Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lessons from Haile Sellassie University Students 1973 acceptance of Gene Sharp's 198 Steps to Chaos!

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity- www.globalbelai4u.blogspot.com

Chaning Adult Attitudes about Youth Leadership & Empowerment!

1st Annual Conference
Ethiopian American Youth Initiative
Howard University
Washington, D.C.
Friday, June 25 – Sunday, June 27, 2010

Managing Adult Attitudes towards change- Succession, transitions
Win –win transformations for prosperity!
 The role of Global Ethiopian Youths at home and in the Diaspora

Remarks by: Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Founder and Chair:  Global Advocacy for People of African Descent
African American Ethiopian Political Action Group Network (AAEPAG)
Global Connect Network
703.933.8737; 571.225.5736

                                                          Saturday, 26 June 2010
Global Connect Enterprises, Inc
Our Passion
-is to reach our individual and collective potential 4 Excellence & Success-always!

Our Vision
-is to promote Sustainable Security,   Good Governance and Progressive Prosperity for All (one Billion People of African Dissent scattered all over the world!

Our Mission
-Is to transform our individual and collective governance towards win-win synergy of public and private enterprises for prosperity!

Our strategy
- to develop win-win partnerships of global public and private stakeholders for sustainable security, good governance and progressive prosperity for all!

Our SMART Objectives
- Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Time Sensitive

Our Work plan

-is to engage all sectors of the global community continuously across global geographic and cyber landscape and domains respectively!


Greetings and best wishes for a successful conference.
It gives great pleasure and honor to speak to the future global leaders, Ethiopian Youths at home and in Diaspora.
Dear Global Citizens, Friends of African Union and Greater Ethiopia Without Border!

Managing Change and Transitions- Revolutions Vs Evolutions!

Adult Attitude towards Youth Leadership and involvement:  The Good, the Bad and Ugly.

The Need to Transition to Youth Leadership: Succession of leadership at individual and collective level, the case of classical and modern Ethiopian traditions and culture!

I like your topic and I would try to put forward an idea based on our Ethiopian Classical Governance, the Gadda System where each individual and the community collectively use the age appropriate interaction and  responsibility for every one.
As such, Ethiopian Youth have a unique opportunity to grow and develop their skills and competencies based on their respective life stations according to their age, sex, and individual and collective interests.
Within this larger perspective, I will be sharing on the changing Adult attitudes and perspectives on youth, and its implications for our future within and without our respective Ethiopian communities at home and Diaspora.
Remember:  the most important thing is to empower our youth so that they can compete effectively anywhere in the world and advance their individual and our collective potential for excellence and success towards developing a sustainable security, good governance and progressive prosperity for all.

Background and Perspectives!

Lessons from 35 Years ago, following Gene Sharp's 198 Step Advice some 5000 young impressionable students withdrew from University.  (Please See Gene Sharp's 198 Steps to Chaos)

It has been almost 35 years since I last attended such august Student Body Meeting at the Christmas Hall of Haile Sellassie I University, in late December 1972, where the leadership of Student Association representing some  5,000 students literally voted to Withdraw from Education and began the long arduous and at times  traumatic road of city and village terror, called struggle and gorilla fighting.

I still believe Education First! Development Second and Prosperity third
I have to admit to you then and now, I thought and still do, that Education First, Development second and prosperity third.  In reality, what those 5,000 students or to be sure, the then leadership of a Student Association, that was meant to advance the university and college interests of students took one of the most interesting individual and collective suicides that the Ethiopian students committed in terms of their personal and collective security for the nation.

  Imagine, the Student Association where you study and work, telling you to go to the Bush instead of advancing education, and your personal individual and collective potential as a nation.  But that is what exactly happened.  Many perished and those who survived, many have not yet completed their education, development and prosperity!

Gradual consistent development leads to success and prosperity!
I am not one of your usual revolutionaries; I am an evolutionist and progressive thinker of our time, who believes that our Passion to reach is our individual and collective potential for success and excellence-always! With deliberate, gradual day to day development that is continuous throughout life.  I am still a student and seeker of facts, knowledge, wisdom and improving consciousness!
Life is a continuum; a student life is just part of the large spectrum of life.  In our Gadda System of Seven Years series, the Student life is just the beginning.  In fact, we are all students of life throughout life and death.
Consequences of that fateful evening!
So, you can imagine, what happened to those 5,000 students registered at the then Haile Sellassie I University.  Most have died in the city revolution of Red and White Terror, some in the bushes of Ethiopia and others in the deserts of Somalia and Sudan, and few are struggling in the capital cities of Europe, Middle East and here in Washington DC. 
Today’s adults are students of yester years!

These are more or less the adults whose attitudes you want me to modulate about managing change, transitions and transformations by giving a chance to our brilliant youths who are products of this Great Student Revolution of the early 1970s.

Mind you some of my then class or college mates like Zenawi have managed to distinguished themselves as brilliant guerilla fighters, Marxist ideologues and authors of Revolutionary Democracy and Developmental state. So, all is not lost to my generation.
I am sure you can see this is one out of 5,000 brilliant students who could have been the captains of industry and governance not only for Ethiopia for the whole Africa and the global community.

  1.  Who is the target Audience?  The Adults of today- Yesterday’s Revolutionaries!

In effect the target or object of our conversation is the Adult Revolutionaries who fought for their space in the universe some 40 years ago!

Would they leave the stage of life without fighting gracefully to the next generation is the real question you are posing to me and to the world!

The generation that is to replace the Revolutionary Generation be better being prepared!  You have to be stronger spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and technically!
Current youth should learn from the mistakes of those before them, especially the Revolutionary generation whom you would be replacing in some future date.
The fact that you have decided to address it head on at your first conference ever means that you are ready for the challenge!
Understanding your ecosystem and global environment is critical.  You are part of the global community and as such your challenges and opportunities are global.

It can be made easy and that is what I am here to share with you!

Ask questions, Communicate, Deliberate, strategize and Act continuously! Is the first advice!  Do not be in a hurry to decide.  Contemplate; create the environment to research thoroughly your moves in life.  Ask what do I want, Why, how do I get there?  With whom or against whom and most importantly when and where should I make those changes in my life.
So, I suggest the following tools:
Research Pyramid, the CORT Analysis, What if Modeling, The Needs, Demands and Supply Interaction Model and Options and Alternatives in decision science and most importantly, the process of making Choices such as Do Nothing, Do Some Thing, and Do Everything Options with Nine Options and Alternatives of ABC and 123 respectively.

Use the Good Governance standards of 3As, 3Es and FoC as well as SMART Objectives that is Accessible, Affordable, Accountable, and Efficient, Effective and Equitable with Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Time Sensitive Work plan and goals.

Never put yourself in a situation where you choose between A and B or 1 and 2, at least create Nine Options and Alternatives for every situation.  I know you have some times to cut corners but having the world of Options at your disposal will always help.

