The future of Oromia doesn’t depend on what VISION Ethiopia groups think
By Rundassa Asheetee Hundee
Just off west of Assosaa’s tip, two cultures collide. One is mine, and the other belongs to the Nu’eer or to the Anyuwaak people. Now, go onto Wambara, turn south east and cross to Leeqaa, Guduruu, Gindabarat, Jalduu, and then back north to Jaarssoo, Garbba-Guraacha and continue northwards all the way to Wallo. There, you will enjoy songs dances that resemble the Dhiichisaa of Shaggar (centeral Oromia). A swift move toward east or south Oromia provides you with a mixture of Borana rhythm played out in Jimmaa, Iluu Abbaa Booraa and western Oromia, part of my country that some small minded men would like to call “Wallagga”.
When all these cultures, views and practices merge somewhere in the middle, you see not collision but strength and power. The only time these differences become turbulent and dangerous is only when small minded people try to separate them and use them for their greedy purposes. Indeed, we’ve got such greedy refugee men although they are few in number. The refugee Oromo community also got members whose stupidity often define the nature of confusion we often suffer from. Such men act as if they represent a wide variety of Oromo cultures, but they can easily turn their backs on Oromummaa any time they see an opportunity to grab power. This types of men act smooth so that they can easily swing to any tipping political direction when chances arise. These are the men who joined the VISION ETHIOPIA camp and smoothed out the superficial differences they said have had with the lovers of old Ethiopia. They said that they are doing this for the sake of new hope and much of that hope is reflected these days in talk of creating a “new Ethiopia.”
In many ways, that new vision already existed among the proper Habasha camp and in the minds of the molded who believe that Ethiopia is the cultural values reflected in the daily lives of the members of the Amharanized people. When the political and cultural conflicts that afflict Oromia’s stunning natural beauty and human diversity is originated in the future hope of bringing Ethiopia back to her Minilik era glory, our so called peace loving men continue to dance to the rhythm of “back to the future” music composed by Vision for Division group.
While this is true about those who used to be the liberation movement leaders and now peace lovers, there is a younger opportunist group who later discovered opportunity in Oromo politics. The challenge presented by this mixing is not without precedent. The Oromo people, for example, have lost hope ever since Minilik’s army crossed into Shaggar and evicted the Tulama Oromians and the rushing to action by groups and the entire population of Oromia to gain independence, or some meaningful power is a 150 years anxiety compressed into a few short years.
The reason for that compressed anxiety lies in long-standing dream for freedom and convictions to change the economic systems codified after 1900 Habasha Apartheid policy that was based on the philosophy that separating the Oromo people from their cultural paths is the process of nation building. Young or old Oromians, throughout Oromia are now struggling to create a new constitution that will meet the needs of all who live in Oromia.
The task of reconstructing the de-constructed Oromo institution is not easy. Having remained apart for so long, Oromia’s cultures are facing difficult challenges. When most Oromians feel all Oromo cultures are common to all groups, of course, the Amharinized group differ dramatically. One might think that such minor differences can be overcome with a little education but the opportunist see the world in the way it benefits them.
One of the greatest problems of such political cross-currents creates the allure of a better standard of living for the opportunist few, while it attracts a steady stream of confusion in the minds of those who are not aware of the evil side of political opportunism. Faced with these problems, nationalist Oromians are seeking answers to a fundamental question that has muddied relations between them and the opportunists by re-constructing the Oromo institution that transcends all boundaries and barriers.
There are undoubtedly a number of questions we have yet to answer. What is the essence of the Oromo institution which the political opportunist cannot adapt? Which aspects of a particular part of the Oromo institution aspects the opportunists would be better off without?
Surly, it will take experience and inspiration to answer such questions fully, but one need to understand that building of the Oromo institution doesn’t mean the denial of everything in others separate heritages. In fact, if we have to, we may be willing to change certain traditions that aren’t compatible with what the majority thinks.
When this is true for now, the future of Oromia or Ethiopia doesn’t depend on what VISION Ethiopia groups think because the youth are undoubtedly part of the answer. By all accounts, they seem to be moving into the future with more confidence and less conflict than the previous generations.
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