Settler Colonialism: The Oromo Extremist Narrative

By Getaneh Yismaw

  1. The Genesis: TPLF’s Anti-Amhara Ideology and Its Consequences

The Stalinist ideology of nations and nationalities that was espoused by the Ethiopian students’ movement of the 1960’s and 70’s, served as the foundation that led to the rise of secessionist, anti-Ethiopian forces, such as the EPLF, TPLF and OLF. The toxic alien ideology, which was induced from abroad on a junket, including the 1936 book by Roman Prochazka (Abyssinia: The Powder Barrel), asserted the existence of one privileged ethnic group, the Amhara, that exclusively ruled over the rest. The sentiment was further cemented in Eritrea, thanks to the 60-year colonial rule by Italy and Britain. — Read More —-



  1. My knowledge of the Oromos and their affairs is based on what I learned from the discussions and narratives of the writer and journalist Tesfaye G/Ab (the Gadaa). He is like a specialist in Oromo psychology and mentality and according to him the Oromo elites are easy to manipulate and deceive. His commitment to the Oromo cause was one the caused for his conflict with the Amhara elites he says.

  2. Getaneh Yismaw sounds awfully like DR. La Mairam, Teshome Debalke, Belayneh Abate and Teshome M. Borago. Are they one and the same?

  3. I think the Oromo politicians should abandon their collective insanity. The establishment of an Oromo homeland is a day time dream that will never materialise. It is tantamount to collective suicide. My advice to these guys is to strive to build a democratic state that gives equal treatment to its citizens. May God restore The TPLF’s and OLF’s facultimate if they have any.

  4. The absurdity of this demagogue’s argument has no historical nor intellectual depths> Colonialism/settler colonialism is nothing more than the replacement of indigenous culture, language, and identity! The Abyssinia Imperial colonial regime managed to impose on the Oromo and other peoples of the Empire, Amharic Language, Orthodox Christian culture and other administrative vices to control the subject Peoples! There are invasive settlements called Ketemaas (or garrison towns) where the Imperial Army created bases and in doing so, occupy, the lands of the colonized Oromos and other Polities of the Empire!

    The imposition of administrative language in the Imperial Courts, the imposition of Amharic language in educational institutions, the social and political narratives of the Imperial regime claims sovereignty over the Oromo nation’s lands and the ubiquitous Ketemaas throughout Oromia and other Parts of the Empire where the spoken languages are primarily Amharic and all institutions are run by the Imperial administrative establishment. There are parallel narratives that indicated the Abyssinians think they are superior to everyone else in the Empire, hence, they have to rule over Oromo nation and other Polities of the Empire–

  5. I wish our well read countryman Obbo Getaneh did not use the phrase ‘Oromo Extremists’ in his article. There are no Oromo, Amhara, Tigray, Afar, Somali or any other ethnic extremists. The extremists that popped out of the wood work of anyone of the 80 or so ethnic groups are bigoted individuals whose mind has been poisoned by the teachings of their Marxist older mentors. In this time of overwhelming challenges facing our glorious people, we have to be specific more than ever. As we speak and from what I hear from relatives who are in the thick of it is that level heads in every ethnic groups are working tirelessly to rein in with their messages of peace and harmony. Those level heads in Amhara are admonishing the rowdy youths to cut it. Those level heads in Oromia are working very hard in protecting the safety of minorities among them by preaching peace and harmony. And I will give you an example I was told by one of my merchant relatives. One of them in a small town in Western Hararghe went house to house where those of Amhara and other ethnic families live telling them they don’t have to worry about their safety that his clan has their back. Similar assertion was conducted by another Oromo I know very well in the Town of Chiro(Ciro.Asbe) in 1992 when the shameful genocide took place in Eastern Hararghe carried not by Oromo extremists by extremist individuals who happened to be Oromos.
    You have to ask and accuse individuals like Lencho Leta, Daud Ibsa and others who were the leaders of their vassal outfit. Someone has to put their feet to the fire by asking them why they picked the phrase ‘Neftegna’ to demonize the entire section of the society. I had complained about it more than 40 years ago. Kill Neftegna’ registered the meaning of ‘Kill Non-Oromo’ on the psyche of the gullible, the rank and file, the ones who were in want of the sophistication to look thru the vile phrases thrown at them. It was used to arouse them, incite them and lose their mind to a point where their human conscience was completely shut off. They turned into mad men and ruthless killer individuals who happened to be born to Oromo parents. I knew a relative of one those victims. She was the first person I contacted when I came here in the early 1970’s. One of the victims of that savage act was someone she considered her uncle. I remember the day she called me and her unusual sobbing. She had sent one of her relatives who used to live in the capital to make sure her uncle got dignified burial. Her relative was genuinely consoled by the Oromo peasants of the area who tilled the land for a living together for their entire lives. You see. The first person she called was me, an Oromo because the barbaric act was NOT an act of Oromos but demonic individuals who happened to be born to Oromo parents. So we have to be very careful in what we are saying and writing these days more than ever. Instead we should do everything we can to make the work of those level heads easier who are going mano-a-mano with the bigots on daily basis. We should never forget the fact that some of them have been victimized by our own Attila’s too.