What is the object of our attitude change?  Succession, transition, youth empowerment?
Most of the revolutionaries are not past their time, most in their 70s and 60 and some in late 50s.  Biology and time is not on their side!  It is very much on the side of the youth!  However, wisdom comes with age and experience and do not underestimate the words of wisdom that comes with age and experience. Consult widely but make your choices SMARTly.

The Revolutionary Adults and their self imposed sacrifices.
At the end of the day, we all make choices every day and are responsible for our choices.  The Revolutionary Generation imposed the violent way of life on themselves as they could not wait the long arduous life of education, development and investment that brings prosperity.  Everyone was in a hurry to be a leader with no skills to match the ambition.  

That is the challenge of youth and too much testosterone and estrogen surge that happens between 13-18 years of age.
These guys and girls we call adults today, sacrificed so much to get where they are! be itself imposed or imposed by others upon them.  The question is will they relinquish power by choice?  Do not bet on it.  Can you force them to do so?  Yes, if you play by their game of sacrifice, struggle and the usual lingo that we did it for the masses.

Be fair to yourselves and others.  Educate yourselves first.

Can you sacrifice for others what they cannot do for themselves.  Is that real empowerment.  The idea is for yourselves to empower yourselves so that you can empower others.  Lead by example.  If you do not get educated first how can you help others to be educated?  If you do not work yourself to be successful, how can you help or teach others to succeed. 

So, you have to come up with some strategy of including the individual which they forgot and tell them our …Individual and Collective interests! tell them you would look after them in their old age, i.e.  You will keep their memories and the series of statues they built for their revolutions!  Tell them you will remember the Good, The Bad and the Ugly and you will produce docudramas, comedies and tragedies to remember them.

Be generous and appreciate their efforts!
They need to know that their sacrifice was not in vain!  Give them credit!
Show them you are better than them as few of them gave enough credit to our great ancestors who ran the most sophisticated governance system for over 7,500 years longer than any other civilization on earth.

 I understand from my IPad and Iphone applications called “the Distance Suns”... testifies the largest known galaxies in the universe are governed by Caseus, Cassiopeia and Andromeda Galaxies, the respective Ethiopian  King, Queen and Princess!

Please be careful who you tell this, the Revolutionaries might not like it!     The question is do you care, if it is the truth?  May be you should care, so that the Revolutionaries will give you a chance!                   
Our attitude and perspectives as well as perceptions are built over a period of time. 

Our perception of self and others change over time, as we face our own individual and collective realities.  Unfortunately for the current adults and  fortunately for you the Youth, time is moving on and changes happen both at molecular, cellular, organ and body function level second by second.  We do not realize it as we are too over occupied by so many secondary and tertiary things in life.

The Economy, the Ecology and our individual and collective security is in such a mess and at stake, thanks to the Corrupt Corporate Dictatorships that is making life hell for Obama and other sensible young leaders across the world.

Power does not like competition and does not like succession or transitions!  Constitutions, and the Electorates, and especially the public watch lions not dogs such as the Media and Governance Institutions ensure that power is transformed appropriately to the most competent, legal and responsive team to govern.

The secret for our youth and youths in general is to build your competencies for leadership and governance!

Managing Change!
Change happens all around us all the time, the question is can we direct it or be part of it. 
The tide of history is unfolding in front of us, the real question is do we appreciate change, in our lives, in our ecosystem, and most importantly in our respective communities at local, regional and global level.

Events, time, and movements of nature make the transitions happen.  How much can we make a difference is the real wisdom and knowing when to give it up is another genius!
The question is can the Youth wait for events to take their natural course or do they want to accelerate change by playing their key strategic roles in whatever chosen field.

Do we have any pathway to follow?  Are we here to change everything? Can we change anything?
That is why our own Gadda System is uniquely appropriate for us to consider as it spells out clear guidelines for our human relationships at individual and collective level.

The Growth and Development Model in the Gadda Construct!

As a pediatrician interested in Human Development and Behavior, which we refer to as “Growth & Development” in the Pediatric and Neonatology lingo, our social growth and development is well spelled out by the Gadda System.

Age and Gender Specific development stages are well reflected in the Classical Gadda System of Ethiopia.

As a Founder and Chair of the
African American Ethiopian Political Action Group Network (AAEPAG) Network; I believe we can change the world for the better, smartly!

With SMART strategies that is Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and time sensitive objectives!

Managing Change and Transitions! Revolutions Vs Evolutions!

Adult Attitude towards Youth Leadership and involvement: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Need to Transition to Youth Leadership: Succession of leadership at individual and collective level, the case of classical and modern Ethiopian traditions and culture!

I like this topic and I would try to put forward an idea based on our Ethiopian Classical Governance, the “Gadda System” where each individual and the community collectively use the age appropriate interaction and responsibility for every one.

As such, Ethiopian Youth have a unique opportunity to grow and develop their skills and competencies based on their respective life stations according to their age, sex, and individual and collective interests.

Within this larger perspective, I will be sharing on the changing Adult attitudes and perspectives on youth, and its implications for our future within and without our respective Ethiopian communities at home and Diaspora.
Remember:  the most important thing is to empower our youth so that they can compete effectively anywhere in the world and advance their individual and our collective potential for excellence and success towards developing a sustainable security, good governance and progressive prosperity for all.

Do we have a well thought out transitioning system in our societies?

The Ethiopian youth as agents of change and transitions!  Evolution or Revolution is the question of the time?
Terms of Reference:
Evolution: Gradual change – peaceful change- time consuming
Revolution: Rapid change- violent change- can take place immediately

A lot has been said about what transpired over the past 40 years, as student movements were used as the platform for political and social transitions by using protest tools instead of the classical deliberative process of Baitos, Shengoes and Chefes in the Ethiopian tradition of managing change. 

The Baitoes, Shengoes and Chefes are people’s assemblies under the tree, and in the compounds of places of worship as well at public educational and governance institutions that deliberate on the issues at hand be it personal, communal or social that could impact us individually and collectively.  It is fair, deliberative and seeks consensus as well as win-win options.

After almost 40 years of violent and revolutionary transitions or some say non transitions but revolutions that has cost us huge losses at individual and collective lives, the new generation is asking can we do it better?  How do we understand these adults and what is their perspective of youth leadership, the good, the bad and the ugly.

3As, 3Es and FoC:

Perspectives and attitudes are built over years of experiences and reflections on changing realities.  What was acceptable ten years ago may not be so today.  More importantly what worked in the past might not work as well today.  However, principles, value systems need to be constant.  Our principle should be to promote sustainable security, good governance and progressive prosperity for all in a fair environment otherwise known within the environment of 3As, 3Es and FOC this means
Accessible, Affordable, Accountable as well as Effective, Efficient and Equitable and provided in an environment of Freedom of Choice.

 NDS Interaction Models The Trio Venn Diagram

The next critical issue is to understand the Need, Demand, Supply Interaction Model where the best option, or what is referred to as the Equity Parity Paradigm by Behavioral Economists and Behavioral Public Health Scientists!

