The Institutionalization of Oromo Protests

Published on 12th September 2016

Each of us, nearly more than 50 million Oromo’s, ask ourselves everyday: why are we not free? Why do we get killed? Why are we imprisoned and tortured? We are such a large Nation but minorities have ruled us for more than 100 years. 

We all dive in the ocean of questions for freedom for centuries. Some of you say we lack true leadership and true organizations that can make our freedom quick. I would like to share with you what one of the greatest Oromo Qubee generation Hero and martyr Nasir Abdo (imprisoned for five years and finally killed) answered me in 2003 when I asked him why the Oromo Liberation Front didn’t make us free. 

He said to me, ‘you don’t have to wait from someone else to make you free…but you have to ask yourself what you can do to make yourself free. What do you do to make yourself, your family nation free?’ I stopped expecting someone else to make me free since that day and concentrated on how I could make others and myself free? 

You can’t expect another to be your leader if you are not ready to be leader and also to follow your leaders. You can’t expect someone else to fight for you, if you are not ready to fight. You can’t expect someone else to establish an organization which can keep your interest, if you are not ready to establish an organization which keeps your interests. It is only the day each of us understood our value and roles that a leader or organizations can achieve something for us. 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important you do it, because nobody else will.’ 

When we act individually and do something, this will become collective actions with great impact. Think of each Oromo martyrs who scarified their life and scarped the all idea of Finfinnee master plan that gave birth to the true Oromo demands, which have been left unanswered for centuries. It was small village which shook the unshakable government and made it to become powerless. Think of the small kids, the Oromo mothers who showed their courage in front of the armed Agazi without any fear. Think of the Oromo protest activists who never sleep day and night sharing and informing us every second, minute and exposing the cruelty of the regime to the world. Think of Bekele Gerba who has the chance to stay in USA but chooses to go back and struggle with his people. 

I don’t know what to say for such a leader with such courage and determination. Think of 30,000 Oromo prisoners who fight from prisons through letters and many more means. Think of Feyisa Lelisa who has wealth and opportunity to sustain his life but he chooses to speak for his freedom and the freedom of the Oromo. In a way we never thought and imagined our pain and suffering would be expressed on a global stage. 

Think of yourself and think of those leaders! These are the leaders, the hero’s of Oromo. In every way they find, they fight, they struggle, and they try to set themselves and others free! 

We have many leaders, and an organization called ‘#OromoProtests’ which is leading the nation in every aspect by bringing different strategies, tactics and young potential leaders to the front. You may think #OromoProtests is just a hash tag but for me it is an organization far beyond our imaginations. It is our rally in more than 200 cities. It is our media with many journalists. It is our human rights watch. It is everywhere without borders. It is in Oromia, it is in America, it is in Australia, it is in Europe, it is in Africa, it is on social media, it is in the news. 

 #OromoProtests is more than a hash tag which is bringing our potential, our capacity and resources together in a way never done before with every angle and means to support the Oromo struggle, to achieve the ultimate dream of Oromos and Oromia.

I don’t see why we should search for something else to lead us. The question should be how we can institutionalize the ‘#OromoProtests’ and make an organization with all the necessary structures and equipped with all the right leaders that can bring a fundamental change to our nation? 

I leave this question to you. 

By Abdi Bilisa (Eng.)

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