Sidama Nation, 15th Year on Since Loqee Massacre whilst You are Tolerating the TPLF’s Regime and Your Own Worst Quislings?
(Open Letter to Sidama People in Diaspora and the Sidama Land).
By One of the Sdiama’s Human Right Defenders
Correction to the February 22, 2017 article
My Beloved Sidama Nation,
In today’s Ethiopia, you have got more pressing Quest than any other people and nations of the country for a single important reason. I’m not arguing contrary to the fact that, the Sidama nation is also sharing similar fates of brutality as the rest nations and peoples of the country, such as Oromo, Ogadenia, Amhara, Benshalgul, Gambella, Gedeo, Hadiya, Afar, Konso, Kambata, Gurage, and the rest. However, in addition to the above, you’re differently oppressed in Ethiopia by TPLF’s regime. To date as the rest of various nations’ peoples, you remain the subject of similar ongoing state terrorism under the State of Emergency. Having been, you’re also the subject of surveillances, under the radar of ‘one to five’ secretive spying apparatuses terrorizing nation and peoples of the country, like in North Korea.
Besides, I’m appealing to you to understand the fact that, given the size of your population and economic contribution, you’re treated differently, as you have been time and again denied your elementary (but symbolically important) rights to regional self-determination. I reiterate this, as long as the current regime entertains language and culture based ethnic federalism, your quest remains legal and legitimate. Contrary to this, the TPLF’s regime and its cadres in Sdiama land and the entire south of Ethiopia are 100% illegal. The TPLF’s regime must either repudiate its constitution or wholly respects it. This applies to all regions including Oromia, Ogadenia, Amhara and the rest. You must know this in black and white. If you are unware of this fact due to various reasons, I would like to remove your blurry vision, both from your inner and outer eyes. As a Sidama nation, you have been differently enslaved by TPLF’s criminal regime for the last 26 years; and to date you remain volunteer victim with your so called bogus returnee intellectuals who’re setting the worst example for the new generation.
In addition to the ongoing demands of the rest peoples of Ethiopia, the TPLF’s regime has demonstrated that, it disrespects you, and has practically shown this to you on several occasions. It has belittled you more than any other peoples of the country by reducing you, to less than 20,000 populated Adere regional State. Additionally, TPLF always assigns those Sidama quislings such as the infamous ‘Shiferaw Shigute’, whom you most detest to stage-manage the process of your subjugation. Your wealth is in constant process of being looted; you’re systematically impoverished to be tamed to eternal subjugation. As a Sidama, you seem to be choosing unsettling national disgrace in the face of ongoing slavery in your own soil. You don’t need to search for any justification than, the denial of your rights to nominally administering your region as per the rights enshrined in Ethiopian constitution (although it’s fake, you have got full right to demand it). As these rights are at least nominally granted to the rest nations including the smallest Adere nation; that became a region within Oromia regional state, your silence is socio-politically incorrect, morally and culturally alien to your heroic belief.
The Sons and Daughters of The Nation,
I know for sure that my nation is gallant, and only has been constrained by variety of reasons. I know that you’re encircled by the invading army of the regime thus constantly watched over and intimidated on daily basis. I know that the regime has systematically brain washed and bombarded you, day and night with unprecedented level of lies and deceits; using the Sidama radio which has been established for good cause by the Sidama’s highly respected intellectuals to serve development purposes until it has been taken by TPLF’s Sidama cadres, during the period of post May 24, 2002’s Loqee Sidama massacre; to use it as their propaganda channel. I also know that their infamous cadres such as Shiferaw Shigute have stretched their agents to spy on you to the extent of villages and neighborhoods to stifle your movements. I know the situation is very difficult. However, I equally believe that it is not impossible to reject it.
Therefore, I would like you to understand one irrefutable fact that you’re on a cross road. Either you must break such barbed wire and defy TPLF’s barbaric system with all possible means; or else choose to remain subservient to ongoing oppression – thereby have no future for yourself and the generation to come. This is the only choice you’re left with. The rest options have failed time and again in the last 26 years’ reign of terror.
