THE OROMO PEOPLE AND OROMIA
|Horn of Africa in 1880's|
The Oromos are the single most dominant national group in the horn of Africa. Oromos are ethnic group found in the currently known as Ethiopia, northern Kenya and parts of Somalia. The horn of Africa is a region with crises for many centuries that leads to the harass and land grab of the Oromo People by others.
The Oromo people's home land known as Oromia is approximately located between 3 & 15 degrees north latitude and 33 & 40 degrees longitude . Oromia is 375,000 square miles or 600,000 square kilometers . It means,it is larger than France, and if Cuba, Bulgaria and Britain were put together, they would be approximately equal to Oromia in size. Out of more than 55 African countires Oromia is exceeded in size by only 17 countries. Oromia borders Abyssinia in the north, Ogaden and Somalia in the east and south-east, South sudan and Sudan to the west and Kenya in the south. Oromia was one of the free nations in the horn of Africa until its colonization and occupation by Abyssinia (Ethiopia) at the end of nineteenth century.
The original inhabitants of Oromia, the Oromo people, speak and share one common language known as Oromiffa or also known as Afaan oromo. Oromiffa language is categorized as a cushitic language and it is the third most widely spoken language in Africa, after Arabic and Hausa. The Oromo population is more than 40 million currently but the Ethiopian government reported the Oromo people as only 32 million at the moment. This makes the oromo is the third nationality in Africa and single largest nationality in east Africa.
The Oromo people mainly practice three different religions. These are Waaqeffana (the traditional belief in waqaa or God), Islam and Christianity (Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant).
Long back in history, Oromia is the locale of the 3.5 million years old Lucy (the common name to several hundred pieces of bone representing about 40 % of the skeleton of an individual Australopithecus afarensis that discovered in 1974) or Chaltu in Oromiffa .
Oromia has hosted numerous pioneering human achievements including the development of the earliest pebble tools (circa 7000 b.c), the domestication of animals (circa 5000 b.c), and regional trade in antiquity in gold, ivory, etc. Inspite of all these advantages, a century of colonization by Abyssinia (Ethiopia) a back ward nation itself, has meant that the Oromo people have endured a stagnant existence where ignorance and famine have been coupled with ruthless oppression, subjugation, exploitation and above all extermination .
The Oromo people developed an indigenous democratic system called Gada. Gada system is a system in which elected officials including the Abba gada (president ), the Abba Dula (commander of the army), the Abba hori (chief of the treasury), and nine Hayyuus(Judges) assumed public office for non-renewable 8 years terms.The Gada system can be listed as one of the true origin of modern day democratic leadership .
The Oromo people remained independent until the last decade of the 19th century. In the late decade of the nineteenth century Abyysinians from the north, aided by modern European arms, managed to conquer them. Since then successions of autocrats from Menelik to Meles Zenawi have systematically suppressed Oromo culture, looted Oromo resources , divided the Oromo people by region, religion , etc and tried to eradicate the identity of the Oromo people in the idiom of Ethiopian unity,thus fostering instability, war and famine for over one century .The Oromo people were colonized during the last quarter of the nineteenth century by a black African nation - Abyssinia with the help of the European colonial powers of the day . During the same period, of course, the Somalis, Kenyans, Sudanese and others were colonized by European powers. The fact that the Oromo were colonized by black African nation makes their case quite special.
During the process of colonization between 1870 and 1900, the Oromo population was reduced from ten to five millions. This period coincides with the occupation of Oromo land by the Abyssinian emperors Yohannes and Menilek. After colonization these emperors and their successors upto Zenawi's EPRDF regime continued to treat Oromo with utmost cruelty. From the beginning of colonization many were killed by the colonial army and settlers, others died of famine and epidemics of various disease or were sold of as slaves. Those who remained on the land were reduced to the status of Gabbar (a peasant from whom labour and products is extracted cruelly) and is a crude form life is introduced to the oromo people and their destiny. In all spheres of life discrimination, subjugation, repression, and exploitation of all forms were applied and continued until today under the arms of dictator Zenawi. Everything possible was done and being done to destroy Oromo identity - culture, language, custom, tradition, name,and origin. In short the general policy of genocide against the oromo people maintained till today from those days on ward to Zenawi's regime.
Today when nearly all of the African peoples have won independence, the Oromo people continue to suffer under the most backward and savage Ethiopian settler colonialism. Although the Oromo nation is one of the largest in Africa, it is forgotten by or still unknown to the majority of the world today. Unfortunately even the names Oromo and Oromia are unknown to many and this should not be allowed to continue. All genuinely democratic and progressive individual and groups who believe in peace, human dignity, liberty, equality, and security should support the Oromo struggle for liberation.This time is also a right time to understand the peace and security of the oromo people is the base for peace and security in the whole horn of Africa.
Brief facts : People : Oromo
Country: Oromia ( Oromiyaa)
Language : Oromiffaa also known as Afaan Oromo
Area : 600,000 square kilometers approximately
Capital city: Finfinne (also called Addis Ababa)
Population size : Above 40 million
Economy : Agriculture , trade and tourism
Religion: Waaqeffanna, Islam and Christianity
Colonized by : Abyysinia ( Ethiopia ) since 1887 till today
OROMO AND OROMIA 101THE OROMO PEOPLE AND OROMIA IN BRIEF
The Oromo are indigenous African people inhabiting the North Eastern part of Africa. Their country is called Oromia, which is currently under the domination of the Ethiopian colonial Empire. The Oromo are descendants of the Eastern-Kushitie group of people indigenous to the Horn of Africa, with a population of over 40 million, which makes them one of the largest indigenous peoples of East Africa. A map of the region showing Oromia within the current political boundaries of Ethiopia.