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As the title of the book clearly implies, the book is an autobiography but it is also about what the author wants to write on what he knows and believes about the Oromo, as he aptly puts it in the preface of the book. Upon reading the book, I have come to conclude that Bulcha Demeksa is honest and candid in his analysis of the Ethiopian phenomenon. At times he vents anger toward the oppressive machinery that mistreated and exploited the Oromo and other Ethiopian minority nationalities; unlike other Oromo nationalists, however, Bulcha is very much concerned about the Ethiopian nation as he is very much interested in promoting the self-determination of the Oromo people.
In this sense, thus, the book is more of advocacy for the cause of the Oromo rather than solicit vision as the subtitle of the book indicates. In the course of my public service, I came across many people, some good and some not so good. Ethiopia also stands prominent in this document for the same reason. I personally like books that stir controversy than books that hide truth and obscure reality. For instance, badu is homemade cheese; goderre is cassava-like edible root; dabay means braided hair; walla is a type of skirt soaked in butter; qabdo refers to kissing; michu is a love partner; indirinya is a flute; qoro is a title of an administrator of a district; and ganda, which sounds like the Tigrigna ganta, refers to a district.
Throughout the book the author makes references to Finfinnee, the old name of Addis Ababa except on page 24 and this is probably a slip of finger inadvertently left unedited and I am unable to fathom the purpose of a name that is not attributable to the capital of Ethiopia and to which other non-Oromo Ethiopians and foreign nationals cannot relate to. One meaningful option for the author would have been to interchangeably us the names Finfinnee and Addis Ababa. Yilam Deressa, a graduate of the London School of Economics, was perhaps the only minister working in the right place attributed to his educational background.
You want them to be gardeners, drivers, cooks, and guards. But they Tigreans will not accept their fate quietly.
The Government was supposed to systematically disengage the Church from the responsibility of running public schools and bring primary school administration under the Ministry of Education which had the wherewithal to run proper schools. According to Abebe Retta, the Government was deliberately dragging its feet to change the tradition. Later on, the Government took over the Tigray elementary school system.
While Asmerom has a distinct advantage of writing verifiable empirical data on the Gada of the Oromo, Abba Bahrey also would have a unique advantage of an eyewitness account of Oromo northward migration in the 16th century. Incidentally, Abba Bahrey was not from northern or central Ethiopia; he was a monk from Gamo, now in the Southern Ethiopian Peoples Region and his treatise is a testimony of the Oromo migration that he lived to witness. The most important contribution of Abba Bahrey is the fact he provided us with the structure and operation of the Gada.
The Luba, who are democratically elected for eight years, in turn, lead all these clans of four or three. However, by this time, the Oromo have intermingled and intermarried with other Ethiopians; some of them have even played a vital role in Ethiopian politics during the Gondarian period. For instance, upon arrangements made by Empress Mentewab, Emperor Iyasu married Princess Wubit, who was the descendant of the Tullama clan and she gave birth to Iyoas who succeeded his father to the throne and became Emperor of Ethiopia from to In it is in light of the above account that we must examine how and when the Oromo became part and parcel of the Ethiopian social fabric.
We must be able to rationally assess events that are historically constituted, and what I mean by this is that we must view national oppression or domination in the context of the overall historical development that gives rise to it. When the Oromo northward migration took place in the 16th century, for instance, it is due chiefly to the nature of Gada, a politico-military system that is inherently expansionist. This is not unique to Ethiopia; it happened virtually everywhere in which two irreconcilable modes of productions were unable to coalesce.
The oppression that was directed against the Oromo in the 19th century, though inevitable, was not justifiable and the Habasha Ethiopians, in particular Amharas and Tigrayans, who were dominant for thousands of years, should have the courage to apologize to the Oromo and other minority nationalities of Ethiopia. On the other hand, Oromo brothers and sisters must understand that historical events are not always intentionally designed; as implied above, they are governed by circumstances that are sometimes understandable and sometimes unpredictable.
Sometimes necessity can drive communities into undesired situations and make them face unintended consequences. This situation did not help my relationship with the new Minister. I personally like Aklilu, a polished and erudite diplomat who was not arrogant, haughty or authoritarian. Incidentally, I learned later that he became one of the founders of the OLF, but it is also important to acknowledge that he played a constructive role in the ESM.
In relation to Lt. General Aman Andom, Bulcha tells us a story that I never knew before. First the Derg tried to negotiate with Aman so that he continues his chairmanship of the Derg that he no longer wants to pursue, and the reason for the latter decision was that Aman sought peaceful resolution to the Eritrean problem while the Derg wanted to employ force.
Aman rejected the position of the Derg and the army surrounded his house where a shoot out immediately began. Aman was fighting with some of his loyalist and he was no match to the gunfire of the army, and although he managed to kill some from the Derg soldiers he was overwhelmed by them and they also overrun his house by tanks and demolished it and the brave Aman was buried under the debris of his own house.
