By Falmataa Oromo First Published on Oromia Times 4 Jan 2014
Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn (1990: 24) wrote that ‘No fewer than 80 percent of the Herero and 50 percent of the Nama had… fallen victim to colonial rule’. They indicated that the Herero and Nama were exterminated for opposing German colonial rule. They added that ‘the staggering human cost of German colonial rule in South-West Africa’ was accompanied by plunder. The sources suggest that more than 90 percent of the Maji or Dizi, about 80 percent of the Gimira, between third thirds and three quarter of the Kaficho and about half of the Oromo population had lost their lives as the consequence of the conquest and colonisation The small kingdom of Walaita also lost a large proportion of its inhabitants. An Abyssinian expedition in 1894 slaughtered about 119,000 men, women and children (Prouty, 1986:115) in less than two weeks.
Secondly, to spread terror among real and potential enemies, the Abyssinian forces committed acts of mass murder and mutilation against the different peoples they conquered. Here, unlike in the north, mutilation included even women. In that respect the best-known case was the mass mutilation of the Arsi Oromo during the wars of conquest fought from 1882 to 1886. What was remarkable here is that mutilation did not stop with Abyssinian victory at the battle of Azule in 1886 that cost the lives over 12,000 Oromo fighters (Haji, 1995; Zewde, 1991: 63). Weeks after the Arsi were defeated at battle of Azule, the commander of the conquering forces, Ras Darge Sahle Selassie, ordered thousands of Oromos to gather at a place called Anole. Thousands came obeying the order and were killed or mutilated – the men of their hands and the women of their breasts (Haji, 1995: 15-16).
According to (De Salviac, 1901:349-354 During the protracted war of conquest and the pacification that lasted for several decades, vast amounts of property belonging to the conquered peoples was confiscated or destroyed, and millions of head of livestock were looted. Tens of thousands of captives were deported and sold into slavery. The conduct of Abyssinian armies invading a land is simply barbaric. As the fire begins, surprised men in the huts or in the fields are three quarter massacred and horribly mutilated; the women, the children and many men are reduced to captivity. General Walde Gabriel was for a long time held in check, he had cut the right wrist of 400 notable Oromo in one day alone. In these great expeditions (war), the generals have right to be preceded by eight drummers (negarit); the Nugus has 24 of them. The number is trumpets is unlimited, Menelik brought back 10,000 oxen, and several thousands of slaves form just one campaign, not including the booty of subordinate officers. The number of heads of cattle captured in one expedition sometimes rises to 100,000; we have seen our eyes some of these glorious ones mutilated. In his hours of reflexion the general, almost a centenarian, believed seeing the specter of these 400 heroes, pursuing him with their reproach. The Nugus, whom I had asked the number of dead, had his guard of the seal make an inventory; each chief told how many victims their men had. Finally I had a total of 96,000 men killed and taken prisoners. I have seen Abyssinians escort string of prisoners; women, and children, making them carry the bloody stripped skins of their husbands or their fathers. I have seen, and the Nugus (Menelik) had to make an edict to prevent the atrocities, Abyssinian solders pull away infant from the breast and throw them in the field, in order to unload off the mother the weight which would have obstructed her from continuing on the road all the way to the country. Page 354.
It was reported that in 1912, about 40,000 of the Gimira were rounded up and taken to the north, and that half of them died on the way while the rest were sold as slaves and scattered within and outside the Ethiopian empire (Pankhurst, 1968: 107).
While, in the case of the Arsi Oromo, both resistance and surrender to the conquering forces led to mass murder and mutilation, the initial passive incorporation of the Gimira and Maji/Dizi expedited their enslavement and mass deportation from their land (Hodson, 1927: 02). Writing about the Maji/Dizi, the German anthropologist Eike Haberland (1984: 47) notes that before the arrival of the Amhara troops in the 1890s and the subsequent forced incorporation of the Dizi into the Ethiopian empire, the Dizi probably numbered between 50,000 and 100,000.
