DISTORTING ETHIOPIAN HISTORY
By Mathza (Ethiobserver, July 3, 2007)
 
History is supposed to inform current and future generations of events that took place in the past. It should be a factual recording. It should be a description of events exactly the way they happened. Historical statements made in articles and other writings should avoid omissions, i.e. hiding the bad sides of historical persons or group. They should not ignore or minimize the achievements of others. Omission is the subject matter of this writing.
I have personally observed a number of writings accusing Emperor Yohannes IV of helping the British expedition against Emperor Tewodros II. The latest which prompted me to react is one in Amharic "Le’adis Yetgl Tarik Enterarra (yidres leteqwamiwoch)" by Bekele Shumie in Ethiopian Review (6/20/07). I have written two articles related to such accusations and manipulations of history. The following extensive quotation from Pat I of one of the articles shows that, on the contrary, it is Emperor Menelik II who deserves accusations not on one but on many counts.
"Emperor Menelik II, adored as "Immiye Menelik" by the diehards, has betrayed his country so many times by siding with all of its enemies and against Emperors Tewodros II and Yohannes IV. The following quotations from his own letters show how treasonous he has been.
· To Napier leading the British expedition against Emperor Tewodros II: "I was first willing to send (supplies) to you in a suitable manner, but my enemies are between us… Now I am far off, but I have no hesitation (to help)."
· To King Umberto of Italy after the Dogali defeat of the Italians by Ras Alula: "I can revenge the Italians who have died… I have confided to Antonelli many things that I cannot write which he should tell you." After he was crowned Emperor he wrote to King Umberto "I would like the soldiers of your majesty to forcefully occupy Asmara and make sure that the route is well guarded and defended."
· To Caliph-Khedive of the Mahdists: "When you were at war with Yohannes, I was also at war with him. Between us there has been no war." He avoided fighting the Mahdists twice: first together with King Tecle Haimanot, second with Yohannes IV.
· Cooperation agreement related to Egyptians invasion: "The scheme was while the Egyptians Were attacking King Yohannes IV in the north, Muzinger Pasha and Menelik were to attack from the south."
· A similar cooperation arrangement was made between King Menelik and the Italians, the former to attack Yohannes IV from the south and the later from the north.
At the battle of Adwa he wanted, for the usual selfish motive, his 25,000 Shewan guards to come out intact. He had to be persuaded to release them participate in the final assault when the Italians had the upper hand and he was about to order retreat. If it were not for his wife, Empress Taitu, and Ras Mengesha there would not have been an Adwa victory. This and the above and other facts are taboo and do not appear in history books authored by Ethiopians."
The above facts omitted in history books are glaring examples of how Ethiopian history has been and is being manipulated by chauvinists who dream the return to the old system of governance. Note that these same people are among those who practice politics of hate and follow the saying "the end justifies the means" in order to usurp power which they so much covet. Their lust for power has blinded them and they cannot, therefore, see the irreversible nature of the change that has taken place.
Repeatedly bashing Emperor Yohannes IV — a cheap attempt at scoring political gain — is not surely going to serve their own ends or help their cause. It is crystal clear from the above quotation that Emperor Menelik II is the root cause of the present predicament of Ethiopia in as far as all the troubles perpetrated by the Eritrean leader are concerned. Let us not forget that, with practically no contribution from his kings, Emperor Yohannes IV heroically and successfully defended Ethiopia from Egyptian, Mahdist and Italian aggressions in 1875, 1876, 1877, 1880, 1883, 1885 and 1887. It was Ras Alula who struck the first blow on Italian colonial aggression at Dogali in 1887 long before the battle of Adwa in 1896.  
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URGENT NEED FOR RECONCILIATION BASED ON CONFESSION AND ATONEMENT 
By Mathza
INTRODUCTION

I argued with myself if the article I was about to write would convey the opposite of what it is intended for. I had two choices: to write or not. After pondering on the pros and cons I convinced myself that the good intention outweighed the seemingly bad one, i.e. unity versus disunity of the country. I would appreciate if the reader could keep this in mind while reading this piece as well as the Amharic saying "beshitawun yemidebq …"

