The success of Oromo Cultural Exhibitions and Presentation on Africa Day 2012 in Dublin

Oromo Community in Ireland  | June 22, 212

Association of Oromo Community in Ireland (AOCI) was established in 2006 as a non-profiting organization and registered in the Republic of Ireland. The general objective of the organization is to promote integration and encourage the Oromo residing in Ireland as well as new comers to be self supporting and integrating with the native community. Beyond providing numerous services, the AOCI has been active in advocating as well as educating the surrounding communities about the Oromo people, culture and traditions, as well as the Oromo quest for national self determination.

On 26 and 27 May 2012, Association of Oromo Community in Ireland, AOCI, by representing its country Oromia, participated in Africa Day 2012 Celebration in Dublin/Ireland for the first time. Making “Oromo Awareness” one of its objectives, the organization ran Oromo Cultural Exhibitions at two different places in Dublin for more than a month. The exhibitions took place from 12 May until 15 June 2012, two weeks before and two weeks after the Africa Day 2012 Celebration and attracted a large number of visitors

The aim of the exhibition as well as the presentation on Africa Day was not only to display our cultural items but also to show and tell the public about Oromo history, language and culture. Using this opportunity, our aim was also to tell the Irish public about political situation of Oromo people and their struggle for national self determination. The outcomes of both events, Cultural Exhibition and presentation on Africa Day, are very encouraging and we were able to win many friends and supporters for our cause of which we are very proud. Many visitors from both of the exhibitions as well as Africa Day Celebration promised to be the friends of Oromo people and to support our cause. They left their contact details to be in touch with us. After the Africa Day, some even talked to the leaders of AOCI and show their great interest to work and co-operate with our organization in the future.

Regarding Africa Day 2012 Celebration, we published an article with the title “Africa Day event in Ireland has made it clear for many that Ethiopia is not Oromia, and Oromia is not Ethiopia”. The article attracted lot of readers across the world and as a result many encouraging comments were sent to both the publishing websites and our website. Our friends were happy to read as facts being exposed, while the other categories were sad. Even though the content of the article shows the fact what happened on those two days, we could see few negative reactions from some individuals just because of the title of the article. As a result they tried to connect our organization with politics. Some even labelled us as narrow nationalists or/and secessionist. The purpose of this short article is to make clear any confusion which was made by such individuals intentionally or unintentionally.

As far as connection to the politics concerned, whether someone likes it or not, any Oromo affair is a political affair. Although our organization, the AOCI, is not a political organization, we cannot and should not be free from politics. It is our national obligation and responsibility to be a voice for our voiceless people back home who are under slavery; who are under subjugation and oppression of successive Ethiopian regimes. That is why we have been telling the Irish as well as the ethnic minority communities about the Oromo quest for national self determination through our active advocacy.

Here we would like to mention some facts why we Oromo cannot and should not be free from politics.

• The Oromo were colonized during the last quarter of the nineteenth century by a black African nation – Abyssinia – with the help of the European colonial powers of the day; and our people are still under colonization by successive regimes of the Ethiopian empire.

• Systematic discrimination, persecution, large scale arbitrary detentions, disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial killings are the highest in Oromia.

These have been documented by many Human Rights organizations. The European Parliament has passed a series of resolutions criticizing the Ethiopian government for its human rights abuse. The US State Department Report on human rights in Ethiopia, dated 8 April 2011 and covering 2010, is for instance more critical than any of the previous ten or more annual reports.

• Oromia region is the highest place where land grabbing is taking place and as a result our people have been displaced from their properties without any compensation

• An estimate of more than 20,000 Oromo are currently in the prisons in Oromia and this fact has been confirmed by a former government Official by saying “…the prison in Ethiopia speaks Oromo language…” in his interview.

These are few of the facts we can mention that Oromo issue is a political issue which should seriously be taken into consideration. Speaking for these facts cannot make someone a narrow nationalist. Making awareness about this reality cannot make someone a secessionist. It is the natural and national right of our people to decide their fate. We are not against any individual, people, nationalities and nations but against the system of domination by the minority regimes. Of course we are against any oppressor and oppressive regime and we will continue to stand against such actions of groups. Thank you.

Association of Oromo Community in Ireland

To watch Africa Day 2012 videos, click the following links: