Title: Genocidal Violence in the Making of Nation and State in Ethiopia
Author: Mekuria Bulcha (Mälardalen University and Uppsala University, Sweden)
Published: African Sociological Review Vol. 9, No. 2, 2005, pp. 1-54
Keywords: Oromo, Oromia, Abyssinian homogeneity, Menelik II, creation of the Ethiopian empire state, nationalism of the dominant ethnic group, authoritarian rule, genocide in Ethiopia
Based on a qualitative historical-sociological investigation of the incidents of mass-killings that have been registered during the last one hundred and fifty years, this study concludes that both the unification of the Abyssinian state between 1850s and 1870s, and the creation of the Ethiopian empire state during last quarter of the nineteenth century were accomplished through wars that were clearly genocidal. Though their aims were building a state, there were differences between the types of state and nation envisaged by the two ‘categories’ of rulers. The attempts of the nineteenth century rulers were to purge the Abyssinian state of non-Abyssinian religious and ethnic communities they perceived as ‘alien’ in order to build an exclusive Abyssinian state and a homogeneous Abyssinian nation. The nationalism of late nineteenth century rulers, as represented by its architect Menelik II, was expansionist. Abandoning the idea of Abyssinian homogeneity, they opted for hegemony over other peoples they had conquered in the heyday of the European Scramble for Africa. The result was a multinational empire state. This study shows that policies used to build and maintain the empire state were implemented using methods that were ethnically oppressive, immensely exploitative, and genocidal. This had triggered ethnic nationalism that has been at logger-heads with the ‘official’ nationalism of the dominant ethnic group. Moreover, the conflict between the two brands of nationalism had increased in tandem with rising ethnic consciousness and intensified since the mid 1970s as a consequence of the policies of the Dergue. In order to legitimize the state, control dissent, and stay in power, the ruling elites built a huge military apparatus and used retributive genocidal killings. The study confirms that there is clear nexus between authoritarian rule, man-made famines, and genocide in Ethiopia. It suggests that there are several warning signs showing that genocide is in the making today. Taking the international context into account, the study indicates that the role of some Western states has been abetting rather than deterring genocide in Ethiopia.
Title: The Oromo, Gadaa/Siqqee Democracy and the Liberation of Ethiopian Colonial Subjects
Authors: Asafa Jalata (Department of Sociology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee) and Harwood Schaffer (Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee)
Published: AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples Vol. 9, Issue 4 (2013): 277-295.
Keywords: Gadaa (indigenous democracy), Oromia, Oromo/Oromummaa, Ethiopian colonial subjects/nations, national self-determination, Ethiopian colonialism
This paper explores the potential role of the Gadaa/Siqqee system of Oromo democracy in the development of a democratic multinational liberation movement of the colonized nations within the Ethiopian Empire in order to dismantle the Tigrayan- led Ethiopian terrorist government and replace it with a sovereign multinational democratic state in the Horn of Africa based on the principles of indigenous democracy. After a brief introduction, this study describes the presence of a democratic, Siqqee/Gadaa administration among the Oromo in the Horn of Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries and the subsequent changes that made them vulnerable to colonization. It further examines the essence and main characteristics of Gadaa/Siqqee, showing that it provides
a contrasting political philosophy to the authoritarian rule of the Ethiopian Empire. The study shows that in the face of oppression and exploitation the Oromo people have struggled to preserve and redevelop their indigenous democracy, written records of which go back to the 16th century, long before European nations embraced the principles of democratic governance. It also explains how it can be adapted to the current condition of the colonized nations within the Ethiopian Empire in order to revitalize the quest for national self- determination and democracy and to build a sovereign democratic state in a multinational context. Furthermore, the piece asserts that this struggle is truly a difficult one in the 21st century as the process of globalization is intensified and regional and local cultures are being suppressed under the pressure of dominating cultures.
Title: Environmental Destruction in Ethiopia: A Leading Factor in Oromo Migration
Author: Mardaasa Addisu
Published: Seminar Presentation, the 56th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association (Theme: “Mobility, Migration and Flows”)
Keywords: Environmental Destruction, Oromia, Migration, Forced Displacement
This paper demonstrates that the Oromo population of Ethiopia, who live on the largest and most resource‐rich land area, are denied key environmental protections in their homelands. Drawing together data from research conducted in a number of Oromo areas, the paper explores how massive state and corporate projects intent on accessing valuable resources cause environmental destruction, which results in involuntary forced displacement of the Oromo population.
I compile significant evidence of environment destruction to argue that it is a major cause of ongoing forced displacement. These data have not previously been brought together coherently. Actions covered include massive forest fires set by newly‐arrived settlers, bodies of water in Oromia polluted by state‐sponsored industrial development, ecological destruction and displacement due to state reallocation of land to private businesses, and seed and fertilizer manipulation schemes which make farming untenable for peoples who treasure the land. The combined impact forces massive displacement of Oromo. Donor nations have demonstrated little awareness of the scale of the displacement, showing a slow response to environmental issues. Based on the findings, the study attempts to establish the scale of the forced displacement, then provides some policy recommendations to address the reoccurring issue.
Title: From slavery to freedom: the Oromo slave children of Lovedale, prosopography and profiles
Author: Sandra Carolyn Teresa Rowoldt Shell (Faculty of the Humanities; University of Cape Town)
Published: Thesis Collection, 2013
Keywords: African slavery, prosopography, Oromo slave children of Lovedale
In 1888, eighty years after Britain ended its oceanic slave trade, a British warship liberated a consignment of Oromo child slaves in the Red Sea and took them to Aden. A year later, a further group of liberated Oromo slave children joined them at a Free Church of Scotland mission at Sheikh Othman, just north of Aden. When a number of the children died within a short space of time, the missionaries had to decide on a healthier institution for their care. After medical treatment and a further year of recuperation, the missionaries shipped sixty-four Oromo children to Lovedale Institution in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. From 1890, Lovedale baptised the children into the Christian faith, taught them and trained them. By 1910, approximately one third had died, one third had settled in the Cape of Good Hope, one third had returned to Ethiopia and one had headed for the United States. The present study is a cohort-based, longitudinal prosopography of this group of Oromo slave children, based on the core documentation of the children’s own first passage accounts, supplemented by numerous and varied independent primary sources. This prosopographic technique yielded a profoundly different and more complex picture of their first passage, which emerged as a longer, more intricate and more varied ordeal than hitherto recognised. Boys experienced longer first passages, came from higher altitudes, were sold more times, endured longer periods of enslavement within the domestic system, received harsher treatment, attempted escape more frequently, and had a higher mortality rate throughout their lives. Girls, on the other hand, were rushed to the coast, presumably to expedite the higher prices that young, beautiful, intact Oromo slave women traditionally achieved in the Arabian slave markets. These findings suggest the need for a revision of ideas of the long-term physiological and psychological legacies of the first passage, as well as a re-examination of the much explored topic of mortality following the first passage. Their education at Lovedale established the children as a productive and resourceful cohort. The return of some of them to Ethiopia caused a contretemps on the eve of World War I involving the governments of four countries: the Cape, Britain, Germany and Ethiopia. This story constitutes a unique record and chronology of African slavery, its associated institutions and effects.
The following videos are from the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) 2013 Annual Conference (held in Washington DC at the Howard University on August 3 and 4). Those videos previously posted on GadaaTube.com have also moved to this new location on “Oromo Studies Collection @ Gadaa.com” for future academic reference uses by readers.