The objective of this writing is to indicate how a lasting peace and unity in diversity can and should be attained in Ethiopia. To me, this can be done only through identifying and admitting the wrongs committed in the past and being committed at present on ethnic groups, atonement and subsequent outlawing actions resorting to such wrongdoings in the future. Practically all ethnic groups, excluding the miniscule minority chauvinists (diehards) and their supporters, have been and are victims of chauvinism: racial slurs, condescension, abuses, hate, etc. Some of the suffering of the Tigrayan ethnic group is here dealt with to illustrate the nature of the divisive wrongs committed. Similar experiences by other ethnic groups should be told by the groups themselves. As the Tigrayan misery started over a century ago, there is a need to cover this period in order to appreciate what the Tigayans had to endure for such a long time. Part I tries to do this. Part
II will focus on the recent past and present situation.

PART I (March 29, 2006)
Emperor Yohannes IV ruled over a federal system (with autonomous regional kings under him) he introduced during the last quarter of the 19th century. This made his title Neguse Negest (Emperor) appropriate and bogus as far as his peers were concerned. This was the period when the grandfathers of the present chauvinists started the legacy of the morally bankrupt ‘the end justifies the means’ policy they left behind. It coincided with the period of the scramble for Africa. Tigray, including Eritrea, at that time, as before, was the gateway for most foreign aggressions on Ethiopia. The Tigrayans, with virtually no assistance from their countrymen and the then King Menelik conspiring with the invaders, fended off foreign aggressions, i.e. prevented the Egyptians and Italians from colonizing Ethiopia and avenged the Mahdists of the Sudan who defeated King Tecle Haimanot of Gojam and destroyed Gondar.

The chauvinists argue that the then Kassa Mercha (later Emperor Yohannes IV) conspired against Emperor Tewodros II who in his last years, unfortunately, had committed so much atrocities that his subjects and those competing for the throne anxiously awaited his demise. What Kassa did is not comparable to that of King Menelik under Emperor Yohannes IV. Kassa, as well as other contenders through whose territories the British force had to pass, apparently, did not fight the British expeditionary force. The British had expressed that they had no intention of remaining in Ethiopia. They were there to free their subjects detained by Tewodros II, not unlike the Italians or the Egyptians whose intentions were to colonize Ethiopia. That is exactly what they did.

Emperor Menelik II, adored as "Immiye Menelik" by the diehards, has betrayed his country so many times by siding with all of its enemies and against Emperors Tewodros II and Yohannes IV. The following quotations from his own letters show how treasonous he has been.
· To Napier leading the British expedition against Emperor Tewodros II: "I was first willing to send (supplies) to you in a suitable manner, but my enemies are between us… Now I am far off, but I have no hesitation (to help)."
· To King Umberto of Italy after the Dogali defeat of the Italians by Ras Alula: "I can revenge the Italians who have died… I have confided to Antonelli many things that I cannot write which he should tell you." After he was crowned Emperor he wrote to King Umberto "I would like the soldiers of your majesty to forcefully occupy Asmara and make sure that the route is well guarded and defended."
· To Caliph-Khedive of the Mahdists: "When you were at war with Yohannes, I was also at war with him. Between us there has been no war." He avoided fighting the Mahdists twice: first together with King Tecle Haimanot, second with Yohannes IV.
· Cooperation agreement related to Egyptians invasion: "The scheme was while the Egyptians Were attacking King Yohannes IV in the north, Muzinger Pasha and Menelik were to attack from the south."
· A similar cooperation arrangement was made between King Menelik and the Italians, the former to attack Yohannes IV from the south and the later from the north.
At the battle of Adwa he wanted, for the usual selfish motive, his 25,000 Shewan guards to come out intact. He had to be persuaded to release them participate in the final assault when the Italians had the upper hand and he was about to order retreat. If it were not for his wife, Empress Taitu, and Ras Mengesha there would not have been an Adwa victory. This and the above and other facts are taboo and do not appear in history books authored by Ethiopians.

