The Ethiopian government sold our land without consulting us or fully explaining to us what the things they called development meant. It only saw the money that was brought by foreign investors and trembled to have this money. It made many bad decisions for us. It is a big liar to both the tribes and foreigners. Now, the government is going to clear our tribes out like it is clearing the bush from our land – for sugarcane. Tell them to go away from here.
We are the original people of these parts. We know the land and the land knows us. This is our ancestors’ land and we do not need rich people to come here and play us like they play football. Our bodies are the same as theirs. We have blood just like them. We are not different from them. Tell them to go away from here.
Our lands have many things in them and are very important to us. Even if we are poor we want to keep these lands as they are and manage them properly. Because our land has many resources and they have been kept for us by our ancestors. We have cattle and many different kinds of wild animal species, which we have looked after for thousands of years. We do not want them to suffer and disappear from us and our land forever. We do not want to lose these lands to the government and foreign people who will come and damage them. We never went to foreign countries to damage their land. Why do they come here? Tell them to go away from here.
Listen to what investors and the government of Ethiopia did to us Bodi and Mursi people. We want you to hear the truth so that you can help us. The government put military forces around us and now they have raped our wives. A very bad and shocking thing the highlanders have now done is they have raped our boys in the bush. We have never, ever heard of this or seen it before. We have never seen anything like this in our history. We have never seen a man have sex with a man. Now the Bodi and Mursi live in bad conditions. We do not want to face more terrible things in the future. Tell them to go away from here.
Now we are not going to fight with the government, so we are going to kill ourselves. We have been sending our children to school in Salamago district. Now, the Ethiopian military forces went into a boarding house where the students live and raped Bodi girl students. Now the Bodi and Mursi don’t know what to do. They want to flee somewhere. Tell the government and investors to go way from here.
The government sees us as bad people, and wants to change us by bringing this evil project. We do not accept these new plans because this government has been in power more than 20 years and it did not bring development before. It is not real development. The government only begs the foreigners to sell our land to get big money. Tell them to go away from here.
The government officials are threatening us every time they invite us to meetings and tell us many things. They are going to destroy our cattle soon and force us to buy the Borena tribe’s cattle for marketing meat products. They said if we do not do this they will shoot all our cattle, then they will turn their guns on us. The people were threatened by government officials and military forces in every meeting to make the Bodi and Mursi accept the plantation plans. We are now just simply saying yes, yes, it is good, because we have no other choice. Please do not accept any reports they send to foreigners, which says the Bodi and Mursi people are happy with and support the project. This is false. If you accept their reports you are also lying to yourselves. Please do not accept them.
Tell them to go away from here.