March 2, 2010
I am writing this open letter on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association (OSA), a scholarly, multi-disciplinary, nonprofit international organization, established to promote studies on and relevant to the Oromo people residing in East Africa, mainly in Ethiopia. The Executive Committee of OSA is following the issue of land grab in Africa and the eviction of the Oromo people, the 21st century new colonization, and the practice of modern day slavery on the Oromos in particular with a great deal of interest.
In the Ethiopian Empire alone, Oromos constitute about 50 million of the 80 million. The Oromos developed their own cultural, social and political system known as the Gadaa system. Gadaa system is a uniquely democratic political and social institution that governed the life of every individual in the society from birth to death. The Oromos were colonized during the last quarter of the nineteenth century by a black African nation – Abyssinia. The fact that the Oromos were colonized by black African nation makes their case quite special. Today Oromos are being evicted from their land by the Meles Zenawi Minority regime. Their land is being sold by the Meles Zenawi regime to the so called investors from Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, India, China, Egypt, the Sudan, Nigeria..etc. The Oromos are being displaced and forced into refugee camps all over the world and into modern day slavery, because of the new 21st Century colonization. The Saudis are enjoying from Oromo land rice harvest, while Oromos are dying from man made famine as we speak. On March 4, 2009, it was reported, “Saudi Arabia has announced the arrival of the first food crop harvested in Saudi-owned farms abroad, in a sign that the kingdom is moving faster than expected to outsource agricultural production. Rice, harvested in famine-hit Ethiopia by a group of Saudi investors, was presented to King Abdullah recently and comes as other countries are still in the early stages of investing in overseas farms.”
So far, the following countries and individuals from foreign countries have made illegal deals with the illegitimate regime of Meles Zenawi in acquiring Oromo land:
1. Djibouti via its Prime Minster has acquired 25,000 acres of farm land and 13, 000 square meter of urban land.
2. Saudi Arabia has acquired 250,000 acres of farm land. 240 individuals from Saudi Arabia have been give license to invest 2.5 billion dollars in addition to the 1 billion dollars that Saudi Arabia government has planned to invest in land grabbing scheme.
3. India has acquired 741,000 acres for rose production (kanuturi rose farm) and 2 million acres of land for cereal production.
4. Nigeria via its former President Obasanjo has acquired 40,000 square meter of urban land for hotel and tourism development by evicting local Oromo residents.
5. Egypt has acquired 50, 000 acres of farm land.
6. Others countries, like China, Middle-East countries, the Sudan, South Korea...etc. are in negotiation with Meles regime to acquire more farm land by evicting Oromo farmers.
NOTE: So far the Meles regime is leasing Oromo land for 99 years for 15 birr ($1.18) per acre per year illegally.
Today, Ethiopian-Minority regime and illegitimate government with blood on its hands has been permitted the privilege of ruling over Ethiopia by the World powers.
At a grass root level in Africa, African Union has the following articles in its Preamble:
The Organization of African Unity, now known as African Union was dedicated to eradicate all forms of colonialism. When it was established, there were several states that had not yet won their independence or were minority-ruled. South Africa and Angola were two such countries recognized. The OAU proposed two ways of ridding the continent of colonialism. Firstly, it would defend the interests of independent countries and help to pursue those of still-colonized ones. Secondly, it would remain neutral in terms of world affairs, preventing its members from being controlled once more by outside powers. Years of colonialism had weakened Africa socially, politically and economically.
In 1948, after the Second World War, United Nations enshrined the following declaration:
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.” As members of the world society, the Oromo people have the full right to be protected by the above declaration.
Despite of the above facts, the Oromo people are being evicted, displaced, tortured, raped, imprisoned and murdered daily in thousand under the colonizing Minority regime of Meles Zenawi. Today, the Oromo issue is not hidden from the world leaders and stakeholders. However, it is being ignored. The Oromo people do not have a place to run to any more. They are being cornered from every direction. Therefore, this open letter is to bring to your attention, that the peace loving innocent people of Oromia will rise one day and diffusing the outrageous outburst might not be possible. The Meles regime is selling Oromo land on world market, although this government does not have the right to sell Oromo land. The prisons of Meles Zenawi are over crowded by Oromo prisoners. There is a report that Ethiopian prisons speak the Oromo language now days. We do not understand why the world has turned deaf ears on the Oromo sufferings. Oromos are human beings and should be treated as humans. Evicted and
displaced Oromos are all over the world. They are ashamed of telling how much they suffered in the Ethiopian prisons, because the tortures they went through have been embracing to tell the world. To our surprise, the exact number of Oromo refugees has remained top secret. Therefore, we call on the international society to look at the crazy act of the minority illegitimate regime of Meles Zenawi, and on the so called greedy investors to stop harassing the Oromo people and halt their colonizing process. If a devastating crisis starts in Oromia and beyond, the minority illegitimate regime of Meles Zenawi will be held responsible and the so called investors will lose the money, they are giving to Meles Zenawi, because they are doing an illegal business with an illegitimate regime.
With a copy of this open letter we are advising the world political organizations, financial institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, church organizations, and the media not to blame the Oromo people, if unseen crises are manifested. Oromos are being colonized and modern day slavery is being imposed on them. The world leaders are being alerted, and they can not wash their hands off. We are telling them to take proactive steps and avoid a devastating crisis. We also ask all Oromo nationals and all peace loving people of the world community to stand up and let the world leaders know that the voiceless Oromo people deserve peaceful life on their land. Prosperity, human rights, equality and freedom are God given rights to the Oromo people.
Haile Hirpa, PhD