Where all the three Circles of Need, Demand and Supply converge and convert the three interactive circles into one circle.  That is in the end the best system that takes into consideration, need that has been expressed as demand and then provided in an environment of appropriate resources such as budget, personnel, and time line.

It is appropriate to ask what the Adult attitude towards youth leadership transitions is.  Of course, to-days adults are yesterday revolutionaries who advocated for protest and violence to make change possible. 

There are many justifications to accommodate the Ethiopian Student Revolution in terms of its egalitarian vision of equity and freedom of want and economic prosperity, etc, and yet none can justify the amount of violence and social destruction that ensued and the over  200 years lost opportunities. Our competitors were Ghana and South Korea and look where we are today?  Some say EPRDF in the last five years reached to where Imperial Ethiopia was after almost 40 years of destructive and rudderless revolutions!

The classical Ethiopian word of wisdom is that … Wise people learn from the mistakes of others, clever ones from their own and fools continue to repeat the same mistake over and over again and continue to live in abject spiritual, emotional and material poverty.

The Classical Wise Ethiopians in effect, the whole populations have observed in despair a series of young non wise Ethiopian youth take the whole country through highly turbulent and violent revolutions of 40 years (20 by the Military Junta and another 20 by Liberation Front’s),!

What next is the subject of this conference and demands your deliberations and our advice.  How long the current Development Economy and Developmental State paradigm will take us is every body’s guess!

The question is can we make the system, responsive and accountable to the local and international communities as we live in a highly globalized and integrated world.

So, the next sets of leadership have to be accountable to the local, regional and global community.  Are our youth ready for such level of scrutiny.

The answer is ABC: Attendance, Behavior and Competency!

1.      Attendance (99.9%) -   Attend intelligently to all issues in a transparent and accountable way.

2.      Behavior or Professionalism and process is 90.5% of Measure of Success

3.      Competency or ability to make changes possible, is another 0.5%

The current set of competitors or opposition have missed out by losing in engagement or attendance, which I give 99.9% importance for success.  If you are not there engaged with every one, you are almost a zombie, walking dead in international parking lots!

It is appropriate for current Ethiopian Youth to be careful and ask Revolutionary Adults what their perception and attitudes is about transitioning, and successions, as our has been a very violent revolutionary group who is prepared to pass on the spirit of the revolution to the next generation. 

The next Amoraw Generations!  The recent docudrama in ETV and the current Ethiopian Revolutionary perspective is being reviewed by the Ethiopian people over the ETV (television) series right after the 4th Multiparty Elections.  You have to watch it to appreciate the perspective of the old revolutionaries, as they comment very openly what they perceive to be the role of the current youth leadership in Ethiopia.

Is Evolution possible after 4 decades of violent and disastrous revolutionary changes is the real question?

The CIA and KGB revolutions of the 1960 and 1970s!

Revolutions happen when adults abandon their primary responsibilities of transitioning, create a deliberate system for succession and abandon their responsibilities to the next generation. 

The First Revolution

The western educated Girmame Newai and his brother Mengistu Newai were inspired and instigated by Western intelligence sources. They committed treason and mass murder that reverberated again some 15 years later by the Russian motivated youth of University Students and Junior Army, Air force officers.  Both resulted in lots of lives and property loses followed by some 50 to 100 years lost opportunities for development.  The idea of discontent and revolutions were passed on songs, poetry and the University became the fertile ground for dissent and revolutions that exploded just 15 years later in 1974.

The Second Revolution

Remember, what happened in 1974 when the 84 years old Emperor was murdered by a 35 years old eighth grade dropout military Junta Mengistu Haile Mariam? Do you remember three sets of highly educated Prime Ministers from Osbourne University, Paris, Oxford University in England and their respective IV league Ministers and Generals and commanders were murdered by the loony trigger happy ignorant soldiers, who allowed Somalia Rebels to match up to Nazareth in the South East and the Shabia Rebels to march into Massawa, Mitsewa and eventually Asmara?

The Army that killed its leaders and its future!

The treasonous Imperial Army of the 1974 literally cut off Ethiopia’s head and Ethiopia’s future by murdering the elders and the youth of the nation for over 17 years of Mayhem.

That was the most incompetent army in Ethiopian History that murdered its own head and left the country in the hands of rebels and hijacked its own Ethiopian Airlines and went to Nirobi, Kenya and Harare, Zimbabwe.

This shameful history should never be repeated again!

So, in the Ethiopian setting and for that matter in any other societies when the transition process is not well thought out, organized and deliberate with Vision, Mission, Goals, Strategies, SMART Objectives and Work plan with specific time line, then the youth become restless and demand a rapid violent and disorganized change, which some call “revolutions”

Revolutions are too costly and my generation can document the individual and collective loses that it has brought.

I do not want my children to revolt; instead I want them to take over in style, in a very responsible, educated, deliberate fashion, preferably with my blessing.  Every day billions of cells are shade and billions are replaced.  In effect we are what we eat and change is taking place in our bodies, spirit, emotions, psychology and brain every day!

By the way, each second, minute and hour of the day, they are learning to grow, develop and learn to be responsible about their lives and their future.  
I have two daughters and one son, aged 26, 16 and 6; a ten year interval between each one of them designed to give them ten years of full attention so that they will grow to be well adjusted adults in the years to come.

The two older daughters seem to be well adjusted, Laura the oldest Laura is 26 and is a graduate of Medical School and wants to be a Pediatric neurologist, so I wish she could make this speech instead of me.

Growth and Development is the most prominent part of Pediatric study that depends a lot on neurological developments!

 What are the standards that Ethiopian Youth should follow as they charter the future?

First appreciate the past and understand the present before you begin to charter the future. I recommend you to read www.SolomonicCrown.org to understand and appreciate the past.

Read and research the present in the regional and Global context of World War II and respective cold war as well as the illustrious Ethiopian Governance of 7,500 years of recorded history.

Methodologies and approaches to charter the future

  1. The Research Pyramid
  2. The CORT Analysis
  3. The NDS Interaction Model
  4. What if scenarios and
  5. Option Appraisals.

  1. Research Pyramid: Ask what? How? why?, who?, when and where?

  1. CORT Analysis  (Cruciform  Diagram)

Challenges                                        Opportunities

                                                            Threats                                              Risks

  1. The NDS Interaction Model ( Venn Diagram)



  1.  Options and Alternatives (Minimum Options & Alternatives)

Options (1,2,3)   &           Alternatives (A, B,C)
             A          B        C
1.            1A       1B      1C                              
2.            2A       2B     2 C                 
3.            3A       3B    3 C                  

5.Option Appraisals and What if Scenarios

  1. Best Option- the desired option- the Excellence + Success  Option
  2. Win-Win Option- the preferred option- The Success Option
  3. Compromise Option- the cannot allow failure option

The What if Scenario Strategic Options

  1. Do Nothing Option- The wait and see option- the last option
  2. Do Something Option-  Give yourself time option
  3. Does Everything option- You have no Option but to do everything to succeed!