We know how Ethiopian history has been written. It was done in such a way as to omit reference to weaknesses and wrongdoings and to exaggerate the greatness of the Shewan kings, emperors and their cohorts but to neglect and omit the history of the other nations and nationalities as if they did not exist. A very recent glaring example can be seen in "Bring Back the Spirit of Adwa with Democracy now and unite all Ethiopians to forge ahead" by the Network of Ethiopian Scholars-Scandinavian Chapter. In this long and detailed article, most of which deals with the achievements of Menelik II, the authors made no reference (except one) to the wrongdoings of Menelik II. In order to exonerate him from this exception, they devoted four paragraphs trying to give favorable theoretical alternatives interpretations of his recognition of Eritrea as an Italian colony. Kininjit Support Editorial Board in Kinijit website went further by asserting that "Menelik II had
predicted that the colonials will leave. Indeed, the Italians left", meaning he gave them Eritrea because he knew definitely that the Italians were, anyway, going to leave. With the stroke of the pen they made him a modern prophet! They would not, of course, dare to mention the suspicious circumstances of the death of Emperor Yohannes IV. Rumor has it that he was killed with a bullet shot from behind by a person sent from Shewa.

Look at the hypocrisy of the chauvinists. As genuine Ethiopians would admit, Yohannes IV, who did the most to preserve Ethiopia’s independence and territorial integrity, gets the least coverage: a cursory reference or no mention at all in most of the writings on the Emperors that ruled since the end of the Zemene Mesafint. In Addis Ababa, there are Astie Tewodros Adebaby, Astie Menenlik Hawult, etc. There is not even a street named after Astie Yohannes.

Despite the above betrayals and withholding assistance by Mnenelik II, the Tigrayans fought and defeated the three aggressors (Egyptians, Italians and Mahdists) in battles at Gundet, Gura, Aylet, Sanhit, Sahati, Kufit, Dogali and Metema. Dogali was the first utter and humiliating defeat the Italians suffered. It was the first Ethiopian victory, not Adwa which shocked the Italians and Europeans. It was only after the death of Yohannes IV in Mettema fighting the Mahdists and during the rule and invitation by Emperor Menelik II that Italy occupied and colonized present day Eritrea. What did the people of war-torn Tigray get in return for single handedly defending the country? The remaining part of this article tries to answer this question.

From the above it is apparent that Menelik II was the root cause of all the problems associated with Eritrea. Emperor Haile Selassie I added fuel to the fire by interfering in the internal administration of and annexing Eritrea resulting in the 30 year civil war. Like the present diehards, Menelik II was obsessed to get at the helm of political power no matter the cost. He had the opportunity to rectify his blunders by pursuing the heavily battered, demoralized and confused fleeing Italian army comprising about 7,600 soldiers out of 17,700 he defeated at Adwa. The soldiers that were retreating in disarray empty handed with practically all weapons and ammunitions left behind could have been easy prays. The Italians would have done it had they been in his place. He chose not to. He did not even try to pursue them a little beyond the battle field.

The chauvinist apologists justify his inaction because of inadequacy of logistics. But there was no need to mobilize all his force for this purpose. A couple of thousands, comprising cavalry (out of 28,000 before the battle) followed by a smaller number of infantry and support personnel), could have easily completed the rout of the enemy and possibly reclaimed the southern highland of present day Eritrea. This could have, at least, served as basis for negotiating the return of some territory, such as Badme. Bringing supplies from outside of Tigray for the relatively small force could not have been insurmountable. The rest of the force could have been sent back as there was no danger of immediate renewed aggression because of the risk the 700 Italian prisoners (not including the 1,800 Eritrian prisoners) would face and the long time needed for Italy to remobilize, if it were ever to have done it.

The real covert agenda was to weaken Tigray he considered rival to his throne by giving away part of it to the Italians. In 1889 he recognized the Italian possessions in the Red Sea as Italian colony. His series of agreements with Italy of 1900, 1902 and 1908 resulted in the controversial boundary with present day Eritrea. In 1902 he signed an agreement with the British not to make any change to the flow of water to the Sudan. This emboldened Egypt to neglect Ethiopia and threatened to take military action if the flow of water from Ethiopia were diverted or reduced. Because of Egyptian pressure on donors and lenders Ethiopia could not secure aid and loan to harness its water for development. This, therefore, made drought prone Ethiopia unable to use its water to alleviate hunger and famine. Such kind of blunders or sellouts were never committed or signed by either Emperors Tewodros II or Yohannes IV.

