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unity question what is needed

These chronicles are significant and the Abyssinians and particularly the Amhara must come to terms and account for events which are in the recent recollection of the Oromo people and serve as one of many obstacles to "Ethiopian Unity". While the Abyssinians and the chronicler of Abyssinian history Dr. Richard Pankhurst would like us to believe otherwise, history cannot be selectively ignored. Ethiopian unity cannot be achieved by disregard, deception, violence, intimidation, further victimization of the Oromo people and the glorification of Menelik, Haile Sellassie and their contemporaries and ignoring the facts surrounding the creation of the present Ethiopian State.
I am interested in publishing these unedited Chronicles on Crimes against the Oromo people from official government archival publications with the appropriate references and citations. The purpose being to inform and to provide research material to those who may not have access. These documents are important because they do not advocate opinions but merely reflect the true facts as reported by diplomats assigned to Abyssinia and European observers during the associated periods. These documents contain facts, which cry out for justice and acknowledgment.

These chronicles are also a reminder to all of us of the Abyssinian disposition to commit atrocities against the Oromo people beginning with Menelik's ascent to the Abyssinian throne. While Abyssinians conveniently omit these crimes in recounting their 6000 years of perceived Abyssinian civilized life, the Oromo still remember, many have first hand knowledge of the atrocities and narrate these events daily to their children and grandchildren. How can there be unity with Abyssinians in light of the contemporary history?

The title you suggest "Historical Archives" is appropriate and broad enough to include the referenced as well as other information. My intention in this series of articles, however, is to focus on Abyssinian crimes which must be accredited by all of us. I therefore propose a column entitled "Chronicles of Abyssinian Crimes Against the Oromo People" to draw immediate attention of the reader. I shall provide you with a chronicle every two weeks.

Lastly, knowing the Abyssinian proclivity to discredit sources, I want to maintain the total integrity of the documents. I will draw the attention of the reader to errors in the original text as appropriate as follows: "Note: [sic] has been inserted to call attention to the fact that some remarkable or inaccurate expression, misspelling, or the like is literally reproduced."

This way there is no room for challenging the accuracy of the original text. I just want to provide the bare truth and allow the reader to judge and interpret the material. I have also provided the reference to the original source.

Lastly, it would be most useful to solicit comments from the Oromo community as well as Abyssinians who I am sure will read the material as well as others who do not understand the roots of the sentiments of the Oromo people.



Reports and Papers from the British Foreign Office Confidential Print

Note: [sic] has been inserted to call attention to the fact that some remarkable or inaccurate expression, misspelling, or the like is literally reproduced

From Mr. Campbell to Earl Curzon.- (Received October 27, 1919)
Despatch [sic] (No. 102) Adis [sic] Ababa, September 22, 1919.

My Lord,

I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith to your Lordship copies of reports made by Major Darley and Major Athill on slavery in the south-western provinces through which they passed on their way to Maji. Each composed his report separately without comparing notes while doing so.

I further enclose (Enclosure No. 3) a memorandum written by Mr. Walker, His Majesty's consul at Gore, on slave traffic in general in Abyssinia.

These records of wholesale devastation of rich provinces, formerly thickly populated, cannot fail to make an impression and to create feelings of pity for the wretched inhabitants of the territories conquered by the Amharas. These districts are just as much Amhara colonies as German East Africa was a German colony, and the wanton outrages perpetrated therein surpass anything he Germans have done or that has happened since Tippu Tib and his kind pursued their nefarious trade in Central Africa.

A proclamation was made in or about November 1918 abolishing the slave traffic in Abyssinia, but such proclamations are merely intended to blind the eyes et the Europeans in the capital. In the provinces it is as bad as ever, and every chief leaving his district collects as many men, women, and children as he can to line his purse in case he is not given another post. In April last Dejaz Kabada, Governor of Gore, who was threatened with dismissal, telephoned from Adis [sic] Ababa to a friend, Fitaurari Gabri, Governor of Gimirra, to collect all the "honey" he could and send it to the capital before the rains, "honey" being a code word for slaves. Fitaurari Gabri collected between 500 and 1,000 people and despatched [sic] them by various routes, but I do not know whether they ever reached Adis [sic] Ababa, as they are usually snapped up eagerly on the way.