The Gedda System has an age appropriate transitioning to social leadership

Terms of Reference:  Asking the  Right Questions and you have to answer them!

1. Empowering Youth and Promoting Positive Youth Leadership among Adults

2.  Why does Adult attitude matter in youth leadership and involvement?

3.  What is good, bad and ugly attitude to youth?  Why does it matter?

Key words:
Attitude, Adult, Youths and leaderships, Positive and Negative Experiences

Positive and Negative Attitudes of Adults towards youth leadership in the Ethiopian Context

Attitude is a psychological Perspective that defines likes and dislikes for an item or situation or an experiences

Who are the Adults in the Ethiopian Construct and who are the youths? 

Current adults are the old revolutionaries who tried to change the adult world they faced with revolutions, mostly via violent means.  So, it is good that current youth are treading easy and asking the right questions first.  It is a very dangerous territory!
Yet, change comes to all of us and empowering our youth is the most important characteristics of humans that differentiate us from the rest of the Animal kingdom

In the end, survival of the fittest demands, that we allow the youth to continue to improve on our work by creating, innovating and  most of all by providing us sustainable security, good governance and progressive productivity that balances our social and economic challenges with our common shared ecological space and our collective responsibility to provide a better future for the next generation

 The Gedda System has a Seven Year sequence from early childhood to old age.   Here is a pair of seven (08) years for our review:  Remember the average life span is less than 50 years! Although my paternal grandfather managed 122.

Here are my Gadda Adaptations for Ethiopian Youth Leadership Model.  Please note I have attached an interesting article about the Gedda System but do not subscribe to the opinion of the author in terms of its application to the current modern Ethiopian setting.

I have my perspective and he has his, but I like the construct of the Gedda System. For those who want to read original articles, please read Ethiopian History during the 16th Century, by His Excellency Yilma Deressa, the Imperial Minister for Treasury (Finance).

Modern Model of the Gada System Adaptation into Modern Life
 (Dr Belai Mariam Jesus Adaptation of the Gadda System)

Years of life                       Age  Group            Station in life      Status in life
1.    First     15 Years:    01- 08        08-16         Youth           Grades 1-10

2.    Second 15 Years:     16-24            24-32    Young Adult     Grade 11-13, College

3.    Third 15 Years:      32-40           40-48     Adult               Family leadership

4.     Fourth 15 Years:    48-57           57-65      Seniors          Community leadership          

5.      Fifth 15 Years:      65-73           73-81    Elders             Society   Leadership
             6.     Sixth 15 years:     81-89       89-97    Senior Elders      Advisory Role
             7.     Seventh 15 years:  97-105     105-123     Most Senior Elders   Sunset Years
 The Gadda system encourages respecting age and stationing in life and as such everybody is  indispensable as they transition to the next higher level stage as they age.
How can we change attitude?  By understanding our cultural & social values first
An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual's degree of like or dislike for an item. Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event-- this is often referred to as the attitude object. People can also be conflicted or ambivalent toward an object, meaning that they simultaneously possess both positive and negative attitudes toward the item in question.
 Affect, Behavior and Cognition
Attitudes are judgments. They develop on the ABC model (affect, behavior, and cognition). The affective response is an emotional response that expresses an individual's degree of preference for an entity. The behavioral intention is a verbal indication or typical behavioral tendency of an individual. The cognitive response is a cognitive evaluation of the entity that constitutes an individual's beliefs about the object. Most attitudes are the result of either direct experience or observational learning from the environment.

 Managing Attitudes the Psychological Perspective
       5 MBTI definitions
        7 . References

 Attitude formation
Unlike personality, attitudes are expected to change as a function of experience. Tesser (1993) has argued that hereditary variables may affect attitudes - but believes that they may do so indirectly. For example, consistency theories, which imply that we must be consistent in our beliefs and values. The most famous example of such a theory is Dissonance-reduction theory, associated with Leon Festinger, although there are others, such as the balance theory. tite

Attitude change
Attitudes can be changed through persuasion and we should understand attitude change as a response to communication. Experimental researches into the factors that can affect the persuasiveness of a message include:
1.      Target Characteristics: These are characteristics that refer to the person who receives and processes a message. One such trait is intelligence - it seems that more intelligent people are less easily persuaded by one-sided messages. Another variable that has been studied in this category is self-esteem.
2.      Although it is sometimes thought that those higher in self-esteem are less easily persuaded, there is some evidence that the relationship between self-esteem and persuasibility is actually curvilinear, with people of moderate self-esteem being more easily persuaded than both those of high and low self-esteem levels (Rhodes & Woods, 1992). The mind frame and mood of the target also plays a role in this process.

3.   Source Characteristics: The major source characteristics are expertise, trustworthiness and interpersonal attraction or attractiveness. The credibility of a perceived message has been found to be a key variable here; if one reads a report about health and believes it came from a professional medical journal, one may be more easily persuaded than if one believes it is from a popular newspaper. Some psychologists have debated whether this is a long-lasting effect and Hovland and Weiss (1951) found the effect of telling people that a message came from a credible source disappeared after several weeks (the so-called "sleeper effect"). Whether there is a sleeper effect is controversial. Perceived wisdom is that if people are informed of the source of a message before hearing it, there is less likelihood of a sleeper effect than if they are told a message and then told its source.

3.   Message Characteristics: The nature of the message plays a role in persuasion. Sometimes presenting both sides of a story is useful to help change attitudes.

Cognitive Routes: A message can appeal to an individual's cognitive evaluation to help change an attitude. In the central route to persuasion the individual is presented with the data and motivated to evaluate the data and arrive at an attitude changing conclusion. In the peripheral route to attitude change, the individual is encouraged to not look at the content but at the source. This is commonly seen in modern advertisements that feature celebrities. In some cases, physician, doctors or experts are used. In other cases film stars are used for their attractiveness.

Emotion and Attitude Change
Emotion is a common component in persuasionsocial influence, and attitude change. Much of attitude research emphasized the importance of affective or emotion components. Emotion works hand-in-hand with the cognitive process, or the way we think, about an issue or situation. Emotional appeals are commonly found in advertising, health campaigns and political messages. Recent examples include no-smoking health campaigns and political campaign advertising emphasizing the fear of terrorism. Attitudes and attitude objects are functions of cognitive, affective and co native components. Attitudes are part of the brain’s associative networks, the spider-like structures residing in long term memory that consist of affective and cognitive nodes.

 By activating an affective or emotion node, attitude change may be possible, though affective and cognitive components tend to be intertwined. In primarily affective networks, it is more difficult to produce cognitive counterarguments in the resistance to persuasion and attitude change.

Affective forecasting, otherwise known as intuition or the prediction of emotion, also impacts attitude change. Research suggests that predicting emotions is an important component of decision making, in addition to the cognitive processes. How we feel about an outcome may override purely cognitive rationales.

