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Academics at the Amhara-Oromo conference in Bahir Dar recommended Oromo language to be taught in Amhara and vise-versa

Academics says promoting social and cultural relations, teaching Oromo language in Amhara and Amharic langauge in Oromo region important

borkena,Ethiopian News
November 4,2017

Oromo -Amhara -
The conference in Bahir Dar
Credit : Addisu Aerga Kitesa

A delegation from Oromo regional state under the leadership of Lemma Megersa is in Bahir Dar since yesterday. The news has become sensational among politicized Ethiopians in social media; of course there is divergence in opinion. As much as there are skeptics to OPDO’s move, there are also those who see it in a positive light and as something relevant to undo damages done to the relationship between the two blood related people (it is the case for the rest of Ethiopians of course but the level of intermingling between them is stronger. Millions of Ethiopians are born from both language group families)

Presentation from academics was part of the schedule during the conference between elders and politicians from both regions.

Based on reports by Addisu Kitessa Arega, Oromo Region Communication Bureau head, two academics had a presentation and made recommendations which they think will help promote Amhara-Oromo Unity.

Just to give a brief background to this story for readers who are not familiar to the current Ethiopian situation, since the coming to power of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in 1991, a politically motivated hate was manufactured to develop a sense of enmity between Amhara and Oromo. In fact, it caused sufferings and loss of hundreds of innocent lives -especially of Amharas who lived in Oromo region of Ethiopia for many generations.

Associate professor Birhanu Lemeso (historian) presented on “Role of Amhara and Oromo interconnectedness for building Ethiopia” and he made the following points and recommendations. Key points translates to the following :

    -Oromo was wrongly identified with the idea of secession but what defines Oromo is unity and togetherness. Mogassa and Gudifecha are good examples for that. Amhara people love Unity. Therefore, Amhara and Oromo have similar psychology.

    -The unity of the two people will open a special new chapter for the renaissance of Ethiopia

Recommendation :

    Organizing festival to foster cultural and social relation, connecting elites from both people, infrastructure development

Associate Professor Abebaw Ayalew (historian) presented on “Amhara-Oromo historical gaps and future directions”. Key points :

    -19th and 20th centuries Amara and Oromo history were misrepresented and misinterpreted which created a gap in understanding history.

    -Amhara people were confused with Amhara ruling elites.

    -The unity of the two people is damaged by elite politics that is not based on the interaction of the two people.
    -The notion of ethnic based oppression a misconceptions.

In terms of future direction, he recommended:

    -Regular cultural exchanges, committing air time in the regional media for programs that will help foster unity
    -Language teachings in both regions,teaching Amharic in Oromia and teaching oromigna in Amhara region
    -The notions of chauvinist and narrow nationalist are wrongly pined to people while they should have been seen as individual behaviors
    -Widening the political space; political elites to play a role in terms of promoting unity
    -Economic Unity and infrastructure development to promote the unity

Source : Addisu Arega Kitesa
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