The movement of thousands of refugees from the Horn of Africa to Australia has only recently begun to attract interest among the media and general public. Perhaps the least known among these refugees are the Oromo people who have fled continued persecution in Ethiopia. By the year 2002, more than fifteen hundred Oromo had found their way to Australia. In this totally original book, Greg Gow provides a privileged insight into the values and meanings of lives that could easily be seen as marginal. Packed with insight and imageful observation, The Oromo in Exile communicates some of the vibrancy and complexity among these people from the Horn of Africa who are now living in Australia. Arising out of a series of dramatic and sometimes startling encounters, the book addresses the question of identity and place by giving voice to the pain of exile-not only among the Oromo but displaced people more generally. As Gow narrates, although now 'free' in Australia, the Oromo experience anguish and divided loyalties as the dominant values of individualism, privacy and self-advancement in mainstream Australian society conflict with their longing for cohesion and community.
Gow discovers that 'home' does not necessarily exist physically, but the overriding desire to construct 'home' even away from 'home' is pervasive. The Oromo are a people committed to creatively performing 'home' while in exile-a process the book both reflects and contributes to.
Publisher: Melbourne University Press