Yonas Biru, PhD
This document is prepared to help the international community (IC) realize that PM Abiy and the Oromummaa clan that he is increasingly pandering to are posing an existential threat to the very existence of Ethiopia. Oromummaa is an imitation of Nazism perpetuated by Oromo tribal fanatics. Unfortunately, the PM lacks the political maturity to understand that neither he nor the architects of the Oromummaa can control the consequences of the tribe-based criminal enterprise. The IC must use the full force of its geo-political and financial influences to stop the imitation of Nazism by Oromummaa fanatics before it is too late.
#SanctionEthiopianGov #RerouteRemittence. #InternationalInvestigation
Oromummaa is a Low Grade Nazification Movement
Yonas Biru, PhD
Let me reiterate two important caveats. First, the term Oromummaa has two dimensions: social and political. The social meaning of the term is “being Oromo.” It reflects Oromo’s traditions and ethos of welcoming outsiders with a sense of community value and welfare. In contrast, Political Oromummaa aspires to impose the Oromo identity, culture, and political beliefs on other tribes. This article is focused on the political dimension of Oromummaa.
Second, advocates of Political Oromummaa intentionally hide their political motives behind the draperies of carefully curated Oromo social narrative. When their critics expose the façade, their responses run the gamut from intentionally confusing Oromummaa’s political and social dimensions to labeling their critics as “anti-Oromo.”
Oromummaa’s Bad Attempt at Cloning the Nazification of Germany
Hitler’s ultimate objective was making the Aryan race superior to all other races. The Aryan race refers to a mythical race that some European white supremacists imagined it to be “the highest race of humankind, the only one capable of producing a higher civilization.” Hitler vowed to restore and glorify the Aryan race while denigrating Jews, blacks, Romani (Gypsies), and other races.
At the beginning, his agenda was not as much focused on building a military might as it was on creating what he called a “spiritual energy.” He saw this as a prerequisite to build an army of fanatical followers. The process of activating, evangelizing, and mobilizing faithful followers was an important part of the Nazification process.
In a classic book “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements”, Erik Hoffer identified three factors that were crucial for mobilizing Nazi-devotees.
First, perpetuating a strong hatred towards non-Aryan races (particularly Jews) was the key unifying factor in galvanizing a mass following. Germans were humiliated after they suffered a crashing defeat in the First World War for which Hitler accused the Jews of being backstabbers that caused Germany’s defeat. He railed his followers to avenge Jews and the nations who defeated and humiliated Germany.
Second, promising a glorious future or an imagined castle-in-the-air was what gave Nazi’s followers a sense of a divine mission and turned them into what Hitler called “divine-creations.” The castle in the sky was making the Aryan race the supreme race and making Germany the most powerful nation on earth.
Third, there was no room for non-participation. Anyone who did not fully subscribe to Hitler’s ideology were lumped up with the enemy. The concept of “You are with us or against us” was the order of the Nazi movement.
The Creation of Aryan Spiritual Consciousness and Nazism
Let us delve into the process of Nazification to better understand the Oromummaa-ization process. Hitler’s strategy of first importance was promoting a new German consciousness and an “affinity with the spirit of the new Germany.” He conceived and propagated the Nazi movement as a “spiritual movement” with a “higher mission.” Sadly, his “spiritual movement” was fueled by hate and anger against the enemy.
He was highly successful in creating, nurturing and weaponizing the population’s anger and fear against the Jews, Marxists, homosexuals, and Nazi’s domestic political opponents.
The Nazis did not like Communists because they provided an alternative ideology to proletarians of all countries to unite against capitalism in the conflict of class interests. This undermined Nazi’s aim of uniting the Aryan race of all classes against all classes of other races. They want Aryan proletariat to hate proletariats of other races, not to unite with them.
Hitler tolerated Churches to the extent they aligned and subsumed themselves to the Nazi ideology of creating a superior Aryan race.
The Parallel Between the Nazi and Oromummaa Doctrines
Professor Asafa Jalata is the Godfather of the Oromummaa movement. His manifesto “The Concept of Oromummaa and Identity Formation in Contemporary Oromo Society” is focused on creating “Oromo consciousness” in line with Hitler’s German Consciousness. Oromummaa was engineered to serve as unified mass movement to restore the Oromo society to its glory days of 16th century Gedaa.
Anyone who has read Eric Hoffer’s description of the evangelization process of a mass movement and Mancur Olson’s classic work on “The Logic of Collective Action” cannot miss the parallel between Nazi’s and Oromummaa’s modus operandi.
