ONN: Lifetime Achievement Legacy Of Bonnie Holcomb (Qabbanee)
The Power of Women:”Mala dubartii, humna bishaanii siif haa kennu!” When roughly translated, it is like saying, “May the Almighty Waaqaa/God/Allah/Buddha or whatever Creator you believe in give you the wisdom of a woman and the power of water! ” The three major lessons I have learned from a book – The Mighty and the Almighty, by the United States former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright are:
1. Every religion teaches forgiveness and I forgave my torturers in front of an award winning Catholic Nun, Sister Alice Zachmann, an American intern who was assigned by one of the universities in the United States to work at the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition ( lTASSC) – International and another torture survivor from Ethiopia, Mr. Demissie Abebe, the Executive Director of TASSC during that time.
2. The author quoted Pope John Paul II and her book teaches that all people who struggle with totalitarian regimes like the communist regime of Poland “should never reduce themselves into small controllable units.” Hence, it’s also a great lesson for the Oromo people not to reduce themselves into small controllable units. We need unity in action not only singing “tokkummaa, tokkummaa, tokkummaa, tokkummaa, yaa ilmaan Oromoo tokkummaa!” year in year out.
3. Being inclusive and respecting the rights of other people. We used to have good culture of tolerance to our neighbors before the conquest of Oromia by Menilik II. Moggaasa, Guddifacha and Harma-hodhaa cultural heritages of the Oromo Gadaa System were replaced by totalitarian and autocratic Abyssinian cultures. I personally cherish these cultural heritages and I have tried my best to revamp them.. Furthermore, I have also tried my best to distribute and disseminate both the Afaan Oromo and English versions of the United Nations Universal Declarations of Human Rights to many journalists and human rights advocates so that religious and ethnic minorities living in Oromia get the protection they deserve.
I would like to thank our heroine, Bonnie Holcomb, an Ameeican Anthropologist who was given a Mogasa citizenship by the Oromo pepple and given an Oromo name Qabbanee Waqo, for her lifetime accomplishments in advancing the Oromo cause. We had a very wonderful and memorable moment at the celebration ceremony in honor of her life time endeavor.
The organizers did a wonderful job and I would like to appreciate what they have done. We must learn to make balance between the Western cultures and Oromo Safuu and Safeeffannaa. More time should have been given to the leaders of Macha Tulama Association and other Oromo institutions.
I hope that all parties involved refrain from their old and barbaric totalitarian culture of domination and start respecting both domestic and international laws to avoid another crisis in the highly volatile conflict zones of the Horn of Africa such as the Ogden region, the Oromia region, the Sidama region, the Afar region, the Gambella region and so on.
May the Almighty Waaqaa open up the hearts of dictators who always think that their way of thinking is the only way. By Feyera Sobokssa
Book by Bonnie Holcomb and Sisai Ibasa: The Invention of Ethiopia