Ayele Kebede Roba is an MPhil/PhD researcher. He works on Ethiopian literatures with particular emphasis on the comparative study of Afaan Oromoo [Oromo] and Amarinya [Amharic] contemporary novels.


Ayele Kebede Roba
, SOAS University of London

This short story was written by MULOSIGE researcher Ayele Kebede Roba. Written in Oromo, “I did not know it” is set after the Guji massacre of December 1975, when more than 350 civilians were burned alive.

Except for the historical places and the event itself, this story is the fictional creation of the author.

“I did not know it”
“I did not know it” tells the story of Ruufo Gurraachaa, a girl who survived the Surro massacre as a small child. Brought up by a perpetrator of the massacre and given in marriage to an old man who orchestrated the violence, Ruufo is unaware of her tragic past. Yet these secrets cannot stay hidden. As Ruufo discovers that her husband’s past brutally connects with her own, she must decide whether or not to take revenge.


    Hin dhageenne / I did not know it

Halkan wolakkaa ture.  Onneen isi’ii boqonnaa dhaddee, sammuun isi’ii addaan dho’uuf ka’ee obsuu dadhabnaan imimmaan dhangalaasaa hirriiba keessaa kaate, Ruufo. Ruufo heerumtee haadha ijoollee lamaati. Aanaa Bulee Horaa bakka Surro jedhamutti dhalatte. Abbaan manaa isi’ii gaafa rakkinni dhufe “ani Gujii dha”, gaafa nagayaa immoo “ani gosa biraati” kan ifiin jedhu ture. Silaa nami dabarsii worri isaa keessa dhufe quba hinqabne, jiruufi jireenna isaa keessa dhoksaan hedduun jiraachuun isii maaniin beeka? Ruufolle tanuma teete. Osoo quba hinqabaatin diina heerumtee ilmee horteef. Ilmeen diinarraa dhalatte maal taati? Gaafa seenaa dhuga’aa baratte maal ifiin jetti? Diina moo fira ifiin jetti? Furmaata yoo dhabde worra isi’ii kan ifii jaamanii isii jaamsaan, kan dhiiga isii’ii kan ormaatiin wolitti makan osoo abaartuu jireenni isi’ii dabarti.Yokiin immoo waanuma biraafa…!

Ruufo Surrotti dhalattuu malee seenaa Surroo dhiisii waan abbaan isi’iituu ittiin du’e quba hinqabdu. Nami isii guddise kunille waan qulqulleessee itti hime hinqabu. Isuma abbaan isii duulloomee waaqni fudhate, yokiin kan harki namaa jiruu itti gabaabse, yokiin kan bineensi hamaan isa take  te’uusaa ilaafi gurraa hinqabdu. Wonni isiin beettu abbaa isii ijoollummaan irraa akka du’e oduu hinmiikaneeffatin takka gurra qabdi. Sababni isaa wanta Surrotti worra isii irratti raawwatame isiinu hin dhageenne. Abbaan isi’ii eennuu akka te’e maqaa isaayyuu nama duri seenaa abbaa isi’ii beeku tokkotti bara isiin dureessa tokkoof kennamte itti hime. Nami sunnille dubbii gadi fageesse itti hinibsine. Dhugaa isaa kan bartee fi abbaan isi’iitii fi firoonni isi’ii hundi diida Surrootti akka qoraanii kan ibiddaaf nyaata te’an erga woggaa afuriif nama du’a worra isi’iitiif sababa kan te’e hammattee ciifteeti. Kan isii guddise nama Gujii hin te’in tokko gaafa Gujii Surrotti fixan erga worri isi’ii dhumuu baree isii fudhatee guddifate, worruma gaafa san loon worra isi’ii dannabee, worra isi’ii ficcisiisee, seenaa worra isii buqee dhokse keessaa tokko ture.Dhumarra gaafa isiin kutaa kudhan barattu “intalli tun barumsaan cimtuu waan teeteef, seenaa worraa isi’ii qorattee diina nutti teeti” jedhee waan yaaddoweef isii sossobee abbaa qabeenya tokkotti heerumsiise, abbaan isii guddise.Odeeffanno sirrii argachuu baattulle, abbaan isi’ii nama cimaa te’uu isaatiifi wonni inni du’een dhokatuun isi’ii garaa isii nyaateera.Namtichi seenaa kana isitti hime karaa adeemaa waan  tureefi, lamatta deebitee isa hin argine.Garuu dhugummaa dubbii isaa caalatti baruuf sammuun isi’ii boqonnaa dhabeera. Ragaa dabalataa barbadaa jirti.

