Oromia Today

Independent Voice of Oromia

Moving Beyond the Trauma of October 2, 2016 Irreecha Massacre - Part III

A Pledge to Struggle for Oromo National Sovereignty
By Mekuria Bulcha, PhD, Professor
30 September 2017

In Part II of this article I have described the trauma and anger caused by the October 2, 2016 massacre and discussed the manner with which the Oromo society has responded to the situation. In this third part of the article, I will explore the role which the Irreecha massacre has played in Oromo mobilization for national sovereignty, and resistance against the TPLF regime. In addition, I will provide a brief discussion of the consequences of the State of Emergency declared by the TPLF regime on October 9, 2016 and the role of the so-called Somali Liyu Police (Special Force) as agents of state terrorism against the Oromo.[1] [More]

Moving Beyond the Trauma of October 2, 2016 Irreecha Massacre - Part II

28 September 2017

The Oromo Resolve to Fight the Trauma of State Terrorism

By Mekuria Bulcha, PhD, Professor

Although the Oromo have been exposed to series of violent acts perpetrated against them by the Ethiopian security during the past twenty-six years, the Irreecha massacre of October 2, 2016 stands out as one of the most traumatic events. It was an act that had affected the largest number of Oromos in one place and day. The incident shocked and infuriated millions of Oromos irrespective where they were at that moment. Reports from those who participated in the festival through FaceBook and video footages which were transmitted on the occasion show that the 2016 Irreecha parade started with the mood of festivity that characterized the event as in the past. The mood, however, suddenly turned ugly when the regime used the festival for its political agenda and provoked the participants to protest. The subsequent onslaught by security forces transformed the festive mood of millions of men, women, and children into terror and helplessness (four million, according to the regime itself). As one journalist and survivor put it, “The scene was horrific and unbearable. Many who saw the belongings of their loved ones being scattered on the field were crying and running towards the ditch.” As blankets of teargas cloud covered parts of the festival grounds, participants ran in different directions and thousands of them were pushed into the bush where, hidden from their sight a netherworld, which like the Biblical Hades[1] had opened its mouth wide, was waiting to swallow them. The journalist mentioned above wrote, “By the time I reached at the ditches, hundreds have already lost their lives and many more were still trapped in the ditches, covered up by the soil.” All of a sudden the sacred thanksgiving site around Lake Arsadee was transformed into a valley of death. [More]

Moving Beyond the Trauma of October 2, 2016 Irreecha Massacre - Part I

25 September 2017


October 2 Will Signify State Terrorism Against the Oromo in Ethiopia 

By Mekuria Bulcha, Professor

In Oromo history 2016 was one of the darkest years. Sequences of traumatic events followed each other from day to day, week to week and month to month as the Oromo uprising which had started in Ginchi in November 2015 spread across Oromia like wildfire and persisted vigorously as the number of participants in the numerous demonstrations swelled into millions. Although the protests were mostly peaceful, the first eight months of 2016 witnessed the massacre of hundreds of Oromo youth. Parents witnessed as their children were gunned down by the special forces of the regime called the Agazi, in their homes. Pregnant mothers and elderly Oromos above the age 70 and children under the age of 10 were among the victims. The impunity with which the Ethiopian regime is [was] treating the Oromo people was made clear by the brutal crackdown when hundreds of the Oromos were killed at the Irreecha festival on October 2, 2016, near Bishoftu. [More]

The ‘Nine Lives’ of Oromo Literacy - Qubee and the Birth of a Generation - Part II

Defying a Tradition that Demonizes Our Identity, Our Language and Alphabet

18 September 2017 

By Mekuria Bulcha, Professor

In this second part of the article, I will briefly describe the resurrection of Oromo literacy in Oromia in the early 1990s and the opposition and skepticism with which the Latin alphabet, qubee, used in Oromo literacy, was met from the Orthodox clergy and the Habesha elite. After briefly introducing the radical changes brought about by the Oromo adoption of the qubee alphabet and the implementation of the use of Afaan Oromo, I will explore the anti-qubee and Afaan Oromoo feelings which were reactivated after the Oromo uprising in November 2015. It is important to note that, although the use the qubee alphabet in Oromo literacy was adopted by the Oromo people in 1991, there are groups who still today, in 2017, are opposing the Oromo right to write their language in an alphabet of their choice. Most Oromos dismiss the opposition of these groups as nonsensical and unworthy of attention.[1] However, ignoring it is not an option. There are a couple of reasons which, in my view, make countering the anti-qubee discourse a necessity. To begin with, any discourse that downplays a people’s right to develop and use their language violates human rights, and should be countered. Secondly, a discourse that distorts and demonizes the adoption of the qubee alphabet as a reflection of Oromo hate against the Ge’ez alphabet or fidel and Amhara culture, as many of the opponents’ comments are saying, is a sinister distortion intended to plant mistrust between the Oromo people and their neighbors. Such a discourse should be exposed and countered before it would cause serious conflicts and damages. It is said ‘Tell your story, otherwise someone else will tell it differently.’ Taking that advice into account, I will try, in this and a forthcoming third part of this article, to answer the questions, “Why are they opposing the qubee after more than two decades of silence? Why are the Oromo singled out for an attack while there are many other Cushitic-speaking peoples who have also adopted the Latin alphabet? Who are the authors of the articles and commentaries that oppose the qubee alphabet? In addition, the article will examine the ideology that underpins the opposition against the Oromo language in general, and use of the qubee in particular. Before proceeding to that, a brief overview of the spontaneous reception of the qubee alphabet by the Oromo nation and the opposition and skepticism of the Abyssinian clergy elite in the early 1990s is in order. [More]