Oromo Canadian Cultural Association (OCCA) held a meeting on February 15, 2016, Presentation by Dr. Begna Fufa Dugassa “An Attempt to Understand the Knowledge, Wisdom and Practices of Waqefaata” , By Mr. Tesfaye Deressa “ Cultural Genocide – Past and Present Case of Oromia ” and by Hurgessa Tamene – Hippho / Oromo traditional folktale
Dr. Begna Fufa Dugassa
An Attempt to Understand the Knowledge, Wisdom and Practices of Waqefaata
The principles of Waqefaata are a very multidimensional social system. Attempts we make to understand the system helps us to partly explain. Waqefaata teaches about diversity, unity, equity, peace and environmental sustainability. For the Waqefaata, individual’s health and peace are intertwined with the community peace, health and the natural environment. The principle of Waqefaata shapes the Oromo worldview, cultural norm, and ethics. Oromos proudly celebrate Gadaa, because it is the democratic system of governance that our ancestors have developed long before the American democracy. However, until recently the Oromo scholars did not give enough attention to understand Waqefaata and Siiqee. Given that the teaching of Waqefaata promotes diversity, equity and peace it is instrumental in developing the Gadaa and Siiqee institution. Therefore understanding the philosophy of Waqefaata and promoting it can provide a solution to the regional and global social problems. In understanding that theories inform practice and practice inform theory, in this paper using “deconstructionist theory” I make a close look at some of the Waqefaata practices. In this paper first, I define the term “dhibayyu” and “dadarbaa”. In the second part, I explore the philosophy behind “dhibayyu” and “dadarbaa”. In the third part, I explore how the contemporary Waqefaata should give “dhibayyu” and “dadarbaa”.
Mr, Tesfaye Deressa
Cultural genocide: past and present cases of Oromia
The belief and understanding until a very recent time was that the concept “genocide” refers and/or applies only to physical elimination of a group or groups of human beings with some sorts of connections. As a result, the non-physical collective destructions of socio-cultural assets of societies targeted and victimized by certain forces have been going unnoticed and unrecorded not only for decades but also for centuries. It is only around the middle of this century that some scholars and human rights advocates started using the phrase to describe attempts of systematic destructions of cultural assets and values including language.
But, the acts of cultural genocide have been taking place in different forms for centuries particularly under colonialism. The goals range from total elimination of an ethnic, religious or just a cultural entity to assimilations by means of deprivations. The author of this paper strongly believes that cultural genocide committed under different successive regimes has caused enormous damage to Oromo social and cultural identities, traditions and life styles; and has continued to cause. The realities surrounding and resulting from the massive land grabs and the resultant dispossessions and displacements are good recent cases in point.
Utilizing both recorded and oral historical facts, currently prevailing realities, as well as available related literatures, this paper attempts to assess and present the extent and the effects of cultural genocide hitherto inflicted on Oromo national and cultural identity. It also attempts to suggest some means that could help in resisting the war that has continued and in reviving the lost traditional assets.