Anole Oromo monument and Ethiopia’s history by Admasu Belay
The shameful Anole (Aannolee) Oromo Monument built by the racist OPDO in the Arsi region of Oromia has angered many Ethiopians worldwide. The current regime says the monument was built to remember Oromo war prisoners mutilated by Menelik. But what we fail to understand is beyond the emotional reaction, we have overlooked its historical impact.
Since the TPLF/OLF created the current ethnic federalism system in 1993, they have brainwashed many Ethiopians to see everything thru narrow tribal lense. Therefore many innocent oromos have become zombies to any tribal propaganda shoved at their throats. Otherwise, the monument has no historical base to support a single brick of its existence!
Why is Anole monument a historical fallacy?
There are three main issues with the monument.
FIRST issue involves the makeup of Menelik’s Shoan army which the OLF/OPDO want us to think are mostly Amharas. But this is completely false. All historical accounts show us that Shoa was a multiethnic region with a significant Oromo population. Even When menelik was imprisoned by the Gojjams, he was helped by the Shoa Oromo to be free and even his wife was mixed Oromo herself. Menelik’s top Minister of Defense was the Oromo/Gurage Commander Habte Dinagde and all of Menelik’s battle with the south was 100% coordinated by Oromo hero Ras Gobena Dacche. So OPDO/OLF/TPLF propaganda poison against amara has no historical base.
SECOND issue is the custom of cutting hands or mutilation which is not practiced by the Orthodox majority in Shoa. There is no historical evidence that shows such practice in Shoa. The truth is such custom is widespread only in rural corners of our country, especially among the Somali and Afar. Even today the Somali/Afar pastoralists cut off penis of enemy to prove manhood. This is banned custom in shoa. There were some wollo oromos influenced by Afar/somali culture. In fact, after the wollo Oromo calvary killed many Italians in the Battle of Adwa, they mutilated many Italian war captives. There were no rules regulating POW treatment. But the past is past, we should think forward instead of criminalizing every incident in history. Most of all, the claim that widespread mutilation was done by the shoans against Arsi is exaggerated and false.
The THIRD issue involves the details of the battle in Arsi where atrocities were committed. For instance, all historical accounts show that Menelik’s 1880s multiethnic military lost many battles to the Arsi military. He was defeated several times before his final victory. Meaning, similar atrocities were committed by the Arsi oromo military who killed the Shoans and mutilated their war captives. This was afterall over 120 years ago when human rights laws did not dictate any conflict in the world. So should we remind ourselves how the Arsi oromo killed and mutilated the Shoans? Should we build a statue or monument for the shoans killed by the Arsi oromo before another batch of Shoans revenged by killing the Arsi? Well, this would be ridiculous and childish! We will run out of stones to build monuments and Ethiopia will be filled with monuments in every corner of the country!
We can’t build millions of monuments for every event in history.
Otherwise, why don’t we build monument to remember victims of the 1500s Somali Imam Gragn Mohammed who massacred tens of thousands of innocent Orthodox amaras?
Why don’t we build monuments everywhere in Shoa and wollo to remember the thousands of Amaras massacred during the 1500s/1600s Oromo expansion? These Oromos surely did not feed their amara subjects milk and honey when they subjucated them. Why don’t we build monuments to the many wollo people killed by Emperor Yohannes’s crusades? Why don’t we build monument for the Gondar and Gojjam people massacred by the mid 1700s Oromo rulers in Gonder? Why don’t we build monuments to the thousands of Amharas in the south killed by OLF/OPDO oromos during the 1990s transition period?
Actually, murder and massacre of Amaras in this day and age of high global human rights standards is more criminal than massacre of Oromos centuries ago when such standards were nonexistant worldwide. Recent attrocities have more weight than atrocities over 100 years ago because the world has high standards and values today.
So indeed Amara people have the moral high ground in Ethiopia as they are the most victimized people throughout recent and past history. But for the sake of peace and reconcilation, amaras are not revenge minded.
But the OPDO/OLF continue to spread hatred between amaras and our oromo brothers and sisters. Today out of the over 2 million population in Arsi zone, over 300,000 are Amharas. So why create hatred against this significant Amaras living in Arsi? Why create bitterness? Certainly, there are tens of thousands of mixed Ethiopians living in Arsi as well but the TPLF regime has outlawed mixed identity. So both amaras and mixed people in Arsi today are living in state of terror because of this OPDO/OLF fake monument of hate.
It is our duty to inform our Oromo brothers and sisters not to fall to the traps being set by the OPDO/OLF/TPLF. This pornographic statue or monument of breast is an insult to the intelligence of our oromo people in Arsi.
But If they like their statue, well, let them keep it. If some arsi oromos feel satisfied with such hateful statue, we say, go ahead and enjoy. But we must ask our oromo brothers and sisters to watchout for the OPDO/TPLF tactic of divide and rule! We must tell every oromo we see that history does not support such statue. Amaras have and continue to suffer in Ethiopian history but we ask our Oromo brothers to first and foremost dedicate our time to remove the TPLF dictatorship and fight for democracy together as one people. Politicizing history, creating bitterness, revenge and hate are not the cornerstones of peaceful co-existence in Ethiopia.