By Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
The Abyssinians, who invaded from far North of Ethiopia and annexed Cushitic lands in the 19th century, colonised and brutalised original, native Cushitic peoples of Ethiopia (Oromo, Somalis, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambela, SNNAPR etc) for over 150 years. Abyssinians (Amhara and Tigre) believe that they own Ethiopia and that Cushitic peoples were and still are their own vassals working for them on the land. Particularly Amhara believes that they are of superior race and more brave than others.
Look at this Amhara clip claiming they are superior to other Ethiopians:
As shown on the map, the original land of Tigray and Amhara (Abyssinians) was in the North of Ethiopia, and after founding Kingdom of Axum, original ancient city of Abyssinia in the 1st century A.D, they gradually moved down South and during the reign of Emperor Menelik II (1844–1913), Abyssinia conquered the Cushitic peoples (Oromo, Somalis, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambela and SNNAPR shown in the map) and their lands mainly from 1889-1954 and completed the creation of Ethiopia Abyssinian Empire. The Abyssinian colonial invasion and annexation of South and East Ethiopia exactly coincided with the European colonial conquest and occupation of Africa (European Conquests:1884; Abyssinian Annexations: 1889). This is clear evidence that Abyssinians participated in the Partition of Africa late 19th century after Berlin Conference of 1884.
The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia was powerful in Abyssinia at that time calling it, “The Christian Fortress of Africa”, and that is why Europeans spared Ethiopia from their brutal colonialism and supported the Abyssinian black colonialism against the Cushitic peoples and their lands. As Europeans invaded Africa for cheap labour and raw materials for their nascent Industrial Revolution, Abyssinian Empire conquered the Cushites for their vast lands rich in natural resources because Abyssinian regions were mainly rugged mountains and barren land with the exception of some places. Since the annexation of South and East Ethiopia, Amhara and Tigray were the only political rivals rotating in power (mostly Amhara) to rule and dominate the rest of Ethiopia with the help of Europeans and European weapons.
After the Tigray war, Amhara attempts to recycle their former tyrant Abyssinian Kingdom to reimpose old Abyssinian black colonialism on Cushitic peoples as well as on the rest of Ethiopia. Amhara tries first to eliminate democratic federal system of Ethiopia by abolishing federal constitution, removing article 39 of federal constitution, weaken constitutional autonomy or self-government of ethnic regional administrations, re-establish unitary government, reimpose Abyssinian black colonialism on the majority people of Ethiopia under one own flag and one language.
If that fails, Amhara may try to play intrusive political influence to have elected councils, committees and representatives by Amhara resident blocks and communities in non-Amhara regions throughout Ethiopia participating in their local, regional and federal elections to secure favourable outcomes. This tactics helps Amhara to have more members in the federal parliament to pass legislative bills favouring them in order to have grip on the national politics of the whole country including land expansion as well as outnumbering other ethnic groups in military, police and intelligence service. But both Amhara colonial resurrection attempts and intrusive political influence will meet indomitable, overriding challenges by Cushitic peoples. Members elected through local, regional and federal elections must belong exclusively to the relevant ethnic group and region.
The history of Ethiopia is a history of invasions, conquests, violent annexations, slavery, genocide, damages and destruction, displacements etc. It is history based on domination and dominated resulting in creating deep hostility and hatred between Abyssinians and Cushitic peoples. A multi-ethnic nation like Ethiopia with historical animosity extending that far, only democratic federal system with fair and free elections can restore trust to keep it together. No people or ethnic group will accept black colonial domination based on false superiority and racism in the 21st century. People want to protect their dignity and prestige to live in peace, freedom, justice and social equality on their land. Brutal colonial occupation should be vestige of the past in Ethiopia. Ethiopia should not practice anymore the ugly colonialism that African continent rejected and defeated over 60 years ago. Amhara needs to understand that today is not yesterday and that Amhara people are particularly blamed for most of Abyssinian colonial destructive consequences on human life as it was yolk of Ethiopia colonialism.
If Amhara does not renounce black colonial domination in Ethiopia and does not respect the democratic institutions and federal system but prefers to re-instate the old colonial unitary system government against the rest of Ethiopia, then devastating new endless civil wars in Ethiopia are inevitable to erupt, particularly between Oromo (the biggest ethnic group in Ethiopia) and Amhara. The other Ethiopian nationalities (Somalis, Sidamo, Gambela, Afar and others) may join Oromo in the war against Amhara to liberate themselves from Abyssinian black colonialism too. Any prolonged civil wars among Ethiopian ethnic groups will result in breaking Ethiopia up into republics like Yugoslavia.
Currently, Ethiopian Federalism is based on ethnical region administrations so that no ethnic group can dominate or rule another ethnic group or even trespass to the land of another ethnic group. With this system, an ethnic group can not invade the region of another ethnic group. Abolishing ethnic identity in Ethiopia and dividing the country into what is called “Zones” erases cultural identity and native land ownership of ethnic groups and restores the dominant brutal system of Abyssinians. Only democratic federal system with fair and free elections and without hostile interference in neighbouring countries can keep Ethiopia together to heal, coexist and trust one another to become prosperous and friendly nation in the Horn of Africa.
But if coexistence among Ethiopian ethnic groups becomes difficult and inter-ethnic civil wars become rampant, frequent and persistent with no hope of accepting one another, then it is reasonable to support them go on their separate ways to have independent republics taking article 39 of Ethiopian federal constitution in order to have peace and stability instead of having perpetual bloodshed, violence, ethnic cleansing, fleeing, influx of refugees, instability etc.
SOME IMPORTANT REFERENCES
– Darkwah, R.H.K. Shewa, Menelik and the Ethiopian Empire 1813-1889, London: Heinemann
– Mekuria Bulcha, “Genocidal Violence in the Making of Nation and State in Ethiopia”, African Sociological Review Vol. 9(2), 2005
– Bulatovich visited much of the Oromo territory between 1896 and 1898 and witnessed and acknowledged the damage done by the Abyssinian conquest.