Thursday, February 13, 2014

Living in a nation as a Minority

As I have indicated before, the number of Yem people living in Ethiopia are so few that it is less than one percent of the whole population . Is this an advantage or disadvantage to the Yem people? I wish we were the majority and speak our language Yemsa, and listen our language on TV, Radio, Newspapers and so on. Unfortunately, this is not so. We do not have that advantage of living as a majority. This chance is given to our brothers like the Oromos, Amharas and others in Ethiopia. They have all the benefits of being the dominant in that environment. We use their language, we celebrate their holidays, we worship the same gods as theirs and most importantly our culture is shaped by them. 
However, I am thinking is there any benefit to a community living in a nation as a Minority. Believe or not we cannot change this situation in a short term and even it may not be changed forever. What we can do is accepting our minority status and maximize the best benefits out of it.
I believe the Yem people have the opportunity to create a strong personal bond among each other. In other words, we can know each family and individual as a member of the community and help each other.This is not possible in other majority communities. We have a great advantage of connecting to each other to the good of Yem people.
In addition, we can create several projects that would help our community easily. Job creating , self advancement, educational, and health related projects can easily be implemented and evaluated.
Third, it is great to be unique. It gives you a different perspective to life. I have my own ancestor which is different from the guy who stands next to me. I have a music that is different. I have a different weeding, funeral and festival ceremonies different from any other group in Ethiopia. Is not that great? I like to be different.
Thus, i am always happy to be a minority in Ethiopia. I tap all the advantages of living as a minority. I will do all my best and pledge to keep my heritage , language, music, culture and dignity. God bless YEM, God bless Ethiopia.
Yemni Nano

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ታሪክ ማወቅ

ወደፊት ለመራመድ የኋላውን ታሪክ ማወቅ አለብን !!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Religion and its Power

Last time I have published an article about what religion the Yem follow and i have indicated that no particular religion is followed by Yem people. Like any other group in Ethiopia, Yem people follow Christianity, Islam, and traditional religion. However, Christian dominates all other religions. Ethiopian coptic church followers and protestant Christians are common in the area. The first Coptic church was founded in 1800's in Fofa area.
I felt happy to learn that we have religion to follow as a people. I believe religion has various benefits to a community regardless of what kind it is.
I know that we were following our own traditional religion from the beginning. It has no particular name. Christianity and Islam are later additions to this community. We almost lost our religion and we are following their religion. We are ignoring our gods and following theirs. I do not blame anybody for injecting their philosophy into us. It is our fault to accept their dogma and ignoring ours. What is the name of your religion, Yem? Who is your messenger, Yem? Where are your religious books? What are the names of your gods?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Moving to SAJA: Cost-Benefit

District government of Yem decided to move the seat from Fofa to Saja. I believe the move is very important in terms of connecting the people of Yem to other parts of the country. Especially Saja is right on the road to Addis Ababa and is strategic area to trade and transportation.
On the other hand, I am so much concerned about the people down near to Fofa. They may be far from government services. They are farmers and need assistance from agricultural workers (DAs) and health services from the local government. They need to be supplied with these services no matter what.
Some concerned people are seeing the possibility of having own college, university, and everything one city can hold in Saja as it is convenient in terms of infrastructural facilities.
In order to preserve the language, culture, music, and unique nature of Yem, connecting it with other cities might help a lot. This move is appreciated. We really want to see these in SAJA:
  • college that promote our culture and language
  • referral hospital
  • city hall
  • roads that connect other parts of the district such as Deri

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Marginalizing Women and tribes in Yem

Women in Yem are so much marginalized that they are forced to raise children and serve the man or their husbands. This is not of course unique to Yem. It is common practice in Ethiopia in general. However, since the majority of women in Yem are living in the rulal area , they are by far the victim of marginalization by their male counterparts. It is common to send the male to school while keeping the female at home to serve the family.
Nowadays, the people are awakening and have started sending their female children to school. House servants in neighboring cities like Addis Ababa, Welisso, Wolkite, Jimma, Agaro etc are women from Yem and they are obliged to work as house servants due to lack of education and marginalization in the main land.

On the other hand, I have come to understand that Yem has been structured into various tribes. But the major ones, based on their status, include:
  1. Muwa
  2.  Fuga (tanner-potters)
  3. Yirfo (smiths)
This classification was based on the occupation of the people. the muwa clan or tribe supposed to rule or lead the Yem, the Fuga clan are tanners or potters in the society , and the Yirfo are the ones who work on metal....they are the smiths.
This is an old structure in Yem and it is no longer practiced these days. However, marginalization based on occupation was a dominant culture in Yem. You may see the remains of this kind of marginalization of the Fuga and the Yirfo in the main land.

I recommend you to read the following book:
Peripheral People: The Excluded Minorities of Ethiopia
By Dena Freeman  and Alula Pankhurst
page 46

Friday, April 26, 2013

Language : Does that matter?

Some people think that language is independent of the people who speak it. It is just instrument or device on which people communicate. The truth of the matter is the language and the people who speak it are one and the same. It is their identity. If they loose their language , they will definitely loose their identity. So, preserving one's language is like preserving your identity. It passed through generations. Why do we ignore and submit it to futile. I personally want to keep, develop, and transfer my language Yem to my descendants,   the next generation.
What can be done about that?

  1. teaching Yem language at home to children helps in preserving the language
  2. providing course in Yem language at least in Elementary schools along with Oromiffa and Amharic
  3. community radio (FM) might be transmitted in Yem language
  4. church and mosque service can be provided in Yem language voluntarily
Do you have any more ideas to help this language develop and preserved ?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Population Matters

Why Yem people are so few in number? There are no concrete answers for this. However, some possible explanations are :

  1. centuries of war and conflict with other ethnic groups in the area such as the Oromo, Hadyia, Gurage, and Kembata results in death of the young men
  2. disease such as malaria, TB and others 
  3. a culture that promote very  limited number of children
  4. one man for one woman (monogamy)
  5. high level of tolerance to other ethnic groups and integrating with them