In terms of research methodology, the challenge for researchers is measuring emotion and subsequent impacts on attitude. Since we cannot see into the brain, various models and measurement tools have been constructed to obtain emotion and attitude information. Measures may include the use of physiological cues like facial expressions, vocal changes, and other body rate measures. For instance, fear is associated with raised eyebrows, increased heart rate and increase body tension (Dillard, 1994). Other methods include concept or network mapping, and using primes or word cues.

Components of Emotion Appeals
Any discrete emotion can be used in a persuasive appeal; this may include jealousy, disgust, indignation, fear, and anger. Fear is one of the most studied emotional appeals in communication and social influence research.

 Important consequences of fear appeals and other emotion appeals include the possibility of reactance which may lead to either message rejections or source rejection and the absence of attitude change. As the EPPM suggests, there is an optimal emotion level in motivating attitude change. If there is not enough motivation, an attitude will not change; if the emotional appeal is overdone, the motivation can be paralyzed thereby preventing attitude change.

Emotions perceived as negative or containing threat are often studied more than perceived positive emotions like humor. Though the inner-workings of humor are not agreed upon, humor appeals may work by creating incongruities in the mind. Recent research has looked at the impact of humor on the processing of political messages. While evidence is inconclusive, there appears to be potential for targeted attitude change is receivers with low political message involvement.

 Important factors that influence the impact of emotion appeals include self efficacy, attitude accessibility, issue involvement, and message/source features. Self efficacy is a perception of one’s own human agency; in other words, it is the perception of our own ability to deal with a situation. It is an important variable in emotion appeal messages because it dictates a person’s ability to deal with both the emotion and the situation. For example, if a person is not self-efficacious about their ability to impact the global environment, they are not likely to change their attitude or behavior about global warming.

Dillard (1994) suggests that message features such as source non-verbal communication, message content, and receiver differences can impact the emotion impact of fear appeals. The characteristics of a message are important because one message can elicit different levels of emotion for different people. Thus, in terms of emotion appeals messages, one size does not fit all.
 Attitude accessibility refers to the activation of an attitude from memory in other words, how readily available is an attitude about an object, issue, or situation. Issue involvement is the relevance and salience of an issue or situation to an individual. Issue involvement has been correlated with both attitude access and attitude strength. Past studies conclude accessible attitudes are more resistant to change
 Implicit and explicit attitudes
There is also considerable research on implicit attitudes, which are generally unacknowledged or outside of awareness, but have effects that are measurable through sophisticated methods using people's response times to stimuli. Implicit and explicit attitudes seem to affect people's behavior, though in different ways. They tend not to be strongly associated with each other, although in some cases they are. The relationship between them is poorly understood.
 Jung's definition
Attitude is one of Jung's 57 definitions in Chapter XI of Psychological Types. Jung's definition of attitude is a "readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way" (Jung, [1921] 1971:par. 687). Attitudes very often come in pairs, one conscious and the other unconscious. Within this broad definition Jung defines several attitudes.
The main (but not only) attitude dualities that Jung defines are the following.
§  Consciousness and the unconscious. The "presence of two attitudes is extremely frequent, one conscious and the other unconscious. This means that consciousness has a constellation of contents different from that of the unconscious, a duality particularly evident in neurosis" (Jung, [1921] 1971: par. 687).
§  Extraversion and introversion. This pair is so elementary to Jung's theory of types that he labeled them the "attitude-types".
§  Rational and irrational attitudes. "I conceive reason as an attitude" (Jung, [1921] 1971: par. 785).
§  The rational attitude subdivides into the thinking and feeling psychological functions, each with its attitude.
§  The irrational attitude subdivides into the sensing and intuition psychological functions, each with its attitude. "There is thus a typical thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuitive attitude" (Jung, [1921] 1971: par. 691).
§  Individual and social attitudes. Many of the latter are "isms".

In addition, Jung discusses the abstract attitude. “When I take an abstract attitude...” (Jung, [1921] 1971: par. 679). Abstraction is contrasted with concretism. “CONCRETISM. By this I mean a peculiarity of thinking and feeling which is the antithesis of abstraction” (Jung, [1921] 1971: par. 696). For example "I hate his attitude for being Sarcastic.
 MBTI definition
The MBTI write-ups limit the use of "attitude" to the extraversion-introversion (EI) and judging-perceiving (JP) indexes.

 The JP index is sometimes referred to as an orientation to the outer world and sometimes JP is classified as an "attitude." In Jungian terminology the term attitude is restricted to EI. In MBTI terminology attitude can include EI and also JP. (Myers, 1985:293 note 7).

 The above MBTI Manual statement, is restricted to EI," is directly contradicted by Jung's statement above that there is "a typical thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuitive attitude" and by his other uses of the term "attitude". Regardless of whether the MBTI simplification (or oversimplification) of Jung can be attributed to Myers, Gifts Differing refers only to the "EI preference", consistently avoiding the label "attitude".

Regarding the JP index, in Gifts Differing Myers does use the terms "the perceptive attitude and the judging attitude" (Myers, 1980:8). The JP index corresponds to the irrational and rational attitudes Jung describes, except that the MBTI focuses on the preferred orientation in the outer world in order to identify the function hierarchy. To be consistent with Jung, it can be noted that a rational extraverted preference is accompanied by an irrational introverted preference.

For further information please See also

1.     [1] From USA Today "Power of a super attitude"
2.     "The A-Word" by Paul Niquette
3.     Anderson, J. R. (1983) 'A spreading activation theory of memory', Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 22, 261-295
4.     Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 37, 122-147.
5.     Breckler, S. J., & Wiggins, E. C. (1992). On defining attitude and attitude theory: Once more with feeling. In A. R. Pratkanis, S. J. Breckler, & A. C. Greenwald (Eds.), Attitude structure and function. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. pp. 407-427
6.     Chaiken, S., Liberman, A., & Eagly, A. H. (1989). Heuristic and systematic information processing within and beyond the persuasion context. In J. S. Uleman & J. A. Bargh. (Eds.), Unintended thought (pp. 212-252). New York: Guilford
7.     Dillard, J. (1994). Rethinking the study of fear appeals: An emotional perspective. Communication Theory, 4, 295-323
8.     Eagly, A., & Chaiken, S. (1995). Attitude strength, attitude structure and resistance to change. In R. Petty and J. Kosnik (Eds.), Attitude Strength. (pp. 413-432). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
9.     Fazio, R. H. (1986). How do attitudes guide behavior? In R. M. Sorrentino & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), The handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (pp 204-243). New York: Guilford Press.
10.  Fazio, R., & Williams, C. (1986). Attitude accessibility as a moderator of attitude-perception and attitude-behavior relation: An investigation of the 1984 presidential election. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 505-514.
11.  Higgins, E. (1996). Knowledge activation: Accessibility, applicability, and salience. In E. T. Higgins, & A. W. Kruganski (Eds.), Social Psychology, Handbook of basic principles (pp. 133-168). New York: Guilford Press.
12.  Jung, C.G. (1966). Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Collected Works, Volume 7, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01782-4.
13.  Jung, C.G. [1921] (1971). Psychological Types, Collected Works, Volume 6, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01813-8.
14.  Lowenstein, G. (2007). Affect regulation and affective forecasting. In Gross, J. J. (Ed.) Handbook of Emotion Regulation (pp. 180-203). New York: Guilford.
15.  Maase, S. W., Fink, E. L., and Kaplowitz, S. A. (1984). Incongruity in humor: The cognitive dynamics. Communication Yearbook, 8, 80-105.
16.  Myers, I. B. & Myers, P. B. (1980), ' to the development and use of the Myers-Briggs type indicator", Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. ISBN 0-89106-027-8