Professor Asafa is well versed in the Nazi literature as shown in his writings. Out of curiosity, I googled if he is familiar with Hoffer’s and Olson’s classic works because his Oromummaa strategy seemed a canning replica of Hitler’s Nazification blueprint. Lo and behold, he is very familiar with both works. He refers to them in some of his writings.
Hitler’s aims of restoring the Aryan race as a hegemonic race and conquering the world constituted his higher mission. In like manner, Oromummaa’s higher mission or castle in the air aspires to reinvent and idolize the Gadaa system as a “dynamic global project.” Professor Asafa envisions the Oromummaa movement to “contribute to the solidarity of all oppressed peoples and promote the struggle for national self-determination, statehood, sovereignty, and multinational democracy.” His followers (scholars and laymen alike) bough his vision lock, stock, and barrel. Making Oromo Great Again became the higher purpose and the divine obsession of the Oromummaa true believers.
The Oromummaa divine castle in the sky is constructed NOT by building on the virtues and strengths of Oromo culture and value but by creating and nurturing negative image of those the movement designates as enemies of the people of Oromo.
Professor Asafa’s 12-page Oromummaa manifesto uses the term colonialist Ethiopia 18 times in different forms. Allegations of brutal colonization are used to create and sustain anger. The Anole statue of amputated breast epitomizes the desire to feed the beasts of hate with angry and tumultuous thoughts constantly.
In the hate-engendering endeavor, all aspects of Ethiopia’s political, economic, social, and religious institutions are weaponized to demonize Oromummaa’s designated enemies.
The people of Oromo see Christianity and Islam as part of their integral culture. In contrast, the Oromummaa doctrine portrays the two Abrahamian religions as Ethiopian “empire builders.” The Ethiopian empire that Muslims and Christians allegedly built is accused of “brutaliz[ing], murder[ing], terroriz[ing], and introducing an inferiority complex [on the Oromo] by attacking the Oromo culture.”
Professor Asafa adds more fuel to the fire. “Turks, Arabs, Habashas and the Europeans imposed both Islam and Christianity on Oromos while at the same time suppressing indigenous Oromo religion in order to psychologically control and dominate them… The Oromo self was attacked and distorted by Ethiopian colonial institutions.”
As outlandish as it may be, professor Asafa’s narrative is not an exception. It is consistent with the narrative of tribalist Oromo class. Professor Mirgissa Kaba and Girma Gutema equate Menilik’s incursion into the Oromo tribal land to “enslavement of the Oromo.” They further claim the Oromo language was turned into a “’prison language’ to show the incarceration of the Oromo which has continued to date.”
Dr. Gemechu Megersa’s outlook is even more dramatic. He describes a three-step process that purported enemies of Oromo used to introduce Islam and Christianity. First was taking the land of the Oromo. He described it as “occupying the physical space.” Second was “domesticating the native’s mind” using Islam or Christianity as a tool of subjugation by persuasion or force (“በካልቾና በጥፊ”). This, Dr. Gemechu suggests, was used to purify, and cleanse the Oromo because the people of Oromo were treated as an unholy (“እርኩስ”). The third and final stage was creating a new history for the subjugated people.
Perhaps the most venomous lie is the claim that adherents of Oromummaa parrot, claiming “between 1868 and 1900, half of all Oromo were killed, around 5 million people.” This makes the Oromo population at the time 10 million.
According to Statista, the population of the entire Ethiopia in 1868 was 5.8 million. By 1900, it was estimated to be 8 million. The Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency put the 1900 total population figure at 10,742,000 . Oromo intellectuals know the population of Oromo at the time was far less than 5 million. But they still use the 5 million genocide figure to demonize Menilik and Amhara as the two most hated enemies.
Just as was the case in Nazi Germany, the concept of “You are with us or against us” is the order of the Oromummaa movement. Those who do not subscribe to the Oromummaa ideology and political belief system are outcasted as enemies. In a two series LTV Show interview (here and here), Dr. Gemechu Megersa called Oromos who do not conform to the Oromummaa doctrine “አቃጣሪ” [Pimp].
Dr. Asafa Jalata characterizes those who do not follow his destructive agenda as “Ethiopianists and collaborationists” and “assimilated former Oromos, [who] like their Habasha masters… and haters of the Oromo history, culture, institutions.”
Oromummaa Precedes Religion, Family & Individual Liberty
Professor Asafa admits “the Oromo have religious plurality,” accepting the spread of Christianity and Islam. He has no choice because Islam and Christianity constitute the overwhelming majority of Oromos. However, he insists that these religions “need to adapt to national Oromummaa” because “the concept of Waqaa [Oromo God] lies at the heart of Oromo tradition and culture, which shapes the basis of Oromummaa.”
