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April 15, 2013 / qalbesa

Buttaa an Oromoo English love story


Communities north of Finfinnee were preparing for a  defensive campaign. It was during that period that a girl by the name Buttaa was  born to a Galaan family. Her grandfather called her Buttaa in anticipation of  the coming campaign. It was also in the same period that a boy named Jijoo was  born to an Eekkaa family. Both experienced the initial part of the invasion of  the south personally. They also outlived most of the warlords.

Long, long ago Oromo and Habashaa lived side by side  one independent of the other under mutual mistrust. Though there were raids on  both sides no one of them was able to capture territory as long as both were  armed with the same types of weapons. But international and domestic relations  were to change in favor of Habashaa.

Habashaa territory included Bulgaa, Tagulat and Manz  and the Gondoree and Tigree lands to the north. At certain stage the equilibrium  was changed. The Habashaa were able to amass tremendous firepower from then big  powers of the West. The Oromoo situation remained constant. Therefore Habashaa  force was able to break the defense lines of Tuulamaa and northern Macca, the  tribes on the forefront. Buttaa, a teenager then has witnessed a part of it.

Because of the change in balance of firepower the  internal fabrics of society was shaken. Political and economic structures  changed hands from natives to the invaders. Social relations got confused. The  politico-social culture built over time immemorial came under threat with the  adoption of new alien religion. As a result many indigenous institutions  suffered the consequences.

Traditionally Oromoo youth practiced an open system  of dating called qabdoo. Girls introduce their boy friends to their parents and  refusing was safuu (omen). There was no premarital sexual intercourse. But  kissing was allowed. Both were said to be “michuu” for each other. The michuu of  a girl is not expected to marry her. He only protected her up to marriage.

The boy can take his michuu to dances and evening  parties after telling the parents. They have to trust him. Those who adopted the  new religion could not distinguish social culture from faith so they started to  hinder it. That also affected their outlook for traditional marriage. By the  invasion a new class of rich people was created. Intermarrying within a class  was sought. So there was no consideration of hobo and coora.  No tracing of  family roots for diseases and other background history.

Many prominent clans were uprooted. Leaders that  resisted were killed, sent to prisons on Habashaa plateaus to their north or  banished from their area. The resistance was so formidable that the army of the  king was kept at bay for a long time. Then Oromoo lands south of them enjoyed  relative peace because of the sacrifices the central heroes made. Now with  breaking of that defense line a flood gate was opened to the south.

Buttaa was born at Roggee. Roggee is a plateau to the  north of Finfinnee. It was a known big market for exportable items. After the  invasion it became a slave trade center, it was told. It was considered as God  sent curse for human beings to be sold like horses, cattle and donkeys in the  market. Warjii, an Oromoo clan was transplanted during those days from their  ancestral holding to a new one at Daalatti south of Finfinnee. In Warjii’s place  settlers from the imperial army were planted. Emperor’s grain silos were also  built there.

Such displacements and new settlements have  contributed to further dislocation of social order. Open dating of young boys  started to be considered despicable by the new class. Buttaa’s parents were  among those who were proselytized and started to adopt the rulers’ ways. The  father always had a book in his armpit hanging from his shoulders in a hide bag.  He was not proficient in reading. On the other hand both grandfathers of Buttaa  died in the war of resistance. All tongues specially singers and minstrels  praise their courage even long after they were dead. They both were remembered  by nationalists as heroes to be emulated.

Buttaa was almost thirteen. She was reserved in her  actions but decisive when the need arises. She didn’t see her period yet. But  she had her eyes on a neighboring boy, Jijoo. On the other hand he was shy and  doesn’t see any one in the eye. However he was known as an outstanding athlete  among his peers and as a brilliant sociable boy by the neighborhood.  He  comes from a humble family that was unable to revive from the calamities of war.  But he was a native of high standing in descent.

Some how, she coaxed him to dare and play with her.  They have tried to keep their relations on low level and confidential. But  rumors started to circulate throughout the village that they were sitting qabdoo  (dating). It was her age that was presented as a concern for every body. Most  living in the neighborhood were settlers. They understand relation of boy and  girl only as sexual intercourse. They didn’t have the michuu institution  practiced by the natives.

Jijoo’s father was scared when he heard the rumor.  They had nothing to hide from each other so he asked his son and verified all  that was happening. He found nothing out of the ordinary but it was enough for  the enemy to incriminate him. So he and advised his son to sever that relation.  But he told his father that it was impossible as long as he lives in this area.  So he assured him that he wouldn’t stay around to shame him. That was also a big  blow to the impoverished father. He was his only son. He lost his wife and many  family members to the war. He narrowly escaped from the wound sustained in the  war. He had become a recluse and doesn’t want to be reminded of the past. His  will to live was motivated by the existence of his children.

Jijoo was his only hope to look after the sibling if  any thing happened to him. But the rumors were destroying his hopes. Danger was  again looming over the family because of a traditional practice. Buttaa had  already made a covenant with Jijoo as her Michuu. Because the parents didn’t  accept, the matter was kept confidential. That was what caused the rumors.

More over her parents warned her that what she was  doing could be harmful to the boy and his family. By your act, the told her, you  are daring to challenge our new religion. But she refused to budge and insisted  that they recognize him as the old tradition demands. The matter has nothing to  do with his family but her and Jijoo. I am only doing it in memory of my beloved  grandfathers, who taught me all I know about myself. Don’t you see I am helping  to revive you after death, she asked her parents.

You both had told me that you had michuu before your  marriage she complained. Then why did it become unacceptable when it came to me?  The father responded, that is past and gone. We are now new people. We had  already given up the old religion, the old political system and all the old  ways. All are too primitive to us now. Don’t you see? Do you want to make us a  laughing stock in our own neighborhood? Do you want us to lose the respect we  got after we sacrificed our honor and dignity? Do you want the rulers to call us  Gaallaa, the name they attribute to all they enslaved and those who didn’t take  their religion?

Father, she called him to attention; how low can you  go to satisfy them? You have lost your Caffee, your Bokkuu, your Caaccuu and  Kallacha what else is left for you to give up? Is it not yesterday that your  father laid his life for his family and people’s honor? Who is going to avenge  them, are you not the one who were supposed to do that?

Leave the vengeance she said to him, are you not  responsible to uphold your people’s culture and language rather than murmuring  with that book you carry under your armpit? Now you are forbidding your daughter  not to practice her youth. What next, are you not going to give her to the gun  wielder to gain small favor? What is more despicable than that? Whether you like  it or not I am going to have my michuu by my side until you give my hand with my  consent; the reverse of old ways do not work for me as well.

