or to the grave or to all of them. Ethiopia had seen this outcomes. In 1970s, MEISON and ECHA and many other organizations that advocated for a peaceful road to socialism under the rules of constitutional legality of dictatorial military regime. The dictatorial military regime saw their tactics as attempt to undermine it. Consequently, it turned against these organizations. As a result, many of their members were sent to prison; many had ended up in exile; many were killed. Again 1991, the OLF joined the TPLF in forming “Transitional Government of Ethiopia” to peacefully resolve the longstanding conflict in the Ethiopian empire. But, it had failed to achieve this goal because of the intransigence of the TPLF. The OLF had paid dearly for joining the TPLF. In this case, hundreds of thousands of its members and supporters were sent to prison; tens of thousands were tortured, killed; mutilated, maimed and thousands have ended up in exile.
In 2005, CUD had also met the same fate at the TPLF’s hands. Here too, many of its members were murdered, tortured and exiled.
The second choice is to become a puppet organization; a mouthpiece and servant of order. Here, the puppet organization is put as a political leadership of its people own charging it with sending its own people to prison, to exile or to the grave or to all of them on the behalf of its master. This is what the OPDO has been and is doing in Oromia on the behalf of the TPLF. The Ethiopia has been seeing this violent crime since 1991 to date. Failing to learn from history, today ODF, OFC, Medrek, Blue Party and unnamed others are secretly negotiating with the fascist TPLF to form “Transitional Government/Caretaker Government”. In George Santayana words, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Hence, having failed to learn this truth the ODF, OFC and the others have followed the same path. The fact remains that negotiating to establish “Transitional Government/Caretaker Government” with the fascist Tigrayan regime that has been and still is committing genocide against peoples in Ethiopia is a supreme irony of history. This means to negotiate with a fascist colonial regime to establish “Transitional Government” with is, an irony of history. If history is any guide, this peaceful negotiation to establish “Transitional Government/Caretaker Government” with the fascist regime is truly the surest road that will lead to a future fire, sword, blood and tears for these organizations. It is, therefore, time to abandon negotiation with genocidist Tigrayan regime and opt to go for armed struggle to dismantle it. Without armed struggle nothing can bring the enemy to its knees. Armed struggle takes the war of liberation into every corner where the enemy is—to its homes, to its barracks, to its centers; it must be a total liberation war. It is necessary to deny this fascist Tigrayan regime from having a moment of peace, a moment of rest, a quiet moment both inside and outside its homes, barracks and camps and on streets. This enemy must be attacked wherever it may be, make it feel like a cornered beast wherever it may move or go. Once this happened, this fascist regime will be forced to turn itself into its own internal annihilation. Armed struggle remains the only viable option to do so. It is time to face this fascist Tigrayan criminal violence with revolutionary violence. Hence to resort to armed struggle is the way to go; it is inevitable. For this, our people must be mobilized, organized, armed and fight. In this national liberation struggle, the Oromo struggle is not only against colonial occupation but also against its Oromo allies and collaborators– the Oromo opportunists, revisionists, and capitulationists. It is only in such a total struggle the triumph of peace, freedom, liberty, justice, national political independence, national sovereignty and democracy can be achieved.
Oromia Shall be free!
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