Maqaan abbaa isi’ii sun sammuu isii keessatti hafe—“Gurrachi Geeloo kun nama akkamiiti” jedhee nama gaafadha moo “maal te’a?” jettee osoo dhiphattuu gaafa tokko kitaaba waa’ee seenaa Gujii irratti barreeffame tokko nama harkatti argite irraa fuutee ilaalte. Osoo kitaabichaa bantee baafata isaa ilaaltuu mata duree “The holocaust of Surro: A concealed reality” jedhu argite.  Achitti dhalatte waan jedhamteef ariifattee dubbisutti teettee. “Dhugaan dhokatte tun du’a abbaa kiyyaa ifi keessaa qabaachuu dandeetti” jedhaa osoo dubbistuu jirtuu namoota gaafa san lubbuun isaanii ibidda rasaasaatiifi ibidda mukaatiin woreegamte maqaan isaanii tarreeffanii argite. Osoo maqaa namootaa tokko tokkoon dubbistuu maqaa abbaa isi’ii Gurraacha Geeloo Girjaa isa jedhu argite imimmaan ila isiirra osoo yaa’uu ajjeechaa gaafa sana Gujii irratti raawwatamu keessaa eennu fa’a akka harka qaban soqutti teette. “Dhiigaan na nyaachisanii diina abba kiyya ijjeese immoo dhirsa naaf godhanii na hammachiisanii na wajjiin bulchanii” jettee boyaa dhumarra dhiiga abbaa isi’ii baasuuf kutattee kaate. “Erga gaafa san jiraachuu baadhee, ekeraan abbaa kiyyaa achii teettee na komatuurraa abbaa worraa kiyya kana lubbuu abbaa kiyyaatiif yaadannoo godha” jettee murteessitee galte. Gujii te’uu isi’ii hin beektu jedhee waan amanuuf galgala tokko akkuma amala isaa “Gujiin kun jabaattee qindoofnaan lafa teenna tanarraa nu kaasaa, jabaannee mala adda addaatiin ifi jala galfachuu qabna” jedhee obboleessa isaa isa mari’achiisu teettee dhageetti. Malli namtichi baasaa jiru caalatti garaa isii jabeesse. Namtichi dhuguma dhirsa osoo hin te’in nyaapha te’uu isaa isi’iif mirkaneesse. “Isumaayyuu ka worraa kiyya fixee na hanqate jedhee saba kiyya fixuuf karoorfataa” jettee guddoo garaa hammaatte.

Akkuma hirriibni isii fudhateen wanti guyyaa dubbiste- ijjeechaaniifi balleessaan sanyii kan worra isi’iirratti raawwatame dhufee hirriiba isii dhooggee: bo’ichi namoota galma guddaa keessatti wolitti qabamanii rasaasaan tumamanii reeffi isaanii ibiddatti affeelame; garaa  jabeenni loltooti Mootummaa Dargi’ii uummata nagayaa lafa isaa qotatee, loon isaa tikfatee jiraatuu malee osoo womaa hin balleessin lafaa fi horii isaatiif jedhamee buunshoo godhame hundi ila isi’ii dura deeme. Buunshoonille kabaja qabdi bishaniin okkotetti affeelamtee namatu nyaataa, Gujiin gafas garuu Galma Surroo keessatti ibiddatti  affeelaman. Bishaan osoo hinta’in dhiiga isaaniitu gaafa san bishaan ta’ee itti affeelaman. Kan foon isaanii nyaate rasaasa lubbuu hin qabne; kan dhiiga isaanii dhuge biyyee isaanii qulqulluu kan dhiiga diina isaaniitu dhugdee hin beeknee dha. Gaafa san biyyeen Gujii dhiiguma Gujii deebitee dhugde. Kan Ruufotti mul’ate naaftanyicha, Meejer Tekilee Wolde’ee jedhamu kan tee’ee bo’icha, waakaa fi gidira saanyii isi’iitti murgifatuudha. Isaaniif waca du’a ittiin simatan ture; isaaf garu gammachuu fedhii isaa guutateef foolee foon isaanii kan ibiddi dhaabbitti waxalu kan inni tee’ee funfatutu itti mul’ate. Battala sanatti yoo rifattee kaatu bobaa diinaa keessa teettee boyaa jirtu ifi argite. Osoo wanti boottuuf sun irratti beekkamee, caarraan isiillee kanuma worra isii te’uu beektee murteeffattee kaate. Kan seenaa worra isi’ii dhoksee, eenyummaa isii awwaalee, du’a worra isi’ii dhiigaan isii nyaachiisee niitii isii godhatee, isii hammatee ciisu kana seenaa isaa gabaabsu feete. Gaaffii ijoolleen isiin diinaaf horaa jirtu boru isii gaafatantu itti mul’ate. Gaafa kitaaba isiin dubbiste kana dubbisanii ilmaan diinaa te’uu baran isiinille gaafii isaaniitiif deebii kennuu akka hindandeenne hubatte. Silaa gaafa dhugaan saaxilamte worra dhiisii ormi shira hojjateeyyuu gaabbuu hin oolanuu, ijoolleen kunniin amma na hidhiisan jettee guddoo yaaddofte.

