[EAJN] Lost Language Project – As you know EAJN is endeavoring to document and save as many of the East African Languages as possible. These languages link to history, culture, and a way of life quickly disappearing under the onslaught of modern enterprise.
The first piece of the project will be released next week. In conjunction with several major academic scholars EAJN will release a software package designed to capture and document the Oromo language. The first two pieces to this puzzle will be a PC based version followed by an Android version The iOS (Apple) version is in testing and will be released next.
This ambitious project is the largest of its kind and will be available for free by opting into the project. Stay tuned next week for exactly when it is released!
Thank you for all your hard work team!
The Ethiopian community mutual assistant association (ECMAA) is a registered, not-profit organization. One of its missions is to host events that will promote educational and cultural program in the community. This year, the Association took the initiative to encourage the Ethiopian community in the metropolitan New York City (NYC) to participate in walkathon and bring awareness to the problem and support autism center that provides much needed service to children, adolescents and youth with autism in Ethiopia.
ECMAA launched the “walk for autism” theme on its own website for people to donate and register on line. It also linked its website to the wider Facebook community. The response was good. Over the last few weeks as our community heard about this event, many have shared their thoughts about it and offered heartfelt advice.
The event took place on Saturday, June 18, 2016. Ms. Makda Amare board member of ECMAA delivered the welcoming remark. She highlighted the mission of ECMAA. She stated that over its 35 years of existence ECMAA has provided service to Ethiopian community in New York metropolitan area and supported a worthwhile causes back home. She outlined the day’s program, and thanked the crowd for taking the time from their busy schedules to join us for this event.
Then the 5K stretch walk started and was completed at Marcus Garevy/Mt. Morris Park in Harlem. The walkathon was a huge success drawing a large number of Ethiopians from New York tristate area. It was nice to see that many people come out to support this great cause. At the end of the event it was announced to the participants that the pledge income forecast shows at least $3000 was raised. The proceeding goes to NIA foundation in Ethiopia. NIA is one of its kind in East Africa probably the only one in Ethiopia that provides education advocacy, therapy and life skill training to autistic children and their families.
The event brought our community together, created unforgettable experience and memories in the minds of those who participated. People of all ages, from all walks of life participated in this worthwhile event creating autism awareness and fundraising initiatives. We hope all Ethiopians and friend of Ethiopians in several cities across America will organize similar events. ECMAA will continue to support any NGOs that is committed to educate, advocate and provide therapy, resources and support to the autistic children and their families.
Ethiopia is a country with a population of over 90 million. As we all know, the most common illness in Ethiopia is communicable diseases, not autism. Due to Lack of information, awareness, a shortage of health facilities, lack of educational program and cultural myth autism is unrecognized phenomena in Ethiopian society. Even though facts and statistics as to how many children are affected by this disability in Ethiopia is not readily known, from the anecdote information available, it is estimated to be in thousand. It is overwhelming to the parents who care for the children with autism. When families discovered their son or daughter has this disability they do not know how to manage it. There is no readily available service to go to. They might also be afraid to go out with their autistic child fearing that the child might hurt himself/herself or he/she might hurt someone unexpectedly. ECMAA believes organizing a walkathon for Autism to raise money and awareness is one of the ways that we can empower these parents and support the organization working on this issue. We have to bring autism out of the closet. It is time to wake up, remove the stigma and myth about this disability and ensure our society provide full support to the families who have children with autism and organizations that support them.
THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support this very important cause.
Ethiopian running great Kenenisa Bekele has railed against his “unfair” exclusion from the country’s marathon team for the Rio Olympics, adding to the growing discontent at the athletics federation’s management.
The 34-year-old Bekele, a triple Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion over 5,000 and 10,000m, had been hoping to revive his Olympic career in August over the longer distance.
He won his first outing over the marathon in Paris in 2014, but suffered an Achilles injury that put paid to the 2015 season. After that long lay-off, Bekele made his comeback with a third-placed finish in this year’s London marathon after just six weeks training.
But it was not enough to sway selectors, who instead picked Tesfaye Abera, Lemi Berhanu and Feyisa Lilesa for the men’s team.
“This is not fair,” stormed Bekele, also the most successful cross-country runner of all time with six long-course and five short-course titles between 2002 and 2008.
“The rules were never announced. They took the marathon times from the last two years back but they didn’t let the athletes know of this rule.”
The president of the Ethiopian athletics federation said Bekele had simply not ticked enough boxes despite his vaunted past.
“Kenenisa has ranked number seven according to his points,” Alebachew Nigusse said.
“We wish he had more points so he could be included on the team because of his fame and past trophies, but we can’t do anything, he couldn’t meet our criteria this year.”
Bekele received a vote of confidence from fellow running legend Haile Gebreselassie, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and four-time world champion over 10,000m.
“If I was on the selection committee my first choice would be Kenenisa,” Gebreselassie told AFP.
“An athlete like Kenenisa, it doesn’t matter if he wins or not. Morally his presence means a lot for the rest of the group. That’s why I wish to see him in Rio.”
Bekele’s exclusion has unearthed athletes’ general discontent with the federation.