The father was furious; he raised his voice and asked  her to get away from his presence. Ok Abbayyee, what ever the matter you still  are my father, I don’t hate you for ignorance and opportunism. There are many  things to hate and I don’t want to add to it any more. Please call for me when  ever you cool down. After this he threw at her something in his hand, she dodged  and exited. He didn’t run after her but instead started sobbing from indignation  and shame.

One day a wave of horde came marching from the north.  Roggee was flooded with gun, spear and club carrying country men, heavily loaded  pack animals and slaves. They were going to Dildilaa to join the imperial army  preparing for southern invasion. It was a mixed body of men.

The horde included Gondoree that submitted to Tigree  after the death of their mad sovereign; Tigreans that could not save their  king’s head from being severed by the enemy; the long defeated and displaced  Agawu and Oromoo peasants. All have failed as groups. Now they have much to  prove as individuals. This massive human throng attracted so many young people  that some joined it while others simply followed it.

Jijoo told Buttaa of his decision to follow the  marchers to where ever they go. Buttaa was stunned. She didn’t expect challenges  to come so fast. She had clashed with her parents for his sake. If she stays  behind she is going to lose him. All in all she is going to be the sole loser.  She couldn’t comment on what he said but was lost in thought and couldn’t make  head and tell of what is happening to her. She said to him, it would have been  better if we had decided together but you might have enough reason for doing  that. You have left me with no choice than go with you where ever you go.

He frankly told her why he had to so urgently decide  to go away. He also told her that if every thing goes alright he will be coming  back for her. If any thing happened to him he believed at least she would remain  with his memory. Otherwise for both of them to take the risk of going into war  would be irrational. He said to her that he believed she would be there for his  father in his absence.

She replied to him that she appreciates her reasoning  but she has confidence in his heroic father that her help would be  insignificant. My life I believe is interwoven with yours. Therefore I cannot  live without you, my life or death has to be with you. I cannot leave you alone;  we have to face evil and virtue together. Therefore forget living me behind and  going alone with this brutal horde.

He tried to make her change her mind. But no is no  more an answer for her. She had already made up her mind. So he was forced to  agree. Her father didn’t call for her since he threw a missile at her. The  mother was on the side of the father. So she had no more love left for them. For  her they were enemy worshipers.

Both left home without any provision and runaway with  the colonial army.  He took her to his father and informed him of their  decision. He blessed them and told them to be vigilant at all times. They left  him to join the march. In the march no body noticed them as different from the  rest. So they peacefully moved with part of the horde that spoke their  languages, the mercenaries that joined the enemy. By chance they caught the  attention of an old warrior who asked them to stay closer to him. He was a  Waaqaa fearing individual and despised the new religion. Buttaa envied him and  in her heart she asked, why didn’t my father be like him?

The old warrior advised the not to be deceived by  what they see. This horde has no brain of its own; it is flowing with the stick  of the king of Shawaa. Its mission is to destroy what ever is left of us. I am  moving with them as their partner. But my intentions are different. I want to  save as many as I can from temptation to join hands with our enemy and destroy  our own. I will go with them as long as I could. But I want you to be ready to  leave this northern army when I tell you. Until then stay with me. You shall act  only on my orders.

The northern army joined Goobanaa’s force after  reaching Finfinnee. Goobanaa, said the story teller, was the great general that  helped the conquerors to subdue his own people. His old enemies had been armed  by unforeseen war machines. He felt it would be difficult to face them head on.  So he decided to join them and share the booty. He chose his selfish interest  over the honor to die fighting for independence of his people. On the other hand  his compatriots couldn’t stand the shame of losing liberty without a fight. They  all looked upon Goobanaa with contempt and cursed him for standing with the  historical enemy.

Goobanaa said the storyteller, remained an example of  a quisling to this day. The march from Finfinnee was like a dam whose walls were  broken from water pressure. The whole population in front of the deluge was  devastated and lost self control. Almost half the population was wiped out.  Those that survived were traumatized and confused.

Community after comminuty was blown away by the  torrent. Jijoo and Buttaa followed the current from behind under the auspices of  the old warrior. It was a campaign against Walisoo and Sooddoo. When they  reached Bacho the old man advised them to part. He gave them small provision  from what he had. He told them to go to Ambo where they could sale their labor  and live. He knows the area in detail. So he told them where to rest and when to  move.

Before seeing them off, he gave them a piece of  advice. So far he said, you have seen how devastating a war is. This flood that  you are observing will run out. Probably half of it may go to the end. On the  opposite side are people who fight for their freedom though going against the  torrent it would not be easy to subdue them. They will be broken after  destroying a good portion of this horde.

You have seen how people are traumatized and scared.  You have also seen how this militia kept on hammering upon them that they are  subhuman and have to serve “ye sew lij” (the children of men) without question.  If you have a keen eye you could see the plan lying ahead. They want these  people remain traumatized and meek so that they use them as they like.

It doesn’t need to be a prophet to see what is in  store for the future. This exercise of keeping the conquered people in doldrums  of trauma and the effort to confuse them will continue as long as they have  advantage of the gun over these people. Generation to come will find themselves  in such trauma shaped society and remain worshiping the values and grandness of  their conquerors.

They are even going to sing in praise of this war and  the leaders as if it was for their own redemption and glory. Even people like me  who are born and brought up in liberty have started to worship and praise the  leaders as if they were Waaqaa. We had never exalted our leaders, the Luba and  the Abbaa Gadaa above humans.  How can one expect our descendant who know  nothing except these Bulguu (monsters) do otherwise?

I wanted you to part this group at this junction  because I want you to survive and tell this story to your children. The way I  show is relatively safe. We have fought like leopards but luck was not on our  side. We ourselves defeated ourselves. Then we joined the victor against our own  people. The leader of this horde is an Oromoo that caused our defeat. Still he  is continuing to lead the massacre against peaceful people, as you have  observed. He is presenting his own freedom to his masters on silver plate. I  have also joined him in this shameful act.

Now go your own way. Try to live on your on sweat.  Never forget what you have seen and experienced in life. Let your children know  about it and pass to their children in turn. A day may come when people cannot  bear humiliation any more. I have no doubt that this great people one day will  explode. If there is enough information of its past such explosion could be  thoughtfully guided. Even after that it may be difficult to produce liberated  minds that will reassert their proper place among nations. But there is no doubt  he said, that they will be produced with time.