The Gedda System

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Important Author’s note:

 I do not subscribe to the racism and tribalism espoused by this author, but it is important to appreciate how the politicized elites are thinking!  Dr Belai Mariam Jesus

  1. Introduction
  2. Structural Aspects
  3. Organizational Aspects
  4. Summary and Conclusions

1. Introduction

Oromo national history, both its record and analysis, has been suppressed since the time Amhara colonial rule began at the turn of the century. Of course the suppression is no accident or oversight on the part of scholars. The size, strength and unified culture of Oromos to be revealed in the historical account is a great threat to those in the state power who have fought to control the Oromos and our resource-rich territory since the time of Emperor Menelik II.
For school children in the Empire State, and for every student world-wide, the history of Oromia has been wrongly included under the history of the Abyssinian people as part of a calculated effort to force an "Ethiopianist" concept on the people of this empire. The Oromos are presented as a brief interruption if they are mentioned. This systematic avoidance of Oromos unique heritage has been embodied in the policies of the Ethiopian government. Much time and energy has gone into developing and trying to document a "unified national culture" perspective for Ethiopia.
The distortions have been fundamental. The world has been told that the Oromo people originated outside the current boundaries of the Ethiopian Empire. The world has been told that the Oromo have been an exclusively pastoral nomadic people who learned the techniques of agriculture only recently from the Amharas.
This is offered as evidence that the Oromos have already broken crucial links with their past and should completely "modernize" by sacrificing their way of life and clinging to the Empire State of Ethiopia. Some have argued that the Oromo GADA system of self-government functioned only in the distant past and is now outmoded, ruined, weak, and useless ritual if not completely dead. T
he same Amnhara colonial government presenting and encouraging these views of Oromo history and society is trying to replace the Oromo way of life at every crucial point through Amharization-of language, religion, custom, law, form of education, etc.
The process of historical distortion is not new for colonized peoples. In this case as in other colonial situations, the ruling group (Abyssianian/Amhara) is underestimating the cultural strength of the ruled groups (Oromo and others). Amharas have always emphasized their cultural superiority over the Oromos and others by pointing out the similarities between their own and European forms-in religion, art, written works, legal traditions, and so forth.
This is not to denigrate Amhara culture, but to point out the weakness of that position and of their claims to superiority based on such criteria. Europeans also underestimated the national strength of those they colonized and paid dearly through periods of war and strong resistance. Oromos, however, have not accepted the view of their own society as static, ruined, or not belonging to the modern era, and have refused to become accomplices in colonialism by consenting to these views.

We Oromos have taken onto our own shoulders the crucially important task of beginning, encouraging, and carrying out the reconstruction of Oromo history-i.e., uncovering data, recording and analyzing the events and finding clues buried in the past and present about the very structure of Oromo society. There is no question that central to any study of the Oromo is the GADA system.

 GADA is recognized by all Oromos as a key to the unique heritage of Oromo political, social, and cultural life. Whereas most of us do know about the existence of the GADA system from our elders, its specific operations are unclear to most of us. For this reason Oromo intellectuals have decided to spend significant time and energy on the study of GADA. Our study so far has led us to suggest that a beacon and even a blueprint for democracy in Oromia may be found in the kind of society that Oromos maintained in the past and have preserved in various forms into the present. The GADA system is a key since it has been the predominant organizational form in Oromo society.

This paper attempts to analyze GADA as a system. It is also a challenge for thorough, open-minded study of Oromo society in its many aspects. A careful look at the GADA rekindles a vision of how strongly coordinated the Oromo have been throughout history; it focuses on the fundamentals that are shared rather than the historically recent and more superficial differences among Oromos that non-Oromos have always emphasized. This approach forces us to appreciate the valuable knowledge Oromo elders possess about this form of political and social organization that has endured for at least four centuries, and it encourages a respectful, genuine turning to Oromia's own authorities within the country for information, direction, and partnership in planning for an independent, democratic Oromia. Learning from the people is the only way a genuine and complete study of GADA can be made. Even the study of GADA will bring Oromos together and will contribute toward the hope that GADA will insure the survival of the Oromo people as Oromos.

2. Structural Aspects

Our starting point is to deal with GADA as a system structurally. Then we will look at its organization in historical context and in relation to material conditions. This will help us to take a new look at functions or dimensions of GADA that are usually labeled according to Western scholarly categories "political," "social," "economic," "ritual," etc. Also this way we can discuss how the system might have worked before colonial conquerors forcefully replaced GADA's republican structure with an Abyssinian feudal monarchy kept in place first by European, then American and Soviet firepower.

We have decided to approach GADA in terms of its overall rationale or logic and not as much in terms of mere descriptions of its component parts. Among most studies of GADA too much attention to recent amendments, adjustments and local variation has blurred the underlying logic of the nationwide system. Once this logic is grasped, and the principal features put in perspective, the search for details takes on new meaning.

In the most general sense, to discuss GADA as a system is simply to see it as an arrangement of interacting parts. Understanding any one part requires relating it to the whole - that is, knowing how the overall system is fitted together. GADA is (1) an arrangement of social categories usually called grades, (2) 'an arrangement of men into groups usually called parties, "sets," "classes," (3) an arrangement of tasks or work to be performed, and (4) an arrangement of ideas, principles, and rules.

Oromo public life was administered through the GADA system. Each man born or adopted by Oromo parents was automatically placed for life into a ready-made pattern of positions and moved through it performing various services for the public good and also receiving certain privileges.

Only after a man together with his group or party had passed through a series of four eight year-grades or periods and entered the fifth grade, could his party act to change or amend the system in any way. Following eight years in the grade of formal power all men retired from public service and entered into a purely advisory role. All positions were given or bestowed by the society as a whole and not earned by some kind of individual achievement.

