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The Destructive Effects of Tribalism: How it Hampers Human Growth and Suppresses the Soul

Yonas Biru, PhD

 

Yesterday, I wrote an article that suggested “Amhara Must Abolish Oromo Special Administrative Zones on its Land until Amharas living in the Oromo tribal land where they constitute majority are allowed to establish Amhara special zones.”

The article argued there is no reason why the Amhara should allow Oromos to administer areas they represent the majority in pockets of the Amhara tribal land while Amharas residing in the Oromo tribal land are NOT given the same right or privilege.

The issue with the existing setup lies in the political ideology of the Oromo tribe, which asserts that anything I acquire through force is rightfully and permanently mine, while anything you acquire through force must be recognized as a crime against humanity and condemned universally.

No one denies the fact that during the Mogassa expansion period centuries ago, Oromo warriors invaded non-Oromo lands. One such land is presently known as Wello in the Amhara tribal land. It also happened to be my ancestral land both on my mother’s and father’s side.

How did the Oromo invade Wello and other parts of non-Oromo lands? Let us hear it from foreign writers. In the 1924 issue of the Journal of the Royal African Society, Vol.23, No. 90, C. F. Rey wrote:

“[Oromo’s] Gadaa methods of warfare were cruel even for that age, and it was they who introduced the horrible practice mutilating the dead, and even the wounded and prisoners.”

 

Pedro Paez described Gadaa warriors as follows.

“The Oromo slaughtered many people and carried out extraordinary cruelties, because they cut to pieces the men and many of the boys and girls that they seized, and they opened up pregnant women with their spearheads and pulled the babies out of their wombs. The people of that land therefore came to fear them so much that nobody dared resist them.”

Not resisting did not help the conquered. Let us read what an Oromo Historian Mohammed Hasen, who is the international representative of Oromo Shene, wrote.

“Gadaa warriors are the devils who attack in the evening… Most of the conquered people who had earlier submitted with little or no resistance, found that they were no longer equal members of a clan within which they were incorporated, but slaves who were used as gifts and commodities for sale …. When new areas were attacked, the men were killed, and animals were captured. Probably the killing was intended to spread terror among the resisting population while the taking of cattle booty was to enrich themselves …. Most of the conquered people who had earlier submitted with little or no resistance to the Macha, found that they were no longer equal members of a clan within which they were incorporated, but slaves who were used as gifts and commodities for sale.

Mogassa had a three-step process. First, in the quest to take lands inhabited by other tribes, Oromo warriors decimated other tribal lands. Second, once they took over new territories, the Oromo conquerors adopted women, elders, children and surrendered fighters of the conquered tribe. Third, the conquered tribes were assimilated into Oromummaa under duress.

The adopted communities were forced to abandon, their names, languages, and traditions, and were politically and militarily baptized to become Oromo in every facet of their existence.

Mohammed’s book reveals that new fictitious Oromo genealogies were created for the forcefully assimilated tribes so they can count “their ancestors several generations back” to a “hypothetical” Oromo lineage. It was a complete dissolution of culture, tradition, name, and even genealogy.

Mohammed further informs us that the assimilation process culminated with an oath taking ceremony led by an Oromo Aba Gadaa, repeating: “I hate what you hate, I like what you like, I fight whom you fight, I go where you go, I chase whom you chase.” Those who refused to Oromize their body, spirit, soul, and genealogy were wiped out of existence in a bloodshed.

 

The people who live in parts of present day Wello are the result of this process including my ancestors.

Even after the Oromo lost their power, the converted Oromos were embraced by the Amhara kings as part of the Amhara kingdom. On my father’s side, we are closely related to Negus Michael who is of an Oromo heritage. His ancestors were forcefully assimilated by Oromo and converted to Christianity by a Tigrayan king.

Our Mogassa produced Oromo ancestry can be traced generations back. With names like Wudru, Jeben, Kilo, Wobo, Akako, Becho, Tulema, Kuno, Jelo Gache, and Boren on one side. On the other side it goes like Bertum, Kereyou, Merewa, Etu, Akitu, Worenso, Hubena.

On my mother’s side, my grandfather was Kegnazmach Habte-Michael Biru Mohammed TanTie (ጣንጤ). On his father’s side he was of Mogassa assimilated Oromo origin. His mother Weizero Likemyelesh was Emperor Haile Selassie’s first cousin. Her father Dejazmach Haile-Mariam was the son of Dejazmach Welde Michael Gudissa and the brother of Ras Mekonen, the father of Haile Selassie.

Oromos in Ethiopia were kings, nobilities, and king makers, not colonies as the idiot OLF community claims. Today, some among my people consider themselves Oromo. Some have reclaimed their Amharaness. Still others identify as Ethiopians without aligning with one or the other.

Most of the Oromo tribalists who responded to my yesterday’s article were divided into two groups. The first group insisted Wello belongs to Oromo and should be incorporated in the Oromo tribal land. The second group argued the Oromos in the Amhara tribal land have inalienable constitutional rights to administer themselves.

In the meantime, both responders consider Amharas who invaded the Oromo tribal land and settled there generations ago as invader colonizers. They argue they do not have inalienable constitutional rights to administer themselves.

This emanates from the Oromo tribal philosophy: “What I have taken from you by force is legitimately and permanently mine, but what you have taken from me by force must be registered as a crime against humanity and universally condemned.”

From a social perspective, tribalism is primitive and degenerative. The knife that Oromo tribalists sharpened to cut the Amhara is now used to cut each other. The current fight between Oromo-Shene and Oromo-PP is a fight between Wellega Oromo and Shewa/Jima Oromo. The brutality that was trained at Amhara is being used at each other.

From a human perspective, tribalism primitizes and zoombifies the Mind and Stifles the Soul. The people who were responding to my articles epitomize the sad communal product of tribalism. They cannot rationalize. They can only regurgitate slogans and political phrases that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) fed them over the last 50 years.

Lencho Bate, one of the founding members of the OLF once said the OLF constructed false narrative to build and scale up its movement. He was partially true. The OLF was able to scale up the movement. What Lencho failed to note is that OLF’s success in scaling up the movement came at the expense of diminishing their mind and stifling their soul.

This is the product of the OLF theology that has left an entire generation of tribalist Oromos who cannot see the right from the wrong. The cruelty and savagery we witness in the Oromo tribal land is the result of this. Therefore, it is hard to expect them to understand the fallacy in their philosophy that “What I have taken from you by force is legitimately and permanently mine, but what you have taken from me by force must be registered as a crime against humanity and universally condemned.”

 

 

 

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