By Ibsaa Guutama
Before the sixties Oromo struggle used to erupt in different corners spontaneously. At a period when time and space were not conducive many heroes and heroines paid the ultimate sacrifice. It was failure of such struggle that led the ensuing generation to ponder over it. It meant rise and fall elders led to consciousness. The upcoming generation upon seeing that spontaneity has no advantage started to organize in cells and discuss as to what should be done. In that way all embracing organized struggle that have program was born. Those that started struggle with program announced to their people and the world that the struggle will be a protracted one. A considered and orderly struggle has no obstacles that it cannot get rid of and no abyss it cannot enable to cross.
An enemy that has a government organized over many years wants only to put out rebellion fast; what is called protracted is its nemesis. Protracted war is carried out by guerrilla fighters. It does not meet the enemy where the enemy wants but at place of its own choice. Its objective is to stretch out enemy force over large area and tire it. Oromo guerrilla fighters are continuing their struggle sometimes lying low and at other times bursting forward. They embed themselves like umber or firebrand in ashes the traditional way for setting fire later and come out at own convenience and setting fire. Wayyaanee wanted to uncover the umber and put it out ones and for all. That is why it is provoking the not prepared people to rise and loaded them with a burden no one can bear. If the Oromo rise they are like panther. No threat or fear can turn them back. Oromo have come out roaring for over six months. Their spontaneity is what the enemy wants. For this reason people’s movement have to transcend to planned and organized one.
The protest started by students in towns of Jibaat and Maccaa, cajoled not only students in Oromiyaa but also the whole population to join them. The adults should replace them and students have to go back to learning. Intermittently slogans that say “Education after Freedom” are being heard. From existing experience this is a wrong slogan that has to be corrected. It is better if replaced by “We struggle learning” and “We learn Struggling”. For Oromo children learning is preparing oneself to survive competition for living in the world. This is part of the front for Oromo struggle that could enable them achieve that. Because of colonial policy generations of Oromo children are left behind for years. Even today the number of those that did not get chance to go to school is greater than those that got. Children now learn in their language thanks to the immense sacrifices that were paid. But the control and how this language is to be used are still under aliens that have no tradition to equally treat human heritage; that is why education in the empire reflects aspirations of the dominant power. Federation that was supposed to treat all equally turned to be a tool for strengthening supremacy of aliens in all aspects. Language not excluded. This plan can be thwarted only by going in masse to learn and making enemy’s objectives to fail rather than quitting it. For this reason care has to be taken as to avoid slogans that suits enemy’s objectives.
What is being said has to be understood correctly. It does not mean that students should not participate in the struggle to liberate their people. But which students under what circumstance have to be asked. This writer appreciates and recognizes the role youth played and sacrifices they paid in the current protest movement. But under conditions where the people rose and took over the movement children in “gaammee” stage that are up to twelfth grade or those that did not eat more than two “Buttaa” unless school is closed on them, or education is seriously disturbed or if chaos reigns over the country and public peace and security is not at all conducive for learning, the writer believes that they should not participate in protest demonstrations. So that it will not be like the saying “Where there is no horse you dance with donkey”, children should not be exposed to harm as if there are no adults. In particular children in “Dabballee” stage or primary schools should not go out for demonstration that has dangers. The abuser has to be kept at distance with all costs. Protest is the concern of adults. If children learn it will be of great benefit for the country and the revolution. The world is developing in technology at great speed. Unless one adopts children to it the future will remain in darkness.
Their fathers are brave. They do not fail to fend off by force those that aggressively come to them. But the fight waged is not only those of muscles. It includes new weaponry, tactics and psychological ones that require especial qualifications. That is why education is necessary. The enemy wants to benefit from Oromo ignorance. Since the movement started it is being told that enemy soldiers are barring pupils from going back to schools. To be barred by the enemy and to stop by oneself are different for observers. Enemies wrong doings should not be covered by own follies. Starting before the movement the enemy had been creating several obstacles so that the Oromo are hindered from getting access to learning. Since then it had continued to abuse several institutions in Oromiyaa. Care should be taken even when pupils are peacefully going to and back from school, for the enemy may take it as protest march.
Oromo struggle is losing its luster because leaders stopped leading and progress could not be registered. The people who were supposed to be led started to march at the head of the leaders. Masses lack lack someone that coordinates their efforts and guide them are like bees without the queen; they would not know where to go and how to get back. For this reason the protest movement has to get out of spontaneity totally, elect its central leadership and start marching in unison. Be it as leaders or foot soldiers unless one is in the field of struggle it is not possible to lead people’s army by remote control. It is getting to be quarter of a century since the Head Quarters of the struggle is in exile. This is among the reasons that what was being tried at home did not materialize. Though some may claim the present movement to be organized, it doesn’t seem from observation tower; clear leadership and home Head Quarter is missing.
Those in the diaspora should not be expected to go back and lead for they have failed to do so in the past twenty five years. If they insist they can be there and lead, it requires only presenting oneself at the spot. But it will be realistic if those that are moving in the country chose their leaders and continue the struggle for which numerous heroes and heroines sacrificed themselves. What is going on in practice is gratifying but publicly assigning responsibility and accountability is being awaited. The time is that of Raabaa Doorii and Luba. The Yuba will also be around to counsel and give guidance in the matter of justice. Tyranny had banished people from their countries and made them “the diaspora”. The diaspora fits to support the home front, in foreign relations, knowhow, and supplying different materials. Conditions on the ground change hourly. For this reason no one has the ability to cop up except those on the spot.
The struggle of this great people has to be properly planned and waged. Reacting to provocation of the enemy and rush spontaneously could bring on the people and its struggle visible and unforeseeable disaster. Let alone when it gets excuses the enemy even without one will not go back from sabotaging Oromo education. Rather than raising hue and cry coming together in corners, moving under central leadership and common program has advantage. This will get rid of spontaneity and help to advance in orderly manner. Whatever happens spontaneously could create sudden shock. But what is thoughtfully planned ahead can foresee possibilities and there will be no surprises. Strategy of considered struggle is to defend oneself, weaken the enemy and defeat it. We have seen where peaceful struggle tried for six months have taken us. It was tried because some said it; otherwise, give the left when right is slapped is not Oromo custom. At such a time when people are highly motivated for the struggle, given proper leadership, OLA could have settled the score. The kaayyoo to struggle for was laid down. Options for struggle were also indicated. Nobody expects one to silently perish, but to go ahead and defend one’s right with a chosen appropriate option. The Oromo people will continue their struggle in highly organized manner until victory, more coordinated and more awakened. Oromo shall transcend spontaneity. Let protest movement blossom! Oromiyaans shall overcome!
Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty, equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our forefathers!