Last week around 100 athletes and coaches protested in front of Addis Ababa’s main stadium against the body overseeing Ethiopian athletics.
“A lot of athletes are complaining,” Bekele said. “We’re not happy with the way the federation is managed.”
Fikir Yilikal, a long-time sports journalist for Radio Bisrat, added: “I have never seen an organised protest such as this one from the athletes.
“The connection between the federation and the athletes is a problem. The current leadership is not fit to lead.”
Yilikal said there were doubts not just over the selection for the Olympics but also training programmes.
“I don’t expect glamourous results in Rio as in past Olympics,” he lamented.
The Gadaa System was a unique method of governance that was pushed aside and forced into the background. Many now feel that is a good option to help Ethiopia gain true democracy without the violence and oppression now synonymous with the regime.
We will be introducing a great deal of factual information on this regal system of leadership in the coming weeks and months. Here are a few videos to start your learning!
We are grateful for the help of Mardaasa Addisu. Welcome to the team!
Haaji Mormor-Seenaa Odaa Bultum
1. Abaa Seena Haaji Mormor Odaa Rooba wagaa 3666 duuraa Odaa Rooba jiraa jedhanii.
· Aakaa beeksisanii, Odaa 5
Odaa Rooba – Qaptii 250
Odaa Baasil- Qaptii 300
Odaa Ulee- Qaptii 350
Odaa Naabe- Qaptii 450
Odaa Bultum qabxii 450+50=500
2. Boranaa irraa (Maccafa Obbo Ibrahim Amae Elemo¹)
Gumii Sirrichoo Leye
Gumii Simphira Balal
Gumii El dalloo
¹The Roles of Traditional Institutions Among The Borana Oromo, Southern Ethiopia
III. Oromo Traditional manufacturing/processing Salt Mines
[EAJN] Mardaasa Addisu – Oromo Activist – Oromo Language and History
This is a small peek at the Oromo language and History around the beginning of the 1900’s.
I. The first document is an online Oromo to English dictionary published by Cambridge Press. Edwin Foot and Liban Bultum wrote the dictionary in 1913. In the preface of the dictionary, Edwin Foot states the following regarding Oromo people:
[pullquote align=”normal”]”Though there are marked local differences in dialects even in Abyssinia itself, as for instance between that of the Oromos of the highlands and that of the Borana, yet the language is so essentially constant that the women and children of the Gurri tribe, who inhabit the El Wak oasis and surrounding districts under their chief Gababa, talk the same dialect as those of the Walega; though the men of the tribe, who travel about and have dealings with other tribes, use many Somali and even Arabic words.” [/pullquote]
The personal history of Liban Bultum is one that was well documented. Liban was one of many children abducted by Abyssinian King Menelik II and sold into slavery. It was a British Navy officer Commander Charles E Gissing in 1888 who freed the children from slavery and took them to Lovedale Missionary (South Africa).
The following BBC report provides an overview of one of the other children Bisho Jarsa, the grandmother of South African Apartheid activist Neville Alexander.
II. The Journal of Oromo studies Summer 1993 Volume 1 Number 1 provides some detailed analysis on Oromo langauge standardization that occurred in 1991. Dr Tilahun Gamta wrote Qube Affan Oromo: reasons for Choosing the Latin Script for Developing an Oromo Alphabet (see page 36). In the article, Professor Tilahun discusses how over 1000 Oromo scholars convened in Finfinne (Addis Abeba) November 3rd, 1991 to standardized Oromo writing on Latin scripts.
III. Dr Addisu Tolesa wrote the article Oromo Literature, Geerarsa and the Liberation Struggle (pg 59) found in Journal of Oromo Studies 1994 Volume 1 Number 2. The article is centered on Geerarsa (folksongs) and it’s role in preserving Oromo language and culture. Another aspect of Oromo culture that has influenced continuity of Oromo language is the Gadaa system. Gadaa is an “Oromo Social, political and economic order. It is the symbol of Oromo unity and love among the Oromos. It is a democratic system of government that symbolizes Oromo civilization.”
Through Gadaa administrative process, Oromo from rural to densely populated regions sent delegates to meet at Odaa or Gummi to deliberate on new laws and elect new leaders. As a result, Oromo language retained continuity across regions as observed by Edwin Foot. The Gadaa system was intact until the late 1890’s when Abyssinian King defeated and massacred many Oromo. The Abyssinian King instituted systems to restrict Oromo movement in attempts to destroy Gadaa. Today, some Oromo regions continue to practice Gadaa in it’s original state while other regions have renewed Gadaa practices. Video of Gadaa by region are available on youtube.
IV. Journal of Oromo Studies 1995 Volume 1&2 and Number 1 &2 has details on earlier research conducted by Oromo Students Study group in Europe 1972. The article by Dr Feyisa Demie
titled Special Features in Oromiffa and Reasons for Adopting Latin Scripts for Developing Oromo Orthography (pg 22).
Hopefully, the above provides everyone some details along with added historical references as it gives a broader picture to what influenced and contributed to the retention of Oromo language.