Thus the traffic continues, and then, is little chance for the victims unless or until one of two things happen. The first is the exhaustion of the districts where the raids principally take place - Sidamo, Kaffa, Mossongo, Gimirra, Mau, Anuak, Nuer, and Beni Shangul, by which means the traffic will automatically cease on account of depopulation; the second is the intervention of the Powers. I am told that since the armistice the price of slaves in Adis [sic] Ababa has fallen by some 60 per cent. Formerly a slave was a good investment; now buyers are shy, for they know full well that the practice is a shame and a disgrace in a world which boasts a League of Nations, and they realise that an end will be put thereto if an enlightened administration is ever established in Abyssinia.

Is it too much to hope that the Abyssinians will not be given the opportunity to lull themselves again into security, and that the price of slaves will never rise again to its former level? In the name of humanity some action would seem essential to rid one of the fairest countries in Africa of this scourge and I venture to submit that if no more drastic course is possible for the moment, at least all importation of arms and ammunition and of raw materials for the manufacture thereof should be strictly prohibited until slavery has ceased to exist and the Powers have been accorded full opportunity of ascertaining that such is really the case.

Copies of this despatch [sic] are being forwarded to Cairo, Khartoum, and Nairobi.

I have, & c.
BFO DOCUMENT No. 11640/188(i)

Inclosure [sic]1

Memorandum by Major Darley on the Slavery Question in Abyssinia.

TO write calmly on the slavery question in Abyssinia, and in particular of the district from Jimma to Maji and even in British territory, is difficult for any white man, and particularly so for any one who has known the country before the death of Menelik.

This district comprises the countries of Kaffa, Gimoera, [sic] Tishanna, Maji, Kanta, and Tlrma. The people inhabiting these countries were very numerous, and cultivated in a large way, besides owning large herds of cattle and a certain number of sheep and goats.

The system under which this large district was administered by the Abyssinians was as follows :-

The natives were called "gubbar," or serfs, and were not allowed to be sold off the land. On an Abyssinian chief taking over his allotted district these serfs were divided up among his adherents on the well-known system that--

"Great big fleas have smaller fleas
Which prey upon and bite 'em,
And smaller fleas have lesser fleas,
And so ad infinitum,"

with the notable exception that here the smaller and lesser fleas keep the big ones. They grew all the food for their masters, did all their house-work, [sic] and besides were compelled to pay a changeable number of dollars yearly to their masters. To such an extent was this system carried on that the women of these gubbar were always used as concubines by their masters. I myself on arriving in this territory from the desert with my men, who had not seen a woman for months, was quite accustomed to seeing droves of these women being brought to my men for their delectation. On these occasions a dollar was paid to the Abyssinian and a cartridge to the woman; sometimes less, but never more. This used to occur before the death of Menelik, when the gubbar were comparatively well-used. You will realise, therefore, that this system is slavery personified.

Since the death of Menelik, Ras Walda Giorgis, who governed the country, has been removed, and several small chiefs have taken his place and are constantly being changed. Each chief on being removed from his district makes as clean a sweep as possible of all its inhabitants, and carries them off mostly for sale. The chief market is in Jimma, at Mindara I myself saw a drove of children brought into the market­place at Jimma, where they were handed over to other merchants by their escort. I also saw a drove of seventy of these unfortunates marching along the road before arriving in Jimma. The men were chained together. The women walking and carrying children. Several of them were children so small that one would not think they had any value. This I saw in 1918, but where they were captured from I have no idea. In 1912 I saw droves of these unfortunates driven through Jimma. One drove took three days to pass my house. Little children unable to walk, three or four abreast, tied on a mule. Ten dollars a head and take your choice. The result you can imagine.

The whole country of which I am writing has been completely depopulated. Stone roads can be seen leading from nowhere to nowhere [sic]. Mountains terraced from the bottom to the top for cultivation have still the terraces to show, but no people.

The price of slaves has fallen to such an extent that 5 to 10 dollars is the average. Trade has ceased to exist, except the slave trade, in which every man is interested. The custom-houses [sic] charge 1 dollar a head for the passage of each slave.

The country is desolate except for bands of robbers and murderers perched on hilltops. Food is unprocurable. The age of each successive raid can be easily gathered by the height of the bush on former homesteads.

The Abyssinians have no food, and to get it they must go further and further afield. This means British territory.

We have just marched from the border - eighteen days' march - without seeing a soul. All have been exterminated or have fled.

What the end is I cannot see; but if slavery, murder, and robbery is [sic] not the present day law of nations, let there be an international commission to see this unhappy district. The natives were friendly to any white man and numbers were my personal friends, so I may be excused if I write feelingly.