History is full of such episodes that come and go.  This will be one of them. The fallen will rise and the risen will fall that is  the truth of development. But this pain will continue far beyond your life span.  Then he bade them farewell with his eyes full of tears. He probably brought to  mind his children of the same age who fell fighting by his side. After that they  started westward towards Ambo as advised.

The story teller paused for a while. He interjected  his observation. You see children, these days we hear about liberation fronts  here and there. Those are the children of the people who were traumatized during  Buttaa’s days. They are taking longer time than expected to show satisfactory  result. That is because there are among their ranks those that are not yet  liberated from the century old trauma. Their parents had been hammering on them  the indomitableness of the Habashaa as they were hammered on by their parents.  They still think that their umbilical cord is plucked from their mothers and  inserted into the colonial system. Therefore the horde that looked like a river  breaking its dam comes to their memory as if they witnessed it.

On the one hand they are afraid to cut this umbilical  cord and erase this memory. And on the other hand their conscious self puts them  to shame for living in the past. They are not yet sure if they have the muscles  to bring about change.  It is such ambivalence that makes them to waver at  every turn.

The enemy had changed itself to cope up with changing  situation. It is devising methods of keeping them within its own control. It  speaks their language of liberation but with a very faint sound. That makes them  more eager to hear what it is saying rather than to raise their voice and force  it to listen to them.

The story teller then continued on the trail of the  couples. On their way he said, they found shelter at a rich farmer’s home. He  was called Fayisaa. This area was under direct control of one of the quislings,  Qusee, who was loyal to the emperor. For this reason the trauma that the others  suffered was not that strong here. Buttaa and Jijoo told the farmer that they  were heading for Ambo to look for a living. And told him their entire story and  that they were not yet married but loved each other, they were still michuu.  Fayisaa was surprised at such a strange event.

He told them that he could take them on his farm as  helping hands and also arrange when they reach of age for their marriage if they  were willing. To do this he only demands from them to live according to his  rules. They didn’t believe their ears. When they heard the offer they looked at  each other and so gladly expressed their acceptance simultaneously. In their  hearts they said if your rules are harsh we can run away as we did from  Roggee.

Fayisaa gave them a cottage to which the boy can move  immediately. He told them the girl could stay at his home until she reaches  fifteen. Then both agreed and thanked the farmer for giving them shelter, though  the separation seemed unnecessary since they came all this way protecting their  honor. But they didn’t want to counter their patron.

The boy started helping the farmer in plowing and  cultivation. The girl took part in duties assigned for the farmer’s daughters.  Though she couldn’t say it openly she felt she was unfairly separated from her  hard won boy. So she started to plan how to hasten her wedding. After  staying for a year in that way one day she thought of communicating her feelings  to the farmer. She never doubted his kindness and understanding but she was shy  to talk to him about wedding when she was yet not fifteen. It was holyday.  During holidays green grass and certain aromatic leaves are spread in the house  as sign of peace and tranquility. There was a stinking herb called muka udaanii  or cuqun (wormwood). When cut a small piece could spoil the whole room.

She was sent with another girl to cut grass for the  purpose. Buttaa added to her cut a small piece of cuqun. And she spread her part  in the bed room of Fayisaa. Invited guests came feasted and left. Fayisaa went  to his bed room to sleep. But there was stinking odder which almost made him to  throw up. He went out and asked all children to go in and check what was  stinking.

They searched every corner but nothing was found.  Buttaa was also turning every grass as if she doesn’t know the exact location.  Finally after an exhaustive search she picked it up and said, here it is, it is  this small cuqun that polluted the world. Size doesn’t matter for Cuqun and  girls, she said with astonishment.

Fayisaa got the message and decided to send her the  soonest possible. As a patron of the couple he has to prepare both  psychologically and materially. Preparation for the wedding party started way  ahead of the wedding day. Buttaa was then part of the family and the community  around there. So like all girls of the area she has to begin a continuous  singing and dancing party that will involve boys and girls. Dancing will be  there every night that has moon light.

The singing included praising or raising the memories  of all they have relation with, the dead and the living. Her new parents and  friends had also to be raised. The singings are divided into two. One is  retelling history and appealing to each relative to save her from what is going  to happen and that was called seenaa or mararoo (hinsiree). The other is  defaming the in-laws and is called arrabsoo (tartarii-tartarii, araba durbaa…).

The rich farmer had two wives. Their houses were  about two miles apart. Buttaa lived with the second wife while Jijoo’s cottage  was in the neighborhood of the senior wife. Wedding preparations were being made  in both houses. Usually gabbaraa (dory) was expected from the boy. That also was  prepared by the senior wife who is now acting as Jijoo’s mother. A bull and a  heifer, bullukkoo for her mother (junior wife), tamboo and coffee for councilors  were prepared. For the bride jewelry from gold, silver and beads were  packed.

The escort consisted of twenty horse men and twenty  men on feet. A saddled mule was also taken for the return journey with the girl.  As they reached their destination girls waited for them singing songs that  praise the bride and defame the groom. The groom and his entourage spent the  night at the girl’s residence.

In the morning the councilors and the mother were  present on the blessing ceremony. They blessed the couple the escorts and the  clan and gave the girl’s hand to the waa’ilaa (best man). He took her and mixed  her with the brides group. Girls sang song of farewell sending away their friend  with tears for the change of status she is going to undergo. For the girls she  is no more going to dance or play with them. She will be a married woman and her  interest would be with married woman.

The girl was first put on a horse and then  transferred to mule for it was bad omen to put her on the ever barren mule  first. Then the wedding procession bade the host’s farewell and left the area  mounted. Gifts from the junior wife and other people to the bride were loaded on  five donkeys. It included utensils, special food, dresses etc. The escorts sang  war songs until they reached the groom’s quarter. At home girls lined up in  front the house and sang songs that praise the groom and condemn the bride.  There was commotion when the girls refused to late the bride in.

The bride and the bride groom stand on the threshold  in front of the door. The mother performs a ritual give them some beverage to  sip. Then a ram is brought and the couples anoint it with green grass. The groom  then slew it and both stride over the blood and got into the house. That process  was called “rakoo qaluu” (slaying rakoo). It is what others call “tie the  knot”.

Both were virgins. It was the first night of sleeping  in each others arms. There was no struggle like the other girls; these had been  together during a long journey on foot. Though under different blankets, they  used to sleep side by side. Their relation never exceeded kissing each other in  sitting position. They were eagerly waiting for this day to satisfy their  craving. They proved their virginity beyond doubt. Fayisaa gave her a lactating  cow and a plot of land. He gave Jijoo a rifle and pairs of oxen with all their  equipments. Fayisaa and the wives were very happy.

