By: Xiixaa Buubaa Sardaa
(Simarsan) — UNESCO registered world heritage site of Konso cultural landscape was burned into ash by government security forces of Ethiopia. Konso Cultural Landscape is a 55km2 arid property of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities.
Stone steles in the towns express a complex system of marking the passing of generations of leaders. On April 8,2016, William Davidson wrote on the gurdian as Protests sparked by the arrest of Konso leader Kala Gezahegn underlined growing tensions between Ethiopia’s central government and many ethnic populations. Now it has been over a period of 7 months since the Konso people has started protesting against the injustice and maladministration by the forcefully established Zone- Segen Area People’s Zone.
The Konso people who were formerly administered under a Special Woreda status in SNNPRS, had been unconstitutionally forced to form a zone with other neighboring ethnic groups, droping from a Special Woreda status to a Woreda in the newly formed zone. That sparked complaints from the people but no one gave an ear to the people that time. The zone government then grabbed three Kebeles from konso to create a new city structure in Sagan town. This was also followed by the deduction of annual budget allocated to Konso woreda without being approved by the woreda council representing the people. This gave momentum to the silent and peaceful popular protests in every corner in Konso since then.
Despite the loyalty of the people to the constitution of the country, the government in power at all levels has failed to give a constitutional answer to the people appeal for establishing a self governed Zone as per the law of the country. But now the Konso people is under military siege some months ago. No freedom of movement, no education for children… all offices closed. Worst the innocent farmers are being shot to death by security forces.
Konso cultural landscapes tell the incremental story of human progression—how regular people have taken the sum total of their knowledge and applied it to living in their natural surroundings. They are another way in which history comes alive through the built environment, and their importance is recognized by UNESCO.Beside their ten months long protests the indigenous people of Konso now lost both their life and heritage. After 400 years of conservation now Konso-world heritage site is destroyed with fire set by security forces of Ethiopian government, world community have to take part in identifying the cause and take measures on guilty body.