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Adwa and Abyssinia’s Participation in the Scramble for Africa: Does that have relevance to the ongoing Oromo protests? March 29, 2017

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Adwa and Abyssinia’s Participation in the Scramble for Africa:

Does that Have Relevance to the Ongoing Oromo Protests?

 

By Mekuria Bulcha, PhD, Professor


Whenever an Oromo scholar or politician mentions Menelik or his conquest of Oromia, the scathing criticism that meets him or her is that history is irrelevant for the current crisis.  They are often advised to stop looking backwards and to focus on the future.  Meanwhile, the irony is that in the lead up to and weeks after the 121st anniversary of the Battle of Adwa, many Ethiopian scholars and politicians have been engaged in intense debate about this event. In fact, I am all for a debate about Ethiopian history; however, I was surprised when I read an article written by Teshome Borago entitled “Adwa: When Oromos fought Italy as Abyssinians” published on the Ethiomedia webpage on March 3, 2017. Borago wrote the article to commemorate the anniversary of Ethiopia’s victory over Italian forces at Adwa in 1896.  By and large, he talks about the victory of Adwa as an example of unity among the peoples of Ethiopia and calls on the peoples of Ethiopia to keep up that spirit of unity. But, the problem is that he did not stop there; he used the Oromo contribution to the victory at Adwa obliquely as a pretext to question the validity of Oromo grievances voiced by the ongoing protests. He laments the “new generation” Oromos’ failure to appreciate their forefathers’ contributions to the Adwa victory, and for not respecting the spirit of Adwa which was Ethiopian unity. He refers to their protests as an effort made in defense of “tribalism”. My criticism is that, using the victory of Adwa as a point of departure, Borago distorts not only Oromo and Ethiopian history, but also misrepresents the motives of the ongoing Oromo protests. Borago is not the only writer who has been labelling the Oromo struggle for freedom as a manifestation of “tribalism”, or to criticize Oromo views about Menelik and the creation of the Ethiopian state. There are dozens of commentators who, like him, have been distorting Oromo history and demonizing Oromo politics and scholarship. Haile Larebo has been one of the most vocal representatives of this group.

The views which are expressed in both Borago’s article and Larebo’s story about the Battle of Adwa, which was broadcast on March 22, 2017 on Aronios Radio are the points of departure for this article.  The purpose of the article is to critically assess the meanings of the Battle of Adwa for the Oromo and other non-Abyssinian peoples who were conquered and forcibly incorporated into the Ethiopian Empire by Menelik. The following questions will guide my discussion: (a) what were the conditions under which the Oromo and the other non-Abyssinian peoples participated in the Battle of Adwa? (b) What “benefits” did they derive from the victory at Adwa? (c) In what ways was the Battle of Adwa a turning point in Abyssinia’s participation in the Scramble for Africa? (d) What was the relationship between the peoples of the south including the Oromo and the Abyssinian state before and after Adwa?

Menelik’s army at Adwa: freemen, gabbars, captives and slaves

As Wendy James has aptly pointed out, “without the contributions of Ethiopia’s southern peoples, whose sweat and blood go unrecorded in Ethiopianist annals, the Battle of Adwa in 1896 might not have been won and Menelik II might not have gone on to build his empire.”[1] Obviously, one of those peoples were the Oromo. I am not denying Oromo contribution to the Ethiopian victory over the Italians at Adwa. My critique concerns the representation of the conditions under which their contribution occurred. I argue that Oromo human and material resources were not “contributed” voluntarily as Borago and Larebo want us to believe. By and large, they were robbed. To start, as Harold Marcus has stated, “Menelik had exploited the south and the south-west to purchase weapons.” He was “indirectly Ethiopia’s greatest slave entrepreneur and received the bulk of the proceeds” from the slave trade. Marcus wrote that being a Christian Menelik was not directly involved in the trade, but “Many slaves were however supplied by him.”[2] The “human merchandize” used in that trade were Oromos and others who were captured his conquest of the south. Pankhurst has also stated that “the supply of slaves was…swollen by large numbers of prisoners captured during Menelik’s southern campaigns.”[3] The evidence is extensive to present in this short article, but it is important to not here that Menelik covered in part the cost of the firearms used at Adwa with revenue from the export of human merchandize.

What is also equally important to understand is that the fighters who marched north carrying those firearms were not all freemen, but also a motley of captives, gabbars and slaves, including thousands of women. Most of them were Oromo, Walaita, Kambata and Gurage and were from territories which were conquered a decade or a few years prior to the Battle of Adwa.  They were used not only as fighters, but also providers of the services that made the fighting possible. They were bearers of firearms and supplies; they cooked for the fighters and looked after the horses and mules used by the fighters.  In this connection, a remarkable story emerges if we look closely at the case of Walaita which was conquered in 1894 just two years before the Battle. It is also interesting to note that Borago who writes that “several kingdoms volunteered and mobilized from every region in Ethiopia to fight at the Battle of Adwa” claims Walaita ethnicity.  According to archival evidence collected by the historian Tsehai Berhane-Selassie, one of the aims of the expedition against Walaita was slave raiding. She noted that it was carried out in order to replenish depleted manpower because of the severe famine of 1889-92, to pay outstanding debts to arms dealers, and to finance the impending war against the Italians.[4] Describing the battle the French business agent Gaston Vanderheym who accompanied Menelik on his campaign against the Walaita, expressed the “crushing effects” of newly acquired guns on the southern conquests as “some kind of infernal hunting were human beings rather than animals served as game” and “where no distinction was made between fighters and civilians.”[5] Prouty notes that according Menelik’s own chronicler, 118,987 Walaita were killed and 18,000 were enslaved. The King of Walaita Tona was wounded and captured and his kingdom was destroyed.[6] Martial de Salviac wrote that the captives were made to march in a single line in front of Menelik who “chose the most robust and had a cross marked on their hands with a sharp object.”[7] In fact, Menelik not only enslaved thousands of Walaita, he also drove 36,000 head of looted cattle all the way to Shawa. Two years later, the captives were used to transport food, weapons, ammunition from Shawa to Adwa in 1896.