The Adwa victory was at the expense of Tigray. In those days the Ethiopian forces (over 100,000) and thousands of horses, mules and donkeys had to be provided with food and water by the inhabitants of the battle fields and areas through which the army traveled. The former included Amba Alaghe, Mekele and Adwa, excluding Coatit and Senafe in present day Eritrea where Ras Mengesha fought the Italians the year before Adwa. Add to this the destruction of natural resources, such as forests, to accommodate other needs of the army, and drought. The result was the beginning of impoverishment of Tigray. This was further exacerbated by Menelik’s policy of ruling Tigrayans by impoverishing them. This policy sealed the miserable fate of the people of Tigray for over a century.

Menelik’s policy was continued by Emperor Haile Selassie I. Not a single school of higher learning, an industry, etc. were established in Tigray. Tigray was completely neglected. The first Weyane movement was a manifestation of resistance against oppression of Tigrayans by his government. Consecutive droughts worsened the suffering of the people. There was very little done to alleviate the people’s misery during his rule. The Derg used drought as a weapon against them. These and others referred to earlier, were the main reasons for the obvious preponderance of Tigrayan beggars in Addis Ababa. As a result of these difficulties, none of their own faults, Tigrayans were demeaned and pejoratively labeled menati, lemagn, kimalam, tebtaba (nowadays noticeable by implication in discussions on Hager Fiker Radio), etc. The Tigrigna language was practically the only local language next to Amharic spoken in Addis Ababa in public. The chauvinists objected the
use of languages other than Amharic. In order to discourage the use of Tigrigna they labeled Tigrigna ‘wof zerash.’ As a consequence, young Tigrayan kids in schools were so intimidated that many of them now regret for not being able to communicate in their mother tongue.

The latest conspiracy, which one could infer as indirectly targeted at Tigrayans, is the one against the host of the Voice of Hager Fiker, Negussie Woldemariam, considered pro-Weyane by the opposition and other diehards. Knowing that he carried a gun to protect himself from politically motivated thugs who had already tried to bring harm on him and his family, the conspirators plotted and called the police to have him arrested for pointing gun at them. Their intention was to have him incarcerated, muzzle him and close his radio program which to their chagrin and desperation has increasingly become the voice of reason, popular and threatening to their nonsensical politics based on gross lies, exaggerations and ethnic hatred.

PART II (April 5, 2006)
In Part I an attempt was made to ferret some of the historical causes of the suffering of Tigrayans. Let us now turn to what has been and is happening to Tigrayans. In order not to bore the reader I will limit myself to citing a few examples of atrocities and wrongdoings. The chauvinists, those who consider themselves the ruling class, deny that there have been and there are hatred, slurs, stigmatization and destructions directed at the Tigrayans. The reader knows this is not true. What is bizarre is that those who call themselves ‘true Ethiopians,’ ‘genuine Ethiopians’, etc., even deny the Ethiopianess of Tigrayans. They label them colonialists. They belittle the obvious and the undeniable 17 year of sacrifices made by the TPLF freedom fighters and the people of Tigray, including the Hauzen massacre. They would never admit that the TPLF drove the Derg and its civil servants out of Tigray. As usual they could manufacture an excuse and say the
withdrawal was for strategic reason. How can this be when, as a result, Tigray became the Berlin wall between Eritrea and the rest of Ethiopia and the Derg was forced to ship soldiers and other people and supplies by sea and air to and from Eritrea?

The diehards deny the crucial contributions of the TPLF and the people of Tigray to freeing the country from the atrocities of the Derg, saving it from violent fragmentation and keeping it united under a federal system accepted by the overwhelming majority. The country is not divided as the diehards would want us to believe. They are the ones who are creating, encouraging and fanning racial differences, hatred, antagonisms and horrifying conditions in order to bring about chaos that they hope could propel them to political power. By their empty and divisive rhetoric and reckless actions they are provoking and emboldening separatist movements to renew and strengthen their resolve to secede and thus fragment the country. They know that they are digging their graves; they are, however, so frustrated and blinded that they have lost their faculty of reasoning. There will come a time when most of them will regret having been misled by the core of misguided
miniscule chauvinistic elements.