  6. Know what colonialism means, before you write your propaganda piece against “The Oromo Extremists”!
    Here is how colonialism is defined:
    Colonialism takes place when invaders use force to take possession of elements vital to the economy of the invaded society of people and to reorganize those components according to a new and forcefully imposed system of production. (It suffices here to mention the Gebbar system imposed by Minilik after conquering Oromia and the South, that was maintained until 1974 !)
    “The real aim of colonialism was to control the people’s wealth…. Colonialism imposed its control of the social production of wealth through military conquest and subsequent military dictatorship. But its most important area of domination was the mental universe of the colonised, the control through culture, of how people perceived themselves and their relationship to the world…. (T)he destruction or deliberate undervaluing of a people’s culture, their art, dances, religions, history, geography, education, orature and literature, and the conscious elevation of the language of the coloniser.” (Thiong’o, N. 1986:16 Decolonising the mind: The politics of Language and African Literature, London)
    Characteristics of Colonialism are:
    * Settlement of aliens on the territory originally in the possession of a distinct nation or nationality. (aportioning Oromo lands to soldiers of Minilik with the people as Gebbars (i.e. slaves to the soldiers); all the ‘Ketema’s built in South)
    * The reliance of externally derived resources, personnel, and ideas to administer the occupied area and control its inhabitants (almost all Xeqlay-Gezsh , Awuraja-, Wereda-, etc Gezsh were alien Amharas from the North)
    * Use or redirection of indigenous labour and the extraction of surplus from the conquered to serve ends determined by the conquering nation ( The gebbars were literally slaves of the new Habesha masters! They are forced to handover upto 3/4 of their produce to the NefTegna in addition to others services)
    * The suppression of the organisational and cultural life of the indigenous peoples ( eg. the banning of the Gada system, prohibition of the Muuda pilgrimage)
    * Assimilation programs to enable selected indigenous personnel to blunt opposition to imported rule. (The one language – one culture policy)
    * Heavy militarism of the settler group for the enforcement of newly introduced mechanisms of control (All Habesha regimes were conducting incessant wars against one or the other subjugated peoples.)
    * Harsh suppression of the resistance of the local inhabitants (the obvious! Incarceration of millions, the torture cells, secret killings of opponents to subjugation)
    * Development and reliance upon an elaborate ideological justification of occupation for internal and external use (Siyume Egziabher, socialism, abiotawi demokrasi, etc).

    So, the conquest and colonization of the Oromo and the non-Habesha population as whole and the legitimate struggle of these subjugated peoples continuing till today is the objective reality of the country.
    My question is: How come this objective history of the Ethiopian Empire be an imagined narrative of some “extremist” Oromos? Why are Habeshas like you labouring too much to deny the undeniable?? Self delusion? Otherwise, you can not lie to people who have tasted the brutalities of ’emiye’ Minilik’s Empire on their own body!

    “Gamna gowwomsuuf yaaluun haaloo horachuu dha!”

  7. @Abba Caala

    So in time of building one Ethiopian for all now it should be time for restitution just for one ethnic group namely Oromos. And what do you think the Oromo expansion from the South have done to all the native populations it found in the middle? It did the same thing you claim Ethiopian “Colonialism” did. Even wiorse it also includes savagery like making slaves and the sale of slaves to the Muslim world was as deep as it can be, even the king’s were affraid to confront the Oromo rulers for the sake of the country unity. So should Ethiopians who suffered for slavery ask the desandent of those derailed rulers to knee in order for them to get justice or should we move and build a better Ethiopia for all regardless of ethnic belonging. You see if you go back there are times were people was doing unthinkable things but I would prefer to build a fare Ethiopia for all Ethiopians that includes the recognition of more national official languages for example. But blaming the past for plundering and destroying the country we all love is a treacherous. I would tell you more even in comparative side by side analysis the Kiings system of taxation or “Gebir” where the tilters labored the land to pay and grow their family is more human than to displacing millions of people to create your imagined new independent Oromia, or than the savegery that the Oromo expansion from South did. And also even autoritarian and draconian the DERG policies were much fare to all Ethiopians than the policies of those lazy ethnic power brokers that gamble with life’s, future and blood of millions of youth just for their own enrichment and clinging to power


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