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History 101:                             Fiction and Facts About Ethiopia’s Oromos

1 Aug

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Prof. Feqadu Lamessa for Salem-News.com. July 31, 2020

(a guide for foreign journalists on Oromos and Ethiopian history)

(ADAMA, Ethiopia) – Recently, the Qatar-based media al Jazeera has published several articles concerning the Oromo people of Ethiopia. (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/2013714133949329934.html) It is the first international media outlet to extensively report on our people and it should be praised for bringing our cause to the world stage.

One of the benefits of this exposure is it forces Ethiopian authorities to address human rights abuses in the country and to let them know that the world is watching. Oromos and other Ethiopians have been struggling for equal rights and democracy for decades. While it is important to report about Oromo people’ background and historical perspectives, it is however vital that we report accurate information. Instead of benefiting us, reporting inaccurate or biased information can actually harm our struggle for democracy. Instead of creating national consensus and peace, it can instigate bitterness and anger.

One of the reasons al Jazeera reported inaccurate information about Oromo history is because it depended on one-sided sources, especially from members or supporters of Oromo groups outside of Ethiopia (diaspora OLF, OFDM etc). But nobody can blame al Jazeera media because most people inside Ethiopia would be too scared to speak or contribute. The only option al Jazeera or any foreign media has is to use diaspora/refugee/external sources outside Ethiopia. This is a dilemma all foreign media outlets face while reporting about third-world countries like Ethiopia.

For educational purposes, some corrections are provided below to fix inaccuracies reported on al Jazeera media regarding Oromo history and our struggle for democracy. The corrections below are supported by non-political scholars, but they might be rejected by biased politicians (both from ruling party and from opposition party) for the obvious reasons. However, they are based on historical textbooks, European authors and scholarly accounts.

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