Some of these injustices are recounted in a powerful 160-page document entitled “Because I am Oromo,” published by Amnesty International in 2014.
The hefty document only recounts repression between 20, in which Oromos have become victims of arrests and execution over “participation in peaceful protests over job opportunities, forced evictions, the price of fertilizer, students’ rights, the teaching of the Oromo language,” as well as over suspected political affiliations.
In Ethiopia, the “prison speaks Afaan Oromo.” Ethiopia is a nation divided into nine regions based on a system of ethnic federalism overseen by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front.
This political structure is born of the partnership between the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Front, which joined forces in 1990 to overthrow a brutal military regime.
In a keynote address to the Oromo Studies Association, Tesema Ta’a, author of The Political Economy of an African Society in Transformation, described the Abyssinnian Emperor Menelik’s use of firearms, provided by the Europeans, in order to colonize the Oromo people.
As an indigenous people of the area, they embody a diverse set of cultural customs, occupations and religions, but are tied together by a common language—Afaan Oromo—and a complex system of democratic governance known as the gadaa system.Gerba, a peaceful academic and leader of the opposition party, was originally arrested in 2011 under false charges of terrorism alongside another prominent Oromo politician, Olbana Lelisa, who remains in jail.