ODUU GADDAA: OBBO DHAQQABOO EEBBAA DHALATANII WAGGAA 163 ISAANIITTI LUBBUU DHAN BOQOTAN. Oromo Elder Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa (1853-2015): The oldest man ever to have lived has died at age of 163

Oromo elder Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa (1853-2015)

ODUU GADDAA: OBBO DHAQQABOO EEBBAA   DHALATANII WAGGAA 163 ISAANIITTI  LUBBU DHAN BOQOTAN. Oromo Elder Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa  (1853-2015): The oldest man ever to have lived has died at age of 163. His eldest son Ahmed Dhaqqboo  now  at age of 128 is  the oldest living person on earth.

Obbo Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa lived through 3 centuries (19th- 21st Century).

This is the moment of deepest sorrow for Oromo people as  they have lost their respected  elder, the  oldest and one of the richest library. The burial ceremony of Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa was held at his birth place in rural village of Dodolaa District in West Arsi Zone of Oromia  State. Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa was born in 1853 in specific rural place called Serufta around Dodolaa town from his father Eebbaa Badhaaso and his mother Washo Kolocho. He passed away on May 10, 2015 at 11: 30 pm. Dhaqqaboo Eabbaa was dubbed by many as a living library of three  his centuries with his old memories and knowledge of the social, economic and political history of the people and the country. He had witnessed major historical events in the Oromo nation and North East Africa. Obbo Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa had lived through  independent Oromia in the second half of 19th century, witnessed the colonization of his  country and nine  Ethiopian empire regimes. His eldest son Ahmed Dhaqqboo is now  the oldest living person, he is 128 years old. He considered his  father as his best friend. Even though the world  knows little about the legendary Oromo elder, Obbo Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa will be remembered in recorded Oromo history, by his villagers and the entire Oromo people forever. He is deeply missed. Rest in Peace! Biyyoon isinitti haa salphatu. Oromo Elder Dhaqqaboo Eebbaa (1853-2015), The oldest man ever to have lived has died at age of 163

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/oromia-of-dhaqabo-ebba-the-cradle-of-mankind-is-also-a-home-of-the-oldest-living-person-on-earth/

Oromia: Untwist the Twisted History

Sof Umar Wall, Bale Oromia (Ancient and magnificent past and present)

Oromo women necklaces2 Oromo women necklaces1

Parts of ancient kemetic (Kushitic), Egyptian, material culture (fashion accessories), courtesy of British Museum sources

Traditionally, Oromo women wear necklaces with telsum amulets, triangular and crescent shaped pendants protect from the evil eye and attract the power of the moon or to improve fertility.

Farming in ancient kemetic (Ancient Egypt)Farming in past and present Oromo (Oromia, modern kemet)

Oromia: The continuity of farming in Oromo society from ancient Kemetic (Kushitic) to present Oromia

Ancient Oromo culture, Irreechaa from the time before the Pyramid

As some indeed suspect, that the science which we see at the dawn of recorded history, was not science at its dawn, but represents the remnants of the science of some great and as yet untraced civilisation. Where, however, is the seat of that civilisation to be located? (J. W. S. Sewell, 1942)

Conquest and dominations are social phenomenon as are dying elsewhere will die in Oromia (Author’s Remark).

JEL: O5, D2

Oromia: Untwist the Twisted History

The topic is about Oromia’s location in space and allocation in humanity and society. It is concerned with Oromia’s physical position in terms of geography and relational to issues of economic conditions, social justices, cultural values, political history and destiny. Civilisation, Colonisation and Underdevelopment are presented in historical and geo-political perspectives. They capture both the space and time perceptions. They are also representing the economic and social conditions and positions. The portrayal we procure the present of the Oromo nation, the core of the Cush (Cushite/ Kemet)/Ham (Hamite), the children of Noah, in North & East Africa in past age from the phantom of the Solomonic dynasty, the history thought in Abyssinian high schools, their text books and elsewhere in the invaders’ literature, abusive literary and oral discourses is that they were savages and that, though Abyssinians and Europeans overrun their lands and have made mere subjects of them, they have been in a way, bestowing a great favour on them, since they have brought to them the benisons of Christian Enlightenment. With objective analysis, however, this paper obliterates and unmakes that inaccurate illustration, wanton falsifications, immorality, intellectual swindle, sham, mischievous tales, the bent and the parable of human reductionism. Hence, it is the step to delineate an authentic portrait of a human heritage, which is infinitely rich, beautiful, colourful, and varied in the retrograde of orthodox misconceptions. The paper is not only a disinclination itself but also a call for and a provocation of the new generation of historians to critically scrutinise and reinvestigate the orthodox approaches to the Oromo history and then to expose a large number of abusive scholarship authorities on the Oromo and Cushitic studies and it detects that they do not really know the intensity and profoundness of the history of these black African people and nations and the performance these Africans registered in the process of creating, making and shaping the prime civilisations of human societies. The study acknowledges and advances a strict contest to an orthodox scholarship’s rendition of Egypt as a white civilisation, which arose during the nineteenth century to fortify and intensify European imperialism and racism. Depending on massive evidences from concerned intellectual works from linguistic to archaeology, from history to philosophy, the study authenticates that Egypt was a Cushitic civilisation and that Cushite civilisation was the authentic offspring of the splendid Upper Nile/ Oromian legacy. The Greek civilisation, which has been long unveiled as the birthplace of Western philosophy and thought, owes its roots to the Cushites thoughts and achievements. The original works of Asfaw Beyene (1992) and F. Demie (in Oromia Quarterly, 1998 & 2000) are giving motivations and also greatly acknowledged. The study also expresses that radical thinkers and multi-genius African historians such as Diop (1991) have not given due attention to the epic centre of Cushitic civilisation, Oromia, the land after and Eastern and South Eastern to Nubia, pre-Aksum central Cush, Aksumite Cush and Cushites civilisation southern to Aksum, etc. The method of enquiry is qualitative and the eclectics of formal and the informal sources, rigorous, casual and careful scholarship argument. Oral history and written documents on history, economy, sociology, archaeology, geography, cosmology and anthropology are based on as references. The paper studies the Oromo history and civilisation in horizontal approach and challenges the reductionist and Ethiopianist (colonialist, racist) vertical approach (topsy-turvy, cookkoo). It goes beyond the Oromo Oral sources (burqaa mit-katabbii) and Africanist recorded studies and western civilisational studies. The approach is to magnify, illuminate and clarify the originality of humanity and civilisation to this magnificent Cushitic (African) beauty. The Origin of Humanity When and where did human life first surface on our cosmos? Who contrived the original and prime human culture and civilisation? Ancient Egyptians contended that it was in their homeland, the oldest in the world, the God modelled the first of all human beings out of a handful of ooze soddened by the vivacity of the life giving sanctified and blessed water, the Nile (see, Jackson, 1995). “The ancient Egyptians called the river Ar or Aur (Coptic: Iaro), “Black,” in allusion to the colour of the sediments carried by the river when it is in flood. Nile mud is black enough to have given the land itself its oldest name, Kem or Kemi, which also means “black” and signifies darkness. In The Odyssey, the epic poem written by the Greek poet Homer (7th century bce), Aigyptos is the name of the Nile (masculine) as well as the country of Egypt (feminine) through which it flows. The Nile in Egypt and Sudan is now called Al-Nīl, Al-Baḥr, and Baḥr Al-Nīl or Nahr Al-Nīl.”http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/415347/Nile-River Ar or Aur (Coptic: Iaro) is Booruu in modern Afaan Oromo which means turbid in English translations. Lagdi Nayili jedhamee amma waamamu maqaan kun kan akkanatti moggaasameefi, bowwaa jechuudha. Warri kushii, warri biyyaa, waarri durii laga isaanii Aur (Ooruu) jedhanii waamu. Afaan Oromoo amma uni dubbannuutti booruu jechuudha. Booruu (turbid) jechuuni gurri’aacha (Kami) jechuu miti. Booruu (Ooruu, Aur) jechuun kan taliila hin taane kan hin calaliini jechuudha. Dameen laga kanaa kan Moromor (dhidheessa) irraa maddu galaana biroo itti burqan dabalatee biyyoo loolan haramaniin waan booraweef. kaartumitti yoo damee isa (isa taliila) garba Viktooriyaati karaa Ugaanda dhufutti makamu kanasi booressee misiriitti godaana. Dameen Garba Viktooriyaati dhufu iyyuu adii (white) jedhamee mogga’uuni irra hin turre. Bishaani adiini hin jiru. Bishaani hin boora’iini bishaan taliila. Bishaani taliilatu bishaan guri’aacha. Inni ‘Blue’ jedhanisi ‘Blue’ mitti. Bishaan taliilatu, gurri’aacha ‘Blue’ dha. ‘Blue Nile’ jechuu irra ‘Brown’ Nile (Mormor Booruu, Ar, Aur) yoo jedhani ille itti dhiyaata. The word (Africa) Afrika itself  derived from kemetic (Oromo) language. In Oromo, one of the ancient black people (kemet), Afur means four. Ka (Qa, Waqa) means god. Afrika Means the four children of god. It describes the four sub groups of kemet people. Such type of naming system is very common in Oromo even today  such as Afran Qallo, Shanan Gibee, Salgan Boorana, Macca Shan, Jimma Afur, Sadan Soddoo, etc. For other theories in this topic please refer to   http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/09/23/9-theories-africa-got-name/

One of the oldest Cushites histories to account for the origin and early development of man and his culture survives in a Greek version of the thesis advanced by the ancient Cushites, Oromians and the rest. This marvellous people paraded in golden times in the region called Kush (Punt) in the Hebrew Scriptures and stamped on the present-day upper Nile Oromia (see, Jackson, 1995). Diodorus Siculus, wrote that the Cushites were of the opinion that their country was not only the birthplace of human race and the cradle land of the world’s earliest civilisation, but, indeed, the primal Eden where living things first appeared on Earth, as reported by the Scriptures. Thus, Diodorus was the first European to focus attention on the Cushites asseveration that Upper Nile (Oromia) is the cradle land of world’s earliest civilisation, the original Eden of the human race. Whether by almighty (God) or nature/ evolution (Darwin’s natural selection and survival of the fittest), Oromia was not only the birth place of man himself (e.g., Lucy) but also for many hundred years thereafter is in the vanguard of all world progress (see Diop, 1991 in his African Civilisation; Martin Bernal, 1987). These are also authenticated by the present archaeological inferences in Oromo tropical fields and rivers valleys. The original natives of Egypt, both in old and in the latter ages of development, were Cushite and there is every raison d’être for the discourse that the earliest settlers came from upper Nile Oromia. The original homeland of the Oromians and other Cushites including Chadic, Berber, Egyptian, Beja, Central Cushitic, East Cushitic, South Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic was the present day upper Nile Oromia. It was from the original Oromo (Madda Walaabu) that the rest of humanity descended diffused to other parts of the world. This can be understood in the analogue of the diffusion of two Oromo families (Borana and Barentuma). While those who expanded to other regions latter taken new family names like Macha, Tulama, Karayyu, etc and those who stayed in original place kept the original name such as Borana. In terms of linguistic, like most scholars, we believe that it is impossible to judge between the theories of monogenesis and polygenesis for human, though the inclination is towards the former. On the other hand, recent work by a small but increasing number of scholars has convinced us that there is a genetic relationship between European, Asian, and African and Cushite languages. A language family originates from a single dialect, proto Cushitic/ Oromo. From such language and culture that must have broken up into Africa, Asiatic, and European and within them a very long time a go. Professor Bernal (1987, in Black Athena, p. 11) confirmed that the unchallenged originality of Oromians and other Cushites nativity to the region and put forward that the latest possibility for initial language break up would be the Mousterian period, 50- 30,000 years Before the Present (BP), however, it may well have much earlier. He further observed that the expansion and proliferation of Cushitic and other Afroasiatic as the promulgation of a culture long pioneered in the East African Rift valley (South Eastern Oromian) at the end of the last Ice Age in the 10th and 9th millennia BC. According to Bernal (1987, p.11) the polar ice caps caged the water within itself, which was during the Ice ages, thus water was significantly less than it is nowadays. He reports that the Sahara and Arabian deserts were even bigger and more inhospitable then than they are presently. In the centuries that ensued, with the rise of heat and increase in the rainfall, greatly the regions became savannah, into which adjoining peoples voyaged. The most successful of these were, the speakers of Proto-Afroasiatic from upper Nile Oromia. Bernal further confirmed that these people not only possessed flourishing and effective skills and techniques of hippopotamus hunting with harpoons but also had domesticated cattle and food crops. The following is quoted from Black Athena: ‘Going through the savannah, the Chadic speakers renched lake Chad, the Berbers, the Maghreb, and the Proto-Egyptians, upper Egypt…. With long-term desiccation of the Sahara during the 7th and 6th millennia BC, there were movements into the Egyptian Nile Valley from the west and east as well as from the Sudan. … A similar migration took place from the Arabian savannah into lower Mesopotamia ‘(Bernal, pp.11-12).

