Ethsat / ESAT Proved Its Inherent Racism as It Berates the Heroes Of The Sidama Nation: – It Must Clarify!
By Denboba Natie April 08, 2018
About 5 years ago, the ESAT’s Amsterdam based journalist by the name ‘Fasil Yenealem’ interviewed this writer about matters related with the Sidama nation. To my recollection, the interview went very well. On the second day of the interview, the program was on air with some pictures, music and geographical locations entirely unrelated to the Sidama culture and ways of life albeit they were ascribed to the Sidama. Having realised that the program was wrong, I immediately contacted the indicated journalist recording my serious concern and advising for an immediate rectification.
To ease the work of the editor, I also sent the pictures of a lot of Sidama people and geographical locations including the Sidama music to replace those they have wrongly used. He promised to do so although he failed. About 6 hours after I made the first complaint, once again I strongly advised him to make the necessary correction otherwise to take the program down. He hasn’t done for the entire day, instead advising that, for the future they can make sure that they will use the pictures I sent him, but he reiterated that, he and his team have decided to keep the published program on. I rejected his advice and demanded for an immediate removal which he eventually did after nearly 24 hours.
Furthermore, until the TPLF’s PM Meles Zenawi’s death in 2012, Mr Abebe Gelaw (the current ESAT’s Managing Director) used to be my Facebook friend. On one occasion, I had a chance of commenting on his post about the Sidama and Oromo unity and their collective struggle for freedom and justice. He removed my reasonably calibrated and sensitively articulated comment. Subsequently, he sent the removed my own message to me in my inbox stating, ‘there you go with your Oromo-Sidama struggle’. Following this, I sent him gentle message asking him, why he has removed my comments? He didn’t answer me for more than 48 hours although I can see that he has red it. Unable to receive any response, I had no choice but had to stop his friendship as he has shown me his uncivility and unpleasant chauvinism.
Unfortunately, although I believe that, this is not the time to discuss such divisive issues as we are all working hard to put our differences aside to move hand in hand to fight our common enemy, the TPLF’s apartheid, the ESAT’s absurdly reckless and irresponsible action is once again pushing us to the limit, hence we have no or little choice apart from confronting the reality of chauvinism.
On its April 02, 2018 program known as ‘Menalesh Meti’ from London based host known by the name ‘Metasebia/ya Kestela’, Ethsat/ESAT once again failed to view all peoples in Ethiopia as equal stakeholders. At worst, ESAT’s this, particular journalist demonstrated her inadequacy in dealing with such sensitive historical issues when she is embarked on meddling with the subject beyond her scope. We believe that Ethsat/ESAT launched an open, unprovoked and unwarranted attack on the identity, dignity and history of the Sidama nation. To the shock and consternation of the entire Sidama in this program, ESAT mocked, depersonalised, berated, insulted, dehumanised, denigrated, belittled the Sidama and eventually dismissed the right of the Sidama nation to preserve their identity, history and culture on their own soil, Hawassa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Deg8xdJEmfk&t=32s
Moreover, the journalist failed to understand that she has no right to meddle in the affairs of the Sidama nation although she thinks that she can do so. We demand her immediate apology before she is sent to be retrained, if ESAT wants to maintain independent journalism and professionalism.
(With courtesy of SNLF): – The focus of ESAT’s poisonous attack on the history of the Sidama nation was the statues of the most revered Sidama heroes erected in front of the Sidama Cultural Hall in Hawassa.
These Sidama heroes are (1) King Baallicha Worawo who defeated the invading army of King Minelik led by Beshah Aboye in 1891 and later executed by another lieutenant of King Minelik, Lul Segid, who defeated the Sidama nation after a prolonged resistance. King Baallicha Warawo was taken by force by the army of Lul Seged to Konso and was executed there in 1896. (2) Lanqamo Naare, a prolific anti feudal Amhara elites’ resistance fighter from Alata who was killed by the agents of the feudal regime approximately in 1948. (3) Takilu Yota a guerilla fighter against feudalism and serfdom who was also killed by the agents of the feudal regime in 1969. (4) Yetera Boolle, a formidable freedom fighter who waged relentless war against the feudal regime and the military regime and eventually killed by the Derg in 1979. (5) Fiissa Fitchcho, a giant of the Sidama freedom struggle who fought against the feudal regime, the military regime and the TPLF regime, and was finally killed by the agent of the TPLF regime in 1993; and (6) Mengistu Hamesso was killed by the Italians for resisting their rule in the Sidama region in 1941; and numerous more Sidama freedom fighters such as Hushula Xadisso, Abadama Qomichcha etc.
The ESAT’s indicated London journalist’s failure further shows ESAT’s inability to maintain the ethics of balanced journalism although they claim that ESAT is the eyes and ears of Ethiopian peoples. We demand an immediate clarification.
Besides, I am not doubting the independence of numerous journalists and commentators working for ESAT. I have got huge respect for those journalists and commentators who maintain their professionalism and fairness. As saying goes ‘a sheep with Diarrhoea can easily smear the herd of 100’. Therefore, regardless, we demand an open and official clarification from the ESAT management board for this attack on Sidama nation by further urging them to immediately remove the indicated program.
Finally, I urge ESAT to exercise utmost professionalism and independence, first by acknowledging that it has got sizeable number of chauvinist journalists from top to the bottom who must work hard to learn unpalatable reality about their setback. Second, they must work hard to accommodate all views and opinions at this critical time as we all work hard to leave our differences aside to be able to move together to fight the Ethiopia’s and its peoples’ common enemy who is only TPLF. Working on the kind of reckless programs hosted by the indicated ESAT’s London journalist plays to the benefit of the TPLF in addition to eroding social cohesion and togetherness. Therefore, this must be immediately rectified.
By Denboba Natie, April 08, 2018