Sidama Liberation Front

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The SNLF Wishes the Sidama Nation and the Rest of Ethiopian’s A Peaceful and Prosperous Sidama New Year ‘Fichchee’ 2018

Press Release by the Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF)
June 12, 2018

The Sidama New Year known as ‘Fichchee’, among others is one of the most important cultural values and traditions inherited from ancestors that uniquely characterize the Sidama nation. Such a highly treasured cultural event has been celebrated in Sidama land for numerous centuries. There is little or no recorded evidence stating when the nation started celebrating its Fichchee although the oral traditions passed from generation to generation indicate that, it’s been practiced since time immemorial. Thus, the Sidama nation is one of the few nations in the world and may be the only nation in Ethiopia and in the horn to have its own lunar calendar.

Fichchee is one of the biggest cultural treasures of the nation, inscribed by the UNESCO as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ in 2015. Although there are tangible discrepancies yet to be rectified in the aspect of naming and spelling errors, besides, the essence of its originality, uniqueness and distinctive nature has been indeed recognised by the international institution known to be expert for such purposes.  

The spirits of festivity period of ‘Fichchee’ in Sidama land of north east of Africa, southern Ethiopia started days ago. Today, the 12th of June 2018 has been partially celebrated with sense of unsettling incidents. Although the incident that has taken place today in Hawassa has coasted lives of innocents by tarnishing the peacefulness of Fichchee; we believe that, there is a hidden agenda behind the incidents. Fichchee is special time during which those who have had grievances for varieties of reasons come together and reconcile. Moreover, even those whose family members are killed, are socially encouraged to forget the past and move forward during the Sidama Fichchee with the objective of navigating the society together in peaceful, reconciliatory, cohesive and socially responsible manner. Therefore, all malicious incidents taken place in Sidama land today potentially will be the works of anti-Sidama elements for which the Sidama nation won’t be responsible.

In reality, the Sidama Fichchee is the symbol of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and togetherness. Any action beyond the indicated ethos of the Sidama Fichchee may be placed in a contradictory position hence today’s action won’t be the works of the Sidama people. Contrary to the above ethos, with a heavy heart, we regrettably learnt today’s loss of life in Sidama capital, Hawassa whilst the Sidama youth were celebrating their New Year with the traditional chants, known as Qeexaala. The involvements of the regime’s Special Forces known as Agazi and regional polices forces were noted to be the causes for the death of innocents.

Therefore, we urge the Sidama nation to show to the world that their Fichchee is indeed the symbol of peace and togetherness by rejecting the TPLF/EPRDF’s plot to instigate conflict thereby have an excuse to stifle the movement of the Sidama Ejjeetto who are currently intensifying their peaceful struggle for genuine democratic rights and self-governance. The Sidama nation has never been known to be violent at any time in its history unless it has been provoked by the rulers to be in such a manner.

Furthermore, the SNLF also urges the TPLF/EPRDF’s government and its regional puppets that are said to be the culprits behind today’s unrest in Hawassa city to unconditionally refrain from diluting the Sidama nation’s pure demand for its rights to genuine self-rule. We urge all to exercise utmost restraint during the festivity period instead peacefully pushing with their quest for constitutionally guaranteed rights for regional self-rule, democracy and freedom.

May ‘Fichchee’ 2018 bring for the Sidama nation and for all nations of Ethiopia, peace, genuine self-rule, freedom and democracy, prosperity, security, fraternity with those who live with the nation, their neighbours and  beyond.

June 12, 2018

The Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF)