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The tale of the two victories

The tale of the two victories

Gemeda Tussa


Ethiopians have a long history of unity in diversity although the ruling regimes and some foreign countries attempted to divide them for various vested interests.

Political analysts emphasized that Ethiopians have an intertwined culture and coexistence; helping one another irrespective of religion, ethnic and the like.

Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office Getachew Reda in a panel discussion held at Elilay hotel confirmed this fact. He said that the victory of Adwa is the symbol of unity, pride and freedom for all nations, nationalities and people’s of Ethiopia. It also symbolizes the inspiration of the black people across the world in addition to its role of unity and pride for the Ethiopians.

“The sense of diversity and unity in the battle of Adwa is an exemplary to reinforce the current efforts exerted to realize the renaissance of the country,” he added.

The glorious victory of Adwa, of course, was a good indication and witness that Ethiopians give no priority other than their motherlands sovereignty. The battle in Adwa was the battle conducted coming together all nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia.

Available historical documents show that there were estimated Ethiopian forces under the command of Minilik II. Though there are some differences from document to document the number of Ethiopians who engaged in that battle was estimated more than 73,000. 

The documents also indicate that the forces were divided among Emperor Menelik, Empress Taytu Betul, Ras Wale Betul, Ras Mengesha Atikem, Ras Mengesha Yohannes, Ras Alula Engida, Ras Mikael of Wollo, Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael, Fitawrari Gebeyyehu, and Negus Tekle Haymanot Tessemma.

All of them, however, were not armed with modern weapons but traditional instruments like swords, sticks, arrows, stones and of course a few old guns unlike the opponents who were armed from teeth to toes with modern weapons.  But there was unity, determination and unity among the Ethiopians.

Content Enrichment, Distribution Directorate Director General, Yonas Asenake, while presenting a research paper on the victory of Adwa emphasized that that day opens a new phase of history and bestows the spirit of freedom for Ethiopians at all.

The Ethiopian heroes defeated the Italian well armed army witnessing the heroism of Ethiopian forefathers.  According to Yonas there are similarities between the two victories: Adwa and May 28.

The battle of Adwa was conducted by the cooperative efforts of the Ethiopian nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia. The same is true to the seventeen years fight against the rogue military regime in Ethiopia.

According to Yonas, the current generation could learn lessons from the glorious victories of Adwa and May 28 and the youth have to work industriously so as not only to defeat poverty but also to secure the peace and stability of their country as well as their region using the deeds of their fathers and forefathers.   

The youth have to learn from historical documents that Ethiopians had been exerting to defend their country from conquerors particularly from these victories.


Available documents indicate that the Italian army comprised four brigades totaling 17,978 troops, with fifty-six artillery pieces.  Imagine this number of well armed forces fought against the Ethiopian people who had no modern weapons at all.


But the Italians suffered about 7,000 killed and 1,500 wounded in the battle and subsequent retreat back into Eritrea, having left more than 3,000 prisoners. However, the Ethiopian losses were estimated at around 4,000 killed and 8,000 wounded.


Another similarity according to Yonas is the fact that following the two victories the international diplomacy of Ethiopia was improved. After the Adwa victory over Italy in 1896, Ethiopia acquired a special importance in the eyes of Africans as the only surviving African State.


It also became emblematic of African valor and resistance, the bastion of prestige and hope not only to all Africans but also other black people who were experiencing the full shock of European conquest and were beginning to search for an answer to the myth of whites’ superiority.


Following that historical and glorious victory, there was lack of skilled manpower to maintain that unity and engaged them in economic development. As a result, the two regimes succeeding MiniliK II: the emperor and the military junta respectively failed consolidate efforts towards unity rather run a tyranny administration that deprived nations, nationalities and peoples of their equal rights in their country.


However, May 28, a significant victory over the military junta, has been accompanied by the economic development and peace and stability of the country.


The past twenty four years witnessed this very fact. Ethiopians have strengthened their unison and working industriously to realize the renaissance of Ethiopia. 


That is why Minister Getachew Reda emphasized that the current generation should learn from those victories and should effectively work, being hand in glove, so as to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable economic growth in line with maintaining the country’s peace and stability having learnt a lesson from the tales of the two victories. 



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