The Origin of Civilization

There are many things in the manners and customs and religions of the historic Egyptians that suggest that the original home of their human ancestors was in the Upper Nile region and the biblical land of Punt/ Kush (Cush) Or Oromia which include the present day of Cushitic North and East of Africa. Hence, historical records showed that the antiquity of upper Nile Cushitic Oromian civilisation had a direct link with the civilisation of ancient Egypt, Babylonian and Greece. Hence, the Egyptian and Babylonian civilisations are part and parcel of the entire Cushite civilisation. As it is described above, there is wide understanding that Cushites = Egyptians + Babylon + Oromo+ Agau + Somalis + Afars + Sidama + Neolithic Cush + other Cush. There is also an understanding that all the Cushites are branched out (descended) from their original father Oromo which can be described as Oromo = Noah=Ham= Cush= Egyptian + Bablyon+ Agau + Somali + Afar + Sidama + Neolithic Cush + other Cush. Boran and Barentuma, the two senior children and brothers were not the only children of the Oromo. Sidama, Somali, Agau, Afar and the others were children of the big family. Wolayita and the Nilotics were among the extended family and generations of the Cushite. As a hydro-tower of Africa, the present Oromia is naturally gifted and the source of Great African rivers and hosts the bank and valleys of the greatest and oldest civilisations such as Nile (Abbaya), Baro (Sobat), Gibe, Wabe, Dhidhesa, Ganale, Wabi-shebele, Omo, and Awash among others. Oromian tropical land, equatorial forest and Savannah have been the most hospitable ecology on the earth and conducive environment to life and all forms of human economic and social practices. According to Clarke (1995), many of the leading antiquarians of the time, based largely on the strength of what the classical authors, particularly Diodorus Siculus and Stephanus of Nabatea (Byzantium after Roman colonisation and Christianisation), had to say on the matter, were exponents of the vista that the Cushite, the ancient race in Africa, the Near East and the Middle East, or at any rate, the black people of remote antiquity were the earliest of all civilised peoples and that the first civilised inhabitants of ancient Egypt were members of what is referred to as the black, Cushite race who had entered the land as they expanded in their geographical space from the their birthplace in upper Nile Oromia, the surrounding Cushite river valleys and tropical fields. It was among these ancient people of Africa and Asia that classical technology advanced, old world science and cosmology originated, international trade and commerce was first developed, which was the by-product of international contacts, exchange of ideas and cultural practices that laid the foundations of the prime civilisations of the ancient world. Cushite Africa and also of the Middle East and West Asia was the key and most responsible to ancient civilisations and African history. It must also be known that there were no such geographical names, demarcations and continental classification at that time. As a whole, Cushite occupied this region; there was the kernel and the centre of the globe, the planet earth, and the universe. African history is out of stratum until ancient Cushites looked up on as a distinct African/ Asian nations. The Nile river, it tributes, Awash, Baro and Shebele or Juba, etc., played a major role in the relationship of Cushite to the nations in North, South and East Africa. The outer land Savannah, Nile, other Oromian rivers with it Adenian ecology were great cultural highways on which elements of civilisation came into and out of inner North East Africa. After expansions, there was also an offshoot, a graft, differentiation, branching out, internal separation, semi-independence and again interactions, interdependence and co-existence of the common folks. Cushites from the original home made their relationships with the people of their descendants in the South, the North, East and the West, which was as both good, and bad, depending on the period and the regime in power they formed and put in place in the autonomous regions. Cushite Egypt first became an organised autonomous nation in about 6000 B.C. In the Third Dynasty (5345-5307 B.C.) when Egypt had an earnest pharaoh named Zoser and Zoser, in turn, had for his chief counsellor and minister, an effulgent grand named Imhotep (whose name means ‘he who cometh in peace”). Imhotep constructed the famous step pyramid of Sakkarah near Memphis. The building techniques used in the facilitation of this pyramid revolutionised the architecture of the ancient world (Clarke, 1995). Of course, Independent Egypt was not the original home of these ancient technology. However, it was an extension, expansion, advancement and the technological cycle of the Upper Nile Oromia, Nubia, Beja, Agau and other Cushites. Ideas, systems, technologies and products were invented, tested and proved in upper Nile then expanded and adopted elsewhere in the entire Cush regions and beyond. . Bernal (1987, pp. 14-15) has identified strict cultural and linguistic similarities among all the people around the Mediterranean. He further attests that it was south of the Mediterranean and west to the Red Sea’s classical civilisation that give way to the respective north and east. Cushite African agriculture of the upper Nile expanded in the 9th and 8th century millennia BC and pioneering the 8th and 7th of the Indo-Hittite. Egyptian civilisation is Cushite and is clearly based on the rich pre-dynastic cultures of Upper Egypt, Nubia and upper Nile, whose Cushite African and Oromian origin is uncontested and obvious. Of course, Cushite Egypt gave the world some of the greatest personalities in the history of mankind. In this regard, Imhotep was extraordinary discernible. In ancient history of Egypt, no individual left a downright and deeper indentation than Imhotep. He was possibly the world’s first mult-genuis. He was the real originator of new medicine at the time. He revolutionised an architect of the stone building, after which the Pyramids were modelled. He became a deity and later a universal God of Medicine, whose images charmed the Temple of Imhotep, humanity’s earliest hospital. To it came sufferers from the entire world for prayer, peace, and restorative. Imhotep lived and established his eminence as a curative at the court of King Zoser of the Third Dynasty about 5345-5307 B.C. (Duncan, 1932). When the Cushite civilisation through Egypt afar crossed the Mediterranean to become the foundation of what we think of as Greek culture, the teachings of Imhotep were absorbed along with the axioms of other great Cushite African teachers. When Greek civilisation became consequential in the Mediterranean area, the Greeks coveted the world to ponder they were the originators of everything in its totality. They terminated to acknowledge their liability to Imhotep and other great Cushites. Imhotep was forgotten for thousands of years, and Hippocrates, a mythical posture of two thousand years latter, became known as the father of medicine. Regarding to Imhotep’s influence in Rome, Gerald Massey, noted poet, archaeologist, and philologist, says that the early Christians cherished him as one with Christ (Massey, 1907). It should be understood that, while the achievements of Cushite Egypt were one of the best, these are not the only achievements that Cushite Africans can claim. The Nubians, upper Nile, central and eastern Cushites (the Oromo, Agau, Somalia, Afar, etc) were continue to develop many aspects of civilisation independent of Cushite Egyptian interactions. These nations and states gave as much to Egypt as Egypt give to them in terms of trade, ideas and technology as well. There was also a considerable Cushite dominion on what later became Europe in the period preceding Christian era. Cushites played a major role in formative development of both Christianity and Islam. Both the Holly Bible and the Holly Quran moral texts are originated from the Oromo and other Cushite oral and moral principles, beliefs, creeds and teachings. There is a common believe and understanding that Abraham, a seminal prophet, believer and recipient of a single and eternal God was from Central Cush of present Upper Nile Oromia. The Oromos believed in a single and eternal God, Black God (Waaqa Guri’acha) also Blue God according to some scholars who translated the oral history. Waaqa also Ka. While the Oromian faith, social structure and policies were the prime and the origins of all, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were all the derivatives and originated from the Black God. Waaqayyoo in Oromo is the original, the single, the omnipotent, the prime and the greatest of all the great religions. All aspects of the present day Christian churches were developed in Cushites. One of the more notable of Cushite contributions to the early church was monasticism. Monasticism, in essence, is organised life in common, especially for religious purposes. The home of a monastic society is called a monastery or a convent. Christian monasticism probably began with the hermits of Cushite Egypt and Palestine about the time when Christianity was established as a licit religion (Clarke, 1995). Oral tradition and Arabian records confirm that Bilal, a tall, gaunt, black, bushy-haired, Oromo, was the first High Priest and treasurer of the Mohammedan empire. After Mohamet himself, the great religion, which today numbers upwards of half a billion souls, may be said to have began with Bilal. He was honoured to be the Prophet’s first neophyte. Bilal was one of the many Cushites who concurred in the founding of Islam and later made proud names for themselves in the Islamic nations and expansions. Europe was sluggishing in her Dark Ages at a time when Cushite Africa and Asia were relishing a Golden Age. In this non-European world of Africa and Asian, Cushites built and enjoyed an age of advancement in technology before a period of internal withdrawal and isolation that favoured the Europeans to move a head of them. For more than a thousand years the Cushites were in the ‘Age of Grandeur’ but the second rise of Europe, internal strife, slave trade and colonialism brought the age of catastrophic tragedy, abase and declivity. The early Cushites made spears to hunt with, stone knives to cut with, the bola, with which to catch birds and animals, the blow-gun, the hammer, the stone axe, canoes and paddles, bags and buckets, poles for carrying things, bows and arrows. The bola, stone knives, paddles, spears, harpoons, bows and arrows, bow-guns, the hammer and the axe- all of them invented first by Cushites – were the start of man’s use of power. The present’s cannon, long-range missiles, ship propellers, automatic hammers, gas engines, and even meat cleavers and upholstery tack hammers have the roots of their development in the early Cushite use of (Clarke, 1995). Cushite offered humans the earliest machine. It was the fire stick. With it, man could have fire any time. With it, a campfire could be set up almost any place. With it, the early Africans could roast food. Every time we light a match, every time we take a bath in water heated by gas, every time we cook a meal in a gas-heated oven, our use of fire simply continues a process started by early Cushites: the control of fire. Of course, those early Cushite was the first to invent how to make a thatched hut. They had to be the first because for hundreds of thousand of years they were the only people on earth. They discovered coarse basket making and weaving and how to make a watertight pot of clay hardened in a fire. In the cold weather, they found that the skins of beasts they had killed would keep them warm. They even skin covers for their feet. It was from their first effort much later clothing and shoes developed. Humanity owes the early Cushites much and even much more (Clarke, 1995). The Cushites dociled animals. They used digging sticks to obtain plant roots that could be consumed. They discovered grain as a food, how to store it and prepare it. They learnt about the fermentation of certain foods and liquids left in containers. Thus, all mankind owes to Cushites including the dog that gives companionship and protection, the cereals we eat at break-fast-time, the fermented liquids that many people drink, the woven articles of clothing we wear and the blankets that keep us warm at night, the pottery in which we bake or boil food, and even the very process (now so simple) of boiling water- a process we use every time we boil an egg, or make spaghetti, or cook corned beef. Canoes made it possible for man to travel further and farther from his early home. Over many centuries, canoes went down Baro, the Nile and the Congo and up many smaller rivers and streams. It was in this pattern that the early Cushite civilisation was advanced. From the blowgun of antiquated Cushite, there come next, in later ages, many gadget based on its standard. Some of these are: the bellows, bamboo air pumps, the rifle, the pistol, the revolver, the automatic, the machine gun- and even those industrial guns that puff grains. Modern Scientists certain that by about 3000 B.C., the Cushite farmers in the Nile Valley were growing wheat and barely, cultivating millet, sorghum, and yams. Around 1500 B.C. new crops farming were developed: – banana, sugar cane, and coconut trees and later coffee. The cultivation of bananas and coffees in particular spread rapidly which are suited to tropical forest conditions. Cushites had also domesticated pigs, donkeys, horses, chickens, ducks, and geese, etc. (Greenblatt, 1992). The agricultural revolution brought about a gradual increase in population. Then another development helped expand population still more. The technique of smelting iron innovated by Cushites. Iron working start and then advanced in the Nile valley and then started to spread to other parts of Africa and from who, by way of Egypt and Asian Minor, this art made its way into Europe and the rest of Old World. Iron greatly improved the efficiency of tools and weapons. Iron tools and weapons are much stronger and last longer than those made of stone or wood. Iron axes made it easier to chop tropical trees and clear land for farming. Iron sickles made harvest easier. Iron hoes and other farm tools helped farmers cultivate land more easily. Iron-tipped spears meant more meat. The new technologies boosted the Cushite economy; they increased food production that enabled more people to survive. In addition, iron objects became valuable items in Cushite trade and commercial activities. With his simple bellows and a charcoal fire the Cushite blacksmith reduced the ore that is found in many parts of the region and forged implements of great usefulness and beauty. In general, the Iron technology was instrumental in auguring the rise and expansion of Cushite civilisation (Greenblatt, 1992). Cushite hunters many times cut up game. There still exists for evidences, drawings of animal bones, hearts and other organs. Those early drawings as a part of man’s early beginnings in the field of Anatomy. The family, the clan, the tribe, the nation, the kingdom, the state, humanity and charity all developed first in this region of the cradle of mankind. The family relationships, which we have today, were fully developed and understood then. The clan and the tribe gave group unity and strength. The nation, the common whole was first developed here. It was by this people that early religious life, beliefs, and the belief in one God, the almighty started and expanded. The first formal education of arts, science, astronomy, times and numbers (mathematics) were visual, oral and spoken tradition given in the family, during social and religious ceremonies. Parents, Medicine men, religious leaders, etc were the education heads. Ceremonial Cushite ritual dances laid the basis for many later forms of the dance. Music existed in early Cushite Among instruments used were: reed pipes, single-stringed instruments, drum, goured rattles, blocks of wood and hollow logs. Many very good Cushite artists brought paintings and sculpture into the common culture. The early Cushites made a careful study of animal life and plant life. From knowledge of animals, mankind was able to take a long step forward to cattle rising. From the knowledge of plants and how they propagate, it was possible to take a still longer step forward to agriculture. Today, science has ways of dating events of long a go. The new methods indicate that mankind has lived in Cushite Africa over two million years. In that long, long time, Cushites and people of their descent settled in other parts of Africa and the rest. Direct descents of early Cushites went Asia Minor, Arabia, India, China, Japan and East Indies. Cushites and people of Cushite descents went to Turkey, Palestine, Greece and other countries in Europe. From Gibraltar, they went into Spain, Portugal, France, England, Wales and Ireland (Clarke, 1995). Considering this information, the pre-Colombian presence of Cushite African mariners and merchants in the New World is highly conceivable and somewhat sounds. In this context, the first Africans to be brought to the New World were not in servitude and slavery, which contrary to popular creed. Tormenting references in the Spanish chronicles and other growing body of historical studies advocate that Cushites were the founders, the pioneers and first permanent settlers of America. Commanding authentication as in Bennett (1993, p. 85) cited by Leo Veiner in his work Africa and the discovery of America suggests that African traders founded Mexico long before Columbus. Hence, the Africans influences were extended from Canada in the North to the Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilisation in the South America. The Cushite civilisation is therefore the basis of Indian civilisation. Unlike the western Sudan and in Egypt, the people and nations of upper Nile had lost written records of their ancient times and medieval history. These were destroyed and burned during war of conquests. The early travellers to these areas are also mostly not yet known. Notable kingdoms, republics and states did rise in this part of Africa and did achieve a high degree of civilisation of their time. Scholarly undertakings show that Cushite Africans such as Oromos were the first in human history to invent and implement democratic institutions (e.g. Gada system or Gadaa system), democratic forms of government, elections and unwritten constitution. Democracy was first invented in upper Nile Oromia then to Athens, Greek and to the rest. It was not the other way round. Gada, an accomplishment of Oromian social genius in socio-political organisation is one of the most complex, the world wonder and by far superior to so far other humanity’s social and political imagination and civilisation. Gada in its vector of values constitutes, political institution, the power structure, governing constitution, the ideology, the religion, the moral authority, the economic and the whole way of life of the public, the collective, the social and the private individual. Gada is the social civilization of the Oromo in the Nile civilization. Gada is an atonishing and complex social evolution in human social transformation and an Oromo social perfection. In old Egyptian (Cushite, oromo) dialect it means Ka Adaa. Ka means God. Adaa (law). It means the law of God, the law of waaqa (God). It also symbolizes the dawn of not only civilization but also human freedom as civilazation. ‘Gadaa bilisummaa saaqaa.’ Orthodox historians and some archaeologists believe that the civilisation of Egypt is the oldest in the world, while others give that priority to western Asia or India. It has also been suggested that, since all these cultures possess certain points of similarity, all of them may evolve from an older common civilisation. Men of eminent scholarship have acknowledged this possibility. In this regard, Sir E.A. Wallis Budge (1934) indicated: “It would be wrong to say that the Egyptians borrowed from the Sumerians or Sumerians from Egyptians, but it may be submitted that the literati of both peoples borrowed their theological systems from common but exceedingly ancient source… This similarity between the two companies of gods is too close to being accidental.” A pioneer American Egyptologist, Breasted (1936) advanced the following views: “In both Babylonian and Egypt the convenient and basic number (360), of fundamental importance in the division of the circle, and therefore in geography, astronomy and time-measurement, had its origin in the number of days in the year in the earliest known form of the calendar. While its use seems to be older in Egypt than in Babylonian, there is no way to determine with certainty that we owe it exclusively to either of these two countries. A common origin older than either of is possible.” Sewell (1942) said that the science, which we see at the dawn of recorded history, was not science at its dawn, but represents the remnants of the science of some great and as yet untraced civilisation. Where, however, is the seat of that civilisation to be located?” A number of scholars, both ancient and modern, have come to the conclusion that the world’s first civilisation was created by the people known as Cushite (Oromian) and also known by Greeks as Punt (Burnt Faces). The Greeks argued that these people developed their dark colouration since they were adjacent to the sun than were the fairer natives of Europe. In terms of the sources of well-informed modern authority, Herodotus describes the Cushites as in Lugard (1964) as: “ The tallest, most beautiful and long-lived of the human races,’ and before Herodotus, Homer, in even more flattering language, described them as ‘ the most just of men; the favourites of gods.’ The annals of all the great early nations of Asia Minor are full of them. The Mosaic records allude to them frequently; but while they are described as the most powerful, the most just, and the most beautiful of the human race, they are constantly spoken of as black, and there seems to be no other conclusion to be drawn, than that remote period of history the leading race of the western world was the black race.” Alexander Bulatovich (2000, p.53) of Russia in his 1896-1898 travels in Oromia described the Oromo, which is akin to Herodotus’s description as fallows: “The [Oromo] physical type is very beautiful. The men are very tall, with statuesque, lean, with oblong face and a somewhat flattened skull. The features of the face are regular and beautiful…. The mouth is moderate. The lips are not thick. They have excellent even teeth; large and in some cases oblong eyes and curly hair. Their arm bones are of moderate length, shorter than the bones of Europeans, but longer than among the Amhara tribes. The feet are moderate and not turned in. The women are shorter than the men and very beautifully built. In general, they are stouter than the men, and not as lean as they. Among them one sometimes encounters very beautiful women. And their beauty does not fade as among the Abyssinians. The skin color of both men and women ranges from dark to light brown. I did not see any completely black [Oromo].” According to Homer and Herodotus, the Cushites were inhabited in the Sudan, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, present Ethiopia, Western Asia and India. In his essay of historical analysis of ancient East Africa and ancient Middle East, roughly in the years between 500BC and 500AD. Jesse Benjamin (2001), brought to our attention that the importance of research focus on global formations, multi- and bi-directional and cultural relations, geopolitical associations, archaeology, linguistics, sociology, cosmology, production, commerce and consumption patterns of these regions. Benjamin (2001) indicates that historiographers have acknowledged and documented that the adored spices, cinnamon (qarafaa in modern Afaan Oromo) and cassia of the Mediterranean sphere produced and come from ‘Cinnamon land.’ The latter is also known in different names as ‘ The other Barbaria,’ ‘Trogodytica,’ Cush, Kush, Upper Nile. or ‘Punt’ but persistently representing the whole environs identified nowadays as the ‘Horn of African’ or that part of Oromia. These show the presence of production, consumption and commercial interactions in the regions. In line with Miller (1969), Wilding (1988), Benjamin (2001) included the Oromian pastoralism, pottery, cosmology and culture in the antiquity and old world civilisation. The identification of the Cushite Oromian civilisation with the present Abyssinia Amhara-Tigre under the name of Ethiopia made by the post civilisation Abyssinian priests translators of the Abyssinian version of the Bible in the 5th and 6th century or some other time, has been a cheating and misrepresentation of true human history. Those Abyssinians who were stealing the history were relatively recent migrant (conquerors) of the region. They occupied the present day Northern Ethiopia (central Cushitic of Agau and Oromo) long after the first human civilisation already originated and advanced in the area and spread to the rest of the world including to Arabia and Mediterranean Europe. The native residents of the region are the Cushite African people (Oromo, Agau, Somali, Sidama, Afar, Beja, Saho, etc). Ethiopian Jews (Falashas) are also Cushite Oromo and Agau who accepted Jews religion. Abyssinian tribes have fabricated their own myth and false history to claim legitimacy to the region and then established a regime truth through continuos fable story, phantom, indoctrination and falsification of the real Cushite history. Semitic immigrants did not found Aksum but the Abyssinians resettled among the Cushites cities and commercial centres in which Aksum was one and latter dominated the ruling power in this very centre of the civilisation of the central Cush. Ge’ez was invented as a language of the centre and latter used as the official language of the church and the colonising Abyssinian ruling class. Ge’ez was initially developed from the mixture of Cushitic and Greek elements that was facilitated by the Cushite trade links to the Greek world. There was also Greek resettlement in Aksum and the surrounding central Cush commercial towns with primary contacts with endogenous Cushite. The earlier rulers of Aksum and Christian converts including Ezana were Cushites. Though Ezana was the first convert from the above (the ruling class) to Christianity, he did not give up his belief in one God (Waqa) (Cushite/ black God). He was also not the first Cushite to be a Christian. In their linkages with a wider world, it is also highly likely and very logical and possible that there were Christians among the civilian Cushite trading communities who had already disseminated their new faith, as so many Oromo merchants were to do latter in the expansion of Islam. The splendid Stella, towers of solid masonry, with non-functional doors and windows at Aksum was not the earliest materialisation but it was the continuity in the manifestation of major indigenous Cushite tradition of monumental architecture in stone, which also later found expression in the rock-hewn churches of the Cushite Agau kings (see also Isichei, 1997 for some of the opinions). Abyssinians were the rulers. They were not the engineers and the builders of the stone monuments. It was the original product and brainchild of Cushite technologist. Of course, their advancement was thwarted with the unfortunate coming of the Abyssinians. Almost all of the original studies of the origin of Cushite civilisation could not penetrate far deep into regions south east to Nubia (Mereo) and could not dig out the other side of the twin, the close link and vast primary sources in present day Oromia. Though the British Museum has collected vast sources on Nubian, it has not kept on or linked any to the sister and more or less identical to the civilisation of the Oromo. For me, as native Oromo with knowledge of oral history and culture, as I observed the Nubian collection in British Museum, what they say Nubian collection is almost identical to Oromia, but in a less variety and quantity. I can say that Nubian and other Cushite civilisations were extensions (grafts) of the vast products of Oromo. I may also be enthused to the inference that the people whose manners and customs have been so thoroughly capitulated by Herodotus, Diodorus, Strabo Pliny and other were not Abyssinians and other Black people at all, but the natives of Upper Nile, Oromos, Agau, Somalis, Afar and the rest of Cushitic people of the present Horn of Africa. Sir Henry Rawlinson in his essay on the early History of Babylonian describes Oromos as the purest modern specimens of the Kushite. Thus, Oromo is Kush and Kush is Oromo. Seignobos (1910), in his scholarly works on the history of Ancient Civilisation reasoned that the first civilised natives of the Nile and Tigiris-Euphrates Valleys were a dark skinned people with short hair and prominent lips, they were called Cushites by some scholars and Hamites by others. So Cushite (Hamite) is generally recognised as the original home of human civilisation and culture both beyond and across the Red Sea. They are the original source of both the African and Asiatic (Cushitic Arabian) civilisation. Higgins in 1965 scholarly undertaking discusses: “I shall, in the course of this work, produce a number of extraordinary facts, which will be quite sufficient to prove, that a black race, in a very early times, had more influence of the affairs of the world than has been lately suspected; and I think I shall show, by some very striking circumstances yet existing, that the effects of this influence have not entirely passed away.” Baldwin in his 1869 study of Arab history expressed in his own words the following: “At the present time Arabia is inhabited by two distinct races, namely descendants of the old Adite, Kushite, …known under various appellations, and dwelling chiefly at the south, the east, and in the central parts of the country, but formerly supreme throughout the whole peninsula, and the Semitic Arabians- Mahomete’s race- found chiefly in the Hejaz and at the north. In some districts of the country these races are more or less mixed, and since the rise of Mahometanism the language of Semites, known as to us Arabic, has almost wholly suppressed the old … Kushite tongue; but the two races are very unlike in many respects, and the distinction has always been recognised by writers on Arabian ethnology. To the Kushite race belongs the purest Arabian blood, and also that great and very ancient civilisation whose ruins abound in almost every district of the country.” Poole (in Haddon, 1934) says, “Assyrians themselves are shown to have been of a very pure type of Semites, but in the Babylonians there is a sign of Kushite blood. … There is one portrait of an Elmite king on a vase found at Susa; he is painted black and thus belongs to the Kushite race.” The myths, legends, and traditions of the Sumerians point to the African Cushite as the original home of these people (see. Perry, 1923, pp. 60-61). They were also the makers of the first great civilisation in the Indus valley. Hincks, Oppert, unearthed the first Sumerian remains and Rawlinson called these people Kushites. Rawlinson in his essay on the early history of Babylonian presents that without pretending to trace up these early Babylonians to their original ethnic sources, there are certainly strong reasons for supposing them to have passed from Cushite Africa to the valley of the Euphrates shortly before the opening of the historic period: He is based on the following strong points: The system of writing, which they brought up with them, has the closest semblance with that of Egypt; in many cases in deed the two alphabets are absolutely identical. In the Biblical genealogies, while Kush and Mizrain (Egypt) are brothers, from Kush Nimrod (Babylonian) sprang. With respect to the language of ancient Babylonians, the vocabulary is absolutely Kushite, belonging to that stock of tongues, which in postscript were everywhere more or less, mixed up with Semitic languages, but of which we have with doubtless the purest existing specimens in the Mahra of Southern Arabia and the Oromo.