The diehards are miserably unhappy because of the end of Shewan Amhara chauvinist’s assimilation and hegemony and the changes brought about by and the positive role (for example, see the assessment of Paul B. Henze in his CONTRA CLAPHAM) EPRDF is playing in Ethiopian development and politics (ethnically diverse power-sharing political system). This escalated their hatred and hostility towards Tigrayans. They are jealous and vindictive. They regret for not having been the ones, the heirs of the old regimes, to have brought the changes. Whatever development projects were implemented they either deny or dismiss them by saying they were planned by Haile Selassie or the Derg. They cannot even imagine such things can be done by others than themselves, the omniscient and omnipotent. In the political field, they accuse the EPRDF, particularly the TPLF, for disuniting the country when the opposite is glaringly true. They see the Tigrayans as the main cause for
their frustration and chagrin. They say and do anything to isolate them from the rest of the Ethiopians. There are numerous malicious lies specifically targeted at Tigrayans. Let us look at two examples in some detail: 
· "The inner circle of the ruling elite that forms the kitchen cabinet and sets policies belongs to the same ethnic group."
· "The Agazi, composed of a single ethnic group and secretly trained to maim and kill civilians and create division within a pluralist society."
The first lie is equivalent to the government is a Tigrayan/Weyane government, which is repeated ad-infinitum. This is, in fact, a blind denial of and an insult to the very ethnically representative and diversified members of cabinet and other executive posts at the federal level. No need to refer to the regions which are administered by their own people. In regard to the second, since many years ago, the military has been integrated and comprises members of all nationalities. A look at the pictures of the dead and wounded security forces on Ethiopia News Agency home page http://www.ena.gov.et/ during the November riots gives a clear indication of the diversity of the forces. There is, therefore, no such thing as military wing composed of a single ethnic group. It is simply an outrageous lie. Targeting Tigrayans and other ethnic groups will surely have consequences unless stopped soon and the perpetrators accept the 21st century realities of the country.
The four weeks suspension imposed on the mayor of London for racial slur he hurled at a Jewish journalist should be a warning sign to those who continue targeting Tigrayans. Groups and individuals could and should be held accountable for the consequences of their utterances and actions against ethnic groups.

Others include: Tigray gets disproportionate part of the budget; Tigray has developed at the expense of other parts of Ethiopia; and all the wealth of Ethiopia goes to Tigray. During his recent visit to Ethiopia Paul B. Henze asked some high school students in Kirrem Dingay, Gondar, why their school was demonstrating. The following reply shows how rampant brainwashing and incitement of hatred against Tigrayans has been, even in remote areas, and hence how CUD managed to win more votes than would have been expected.

"Because the government is corrupt. Our President1[15] is corruption. He sends verything to Makelle. Everyone in Makelle is rich. All industry in Ethiopia is there. Makelle is the real capital of Ethiopia. No one else in the country has anything. We have nothing…There is no industry in Bahr Dar. There are no factories anywhere in Ethiopia except Makelle. Meles Zenawi is corruption and everybody with him takes everything to Makelle. They are all rich…The teachers tell us and Hailu Shawel says everything goes to Makelle."

If these were true then why are Tigryans still the poorest among the poor Ethiopians?

All the above and other endless malicious lies and fabrications were and are intended to discredit and create hatred against the Tigrayans, TPLF and EPRDF, thereby foolishly thinking that this Tactic will enable them to snatch the coveted power and to reestablish the old order. They are meant to tarnish the image of the government, both internally and externally. Jendayi Frazer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, accurately says it all after her visit to Ethiopia: "The image of Africa (including Ethiopia) portrayed by the Diaspora as a police state is that of 30 years ago." How true and timely. This is the kind of image about Ethiopia that some Ethiopians in the Diaspora have been propagating and continue to propagate to the world in order to hoodwink the international community to prop and enable them take over the government on a silver platter.

There are many more indications of conspiracies and hatred against and demeaning Tigrayans. Some have to do with psychologically harassing Tigrayans. Pressure and threats were and are put on them to condemn and distance themselves from the TPLF. In plain language they have been told ‘you are either with us or against us.’ Although the opposition has declared ostracization on EPRDF members and supporters, its declaration is, obviously, mainly directed at Tigrayans. This is glaringly evident in the Diaspora. The conspiracy against Tigray extends to tourism and the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. Apparently, as experienced by one of my friends twice within a period of a few years, some tour operators promote the Amhara part of the historic route while they discourage visits to the Tigray region. The Patriarch has been and is being vilified mainly because of his Tigrayan origin. In my last article
(http://www.hmbasha.net/BreakingTheMonopoly.htm) I had said "He is a pride for the country." He has proven me right in no time as he was recently elected one of the eight Presidents of the World Council of Churches—a first for Ethiopia.

