Qeerroo: from ‘revolt against subjugation’ to ‘popular uprising against tyranny’
September 3, 2020by Worku Burayu
Attempts to discredit Qeerroo will not deter the movement from pursuing its goalsYou might well have heard mischaracterizations of Qeerroo and its institution, Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo (QBO), as part a defamation campaign against the Oromo and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
To mischaracterize and attack Qeerroo organization whose sole mission is to end tyranny is disgraceful. Yet, the Abiy Ahmed administration and some media outlets including ESAT, Ethio 360 Media and all government affiliated medias continue to undermine Qeerroo, going as far as tainting the popular peaceful resistance it waged that once aroused the glimmer of hope for Ethiopia until it was snatched away by the new regime.
Some have opposed just about everything QBO has been doing. The question is why.
Who is Qeerroo?
Qeerroo is an Afaan Oromo word literally meaning ‘unmarried young man’, as Qaarree is for ‘unmarried young woman’.
In Oromo’s Gadaa socio-economic and political system, Qeerroo represents the youth in the social strata of Gadaa structure that signifies the potential force of the Oromo society who are full of energy, enthusiasm, and defenders of the dignity of the Oromo people and their homeland Oromia.
Qeerroo played a vital role in the organized Oromo struggle of the early 1970s.
For example, the song Gaaddisaa Abdullaahii sung titled ‘Qeerroo-mataa-tuutaa, hin jarjartu suuta’ in 1970s was to signify that Qeerroo is the engine of the Oromo Struggle. Since 1991, Qeerroo has re-occurred as what is called the “Qubee generation” to mark the era of introduction of Qubee script and Afaan Oromoo as medium of instruction in schools for the first time in Ethiopian history. This was the result of decades resistance spearheaded by the OLF and realized during the brief period that the OLF participated in the transitional government of Ethiopia.
Unlike its traditional meaning, the origin of the Qeerroo term in Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo’s setting, is derived from the word “Qeerrensa/Qeerramsa” whose literal meaning is “tiger,” to symbolize a fierce fighter, a dignified being, active and defenders of survival and dignity. “Qeerrenso” and “Jaajjabee” are very common terms in OLF and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) often used to adore those fierce young fighters.
In short, as Qeerroo represents the dynamism of the Oromo youth in a peaceful struggle against tyranny, Jaajjabee represents an admirable special young force in Oromo armed struggle. Hence, in this context, Qeerroo and Jaajjabe are gender neutral. Qeerroo is an idea of cultured resistance, represents a relentless pursuit of liberty, equipped with mental readiness and resilience which leaves no stone unturned to get what it pursues.