Bulatovich referred to the one-sidedness of the killing he had witnessed. An expedition which would have cost any European power millions, was carried out by the Abyssinians almost free, if you don’t count several hundred men killed and several thou sands cartridges shot (, 2000: 381). .Bulatovich, the Menelik punishments against Oromo even peace time.
Judicial System and Procedure
The exercise of judicial functions rests partly in the emperor and commanders of regions and districts, and partly in the people itself.
Each leader has the right to judge and punish his subordinates, and each individual person has the same right over his servants.
In the forty-fourth chapter, it talks about imperial power. The time of appearance of this book coincides with the apogee of imperial power.
Crimes and punishments are as follows:
1) State crime — capital punishment (in very rare cases); cutting off the right hand and left leg; most often, putting inchains and life imprisonment.
2) Insulting majesty — cutting out the tongue.
3) Murder — the murderer is given to the family of the person killed, who kill him in the same manner that he killed.
4) Robbery — capital punishment (in this way, Emperor Menelik eliminated robbery, which formerly was very widespread).
5) Insulting a personality by action or word 104 — monetary fine.
6) Fraud — monetary fine.
7) Accidental manslaughter — monetary fine from 50 to 1,000 talers.
8) Non-performance of instruction of the government — monetary fine and flogging.
9) Criminal breach of trust — removal from job, putting into chains, monetary fine, confiscation of property. The imposition of punishments by separate individuals goes in the following steps:
1) Each private individual in relationship to servants and minor commanders have the right to throw someone into chains for an indeterminate time and to impose 25 lashes by birch rods (kurbach).
2) The commander of a marketplace can impose monetary fines and flogging with whip (jiraf) up to 8 lashes.
3) The commander of an area — cutting off hands, up to 50 lashes (jiraf), and monetary fine.
4) Afa-negus — cutting off hands, up to 75 lashes (jiraf), and monetary fine.
5) The emperor — capital punishment, up to 100 lashes (jiraf), monetary fine, and life imprisonment. Capital punishment is carried out by hanging, or, in case of murder, it is carried out by relatives in the same manner in which the murderer killed. When the murderer is sentenced, he is given over to the relatives, who take him outside town and kill him. Very often, this task is entrusted to a child. Bulatovich,
“Tekle Yeshaw Explains the History of Anole – Hiber Radio”
kun emotional nama hin goodhu lataa? Kana obsuun ni danda’ama? dhabilee Aada adda lola Oromoo irra labsan jiru. Bareefama Moresh (Gala Gaday) facasee fi Paltak Room Debtara, Abba Mela, Qale, Ethiopia karenti Affärs jeechdamu keessatti Oromoo deebisan garboonfachuu tarsimoo Isan qoophefacha Jiran.
- Bulatovich, F., 1898, 2000, Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes: Country in Transition in 1896-1898, Translated by Richard Seltzer, Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press.
- Chalk, F., and K. Jonassohn, 1990, The History of Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies, New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Crummey, D., 1971, ‘The Violence of Tewodros’, Journal of Ethiopian Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 107-125.
- De Salviac, de Martial, 1901, Une peuple antique au pays Menelik: les Galla grand nation africaine, Paris. Translate by Dr. Ayalew Kanno
- Fein, H., 2002, ‘States of Genocide and Other States’, in Rittner, C., J., K. Roth, and J. M. Smith, (eds.), Will Genocide Ever End?, St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House.
- Haji, Abbas, 1995, ‘Arsi Oromo Political and Military Resistance against the Shoan Conquest, (1881-86)’, Journal of Oromo Studies, Vol. II, Nos. 1 and 2.
- Hodson, A., 1927, Seven Years in Southern Abyssinia, London: T. Fisher Unwin Ltd.
- Prouty, C., 1986, Empress Taytu and Menelik II: Ethiopia 1883-1910, Trenton, NJ: The Red Sea Press.
- Zewde, Bahru, 1991, A History of Modern Ethiopia 1855-1974, London: James Currey.