There are others I would classify as rumors until knowledgeable persons come out with proofs. One such rumor is that when Emperor Haile Selassie I was deposed he is reported to have said "do not let the Tigrayans take power." This statement is also attributed to a senior minister who advised the soldiers who were taking him for detention during the 1974 revolution to do the same. It appears that CUD is heeding to such warning and trying to do the impossible, return to Shewan Amhara chauvinist domination. The paradigm governing Ethiopia has changed. Ethnic based dominated government – be it Amhara, Oromo or Tigrayan – is over.

History seems to be repeating itself. If what we have been and are hearing is right, this time instead of Italy it is Eritrea’s President Isayas and instead of Menelik II it is CUD conspiring with the enemy. Mind you, Isaya’s agenda is to dismantle Ethiopia. CUD and its supporters are supposedly deadly opposed to the independence of Eritrea. What an irony and a travesty! This strange sharing of bed fellows comes out of frustration and realization that the reversal of the ethnic-based administrative system and the retrieval of Shewan Amhara chauvinist hegemony by any means is now or never. The following admission by the Deputy Assistant Secretary Yamamoto at the US Congress House Subcommittee on Africa hearing on Ethiopia held at the begging of the chauvinists (March 28, 2006) gives a clear indication that the conclusion of the election observers does not support CUD’s excuse for its intransigence and destabilization of the country.

"We commend the work of the Carter Center and note the important work that the European Union carried out under difficult conditions. On the overall assessment of the elections, we agree with the final report, which noted that the elections had credibility and that the majority of the constituency results based on the May 15 polling and tabulation are credible and reflect competitive conditions. Our own assessments support this view…We believe Ethiopia is heading in the right direction."

This conclusion negates Mrs. Gomez’s continuing baseless and futile support for CUD and bashing of the Ethiopian government. Her report is contradictory to the conclusion of the Ambassadors’ Donor Group in Ethiopia as well as their respective governments.

The conspiracy continues. The conspirators do not want other Ethiopians to hear the truth. At discussions on Hager Fiker Radio, for instance, they vehemently resent and complain about truths being exposed by the participants. They label the latter Weyanes. They insist to limit discussions to the consequences of the recent disturbances (of their own making), anything related to the CUD and exposing and condemning the TPLF, EPRDF and the government. Many of them who are vulgar, frustrated and have nothing to refute call in to hurl obscene words and expressions at the hosts. As a cover up and in order to avoid facing the ugly realities, a few of them insist on forgetting the past and instead focusing on reconciliation. Reconciliation, yes, but a nation’s healing can only be achieved by making amends of the past, not by denials or cover up. This, as demonstrated by South Africa’s truth and reconciliation process, requires acceptance of the end of
chauvinists’ hegemony, admittance of past atrocities and confession of current wrongs and crimes perpetrated against Ethiopian ethnic groups. Only then can reconciliation be realized. The first step toward this end, peaceful and harmonious coexistence, is to stop venomous, divisive and hateful racial rhetoric and attacks.

A systematic approach to reconciliation is urgently crucial. It should include: preparation, conference and implementation. For starters, each ethnic group should submit reports, detailing oppressions, complaints and suggested solutions. The reports should be discussed at a reconciliation conference at the federal level. The output of the conference should be admittance of the wrongs committed, forgiveness by those wronged and measures and strategies to be taken at eradicating ethnic related problems. The measures and strategies should be debated in the Parliament which should enact a law or amend existing laws based on its evaluation of the report. In order to monitor the implementation of the enacted law the administration of each region and the Ministry of Justice should submit mandatory annual reports to the Parliament. Based on the reports, the Parliament should take action, if and when necessary. The whole process should be transparent and
publicized so that the people are well informed. One way of doing this and keeping the awareness of the public alive is to declare an annual ‘Ethnic Integration Day’ when the people will be reminded of their ethnic rights and responsibilities.

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Desperate Chauvinists' Crusade Against Historical Ethiopian Personalities
By Mathza (Nov 03,2010)

"Ethiopian-Unity a Source of power or a source of Misery?" By Yohannes Haile, (ethioLion.com, September 2010) is among the latest articles on bashing TPLF and Tigrayans. It is a must read for all well meaning Ethiopians.