Both started life with those initial gifts of Fayisaa  and the wives and friends. They were grateful to these kind people and showed  their gratitude when ever they got the chance to demonstrate. The farmer trusted  all his domestic activities to Jijoo when ever he was away on business. He  looked after the wellbeing of the wives, the cattle and the proper handling of  the cultivations and harvesting. He was like a son.

With hard work Jijoo and Buttaa became very rich.  They bought more plots of land and expanded the type of cultivation. They  befriended an Italian POW of the battle of Adowa who chose to remain behind  after he was freed. He was settled around there by Baalchaa Saafoo a famous  artillery expert of that battle. He showed them some skills of farming and they  improved a lot from the surrounding. They added oil seeds and vegetables to  their farm item. They also improved their churning system and started to produce  more butter for the market. Vegetables and fruits were added to their table.

Every weekend they took their produce to Tulluu  Boolloo. It is around there that Qusee Diinagdee and Baalchaa Saafoo were  captured in an earlier war. Baalchaa was amputated and he cannot reproduce. Both  were wholly converted to the culture and religion of the conquerors and so led  battalions during the campaign witnessed by Buttaa and Jijoo. Their loyalty to  the captor was absolute despite their historical background. In return the whole  area was put under Qusee’s private domain. That was why the area was relatively  peaceful.

Buttaa and Jijoo had several children the eldest,  Galaanee was fifteen and the last one was five years young. They lived a happy  luxurious life. They have hired a monk to teach their children reading and  writing the alien language. Except for the smallest all had become literates. In  the mean time a school was opened at Tulluu Boolloo with better facility than  they can provide at home. So they sent one of their boys, Badhaadhaa, to attend  that school. They kept him with a friend they recently made from among the new  comers.

The boy stayed there for the weekdays and returns  home on weekends. After staying at school for a month he refused to go back. His  patience was exhausted. He complained that the people he was living with do not  appreciate any thing he does and treated him differently from other children.  They also refer to me he said, as “aramanee”, (bestial heathen). In addition at  school students harass me by calling me names like “basbaassaa Gaallaa, qimaal  ballaa Gaallaa, kabt Gaallaa, timbahoo gorash Gaallaa, farii Gaallaa) etc” (dirty, lice eating, tobacco munching, animal, coward). All I have come to know  are bad attributes.

The teachers also mock my name because they say “da” rather than “dh”. I think it means something funny in their language. They  always ask me to change it. But I told them that it is given me by my parents  and they are the only ones that could change it. But they repeat the same  comment every day. So I cannot bear their insult I better remain here and live  like all my peers. Galaanee intervened and said for his age the lesson we get  here is enough so please, she beseeched her parents not to force him back. They  agreed and he continued to study at home with his siblings.

It was all part of the effort to deny the conquered  people self confidence, the monk told Buttaa when she asked him why such things  happen. Mental and physical harassment will continue as long as inequality of  peoples existed. They don’t want colonial people to feel equal human beings with  their conquerors. They have to be forced to accept that they are subhuman.  Otherwise with their numbers it would be difficult to keep them underfoot for  long. If they could instill inferiority at such young age the boy will remain  submissive throughout his life; that is the purpose of the harassment said the  monk to Buttaa.

You know the monk continued, the saying “utuu sareen  gurra qabdu bukoo koo nyaatteewoo” jennaan “utuu dubatiin qodaa see qadaaddatu  naan jetteewoo” jette sareen. (“Had a dog that have fame/ear eaten my dough?” to  which the dog replied “had a woman who covers her utensils blamed me so?”). Your  brother and all as tender as him do not see what the dog saw. So they will be  cajoled to believe the wretched personality of their abusers as an ideal one and  will be hard for them to aim higher. That is what they wanted, to keep the  colonized see no virtue in themselves. In the short run that may hold water but  down the road the flood will engulf them, that is what we learn from history.

Jijoo and Buttaa is far from direct discrimination  thanks to Qusee the patron of Fayisaa. They had several maid servants and  farming hands. They had also given chance of attending the monk’s lessons for  children of some of their servants. Most of the servants were persons displaced  by the war. They appreciated any thing that could give them repose even if  temporary. Their mentors are their own flesh and blood that Waaq has preserved  for them in this corner. They have seen how the alien treats them before they  found this sanctuary.

For some one who has lost wealth, independence and  human dignity, talking about right in a lesser setting becomes a luxury. As long  as they get shelter and buddeena (food) on the plate for the family and no fear  of burning and hanging they were thankful. For them there was no one greater  than the people who gave them shelter. Badhaadhaa didn’t have similar experience  that was why he was hurts by verbal abuse of people he met in town.

One of the farmers had a handsome son sixteen years  of age. His name was Namoomsaa. He goes to the monk’s class with permission of  Buttaa. He helped her in confidential errands when ever she wanted. In his  lessons he was outstanding among peers. They were at the same level with  Galaanee. Competition between them was high. They both finished reading the  Psalm together.

The teacher was well educated in Gi’iiz, the church  language. So he started teaching them Gi’iiz so that they can understand what  they read. He himself was one of those who survived from the war. After his  father and elder brother were killed resisting the invasion he followed a  caravan moving north word. He parted from the caravan in Salaalee and took  shelter at a monastery called Dabree Libanos. He became a monk at a young age.  It was there that he learned Gi’iiz and all the books of the Coptic Church. With  Dabree Libanos as his base he had traveled to most Absinian monasteries famous  for their teachings. By all standards he could pass for Habashaa elite.

After completing his lessons in theology he left the  monastery and starting looking for a teaching job. It was then that he came to  this area. Originally he was from Maaruu, not very far from Tulluu Boolloo. He  had gone there but couldn’t find any one whom he could recognize. All his  relatives were displaced or killed. He didn’t want to investigate more for there  could be negative as well as positive flashbacks. So with grief on his heart he  headed towards Ambo.  On his way he was offered this teaching job.

Since then he helped his students to see thing  critically. He made them know the dogma of the church. But he didn’t express  that those were the only truth. He never made value judgment on traditional  religion that had adherents still. But impliedly showed reverence for it. His  teachings imparted to the student a sense of responsibility and self  consciousness. He subtly inculcated them with a profound belief that no people  is superior to the other and that all people deserve equal opportunity and  independence for development. From his lessons they came out with resolve that  freedom has no alternative.

