Genocidal Massacre of Oromos at Irreechaa: Lies of the Tigre-Led Regime By Asafa Jalata (Prof.)


by Asafa Jalata, PhD
The University of Tennessee

On October 2, 2016, the Tigre-led Ethiopian regime massacred more than seven hundred Oromos and injured hundreds more at Irreechaa, the Oromo national holiday of Thanksgiving held in Bishoftu in which millions had gathered. During the Irreechaa festival, Ethiopian security forces shot live ammunition into the crowd and fired tear gas, although they claimed that the lives lost were due to a stampede. Western media have joined in this claim, spreading inaccurate information about the tragic events of this day. However, Oromo victims know what happened to them, and they are telling their truth. They have used videos, pictures, and social media to release accurate information.

The victims say that the Tigre-led government used live bullets, teargas, helicopter gunships, armored cars and snipers to terrify and kill Oromo children, elderly, women and other sectors of the Oromo society that had gathered to celebrate Irreechaa. During the holiday, many young Oromos had chanted anti-government slogans to show support for Oromo Protests, a protest movement that has been taking place since November 2015. Although the holiday festival had this political moment, the massacre of hundreds of people on this day was an inhumane violation of one of the most sacred rituals of the Oromo. Irreechaa is a sacred holiday of peace and a celebration of culture, and the Ethiopian regime continues to push the limits of its inhumane violent practices.

For a quarter of a century, the Tigre-led regime has targeted Oromo mosques, churches and Galma (the house of Oromo indigenous religion) and killed hundreds of Oromo religious leaders who have expressed their Oromummaa (Oromo identity, culture, and ideology) through their religions, language, clothing, and other activities. The regime, mainly representing the interests of the Tigre, 6% of the Ethiopian population, has been committing heinous abuses and violence against the Oromo people, the largest ethno-national group in Ethiopia, and others, since its coming to power. Furthermore, in the process of transferring Oromo land and other resources to Tigre colonial elites and their collaborators, the regime has also targeted Oromo activists, politicians, students, and farmers who oppose its discriminatory and terrorist policies.

It is estimated that more than one million Oromos have been killed and thousands of Oromos have been suffering in prisons and secret concentration camps. Oromos who have been released from these prisons and concentration camps have exposed how Oromos are tortured, castrated, blinded, incapacitated, killed, and infected with HIV in various prisons and concentration camps. Also, hundreds of prisoners have perished due to the lack of adequate food, clothing, healthcare and other essential services. All these criminal acts have been committed on the brightest and conscious elements of the Oromo society. Unfortunately, the financial, military and diplomatic support of big powers has contributed to these genocidal and terrorist policies and practices for twenty-five years. Still these big powers refuse to take practical actions to stop the regime from its criminal acts. While giving lip service, these powers have continued to provide material support to the regime.

Currently, the Oromo people are determined more than ever to establish their political destiny. Despite continuous violent crackdowns and heinous massacres such as that at Irreechaa, they continue to protest peacefully and raise their voices to challenge the Ethiopian regime’s oppressive anti-Oromo policies. Tigre colonial elites and their collaborators have somehow convinced themselves that continuing and escalating violence against unarmed and peaceful civilians is their answer to controlling and quieting a people who are determined to struggle for their rights, sovereignty, and freedoms. The reaction from the Oromo has instead been more protests and more outrage at the Ethiopian regime’s inhumanity.

The Oromo, the Amhara, the Somali, the Konso, the Sidama, the Gambella and others need to join the Oromo protest movement to remove the Tigre-led terrorist and genocidal regime. Learning from the failures of the last two decades, the Oromo movement must rebuild its national organizational capacity and form an alliance with all peoples that are suffering from Ethiopian state terrorism, genocide, and war on the principles of national self-determination and an egalitarian multinational democracy.

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Posted by on October 19, 2016. Filed under FEATURED. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to Genocidal Massacre of Oromos at Irreechaa: Lies of the Tigre-Led Regime By Asafa Jalata (Prof.)

  1. Melek Dawit

    October 19, 2016 at 7:45 AM

    This is a regime which habitually kills people but it also constantly denies that it hasn’t.
    When it can not deny its glaring act at all,it then drastically minimizes the number of people killed thus reducing it to a number game rather than recognizing it as a priceless loss of human lives.
    Such is the pattern of its callous action with no accountability and thinking devoid of regret or apology.
    The Bishoftu massacre is not the first of its kind.
    Many preceded it in Addis Ababa, Gambella, Ogaden, Bahirdar,Gondar,Konso and other places where people were killed in impunity. I am afraid,many more will do.
    As it always does,TPLF claims that this massacre was caused by a’stampede’ and then it reduces the number to 52.
    Its Western friends, through their media outlet, also bandy around the same cause of incident and the same number of casualties purporting the all too familiar narrative.
    I,for one,am not surprised that such a propaganda is being weaved.
    What really surprises me is that we,the victims and their spokespersons are almost equally vague about the number of people we have lost.
    A.Jalata,when trying to refute that, puts the number to 700.Again this number has been bandied around as though we did not know the name and the identity of each precious person wantonly killed.
    For us,the people killed were not mere numbers nor are they ephemeral entities with whose death we are incensed now but we forget about it tomorrow as our rulers wish to dub as ‘people of short memory’
    Those victims were, each and everyone of them,precious lives sniffed in their prime by the guns of TPLF and whose loss we must continue to mourn and remember until justice is done against such criminal murder and also until we see a day when their quest for freedom is answered.
    In that respect, we must be having a central biographical data-base where we keep accurate records of the name,age,gender birth place,religion,occupation,name of relations and friends,date and manner of death of each one of our folk heartlessly murdered by the regime and whose death it trivializes in order to absolve it from its egregious crime and kill more.