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The Conflict between the Ethiopian State and the Oromo People

Published in 2013, European Conference on African Studies, Kumsa, Alemayehu - Archived on August 13th, 2014

Title: The Conflict between the Ethiopian State and the Oromo People
Author: Alemayehu Kumsa, PhD
Published: Centro de Estudos Internacionais do Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL) (5th European Conference on African Studies/ECAS – June 27-29, 2013)
Language: English
Keywords: Colonialism, Abyssinia, Oromo, Ethiopia, Liberation Movement

Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another. The etymology of the term from Latin word colonus, meaning farmer. This root reminds us that the practice of colonialism usually involves the transfer of population to new territory, where the arrivals lived as permanent settlers while maintaining political allegiance to the country of origin. Colonialism is a characteristic of all known civilizations. Books on African history teaches us that Ethiopia and Liberia are the only countries, which were not colonized by West European states, but the paper argues that Ethiopia was created by Abyssinian state colonizing its neighbouring nations during the scramble for Africa. Using comparative colonial history of Africa, the paper tries to show that Abyssinian colonialism is the worst of conquest and colonial rule of all territories in Africa, according to the number of people killed during the conquest war, brutal colonial rule, political oppression, poverty, lack of education, diseases, and contemporary land grabbing only in the colonial territories. In its arguments, the paper discusses why the Oromo were defeated at the end of 19th century whereas we do have full historical documents starting from 13th century in which the Oromo defended their own territory against Abyssinian expansion. Finally the paper will elucidate the development of Oromo national struggle for regaining their lost independence.

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Harvard University’s African Studies Workshop Featuring Kay Kaufman Shelemay: “Listening to Ethiopia’s South: Music, Musicians, and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism”

Published in 2014, Seminar Presentation, Shelemay, Kay Kaufman - Archived on July 20th, 2014

Title: Listening to Ethiopia’s South: Music, Musicians, and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism
Author: Kay Kaufman Shelemay (Professor of Music and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University)
Published: Seminar Presentation, African Studies Workshop at Harvard University
Language: English
Keywords: Ethnography, Ethnomusicology, Music, Oromo Nationalism

On March 3, 2014, Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, presented, “Listening to Ethiopia’s South: Music, Musicians, and the Performance of Oromo Nationalism.” Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music at Harvard University, was the discussant.

- Source: African Studies at Harvard University

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Urban Centers in Oromia: Consequences of Spatial Concentration of Power in Multinational Ethiopia

Published in 2010, Jalata, Asafa, Journal of Oromo Studies - Archived on April 1st, 2014

Title: Urban Centers in Oromia: Consequences of Spatial Concentration of Power in Multinational Ethiopia
Author: Asafa Jalata (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
Published: Journal of Oromo Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2 (2010), pp. 39-74.
Language: English
Keywords: Oromo, Oromia, indigenous people, centralization and spatial concentration, formation of garrison towns

This paper examines the essence and characteristics of cities and urban centers in Oromia and the major consequences of the centralization and spatial concentration of Habasha (Amhara-Tigray) political power in a multinational Ethiopia. It specifically demonstrates how the integration of indigenous Oromo towns into the Ethiopian colonial structure and the formation of garrison and non-garrison cities and towns in Oromia consolidated Habasha political domination over the Oromo people. Ethiopian colonial structure limited the access of Oromo urban residents, who are a minority in their own cities and towns, to institutions and opportunities, such as employment, education, health, mass media and other public services. In addition to exclusion, the Oromos have been prevented from developing autonomous institutions, organizations, culture, and language, and have been subordinated to the institutions and organizations of the Habasha colonial settlers in their own cities, towns, and homeland.

Article in PDF format on “Selected Works of Asafa Jalata”   ……   Alternatively, On Gadaa.com

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A History of Oromo Cultural Troupes (1962-1991)

Published in 2013, Bessa, Tesfaye Tolessa, Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal - Archived on February 22nd, 2014

Title: A History of Oromo Cultural Troupes (1962-1991)
Author: Tesfaye Tolessa Bessa
Published: Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal Volume 2, Issue 1, 2013, pp. 86-94
Language: English
Keywords: Culture, Music, Oromo Struggle, Oromo Cultural Resistance

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the struggle of Oromo cultural troupes in creating consciousness among the Oromo to reconsider their lost rights. The study draws up on primary and secondary sources, which had been collected in the summer of 2008. Primary sources are securitized from archives and interviews. Informants were selected only on the basis that they had been direct participants of the events. Printed material, as both primary and secondary sources, are utilized with critical scrutiny. Many of these sources are indicators of the situation the Oromo had been forced to bear in those days. From the analysis of these sources, the paper is able to reveal how the Oromo troupes brought hidden grievance of the Oromo to the light under unbearable situations. It also shows how these troupes brought unstructured way of cultural resistance and rural social banditries into the modern form of organized struggle by attracting many minds of bureaucrats, military officers, students, professional groups and the business classes.

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The following audio is from the era on which the author of the research paper writes.

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History of Oromo Social Organization: Gadaa Grades Based Roles and Responsibilities

Published in 2012, Dehu, Dereje Hinew, Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal - Archived on January 14th, 2014

Title: History of Oromo Social Organization: Gadaa Grades Based Roles and Responsibilities
Author: Dereje Hinew Dehu
Published: Science, Technology & Arts Research (STAR) Journal Volume 1, Issue 3, 2012, pp. 97-105
Language: English
Keywords: Oromo, Social organization, Gadaa, Luba, Gogeessa

The major purpose of this manuscript is to depict how membership to gadaa grades determined the social-political and economic roles and responsibilities of individuals in the Oromo society, and show the viability of values of Gadaa in democratic culture. The Gadaa system is a special socio-political organization of the Oromo people that has its origin in the age-system of the Horn of Africa. In the system, male individuals were grouped into grades known as gadaa. As an age-based social organization, the Gadaa system provided the mechanism to motivate and organize members of the society into social structure. Various socio-political rights and responsibilities are associated with each group. Accordingly, the system provided a socio-political framework that institutionalized stratified relationship between seniors and juniors and egalitarian relations among members of the grade. Initiation into and promotion from one gadaa grade to the next were conducted every eight years. The fundamental quality of the Gadaa system is that it has segmentation and specified social functions for its members that helped the members to develop a consistent and stable sense of self and others.

Gadaa system is one of the main themes studied by scholars of different disciplines. Scholars that studied Gadaa system at large gave attention to the nature of the institution, the socio-cultural performance in Gadaa system, calendar, and the political aspect of the Gadaa system. Asmarom produced the most comprehensive ethnographic study on the indigenous Oromo socio-political organization based on the people’s oral historic records (Asmarom, 1973). However, none of the scholars studied the age-grade privileges and responsibilities of individual members and clearly depicted the training, knowledge acquired and the rights and duties attributed to the members.

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