Diaspora

Remembering Oromos who fought in WWII


By Tola Biya*

In 1935 Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia (Oromia) accompanied by 60 thousand Tigre tribe recruits (locally known as “Banda” (traitors)) from Eritrean and Tigray, Northern Abyssinia, using its colonial foothold in Eritrea and Southern Somalia.


The tens of thousands of Oromo and Amhara heroes were gased in Machew, Wallo and other battle fronts in Northern and Southern Ethiopia. The invasion of Ethiopia(Oromia) and the fall of Finfinee( also known as Addis Ababa) forced Emperor Haileselassie (son of Yeshimebet Ali Abajifar of Wollo Oromo and an Oromo by the name Tafari Makonen Gudissa Nagawo before his coronation) to fled the country and seek protection in the United Kingdom.


The defeat of the Emperor’s army and his exile did not end the resistance of Oromo heroes and patriots against Fascist Italy and their domestic collaborators and traitors. The Oromos knew that the Italians came to retaliate and colonize Ethiopia (Oromia) after their devastating defeat at the Battle of Adwa in 1896 under the command of Ras Mekonen Gudisa Negawo( the father of late Emperor Hailesielasie), General Balcha Safu(Also spelled Safo), Queen Tayitu Butle of Wallo Oromo and Emperor Menelik (-) and many others.


Forty years later, new generation of Oromo heroes and heroines, following the footstep earlier Oromo heroes and heroines who defeated the Italian colonialist, fought the Fascist invading army under the leadership of Ras Abebe Arga Becharie [often spelled as Abebe Aregai by Amhara and Tigre writers] of Abichu Oromo from Jiru, Northern Shewa, Jagama Kello and Belayi Zeleke of Wanberra Oromo from Western Gojam. Oromo patriots kept Fascist army at bay until it was defeated and removed from Ethiopia (Oromia) with humiliation in 1941.


The heroism of Oromo patriots was not limited to Ethiopia (Oromia) in fighting forces of Fascism and Nazism. Col. Abdisa Aga is Oromo’s shining star and international hero who led the Allied Forces in Italy, Germany and Yugoslavia liberating cities, concentration camps and prisons.


Seventy years later, in a tragic turn of event, Oromia and the rest of Ethiopia is now under the occupation of the remnants of the Fascist recruits of the 1930s from Tigray and part of Eritrea. Currently, fascism in full swing the land the brave and the bright as the Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) retaliate Ethiopians for the humiliation their predecessors faced in the hand of the heroic Oromo people. The TPLF fascist regime of Meles Zenawi, like its predecessors tribal recruits and traitors who fought alongside Fascist Italy, occupied Ethiopia (Oromia) bent on destroying our people and our country by killing our people and looting our resources.

As a result the of the occupation of our country by remnants of Fascist forces under the Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) Fascist regime, the Great Oromo people and the rest of Ethiopian people are unable to remember and celebrate the bitter yet a sweet victory of our forefathers. Now, 70 years after Fascism and Nazism is defeated in Europe and the rest of the world, the Oromo people and the rest of the Ethiopian people are yet again waging another battle against the same evil. Victory is assured but the Oromo people and the rest of the Ethiopian people must unite against these remnants of Fascism and Nazism which harbors the same philosophy in the form of ethnic apartheid.


Today’s Oromo patriots and heroes should draw strength and inspiration from our patriots of the past as we continue our struggle to uproot and remove the fascist and ethnic apartheid regime of Meles Zenawi who is committing crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Oromo people and the rest of Ethiopian people.

Read the  BBC NEWS report by Martin Plaut | The Africans who fought in WWII.

*The author can be reached at tolabiya@gmail.com

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