Archive | July, 2012

Uncovering the plot, gano ganne hunnanna affinni

20 Jul

የሴረኞች ሴራ ሲጋለጥ[1]

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Who are our enemies, barigaaranke ayeoti?

20 Jul

የሲዳማ ጠላቶች እነማን ናቸው[1]

Let us remind you- lest you forget! Qaagisino’ne

20 Jul

የሚያውቁትን ደግመን አነነገርዎት[1]

Sidama from Minelik II to EPRDF

20 Jul

ሲዳማ ከሚኒሊክ እስከ…..[1]

Eulogy to Gujo No’ora

13 Jul

The giant of the Sidama elders and one of the vanguards of the Sidama demand for regional self-administration, Gujo No’ora passed on.  We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of one of the bravest and wisest Sidama elders.  Gujo No’ora, from Hula, Sidama is a prolific speaker, an oral historian, and a civil rights activist.  

In one of the meetings held in Sidama Cultural Hall in Hawassa some 15 years ago, Gujo No’ora stood up and narrated the history of the origin of the Sidama people more succinctly than an educated scholar could ever do.   I remember some of his words like today: He said in Sidaamuafo: “Xa yanna manni Sidaamu hiikkini dayinoro buuxe diaffino. Sidaamu Gibixete  gobaani dayino. Hatenne gobarra bi’re birqiqiti Sidaamu dhage borreesante worantino yinani.”  This is amazing oral evidence regarding the origin of the Sidama people passed from generations. Very few of our elders today are able to narrate the historical origin of the Sidama people as Gujo No’ora did some 15 years ago and perhaps before and after that.  His account of the origin of the Sidama people is backed today by several anthropological evidences.  “Gibixe” is  Egypt and  “Birqiqi Sidaamu dhage”  refers to the history of the ancient Egypt and the role of the Kushitic (Cushitic) peoples in the ancient Egyptian civilization, as well as the Kushitic civilization of the present day Northern Sudan. If any one of you have any chance to visit Northern Sudan today, you observe  among the ruins of the ancient Kushitic kingdom, more pyramids built by the ancient  Kushites than the number of pyramids you can find in today’s  Egypt.

Yes, Gujo No’ora account of our history was accurate. Most Kushitic peoples that live in North Eastern Africa today originated around Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan and migrated to the various areas they occupy today following a major climate change that led to desertification of the Saharan region thousands of years ago.   

In tribute to the fallen lion of Sidama, Gujo No’ora, let us visit what history has in store about the origin of Sidama and other Kushites.   

The first known ancient Kushitic state was the kingdom of Kerma that appeared around 2600 BC and that ruled all of Northern Sudan  and parts of Egypt. Incidentally, both Pharoanic Egypt and Kush excreted significant influences on one another to the extent that the 25th Pharoanic Egyptian dynasty was purely Kushitic.  Ancient historians describe the people who lived around South of ancient Egypt and Northern Sudan  people with black skin, and curly hair exactly like the Sidamas, the Afars , the Somalis and the Oromos.  

 After the Kerma Kingdom, Kush attained its greatest power and cultural energy between 1700 and 1500 BC during the Third Intermediate period in Egypt. During this period Egypt was occupied and dominated by the Asians called Hyksos. However, when the kings of the New Kingdom in Egypt, threw the Hyksos out of their country, they conquered northern Kush and brought it under the Egyptian rule.

Nevertheless, when the New Egyptian Kingdom collapsed in 1000 BC, Kush again arose as a major power by conquering all of northern Sudan.  Following the reassertion of Kushite independence in 1000 BC, the Kushites moved their capital city farther up the Nile to Napata. The Kushites then invaded and conquered Egypt and formed the twenty-fifth Pharaonic dynasty in the eighth century BC. Kushitic Kings Kashata and Piye (or Piankhi) were the first two Kushitic Pharaohs at the helm of the 25th Egyptian dynasty. The third Kushitic pharaoh was King Taharqa (more like the true Harqa’s of Sidama today). The 25th Egyptian Kushitic dynasty lasted for about one century and there were five Kushitic Pharaohs at its helm.

The Kushitic dynasty in Egypt came to an end with the Assyrian invasion of Egypt in 671 BC. The Assyrians, and later the Persians, forced the Kushites to retreat farther south. This retreat south eventually closed off much of the contact that the Kushites had with Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe. When Napata was conquered in 591, the Kushites moved their capital to Meroe right in the heart of the Kushite kingdom. Because of their relative isolation from the Egyptian world, the Meroitic Empire turned its attention to the sub-Saharan world.  

The majority of the remaining Kushitic peoples are believed to have left Sudan since the decline of the Meroitic Kush civilisation in the 4th century AD and began to live along with already existing smaller Kushitic groups throughout North East Africa. The North East African Kushitic peoples live currently in Sudan (Beja), Eritrea (Saho and Afar), the present day Ethiopia (Sidama, Oromo, Afar, Agaw, Ogadeni Somalis, etc,), Somalia (most Somalis), and Kenya (Rendille and Sakuye).

That was what Gujo No’ora would have liked to describe had he had written evidence spanning various Kushitic groups. He is rivaled only by Wena Hankarso of Duuba in Dalle who narrated the history of Sidama to virtually to every single European historian who has written on Sidama.