The colonial office at Tulluu Boolloo had shortage of  literate personnel. When they heard about the monk they sent for him and ordered  him to work for them. He requested them for some time to roundup his contract  with Jijoo and his wife. He was granted three months out of the six he  requested. So within that time he gave Namoomsaa and Galaanee a crash program  that would enable them to teach reading, writing and the conquerors language. He  in confidence made them to swear that they do no harm to the natives with the  knowledge they acquired.

The monk left the rest of the students in the hands  of the new scholars and bade them and his employers good bye. Overall he made  Galaanee responsible for running of the school. He suspected government may also  send for Namoomsaa if they hear about his abilities. But Galaanee being a girl  is protected by tradition not to leave home before marriage.

Therefore, he thought the school can have a longer  life. He also prayed Buttaa to give a chance to the children of the area by  keeping the school open. She promised to do that as long as she lived. He also  told her in private that he has encouraged her daughter to teach the native  language while Namoomsaa handles the alien one. Her face brightened at ones and  she gave him money and some provision over and above his salary and saw him off.  In later years it was heard that he was summoned to Finfinnee to work for the  church. It was also told that he had even risen to the rank of Icceeggee  (cardinal) before his death.

Buttaa was very happy. She felt her grandfathers were  going to be avenged in different way. Thanks to you Waaq of my ancestors she  said holding her hands up to the sky. I didn’t know my daughter can read and  write my own language. In her heart she said thank you monk, you are the  impermeable horse bean that escapes roasting in what ever heat it passes. As  long as there are persons like you our nation shall survive.

One day the daughter approached her parents asked  them to take Namoomsaa as her michuu. Buttaa was furious. How dare you reduce  yourself to servant level? Don’t you know who you are? All people native and  alien look upon us as shining stars and you want to dim it. Please, Buttaa said,  don’t ever repeat this joke. Jijoo didn’t comment, but asked her to go out until  she was summoned.

After his daughter left Jijoo started to laugh very  laud. He remembered what she told him about her parents. He said this is what  they say history repeats itself. She is becoming your replica. But she snapped  at him and said, my parents knew you genealogy but this one, how do we know who  he is?  Then Jijoo snapped at and said, if you are looking to it that way  who are we, who knows us? He then said I don’t want to contradict you but what  do you want us to tell her? What if she says go to hell and continue with her  plan?

Buttaa said with fury, I would not be as docile as my  parents but will hogtie her and teach her a lesson. I am doing it for us not for  our enemies like them. I know she is closer to you than me. But simply keep  quite and I will tell her how to behave as long as I live. She will be told she  may run away but cannot escape my wrath. They agreed and she was called in.

Buttaa started by saying, I have raised the matter  with your dad but I told him to stay off for this is a woman matter. The reply  to your request is “over my dead body”. Understood? The girl didn’t show any  emotion. She was cool in her composure. She said mother, I am not talking about  you it is about me. I came to you thinking that you will be happy that I even  asked you.

You see around you when girls run away with colonial  soldiers that can take them farther from home, from their parents’ life of  pretense? But you live in dreams where I will be stepping ladder for you to  colonial echelons. Don’t you think it will be hypocritical to say you love your  grand parents and your people while you are fast embracing alien values? How do  you reconcile the love for your people which are majority poor and rejecting a  needy but intelligent national to be your daughter’s michuu?

He is one of the unfortunate individuals that were  dislocated by war of aggression just like you. Who knew who you were when you  arrived here? Who knows you even now? Thanks to grandpa Fayisaa you are what you  are now. Does that teach you any thing? Is it Namoomsaa’s qaroo (intellect) or  his class that bothered you? Have you observed any thing immature about him? He  can read and write his language and others, can you?

Dad, don’t make me despise you. Why do you say you  stand for equality of genders and leave mom to mess up against her own woman  right. She is refusing me to decide for my self because I am a woman. I didn’t  ask much, I asked only the one proclaimed by the Gadaa fathers of the past.  Should we change that for our selfish interest because there is no authority to  enforce it? Didn’t you tell us to abide by the rules of safuu (ethics and law)?  Why did you keep quite now?

Let me tell you frankly. I don’t need a michuu,  forget it. From this time on I don’t accept your words because you both are not  truthful, you are hypocrites. Thank you for allowing me to learn the secrets of  foreign language. If you go to them to accuse me they understand me better and  you will lose. If you want to use force against me you have to justify it to  grandpa Fayisaa your patron and the alien law. So forget that too.

I am now fifteen and have reached puberty. Bless me  to find my own way. The father broke down with tears; he couldn’t utter any  relevant word. The mother got up and went to her bed room as if with her tail  down. All the bragging was bitten. The daughter bent down and hugged her father.  She told him she didn’t mean to hurt him but to defend her right. Go and console  her and have a good sleep and we shall go over it in the morning, she said and  went out.

She went to the Fayisaa’s with the boy and knocked at  the door. The servant let them in. She asked for grandpa. Grandpa heard her and  came out. What brought you at this time Kumbee (that was the way he addressed  her endearingly)? Are your parents not well? She replied, I don’t know. Then she  told him what they did to her and that she came for his help. Since they refused  him as a michuu I have decided to take him as my husband. I have proposed this  to him and he has accepted. I know that is strange but when they act strangely  what can I do?

Don’t take it as disrespect for you. Where else can I  go except to you at this testing time in my life? She pleaded to him. Can you  send jarsaa (councilors) on his behalf the soonest possible? Otherwise I am  going to run away without permission and without a husband. I will not marry  without their consent as long as I live around here. Grandpa, she called him to  attention and said that he was going to lose her if he doesn’t act promptly.

The grandpa was surprised at the parent’s response  more than he was amazed at the girl’s daring request? What happened to them is  happening to their daughter. Why did they entertain double standard in their  judgment? He was puzzled by general human behavior. He asked her to give him  some time to think over it and do what he deem necessary. He told her to have  patience until he calls for her. That night the boy went to his parents’ and she  went to her junior grandma and spent the night there. Before that she has gone  in and chatted a bit with the senior grandma. She has informed both as to what  was going on.

Though not biological grandparents Galaanee knows  only these ones as her grand parents. Oromoo society is divided into two  moieties, coora and hobo. Grand children and parents belong to the same moiety.  So they are natural allies against parents. These ones were also expected to  stand with Galaanee since they are the only grandparents she knew. So they  encouraged and advised her to stay cool and rational in her acts. If it comes to  face off they assured her their unconditional support.