kemetic alphabet (Qubee)

qubee durii fi ammaa

The Greek alphabet, the script of English today, is based on the Kemetic alphabet of Ancient Egypt/Kemet and the Upper Nile Valley of Ancient Africa. Ancient Egyptians called their words MDW NTR, or ‘Metu Neter,” which means divine speech. The Greeks called it, ‘hieroglyphics”- a Greek word. The etymology of hieroglyphics is sacred (hieros) carvings (glyph). The Oromos (the Kemet of modern age) called it Qubee.

Without OROMO, NO Amhara Culture & NO Amharic! – My Beta Israel & Zagwe Roots pt1 Ras Iadonis

http://gadaa.com/oduu/11117/2011/09/28/gubaa-%e2%80%93-the-oromo-thanksgiving-bonfire/#.ToQw3A0t84E.facebook

http://gadaa.com/oduu/797/2009/09/30/ethiopia-the-story-of-oromos-irreechaa-happy-thanksgiving/

http://www.creative8studios.com/oromia/

http://bilisummaa.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=Waaqeeyfataa&article=446

Click to access 25-3-1.pdf

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/166451

http://www.gadaa.com/culture.html

http://www.gadaa.com/Irreechaa.html http://waaqeffannaa.org/?page_id=167

http://gadaa.com/oduu/10920/2011/09/10/irreechaa-a-thanksgiving-day-in-oromia-cushitic-ethiopia-and-africa/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Central_Oromo_language http://www.gadaa.com/language.html

http://www.voicefinfinne.org/English/Column/Galma_EOC.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamitic#Rwanda_and_Burundii

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1TM1ye/listverse.com/2008/08/29/15-fascinating-facts-about-ancient-egypt/

https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=old+egyptian+language&hl=en&sa=X&rls=com.microsoft:en-gb:IE-Address&rlz=1I7TSEA_en-GBGB333&tbm=isch&tbs=simg:CAESEgliBpRYQ9V-mSHFuQO6grmBWQ&iact=hc&vpx=662&vpy=231&dur=16406&hovh=128&hovw=216&tx=43&ty=214&ei=tnRJTsLpLIqXhQeyi7HCBg&page=9&tbnh=128&tbnw=186&ved=1t:722,r:10,s:166&biw=1280&bih=599

http://oromocentre.org/oromian-story/special-report-on-the-long-history-of-north-east-africa/

African Philosophy in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Philosophical Studies II with A Memorial of Claude Sumner http://www.crvp.org/book/Series02/master-ethiopia.pdf

http://thetemplesofluxorandkarnak.wordpress.com/category/africa/

https://www.facebook.com/notes/abdi-muleta/the-story-of-irreechaa/257191284319586

CHALTU AS HELEN: AN EVERYDAY STORY OF OROMOS TRAUMATIC IDENTITY CHANGE
http://oromoland.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/chaltu-as-helen-an-everyday-story-of-oromos-traumatic-identity-change/

http://www.opride.com/oromsis/news/horn-of-africa/3718-chaltu-as-helen-an-everyday-story-of-oromos-traumatic-identity-change

“Chaltu as Helen”, which is based on a novelized story of Chaltu Midhaksa, a young Oromo girl from Ada’aa Barga district, also in central Oromia.

Born to a farming family in Koftu, a small village south of Addis Ababa near Akaki, Chaltu led an exuberant childhood. Raised by her grandmother’s sister Gode, a traditional storyteller who lived over 100 years, the impressionable Chaltu mastered the history and tradition of Tulama Oromos at a very young age.

Chaltu’s captivating and fairytale like story, as retold by Tesfaye, begins when she was awarded a horse named Gurraacha as a prize for winning a Tulama history contest. Though she maybe the first and only female contestant, Chaltu won the competition by resoundingly answering eleven of the twelve questions she was asked.

Guraacha, her pride and constant companion, became Chaltu’s best friend and she took a good care of him. Gurraacha was a strong horse; his jumps were high, and Chaltu understood his pace and style.

A masterful rider and an envy to even her male contemporaries, Chaltu soon distinguished herself as bold, confident, outspoken, assertive, and courageous. For this, she quickly became a household name among the Oromo from Wajitu to Walmara, Sera to Dawara, Bacho to Cuqala, and Dire to Gimbichu, according to Tesfaye.

Chaltu traces her lineage to the Galan, one of the six clans of Tulama Oromo tribe. At the height of her fame, admirers – young and old – addressed her out of respect as “Caaltuu Warra Galaan!” – Chaltu of the Galan, and “Caaltuu Haadha Gurraacha!” – Chaltu the mother of Gurraacha.

Chaltu’s disarming beauty, elegance, charisma, and intelligence coupled with her witty personality added to her popularity. Chaltu’s tattoos from her chin to her chest, easily noticeable from her light skin, made her look like of a “Red Indian descent” (Tesfaye’s words).

As per Tesfaye’s account, there wasn’t a parent among the well-to-do Oromos of the area who did not wish Chaltu betrothed to their son. At 14, Chaltu escaped a bride-kidnapping attempt by outracing her abductors.

Chaltu’s grandfather Banti Daamo, a well-known warrior and respected elder, had a big family. Growing up in Koftu, Chaltu enjoyed being surrounded by a large network of extended family, although she was the only child for her parents.

Recognizing Chaltu’s potential, her relatives suggested that she goes to school, which was not available in the area at the time. However, fearing that she would be abducted, Chaltu’s father arranged her marriage to a man of Ada’aa family from Dire when she turned 15.

Locals likened Chaltu’s mannerism to her grandfather Banti Daamo, earning her yet another nickname as “Caaltuu warra Bantii Daamo” – Chaltu of Banti Daamo. She embraced the namesake because many saw her as an heir to Banti Daamo’s legacy, a role usually preserved for the oldest male in the family. Well-wishers blessed her: prosper like your grandparents. She embraced and proudly boasted about continuing her grandfather’s heritage calling herself Chaltu Banti Daamo.

Others began to call her Akkoo [sic] Xinnoo, drawing a comparison between Chaltu and a legendary Karrayu Oromo woman leader after whom Ankobar was named.

Chaltu’s eccentric life took on a different trajectory soon after her marriage. She could not be a good wife as the local tradition and custom demanded; she could not get along with an alcoholic husband who came home drunk and abused her.

When Chaltu threatened to dissolve the marriage, as per Oromo culture, elders intervened and advised her to tolerate and reconcile with her husband. Rebellious and nonconformist by nature, Chaltu, who’s known for challenging old biases and practices, protested “an alcoholic cannot be a husband for Banti Daamo’s daughter!”

Soon she left her husband and moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to attend formal education and start a new chapter in life.

Trouble ensues.

In Addis Ababa, her aunt Mulumebet’s family welcomed Chaltu. Like Chaltu, Mulumebet grew up in Koftu but later moved to Addis Ababa, and changed her given name from Gadise in order to ‘fit’ into the city life.

Subsequently, Mulumebet sat down with Chaltu to provide guidance and advice on urban [Amhara] ways.

“Learning the Amharic language is mandatory for your future life,” Mulumebet told Chaltu. “If you want to go to school, first you have to speak the language; in order to learn Amharic, you must stop speaking Afaan Oromo immediately; besides, your name Chaltu Midhaksa doesn’t match your beauty and elegance.”

“I wish they did not mess you up with these tattoos,” Mulumebet continued, “but there is nothing I could do about that…however, we have to give you a new name.”

Just like that, on her second day in Addis, Caaltuu warra Galaan became Helen Getachew.

Chaltu understood little of the dramatic twists in her life. She wished the conversation with her aunt were a dream. First, her name Chaltu means the better one, her tattoos beauty marks.

She quietly wondered, “what is wrong with my name and my tattoos? How can I be better off with a new name that I don’t even know what it means?”

Of course she had no answers for these perennial questions. Most of all, her new last name Getachew discomforted her. But she was given no option.

The indomitable Chaltu had a lot to learn.

A new name, new language, new family, and a whole new way of life, the way of civilized Amhara people. Chaltu mastered Amharic in a matter of weeks. Learning math was no problem either, because Chaltu grew up solving math problems through oral Oromo folktale and children’s games like Takkeen Takkitumaa.

Chaltu’s quick mastery amazed Dr. Getachew, Mulumebet’s husband. This also made her aunt proud and she decided to enroll Chaltu in an evening school. The school matched Chaltu, who’s never set foot in school, for fourth grade. In a year, she skipped a grade and was placed in sixth grade. That year Chaltu passed the national exit exam, given to all sixth graders in the country, with distinction.

But her achievements in school were clouded by a life filled with disappointments, questions, and loss of identity. Much of her troubles came from Mulumebet packaged as life advice.

“Helen darling, all our neighbors love and admire you a lot,” Mulumebet told Chaltu one Sunday morning as they made their way into the local Orthodox Church. “There is not a single person on this block who is not mesmerized by your beauty…you have a bright future ahead of you as long as you work on your Amharic and get rid of your Oromo accent…once you do that, we will find you a rich and educated husband.”

Chaltu knew Mulumebet had her best interest at heart. And as a result never questioned her counsel. But her unsolicited advises centered mostly on erasing Chaltu’s fond childhood memories and making her lose touch with Oromummaa – and essentially become an Amhara.

Chaltu spent most of her free time babysitting Mulumebet’s children, aged 6 and 8. She took care of them and the kids loved her. One day, while the parents were away, lost in her own thoughts, Chaltu repeatedly sang her favorite Atetee – Oromo women’s song of fertility – in front of the kids.

That night, to Chaltu’s wild surprise, the boys performed the song for their parents at the dinner table. Stunned by the revelation, Mulumebet went ballistic and shouted, “Are you teaching my children witchcraft?”

Mulumebet continued, “Don’t you ever dare do such a thing in this house again. I told you to forget everything you do not need. Helen, let me tell you for the last time, everything you knew from Koftu is now erased…forget it all! No Irreechaa, no Waaree, no Okolee, no Ibsaa, No Atetee, and no Wadaajaa.”

Amused by his wife’s dramatic reaction, Getachew inquired, “what does the song mean, Helen?” Chaltu told him she could not explain it in Amharic. He added, “If it is indeed about witchcraft, we do not need a devil in this house…Helen, praise Jesus and his mother, Mary, from now on.”

“Wait,” Getachew continued, “did you ever go to church when you were in Koftu? What do they teach you there?”

Chaltu acknowledged that she’s been to a church but never understood the sermons, conducted in Amharic, a language foreign to her until now. “Getachew couldn’t believe his ears,” writes Tesfaye. But Getachew maintained his cool and assured Chaltu that her mistake would be forgiven.

Chaltu knew Atetee was not a witchcraft but a women’s spiritual song of fertility and safety. All Oromo women had their own Atetee.

Now in her third year since moving to Addis, Chaltu spoke fluent Amharic. But at school, in the market, and around the neighborhood, children bullied her daily. It was as if they were all given the same course on how to disgrace, intimidate, and humiliate her.

“You would have been beautiful if your name was not Chaltu,” strangers and classmates, even those who knew her only as Helen, would tell her. Others would say to Chaltu, as if in compliment, “if you were not Geja (an Amharic for uncivilized), you would actually win a beauty pageant…they messed you up with these tattoos, damn Gallas!”

Her adopted name and mastery of Amharic did not save Chaltu from discrimination, blatant racism, hate speech, and ethnic slurs. As if the loss of self was not enough, seventh grade was painfully challenging for Chaltu. One day when the students returned from recess to their assigned classes, to her classmate’s collective amusement, there was a drawing of a girl with long tattooed neck on the blackboard with a caption: Helen Nikise Gala – Helen, the tattooed Gala. Gala is a disparaging term akin to a Nigger used in reference to Oromos. As Chaltu sobbed quietly, their English teacher Tsige walked in and the students’ laughter came to a sudden halt. Tsige asked the classroom monitor to identity the insulting graffiti’s artist. No one answered. He turned to Chaltu and asked, “Helen, tell me who drew this picture?”

She replied, “I don’t know teacher, but Samson always called me Nikise Gala.”

Tsige was furious. Samson initially denied but eventually admitted fearing corporal punishment. Tsige gave Samson a lesson of a lifetime: “Helen speaks two language: her native Afaan Oromo and your language Amharic, and of course she is learning the third one. She is one of the top three students in the class. You speak one language and you ranked 41 out of 53 students. I have to speak to your parents tomorrow.”

Athletic and well-mannered, Chaltu was one of the best students in the entire school. But she could not fathom why people gossiped about her and hurled insults at her.

Banned from speaking Afaan Oromo, Chaltu could not fully express feelings like sorrow, regrets, fear and happiness in Amharic. To the extent that Mulumebet wished Chaltu would stop thinking in Oromo, in one instance, she asked Chaltu to go into her bedroom to lament the death of a relative by singing honorific praise as per Oromo custom. Chaltu’s break came one afternoon when the sport teacher began speaking to her in Afaan Oromo, for the first time in three years. She sobbed from a deep sense of loss as she uttered the words: “I am from Koftu, the daughter of Banti Daamo.” Saying those words alone, which were once a source of her pride, filled Chaltu with joy, even if for that moment.

Chaltu anxiously looked forward to her summer vacation and a much-needed visit to Koftu. But before she left, Mulumebet warned Chaltu not to speak Afaan Oromo during her stay in Koftu. Mulumebet told Chaltu, “Tell them that you forgot how to speak Afaan Oromo. If they talk to you in Oromo, respond only in Amharic. Also, tell them that you are no longer Chaltu. Your name is Helen.”

Getachew disagreed with his wife. But Chaltu knew she has to oblige. On her way to Koftu, Chaltu thought about her once golden life; the time she won Gurracha in what was only a boys’ competition, and how the entire village of Koftu sang her praises.

Her short stay in Koftu was dismal. Gurraacha was sold for 700 birr and she did not get to see him again. Chaltu’s parents were dismayed that her name was changed and that she no longer spoke their language.

A disgruntled and traumatized Chaltu returns to Addis Ababa and enrolls in 9th grade. She then marries a government official and move away from her aunt’s protective shield. The marriage ends shortly thereafter when Chaltu’s husband got caught up in a political crosshair following Derg’s downfall in 1991. Chaltu was in financial crisis. She refused an advice from acquintances to work as a prostitute.

At 24, the once vibrant Chaltu looked frail and exhausted. The regime change brought some welcome news. Chaltu was fascinated and surprised to watch TV programs in Afaan Oromo or hear concepts like “Oromo people’s liberation, the right to speak one’s own language, and that Amharas were feudalists.”

Chaltu did not fully grasp the systematic violence for which was very much a victim. She detested how she lost her values and ways. She despised Helen and what it was meant to represent. But it was also too late to get back to being Chaltu. She felt empty. She was neither Helen nor Chaltu.

