Is Sidama’s bottleneck an opaque system or an opaque whim?

8 Mar

By Hawassa Teessonke
8 March 2013

In brutally suppressed societies such as ours, struggle for liberation becomes a daunting task not only because of the sheer enormity of the machinery of subjugation unleashed against the society, but also because of the pedagogy of the oppressed. As Paulo Freire succinctly puts it people in oppressed societies often lack cognitive power to reflect, analyze and understand the reality in which they live in order to equip themselves with critical level of consciousness that would enable them to transform the reality and liberate themselves from the oppression.

Oppressors will never wittingly endorse or encourage the cognitive development of their subjects. To the contrary they never leave any stone unturned to maintain the status quo either by coercive means or use of the conformists who consider their situation as normal and support it more often than not. These individuals have acquired a naïve consciousness and think that others outside of their peers are either outliers or diehard trouble makers. The typical conformists in today’s Sidama constitute the mainstream cadres who have openly or tacitly endorsed the bid by the regional rogue administrator to brand the Sidama struggle for regional self-determination as unlawful and unwarranted.

Yet there are a third group of individuals in any oppressed society who construct their own reality, liberate themselves from the oppression only to go to the other extreme and create stumbling block to the very notion of liberation they pledged to anchor. This could emanate from a number of misperceptions: First, such individuals overvalue their modest emancipation and undervalue major contributions made by other groups or individuals in their society. This could lead to wrong conception of achievement and arrogance leading further to a complete detachment from the reality on the ground. These individuals often lack experience and are likely to hard land as they move on and are confronted with more pervasive reality. And second, narrow, clannish sentiments could impair their vision to see beyond what is at hand. In traditional societies liberation is complicated by lack of a unifying ideology that transcends the narrow clan lines within an ethnic group. The challenge of Somalia, another Kushitic group of ours, is a typical case in point. Some individuals, who have fully reflected, analyzed and understood the reality surrounding them and ready to confront them for better may become the victims of the capricious whims of this failed group or individuals. This group could be more dangerous than the group with naïve consciousness because of the inherent inability to learn. This group is delusional and endangers the aspirations for freedom more so than the naïve conformists. On the other hand, better education, training and exposure could unlock the real potential of the naïve group in the medium to long term.

Societies under perpetual systems of subjugation such as ours should therefore confront liberation from two broad angels- the oppressive system and the opaque societal behavior. This opaque behavior should be confronted openly be it conformist or delusional.

This brief article is meant to incite debate and discussions among the Sidama scholars. It is under no terms comprehensive; but is expected to ignite thoughts and reflections. The reader is cordially invited to lament about home sweet home.


3 Responses to “Is Sidama’s bottleneck an opaque system or an opaque whim?”

  1. D. March 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    Dear Hawassa Teessonke,

    Thank you so much for your usual invaluable contribution, the work that not only helps Sidama intellectuals to review their potions at this historical juncture- at the critical period at which the Sidama nation is deliberately and systematically led to believe that they have genuine representation (simple obfuscation that seriously bewilders the whole nation under the guise of having its own sons and daughters at all levels)- (fake representatives of rogue cadres who are led by the ultra rogue regional pariah); but also your article intellectually refutes the positions of those cadres who erroneously believe that they are doing good for their own nation whilst their card is readily being played otheriwse.

    As world’s renowned Brazilian Social scientist and human rights activist Paulo Freire explains in his books and at others various social events/academic institutions- as you have rightly explained; for the past 120 years our people were groomed to accept the status-quo as God given obligation to abide to; by which beliefs effectively they are deprived of basic rights on developing cognitive powers to ascertain the need to stand their grounds and reject injustices and demand their basic rights. The said fundamental rights aren’t distributed among given peoples by any person on earth- but they’re unrestricted rights on which no one has got any power to deprive others– be it in the developed world or in developing. One’s inability to articulate these realities is the fundamental failure and the biggest enemy of any society including ours (Sidama).

    For us (Sidama intellectuals and the society at large) and for that matter- for any society, unlocking these potentials that are buried underneath the guise of various pretexts will be crucial in achieving one’s goal.

    To be able to do firstly realizing this fact will be a step forward; the process under which our new generations are evolving. Therefore, to be able to do so, your article is an excellent pieces of argument which as you’ve unambiguously explained reveals the duality of matter that engulfs our nation. Your article undoubtedly invites Sidama individuals those who are prepared to make opinions and happy to contribute ideas for the sake of their down trodden nation whose fates are currently at stake.

    I strongly believe that all of us who call ourselves Sidamas will have moral, social and even religious obligations to positively contribute towards alleviating all round sufferings of their nation. The Sidama’s of all walks of life will have to contribute their parts be it moral, Spiritual, ideological or whatever they feel it fit for the purposes of our nation’s demand to assert their constitutional rights; stating the ways forward as to how it will be possible to liberate our nation from an on going century old subjugation and systematic slavery perpetuated by the rulers.

    Sleeping obliviously hiding under the curtains will be not only failure in understanding the fact that people have got fundamental rights to be equal but also their silence will be regarded as conspiracy with brutalizers the Sidama intellectuals won’t aspire to be part of.

    The challenge however will be twofold. One is that of the rulers and their conspirators. The major issue that hinders the success of given people’s struggle in ascertaining their rights in addition to the aforementioned is the lack of awareness on the limit of own rights resulted from the total lack of consciousnesses. Numerous people at global scale erroneously believe that the rulers are those who are responsible to give them their rights- incognizant of the fact that the reality is other way around!!To me these are the major obstacles that hider the success of nation’s fight for freedom and justice. The third part in the case of Sidama nation in particular-however is the fact that those who are by the virtue of being Sidamas were hand picked by the rulers to to run the agendas of rulers are considered Sidama representatives, denying the fact that they’re systematically perpetuating the subjugation of nation. Their deviant belief that they are in position to champion the cause of the Sidama denying the fact that fact that they are at the very forefront of those who are responsible for the on going sufferings of the Sidama nation. This challenge must be identified and denounced the Sidama intellectuals at all levels.

    I therefore strongly advise all Sidama intellectuals to be a part of this debate and suggest ideas as to how the Sidama nation will be able to ascertain its constitutional rights that are granted to others in Ethiopian levels yet the Sidama nations are continually brutalized demanding these rights.

    HT thanks you so much once again.

  2. woshicha woxe March 22, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    I real apprciate’ Hawassa Tessonke’ for your article which reflect openly the sidama people current opperssive eprdf administration.sidama people has no legitmate and democratic constituence at any autortative level and no one give his ear to listen their voice. most of sidama citiZn have been kept under small wangard group of eprdf.

  3. DAWIT GANAWO April 23, 2013 at 11:06 am #


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