Galaanee and Namoomsaa were waiting eagerly for a  response from the grandfather. In the morrow she went to see her father. But he  asked her for more time before he meets her. She felt alienated and was  pondering for her next step. In the mean time they heard about school in  Finfinnee that has started to teach Faranjii language. So they decided that  Namoomsaa goes and join it if possible.

Namoomsaa left and she was now alone, waiting for a  contact from him, her grandpa and parents. In the mean time school program went  on as usual. After two weeks she told her grandfather to suspend her request if  he was thinking about it. He asked her why she changed her mind. Akaakaa  (grandpa)!  She called for his attention; time is running we cannot go on  as if we have all the time on earth. Governors are changed, markets change,  values change, and everything changes so fast that unless we try to catch up we  would be caught unprepared like your grandfathers.

It is now over fortnight since I requested you for  your help. But you are not yet ready to give me an answer even if it is “No”. Since then several things happened, events had forced my boy to run away. And  your service may not be required unless he changed his mind and comes back. Your  saying of “let us sleep on it” doesn’t serve the modern situation. Fast  decisions are required to cope with these changing times.

Didn’t you hear the empress is seriously ill? What if  she died? Do you think relations would remain as they were? How would the tug of  war between Xaayituu and Tafarii going to end? Qusee is said to not to be in  good terms with Tafarii, can he stand his ground? You know how Tafarii involved  Qusee in the false accusation of Iyyaasuu. Do you think his conscience will not  be disturbed when he learned he was used? When elephants quarrel the grass is  affected as the saying goes, wake up Akaakaa!

The grandfather had no much to say. The time question  has bothered him too. The speed of modern society is not as uniform as it used  to be. That is why new comers are advancing while we are deteriorating, he was  talking to himself. Fast but accurate decisions are required for every aspect of  life. To be caught between possibilities and be unable to make a choice fast  could end in losing every thing.

The little girl is right said grandpa in his stomach.  He apologized for the past and promised to cope up with time in the future. He  was surprised about her knowledge of palace intrigue which he is keeping to  himself. Finally he advised her to keep her knowledge about Shaggar to her self  for even the air has ears. As for me I have lived enough but you are going to  see many rainy days. So try to make them worth living.

The story teller said it took Buttaa two weeks to  come to her senses. After which she expressed her regrets to her husband for  putting him in such an irrational and awkward situation. With the new religion I  have picked up new values which are alien to our own. At the same time I want to  uphold our culture. I feel no aspect of it is inferior to any other. We were  society of equals. The one I am adopting is that of tiers. I declared in front  of my child that our family is superior to that of Namoomsaa. I am caught  between fear and pride; fear of retributions by the conquerors and pride for  belonging to an old rich tradition of the Gadaa.

The new system has no remorse for putting a group of  people over the other. As long as you satisfy your individual desires you don’t  bother about others. There is no forum which equalizes everyone. I have started  to enjoy this and I didn’t want to be interrupted. I was also not sure to  sustain such a privilege if I don’t accept the supremacy of the new ruler’s  values. I am suspecting my own ability. But safuu is still lingering in my  blood. Publicly that is what I would like to assert when within my Oromo peers.  But when it comes to practice I am torn between the two values. I don’t worth  what others think of me, after that she started sobbing putting her head between  her knees.

We are neck deep into the sin, started the husband.  Let Waaqaa forgive us. We have, if not significantly, helped in the mowing down  of our own people since we joined the horde. Thanks to that old warrior we are  lead away from that torrent of destruction. Since we came we have lived under  the umbrella of a quisling and consciously enjoyed it. But we had also lived  pretending that we enjoyed the memory of our grandfathers that had fallen  resisting the enemy. We found ourselves in a situation which didn’t give us time  to pause and think.

Let us not be afraid to tell the truth to our child  and bless her to find her own way. We have become what we are and our physical  contribution henceforth would be minimal. But we can tell our children what we  have witnessed first hand on matters concerning the enslavement of our people.  They must be told about the resistance and the ultimate sacrifice the heroes  paid to defend their independence. They can add their own experience to ours and  pass it down to generations. The coming generation must know that it had a  culture and history to be proud of. So my dear said Jijoo, stop cursing yourself  and do what is in your reach.

I know said Buttaa; we are fresh out of the trauma of  war though all of us were not equally affected. Even we who had a light part of  it still see nightmares. This is going to affect many generations down the  stream. The struggle between nationalists and collaborators, the struggle with  the colonizer, the struggle within the nationalist camp and the struggle to  survive are interwoven.

To sift the chaff from the grain needs wisdom and  sober mind. Only liberated mind could differentiate the important from the  trifle.  It needs a great revolution to reach that stage. Otherwise we  cannot help transmitting our personality shaped by fear, terror and subservience  to our descendants.

Did you observe Jijoo, asked Buttaa, when I boil  baaqilaa (horse bean) a few come out of the boiling water unscathed. The rest  will become as soft as butter. Those few are similar to nationalists who come  out liberated from the trauma.  The rest are the masses which are highly  affected and so their transformation requires tact and wisdom.

Buttaa continued there may be some among the few  horse beans that are half boiled and may require returning to the water. Those  are the ones with ambivalent quality. Even among nationalists such may create  obstacles because of their nostalgia for the traumatic life. They will be  partially liberated and in balance their inclination will be opportunistic.

I appreciate the depth of your understanding, stated  Jijoo. Let us call Galaanee and tell her our experience and our view of the  world. Let us also listen and learn from her. We have to admit that she has  matured to a level where we have no capacity to criticize.  Then her  brother was sent to tell her to come home after school.

After school she appeared before them. She was not  sulky. As usual she hugged and kissed them in turns and took a chair in front of  them as if nothing passed between them. I am sorry said the father opening the  discussion, last time I couldn’t say any thing. I was in conflict with my self.  What I used to believe is right and what I have now taken as wrong was troubling  me. We both were ashamed of how we handled the situation. It was a spontaneous  reaction not well thought as should be expected from us.

The mother then continued to narrate their history.  She started by saying we are the third generation of colonized people. We were  at our early teen when it all happened. We lost so many of those we loved  including our beloved grandfathers. That sent thrill into the psyche of all  survivors.

My parents soon forgot their parents and started to  collaborate with their killers. Jijoo’s father had lost his parents and wife.  Bringing up children was hard on him. He was not the type to live as a running  dog. But for his children he could have left the area soon. He didn’t change his  religion. Those who changed and the alien called him Gaallaa. It was referring  to him as cruel and beastly heathen. That was what my parents shunned to be  called. I despised them for giving up on the Ayyaanaa of our ancestors so easily  and worship alien deity. History is very harsh it doesn’t investigate cause and  effect to excuse the action of traitors.