She eventually left Addis for Koftu and asked her parents for forgiveness. She lived a few months hiding in her parent’s home. She avoided going to the market and public squares.

In a rare sign of recovery from her trauma, Chaltu briefly dated a college student who was in Koftu for a winter vacation. When he left, Chaltu lapsed back into her self-imposed loneliness and state of depression. She barely ate and refused interacting with or talking to anyone except her mother.

One afternoon, the once celebrated Chaltu warra Galaan took a nap after a coffee break and never woke up. She was 25.

The bottom line: Fictionalized or not, Chaltu’s is a truly Oromo story. Chaltu is a single character in Tesfaye’s book but lest we forget, in imperial Ethiopia, generations of Chaltu’s had to change their names and identity in order to fit in and be “genuine Ethiopians.” Until recently, one has to wear an Amhara mask in order to be beautiful, or gain access to educational and employment opportunities.

Likewise, in the Ethiopia of today’s “freedom of expression advocates” – who allegedly sought to censor Tesfaye – it appears that a story, even a work of fiction, is fit to print only when it conforms to the much-romanticized Ethiopianist storyline.

So much has changed since Chaltu’s tragic death a little over a decade ago, yet, clearly, much remains the same in Ethiopia. Honor and glory to Oromo martyrs, whose selfless sacrifices had allowed for me to transcribe this story, the Oromo today – a whole generation of Caaltuus – are ready to own, reclaim, and tell their stories.

Try, as they might, the ever-vibrant Qubee generation will never be silenced, again.

Origins of the Afrocomb: Exhibition: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK; 2nd July – 3rd November

Origins of the Afro Comb: 6,000 years of culture, politics and identity
http://www.gatewayforafrica.org/event/origins-afro-comb-6000-years-culture-politics-and-identity?__utma=1.1154313457.1380212922.1382522461.1382771276.8&__utmb=1.217.9.1382772351901&__utmc=1&__utmx=-&__utmz=1.1382771276.8.5.utmcsr=royalafricansociety.us2.list-manage.com|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/subscribe/confirm&__utmv=-&__utmk=134257777&utm_content=buffer9ca97&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Buffer

Even today, a significant number of mainstream Egyptologists, anthropologists, historians and Hollywood moviemakers continue to deny African people’s role in humankind’s first and greatest civilization in ancient Egypt. This whitewashing of history negatively impacts Black people and our image in the world. There remains a vital need to correct the misinformation of our achievements in antiquity.

Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop (1923-1986) dedicated his life to scientifically challenging Eurocentric and Arab-centric views of precolonial African culture, specifically those that suggested the ancient civilization of Egypt did not have its origins in Black Africa.

Since some people continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence that indicates ancient Egypt was built, ruled, and populated by dark-skinned African people, Atlanta Blackstar will highlight 10 of the ways Diop proved the ancient Egyptians were Black.

Physical Anthropology Evidence
Based on his review of scientific literature, Diop concluded that most of the skeletons and skulls of the ancient Egyptians clearly indicate they were Negroid people with features very similar to those of modern Black Nubians and other people of the Upper Nile and East Africa. He called attention to studies that included examinations of skulls from the predynastic period (6000 B.C.) that showed a greater percentage of Black characteristics than any other type.

From this information, Diop reasoned that a Black race existed in Egypt at that time and did not migrate at a later stage as some previous theories had suggested.

http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/10/25/10-arguments-that-proves-ancient-egyptians-were-black/

”’ኦሮሞና ኦሮሚያ”’

የኦሮሞ ሕዝብ መሠረተ አመጣጥ ከኩሽ ቤተሰብ የሚመደብ ነዉ። በቆዳ ቀለሙና በአካላዊ አቋሙ ከሃሜቲክ እስከ ናይሎቲክ ያጣቀሰ ዝርያ ያለዉ ሕዝብ መሆኑ ታሪክ አረጋግጦታል። በሰሜን ምሥራቅ አፍሪካ ከሚኖሩ ህዝቦች ጋር በብዙ መልኩ ተመሳሳይነት ያለዉ ነዉ። በዚህ ክልል የሚኖሩ ሕዝቦች ታሪክ መመዝገብ ከጀመረበት ጊዜ አንስቶ የኩሽ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪ መሆናቸዉ ተረጋግጧል።

ኦሮሞ የኩሽ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪ ብቻ አይደለም። ይልቁንም ይህ ሕዝብ በአህጉረ- አፍሪካ ቀደሚ ዜጋ ሆነዉ ከኖሩት ሕዝቦች መካከል የመጀመሪያ መሆኑ ይታወቃል። በዚህ የረጅም ዘመናት ታሪኩ ውስጥ ለሥልጣኔዉ የሚሆኑ ባህሎችን እስከማዳበር ደርሷል። ሊንች እና ሮቢንስ የሚባሉ ሁለት የዉጭ ምሁራን ሰሜናዊ ኬኒያ በተገኘዉ ጥንታዊ አምድ ላይ ከትጻፈዉ መረጃ በመነሳት ኦሮሞዎች በ3000 ዓመተ-ዓለም አካባቢ የራሳቸዉ የሆነ የቀን መቁጠሪያ እንደነበራቸዉ አረጋግጠዋል። ይህም ሕዝቡ በዚሁ ክልል ለመኖሩ አንዱ ተጨባጭ ማስረጃ ነው።

ከሊንች እና ሮቢንሰም ሌላ ፕራዉቲ እና ሮሴንፊልድ የተባሉ የታሪክ ሊቃዉንት “Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia” ኢንዲሁም ባትስ : “The Abyssinian Difficulty” በተባሉ ሥራዎቻቸው ; <> በማለት ይገልጻሉ።

የኦሮሞ ሕዝብ የምስራቅ አፍርካ (የአፍርካ ቀንድ) ቀዳሚ ቤተኛ ስለመሆኑ አያሌ ማስረጃዎች ኣሉ። ስለዚሁ ጉዳይ ታሪካዊ ሰናዶች በብዛት ይገኛሉ። አባ ባህሬይ የተባሉ የአማራ ብሄር ተወላጅ የጋላ ታሪክ ብለው በሲዳሞና ከፋ ዉስጥ በመዘዋዋር ስላ ኦሮሞ በፃፉት መጽሃፍ በጥላቻ የተሞሉና ትክክል ያል ሆኑ ታሪኮችን ለማሳተም በቅተዋል። ክራፍ በ 1842 ፥ ፍት በ1913 በክልሉ በመዘዋወር ኦሮሞ በምስራቅ አፍርካ ከሁሉም የላቀ ስፍት ያለዉ ሀገር ባለቤት መሆኑን አረጋግጠዋል ።

ከ1850 በፊት ዲ. አባደ ቤክ፥ እስንባርገር ኢንዲሁም ክራፍ የተባሉ አዉሮፓዊያን ዘጎች የኦሮሞን ሕዝብ ፖለቲካዊ ፥ ባህላዊና ማህበራዊ አኗኗር ሥራዓት በማጥናት ለዉጭዉ ዓለም አስተዋዉቀወል። ከዚያም ወዲህ በተለይ ከ 18ኛው መቶ ክፍለ ዘመንና በኋላም ኦሮሚያ በአፄ ምንልክ ተወርራ የኢኮኖሚና የፖለቲካ ሥራዓቷን ከመነጠቋ በፊት ሲቺ የተባለ ኢጣሊያዊ እንዲሁም በሬሊ ; እና ሶሌይሌት የተባሉ የፈረንሳይ ዜጎች በኦሮሚያ ህዝብ ፖለቲኮ-ባህላዊ; ኢኮኖሚያዊና ማህበራዊ ታሪኮች ላይ ያተኮሩ ሥራዎችን አዘጋጅተዉ ለአንባቢያን አቅርበዋል።

ታሪካዊ ጥናቶች አንደሚያረጋግጡት ኦሮሞና ኢትዮጵያ ከ16ኛዉ እስከ 19ኛው መቶ ክፍለ ዘመን አንዱም ሌላዉን አሸንፎ በ ቁጥጥሩ ሥር ሳያደርግ ጎን ለጎን ሆነው ሲዋጉ መቆየታቸው ሆሎኮምብ እና ሲሳይ ኢብሳ በ 1900፥ ፕሮ. መሐመድ ሐሰን በ 1990፥ ፕሮ. አሰፋ ጃላታ በ 1990፥ መሐመድ አሊ በ 1989፥ ሌቪን በ 1965 ፥ ገዳ መልባ በ 1978… ሥራዎቻቸዉ ዉስጥ በስፋት አቅርበዋል። እንዲሁም ጄስማን የተባሉ ጸሐፊ ከ50 ዓመታት በፊት ባሳተሙት መጽሓፍ ከአፄ ምንልክ የደቡብ ወረራ በፊት የነበረችዉ ኢትዮጵያ በሰሜን ከፍታዎች አካባቢ መሆኑን ከመግለጻቸዉም በላይ ማአከሏም በሰሜን ትግራይ ፥ በጌምድር ፥ ላስታና ወሎ ፥ በመሃል ጉራጌ ፥ በ ደቡብ ሸዋ ነው ያሉት ከላይ የተጠቀሱ ምሁራን ያ ቀረቡኣቸዉን ቁም ነገሮች በተጨባጭ መልክኣ ምድራዊ ገጽታ የሚያረጋግጥ ሆኗል።

ጥንታዊቷ አበሲኒያ ቀደም ብሎ በተጠቀሱት ክልሎች ላይ ብቻ የተወሰንች ለመሆኗ አፄ ቴዎድሮስ ኢየሩሳሌም ሳሙኤል ጎባ ለተባሉ የእንግሊዝ ጳጳስ በጻፉት ድብዳቤ ውስጥ ከጠቀሱትም ቁም ነገር መገንዘብ ይቻላል። እችሳቸውም:-

Copyright © The Oromianeconomist 2014 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.

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Dispossession of local communities in the name of investment: Large scale public-private partnership (mega-PPPs) in Africa

Odaa Oromoo

 

 

In the context of weak land governance and insecure land tenure (estimates suggest that per cent of rural land in Africa is registered), there is a serious risk that mega-PPPs will lead to the dispossession or expropriation of local communities in the name of investment.

 

Inequality is already significant in Africa. Measurements such as the Gini-coefficient show that inequality on the continent is second only to Latin America in its severity. Land transfers to investors threaten to worsen this inequality by creating ‘agricultural dualism’ between large and small farms. This process will remove already diminishing plots of land from family farmers; while the co-existence of large and small farms has been shown to drive inequality and conflict in other contexts.Also, equitable agricultural development requires diverse forms of support to account for ‘different rural worlds’, including contract oversight for commercial producers, the development of local markets for poorer farmers, and job-creation and social protection for marginal groups.

Mega-PPP projects are unlikely to deliver this type of agenda, instead focussing on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

 

 

Not So Mega?

The risky business of large-scale PPPs in African agriculture

By Robin Willoughby*

 

At a large summit on the future of African agriculture last week, the buzzwords were ‘investment opportunities’, ‘transformation’ and ‘public-private partnerships.’

Despite the worthy aims of the hosts ‘A Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA)’, discussion of poverty, rights, gender or inequality was rather absent from the plenary.

The risks of large scale public-private partnership (mega-PPPs) are enormous, particularly in the areas targeted for investment. Huge land transfers are a core component of the mega-PPP agenda.

Mega-PPP projects are focussing less on the needs of poor small-scale farmers and more on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

Last week, I attended a large summit on the future of African agriculture in Addis Ababa, hosted by A Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA).My participation really made me reflect on the problems of ‘groupthink’ within these types of conference, with each of the participants taking it in turns to stand on the podium and agree with one another more and more vociferously. The buzzwords were ‘investment opportunities’, ‘transformation’ and ‘public-private partnerships.’

This narrative is to be expected at a private sector agri-investment conference – but seems confusing when this type of meet-up is designed by philanthropic organisations to address rural poverty and the widespread challenges in African farming. Despite the worthy aims of AGRA, discussion of poverty, rights, gender or inequality was almost entirely absent from the plenary.

As one of the other participants said to me: “if everything is going so well – why are we all here?”

At the summit, I launched an Oxfam Briefing Paper on large-scale public-private partnerships initiatives, which echoes some of these themes.

The report points out that despite the large amount of hype around mega-PPPs such as the New Alliance for Food Security and NutritionGROW Africa, and numerous growth corridor initiatives – there is very little robust evidence on the proposed benefits of these arrangements, around who bears the risks or who holds the power in decision making.

So where do the risks and benefits lie?

The paper shows that public-private partnerships can play an important role in supporting farmers. For example, smaller-scale initiatives such as micro-credit, weather-index insurance and attempts to link farmers into markets offer useful examples of PPPs – particularly when they are co-designed with end-users and local communities.

Oxfam’s work with consumer goods company Unilever in a targeted partnership called Project Sunrise shows that well-designed partnerships can also be used for innovation and learning.

But the risks of mega-PPPs are enormous, particularly in the areas targeted for investment.

Threats to land rights
Land transfers are a core component of the mega-PPP agenda. The total amount of land pegged for investment within just five countries hosting growth corridor initiatives (Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana and Burkina Faso) stands at over 750,000 km² – the size of a country such as France or Ukraine.

Not all of this land will be leased to investors, but the initial offering in these countries stands at 12,500 km² (over 1.2 million hectares) – the amount of land currently in agricultural production in Senegal or Zambia.

In the context of weak land governance and insecure land tenure (estimates suggest that per cent of rural land in Africa is registered), there is a serious risk that mega-PPPs will lead to the dispossession or expropriation of local communities in the name of investment.

The pricing of land can also be set at extraordinarily low levels. The GROW Africa initiative advertised land for lease in Mozambique for $1 per hectare per annum over 50 years. This is around 2,000 times cheaper than comparable land in Brazil – raising concerns that African governments are seriously undervaluing their core assets.

Worsening inequality
Inequality is already significant in Africa. Measurements such as the Gini-coefficient show that inequality on the continent is second only to Latin America in its severity.

Land transfers to investors threaten to worsen this inequality by creating ‘agricultural dualism’ between large and small farms. This process will remove already diminishing plots of land from family farmers; while the co-existence of large and small farms has been shown to drive inequality and conflict in other contexts.

Also, equitable agricultural development requires diverse forms of support to account for ‘different rural worlds’, including contract oversight for commercial producers, the development of local markets for poorer farmers, and job-creation and social protection for marginal groups.

Mega-PPP projects are unlikely to deliver this type of agenda, instead focussing on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

Asymmetries of power
Finally, for any form of large-scale public-private partnership to be effective, it requires effective governance to ensure a fair sharing of risks and benefits; and regulation to ensure that more powerful players do not use political and economic clout to capture a dominant position in the market.

These conditions of good governance do not exist, on the whole, in most African countries.

The asymmetries of power within these arrangements can be enormous. In the SAGCOT programme (a mega-PPP in Tanzania), four large seed and agrichemical companies involved in the initiative have combined annual revenues of nearly US$100 billion. That is more than triple the size of the Tanzanian economy.

This raises serious concerns that these companies could lobby for policies that are in their interest and squeeze out small- and medium size enterprise from burgeoning domestic markets.

What are the alternatives?
Is there an alternative to the mega-PPP vision of agricultural development? I think so:

Public sector investment in research and development, extension services and targeted subsidies for credit can spread the benefits of agricultural investment widely and encourage private sector participation in the sector. Currently, governments in Sub-Saharan Africa only spend 5 per cent of their total annual budget on the sector, which is unforgivably low.

Securing land rights for local communities. This will help to ensure that communities within the target area for these schemes are not dispossessed in the name of investment. Secure land tenure also encourages smallholders to invest for themselves in land and productive activities.

Finally, alternative business models such as the development of producer organisations and the clever use of subsidies to encourage local processing facilities can develop agricultural markets without the need for ‘hub’ plantation farms or growth corridors. These models should be explored in more depth as part of a more inclusive PPP agenda.

With some US$6 billion of donor aid committed to further the aims of the New Alliance and $1.5 billion earmarked for growth corridor initiatives, mega-PPPs lead to a fundamental question. Would this money be better spent on lower risk models of agricultural development that give a greater share of the benefits to the poor?

Read more @http://naiforum.org/2014/09/not-so-mega/

 

*Robin Willoughby is Food and Climate Justice policy adviser at Oxfam GB and leader of Oxfam International’s agricultural investment policy work.

Attention to Ethiopia (Africa): Corruption ‘impoverishes and kills millions’

O

Corruption ‘impoverishes and kills millions’

 

Pile of dollars (file picture)
BBC (4 September 2014) The ONE group says money lost because of corruption would otherwise be spent on school and medicine. An estimated $1tn (£600bn) a year is being taken out of poor countries and millions of lives are lost because of corruption, according to campaigners.A report by the anti-poverty organisation One says much of the progress made over the past two decades in tackling extreme poverty has been put at risk by corruption and crime.

Corrupt activities include the use of phantom firms and money laundering. The report blames corruption for 3.6 million deaths every year.

If action were taken to end secrecy that allows corruption to thrive – and if the recovered revenues were invested in health – the group calculates that many deaths could be prevented in low-income countries.

Corruption is overshadowing natural disasters and disease as the scourge of poor countries, the report says.

One describes its findings as a “trillion dollar scandal”.

“Corruption inhibits private investment, reduces economic growth, increases the cost of doing business and can lead to political instability,” the report says.

“But in developing countries, corruption is a killer. When governments are deprived of their own resources to invest in health care, food security or essential infrastructure, it costs lives and the biggest toll is on children.”

The report says that if corruption was eradicated in sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Education would be provided to an additional 10 million children per year
  • Money would be available to pay for an additional 500,000 primary school teachers
  • Antiretroviral drugs for more than 11 million people with HIV/Aids would be provided

One is urging G-20 leaders meeting in Australia in November to take various measures to tackle the problem including making information public about who owns companies and trusts to prevent them being used to launder money and conceal the identity of criminals.