This line gives Waqaa precedence over the so-called “borrowed religions” of Islam and Christianity. In it lies irreconcilable conflict with other religions. For example, Islam is a way of life. As such, it defines and forms the overarching and over-encompassing identity of all Muslims around the world. The Quran recognizes the diversity in peoples’ color, language, tradition, and culture (30:22). However, any tradition or culture that contradicts the teachings of Islam (including Islam as a complete way of life) is rejected (4:115).
How do adherents of Oromummaa resolve the conundrum of reconciling Islam and Christianity with Oromummaa as Oromo’s overarching and over-encompassing identity?
They do so by giving Oromummaa precedence over Islam and Christianity. That is precisely why Jawar Mohammed announced he is first Oromo before he is Muslim. That is why Shimeles Abdissa criticized Oromos who took Christian and Muslim names as an affront to their Oromummaa identity.
Sadly, that is also why Muslim adherents of Oromummaa keep quite when Mosques are burned, and Amhara Muslims are subjected to mass murder and thousands of non-Oromo Muslims are forcefully displaced out of the Oromo tribal land.
Religion is not the only institutional victim of Oromummaa. Intertribal families such as mine are targets of the Oromummaa craze. We have witnessed one of the most prominent Oromo political leaders, Professor Bekele Gerba, attributing the decline of the Oromo language to interethnic marriage. We have also seen Oromummaa followers calling for a mass divorce to free Oromos from their Amhara spouses, leaving their tribally mixed children behind.
And then there is Oromummaa’s assault on the right to uphold an independent political view. Professor Asafa makes this clear. “Oromummaa as an intellectual and ideological vision rejects the position of Ethiopianists, collaborationists, modernists, and mainstream Marxists and places the Oromo man and woman at the center of analysis…”
As noted above, Nazi rejected Marxists to avoid an alternative narrative to his race-based conflict. For the same reason, Oromummaa rejects Marxism. They do not want Oromo peasants to sympathize and unite with Amhara peasants.
The more interesting question is: Why does Professor Asafa reject modernism? Political Oromummaa needs an Oromo institution that culturally and institutionally ties all Oromos. In 2019, they tried to make Irrecha a unifying Oromo identity. It was celebrated in Addis Ababa with a bang.
A year after, it disappeared from national scene with a whimper. To begin with, Oromos could not agree whether it is an Oromo religion, or a ritual practiced by non-believers. In the above-mentioned LTV Show interview, Dr. Gemechu insisted that Irrecha is an Oromo religion and called those Oromos who think otherwise as “ignorant” and “አቃጣሪ”.
The other question is: Why does Professor Asafa loathe modernism? Modernism undermines parts of uniquely Oromo traditions around which he wants to unite all Oromos under one identity. Another social institution that Oromummaa tries to ride is Gadaa – a 16th century political, economic, social, and religious governing system.
Unfortunate to the peddlers of Oromummaa, the Gedaa system has long been “reduced to a ritual system,” as documented by Professor Endalkachew Lelisa Duressa. Even Professor Asafa acknowledge Gedaa is a system whose time has long passed. He believes that “due to the geographical expansion of the Oromo territory and an increasing population, the central Gadaa government declined beginning in the mid-17th century and autonomous regional and local republics took its place. But he still wants to revive Gadaa. The question is: Why?
With the expansion of Islam and Christianity and since Menilik’s regime, Oromo was vastly integrated with the rest of Ethiopia, socially, politically, and economically. Oromos in Wello have a ton more similarity with the Amhara of Wello than with the Oromos of Wellega or Arsi. Similarly, Oromos in Shewa share far more with the Amharas of Shewa than with the Oromos of Bale or Jimma.
The aim of Oromummaa is to reverse this development using a two-pronged approach. The first prong harasses, humiliates and attacks Oromos who do not chain themselves with antiquated Gadaa system. They are labeled as “assimilated former Oromos, [who] like their Habasha masters… and haters of the Oromo history.” If one is an Oromo and a born-again Protestant Christian who aspires to live like Christ and does not accept Gedaa‘s religious tenets, he/she is labeled “former Oromo” and an “አቃጣሪ” to boot.
The second prong is to use the leavers of political power to resuscitate the pre-modern Gadaa system as the overarching identity of Oromo. The only chance they can reintroduce a 16th century antiquated Gedaa is by rejecting the modernism of the 21st century. This is a futile enterprise to go forward in a reverse gear.
Political Oromummaa a Project of Wholesale Grievance and Lies
The politics of grievance-fueled hate is the sine qua none of Oromummaa, just like wind is a sine qua non for flying a kite. Sadly, the politics of grievance-fueled hate is sustained by a wholesale lie-infested narrative both about Oromummaa and about its designated enemies. While noting that one can write volumes on this, I will limit my presentation to a few examples in the interest of space.