We run away from home and we reached where we are  now. The agony of this area started long after Galaan and Eekkaa, the clans we  came from, were defeated. Now we are Ammayyaa, what does it matter as long as we  are Oromo?   Because of me his family was disturbed. To save them he  chose to run away. My parents as I told you long ago rejected my relation with  him. I loved him so I run away with him. We gave each other unconditional love  and hope. The rest you already know.

Our patron, your grandfather is a very kind person.  He is related to a native favored by the colonialist. He might give information  about the surrounding but we never saw him harming our people. We don’t know  what he does behind doors. He loved us like his own children. We were never  unfairly treated. We were also not curious to ask him about matters of  government and his relations. It was because of him that we started to live in  peace when majority of our people are subjected to live in hail. That is where  our arrogance came from, my child.

Forgive us for our mistakes. We cannot openly go back  to our old system giving up our newly acquired privileges. We have to go to  church every week to prove our loyalty to the system. We have to perform all the  rituals it requires.  But away from the eyes of our “nissabbat” (confession  father) we worship Waaq, the only God. As a wife of an elder son I carry the  callee (beads) of Jifaaroo, his mothers Ateetee. He has brought it with him  while fleeing home. So I celebrate Ateetee in May when they worship Lidataa.  Lidataa is the day of St. Marry blended with Ateetee practice.

As far as possible we shall perform certain rituals  under cover of the new religion. It has also so many elements of Waaqeffannaa,  the traditional religion. We shall keep the spirit alive in our own ways. We  hope you will also find your own ways to keep it alive and pass it to the coming  generation.

The only advice we give you is don’t be like the tall  sorghum. It cannot escape the snatching of a bird or the attack of the catapult  that is shot to keep away the bird from it. You have to move with the mass so  that you will not be targeted early. If it be your will I request you to keep  your grandmothers callee until Badhaadhaa is married and his wife takes it over.

We are also sorry for not taking you to Roggee so  far. I myself am planning to go soon if you would like we intend to take you all  before our death. I have never gone since I left. Your father went there only  once when he brought his sisters. His father refused to come with him. He  preferred to be miserable and remain nearer to his ancestral dhibaayyuu and the  graves of his parents and the spot where his umbilical cord is buried. The  sister are married since and with children as you know. He heard about his  father’s death from travelers not long after that.

They said he was given a heroes funeral by Galaan and  Eekkaa. Jijoo feels that he betrayed his father twice; once when left him alone  and runaway and another when he failed to give him hope by moving to Roggee to  assure him the continuity of the sanctity of ancestral grounds. His father is a  survivor of the war of aggression and died without bootlicking the enemy for  favors. My parents died early disgraced by the colonizers as happened to all  collaborators. It is a long story for you to investigate in the future.

Galaanee thanked them from the bottom of her stomach.  She embraced both kissed them and sobbed like her age. She then turned to talk  like an adult. She started by saying, to protect you I don’t tell you how I am  going to handle the situation. But I would like to assure you that I have  understood what you just said. You have told me about my great grandfathers and  how proud you are about them. How we plan to live up to our ancestors may differ  but we all, I believe, are proud of them. Some of us may pretend to be ashamed  of them in public, while others may avoid arenas where such challenges arise.

Sometimes we cannot help showing our furry. It could  sometimes be educative. One day my friend and I were at the shrine of Abbaa  Oofaa. We were taking a solemn oath not to betray the Ayyaanaa of our ancestors.  Then we heard some sort of commotion outside the shrine and went out to check.  It was a man with long unkempt plaits of hair wearing dry sheep hide. Some call  the likes of him hermit. He had a metal cross raised above his head and cursing  the believers. You, he said worshipers of idols and alien gods shall perish in  hail.

One believer challenged him, saying show me the idol  you talk about, show me the alien goods you mention. We are worshiping only one  Waaqaa, under the shade he gave us. There are no idols in our practice. Rather  we see you carry likes of men and something rapped in cloth on your heads,  something that looks like curved plank, how do you account for that? Waaqaa is  ours, never alien to us. Abbaa Oofaa is our Qaalluu or qees (priest). You better  revise your dogmas hermit, he concluded in the language the hermit speaks. He  then told the worshipers what the hermit was talking about in their own  language.

It was then that all believers rose against him. That  commotion ended with hermit fleeing. I caught the sight the person who  challenged him but he avoided my eyes and slipped away. He was well camouflaged.  But for sure he seemed a person I know to me. He looked like the monk that was  my teacher. His voice and his reasoning were of a learned man. If we  occasionally get such people who can blend into the people and tell them that  there is nothing to be ashamed of our tradition it is a blessing. The people  will get the courage to standup for their rights. To choose what we worship is  our own individual right. No body should prescribe religion for us, said  Galaanee.

A good number of our nationals had voluntarily taken  Islam as their religion. They did it not to confess the same faith with their  conquerors.  Many others also took a different denomination of Christianity  for the same purpose. Those like you who took the colonizers religion are  considered as collaborators by many. Organized religions had some methods of  keeping you apart from people of different faiths however the blood relation  maybe. In your case, the enemy also wants you to appear as its buddy or  brethren. But when it comes to your basic rights it treats you no different.  That is why wise people say religion should not divide the oppressed. It should  be taken as a line of communication with ones God.

All the new organized religions come from the Middle  East. Even there they are full of controversies. We should not import those  controversies into our life. We have to differentiate religion from cultural  history that shaped the Middle East. As a people we have to find those things  that will unite us. That could be found in our past history. That part of  religion that tie us with super natural power should be separated from our  worldly common aspirations.

Our laws, our culture and our tradition are good  sources of things common to us all. Above all we have one language and one  country. Had we had organized religion before our conquest things might have  been different. But it seems we had recognized ahead of all that religion was a  private matter that should not be organized against any one. We had come down  for centuries as secularist state.

We have to guard ourselves from divisive elements.  They want to keep us apart at all levels. Deprived of our political and social  culture we had become vulnerable to infiltration of foreign elements. They will  device a means to set us one against the others based on belief, family, clan,  tribe, region and wealth so that we remain under them. They will destroy every  thing that we identify with. They don’t want us to sustain common identity. That  is what we should understand and vigilantly guard off.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pour out  my feelings to you. That is what I expected from parents and that was what you  gave me now. Namoomsaa and I have independent thinking. We may go a distance  together or we may go our own ways. Don’t worry about us. We know what we are  doing. If we agree to form a family it will not be emotionally driven. Nothing  will also be done without your consent.