The Sons and Daughters of Farsighted Sidama Forefathers and Mothers,
I urge you to ask yourself series of questions including: being over 5.5 million ‘why the Sidama is denied these elementary rights granted to the rest peoples of Ethiopia? Did you ask yourself, ‘Why TPLF’s late PM Meles Zenawi merged, previously 5 regional states of the south of Ethiopia in which the Sidama nation used to be a regional state? Have you ever genuinely believed that TPLF’s regime has done any good for the Sidama nation for the last 26 years compared to its economic contribution? Did the Sidama nation receive 20% out of 100% it deserves in the past 26 years of TPLF’s reign? Don’t you have courage to push with these fundamental questions until they are practically addressed? Are you afraid of physical death? Do you know what you fear to remain in such eerie silence? Do you fear, the fear itself? Do you want to know how to conquer fear? Do you fear death which comes with bullet? Do you prefer dying undignified death slowly with poverty, deprivation and slavery? Do you know that the Sidama nation as a national entity is at the verge of destruction if you remain subservient silent? Do you know the difference between slowly dying undignified death due to manmade hunger and deprivation and dying with bullet whilst defending own rights?
Moreover, have you ever questioned the fact that, ‘Who is the TPLF to dictate you with its terms and conditions whilst expropriating your wealth by leaving your father and mothers with their families destitute? Who is TPLF and its Cadres to uproot the Sidama peasants from their ancestral lands to trade with it by leaving them penniless beggars in their own soil? Do you tolerate the ongoing subjugation and dehumanization of your nation? Do you dispute this fact, thus choose to remain docile slave? And for how long? Do you think that the Sidama land, for instance in Hawassa and its vicinities taken away from the Sidama peasants should belong to the Tigre Mafias, simply because they have told you so? Does the Sidama Diaspora needs to beg the Sidama land from the regime and its mindless Sidama cadres? Don’t you believe that the land entirely belongs to you as its only legitimate owner? If not, don’t you believe that, you become coward to beg your own land from the enemy instead of claiming or taking it with all cost it may demands? Who has given the TPLF’s Mafia and its quislings an omnipotent power to rule over you and your land? So far, the nations’ new generation has failed to address these fundamental questions by remaining subservient to TPLF’s barbaric rule.
Additionally, I also know that, when you’ve attempted to peacefully demand these rightful rights, your sons and daughter were gunned down on broad day light by TPLF’s terrorizing agents, such as ‘Agi-Azi’, national army, police and security personnel in your own soil. Therefore, on May 24, 2002 alone, over 69 Sidama civilians have been executed and over 200 wounded – for the crime, no one has been held into account until today, while the 15th commemorative anniversary of Sidama Loqee massacre approaches. Tens of thousands of Sidama civilians have been arrested following the Loqee massacre of the Sidama civilians. To date you’re continually intimidated, terrorized and silenced. You also seem to be comfortable in your death row although the situation is extremely unsettling. But, for how long will you tolerate and remain silent?
The Sons and Daughters of Gallant Sidama Nation,
Don’t you think better than self-deprecating Sidama intellectuals who went back to beg the regime whom they have repeatedly berated for over a decade? Don’t you think better than, those national disgraces who went and repeatedly go back from Europe and America to beg plots of lands from their own soli, therefore keep their mouth shut? For example, some groups of such Sidama’s disowned intellectuals have been granted freedom to live in the UK claiming that they belong to the Sidama nation; and that their nation is under oppression of the TPLF’s regime. Besides, after securing their citizenship in the UK, some of the Sidama’s worst quislings, went back to Sidama land to conspire with the TPLF’s regime that is dehumanizing their own people.
My Beloved Sidama People,
As your Kush cousins, such as Oromo, you had an envy-worth governance under your just and egalitarian systems whose ethos underpin humanity and human values at large. Your governance under your Luwa system has been regarded as one of the best democracy in the world by famous Western Anthropology professors such J. Hammer, S. Stanley and numerous others, between three and four decades ago. Regardless, the current regime and its predecessors have reduced your values and principles to subjugation and dehumanization. Slowly and systematically eroding your strength and belief, the current regime is completing the end of your legacy. If you can’t defend your noble identity in time, you are going to be taken to irreversibly disgraceful stage from where you may not be able to reclaim your noble culture as a proud nation. Besides, TPLF can show you an artificially masterminded identity, which will hardly equate to your genuine self; if you choose to remain as silent as you seem to be now.
The situation you’re in is neither correct nor acceptable. You must prepare yourself, to pay all costs for your freedom and dignity. You deserve much better and principled people to lead you than letting the worst quisling, such as Shiferaw Shigute’ to symbolize the Sidama nation, thereby bring ignominy on you.