Gujo No’ora is an indomitable lion of Sidama. When I write this phrase I am holding my tears back. But then a man does not cry and Gujo No’ora had probably not cried ever! He has joined eternal heroes and heroines of Sidama in heaven: Wogara Qa’miso; Baalichcha Worawo; Lanaqamo Naare; Taklu Yota; Ashe Hujawa; Fiisa Fichcho; Yetera Boole; Gawiwa Siriqa; Shila Harqa; Rooda Utala; Wola Gosoma; Tumato Tuula and many others.

I was told that when the Prime Minister of Ethiopia held talks with the Sidama elders in Hawassa at the wake of the foiled general elections in 2005, Gujo No’ora handed over the Sidama cultural cloth, Gonfa to the PM and asked him to honour his promise to grant the Sidama people regional self-administration. He passed on disappointed as the PM did not keep his promise.  It is up to us who are left behind to ensure Gujo No’ora’s quest for Sidama regional self-administration is realized sooner than later!!

May his soul rest in peace !!

Regional Self Administration is a Basic Right of any People

7 Jul

Regional self administration/ autonomy  is not a charity from any one. It is a fundamental right of any people who choose to live with others in peace. Where such rights are not respected people can opt for independent country of thier own to decide on their destiny as South Sudan did in July last year. The Sidama people chose to live in peace with others, and as such their demand remains basic and simple: (1) right to self administration of Sidama affairs in Sidama-land, (2) fair share of revenue from central/federal government for socio-economic development : poverty alleviation, employment generation, and expansion of economic infrasructure, and so on  in Sidama in accordance with Sidama’s contribution to the national economy, (4) the right to develop its  language and culture and preserve its  history. 

These rights we desribed above have been  enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Proclamation No. 1/1995 which entered into force on 21 August 1995.. Article 39 of the constitution  guarantees these rights fully as indicated below: 

 “Article 39 Rights of Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples

1) Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession.

2) Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has the right to speak, to write and to develop its own language; to express, to develop and to promote its culture; and to preserve its history.

3) Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has the right to a full measure of self-government which includes the right to establish institutions of government in the territory that it inhabits and to equitable representation in state and Federal governments

4) The right to self-determination, including secession, of every Nation, Nationality and People shall come into effect:

(a) When a demand for secession has been approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Legislative Council of the Nation, Nationality or People concerned;

(b) When the Federal Government has organized a referendum which must take place within three years from the time it received the concerned council’s decision for secession;

(c) When the demand for secession is supported by majority vote in the referendum;

(d) When the Federal Government will have transferred its powers to the council of the Nation, Nationality or People who has voted to secede; and

(e) When the division of assets is effected in a manner prescribed by law.

5. A “Nation, Nationality or People” for the purpose of this Constitution , is a group of people who have or share large measure of a common culture or similar customs, mutual intelligibility of language, belief in a common or related identities, a common psychological make-up, and who inhabit an identifiable, predominantly contiguous territory.”

Let us put aside the question of secession  for now  and enquire as to why the 5-6 million Sidama people are denied of their constitutional right to self  administration. The main reasons why the 5 independent regions in Ethiopia formed in accordance  with Proclamation No.7 1992, were dissolved and an illegal administrative entity, i.e. Southern Regaionl State was formed include among others:

1) To use the South as a bulwark against  Oromo nationalism,

2) To save federal revenues to be allocated to the 5 indepedent regions  by creating a single artifical  region;

3) To control the activities of the 56 ethnic groups in the South from one centre, Hawassa,

4) To appease the advocates of unity in the country by showcasing Southern Ethiopia as a model of unity in the country while the rest of ethnic groups in the country enjoy relative freedom and self administration;

5) To weaken and permanently undermine  the Sidama liberation struggle; among others;

The regime has so far succeded in achieving all the objective listed above through the use of force.  Heartened by this, it went as far as demanding that Hawassa, the heritage of Sidama be placed under Federal rule and Sidama administration be dispalced from Hawassa. This is adding a insult  on injury to the gallant Sidama people.

The Sidama people will not accept such gross abuse of their basic rights anymore. The people are pressing ahead with their demand for regional self administration and the demand will continue  until the Sidama region is reinstated. The gallant Sidama people should not be deceived by people who live for their bellies. A generation that values its bellies more than its future is doomed!!

A Sidama Student shot by a Wolayita Federal Police in Hawassa on July 1, 2012

1 Jul

The  Sidama civillians teargassed, beaten and shot in Hawassa on July 1, 2012

At about 20:00 hours today July 1, 2012 six Sidama students were standing on Woldeamanuel Dubale street in Hawassa. The Wolayita federal police assigned by haile mariam desalegn and shifara shiguxe to harass the Sidama people started to beat them upo to disperse. When they asked why they were beating them up, one Wolayita federal police shot one of ther six students today infront of hundreds of people. They rounded up dozens of other  by standers teargassed them and had beat them up

How long does EPRDF and its cadres continue to torture  the Sidama people in our own soil? How long do they continue to treat our people like dogs. This continued for two decades. Wake up Sidama wake up. We can not tolerate this any more. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! WAKE UP SIDAMA, WAKE UP!!!