What I beg from you is to keep your school alive. I  will be around until I prepare replacements. After that I may go in search of  knowledge. Until then I will be in my own corner in this house if you permit me;  of course going to my grandmothers’ occasionally. Even if I go away I will keep  in touch by all means.

Namoomsaa was enrolled in the new school easily. The  school taught language and arithmetic. Outstanding student were selected for  scholarship abroad. Galaanee told her grandpa that she wanted to go to  Finfinnee. So he took her with him during one of his visits. He kept her with  his relatives and told them to give her the freedom she wants as long as she  wanted to stay. So she was able to find her way to Namoomsaa’s boarding school  which was a stones throw from the Palace.

Namoomsaa had permission to stay out on Saturday and  Sundays. So they were able to spending the days together roaming the town and  visiting unusual places. It was during one of her visits to Finfinnee that  Namoomsaa passed for a scholarship program. But he was denied because of his  name. They told advised him to change his name for a Christian or a civilized  one if he wanted to win the scholarship. But he chose not to. He rather  preferred to leave the school and go back to his village. Galaanee also  consented and they both returned home.

After years Namoomsaa and Galaanee were married with  the blessing of their parents. They both returned to their school and added  English and Gi’iiz to their curriculum. Both husband and wife believed that  knowledge is power. Gi’iiz they say will make children understand their  colonizers properly while English will introduce them to a larger imperialist  world.  Namoomsaa taught Galaanee what he had learned in the modern school.

After some years elapsed the empress was dead. The  patron of their village, Qusee was getting old and was on the verge of being  discarded. Galaanee and Namoomsaa understood this from following current affairs  closely.  They got their information from travelers and an only news paper  run by the government that they sometime bring.

As feared Qusee was put aside by the crown prince and  mysteriously died short after that. The new overlord gave the area to his loyal.  The new arrival erased every thing related to previous ruler. In the process the  land holding of Qusee’s relatives was reduced. People around him were  scrutinized. The school was closed accused of trying to open the eyes of  Gaallaa. It was a below for Galaanee and Namoomsaa’s ambitions. They were even  thinking of developing into a rival school to that of Finfinnee.

They left for Finfinnee to start a new life leaving  behind their ageing parents. They were present for the funeral of the  grandfather who died from shock after he heard the humiliation of his patron. He  was fortunate enough not to live beyond Qusee’s death. The empire came under  harsher regime that employed more helping hand from imperialists. A young man  became an emperor and ruled they say with iron hand for fifty years.

He was once exiled when his empire fell to Fascist  Italy’s force.  It was then that Oromo tried to be liberated. But they  couldn’t keep him out for he was supported by a big power. He thus survived  exile, the world war and many other attempts to dethrone him and reigned for  another period. But his end was no better than those he eliminated. They said he  was killed by his own servants and his body hidden in the latrine of their  chief. For over fifteen years it was told, they defecated on him until he was  discovered by another regime and his skeleton given a resting place.

It was told that Namoomsaa and Galaanee visit Roggee  every year to give sacrifice to their ancestral Ayyaanaa. They were more  connected to Eekkaa and Galaan in every day life. But they claimed Ammayyaa when  ever roots were inquired. Ammayyaa was not as it used to be. Relatives of  Fayisaa were dislocated and their land given to colonial agents. Except visiting  the graves of their parents and grandparents as passersby they couldn’t dare to  make formal sacrifices to their Ayyaana.

Namoomsaa and Galaanee might have lived to see that  disastrous end of the cruel sovereign, said the story teller. The drums and  trumpets that were sounded and the tanks that rolled to signify his demise might  have filled them with hope of the nearing of liberation. They have heard from  their parents about the first colonizer and his other two successors. This was  the third one and a more modern and better prepared to exploit colonial  resources, human and material.

For that they knew he used torture, imprisonment,  killings and banishment more than his predecessors.  Both, husband and wife  probably lived in Finfinnee blended with the people under a condition where  nobody bothers as to who was who. They might have even been propped by their  children to go out and see the street jubilation. It is easy to imagine their  old eyes field with tears clinging to each other and saying “we did it” when  they saw the march and heard the slogans condemning the emperor.

The grand father they knew, Fayisaa, was of Maccaa  descent. Macca extends from Hawaas River to the Sudan border in the west. They  also claim Maccaa rather than the Tuulamaa stock of their great grandparents. It  was with that claim, it was told, that their children later enrolled in Macca  and Tuulamaa Association, a body that gave the empire a great shock. It never  survived from that shock for a long time to come it was told.

Jijoo wanted to live away from farming for the rest  of his life and started trade. He bought and sold farm products at Ambo market.  He was afraid to go to Tulluu Boolloo. The rulers there hunted for Qusee’s fans.  He had bought a descent house in Ambo and the family was to move there when all  of a sudden he was killed by highway robbers. His children were present for  funerals. Buttaa was devastated. She lived only for a year and died at the age  of sixty five from depression. All the children were by the side of her deathbed  as she passed away.

Buttaa and Jijoo had once visited Roggee. They were  happy for renewing their childhood memory.  They had performed dhibaayyuu,  traditional libation ritual, on their parents and grandparents graves. With that  sweet memory they passed away probably clearing their conscience from the guilt  for not visiting them so far.  They had also taken their children and  showed them all important spots. Buttaa might have a trace of guilt for denying  her daughter to have a michuu of her choice though she had repented and got  forgiveness from the daughter long ago.

This was the story of one girl and her lover,  dislocated from her place of birth by the tragic effect of war. The end was not  so bad for her. Thousands left their homes to unknown destination. Thousands  were abused or devoured by wild animals while running away from tyranny.   And thousands were sold to slavery in side the empire and across the Red Sea.

Buttaa could have told much about her peers who went  out and never came back and about those she saw whose bodies were scatter all  over the fields from Finfinnee to Bacho.  Within two decade a nation lost  its freedom, identity and peace. Buttaa died with a broken heart for surviving  all she loved.

One of her children learned sculpture. He had already  curved her statue to replace that of the horse man in the heartland of Oromiyaa.  The epitaph he prepared read:

“Here stands a little known girl as a witness to the  carnage of colonial War from Roggee to Tulluu Boolloo. Let the Ayyaana of those  perished bring araaraa and nagaa on the living”.

Let us repeat this epitaph before we part, concluded  the story teller.





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