Allow me to reiterate Shimelis Abdissa’s 2019 Irrecha celebration speech to show the wholesale lie is the foundational anchor of Oromummaa’s hate-driven movement. At his speech, he said: “We have taken the levers of power after we broke the backbone of our enemies in the same place where they broke us.” The enemy he mentioned was “Neftegna” aka Amhara.
The truth is that the Oromo-led governing party was voted into office with a unanimous vote from members of the Amhara Democratic Party, in 2018. Had the Amhara casted their block vote with the nominee of the Southern People candidate, the leavers of power would have gone to a non-Oromo candidate. Oromo did not break the backbone of Amhara. It climbed to power on the supporting shoulders of Amhara.
Let us move to Professor Mirgissa Kaba’s and Girma Gutema’s rejoinder to my Emergency Manifesto. I had to read some of their remarks twice to make sure that my eyes were not playing tricks on me. In an unabashed lack of intellectual integrity laced with brazen audacity, the two defenders of Oromummaa wrote: “The Oromo lived peacefully and has never enticed any wrong to any peoples whom they live with as neighbors.”
This is the same Oromo tribal land where people are hanged upside down alive and stoned to death that the two Oromummaa scholars are talking about. They are talking about the land of Mogassa where in centuries past Oromo warriors cut the penis of men who refused to accept Oromoness and then hacked their neck with a hatchet. The cruelty is manifested in the decision to chop their penis first and then hack their neck rather than hacking their neck first and then chop their penis.
Recent reports by credible international agencies show the Oromo tribal land is the epicenter of recurring forced displacement and race-based mass murders. Yet, the two scholars boldly claim the Oromo has never done any wrong to any people.”
Further, in a tweet Professor Mirgissa suggested Oromummaa does not infringe on “other group’s rights”. Let us start with Shimelis Abdissa, the President of the Oromo region the second most powerful person in current Oromo politics, next only to the Prime Minister.
He is on the record announcing Oromo-PP’s plan for “the Future of Ethiopia” is Gedaa and “Prosperity Party is built in such a way to advance the interest of Oromo. The head of the Party will always be an Oromo or an Oromo plant.” Jawar Mohammed, one of the most prominent Oromo politicians, acknowledges the resentment that Oromo-PP’s attempt at establishing an Oromo hegemony has inspired, noting:
አንድ ቡድን በኦሮሞ ስም አምባገነንነትን ገንብቶ ለጎረቤት ክልሎችና ሕዝቦች ጠላት አድርጎናል። አገዛዙ ባለፉት አምስት አመታት አብረን ከምንኖርባቸው ሕዝብና የክልል መንግሥታት ጋር ጦርነት ውስጥ እንድንገባ አድርጎናል …
Once again, in a 2023 speech to Oromo-PP youth league, President Shimelis made both the enemy and the imagined castle in the air components of Oromummaa clear:
”የአዲስ አበባ (ፊንፊኔ) ከተማን ከበናት የሸገር ከተማን ለምንድነው የገነባነው? በስትራቴጂ አስበንበት ነው እየገነባን ያለነው፡፡ ጠላቶቻችን ምን እየሠራን እንደሆነ ገብቷቸዋል፡፡ አንዳንድ የእኛ ሞኝ ግን አልገባውም፡፡ እመኑኝ! እናንተ እድሜያችሁ ወጣቶች ናችሁ፡፡ በመጪዎቹ 30 እና 40 ዓመታት የኢትዮጵያ ንግድ የሚባለው፣ የኢትዮጵያ ጂዲፒ የሚባለው ሸገር፣ ቢሾፍቱ፣ የገዳ ስፔሺያል የኢኮኖሚ ዞን እና አዳማ ይሆናሉ፡፡ ገዳ ስፔሺያል የኢኮኖሚ ዞን የአፍሪካ ቁጥር አንድ ጂዲፒ እንደሚሆን አነዳች ጥርጣሬ የለኝም፡፡ ይህም በቀጣዮቹ 30 እና 40 ዓመታት እውን የሚሆን ነው፡፡”
Leaders such as Shimelis, Gemechu, Asafa, and their ilk use pens, papers, and megaphones to herald their lies. However, their lies germinate violent actions as they percolate down to the restless youth. Sticks, stones, matchets and guns become the political lingua franca of the systematically nurtured and curated resentment of Political Oromummaa.
