Posts tagged ‘Oromia’

The Oromo migration revisited

According to M. D. W. Jeffreys, writer of “The Wanderers”, the derogatory term “Galla” is translated as ‘immi- grant’, guest or outsider. The group of people who used to be referred-to by that name, however, prefer to call themselves ‘Oromo’, meaning, “the strong men”. I have therefore replaced this term with Oromo, and put it in bracket so the reader would know what used to be in it’s place on the documents i’m referring to. With the post below, I hope to show how fitting the later title is for Ethiopia’s Oromo children – past & present.


Professor Getachew Haile’s “‘Yeabba Bahriy Dirsetoch Oromochin Kemimeleketu leloch senedoch gara’ (The Works of Abba Bahriy with Other Documents concerning the Oromo – 2002), is primarily a new edition and translation into Amharic and English of the work “Zenahu le-[Oromo]”, a Ge’ez study of Oromo society and Oromo migration into central Ethiopia in the sixteenth century… an important firsthand account of the social structure of the pastoralist Oromo and the impact of their migration on the existing agrarian communities of Central Ethiopia.”

Dejach Balcha Aba-Nefso, an Ethiopian patroit with Oromo roots

In it, the writer puts it as his belief that Oromos weren’t the innocent victims of Abyssinian ruler’s “massacre” as today’s politics would have us believe. For which no one should be judged, he pleads with the reader, since the wars recounted in the book are no more than accounts of two of our grandparents (namely the Oromo and non-Oromo Ethiopians) fighting over who should take the spoils of what they legitimately stole from the common people. I personally do not believe the spoils were fairly distributed, but the book gives some insights into “The Oromo Question” & culture the discerning reader won’t wanna miss.

The author of the original text, the monk Abba Bahriy, starts his narration with the words:

“I (hereby) begin to undertake studies of the [Oromo] in order that I may know the number of their tribes, their zeal to kill people, and the brutuality of their demeanor. If there is anyone who would say to me, “Why has he written about the wicked ones like the history of the good?”, I will give him an answer, saying to him: “Search in the books, and you will see that the history of Muhammed and the history of the kings of the Muslims have been written, although they are our enemies in religion. Gioyorgis Welde Amid (a Coptic historian who wrote the history of the world from creation to 1260 A.D.), too, has written the history of the Zingu’an kings of the Barbarians, who are the Afridon and the other kings of Persia, who are called at this era the Sofi”.

To corroborate this claim, Section 15 of “Zenahu le-[Oromo]” begins with:

After this, Birmeje (a “luba” or an appointed Leader of the Oromos to lead the tribe for eight consecutive years) was relieved and Mul’ata son of Bifole was appointed. He made a dullgutto on Gojjam. The meaning of dullaguto is “war of topknot” for when the [Oromo] are circumcised at the same time, they give themselves a name, as we have said at the beginning of Section 4, and they attack a country which their predecessors have not attacked. If they kill people or large animals, they shave their whole head, leaving a little hair (topknot) in the middle of their skull. But he who did not kill does not shave himself, so much so that he suffers from lice. For this (reason) they are zealous to kill us.


July 21, 2008 at 8:27 am 9 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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