The Oromo national memories

Cover Page


The author defines nation as a territorial community of nativity and attributes significance to the biological fact of birth into the historically evolving territorial structure of the cultural community of nation, which allows to consider nation as a form of kinship. Nation differs from other territorial communities such as tribe, city-state or various ‘ethnic groups’ not just by the greater extent of its territory, but also by a relatively uniform culture that provides stability over time [22. P. 7]. According to the historical-linguistic comparative studies, “in terms of the history of mankind it is incontrovertible that some of the earliest and greatest human achievements have been accomplished in civilizations founded and headed by Afro-Asiatic peoples” [28. P. 74]. The Oromo people is one of the oldest nations in the world with its own territory (Oromia) and language ( Afaan Oromoo ). The Oromo possess a common political culture ( Gadaa democracy) and pursue one national-political goal of independence to get rid of the Abyssinian colonialism. Oromo national memories consist of memories of independence and national heroism, memories of the long war against expansionist Abyssinian warlords and the Abyssinian invasion of the Oromo land in the 19th century with the new firearms received from the African co-colonizing Western European powers, and these weapons were used not only to conquer the Oromo land but to cut the Oromo population in half. The Oromo nation consider the colonization of their country, loss of their independence, and existence under the brutal colonial rule of Abyssinia to be the worst humiliation period in their national history. The article consists of two parts. In the first part, the author considers the theoretical background of such concepts as nation, national memory, conquest humiliation, and some colonial pejorative terms still used by colonial-minded writers (like tribe and ethnic groups). In the second part, the author describes the Oromo national political and social memories during their long history as an independent nation from the Middle-Ages to the last quarter of the 19th century; presents ‘the Oromo question’ through the prism of the global history of colonization, occupation of their territory, slavery, and the colonial humiliation of the Oromo nation by the most cruel and oppressive Abyssinian colonial system; presents the two last regimes of the Abyssinian system and the final phase of the Oromo National Movement for sovereignty, dignity, and peace, which contributed greatly to the stability in the Horn of Africa.

About the authors

A. Kumsa

Škoda Auto University

Author for correspondence.
Na Karmeli 1457, Mladá Boleslav, 293 01, Czech Republic


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