Let me add some more examples of Oromummaa’s institutionalized lies from Professor Asafa’s articles. Professor Asafa’s ability to fabricate false narrative seems to know no limits. Speaking of the Oromo Mogassa system he wrote:
“The principles of justice and democracy guided the Oromo worldview and value. Oromo society rejected hierarchies based on race/ethnicity, class, and gender. Therefore, when the Oromo fought wars and defeated their competitors, they integrated them into their society through the processes known as guudifacha and moogafacha. When other peoples or groups were interested to join Oromo society, they were allowed to join the society through these processes.”
Endalkachew Lelisa Duressa, a well-known quantity in the Oromummaa universe acknowledges the Oromo used the “Gadaa system both militarily and administratively to expand their territories.” Mohammed Hassen, another well-regarded Oromummaa leader debunking Professor Asafa’s claim that the Mogassa undertaking was guided by “the principles of justice and democracy.” Mohammed wrote: the Mogassa practice “included absorbing defeated tribes “as clients or serfs (gabbaro) into the [Oromo] tribal structure.”
For ease of explanation, let me present a hypothetical version of Chinese Mogassa. Here are the steps.
- China invaded Ethiopia.
- Converted all Ethiopians to Chinese citizens in a national ceremony under the threat of mass murder.
- Required every Ethiopian to stop speaking in his/her mother tongue and start speaking in Mandarin only.
- Forced all Ethiopians to adopt Chinese names such as 静 for women, and燕 for men.
- Gave Ethiopia a new name, say 无为市.
- Required all former Ethiopians to denounce their traditions and cultures
- Cut the penis of men who refused to accept their Chinese-ness and hack their heads in front of their community.
- Allowed the newly minted Chinese to live freely with Chinese Culture and language.
- In the process of Chinese Mogassa millions of Ethiopians were murdered for refusing to comply, but the Chinese government argues the end justifies the means.
Professor Asafa brazenly claims “When [non-Oromos] were interested to join Oromo society, they were allowed to join the society.” He forgot to mention those who were not interested had their penis chopped and their neck hacked.
Oromos Were an Integral Part of Ethiopia’s Governance Architecture
The Oromummaa camp’s claim that Oromo has been colonized by Ethiopia is an outright lie. If one must judge Ethiopia’s state building of past centuries by current democratic standards, the Oromo will come out both as colonizer and colonized – if one must use such words.
One can go as far back as Emperror Susenyos’s era (early 1600s) to see the role the Oromo played as kings, king makers and military leaders of a succession of Ethiopian eras. There were Oromo governors in Amhara tribal land way before Menilik’s time. Under Menilik’s era and beyond, there were Oromo generals, governors, Ambassadors, and members of the Nobility.
Empress Taitu Betul (the great granddaughter of Ras Gugssa) was Emperor Menelik’s wife. She was Ras Gugssa an Oromo was married to Zewditu, the daughter of Emperor Menelik. Negus Mikael (aka Ali) of Wollo was an Oromo king of Wollo. His father was Ali Aba Bula. The wife of Emperor Haile Selassie, Empress Menen is the granddaughter of Ras Mikael of Wello whose an Oromo. Prince Sahle Selassie, the youngest son of Emperor Haile Selassie was married to an Oromo.
Dejazmach Balcha Aba Nefsso was another great Oromo general. He was one of the most talked about and revered war leader during the Adwa war. Interestingly, the Gurage in Ethiopia claim he is a Gurage. The Oromos claim him to be a naturalized Oromo through Mogassa.
Ras Abebe Aregay, one of the kingmakers of Ethiopia was half Oromo on his mother’s side. He was the Prime Minister of Ethiopia (1957-1960).
In the early days of Mengistu Hailemariam’s era, Teferi Benti (an Oromo) was the head of state. Mengistu Haile Mariam himself was an Oromo. His principal intellectual Gidfather was Haile Fida, an Oromo. His last Prime Minster Tesfaye Dinka, another Oromo. Other high-level officials included Demise Bulto and Tesfaye Gebre Kidan Geletu (who served as the Acting President of Ethiopia after Mengistu fled the nation).
What Needs to Be Done?
For the last 50 years, since the time of Mengistu, Ethiopia been led by Oromos, Southern People (PM Haile Mariam) and Tigrayans. And yet Oromummaa targets the Amhara because the movement is built on passionate hate for the Amhara.
The lie-inspired and hate-driven Oromummaa movement is pushing the nation to the brink. In the immediate short-term the only force that the PM responds to is the IC. The IC must use the full force of its sanction tools to stop Oromummaa before it is too late. See “Averting Civil War in Ethiopia: An Emergency Manifesto.”
OROMUMMAA- LOW GRADE NAZI IDEOLOGY