Halkan wodhakkaa cinaa taqee/siree ifii kaatee dhaabatte. Sila tanaan dura nama ijjeettee hin beektu jaarsicha kana akkamitti akka xumurtu wolii wollaalte. Yoo irratti beekee inni akkuma abbaa isii akka isii galaafatu itti muidhannaan taqeedhuma jalaa gadi jettee sholee/billowa lafaan ciran fudhatte. Akkuma lafaa fuuteen jaalalli abbaa manaa ifii woliin dabarsite fi waadi isaaf galte itti mul’ate. Ijjeesuu motii, lubbuu tiyyaa siif kenna jettee kan durii waada galteef amma immoo lubbuu isaa keessaa baasuuf itti gamuun isii waadaa diiguu itti fakkaate. Guyyaa jalqabaaf jaalala isaa dhandhamatte sana yaadatte. Kan akka abbaa fi haadhaa itti boqattee waggoota afuriif woliin jiraatte kaleessa diina te’uu isaa beettee diina itti te’uuf jirtu dhaabattee yaadde. Ijoollee isaaf deette tanalle abbaan isaanii maaniin akka du’e maan jettee akka itti hintu yaaddoo keessa galte. Dubbii gara itti qaddu wollaaltee jennaan achuma dhaabattee bootte. Daqiiqa muraasa duuba namtichi karoora isi’ii kana irratti beekee boru ganama waan isii ijjeesu itti fakkate. Sababni isa yeroo hedduu “waan ati garaa keetti yaaddu ni beeka” waan inni isi’iin jedhuuf “dhuguma  namtichi kun umriidhaan waan na caaluuf waan ani garaa kiyyatti yaadu ni beeka” jette qalbii lama teete. “Abbaa kiyya moo abbaa worraa kiyya; seenaa moo jaalala; dhiigaan nyaachuu moo dhiiga basuu; gaafii seenaa kan ijoolleen tiyya boru kaasanuun dhiphachuu moo har’a dirqamaa qabu ba’uu….” Waan hedduu altokko yaadde. Gartuu yaadaa kana gidduu osoo dhaabattee boottuu namtichi hirriibaa dammaqee ifi biraa isii dhabee sosocho’uu isaa dhageettee yoo isiin billowa lafa keettu “ Ruufa tiyya eessa deemte ati” jedhee isii yaame. “Ruufa tiyya” kan jedhu maqaa jaalalaa inni isii ittiin yaamu ture. “Fincaaniif ka’e” jetteen. Akka isiin sobde waan hin beekneef “koottu ka Ruufa tiyya!” jedhee deebi’ee rafe. Jechi jaalalaa sun garaa isii caalatti booressinaan imimmaan lolaasa dugda itti galtee irkatte. Imimmaan ila isi’ii keessaa ka lolaasaa jiru fi onnee isii kan iitesseeru du’a abbaa isi’ii kan dhaabbitti ibidaan waxalame du’e, ka isiin ilaan dhaggitee hin beekneedha.

Gurraacha Geeloo Girja nami jedhamuu janna Guji’ii ka gurri fulla’e ture, kan dhiiga Gujii hedduu baase  kan isaa nama baasu dhabe. Intala isaalle seenaan jala dhokatee, diinni abbaa isi’ii ijjeese hammatee ciisee ilmee irraa horataa jira. Xiiqii kanatu eenyummaa isi’ii dhunfatee ifi jala olchinaan abbaa mana ifii kan jaallattutti gara galte. Dhugatu ifa bayee, seenaan dhokate argamee, worra seenicha awwaalaniif guyyaan isaanii geye. “Hidda moo xandhachatti irra dhiiga” mammaassa  jedhu yoo yaadattu dhiigni abbaa isi’ii keessa isiitii finiine, dhiiga gootaa waan te’eef onnee intala gootaa iteesse. Dhiphinna hedduu duuba yaada isi’ii hobbaafatte. Sammuun isi’ii “qara maaliif diinaa heerumtee amma ijjeeste?” jedhee gaaffii itti kaasnaan “ duraani ‘hin dhageenne!’ amma dhageennaan dhiigni gootaa gootaaf fincile” jettee deebii qubsa sammuu isiitiif deebittee baatee qajeelte.

                                                                Ayyelee Kebbedeetiin, Onkololeessa 30, 2011 barreeffame.

“I did not know it”: English summary

“I did not know it” tells the story of Ruufo Gurraachaa, a girl who survived the Surro massacre as a small child. Brought up by a perpetrator of the massacre, Ruufo does not know her parents names or how they died. When she is given in marriage to an old man, Ruufo is ignorant of the fact that her new husband was also a perpetrator of the Surro massacre.

After her marriage, a traveller familiar with the story of her parent’s deaths, tells Ruufo the truth of her past. Although Ruufo denies this at first, she later finds her father’s name in a book listing the victims of the Surro Massacre. Ruufo cannot quite bring herself to believe that her husband had a part in the violence until she overhears a conversation between her husband and brother-in-law. As the pair share information about a conspiracy against the Guji people, Ruufo realises that her husband played an active part in the massacre.

Unable to live with her parent’s murderer, Ruufo chooses to take revenge and murders her husband in an act of retributive justice.