An important distinction in GADA is between (1) groups of men who move through a series of stages and (2) the stages or periods themselves. We prefer to refer to the groups of men as parties, although other writers have used the terms "classes" or "age-sets." The Oromo word is misenssa or gogesa. And we will use the term grade for the stages (or categories, or eight- year-long periods) through which all parties must pass. So the men are divided into parties and the time is divided into grades. The parties are always named, although the names are sometimes reported differently. For purposes of discussion we will use the five party names most commonly found:
  1. Birinaji
  2. Horata
  3. Bichile
  4. Duulo
  5. Robale
A man and all of his brothers are in the same party, for example, Birmaji, regardless of the differences in their ages. Together they move through the hierarchy of grades, a complete GADA cycle of forty years behind their father. As sons are born to a man, they are held back and do not enter into active participation in the GADA system until their father retires. For example, if a man is Birmaji, his sons are initiated into the first grade of GADA, when he finishes the fifth grade. If a man continues to have children until he is very old, those sons will enter GADA and move through with their older brothers, even if they enter at the middle of the cycle as infants. The grades, or eight year periods through which parties pass are named:
Gadaa Grade
Number of Yeares in the Gadaa System
Number of years(Expected age of individuals)
Iti Mako
0 - 8
8 - 16
8 - 16
16 - 24
18 - 24
24 - 32
24 - 32
32 -40
32 - 40
40 - 48
The first column shows the amount of time the individuals as members of a party have spent in the graded system. The second column shows the ages of individuals in those grades. If the system worked like a computer and all men had all their children while they were V. Luba, i.e. 40-48 years old, by the time the fathers were ready to retire, some of their children would be eight years old and others as young as infants. All those children would enter together as Iti Mako, and remain Iti Mako for eight years. When they finished that grade some would be as old as sixteen, others as young as eight, but all would be the same GADA age.

 Their social age or number of years in GADA would be same as their biological age only if they were born on the very day of their father's retirement. But since people are not machines, the ages of men in each grade varies widely depending on how old their fathers were and their grandfathers when each had sons. Adjustments have been made by adoption and by amendment to keep the greatest number, of able-bodied men into the grades that require the maximum of physical strength to meet the needs of the nation, e.g. for herding livestock and military activities. Technically, however, GADA is not an age-grade system per se as many call it. It is a generation grade or a generation set system. 3~

Let us look at the cycle at a given time, for example when the Robale party is in the LUBA grade (see Figure I), to show how the grade and party are related. Each of the other active parties holds a specific grade; at that time the Dulo party is Qondala, the Bichiles are FOLLE, Horata is in DABALLE, and the Birmajis have just started in GADA as ITI MAKO.

It is the nature of this system to force the parties into new grades every eight years when the party acting as LUBA retires. When Robale retires, therefore, the Birmaji party becomes DABALLE, Horata becomes FOLLE, Bichile moves into QONDALA and the DULOS take formal power as LUBA. The sons of the Robale party enter Iti Mako thus pushing the others forward (see Figure 2). Figure 3 shows the full cycle in operation.

Five parties operated at one time in a forty-year cycle. Each group/party was assigned by the rules of GADA to take on specific responsibilities and to engage in certain kinds of work for the collectivity during the eight years that the members held each grade. The scale of grades stood also for a hierarchy in social positions.
 By the end of his life every man in GADA had held every major position in the system. The requirements of each grade increased in importance and public responsibility up through the final active period, LUBA which obliged the party to govern the nation for eight years. After performance in public office all men of the party were automatically retired or made YUBA celebrated as a Chaffe of completion called gadamaji It was at this point that sons took the name of the fathers' and/or grandfathers' party and started at 



The GADA system is the complete sequence of stages, the division of men into parties and the responsibilities to be assumed by each group as they moved into position. It was knitted together by a highly developed political philosophy, a series of legal sanctions, or educational apparatus, and a ritual/ceremonial tradition. GADA organized the entire social order, at least those aspects attributed to males. Over time it has accumulated a great deal of rich and complex detail. Despite its uniqueness and complexity, the fundamentals of the system are easy to grasp. Additional in-depth study of GADA should not lose sight of the functioning whole by focusing on one part alone.

3. Organizational Aspects

To understand the associational logic of the GADA system, it helps to consider its development within specific historical conditions. Very little attention has been paid to the relationship between Oromo social organization and the physical/material environment in which the society developed, mainly because hardly any information is available through written sources, and much of what there is open to suspicion. 

Despite obstacles, however, it is possible to decipher a logic of Oromo economy and society gleaned from clues in the written and oral record and from new research. Works-in-progress recently presented at a Cambridge workshop (1979) as well as work by Lewis (1966) and Baxter (1978) indicate that Oromos have been involved in both agriculture and herding from their earliest beginnings around Hora Wollabo. Linguistic evidence shows that the words for oats (garbu) and for sycamore trees (oda, the trees where GADA officers gather before Chaffe meetings) are terms as old as the Oromo themselves. Both of these plants thrive in rolling hills that support both agriculture and livestock raising. It appears therefore, that GADA has functioned in Oromo society through a range of productive activities including herding, farming, trading and working for wages.

The oldest written accounts of GADA (Bahrey 1954, original 1593-1646) prove that GADA has changed very little in its ideal form from the 15th century to the present. This seems to show that GADA has not only adapted to basic shifts in the productive forces, but that it has also been a shaper of Oromo history. It has been a product and a producer of history. Perhaps this is so because GADA was never a system of ownership, but rather a system of distribution and utilization of the national productive forces.
Before the Oromo nation lost its sovereignty, and colonial conquerors imposed forms of tribute and rent, i.e., feudal relations of production, on the Oromo people, the GADA system was the principal form of social organization.

GADA through history came to organize social life around the series of five generation grades which assign obligations as well as rights to all the males in the society. Females were linked through men. Among other functions, the separation of men into grades is a division of labor. Each man as part of a permanent group, the party, contributes his labor power in different capacities to the society as a whole and is prevented (or discouraged) from settling permanently until he has completed the cycle. The grades were also periods of initiation and training as well as periods of work and performance.

The youngest grade, Iti_Mako are messengers as well as looking after calves and doing errands close to home. Daballe bore a large responsibility in herding, in locating new trading opportunities, in making significant decisions on their own about where to move and how to safeguard one of the society's major resources, the livestock. Folle were the warriors, able-bodied men available for protecting the local community and in joining together to expelling common national enemy from Oromo territory. They organized themselves into military batallions, elected a leader from their ranks-Abba Dula, lived in camps separate from the rest of the people, and more than any other grade put their physical power at the disposal of the nation.

Actually, the whole society relied considerably on the labor of these three younger grades. By design they were prevented from marrying at these stages which enabled them to move around as necessary without any hindrance, and prevented them from accumulating wealth.

The next grade, Qondala, was a transition grade. They acted as a reserve army ready to assist the folle militarily when the national boundaries were threatened. During this time they put a great emphasis on proving themselves with acts of skill and bravery. Also, however, they began to settle, to intensify their learning of the laws and principles of administration, to marry and to select their officials.

Luba was the ruling grade. During the eight years that a party was Luba, its members held all political authority, elected representatives to attend a national covention called Chaffe where the laws of the land were amended by the vote of tens of thousands of Lubas and where officers were selected to administer the nation in a wide variety of capacities. A chairman or chief executive, the HAYYU* was elected along with others whose positions and titles show remarkable similarity to other representative democratic systems. The legislative assembly or convention Chaffe, was run by Abba Chaffe (father of the convention), the Abba Dubbi (a herald or speaker) , the Abba Seera (parliamentarian/historian) .

