“Knowledge for the World ” – from TASSC Discussion Forum

“ Knowledge for the World ”

By Feyera Sobokssa, Torture survivor


Feyera Sobokssa

A professor from Johns Hopkins University once came to the Catholic University of America (CUA) to participate on a human rights training that was sponsored by both the CUA, the U.N. and the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) – International. I tried by best to explain to her about Revolutionary Democracy and the torture techniques that are being used by the minority regime of the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF). I have shown her photographs and the bruises that were all over the a survivor’s thighs and arms as a result of severe torture.

The TPLF security forces were warning him not to show those bruises to anybody, even to his own wife, but he defied their warnings and managed to show it to both his wife, his friends,relatives while it was fresh. He also managed to show the photographs to as many people as possible including that professor. He couldn’t have managed to convince the professor from Johns Hopkins University if he didn’t retain those photographs while the bruises were fresh. The professor was finally convinced and said, “I thought I knew the world.” Is it not really fair to ask that the university whose slogan is “Knowledge for the World” doesn’t even know what was going on in Ethiopia?

Ode to My Mother – by Feyera Sobokssa

We kept on talking to the American people and we managed to create awareness about the persecution of the Oromo people and other marginalized nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian Empire. The Washington Post published the following: “History has not been kind to the Oromo people, whose complaints of subjugation date back to the last quarter of the 19th century, when they were colonized by the armies of Ethiopian Emperor Menilik II, said John Herbeson, an African Studies lecturer at Johns Hopkins University’s school of Advanced International Studies.” ~ Emily Wax, The Washington Post, April 1, 2012.

Before the publication of this article, Herbeson talked to activists at TASSC – International. I was there when he officially talked his grave concerns about the Oromo people and other marginalized people in Ethiopia..

Prophecy Fulfilled

I read an article that quoted Thomas Jefferson when I was under persecution by the TPLF Fascist regime. I took note of it and quoted it repeatedly on most of the articles I have written. My dream came true and we managed to launch an independent media, MWMF, for the Oromo and other marginalized people in the Horn of Africa. We were connected first at the Addis Ababa.University and we will move on and continue building the networks until real change comes true through our protracted struggle

FROM PLENTY TO POVERTY: ‘Garaacha Uffachuu?’ in Oromo Culture

Finally, I would like to emphasize that we must create and strengthen the advocacy department under MWMF. We should not assume that people of the world know what their governments are doing in collaboration with African dictators. We must talk to influential people, civil society institutions, faith institutions, the academia and human rights organizations.

Advocacy Closes the Gap

There are honest people who think their donations would reach the needy. Faith workers may not get the complete picture unless they are informed by people who have been the victims like the Oromos and the Somalis in the Horn of Africa. That is the major reason why we must work hard to create and strengthen advocacy in major cities of the world.

8 Responses to “Knowledge for the World ” – from TASSC Discussion Forum

  1. Fayyeeraa March 27, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    I need to have the right to edit my own posts!

  2. Jimma March 27, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

    I have read your piece and comment for the blogger. Most of your readers and I concur with many of your points. Personally, I applaud your contributions for Oromo cause in your life time. I learn from your pieces. One way of dealing with correction issues is to rewrite the piece and resend it to be posted so that your readers will get both versions of your pieces. By doing so, you can avoid misunderstandings. I usually rewrite my comments on this website but both versions were posted. That is good. This is the policy should be implemented by all credible outlets we have. All outlets we have should treat contributors impartially. See things in this way as well. Having said this, I see flaws on your assertions on advocacy. It is true that we need to strengthen advocacy wings. Nothing is wrong with this part. But, strengthening advocacy wing of one radio program, financed by few groups of diaspora, will not realize aspirations of the people as you know it. We have already seen that. Working with Ogaden people is a necessary condition but not sufficient condition for the desired change. With continues effort, PAFD was created. It is unclear for me creating networks at this time with just Ogaden when we have PAFD. This is an organization representing over 70 million of the Ethiopian people. Another point is on the “prophets fulfilled” section. To be honest, this is far from reality. We need to go miles after miles to realize it. When we move a step forward, some group take people struggle two steps back and work at the back door for selfish interests. Any way, we need at least creating a system or a house that encourage all Oromos to contribute in one way or another in their capacity. By saying so, I am not hurting Oromo people struggle but go against interest of any one trying to maneuver things for personal gains.

  3. Fayyeeraa March 28, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    There is a famous saying, “A sickle for the farmer and the Communist has different meanings.” For those who have lost their minds due to a human brutality and who were walking naked on the streets of Finfinne, for the sake of “the swallowed’ by the brutal regime, the United Nation Convention Against Torture urges survivors to speak and for some of you guysi it is just an easy job.

    We all have different beliefs and that is a human rights too. Hence, just stop trying to tease me about the Prophecy fulfilled comment of mine.

  4. Fayyeeraa March 28, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    “The swallowed” the other phrase she “Involuntarily Disppeared”

  5. Fayyeeraa March 28, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

    Obbo/Adde Jimma,
    ‘Kan taa’ee ijaan qalu ni quncisa” jedha Oromoon yeroo mammaaku.” There is a famous saying, “A sickle for the farmers and for the Commnists has different meaning.” There was an Oromo who was severely and brutally tortured and whose brain and nervous systems broke down to control human excreta (both urine and feces.” As a result of the bad smell, a room was vacated and all the prisoners in his room were distributed to the already packed prison cells at the notorious Ma’ikelawii torture facility and detention center. After I was released, I saw him while he was walking naked at the Megenagna part of the town in Finfinne city.

    Keeping quiet and ignoring such crimes would have been so immoral and in human. The UN Convention Against Torture also urges those who have survived to speak what they have seen as a witness for posterity measures and accountability purposes.

    We may have different beliefs and that is fine with me.

  6. Gabo March 29, 2017 at 12:03 am #

    We don’t have an educated person.

  7. Jimma March 31, 2017 at 4:42 am #

    Obbo Fayeera,

    I will not reciprocate for disrespecting me. Jimma/ Darajjee Baacaa/-adde jedhamus irran dabra. It is better to pass it. Second, I am not discrediting any efforts you are making to strengthen networks across cities with Ogaden people. I am saying that, after the formation of PAFD, it doesn’t make sense for me to strengthen networks with just Ogaden people. “Tease” kessa hingalle jechuf. To make it more clear, we need to do things like strengthening networks and other issues on behalf of PAFD. The first person who aired out when I was circulating emails to opposition groups was the guy from Canada-Gerbi from Oromo TV. I was threatened. [Na harka fudhatte itti hojjachu qabda ture sila”]. Smart people got information, picked up the idea, expanded it, wrote vision and mission statements and formed PAFD, though PAFD is now led by different individuals. Some PAFD members responded to my emails after formation of PAFD. [gabaabumatti, oromoof abdiin kan jiru mana guddaa ijaarachudha. Dhunfaan sharafu hin oolu garu nama akka dandettitti bakka barbachisaa ta’etti hojjachisun bu’aa qaba ummataaf. Yaa Obbo Fayeera-ati gadi naqabde, ani immo aaru miti debiseen dhifama gaafadha].

  8. Fayyeeraa March 31, 2017 at 10:54 pm #

    Obbo Jimma,
    Ani gad si qabuuf miti. Waan ati jechuu barbaaddes naaf gala. Qaama hir’inaa hedduu qabna. Walmaan sirreeffachaa adeemna. Namni heddu callifnaan keessa galle malee namootni nu caala qabeenyaas beekumsas qaban jiru.

    Just take it easy. There is nothing personal here.

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