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Oromo Diaspora Speaks, But Not Loud Enough

Oromia's White House Rights Petition Garners 1,064 of 25,000

An Oromo petition created by Jabessa W. on the White House Website that asks the Obama Administration to "pressure Ethiopia to release Oromo prisoners of conscience, Bekele Gerba, Olbana Lelisa, Laggese Dhaba, Riqitu and Sisay..." garners only 1,064 of the goal of 25,000 so far. Compared to the number of Oromos who live in the North American Diaspora and other Western and African Diasporas, the signatures collected are still far too short from reaching the target. The United States and Canada combined are home to an upward of 168,143 Oromo Diaspora members. Many Oromo Websites such as, and Oromo Press have featured the human rights petition for the last 25 days. The petition expires on Sunday, November 9, 2012. The signatures collected are likely to go to waste. Some commented that the 25,000 goal that
the White House fixed for the petition was bound to garner the low figure we now see.
Although it is difficult to say what the causes of of this low performance by the Oromo Diaspora are, but the initiative of some who have signed shows that the Oromo people care about the thousands of
Oromo political prisoners languishing in Ethiopian jails. The other achievement of this petition might be that the Oromo have
been able to rally some Oromo and some friends of the Oromo people behind the cause of freeing Oromian political prisoners. In this sense, the White House petition can be said to have played a key awareness-raising role. Even if the petition will not make to the desk of the Obama Administration because of the low number of signatures collected thus far, it is still very important in that it is searchable by U.S. authorities under the topic of "foreign policy and human rights" on the White House petition site. That means White House authorities will see the issues that are going on regarding the Oromo people. It is an admirable effort in internationalizing he Oromo cause from its current position of obscurity. Some complained that the personal account creation process was omplicated enough for people who lack skills in technology usage.
Several individuals have shared the word about the petition via their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Oromos on social media have not done as much as they should have in promoting the petition. Fatigue and giving up is generally observed among many Oromo social media users who still use social media for personal and trivial purposes. Petition Highlights Two Important Issues
that Oromo leaders are still a long way from rekindling the tens of thousands of passive or disengaged Oromos residing in the Diasporas.
The passive and apathetic diaspora has access to the Internet and computers. If there is no interest, access to the best of technologies does not mean a thing. not surprisingly, the Abyssinian/Ethiopianist diaspora has shown that it has no desire in joining the Oromo even on a seemingly common ground of human rights advocacy. This is despite the fact that the
Abyssinians still want the Oromo to continue to be part of the Ethiopian empire. Their absence is proof that Habeshas rejoice at our suffering; Habesha are only interested in Oromo land and resources, not in the well-being of the Oromo people. It also reaffirms that the Oromo and the Abyssinians don't have a common destiny and a common political goal. In fact, it is naive to expect a perpetrator to join you in advocating for your human rights. One cannot simply expose
one's own crimes.
The efforts by some Oromo to sign needs to be commended. However, failure in reaching the desired goal calls for a strategic thinking in how to turn large numbers into collective actions. More work needs to be done to make the Oromo voice heard by the U.S. Government. Such initiatives are critical in engaging the U.S. government on the issues that matter to the Oromo people of Oromia and the Horn. Complicit International Actors: 'Waking Up One Who Fakes Sleeping' The thought of lobbying the Obama Administration is a right one given the fact that the United States is a major international actor, donating the largest amount of various types of assistance to the military regime of Ethiopia, which uses the aid in massive epressions.

Reports abound that Oromia is a battleground state for Ethiopia's repressions, including for abuse types such as political repression, pre-trial detention and torture. In Oromia, freedom of expression and association are severely curtailed. The Oromo face ever-growing discrimination in accessing government services in the mono-ethnically controlled Ethiopian state.

The international actors are not holding Ethiopia accountable although they are aware that the Ethiopian military junta has put strict restrictions on the works of international human rights organizations in Oromia, including the work of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

In 2011, Amnesty International delegation was expelled for meeting with Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lellisa of Oromo Federalist Congress, an Oromo opposition party. Now both leaders are sentenced to 25 years in prison. Restricting human rights research and reporting is an effort by the regime not only to stifle the work of international human rights workers, but more importantly a premeditated effort to blackout ll forms of information coming out of Oromia on egregious human
rights violations.

"Habasha Yoomi ilee Diina Oromooti Oromoon hundi kana beekuu, Nami kana hin beeknee nama du'ee qoofa" Add


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