It is advocating the introduction of mandatory reporting laws for the oil, gas and mining sectors so that countries’ natural resources “are not effectively stolen from the people living above them”.

It is recommending action against tax evaders “so that developing countries have the information they need to collect the taxes they are due” and more open government so that people can hold authorities accountable for the delivery of essential services.

Read more @ original source:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29049324

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-29040793

Poverty & Ethiopia: Poverty on the Streets of Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)

 

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Poverty on the Streets of Addis Ababa

Published on September 1st, 2014 | by Meredith Maulsby

September 2, 2014 (The baines report) — Poverty can easily be seen throughout the capital of Ethiopia, but nowhere is it more evident than when you pass a beggar on the street.  Beggars are everywhere in Addis Ababa, and they represent a vast range of demographics. There are men, women, children of all ages and conditions– some with their mothers, some without, and the severely disabled.

Older children, rather than begging, try to sell you gum or clean your shoes, while the younger children walk in front of you asking for money or food, not leaving you until they spot another person to ask.  The women are often with young children, sometimes babies, and usually with more than one.  I was once walking down the street and a young child no older than 2 or 3 who was being held by his mother made the signal they all make to ask for food or money while calling me sister.  I thought this child probably learned this signal before he even learned how to speak.  Women are often seen grilling corn on the sidewalk on a small grill to sell to people passing by.

I have been told the severely disabled have most likely suffered from stunting, polio or the war.  I have seen men with disfigured legs so mangled that they can not walk but instead drag themselves down the sidewalk. Others are in wheelchairs and unable to walk.  And this city is not easy for the disabled.  The sidewalks, where they exist, are not always flat and not always paved. There are also often giant holes in the middle of the sidewalk or loose concrete slabs covering gutters.  On the main roads, near where I’m staying there are tarps and blankets off to the side of the road where the beggars must sleep or live.

It is a very difficult scene to walk through.  You want to help them all and give everyone a little bit of money or food. But there are so many it would be nearly impossible to give to them all.  We have been told to not give to beggars because once you give to one you will be surrounded by others.  When people do give money to beggars it is often very small bills or coins that will not go very far.

I have often wondered how much money they actually receive. Perhaps it would be beneficial to do more in depth look at why these people became beggars and where they come from. After a cursory search for research and reports on beggars in Addis Ababa, I found very little.  There is a study on the disabled beggars and a report focusing on children.  There is a documentary that follows two women who come to the capital from a rural town and become beggars in order to raise money for their family when climate change creates a food shortage.

Both the government of Ethiopia and large NGO’s, like USAID and the UN, are working to stop the “cycle of poverty.”   There are major health and nutrition projects being implemented all over the country, but these are long-term projects that do not address the immediate needs of people on the streets. Short term solutions such as creating shelters or centers for the disabled and homeless could allow beggars more opportunities for housing but could also generate income potential through workshops and other skill development programs.

Source: The baines report

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopia/poverty-on-the-streets-of-addis-ababa/

Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! TEdTalk from Italian aid worker Ernesto Sirolli

 

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This is a fantastic and humorous TedTalk from Italian aid worker Ernesto Sirolli.

When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.

All 17 minutes are worth watching, but the first 3 or so are especially recommended. Enjoy!

http://www.ted.com/talks/ernesto_sirolli_want_to_help_someone_shut_up_and_listen#t-1053556

http://www.ted.com/speakers/ernesto_sirolli

Government media in Ethiopia vs Scholars view of development: A stand-off paradox

 

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Government  media in Ethiopia vs Scholars view of development: A stand-off paradox

Ameyu Etana*

 

It has been more than a decade since DEVELOPMENT became a buzzword in Ethiopian Radio  and Television Agency

As ERTA is a pro-government media and are sponsored by the state, there is a strong probability to be under the guise of social responsibility theory when addressing issues. As it is common of using development journalism as an instrument in developmental states, likewise, the Ethiopian government is using media as a big power to making the public participating in development.  Television Agency (ERTA) and other media that are pro-government but run under the auspices of private media. Regrettably, probably, it is the most abused and corrupted word beyond what one could imagine. A name developmentalist came to develop a negative connotation for a journalist in Ethiopia. Quite number of academic researches has been done on the single nationwide media in Ethiopia, however; very little of them adduced and proved the professional nature of political power house of Ethiopian government, ERTA.

Ethiopia, a nation came to be a laboratory of political economy is a dish for choose and pick philosophy of politics. The political economy of Ethiopia is democratic developmental state. By their nature such states are repressive. And there has never been a country both democratic and developmental at a time except Ethiopia. Nevertheless, it seems, what we are seeing is not in accord with the political economy.

The Ethiopian government adopted United Nations General Assembly Resolution 41/128:1986. Alike, the right to development is one of the bill rights that had been included in the federal constitution of Ethiopia. Article 43 of FDRE constitution could depict this. To the contrary, mostly, what has been written and what has been practiced seems contradict each other.

As we know, what Ethiopian Television, Ethiopian Radio, Ethiopian Herald, Addis Zemen, Bariisaa, Ethiopian News Agency, Walta Information Center and other government driven media and/or news agency in Ethiopia and other whose names called under the guise of private but pro-government media view development as econometric (statistics use to view development e.g. economic development) view of development. As a result, any report that put Ethiopian development in number presumed to have high political benefit and get the major attention as it makes a headline. Infrastructure, number of investors, their capital, the KM of a road built, export and import quantities, number of graduates, number of higher institutions, and others are mostly at the desk of those media institution. Hence, what is seen is not the human side but the growth side as it uses to be.

Since the philosophy of state media in Ethiopia is development journalism, though wrongly interpreted, the issue of development vastly and exhaustively reported in a form of news, program, documentary, and other types of reports. However, most news are just a report as they lack interpretation while the journalist acts as a conduit than the one who produce it. I.e. Ethiopia is amongst the fastest growing economy in the world though third of its population lives in absolute poverty. In addition, there is been a big unequal economic distribution in the country and unemployment is getting higher albeit it is repeatedly told it is non-oil economy. If so, what is the benefit of jobless growth? Moreover, indigenous knowledge is ignored at the same time modern technology is also getting little attention by farmers, which is discrepancy right now in the country. As the journalism model, those media were supposed to critically examine and meticulously analyze issue that matters most to the people than merely reporting it.

The people of the country have long experienced the use of development for propaganda. Owing to this, it is difficult to identify the real concept of development in the mind of citizens. This resembles the sedative nature of the media in the country. Recently, journalists of Oromia Radio and Television Journalists (ORTO) did a deliberation on the controversial master plan of Addis Ababa, however, regrettably, they got an axe for the mere fact they did speak their mind. Hence, we can say that development is like politics in Ethiopia as it is untouched area to be opened for deliberation.

After all what is development? What scholars say about development? 

Several scholars held a debate for decades on what development is until they came to, probably; seems agree as it is all about human development. Lamentably, as Rita Abrahamsen puts it in her book called Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and Good Governance in Africa the issue of development became politicized, which is unfortunate as the world came to see help poor countries based on their political ideology they might have than favoring solely for being human.

The leading professor Amartya Sen in his book Development as Freedom which was published in 1999 argues development should be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. He contrasts the view of development with the widely prevalent concentration on the expansion of real income and on economic growth as the characteristics of successful development. Poverty, the flip side of development, means capability deprivation that inhibits citizen’s freedom to live, the reason they value most. As a result, development means an expansion of freedom.

For Amartya Sen Poverty is lack of choice, socioeconomic and political deprivation while development is a freedom or emancipation from poverty, empowerment of the people. Therefore, we simply understand us development is all about a people than merely numbers.

Similarly Michael Todaro in his book Economic Development argues that development must be seen as multidimensional process involving major changes in social structure, popular attitudes, and national institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of absolute poverty. And several scholars including Thomas Alan and others believed development is about empowering and emancipating people from the agony that make them suffer most than ignoring their existence.

Having looked at this, inopportunely we see the paradox in Ethiopia. In the name of development people has been ignored freedom; few are benefiting but millions are joining poverty if not struggling to survive. Rather than sensitizing them the media is pursuing sedative under the auspices of development as submissive people at large are being produced in the country seeing that the issue of development became not open for discussion and untouchable. Regrettably, in the name of investment and several projects, millions are being displaced from the land they presumes their only property they got from their forefathers but, are treated like ignorant who could serve nothing for the development. I.e. it is the residents of Addis Ababa that were deliberating over the contentious master plan for days on the lands of farmerssurrounding Addis Ababa. How could this be the right way? By no means it is democratic or developmental? It is highly nonsense and absurd but not surprise as it uses to be in the country.

If development is for the people why do ignore them or why to treating them as against development? By its nature development is not merely road or building, it is about mind development. If the big asset for human, which is mind is not well set, how to manage the entire infrastructure? It seems everything is messed up in Ethiopia. Due to this, the wider public is feeling ignorant to the plans and strategies the government drafts each time.

Consequently, here in Ethiopia, under the guise of development thousands get prisoned, displaced, ignored, dehumanized, unnerved, denied capability, bottled in poverty, whereas, few get rich, empowered, emancipate in such a way to fasten andwiden the gap of living standards of citizens, which is shockingly inhuman. Inconveniently, for the development gained it is not the people but a party or officials get recognition as personal cult is common so far.

The other vital issue we should pay attention to is making the people the participant when the plan is drafted which mean making the people the source of development. If doing so, those who decide by themselves become responsible for the accomplishment, which is a big benefit for the ruled and for the ruler. However, this was not happening rather the people are assumed as ignorant mass that could have no role prior to drafting of the plan but after. http://mohiboni.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/government-herd-media-in-ethiopia-and.html

*Ameyu Etana is a journalist in Ethiopia and by now he is a graduate student at Addis Ababa University. Can be reached at: ameyuetana@gmail.com  You can follow and comment on his articles on mohiboni.blogspot.com and mohiboni.wordpress.com. All are encouraged to challenge. Any idea is welcomed as far as it has adduced. 

 

False accounting & the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie

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Poverty

Exposing the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie

Jason Hickel* @ Aljazeera Opinion

 

The UN claims that its Millennium Development Campaign has reduced poverty globally, an assertion that is far from true.

 

 

The received wisdom comes to us from all directions: Poverty rates are declining and extreme poverty will soon be eradicated. The World Bank, the governments of wealthy countries, and – most importantly – the United Nations Millennium Campaign all agree on this narrative. Relax, they tell us. The world is getting better, thanks to the spread of free market capitalism and western aid. Development is working, and soon, one day in the very near future, poverty will be no more.

It is a comforting story, but unfortunately it is just not true. Poverty is not disappearing as quickly as they say. In fact, according to some measures, poverty has been getting significantly worse. If we are to be serious about eradicating poverty, we need to cut through the sugarcoating and face up to some hard facts.

False accounting

The most powerful expression of the poverty reduction narrative comes from the UN’s Millennium Campaign. Building on the Millennium Declaration of 2000, the Campaign’s main goal has been to reduce global poverty by half by 2015 – an objective that it proudly claims to have achieved ahead of schedule. But if we look beyond the celebratory rhetoric, it becomes clear that this assertion is deeply misleading.

The world’s governments first pledged to end extreme poverty during the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996. They committed to reducing the number of undernourished people by half before 2015, which, given the population at the time, meant slashing the poverty headcount by 836 million. Many critics claimed that this goal was inadequate given that, with the right redistributive policies, extreme poverty could be ended much more quickly.

But instead of making the goals more robust, global leaders surreptitiously diluted it. Yale professor and development watchdog Thomas Pogge points out that when the Millennium Declaration was signed, the goal was rewritten as “Millennium Developmental Goal 1″ (MDG-1) and was altered to halve the proportion (as opposed to the absolute number) of the world’s people living on less than a dollar a day. By shifting the focus to income levels and switching from absolute numbers to proportional ones, the target became much easier to achieve. Given the rate of population growth, the new goal was effectively reduced by 167 million. And that was just the beginning.

After the UN General Assembly adopted MDG-1, the goal was diluted two more times. First, they changed it from halving the proportion of impoverished people in the world to halving the proportion of impoverished people in developing countries, thus taking advantage of an even faster-growing demographic denominator. Second, they moved the baseline of analysis from 2000 back to 1990, thus retroactively including all poverty reduction accomplished by China throughout the 1990s, due in no part whatsoever to the Millennium Campaign.

This statistical sleight-of-hand narrowed the target by a further 324 million. So what started as a goal to reduce the poverty headcount by 836 million has magically become only 345 million – less than half the original number. Having dramatically redefined the goal, the Millennium Campaign can claim that poverty has been halved when in fact it has not. The triumphalist narrative hailing the death of poverty rests on an illusion of deceitful accounting.

Poor numbers

But there’s more. Not only have the goalposts been moved, the definition of poverty itself has been massaged in a way that serves the poverty reduction narrative. What is considered the threshold for poverty – the “poverty line” – is normally calculated by each nation for itself, and is supposed to reflect what an average human adult needs to subsist. In 1990, Martin Ravallion, an Australian economist at the World Bank, noticed that the poverty lines of a group of the world’s poorest countries clustered around $1 per day. On Ravallion’s recommendation, the World Bank adopted this as the first-ever International Poverty Line (IPL).

But the IPL proved to be somewhat troublesome. Using this threshold, the World Bank announced in its 2000 annual report that “the absolute number of those living on $1 per day or less continues to increase. The worldwide total rose from 1.2 billion in 1987 to 1.5 billion today and, if recent trends persist, will reach 1.9 billion by 2015.” This was alarming news, especially because it suggested that the free-market reforms imposed by the World Bank and the IMF on Global South countries during the 1980s and 1990s in the name of “development” were actually making things worse.

This amounted to a PR nightmare for the World Bank. Not long after the report was released, however, their story changed dramatically and they announced the exact opposite news: While poverty had been increasing steadily for some two centuries, they said, the introduction of free-market policies had actually reduced the number of impoverished people by 400 million between 1981 and 2001.

This new story was possible because the Bank shifted the IPL from the original $1.02 (at 1985 PPP) to $1.08 (at 1993 PPP), which, given inflation, was lower in real terms. With this tiny change – a flick of an economist’s wrist – the world was magically getting better, and the Bank’s PR problem was instantly averted. This new IPL is the one that the Millennium Campaign chose to adopt.

The IPL was changed a second time in 2008, to $1.25 (at 2005 PPP). And once again the story improved overnight. The $1.08 IPL made it seem as though the poverty headcount had been reduced by 316 million people between 1990 and 2005. But the new IPL – even lower than the last, in real terms – inflated the number to 437 million, creating the illusion that an additional 121 million souls had been “saved” from the jaws of debilitating poverty. Not surprisingly, the Millennium Campaign adopted the new IPL, which allowed it to claim yet further chimerical gains.

A more honest view of poverty

We need to seriously rethink these poverty metrics. The dollar-a-day IPL is based on the national poverty lines of the 15 poorest countries, but these lines provide a poor foundation given that many are set by bureaucrats with very little data. More importantly, they tell us nothing about what poverty is like in wealthier countries. A 1990 survey in Sri Lanka found that 35 percent of the population fell under the national poverty line. But the World Bank, using the IPL, reported only 4 percent in the same year. In other words, the IPL makes poverty seem much less serious than it actually is.

The present IPL theoretically reflects what $1.25 could buy in the United States in 2005. But people who live in the US know it is impossible to survive on this amount. The prospect is laughable. In fact, the US government itself calculatedthat in 2005 the average person needed at least $4.50 per day simply to meet minimum nutritional requirements. The same story can be told in many other countries, where a dollar a day is inadequate for human existence. In India, for example, children living just above the IPL still have a 60 percent chance of being malnourished.

According to Peter Edwards of Newcastle University, if people are to achieve normal life expectancy, they need roughly double the current IPL, or a minimum of $2.50 per day. But adopting this higher standard would seriously undermine the poverty reduction narrative. An IPL of $2.50 shows a poverty headcount of around 3.1 billion, almost triple what the World Bank and the Millennium Campaign would have us believe. It also shows that poverty is getting worse, not better, with nearly 353 million more people impoverished today than in 1981. With China taken out of the equation, that number shoots up to 852 million.

Some economists go further and advocate for an IPL of $5 or even $10 – the upper boundary suggested by the World Bank. At this standard, we see that some 5.1 billion people – nearly 80 percent of the world’s population – are living in poverty today. And the number is rising.

These more accurate parameters suggest that the story of global poverty is much worse than the spin doctored versions we are accustomed to hearing. The $1.25 threshold is absurdly low, but it remains in favour because it is the only baseline that shows any progress in the fight against poverty, and therefore justifies the present economic order. Every other line tells the opposite story. In fact, even the $1.25 line shows that, without factoring China, the poverty headcount is worsening, with 108 million people added to the ranks of the poor since 1981. All of this calls the triumphalist narrative into question.

A call for change

This is a pressing concern; the UN is currently negotiating the new Sustainable Development Goals that will replace the Millennium Campaign in 2015, and they are set to use the same dishonest poverty metrics as before. They will leverage the “poverty reduction” story to argue for business as usual: stick with the status quo and things will keep getting better. We need to demand more. If the Sustainable Development Goals are to have any real value, they need to begin with a more honest poverty line – at least $2.50 per day – and instate rules to preclude the kind of deceit that the World Bank and the Millennium Campaign have practised to date.

Eradicating poverty in this more meaningful sense will require more than just using aid to tinker around the edges of the problem. It will require changing the rules of the global economy to make it fairer for the world’s majority. Rich country governments will resist such changes with all their might. But epic problems require courageous solutions, and, with 2015 fast approaching, the moment to act is now. Read more @original source http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/exposing-great-poverty-reductio-201481211590729809.html

*Dr Jason Hickel lectures at the London School of Economics and serves as an adviser to /The Rules. 