The author who claims to be in his twenties is saturated with all kinds of evils. He is racist, hateful, jealous, prejudiced, vengeful, etc. The lies, allegations, diatribes, etc. in every paragraph of his long article testify to this characterization. Although each and every one of them can be refuted, I will limit my commentary to one of them that reads:

-Tigrians are and always will be first Tiggrains and then Ethiopians. Forget the nonsense of Tigray being the foundation/base of Ethiopia. They have been doing everything they could to undermine Ethiopia. They are to the most part responsible for the creation of Zemene Mesafi[n]t (the era of the prince[s]), a century of war and turmoil. They have been bleeding Ethiopia and its people whenever they feel like they could even if that means siding with foreign invaders. Yohannes IV sided with the invading British army and killed the visionary leader Tewodros and ravaged the people and animals of Gojame/ wollo /Gonder and shoa…

Every sentence in the paragraph is refutable. For example, what proof has he got to categorically state "they are to the most part responsible for the creation of Zemene Mesafi[n]t"? This is pure lie and unheard of. Apparently, he made it up. On the contrary Ras Michael Sehul of Tigray was invited to Gonder to help the declining monarchy. For brevity’s sake, suffice it here to state that he defended the monarchy in all possible ways but conditions did not allow him to prevent the situation from deteriorating to the Zemene Mesafint starting around 1760s during the reign of Emperor Yohannes II.

Now, let us concentrate on Emperor Yohannes IV and the people of Tigray. The statement regarding Yohannes IV is outrageous. His reign was a period when Ethiopia faced a series of invasions from Egypt (twice), Italy and the Mahdists of Sudan. In all over eight battles (between 1875 and 1889 mostly in Eritrea) were fought and won. The two victories over the Egyptian invaders sealed the aspiration of Egypt to control the headwaters of the Blue Nile. Egypt, apparently realizing that force was not the means, started to destabilize Ethiopia by: (a) creating, abetting, financing and supporting through other means, the so-called separatists/liberation fronts, religious extremists and expansionists and (b) mobilizing support of international institutions to starve Ethiopia of financing the development of its water resources. This heinous process continues to this very day. It was recently reported that Egypt openly declared its ethnic division strategy and that
Egyptian investment in Ethiopia would enable it to retain its belligerency in relation to the Nile waters! It is time for the Egyptians to wake up from their thousands of years sleep.

Who defended Ethiopia during the above aggressions? Unlike the battle of Adwa when Ethiopians from all corners of the country participated, Tigrigna speakers from both sides of the Mereb River fought all the above invasions in which Ethiopia came out victorious. It was Emperor Menelik II who gave away the territory now known as Eritrea to Italy. During Yohannes IV’s rule, Kebessa and other parts of Eritrea were part and parcel of Ethiopia and administered by the legendary Ras Alula.

As regards, the allegation that Yohannes IV "sided with the invading British army and killed the visionary leader Tewodros " the truth is Yohannes IV was, as all Ethiopians were, fed up with the atrocities of Emperor Tewodrs II and let the British pass through his territory. (Of course, the former did not kill the latter as insinuated.) The British expedition promised they would pull out after achieving their objective and they kept their word. On the contrary, Menelik II in his letter to Napier wrote "I was first willing to send (supplies) to you in a suitable manner, but my enemies are between us… Now I am far off, but I have no hesitation (to help)." This should not surprise readers as he had repeatedly sided with external enemies of Ethiopia.

As the above and the links show, the chauvinists of whom the writer is one conceal the heroism and country love of non-chauvinist Ethiopians. In the case of Yohannes IV, they intentionally exclude his name when talking and writing on or praising the most recent emperors. They jump from Tewodros II to Menelik II and Haile Sellassie I. The purpose of this tactic is obvious. It is to show that there is no history other than that of Amharas. By the same token, the history made and being made by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has no place in Ethiopian history. It should be noted here that the chauvinists comprise of an infinitesimally vociferous miniscule minority of Amhara and wannabe Amhara.