The Executive branch or officers nominated by HAYYU* consisted of positions similar to cabinet officers or ministers e.g. Abba Alange (attorney general) , Abba Saa minister of finance) , Dori and Raba (vice-chairmen) etc. Judicial matters were dealt with by the HAYYU* , Raba and Dori acting as judges assisted by a jury of nine chosen by the plaintiff and defendant.4

In their own local areas, Luba members as a group, were responsible for maintaining peace, nagaa. (Oromos define peace not as the absence of war but as a proper relationship within the localities/and with God, Waqa.) They settled disputes among groups and individuals and apply the laws dealing with the distribution of goods, criminal fines and punishment, protection of property, theft, etc.

The principles of GADA that the LUBA were obliged to learn and uphold were not mere philosophizing, but clear-cut criteria and standards for deciding what was right and wrong, where the resources should rightly go, and who was a criminal and should be punished according to the GADA-"akka gada ti. " LUBA were the diplomats, the arbitrators, the councilors. Every clan and every locality had members in LUBA at all times. These LUBAs continued to perform public service wherever they were throughout the eight years in power. 

They had reached the highest point of obligation and recognition. GADA was kept together primarily by movement of people and commodities. Throughout the eight-year cycle and through the annual cycle, actual practice required mobilizing labor, livestock and products, and then redistributing them through the society. A major economic function of GADA was distributing resources by establishing who had to help whom, when, and why. By settling conflicts between families over goods and by making laws, the LUBAS did not attain personal or group power. They were making decisions about how products should circulate. Dynasties could not be set up ideally; the system prevented them because a father and son could not be in the GADA at the same time.

Following LUBA, men automatically were retired from GADA and moved into an advisory role as YUBA. There they received a great deal of respect as wise experienced authorities and repositories of law, but their decision was no longer law as it had been. They turned the bulk of their attention to private family business or religious activity while their sons entered GADA, the public service.

The formal aspects of GADA as observed and recorded do not focus on the activities of women. The major strategic problem solved by GADA is managing of male activities and the products they are responsible for. Yet men move around settlements occupied by women, who manage most of the stationary resources. Women through history have managed a large and constant portion of the economic activity of Oromo society. The male orientation of all existing studies of GADA prevents a thorough understanding of how women's activity is organized internally and how it is linked to the public life of men in GADA. A genuine and useful analysis of GADA has to grasp the objective realities and not try to lay down the law to reality based on illusion.

By looking at GADA in its historical context, we see that its general characteristics have remained the same: it operated as a nationwide system for organizing and coordinating a large population of people over a huge territory and for regulating their activities according to democratic principles. Viewed in this way, GADA is seen as flexible rather than unstable (as some have called it); rather than being disorganized, it is decentralized. By not looking at the system in its historical development or linking it with its material base observers intentionally or unintentionally introduce a serious error. Oromos must stop historical lies from becoming theoretical faults.

4. Summary and Conclusions

We have looked at GADA as a system, a unity of interacting parts. It organized the social order by dividing men into groups and providing a blueprint which specified:
  1. an arrangement of categories (grades) into which all men were placed
  2. the relationships among people in different grades
  3. the rules for behavior, the rights, and the tasks to be performed by the men in each grade
  4. the process by which groups (parties) moved from grade to grade.
The dynamic of the GADA system was the constant movement of men through the cycle.
Through GADA, many socio-political functions were carried out. For example, the system operated as an educational institution by providing periods of training and skill development in each grade and by casting all those YUBA [who had finished the cycle] in the role of teachers and advisors. The system operated as a judicial institution by assigning a Chief Justice, jurors at the national level and making all LUBA wherever they were into arbitrators and councilors ready to defend the national law. And so on. The GADA structure was multi- functional.

Since the time of colonial conquest when Oromia was subordinated to a feudal empire by force of arms, the political, legal, educational, even religious aspects were replaced by government administrators, court houses, schools, and Orthodox Christian churches introduced by the victorious Amhara conquerors. The ritual aspect is all that remains visible in the current political environment. GADA has been reduced to ritual.

Some writers have assumed that ritual is the key to the entire GADA system. This is wrong. Ritual in GADA was an inauguration into power, or a transfer between grades. The inauguration ceremonies continue to be held despite the stripping away of political power of those in GADA. Focusing on ritual blows it out of all proportion in relation to the whole. As with any system, taking it part by part and analyzing those parts misses the essence of the society. Keeping a clear view of the whole in its historical context and in relation to its material conditions is the challenge before Oromos now.

Many aspects of GADA have found some limited expression in current Oromo social life-the resistance to hierarchical relationships, the circulation of labor through mutual aid groups locally organized, the association of men as age-mates and equals in any formal or informal group, the assessment of wealth in terms of cattle, common psychological traits (open direct action, independence, cooperation, and self-reliance) and openness and fairness in residence choice, agricultural cooperation, mutual aid and especially in conflict resolution. 

At the cultural level Oromos share a community of belief. The local-level democratic principles imbedded in GADA are expressed in custom, daily practice, even in the very language Oromos use to describe and evaluate the world. Oromo men, who are now uniformly placed in the position of peasants paying tribute (tax) to a state power in which they have no say, constantly judge the situation they are in against the standards of GADA. The concepts of democracy and participation in government are not new to the Oromos. They refer to the era of GADA when governments were changed democratically and peacefully, when political power was separated from wealth, when food did not lie in storage while some starved, and when working together in generation grades created equality in rank among men.

It is no wonder that GADA is becoming the symbol and guiding light of Oromo resistance to foreign domination. Its hard core is archaic-we have discussed it as an historically determined system. Its fundamental principles are understood and shared by every Oromo man. Not only did GADA unify a strong nation in the past on principles of solidarity but its blueprint remains engraved on the Oromo society and in the minds of its members to do the same thing in the future.

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  1. Descriptions of some parts of GADA can be found in varying degrees of comprehensiveness in Prins (1953) Almeida (1954) , Bahrey (1954) , Baxter (1954), Huntingford (1955), Haberland (1965) , Knutsson (1967) , Legesse (1963, 1973) , and in Baxter and Almagor, eds. (1978). 
  2. See Beckingham and Huntingford (1954) for a summary of the literature on some of the names of parties. 
  3. Those who expect to find all men in the same grade to be of exactly the same age, for example, expect all Folle to be between 24 and 32 are often confused and declare that the system does not function properly. That approach uses the wrong assumptions. Men of the same biolo ical age are age-mates, hiriyya, a c ass- ification that is separate from the GADA system. 
  4. See Knutsson (1967:172ff.) for details about public administration. 
  • Almeid Manoel de, 1954 "History of High Ethiopia or Abassia," In C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford, (eds.) Some Records of Ethiopia 159 3-1646. London: Hakluyt Society. 
  • "History ofthe Galla," In C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford, (eds and trans.) , Some Records of Ethiopia 1593-1646. London: Hakluyt Society, 
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