Land Grabbing and the Threat to Local Land Rights

 

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Video:Land grab in Oromia, displacement of Oromo People in Ethiopia and environmental disaster

See also  http://freedomfororomo.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/deforestation-and-land-grabbing-by-the-neo-neftegna-tplf-in-the-unesco-registered-yayu-coffee-forest-biosphere-reserve-illuu-abbaa-booraa-western-oromia/

 

Land grabbing increased in 2008, when price shocks in the food market alerted the world to the finite limits of food production. From this came a rush to acquire farmland all over the globe and a dramatic increase in the value of arable land. “Land acquisitions,” as they are termed by their proponents, are the latest weapon in the arsenal of conventional development. Although it is claimed that they alleviate poverty and increase technological transfer, employment, and food security, the “grabs” have a range of other motives. Some are politically driven, some provide new markets for corporations, others provide food security for far-off nations. The “grabbers” range from elite businessmen to governments to multinational corporations and are not defined by any one particular demographic.

In Tanzania, the wild Serengeti Desert, home to elephants, lions and a host of other magnificent wildlife, is being carved up as Middle Eastern businessmen purchase huge parcels of land for private hunting rights. The Serengeti is home to the pastoral Masai people, who are now restricted to smaller and smaller territories. As a result they are not only being criminalized for trespassing on their ancestral lands, they are accused of over-grazing and degrading ecosystems as their herds no longer have enough room to graze without impacting grasslands.

In nearby Ethiopia, the government of the Gambela region has enacted a “Villagization” program that promises new schools, wells, medical facilities, and general infrastructure to relocated communities. Unfortunately, these promises have rarely materialized and more often than not the “villagization” process has resembled the violent forcing of communities into state-designated camps, in a process that is clearing the way for foreign agribusiness. Those that stay put in their ancestral homes often find themselves surrounded by new plantations. Two concessions of 25,000 acres and 250,000 acres are currently under development by a Saudi oil billionaire and an Indian flower agribusiness for 60 and 50 years, respectively. The latter, Karuturi Global, is growing oil palm, corn, sorghum, rice, and sugarcane for export back to India, using a labor pool comprised primarily of Indians or Ethiopians from other regions. Karuturi Global pays a measly $2.50 per acre annually – little to none of which is seen by local residents. A few local tribespeople now work for the company, although this is usually because they were left with no choice, their own land having been taken or degraded. These tribespeople used to earn their livelihoods by hunting, fishing, and making honey. When the company began cutting down the forest the bees and the animals vanished; now that the company has started draining the wetlands, the fish will soon be gone too. http://theeconomicsofhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/land-grabbing-and-the-threat-to-local-land-rights/

 

Land Grabbing and the Threat to Local Land Rights

By Sophie Weiss*

 

In recent years, foreign governments and multinational corporations have bought or leased huge tracts of sovereign land in the developing world, converting much of it to industrialized agriculture for export. This “land grabbing” – now widespread across Africa and Asia – is most common in nations with the least secure land tenure systems. Usually the land transfers involve land occupied by indigenous communities; often they are not legally registered as landholders and can be easily evicted. In terms of both ecological and cultural impacts, land grabbing has emerged as one of the most painful manifestations of the globalized economy in the 21stCentury.

Land grabbing increased in 2008, when price shocks in the food market alerted the world to the finite limits of food production. From this came a rush to acquire farmland all over the globe and a dramatic increase in the value of arable land. “Land acquisitions,” as they are termed by their proponents, are the latest weapon in the arsenal of conventional development. Although it is claimed that they alleviate poverty and increase technological transfer, employment, and food security, the “grabs” have a range of other motives. Some are politically driven, some provide new markets for corporations, others provide food security for far-off nations. The “grabbers” range from elite businessmen to governments to multinational corporations and are not defined by any one particular demographic. Many organizations have attempted to estimate how many acres are involved, though there is no central registry and little transparency. The World Bank claimed 120 million acres were transferred in 2010, while Oxfam gave a figure of 560 million acres*.

In Tanzania, the wild Serengeti Desert, home to elephants, lions and a host of other magnificent wildlife, is being carved up as Middle Eastern businessmen purchase huge parcels of land for private hunting rights. The Serengeti is home to the pastoral Masai people, who are now restricted to smaller and smaller territories. As a result they are not only being criminalized for trespassing on their ancestral lands, they are accused of over-grazing and degrading ecosystems as their herds no longer have enough room to graze without impacting grasslands.

In nearby Ethiopia, the government of the Gambela region has enacted a “Villagization” program that promises new schools, wells, medical facilities, and general infrastructure to relocated communities. Unfortunately, these promises have rarely materialized and more often than not the “villagization” process has resembled the violent forcing of communities into state-designated camps, in a process that is clearing the way for foreign agribusiness. Those that stay put in their ancestral homes often find themselves surrounded by new plantations. Two concessions of 25,000 acres and 250,000 acres are currently under development by a Saudi oil billionaire and an Indian flower agribusiness for 60 and 50 years, respectively. The latter, Karuturi Global, is growing oil palm, corn, sorghum, rice, and sugarcane for export back to India, using a labor pool comprised primarily of Indians or Ethiopians from other regions. Karuturi Global pays a measly $2.50 per acre annually – little to none of which is seen by local residents. A few local tribespeople now work for the company, although this is usually because they were left with no choice, their own land having been taken or degraded. These tribespeople used to earn their livelihoods by hunting, fishing, and making honey. When the company began cutting down the forest the bees and the animals vanished; now that the company has started draining the wetlands, the fish will soon be gone too.

In Sri Lanka, instability has given land grabbers the advantage as the country transitions out of a bloody 30-year civil war. During the conflict, the Sinhala Buddhist government claimed several large pieces of land as High Security Zones (HSZ), conveniently located in Tamil territories. In these seizures, local families were evicted from their lands in the name of security. Now that the war is over, the validity of the HSZs has come into question, but instead of returning the land to its original tenders, the government is converting many of the HSZs into Economic Processing Zones and Special Economic Zones, commonly contracting them out to large Chinese and Vietnamese corporations. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils are relegated to “displaced person camps” with little or no access to resources.

These are only a few of the heart-wrenching examples of land deals across the globe. Large-scale land transfers like these remove all human connection from land management. If the land grabbing trend continues, we could be witnessing the true end of the commons everywhere.

While proponents claim that these land acquisitions provide development to needy regions in the form of technology transfer and employment, these lofty claims require scrutiny. Is this kind of “employment” what is needed or desired among local people? How will technology transfer help them and what kind of technology is needed? In a region thriving on small-scale farming, are large tractors and bulldozers really of any benefit?

First and foremost, what local peoClare-Douglas-A-Young-Gardener-Tanzaniaple need to prosper are secure land rights. Then they can make choices about the technologies they want to adopt, and about how their land can be managed for the benefit of the local communities, economies and ecosystems. To this end, we need an international legal framework that restricts and regulates the ability of foreign businesses to acquire land. Regulations need to limit the size of land deals, ensuring accountability and justice for the communities and ecosystems impacted.

It speaks to the disconnection between governments and indigenous/rural peoples that the land grabbing trend continues to grow; and it speaks to the cruelty of a deregulated global economy that it allows massive industrialized food production for export from the lands of those who are already hungry. Land grabbing may seem a distant problem for those of us outside the regions where it is taking place, but we also have a role to play. Often we don’t know what we are supporting when we buy mass-produced products from global corporations. By keeping our purchases within our local communities, we are keeping our money where we can see it – supporting businesses and communities in our own backyard, rather than enabling corporations to steal someone else’s on the other side of the world. This kind of localization – at the policy and grassroots levels – empowers communities everywhere to defend their relationship to their land, and honors the deep connection and intimate dialogue between cultures and ecosystems. Read more @http://theeconomicsofhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/land-grabbing-and-the-threat-to-local-land-rights/

____________________

*Sophie Weiss is an intern with Local Futures. She graduated with a BA concentration in Geography/International Development Studies from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a printmaker, designer, and critical geography researcher, focusing on indigenous land rights and anti-land grab advocacy for the Oakland Institute, a policy think tank based in Oakland, California.

Africa’s Jobless Growth: Economic success just for a few cannot be a replacement for human rights or participation, or democracy August

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Africa is Rising! At Least Its 1% Is

Africa’s economy may be booming, but this will do little to help unemployment and poverty if growth is jobless and its spoils are limited to the few.

What we need in Africa is balanced development. Economic success cannot be a replacement for human rights or participation, or democracy … it doesn’t work…it worries us a lot when we don’t see the trickle-through factor, when gain goes to the top 1% or 2%, leaving the rest behind.” – Mo Ibrahim October 15, 2012

It did not come as a surprise to many when, on October 15, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced that there was no winner for its annual $5 million African leadership award – for the third time since its inception in 2006. What was surprising, however, was that the foundation’s chair, British-Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim, alsoadmonished the much-celebrated recent economic ‘success’ of the African continent for largely failing to translate into better human rights and social development, and for essentially creating a few elitist winners at the top whilst the rest were left struggling at the very bottom.

Recent reports, forecasts and editorials of influential financial magazines are incredibly optimisticabout Africa – its booming economic growth, its investment opportunities and its growing middle-class. Sub-Saharan African countries are reportedly among the fastest growing in the world with six out of ten world’s fastest growing economies, and recording growth rates averaging 4.9%, higher than the developing country average and much higher than the developed country average.

The Economist’s December 2011 print issue was boldly titled ‘Africa Rises’ and in August 2012, it again boldly proclaimed that ‘A Continent Goes Shopping’, underscoring the voracious purchasing power of the African middle-class to buy consumer and even luxury goods. The current received wisdom in these sleek reports, glossy magazine pages and glass-panelled conference rooms is that sub-Saharan Africa really is the place to be and to invest in, with all its abundant opportunities.

Jobless growth

This much-trumpeted economic success is mostly true, until one looks at the other side. Then questions arise over to what extent growth is spread across sectors of the economy, and whether such economic growth is translating into corresponding improvements in human and social development.

It is common knowledge that this new dawn of booming economic growth is largely the consequence of the recent rise in the global commodity prices of natural resources, chiefly oil, while the vibrancy of other sectors of the economy such as banking, telecommunications and construction trail behind in terms of growth. Many African countries primarily depend on the exportation of natural resources – and industry which is highly capital- (and technology-) intensive, providing few jobs. Only five of Africa’s fifty-four countries are currently not “either producing or looking for oil”.

It is therefore no surprise that many African countries, especially the economic powerhouses of the continent, are bedevilled by high unemployment, particularly amongst young people – hovering at25% in Egypt, 48% in South Africa and 42% in Nigeria. Thus, growth in capital-intensive sectors – such as resource exports, banking, and telecommunications – is barely trickling down to create jobs and economic opportunities for the vast majority of the people – a phenomenon commonly known as ‘jobless growth’.

Many sub-Saharan African countries experiencing record-level economic growth still have low rankings in human development indices, despite marginalimprovements in education enrolment and, with countrywide variations, maternal health. This contradiction is further reinforced by the growing inequality that characterises many of such African ‘powerhouses’. Luanda in Angola (thanks to flowing petro-dollars) and N’Djamena in Chad were, respectively, the second and eighth most expensive cities to live as an expatriate in 2012 – ahead of Sydney, London and New York according to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey. Juba in the newly independent South Sudan is also gaining notoriety for its high cost of living, while the price of select real estate in Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria reportedly rivals that of some Western cities. These expensive cities are in countries grouped within the ‘Low Human Development’ category of the United Nation’s Human Development Indexbased on indicators such as health, income and education.

A tale of two cities

There has certainly been some improvement – for one, there is now an identifiable middle-class in Africa with money to splash around in the cinemas of Abuja and pricey hotels of Accra, the malls and retail outlets of Johannesburg and the exclusive residential estates of Lagos and Nairobi. However, once you step out of these glitzy inner cities and look to the outskirts, the glaring contrast between the shiny modernity and the urban deprivation in the slums hits you like the searing tropical sun.

 

The task thus remains for governments to devise sustainable development strategies that are tailored specifically to suit the African context. Such strategies must sustain the momentum of economic growth while ensuring that growth spreads to and strengthens sectors such as mechanised agriculture, light manufacturing and small-scale enterprises, which have a direct impact on the lives and incomes of citizens.

Such transformational policies should ensure that revenue windfalls are utilised wisely towards social and welfare policies, which will empower millions of Africans out of poverty, thereby creating a robust middle-class rather than just enriching an already existing sliver. It also means that such funds can be saved to help with later needs, as with the Sovereign Wealth Fund embarked on by countries such as Angola and the new oil-producer Ghana.

Importantly, the African youth bulge needs to be transformed into a demographic dividend by providing employment and economic opportunities to an increasingly educated African youth and by providing critically needed infrastructure so that abundant innovative ideas, which are capable of transforming lives and societies, can materialise into reality.

Ultimately, these are still governance challenges that Africa has a long way go to overcome, but the marginal improvements in some aspects of governance, especially women’s rights, as the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Index has shown, gives room for some cautious optimism. Mo Ibrahim’s admonishment could not have come at a better time.

Read @ it original source:http://thinkafricapress.com/development/mo-ibrahim-issues-timely-caution-afro-optimists?utm_content=buffer46624&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

*Zainab Usman is a Nigerian freelance writer. She is currently a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford in Governance and Political Economy of Economic Diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has a BSc in International Studies from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and a Masters in International Political Economy and Development from the University of Birmingham. Zainab is an advocate of good governance, poverty reduction and women and youth empowerment. She regularly blogs atzainabusman.wordpress.com.

Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at US$24.9 billion or 83.8% of the GDP

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The term capital flight has been given many interpretations in the economic literature and in the  press, leading to confusion and misinterpretations. In the popular press, capital flight is presented as illegal or illicit financial flows. It is housed in the same domain as money laundering, tax  evasion, transfer pricing, underground trafficking. Yet, while these activities are illicit, not all of  them amount to capital flight. At the same time, while most capital flight may be deemed illicit. Capital flight may be illicit in one of three ways: when it consists of money acquired illegally and transferred  abroad; when funds are transferred abroad illicitly by violating capital account regulations; when capital is hidden abroad and therefore not being subject to taxation and other government regulations. It is not possible to make this determination a priori from the data that is used to calculate capital flight, which involves a reconciliation of recorded capital inflows (mainly external borrowing and foreign direct investment) and the use of these resources (to cover the current account deficit and accumulation of reserves). The term capital flight means capital flows from a country that are not recorded in the country’s Balance of Payments (BoP). If all the ransactions were correctly and systematically recorded, inflows would balance out with outflows, except for small and random statistical errors as recorded in the ‘net errors and omissions’ line of the BoP. Where large discrepancies are observed, in other words, where there is  substantial ‘missing money’ in the BoP, this is taken as an indication of the presence of capital  flight.

http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_351-400/WP353.pdf

Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at US$24.9 billion or 83.8% of the GDP

 

capital_flight

(Source: Political Economy Research Institute, the University of Massachusetts).

 

 

August 17, 2014 (PERI Research) — Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at about US$24.9 billion which is 83.8% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Ethiopia is ranked 8th in the group of 33 countries for which data are available but it stands first when compared to non-oil and/or mineral exporting countries. Even the latter was considered to be substantially lower than the actual flows give that large stock of immigrants. The true figure could be as high as one billion dollars. If so, Ethiopian capital flight would be commensurately larger than the estimated.

 

Capital losses through trade misinvoicing and unrecorded remittance
Substantial export underinvoicning (net outflows) couple with import underinvoicing (net inflows), with the balance resulting in a net outflow, as in the case of Sudan or a net inflow, as in the cases of Ethiopia and Ghana.

Unrecoreded remittances also contribute substantially to estimated capital flight in some countries. In Ethiopia, the volume of remittances reported by the World Bank in 2010 was about half the amount reported by the Central Bank ($661 million).

The following figures are in millions

capital_flight3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Political Economy Research Institute, the University of Massachusetts).

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopias-capital-flight-is-estimated-at-us24-9-billion-or-83-8-of-the-gdp/

http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/ADP/SSAfrica_capitalflight_Oct23_2012.pdf

http://concernedafricascholars.org/bulletin/issue87/asiedu/

 

The Conflict between the Ethiopian State and the Oromo People, by Dr. Alemayehu Kumsa

 

 

 

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 “What is important to consider is the significance of the fact that the people who control TPLF (Tigrai People’s Liberation Front) and Government are very parochial minded and appalling arrogant charlatans. They are extremely violent, insanely suspicious … With twin character flaws of excessive love of consumer goods and obsession with status and hierarchy… Fear, blackmail, intrigue, deception, suspicion, and brutality are its defining characteristics. It is absolutely insane for anyone to expect democracy from a secretive and tyrannical organization as such the TPLF and its spawn” (Hagos 1999:66)71. This study proves the observation of Prof. Gellner (1983) “the Amhara Empire was a prison house of nations if ever was one”72. The contemporary government of Ethiopia controlled by Tigrians is worse than all previous governments economically, politically, militarily and in human rights violation of Oromo and other nations which means, it is one of the worst prison houses of nations in Africa.

 

The Conflict between the Ethiopian State and the Oromo People

Published: Centro de Estudos Internacionais do Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL) (5th European Conference on African Studies/ECAS – June 27-29, 2013)
Keywords: Colonialism, Abyssinia, Oromo, Ethiopia, Liberation Movement

Abstract:
Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another. The etymology of the term from Latin word colonus, meaning farmer. This root reminds us that the practice of colonialism usually involves the transfer of population to new territory, where the arrivals lived as permanent settlers while maintaining political allegiance to the country of origin. Colonialism is a characteristic of all known civilizations. Books on African history teaches us that Ethiopia and Liberia are the only countries, which were not colonized by West European states, but the paper argues that Ethiopia was created by Abyssinian state colonizing its neighbouring nations during the scramble for Africa. Using comparative colonial history of Africa, the paper tries to show that Abyssinian colonialism is the worst of conquest and colonial rule of all territories in Africa, according to the number of people killed during the conquest war, brutal colonial rule, political oppression, poverty, lack of education, diseases, and contemporary land grabbing only in the colonial territories. In its arguments, the paper discusses why the Oromo were defeated at the end of 19th century whereas we do have full historical documents starting from 13th century in which the Oromo defended their own territory against Abyssinian expansion. Finally the paper will elucidate the development of Oromo national struggle for regaining their lost independence.