Dear Sidama People,
Having contributed over 30% of coffee (2012/13 CSA report) for export (in addition to other cash crops and taxi contribution), for the country’s hard currency, you’ve received nothing in the past 26 years. All your wealth is enriching Tigray politicians, their military commanders and handful of Sidama loyal affiliates, whose bellies are bulging with excessive beer, whisky and overfeeding- like Shiferaw Shigute. Even if you receive a trickle from your coffee contribution, those Sidama Zone administrators who are always handpicked by TPLF, are inaptly inadequate as their loyalty exclusively remain for TPLF. Therefore, apart from a few Sidama heroes who have stood their ground to defend the Sidama’s national interests over a decade and a half ago, the rest Sidama cadres who have been hand-picked time and again were there to serve TPLF’s brutal regime; without raising the slightest question on behalf of their own nation.
Moreover, the TPLF’s regime has time and again impoverished the Sidama nation not only by denying its annual budget, but also by stopping foreign (non-governmental organization-NGO) funded projects, instead directly channeling it to Tigray. This has been implemented by the direct order of late TPLF’s PM Meles Zenawi who has told all NGOs working in Sidama to unconditionally stop supporting the Sidama projects. He claimed that, Sidama is rich enough and it was moving faster than any other regions. Therefore, he declared that, if it is left at its pace, the Sidama can be the Ethiopia’s Japan within short period. Therefore, Mr Zenawi ordered that the Sidama nation never receive any development budget until the nation is reduced and reaches to the level of all systematically left behind, 55 nations of southern Ethiopia, which he brought together as a single regional state, after merging 5 regions into one.
Mr Zenawi has practically seen the potential of the Sidama professionals. He also saw that the Sidama had efficiently managed its projects using its own sons and daughters, within short period. He has seen that the project leaders have opened ‘Furra’ rural studies institution in Yirgalem town, first in its kind in the horn of Africa not only in Ethiopia, established Sidama radio program, built hundreds of health posts in the entire rural Sidama, constructed various rural roads linking Sidama community with one another, opened further primarily schools in various parts of the Sdiama land, built and developed thousands of water holes and outdoor toilet pits, created microfinance system for ruler community with special focus on empowering Women and girls, effectively worked to raise the awareness of the society to discourage harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), established SDC shopping complex in Hawssa city with the aim of self-sustenance and much more projects within short span of time . The SDP/SDC has acted as a responsible government by filling the vacuum left void by the successive Ethiopian rulers.
This was the time when late PM Meles Zanawi, Dr Kassu Ilala, Mr Hailemariam Desalegn (when he was southern regional president), Shiferaw Shigute, Dr Kebede Kanchula, Melese Marimo and the rest TPLF’s cadres have intervened and stopped the projects. The leaders of the projects were obliged to flee the country during the period of post May 24, 2002 Sidama Loqee massacre. The projects were taken over by the Cadres, and today all activities have been totally dismantled. Sidama has nothing left.
The purpose of this open letter is about letting the Sidama nation know, the hideous nature of the TPLF’s regime and that of its handpicked cadres who’re responsible for the death and destruction of the nation as a national entity. Like a cancerous cell destroys a healthy part of the body, the TPLF’s regime is slowly destroying the fabrics of the Sidama nation. Advocating ethnic based federalism, the TPLF proved its deceitful nature when it denied these rights, by amalgamating 56 distinct nations and peoples into one amorphous regional state where the Sidama nation is head butted day and night for its being threat to the regime. The Sidama’s noble cultural heritages are slowly vanishing.
Finally, My Beloved Sidama People, Men and Women, Young and Old,
Your ancestors were, brave, wise, farsighted and articulate who have secured your place for the present. You’re here today because of their heroic sacrifices paid on your behalf on yearly basis since 1890s colonial expansion of Menelik II. In turn, you’ve got generational obligation to safeguard your present to inherit it to your future generation. You don’t have any choice, but must stand your ground to reject the regime that is collectively enslaving you by denying your pride and dignity. You must show the brutalizing TPLF and its Sidama quislings, your determination, indefatigability, resolve and that you are indeed serious in defending your present and future. Therefore, it’s not the right time for the Sidama nation to show shred of support to TPLF’s regime and its cadres, be it in Sidama-land or in Diaspora.
Unite with likeminded nations and peoples including your nearest cousins, the Oromo nation and the rest peoples of Ethiopia whilst fighting the regime enslaving you. You must have courage and resolve to stand shoulder to shoulder with all oppressed people whilst striding towards reclaiming your denied national identity, pride and total emancipation form over 26 years’ slavery. The time is today, and there is no time for complacence.
Long Live for the Sidama nation and the other oppressed nations and peoples!
One of the Sdiama’s Human Right Defenders (February 22, 2017)