The passing of great Oromo nationalist Tarfa Dibaba

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We just heard a sad and heartbreaking news. It is the pass away of a great political tower in the Oromo national liberation struggle, Comrade Tarfa Dibaba. Comrade Tarfa Dibaba was a nationalist who introduced with his comrades the Oromo national liberation struggle for independence. He was a member of the great Oromo generation of 1960s and 1970s that ignited the flame of struggle for liberation of Oromia and its people. He was the founding member of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). For this liberation struggle, he dedicated his whole life to fighting until his last breath. He firmly and unflinchingly stood on the side of his people, their cause and their struggle for liberation.

Comrade Tarfa Dibaba was a great leader and hero for the Oromo people. He was a truly inspirational nationalist leader and a revolutionary patriot. He was a person of passion and love for his people and country. In this Oromo national liberation struggle for independence, he fought against the Ethiopian colonial system with dignity, resolve and courage. He was a man of iron will, great strength, firmness of mind and determination in spirit and purpose to fight for the independence of Oromia and its people. Throughout his life, his conviction to liberate Oromia remained steadfast and unwavering. He was optimistic national leader, tough-minded and with confidence. In this national liberation struggle, he defended the sacred soil of Oromia against colonial occupation with conviction to the very last day of his life. In history, no national struggle had ever been successfully fought without the braves-national heroes and heroines. This means national struggle needs dedicated national figures; national leaders. Tarfa Dibaba was the dedicated nationalist leader in the Oromo national liberation struggle. In the struggle, he represented the aspiration of the Oromo people.

As the saying goes, people make history and that history creates national heroes and heroines, not because one like to be one, but the necessity creates it. With this, we need to understand that because one may put on the mask of nationalists, drapes oneself in guise of revolutionaries, borrows the language of revolution and shout slogans of revolution do not make one a revolutionary nationalist leader and a national symbol of national struggle. The Oromo struggle needs truly revolutionary nationalists and patriots in the like of Tarfa Dibaba and many others before him. The Oromo people had and still have such great national leaders. But today, the numbers of such great revolutionary nationalist leaders and symbols are dwindling. Some have already died in the military engagement, and others are dying natural death. In the long run, these conditions may deprive the Oromo nation, national symbols and figures of the struggle.

This must be a concern for the Oromo nationalists, patriots and the Oromo people. We often say the time-honored phrase, “Qabsaawaan ni kufa, qabsoon itti fuufa.” But, I am not so sure if this time-honored phrase holds to be true in the Oromo case as revisionists are united more than ever before and increasingly penetrating the Oromo nationalist organizations and Oromo mass organizations in order to reverse the course of struggle for independence. If the Oromo nationalists and patriots do not immediately unite and take the struggle to battlefields in Oromia so as to defeat the coordinated efforts of the reactionary forces of darkness both from within and from without, I am afraid, as revolutionaries die, so will the revolution with them. It is only the unity of the Oromo nationalists and patriots that can avert this situation.

Unity is the only way forward. Comrade Tarfa Dibaba embodies unity- the unity of the Oromo nationalists and patriots. He embodies the spirit of unity of purpose, unity of mission and unity of the objective as enshrined in the political program of the OLF of 1976 and its revised version of 1998. He was a man of unbridled enthusiasm for the unity. For this, he kept on fighting tirelessly until the last day of his life against the divisive new political wave of empire democratization that has been and is intended to divide the Oromo nationalists.

Comrade Tarfa Dibaba was a nationalist of high moral courage with willingness and determination to fight against all odds and injustice. Throughout this struggle, he firmly stood on the values and principles with convictions -even during duress based on the love and loyalty to his country and people. Today, the nation has lost this great leader –a political and humanitarian tower in the Oromo national liberation struggle. The Oromo people, the nationalists, the patriots and the Oromo struggle have lost a great leader, Tarfa Dibaba – as they had lost so many nationalists and patriots before him. Tarfa Dibaba and his comrades were the ultimate nationalists who ignited the flame of liberation/bilisummaa in the hills and valleys of Oromia and across the globe.

Comrade Tarfa Dibaba was the first person to introduce the Oromo national struggle and its justness to the world communities and found friends for it. Comrade Tarfa Dibaba has passed on to the new Oromo generation the unmistakable torch of light of freedom; the invincible light–the light of struggle for liberation, democracy, justice, peace, and unity. And now, it is incumbent upon the living nationalists and patriots to carry this torch forward, keeping the flame of freedom alight until independence of Oromia is realized for which Comrade Tarfa Dibaba has been fighting for to the last day of his life. This is the only way the nation, the patriots and nationalists honor, remember, and celebrate the life, the struggle, and the sacrifice of the nationalist Tarfa Dibaba and those before him.

May God gives his family members, friends, and comrades the strength and endurance to withstand this moment of grief and pain and may his soul rest in peace.

Oromia Shall be Free!

Leenjiso Horo August 1, 2016

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