BFO DOCUMENT No. 11640/188(i)

Inclosure [sic] 2

Memorandum by Major Athill on Slavery in South-Western Abyssinia.

The following memorandum is confined to evidence personally seen and heard on a journey by the main road from Adis [sic] Ababa to the south-western frontier.

The first evidence of actual trade in slaves was seen at Jimma. Here we saw a party of about twenty small boys brought to the market-place [sic] in broad daylight and sold within half-an-hour [sic]. The Galla merchants' quarter exists practically for the slave traffic alone. Visiting it one night, I asked a Galla, who perhaps took me for a trader, what slaves he had. He said that he had none for sale at the moment, but that if' I would come to his neighbour’s house I could buy plenty. Unfortunately my servant gave me away before I could find out any more. The trade, though usually carried in private houses, is a perfectly open one.
Immediately on crossing the Gojeb River the results of the slave trade are obvious. The traces of a close cultivation by a large and industrious population are unmistakable. Today the country is without sign of life except for a few settlements of Abyssinian soldiers, whose fields are cultivated by slave labour. Comparative peace reigns, except for wandering bands of robbers, as the clearinghouse process is complete. On the road through this country we met a convoy guarded by Abyssinians and consisting of about seventy women and children, newly captured. A few, too small or weak to walk, were loaded on mules. Children of 4 years of age were being driven along on foot.
At Shiwa [sic] Ghimirrha [sic] we found a hotbed of slavery. The Abyssinian chief was daily expecting to be replaced, and was therefore selling the native population as quickly as possible. A well-grown boy cost 10 dollars, a small one five dollars. Apart from the chiefs operations, there were about 100 freebooters living in the village, catching slaves on their own behalf. So lawless was the situation here that a chief, visiting our camp, one mile from the village, said that he dared not send his small slave boy back to the village alone, as he would certainly be stolen on the way.
In the district of Bashuma, next passed through, the chief was also waiting to be removed. When called upon to send Government mails back to Jimma for us, he at first refused, unless we could get from the senior Abyssinian Commissioner with us a letter, which would enable him to pass a convoy of slaves, through with the mails. In this country the natives had risen against the Abyssinians as a result of slave-raiding [sic]. Only strong armed parties could move about, outlying settlements had been burnt, and charred corpses were lying in the still smouldering [sic] ruins. All cultivation was abandoned. A few starving old women still lay in the native houses, kept alive by their men who had taken to the bush, and crept back at night with roots, &c. [sic] One of these women told me that her entire family of six children been carried off.
The attitude of' the Abyssinian towards slaves was welt illustrated here. The three Abyssinian Commissioners, one of whom was noted for his humane tendencies, accompanied by over 400 men, filed past a small boy sitting by the roadside in the last stages of starvation. Not one of them offered him a drop of water or a morsel of bread. When we picked him up we were told that we were wasting our time, as he was a cripple and would never be any good.
The province of Maji again showed the devastating effects of the slave trade traffic. Huge expanses of hillside had in the past been terraced - a work which could only have been done by a large and hard working population. Standing on the edge of the escarpment, one saw these terraced lands stretching down into the valleys, which, in turn, were dotted with the circles of stones on which the local native builds his house. Of houses themselves, of crops on the terraces, or of population, in many directions no trace was left. In others, an occasional patch of cultivation would break the surrounding waste of deserted fields
Carefully shepherded as we were by the Abyssinians, it was natural that the grosser violences [sic] of the slave trade did not come under our personal observation. No shepherding, however, could hide the fact that south-western Abyssinia, the richest and most beautiful country in Africa, through Abyssinian rapacity, has been converted, where a struggling population still survives, into a hell, and, where the work of the raider is complete into a splendid wilderness. With the depopulation of successive areas, slaving operations are pushed further afield, and already a strip of the Southern Soudan, [sic] 50 miles wide at its narrowest, has become a happy hunting ground for Abyssinian slave raiders.
What the final result will be is impossible to imagine, but the existing conditions, of which only clearly-established [sic] instances have here been quoted, are revolting and almost indescribable.

L. J. ATHILL, Major, R.F.A.
Adis [sic] Ababa, September 11, 1919.

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***Who Dem Fi Tell I Me Nah Black?***
defenders of freedom of our race the black race
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i am listening are you?
Same division talks Oromorality???
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unity question what is needed

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