Usually staff coming from common background support each other. For example, an Irish man would support another Irish man. This is true of friends also.
African staff, in general, are consciously or otherwise treated callously in the UN, New York, where decision affecting all UN professional staff around the world are made. Africans are the most neglected group. I myself have tried to get into the UNDP two decades ago by submitting the proper application but I did not get any response.
Apparently, I had one acquaintance at the UNDP and asked him to figure out about my application, but to my chagrin, instead of helping me, he facilitated the entrance of his wife into the UNDP. The UN is a highly politicized gargantuan international organization. Bulcha portrays Tanzania as a failure state under Nyerere and Kenya by contrast as a success story. His rationale, however, is not persuasive enough to warrant credible support. At the same time, it was refreshing to see Kenya, its neighbor, achieve better economic growth.
In this chapter, Bulcha boldly asserts his assessment with respect to the role of the United States in Ethiopian politics and he also provides the reader with some revelations that I myself was not aware of. The real power was to be exercised by Meles and his group, with the Americans not too far from the center. In the Conference, the Americans were intensely following the discussions, sometimes nodding when the Chairman made a remark which corresponded to the agreement reached with US negotiators in London.
I was sitting next to a couple of military officers who were visibly happy when a resolution to the liking of the Americans passed. He was seated in the section where observers sat. I wanted to have an impression of the man at close range, and also to try to have an idea what his view was about Assab.
As there was too much going on in the Hall, my impression of Isayas was that he was cocky, and appeared unrealistically arrogant for a leader of a small African country. They were not as arrogant as Isayas. I still have those letters in my files. Now, who is feudal? You deserve the snub you got fro him. However, it is not a communist jargon; on the contrary, it was David Ricardo who first introduced the concept into the political economy lexicon in the 19th century.
Therefore the Oromo will not accept to be assimilated into the cultures of other peoples. They will always peacefully co-exist and intermingle with the other peoples of Ethiopia, fight together any intruder into our country Ethiopia , but they still want to be known as Oromo, with all their identifications. He could have said something in his own defense. Now, Tamrat is a free man and he can either tell the tale or write a book and enlighten Ethiopian readers.
Later, I found out that, in Tigray there was consensus among the elite that they should develop Tigray to ensure that that it would never again be subjected to non-Tigrean domination and starvation.
By contrast, it became evident that it was not safe for people of other regions to go back to their respective regions without first becoming EPRDF members and friends. In such a set up, the Oromo would play their democratic rightful role which should be welcome by all reasonable people whether they are Amharas, Tigre or others. Baas asked Kinfe to see me and Kinfe agreed.
Soon after, I went and spoke to Kinfe who encouraged me to participate in the elections. I felt terribly bad that I had to complain to a foreign envoy in my own country because I felt that nobody in the Government was on my own side or on the side of justice and democracy. In this kind of political scenario, majority vote becomes meaningless. All democratic countries have their own unique ways in running elections and accommodating the electorate; for Ethiopia, the best system is the parliamentary system because Ethiopians would not be divided along ethnic lines as in voting for their nationality party only.
By contrast, the above-mentioned African countries have witnessed several regime changes during elections in the last two decades. In this chapter, Bulcha, to his credit, passes with clean conscience against tempting corrupt practices. They succeed when they finally had the National Bank on their side.
As a result, he is now serving a month prison sentence. I personally appreciate this kind of self-esteem and pride because the use of language is one important and vital manifestation of ones self-determination. However, Ethiopians in general and the Oromo in particular should also cleverly utilize Amharic in order to promote their objectives. One interesting question that Bulcha forwarded to the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in the Ethiopian Parliament has to do with the question of Assab that many Ethiopians, including myself, have put on the plate but was never considered.
History has recorded that Emperor Haile Selassie, with an astute and superb personal international diplomacy, brought Eritrea back to the Ethiopian family of nations. As I have done for all other books that I have reviewed in the past, my job is to objectively analyze the central theses and message of the books. In the latter context, thus, while I have admired some aspects of My Life, I have also brought forth criticisms on other aspects of the book.
The criticisms are intended to make input and to enrich the ever-increasing data in Ethiopian investigative discourse and do not, in any way, diminish the significance of this important book. In conclusion, I like Ato Bulcha Demeksa to answer the following question, a question that I did not generate but a question that came from his own constituency while he was campaigning during the election: Obbo Bulcha, dubbiin kun maal isini fayyadhaa?
Brother Bulcha, what does this thing benefit you? All Rights Reserved. Ghelawdewos Araia can be contacted for educational and constructive feedback via dr.
BULCHA DEMEKSA BOOK PDF
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Visida High to Low Avg. It consists of twenty chapters mostly eye-witness accounts, experiences and activities of the author who had given efficient and effective civil services for long years at National and International levels in various capacities of leadership and management. Cyrax Cyrax marked it as to-read Drmeksa 10, This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Is that a sensitive topic to talk about?
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