Article in PDF format   ……   Alternatively, On Gadaa.com

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014: Descent into hell continues in the Horn of Africa

Ocouverture classement 2014logo RSF 
DESCENT INTO HELL CONTINUES IN THE HORN OF AFRICA

The levels of poverty and authoritarianism are higher in the Horn of Africa than anywhere else in the continent. Civil liberties are collateral victims. http://rsf.org/index2014/en-africa.php

World Press Index 2014: Ethiopia ranked 143/ 180

According to related index by freedom House, Ethiopia ranked 176/197

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom of the Press 2014, and Freedom on the Net 2013.
http://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press-2014/press-freedom-rankings#.U-xp-tJDvyt

http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FOTP_2014.pdf

 

 

The 2014 World Press Freedom Index spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists. The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed. This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies. Finland tops the index for the fourth year running, closely followed by Netherlands and Norway, like last year.

The 2014 index underscores the negative correlation between freedom of information and conflicts, both open conflicts and undeclared ones. In an unstable environment, the media become strategic goals and targets for groups or individuals whose attempts to control news and information violate the guarantees enshrined in international law, in particular, article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Protocols Additional 1 and 2 to the Geneva Conventions. Tyrannic  countries such as Ethiopia, Turkmenistan and North Korea where freedom of information is non-existent continue to be news and information black holes and living hells for the journalists who inhabit them.

 

Post-Zenawi Ethiopia – a missed chance to liberalize

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s death in August 2012 and his replacement by Hailemariam Desalegn raised hopes of political and social reforms that would benefit freedom of information. Sadly, these hopes have been dashed. The repressive anti-terrorism law adopted in 2009 is a threat that continues to hang over journalists, forcing them to censor themselves. Media that dare to violate the code of silence, especially as regards government corruption, are systematically intimidated.

Five journalists are currently detained in Kality prison on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Two of them, Woubeshet Taye, the deputy editor of the Amharic-language weekly Awramba Times, and Reyot Alemu, a columnist with the national weekly Fitih, have been held for two and a half years, since their arrest in June 2011 on terrorism charges. There is no sign of any loosening of the vice that grips the Ethiopian media and the regime is unlikely to tolerate criticism before the elections in 2015.

Djibouti – unable to hear the voice of those without a voice

Djibouti is a highly strategic regional crossroads. Because of its economic and geopolitical advantages, it is easy to turn a blind eye to the dictatorial methods used by Ismail Omar Guelleh, who has ruled since 1999. Under Guelleh, Djibouti has steadily cut itself off from the outside world and suppressed criticism. The list of journalists who have been jailed and tortured gets longer and longer. Releases are only ever provisional. The journalist and Guelleh opponent Daher Ahmed Farah is a case in point. He has been jailed five times and arrested a dozen times since returning to Djibouti in January 2013.

The concept of independent media is completely alien to Djibouti. The only national broadcaster, Radio-Télévision Djibouti, is the government’s mouthpiece. The few opposition newspapers have disappeared over the years. There is an independent radio station based in Europe – La Voix de Djibouti. Two of its journalists have been jailed in the past 12 months.

Eritrea – Africa’s biggest prison for journalists

Ever since President Issayas Afeworki closed down all the privately-owned media and jailed 11 journalists in 2001, of which seven are reported to have died while in detention, Eritrea has been Africa’s biggest prison for the media. A total of 28 journalists are currently detained.

There are no longer any privately-owned media, and the state media are subject to such close surveillance that they have to conceal entire swathes of contemporary history such as the Arab Spring. Accessing reliable information is impossible in the absence of satellite and Internet connections. A few independent radio stations, such as Radio Erena, manage to broadcast from abroad.

Somalia – danger and authoritarianism

Those who had seen some improvement in Somalia were quickly disabused. Journalists still trying to provide objective news coverage are targeted by both terrorists and security-driven government officials. In 2013, seven journalists were the victims of terrorist attacks blamed with varying degrees of certainty onthe Islamist militia Al-Shabaab. In November, Al-Shabaab deprived an entire region of television by seizing satellite dishes on the grounds they carried images that did not respect Islam. Information is seen as threat.

Unfortunately, the Somali government does not help. On the interior minister’s orders, police evicted Radio Shabelle, winner of the 2010 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize, from its building and seized its equipment in October 2013 after a series of reports criticizing the upsurge in violence in Mogadishu. It was a double blow because the station also used the building to house its journalists, for whom moving about the city is very dangerous. When the equipment was returned a few weeks later, it was so badly damaged as to be unusable. Not that the station is authorized to broadcast anyway, because the communication ministry refuses to give it a permit.

 

Read more @ http://rsf.org/index2014/en-index2014.php#

 

http://rsf.org/index2014/en-africa.php

Africa:Why are we so poor? Yet we are so rich?

 

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Africa’s poverty persists in the midst of a wealth of natural resources, estimated by the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa as including 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 42 percent of its gold, 80 to 90 percent of chromium and platinum group metals, and 60 percent of arable land in addition to vast timber resources.

 If these were idle, unexploited resources, it would be one thing.
 

However, the reality is that they are increasingly being exploited: investment and trade in Africa’s resources sector is on the rise, largely accounting for the sustained GDP growth rates witnessed over the last decade. The Economist magazine has reported increased foreign direct investment into Africa, rising from U.S. $15 billion in 2002, to $37 billion in 2006 to $46 billion in 2012.

 

While trade with China alone went up from $11 billion in 2003, to $166 billion in 2012, very little can be pointed to in commensurate changes in human development and fundamental economic transformation. It is multi-national corporations and a few local elites which are benefiting disproportionately from the reported growth – exacerbating inequality and further reinforcing the characteristic “enclave economy” structural defect of most African economies.

 
 

The disparity between sustained GDP growth rates and Africa’s seemingly obstinate and perverse state of underdevelopment, extreme poverty and deepening inequality brings to the fore issues of inclusivity and responsible governance of domestic resources. The question that is being asked by many – especially Africa’s young people who have assumed the agenda for economic transformation as a generational mandate – is this: Why are we so poor? Yet we are so rich?

Read more @http://allafrica.com/stories/201408120664.html

 

 

Africa’s Slide Toward Disaster 

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Africa’s Slide Toward Disaster

AUG. 1, 2014

A specter is haunting Africa — the specter of impunity. Many countries the United States considers allies are in the grip of corrupt, repressive tyrants; others are mired in endless conflict. As Washington prepares to host the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit next week, American policy makers must acknowledge their contributions to this dismal situation. By lavishing billions of dollars in military and development aid on African states while failing to promote justice, democracy and the rule of law, American policies have fostered a culture of abuse and rebellion. This must change before the continent is so steeped in blood that there’s no way back.

The summit seeks to highlight Africa’s development successes and promote trade and investment on a continent rich in oil and natural resources. Justice and the rule of law aren’t on the agenda. But they should be, unless American C.E.O.s want to see their investments evaporate.

Read interesting comments @ http://ayyaantuu.com/africa/africas-slide-toward-disaster/#respond

Read more @http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/02/opinion/africas-slide-toward-disaster.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0

Perverted Development: What role for Institutions

 

Development: What role for Institutions

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.
Keynes, John Maynard

 

 

 

Introduction

The force of human reductionism that had assaulted on Oromia’s history, civilisation, politics and economy for many centuries in the last three Christian millenniums and particularly of the last two centuries has continued in the new millennium to enfeeble the endeavours of its people towards progress and development.

Oromia is not the poorest of the nations of the world in resources but it is one of the most underdeveloped, characterised by thwarted advancement, declined progress and cataclysm.

In Oromia today immense agricultural potential, mineral wealth and human capital coexist with some of the lowest standards of living in the world. Part of the problem lies in the nature of the economic change the Abyssinian colonialism fostered in Oromia. The Oromo economy has been distorted to serve the Abyss interest and needs.

Oromos are the most brutalised and humiliated in modern history. The genocidal treatments, which Oromos have received from Abyssinians, have been as gruesome as anything experienced by Jews, Native American and native Australians and the Armenians received from the Nazi, Europeans, white Americans, and the Ottoman Turkey respectively. Oromos have also been humiliated in history in ways that range from the level of slavery, segregation and treated as second-class citizens in part of their own country to the present day in spite of being numerically the majority and geographically the largest territory.

In the early 1990s the old Amhara settler colonialism (Nafxanyaa system) was substituted by Tigrean ‘federal colonialism’ (neo- nafxanyaa system) the facet of exploitation seemed to take on new dimensions. In fact, the pattern of colonisation and domination has remained the same since it instated century ago with the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, which had approved the scramble for Africa among European colonial powers. It was a time when the cruel Abyssinian Empire was given an ordinance of Christianising and ‘civilizing’ the Oromos; though it is a historic derision how a backward and barbaric empire was to ‘civilize’ the society of prime civilisation, high culture and social structure, the ‘natives’, whose development levels and potentials were diverse and by far advanced.

The very idea of Christianising and civilizing was an external imposition often upheld by external protagonists. In the pre 1974 Ethiopia, this took the form of substantial military and economic aid from the US America and Europe. During the Cold War era, the mission of oppression of the Oromos maintained and supported by fresh military and economic aid from the then Soviet Union scheme of spreading its sphere of dominion and its ideology to Africa. In the contemporary ‘new world disorder’, the support has got new momentum in which the old Christian missionaries are replaced by an army of western neo-classical economists who peddle a ‘free market’ ideology, which they hope, will take care of the imprisoned market agents, in this case the Oromos.

According to the new Gospel, the Tigrean colonizers are given the mandate and the necessary financial backing to pursue ‘economic liberalization’ while keeping strict control that Oromia remains the Abyssinian colony. The liberalization agenda has served as a precursor of the making of Tigrean version of crony capitalism or more appropriately advanced feudalism in the age of economic globalisation. It is alien to Adam Smith’s invisible hand, social justice and the free-market ideals of relying on legal contracts, property rights, impartial regulations and transparency. It is no wonder that the political and economic prescriptions that the Ethiopian colonial rules implemented and or pretend to implement are in line with the advice of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and The US administration’s The Horn of Africa Initiative all of which have exacerbated the problem of the Oromo nation. It has also betrayed the ideals of free market, social justice, self-determination and human rights.

The sorrowing fact is that shared interest and solidarity between the West and the Abyssinian colonizers are impoverishing the people. Pretentious and ill-conceived measures are being taken in the name of free market and above all development. Currently, there are a number of regime-sponsored ‘associations’ of this or that ‘Region/State’s Development’ anti-terrorism, poverty alleviation, renewal process, revolutionary democracy, etc. Given this, the people’s last resort is to defend their own interests is the exit option or to retreat from the colonizers. What has become more apparent than ever is the need to rely on the Oromo initiatives to solve the problems of the Oromo. The Oromo poor need to defend themselves from the bogus free market invaders and their phoney local allies. This is necessary, since, in the absence of property rights, social justice, and individual and social freedom and democracy, no free market economic gimmickry is able to reserve the tragedy of the oppressed. It is within this context, that we discuss, how the Ethiopian colonial rules, in collaboration once with international socialism and now with the global capitalism has impoverished and underdeveloped one particular community in Africa, the Oromo nation.

Sclerotic to development: The Abyssinian Colonial Occupation and Its Alliances

Economists are inspired to point out the weight of political factors, captured by the term ‘governance’ and its role in economic development. Concerns about political factors in economic development is revitalized because of the dearth of economic development reform and structural adjustment programs to yield definite success and prosperity, particularly, in Africa. The main problem pointed out is ‘poor governance’ (World Bank, 1989; Moore, 1992). There are three different aspects to the notion of governance that can be identified as:

The form of political regime (independent, colonial government, multi-party democracy, authoritarian, etc.),

The process by which authorities exercised in the management of the country’s economic and social resource; and’

The willingness, the competence and the capacity of the government to design, formulate, and implement genuine development policies, and, in general to discharge development and government functions.

As there is no antithesis concerning the conviction that ‘good’ governance is an important and desirable ingredient of development, scholars are cautious not to attach specific regime type and political reforms to good governance. Broadly, however, good governance is legitimated by developmentalist ideology while poor governance is characterized by ‘state elite enrichment ‘ (Jackson and Rosberg, 1984), the ‘rent seeking society’ (Krueger, 1974) or ‘politics of the belly’ (Bayart, 1993;Tolesa, 1995) such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zaire). The latter in fact are characterized by sclerotic behaviours and are obstacles to development.

The Oromia’s underdevelopment (negative development) and its associated problems are never going to be understandable to us, much less contain it, as long as we persist to ponder it as a mere as an economic enigma. What is before us momentarily is in essence an enigma of political colonialism whose economic after-effects are severe.

Not only the problem is basically political and colonial in character. It arose largely from Abyssinian imperial conquest and its associated colonial disposition, which is characterized by reliance on sheer force, state terror, genocide, plunder, authoritarianism and violence.

The story goes back to the days of the Abyssinians crossed the Red Sea and seized the territory and resources of the Cushites ( Bibilical Ethiopia, the present Horn of Africa and Oromia) making concerted aggression on the latter’s history and culture in the name of settlement and civilizing the ‘non-believers.’

As it is discussed above and elsewhere, in the first millennium BC the Abyssinian group crossed the Red Sea from South Arabia (source: the debtras’ records and memories of Abyssinian high school history text book) to the present North East Africa to conquer and resettle the land occupied by endogenous Oromo and the other Cushitic people. Recent research recognises that the Semitic culture of the Abyssinian empire’s northern highlands was built on the Cushitic base for which not genuine credit has been given, and the Axum obelisks which were attributed to the (Sabeans Abyssinians) do not have corresponding existence on the Arabian peninsula while they are abundant in the Nile valley stretching from Egypt to ancient Kush in today’s Sudan. This most probably indicates that the earlier phase of Axum civilization was predating the Sabean infiltration/invasion.

Cleansing as a policy was initiated to conquer the Cushite territories. The territory they conquered was divided among numerous Abyss chiefdoms that were as often at war with each other as with Oromo and the entire Cushite. The population of conquered territories were considered as dangerous thus; Abyssinian cleansing, up rooting, forced labour and killings of the vanquished were conducted as the means of crushing resistance, securing the conquered territories and even to expand their occupation further. Though the Abyssinian gained some territories and resettled in the northern highlands of the Oromo and other Cushitic regions among others Afar, Agau, etc., their expansion was checked for a long time in history by wars of resistance and liberation they encountered by the endogenous people. These wars of resistance led to a decisive victory for Oromo, Afar and Somali nations particularly from 12th to the second half of 19th century. As a result of such a defeat Abyssinians started to wage particularly anti-Oromo propaganda battles to alert themselves and attract foreign support against the Oromo. The derogative name ‘Galla’ and the ‘16 century Oromo migration’ were all the Abyssinian fabrications and to serve the war against Oromo. In fact, the Oromo oral history shows that the 16th century was a massive Abyssinian further southward migration and intensive campaign to entirely control Oromia and other territories. For the Oromo this period was characterized by political and military dynamism and at the same time it was a period of victory, massive dislocations, rehabilitation and displaced communities returning home.

According to M. Bulcha (see Oromo Commentary), it was only during the second part of the 19th century that the Abyssinians ultimately succeeded to make significant in roads into the Oromo territory. Tewodros (also known in different names Hailu, Kassa, Dejazmach, Ras, etc., as other Abyssinian shiftas and present Woynes, is on record for his brutish hostility towards the Oromo nation. He was not the first or the last of his kind. They were many before and after him, for concrete evidence even today, this time and this second. All of them have been gangsters of very abnormal characters and Abyssinian detested figures. The Abyssinians remembered Tewodros and his type not only as the romanticized hero figures but also portrayed them as a modernises. Tewodros the lunatic and bandit declared and conducted a war of extermination against the Oromo. In order to help them to bargain for the western support, he and all his type including Yohannes, Menelik, Haile Sellasie, Mengistu and currently Meles declared anti-Islam and anti-Muslim nations. They mobilized all their resources and the entire Abyssinia (Amhara &Tigre) against the Oromo to achieve their goal. Tewodros made every effort to obtain the European military support claiming his fictions of Christian identity and ideology (the then dominant political ideology though he had not any biblical ethics and values, not at all). Tewodros is a symbol and an element of Abyssinian barbarism that was conducted at particular historical stage (1850-1868). Such barbarism has been conducted since the Axumite period (3000 years) but has never achieved its ultimate goal of elimination of the entire endogenous people of the North-East Africa. But it eliminated millions of and it thwarted the civilisations of Cushite people. They have used all the devastating means the: Christian civilizing ideology, European army, settler colonialism, Soviet Socialism, Stalin collectivisation, Mengistu’s villegisation, and America’s structural adjustment, terrorism, etc. They have always tried to change names after names for the same ugly & old expansionism, feudalism and empire (the legendary land of Sheba, Ethiopia, Ethiopia first, socialist Ethiopia, republic, mother land, federal etc.). The very name Ethiopia is Hellenistic Greece. It was the name used in the ancient Greece occupation (before Romans) of North Africa people and southward expansion. This name was colonialism from the beginning and it has been, it is and it will be. It is not African in origin as the people who invented it. This name was adopted and maintained to conquer the entire Cush and then the entire Africa in the shadow of christianisation. It is a sinister name that has no boundary and ethnic identity. It is not only the conquered people of North-East Africa but also all Africanists that must understand, including its sinister philosophy. It was designed and adopted to deconstruct an endogenous African identity.

