No One is More Ethiopian than an Oromo

August 11, 2013

It is fair to say that most words and various concepts that are conveniently used today were laid down long time ago by early adventurers, wanderers, and thinkers. To take quick samples, the words America, Europe, Greek, Kush, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Saba have been in use since ancient times.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, suggests that around 1507 a German cartographer named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America, after an Italian cartographer, Amerigo Vespucci.

Wikipedia also suggests that according to an ancient Greek mythology, Europe, also known as Europa, was a Phoenician princess whom Zeus abducted. An online dictionary also notes the same story, adding that she is a sister of Cadmus who bore Zeus Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Sarpedon, in Crete, a Greek island in the Mediterranean Sea.

In contemporary times, Europe is used as a name of one of the seven continents of the world, which is over 4 million square miles in size. A native or inhabitant of Europe is defined as European. This derived word is believed to have originated around 1595-1605.

Todayís inhabitants of Europe amount to over seven hundred million people. There is no indication whatsoever that the descendants of Cadmus, if they exist today, do not count themselves as Europeans or that they claim that Europe was imposed on them even though the continent and its inhabitants have the history of two world wars and medieval anarchy.

There are at least two accounts of the origin of the name Ethiopia.

According to Professor Donald N. Levine, there exists an old Ethiopian tradition that the kings of Aksum, an ancient kingdom in Ethiopia, descended from Ham through Aethiopia and Aksumawi.

According to Heliodorus, an ancient Ethiopian Romance novel originally written in Greece, Ethiopia refers to the Meroe community between present day Sudan and Egypt. There are anecdotal evidences that Meroe may have a shared history with the Morowa Oromo community in Borana, southern Ethiopia, and Merawi community in Gojam, northern Ethiopia. A parallel example and more studied communities are the Wato in Borana and Wayto in Gojam.

What is for sure is that the land from Borana to Meroe is largely part of the ancient Kush expanse. Todayís Ethiopia is part of this larger region. Anybody who is a native of Ethiopia is an Ethiopian, which is not delivered by anybody but earned, mostly, as birth and, to a lesser extent, by naturalization rights. To be sure, it is not channeled through expedient political establishments.

Ask any conscious Oromo if he or she is part of the community generally defined as the Kush community in East Africa and you are likely to hear largely an affirmative answer. This is in contrast to a recent hasty question and bait that have been making the Ethiopian communities cyber and airwaves. The hasty political question went to the effect of asking if one is first an Oromo, an individualís identity, or an Ethiopian, a native inhabitant of Ethiopia, a country in which an estimated population of over ninety million live today.

Even though the name America, Europe, Africa, and Ethiopia were given unilaterally by ancient thinkers, today, they connote geographic regions in which millions and hundreds of millions live as political communities.

Ask any American of Irish or Scottish origin, to take examples, and you are likely to hear that he or she has an Irish or Scottish heritage and that he is a proud American, unequivocally. Ask any conscious American if America can be a better place by improving on its achievements and you are likely to hear that it has come a long way and it can continue to go a long way.

One of Americaís known leaders, the late president John F. Kennedy, imparted his wisdom on his fellow Americans to ask not what their country can do for them but what they can do for their country.

The Grand Delusion among certain Oromo political activists defies such common senses. To the extent that the names America and Europe were given in ancient times by certain individuals, Ethiopia is not different. To the extent that the name Ethiopia was first uttered by a certain Greek traveler to refer to a section of Oromo community, which also belongs to the community known as Kush, and to the extent that the above Oromo political activists claim to belong to the Kush community, it goes without saying that no one is more Ethiopian than an Oromo.

If the opposition by these activists was against using a name given by an ancient Greek traveler and for using new names, such as Saba, which is a local vernacular that is widely used across the region and as far as the Arab world and popularized throughout the world, it would have made an academic sense that could have led to communal unanimity.

Apparent in this Grand Delusion is also the paternal-to-child political posture of these political activists. They argue subconsciously that Ethiopia is their paternal state and other individual and group of Ethiopians are duty bound to provide them political solace.

Heroic Ethiopian individuals, including Oromos, have risen at different times and are likely to continue to rise to shape the course of history of the Ethiopian community. Such heroic Ethiopian individuals have done what they could do for the community in the best way that they could in their time and space. Those in a state of Grand Delusion today neither acknowledge the deeds of these heroic Ethiopians, including Oromo heroes, in a balanced fashion nor do they rise up today to see what they could do for Ethiopia, including leading it, instead of asking what Ethiopia could do for them.

Such heroism is what fended off from Ethiopia European scramble for Africa in the 19th century and Mussoliniís fascism of the 20th century. It is what will fend off predatory fascism that has emerged from the east, a new African battle of the 21st century. Stabilizing Ethiopia and building on it is only going to help this new battle. Terminal confusions that accompany passing through the gates of higher learning institutions first in Ethiopia and then in Europe and America may not be allies of this battle.

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