Ruminations on #OromoProtests

Oromia protests
Written by Hassen Hussein

#OromoProtests an indomitable spirit

Battered, bruised, and bleeding


Detained, maimed, and gunned 

Pulled one-by-one or in droves

From homes, farms, factories, villages, offices, dormitories, towns, and all

Like one collects ripe oranges from an old tree

And yet unbeaten.

Rather joyous 

Buoyantly resilient 

A bird returning to spring

Singing from a wintry sojourn

On a nocturnal flight 

Long in the waiting and making.

Imperiled and yet impervious

to might

In detention as on the streets

In solidarity or solitude


The self-assured face of dignity 

The indomitable


Of a bested nation rising 

And besting


On the agility of a generation 

Determined to get the better of

The fluffy false weight

That had it

Down on its face.

Like an idea

Whose time

Finally has come 

Rooba’s prophesied future 

Bearing life from death and destruction 

Has come to life and of age

Here to stay 

Proclaim and claim 

All that is rightfully its own

No longer vaunting victimhood  

A victor

On its own right and term.

Every ebb in the journey 

As the flow and surge

The assured stirrings 

And flapping wings 

Of a Phoenix  

Dusting off the ashes  

And coming to terms and finding 

Its unconquerable self 

Reaching deep down into its soul

From which a glorious ember burns 

Illuminating the dark body 

And all around it


Its most sublimely essential self

The unchangeable and intangible 

The preserved and unreserved

The generative and generational

For the first time

Like a deity suddenly aware

And awoke to its primeval

Power and ineluctable destiny

She, too

In excitement 

broods over the debt

Owed to its manifest destiny.

“Is this all you got?”

All my life

I tried in vain to understand

why the elephant in Oromo

saw not the supremo in itself

failing to charge

To the incessant neglect and abuse

And take charge

Even now, I know not why 

but by way of a guess,

I can most definitely try.

It was mocking its oppressors.

To every act of his

Like Mother Earth to man’s transgression

The unuttered response

Most probably was


“Is this all you got?”

Until he saw

her death and abuse was his own

Congressman Keith Ellison

“Our son

Our sun

This Keith Ellison 

My champion,” said 

A caged bird

Shunned by everyone


My son, my sun, my champion

My friend 

This Keith Ellison

The caged bird

Shunned by everyone


With feet fettered 

And throat mute

A champion the caged 

Bird needed a flute

To sing. 

A caged bird does not 

Know only how to sing

 but champion

For the caged bird’s unsung

Songs of freedom


His own. 



About the author

Hassen Hussein

Hassen Hussein, a writer, teaches Leadership and Management courses at the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and can be reached at hxhuss10@smumn.edu.

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