One implication of the doctrine of Abyssinian ‘civilizing mission’ was that the Oromos needed to be ruled by Abyssinians and could not responsibly be granted civil liberties. Authoritarian as it has always been, the Abyssinian colonial rule in Oromia whether under Menelik II, Haile Selassie, Mengistu and currently under Meles has been characterized by the ‘politics of the belly.’ The underlying ethos remains self-aggrandizement and those elites are alien to growth whereas corruption, brutality, inefficiency and grotesque incompetence have tainted their politics. Time and again, they siphoned off Oromia’s wealth and indulged in conspicuous consumption and stashing millions of dollars in remote secret accounts in Europe, America and Asia. Scholars understand that development is about the future. However, the Abyssinian elites are living for the present. They came for quick self enrichment. The Oromos have no opportunity to invest in their country. They disowned everything.

While the Abyssinian colonial settlers in Oromia do no want and support policies that promote development, they find military and other forms of support abroad to stay in power. In more than one time, this force of underdevelopment has been strongly reinforced by external forces (Holcomb and Ibssa, 1990). Despite generous foreign assistance, this hardly commanded legitimacy to mobilize the colonized masses behind their rule. To the contrary, people who have waged legitimate struggle to reclaim their freedom, cultures and history has fiercely resisted their rule.

As it has been discussed elsewhere, Oromos have their own political power, which was fully operational before they were colonized and occupied by Abyssinians put under the strict control of Ethiopian empire state. Their political system is based on the Gadaa (Gada) system. The Gadaa system has been the foundation of Oromo civilization, culture and worldview (Jalata, 1996). The Gadaa political practices manifested the idea of real representative democracy with checks and balance, the rule of law, social justice, egalitarianism, local and regional autonomy, the peaceful transfer of democratic power, etc. (Jalata, 1966). The Gadaa political system also facilitated property rights, stability, and the expansion of free trade, commerce, improved farm techniques and permanent settlements, gradual diversification of division of labour. The Gada state was non-taxing state. Military was not the focal point, only defensive which is democratic. It was the opposite of expansionist, imperial, genocide or conquering state, e.g. Roman, Sparta, Abyssinian and Serbia, etc.

One of the distinctive virtues of Gadaa state was the weight of civilian power as compared to military power, military aristocracy was practically absent and in normal times, the army executed only an inconspicuous, if not nonexistent, political function. The military aristocracy was not the focal point of society. War had rather a defensive mission.

Nonetheless, particularly since the last decades of the nineteenth century, the Abyssinian colonial rule and its state disallowed the Gadaa political system and expropriated the Oromo basic means of subsistence, such as land cattle while it established an Ethiopian system of rule over Oromia. The Oromo commerce and industrious activities were not only discouraged but also ridiculed and obtained the lowest social status. Productive relations were imposed through the process of commodity production and extraction between those who control or own the means of production, the state, and those who do not. Those who control the means of coercion had the opportunity to reorganize productive relations through dispossession of the colonized Oromos in order to expedite more product extraction.

The process of dispossession is multi-faceted and far-reaching. As the result of it, the Oromos have been denied power and access to education, cultural, economic and political fields while at the extremes, the Abyssinian colonialism has been practiced through violence, mass killings, mutilations, cultural destruction, enslavement and property confiscation.

Apart from the splendid crop farm and animal husbandry, in his 1896-1898 travels in Oromia Bulatovich (2000, pp 60-61) described the Oromian industrial and commercial economy as the most vibrant with conducive endogenous institution as follows:

“Artisans such as blacksmiths and weavers are found among the [Oromo]. Blacksmiths forge knives and spears from iron, which is mined in the country. Weavers weave rough shammas from local cotton. The loom is set up very simple. … There is also the production of earthenware from unbaked clay. Craftsmen who make excellent morocco; harness makers who make the most intricate riding gear’ artisan who make shields; weavers of straw hats (all [Oromo] know how to weave parasols and baskets), aromers who make steel sabers; weavers who weave delicate shammas, etc.

Bulatovich Observed that commerce in Oromo was both barter and monetary based. The monetary unit was the Austrian taller and salt. The former was rather little in quantity and was concentrated in the hands of merchants. He witnessed that Oromos have great love for commerce and exchange economy. According to Bulatovich (2000, pp, 61-63):

“In each little area there is at least one market place, where they gather once a week, and there is hardly an area which is relatively larger and populated which does not have marketplace strewn throughout. Usually the marketplace is a clearing near a big road in the centre of [Oromo] settlements…. Rarely does any [Oromo] man or women skip market day. They come, even with empty arms or with a handful of barely or peas, with a few coffee beans or little bundles of cotton, in order to chat, to hear news, to visit with neighbours and to smoke a pipe in their company. But besides, this petty bargaining, the main commerce of the country is in the hands of the [Oromo], and they retain it despite the rivalry of the Abyssinians. Almost all the merchants are Mohammedan. They export coffee, gold, musk, ivory, and leather; and they import salt, paper materials, and small manufactured articles. They are very enterprising and have commercial relations with the Sudan, Kaffa, and the Negro tribes.”

The Oromos have also valued both the collective and personal independence and freedom very much. Their peaceful and independent way of life was broken and their freedom lost with the coming of the utterly vicious and sever authority and hard school of surrender and obedience of the Abyssinian conquerors. As Bulatovich (2000, p.65) further described:

“The main character of trait of the [Oromo] is love of complete independence and freedom. Having settled on any piece of land, having built him a hut, the [Oromo] does not want to acknowledge the authority of anyone, except his personal will. Their former government system was the embodiment of this basic trait of their character- a great number of small independent states with figurehead kings or with a republican form of government. Side with such independence, the [Oromo] has preserved a great respect for the head of the family, for the elders of the tribe, and for customs, but only insofar as it does not restrain him too much.”

Jalata (1993) sees the Ethiopian colonial domination as the negation of the historical process of structural and technological transformation. This is the case where the Abyssinian colonial class occupies an intermediate status in the global political economy serving its own interest and that of imperialists. The Oromos have been targeted to provide raw materials for local and foreign markets. Inside the empire, wherever they go, the Abyssinian colonial settlers built garrison towns as their political centres for practicing colonial domination through the monopoly of the means of compulsion and wealth extraction.

The Abyssinian colonial system was more cognated to a tributary system whereby the rulers extract tribute and labour from colonized lands. The Abyssinian peasants supported their households, the state and the church from what they produced. After its colonial expansion, Abyssinians maintained their tributary nature and established colonial political economy in Oromia and in the Southern nations. Although the colonial state intensified land expropriation and produce extraction from colonized peoples, capitalist productive relations did not emerge. Gradually with the further integration of the Ethiopian empire into the capitalist world economy, semi-capitalist farms seemed to emerge by extracting their fruits mainly through tenancy, sharecropping and the use of forced-labour systems.

The colonial exploitation has been maintained under Mengistu’s so-called socialist collectivisation/ villegisation campaigns and in the current Meles’ regime under the mask of structural adjustment and ‘free’ market economic system.

It should also mentioned that in addition to authoritarian and coercive rule, the Ethiopian colonialism depended on an Oromo collaborationist agents that were essential to enforce Ethiopian colonialism. This second rate clique is merely an expandable appendage which devotes most of its energy to the scramble for the spoils of slavery, picking up the leftover in economic and political advantages. The main task of this class is to ensure the continuous supply of products and labour for the settlers. Of course this class was not always loyal to the Ethiopian colonial state (Jalata, 1993). Broadly speaking, the state itself is a battlefield for two exclusive claims to rule and political competition among the Ethiopian colonizers, the Amharas and Tigreans. In effect, this makes the Abyssinian colonizer politics effectively a zero-sum game and the very practice of politics become a negation of politics, i.e. politics are practiced with the inert ending of politics.

The Abyssinian rulers, who have inherited power used to believe that their interests were well served by depoliticising, muting and suppressing the Oromos and the Southern peoples’ quest for national-self determination under the guise of maintaining the unity of the Ethiopian empire. So they convinced themselves and tried to convince others that there were no serious socio-political differences and no basis for political opposition. Apoliticism has been elevated to the level of ideology while the political structures become ever more monolithic and authoritarian.

The political structures and political ideologies, which have been used to effect depoliticization and suppression, are all too familiar. The process entailed political repression, which the Oromos endured and suffered for more than a century. The implication of depoliticization is to deny the existence of differences, to disallow their legitimate expression and, therefore, to deny collective negotiation. Whatever the degree of repression, the process did not remove the differences. The ensuing popular frustration and resistance has led to even more repression. That is how political repression has become the most characteristic feature of the colonial political life and domination as its salient political relationship. All this means that political power becomes particularly important; so the struggle for it gets singularly intense.

In Abyssinian Colonial regime and psyche Seize power is supernatural and a magical axiom and power itself does not mean influence on policies but it means license over their colonial subjects. People have been so frightened and constricted by fear and indoctrination. Besides, they have been overwhelmed by deceptive rhetoric, crude, systematic misinformation, and hypocrisy, which made it virtually impossible to see through the situation and to form an intelligent judgement. The Abyssinian rulers including Tewodros, Menelik, Yohannes, Hailessilassie, Mengistu and Meles in resemble wanted an absolute power both on earth and heaven. All mobilised Abyssinian myth to enhance their cults. Loyalty and submission to them was being shrouded in an illusive appeal to be a good citizen. We heard and observed, childhoods dominated by a miasma of poverty, misery, starvation, with no shoes, slavery, slave soldier, premature and painful deaths. The power of the Abyssinian colonial empire has been not only absolute but also arbitrary, extraordinarily statist and hostile. It tightly controls every aspects of its subject’s economy. In the state where politics is driven by the calculus of power, everyone in arena only focused in the accumulation of power. Politics has been reduced to a singular issue of domination. It has never afloat restraint and dispensation. There have been regime changes within the empire but the new has accustomed to reproduce and reinforce the past. None of the the Ethiopian rulers including the present regime fundamentally had any firm interest in transformation , and all of them were only too alert that they could afford to broaden the social base of the state power. Power has been maintained by politicising and manipulating the Abyssinian myth and chauvinistic nationalism and depoliticisation of the occupied. In doing so, they engaged in weakening. They produced not only fanatical divisions within their own echelon but antagonism and exclusivity in society and . the solidarity of the oppressed at any price. It is so clear that such political condition has been profoundly hostile to development. The struggle for power within itself and to sustain the occupation of the oppressed majority has been so engrossing that everything else, including development must be sacrificed

The oppressed are exposed to all kinds of onslaught by state that is hardly subject to any constitutional or institutional fetters. The colonial power barred Oromos from engaging in their own industrial enterprises, export trade, domestic commercial venture, modern and relatively productive farm, private, free media, education and philanthropy etc. Unlike the Hobbes’s state, it is so backward, uncivil sing, further underdeveloping and essentially a military institution that imposes subordination and maintains colonial condition. In this context, it is more colonial and barbaric by the standard of other colonial experiences observed elsewhere in the Americas, Asia and other parts of Africa.

There are two major aspects in which this situation has severely thwarted Oromia’s development. The first enigma lies in the incompatibility between the pursuit of development and the crusade for survival, reproduction of the existing forms of social control and domination. The deleterious after-effect of this animosity is that it leads to misuse of human resources, inefficiency and corruption. Unquestionably, appointments into the positions of power, even when they are positions, which demand specialized knowledge, tend to be made by political criteria, particularly by regarding these appointments as part of survival strategy. Each time such appointment is being made, the friction between political survivals, economic efficiency and development crops up. The ruination to efficiency and development derives not only from the performance criteria and likely incompetence of the persons so assigned but also from the general demoralization of the technically qualified and competent people purveying under them who are often repressed and frustrated by their subjection to the surveillance and regulations of people who are powerful but inapt. Here lies the role of Ethiopian ministers and parastatals: incompetent personnel used to obstruct productive use of resources. Wasted are also competent people. They lose at both ends. In the midst of waste, the Oromos have been denied basic civil and political rights and the right to development. Alien leaders who channel the meagre resources into unproductive uses imposed the related economic problem, the very rights over which the people are fiercely struggling.

Development projects were initiated for wrong reasons; they may, on account of political considerations, be located in places where they are least beneficial both economically and socially. One could site familiar cases where important contracts and licenses have been given to politically significant people. Higher positions are created and new rule and regulations are established just to benefit people whose political support is considered important. Oromia pays for all these disservice. The Ethio-crats are overpaid and creating demoralizing disparities between reward and effort. That is how; the persistence of Ethiopian imperial and colonial domination is imperilling to the integral tenets of development.

Abyssinian academics and international development agencies offer many factors for the apparent failures and crises of development industry in the Abyssinian empire: lack of capital, lack of technology, entreprenuerial skills, corruption, poor planning and management, socialist system, lack of infrustracture, falling commodity prices, cyclical drought, unfavourable international terms of trade, low level of saving and investment. These factors and the long lists of related factor are undeniably crucial factors in development. However, we have to address the misleading assumption that has commonly been taken that there has been development failures and crises. The Oromia experience exhibits the terrible realites that development has never been on the agenda. The business of the politics of occupation has prevented the pursuit of development and the emergence of relevant and effective development paragims and programs.

The burning question is, can the people of Oromia try to trade, farm, imitate and innovate then develop their economy in this state of siege? The question is vital and congruous; but the answer is doubtful, as it is impractical. Development strategies as such are comprehensive programs of social transformation. They call for a great deal of ingenious management, confidence in the leadership and commitment. They require clarity of purpose for a society at large; they need social consensus especially on the legitimacy of the leadership. Yet these are not common features of an institution, which does not represent the society. Besides, development is about change and that change may not work to the survival of the colonial rulers. In this sense it runs against the instincts of the rulers whose preoccupation is to survive and maintain its dominant position. One of the most amazing things about development discourse in Ethiopian empire is how readily it is assumed that the rulers are interested in development particularly when they profess commitment to development and negotiate with international aid organizations for economic assistance. People making this assumption forget the primacy of maintaining colonial power and its conflict with other social and economic goals.

Why the Ethiopian rulers embark on a course of societal transformation just because it is good for the nations under its empire like Oromos if it is bad for their own survival?

The ideology of development has been adopted to grapping resources from external aid agencies. In the name of development people are forced to obedience and conformity. Billions of dollars was looted by tolitarian regime and its cliques. Structural adjustment, privatisation, liberalisation, investment, rural development, fertiliser for farmers and democratisation have been the slogans of Mele’s regime for the last 20 years. There have not been: appropriate political structure and practices, administrative system, institutional framework to conduct development in Abyssinian empire. There have been also failures by international development agencies that have taken the responsibilities of financing development and transferring resources ignoring the specificity and historicity of the Abyssinian empire. This has also exhibited the mounting anarchy of development studies and development practices that has been based on modernising paragim.

The Abysinian rulers and their elites, especially the Amharas regard the ideal characters of themselves as the end of evolution. The application of this evolutionary schema meant advancement is a matter of assimilating to Abysinian culture. Abyysinians have established the negative view of the Cushite people, institutions and their culture. The colonial regime discourages any belief in the integrity and validity of the Oromo society and have offered the notion that Oromos can find validity only in their total transformation, that is, in their total self-alienation. On practical level , the result has been frustrating.They have assaulted on Oromo governance (Gadaa), Oromo culture, Oromo religion (Waqeffannaa) and Oromo names.They have changed Oromo names to Amharic (e.g. Finfinnee changed to Addis Ababa). They assaulted on the use of Oromo language. They evicted Oromos from cities and towns. They instituted the negative image of the Cushite and the superiority of the Abyssinians. How people in such state of mind, behaviour and attitude pursue development? According to Claude Ake “Development requires changes on a revolutionary scale; it is in every sense a heroic enterprise calling for consummate confidence. It is not for people who do not know who they are and where they are coming from , for such people are unlikely to know where they are going,”(Ake, 1996, p. 16).

When we think of development, it is about society at large and the paradox is that it is often the leader who is not in a position to think of the objective interests of the society. For thinking in this way entails profound democratic commitment, which cannot usually be expected of such leaders. By virtue of their position, colonial rulers suffer the disadvantage of confusing what maintains the existing social order, which they dominate, and they are tendentiously suspicious of change; it is all the more so when it comes to fundamental changes.

Finally, we need to remember some of the implications of development with respect to alien colonial rulers. As it has already been mentioned, they have been more interested in taking advantage of the social order inherited from their predecessors rather than in transforming it. To all appearances, they are colonial rulers. Oromos have been oppressed and humiliated for over a century. The political history of the last hundred years of colonial rule of Oromia has vividly indicted that the Oromos lacked freedom; it means that they did not have control over the products of their labour, it means that their natural resources and environment were tarnished by others; and eventually it means that they witnessed chronic poverty, destitution, killing forces, the forces of abuse & alienation, human misery and less and less of humane life.

In these circumstances, it is not surprising that where development is pursued in Oromia, if at all, it is full of ambiguities and contradictions and it is just a mere posture. Even taking these postures on the face value, in so far as we are critical of development strategies in Oromia, our criticism runs in the direction of their sloppy conception and hence their failure to come to grips with sclerotic of imperial domination. If we raise the question of the contradiction between political survival and social transformation, we commence to behold that it is doubtful and equivocal where development is, or it has ever been, on the colonizers’ list for Oromia.

The other aspect of economic consequences of colonial domination has been militarism, which is but the outcome of over-valuing of political power. Associated with it is the intense struggle to obtain and keep it. Therefore, the politics of the empire is sustained by warfare and force than by consent. In this atmosphere, force is mobilized and deployed: the winners are anxious to take absolute power into their hands while the losers forgo not only power but also lose liberty and even life. As politics relies solely on force, the vocabulary and organization advocates coercion. For that matter, the Ethiopian empire is a political formation of armies in action and this is in itself a serious development problem. In an institution in which the political formations are organized as warring armies, differences are too wide and far, the scope for co-operation too limited; there is too much distrust; and life is too raw to nature commerce and industry in subject nations like Oromia. Currently, the militarism of life in general and politics in particular has reached its logical culmination in Ethiopian military rule and its negative consequences have wider regional implications. This too hinders the course of development not only in Oromia but also in entire North East Africa.

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