The exclusion referred to above applies to historical sites as well. Very often when writing about or advertising Ethiopian tourist destinations on the historic route, Axum and other historical sites (including the over 120 rock-hewn churches) in Tigray, are not mentioned let alone their historical significance described. Many years ago a friend told me that when he approached the woman at the tourist desk in Gion Hotel to reserve a room in Axum, she advised him to go to Bahdar, Gonder and Lalibela, noting that there is little to see in Axum. My friend experienced exactly the same thing a few years later. These two incidents show that there is a deliberate attempt at re-directing tourists to specific areas of the historic route. Statistics of the number of tourists support this conclusion.

The chauvinists, who by the way, include disgruntled Derg and EPRP remnants, vehemently resent the loss of political power and everything that went with it during the previous regimes. This is the main reason why they are avowed anti TPLF, Tigrayans and other Ethiopians that instituted the federal system and irreversibly made it work. This group is the one that was predicting the imminent disintegration of Ethiopia a la Yugoslavia when the EPRDF took over. They have continued with this daily rant ever since because of the ethnic-based federal structure to which they are vehemently opposed. This group was and is highly frustrated and worried. It knows that the adoption of federalism is what saved the country from being another Yugoslavia. It, like Menelik II, sides with external enemies of the country and encourages, supports, cooperates and joins forces with separatists like OLF and ONLF in undermining Ethiopia’s security, territorial integrity and
interest. Note the participation of Eritreans, OLF and ONLF in the New York demonstration against Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. It is ironic how the chauvinists can be bedfellows with President Isayas Afeworki’s regime. It is very well known that they have not accepted the independence of Eritrea and want to repossess Asseb if not the whole of Eritrea. Despite this fact, they are doing every thing and will do anything to disintegrate Ethiopia, thereby fulfilling President Isayas Afeworki’s aspiration.

This group, which finds the change brought about by the EPRDF far too hard to swallow, is the source of most of the pathological lies, deceptions, exaggerations, rumors, spinning, etc. against the EPRDF, the government, the TPLF and the people of Tigray. The five part, particularly the last part, audio program (Gemena: Keguada…Eske…Godana) prepared by Zerihun Teshome posted on ethiopiafirst.com, 10/24/10) says it all.

The TPLF and the people of Tigray were and are in the forefront in defending the country against external invaders and bringing peace, stability and development that the Ethiopians increasingly are enjoying now. To the chagrin of the chauvinists, the majority of Ethiopians know this. This is why this radio active group and some of the oppositions would leave no stone unturned to avenge their loss and undermine the process of democratization and development. This is why the chauvinists incessantly and vehemently target TPLF and the people of Tigray.

Ethiopia, a large country, both in terms of area and population, is home for about 80 ethnic groups and multiple religions. These coupled with the complex negative interactions with the corresponding number of languages, traditions and cultures could have been a recipe for disaster following the fall of the Derg and the numerous liberation fronts at that time. In view of this, Ethiopia would have been in a situation much worse than that of Somalia had the chauvinists been in place of EPRDF.

History that will be written by genuine historians will surely expose the machinations of those who have been and are writing their versions exalting their ethnic leaders and ignoring the deeds of those of other ethnic Ethiopian heroes and leaders. The tactic of excluding historic personalities in writings and oral presentations and communications with the intention of denying Ethiopians of accurate information on the latter’s contributions to Ethiopia’s continued existence and historic events of significance will not work. There will come a time when the young generation who had been and are being hoodwinked by the old diehards spreading politics of hatred among Ethiopians will know the truth about the TPLF and Tigrayans. It has already started thanks to pioneers, particularly former Ethiopians who were against EPRDF, such as Negusie Woldemariam. The process is accelerating as shown by the Washington and New York demonstrations in support of the
Prime Minister and the Ethiopian government. The nasty commentaries (about 23 out of 30) on Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam’s Ethiopia: Feed Them and Bleed Them (nazret.com, 10/25/10) is another proof of Ethiopian Diaspora awakening to hate-mongers’ and ethnic bashers’ misinformation, machinations, lies, spinning, intimidations, etc, etc.

The Ethiopian nations, nationalities and peoples will not permit the chauvinists to highjack the victories that the former parents and brothers and sisters won with great sacrifices. There is, for sure, no going back. The federal system is here to stay. The recent WSLF and ONLF welcome steps taken show that Ethiopia has found in the federal structure solutions to its perennial ethnic and religious divergences and manipulating and distorting Ethiopian history. To the chagrin of the chauvinists, the nations and nationalities are now developing their languages, cultures and traditions and rewriting their true histories.