The united country called Ethiopia, which according to Larebo and Borago existed centuries before Adwa, is a myth. The fact is that when he turned north to meet the Italians at Adwa, Menelik was in the midst of the conquest of the south. The entire Macha region – the Gibe and Leeqa states – was annexed only in 1886. Arsi was conquered in 1886 and Hararge in 1887. As indicated above, Walaita was conquered in 1894. The sores inflicted by the atrocities committed against the Oromo at Anole and Calanqoo in 1886 and 1887 by the conquering Abyssinian forces were still bleeding. Even Wallo’s conquest in the north was completed in 1878 after years of fierce battles between Menelik (then King of Shawa) and Emperor Yohannes IV on one side and the Wallo Oromo on the other.  What is most remarkable is Larebo’s assertion that the Ethiopian people were united from corner to corner at the time of Adwa. In his interview on Radio Atronos, he posits that there was not a single village in Ethiopia which did not send fighters to Adwa. The absurdity of this proposition is that the Gujii and Borana Oromo and more than 80 percent of what is today the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SSNP), Gambella, Benishangul, Ogaden were outside the reach of Menelik’s empire. Needless to stress that Larebo’s assertions are not true because the country not only lacked unity, but, geographically, Ethiopia as we know it today did not exist at that point.

Indeed, the Ethiopian empire was defended by the blood and bones of Oromo fighters, but their blood was shed not for love of country as Larebo and others would have us believe. While the Abyssinians were defending their freedom, the Oromo had no freedom to defend against the Italians. They had lost it to the Abyssinians during the preceding decade.  Their land was an Abyssinian colony. The “contribution” they were forced to make to the war effort saved the Abyssinians from European colonialism, but it did not help them to regain their own independence. There is no indication that they were beneficiaries of the victory over the Italians. In fact, as I will explain later, their contribution to the victory had reinforced colonial Abyssinian rule which Menelik had imposed on them a decade or two prior to the Battle of Adwa.

Ironically, like the naftanya elite, Borago and Larebo have few sympathetic words for the Oromo and the other conquered peoples of Ethiopia. It seems that they saw nothing wrong or immoral in the atrocities committed against them when they lay claim on Oromo loyalty to Menelik. They want the Oromo to see Menelik as their hero and an icon of their resistance against racism and colonialism. The Oromo admit that their forefathers had fought and defeated the Italian army together with Abyssinians. However, the war was not a joint undertaking, but an Abyssinian war with Italy. The Oromo were used as means to defend Abyssinia’s independence.  Few believe Larebo’s repetitious story about Menelik being the defender of the black race against white colonizers. As the Oromo scholar Tsegaye Araarsa has expressed the matter, to call the empire built by Menelik the beacon of black freedom is a blatant “distortion of history intended to galvanize legitimacy for his rule.”[8] It is a deceitful attempt to cleanse the history of the atrocious conquest from the stains of blood with which it was smeared. Given the great harm his conquest had inflicted upon them, one must be contemptuous of the Oromo to expect them to honor Menelik as their hero.  I know that there are Oromos who take pride in the valor which their forefathers had shown at Adwa, but I have also seen their pride giving way to bitterness as soon as they discover the “rewards” they had received for their heroic contributions to that victory. Several years ago one of the Oromo admirers of Menelik II sent me a note and a picture of the Oromo cavalry who fought at Adwa.

Portrait of Oromo cavalry at Adwa


My friend who is an ardent “pan-Ethiopianist” was exhilarated when he read about the valor of Oromo fighters at the battle of Adwa in a book he came across. In the note he mentioned Fitawrari Gebeyehu as one of the heroes who made the victory at Adwa possible. Gebeyehu died in action leading the troops under his command in the forefront of the battle. However, he felt offended when he reflected on the fact that Gebeyehu’s name is rarely mentioned and his ethnic identity obscured by Ethiopian historiographers. He lamented, “The sad thing however is that Gebeyehu’s father’s name, Gurmu, is never mentioned in the history books. One day we will all be free from this and that type of racism little or big and the real patriots will be celebrated by all Ethiopians.” Gurmu is not a “genuine” Abyssinian name. However, Gebeyehu was not the only Oromo who was denied his social identity in Ethiopian history in that manner. Many Oromos who contributed to the defense of Abyssinia’s or Ethiopia’s independence were treated in that way. Even the ethnic origin of Haile Selassie’s grandfather was concealed. The reason was that the Abyssinian ruling elite were reluctant to recognize Oromos as partners in the making of Abyssinian-cum-Ethiopian history. As Hassen Hussein and Mohammed Ademo have expressed Gebeyehu’s “disappearance from Ethiopian history parallels the erasure of his people’s contributions from the country’s official historiography.” As the two authors have stated, “This is the root of Oromo ambivalence toward Ethiopia: the Oromo are good enough to fight and die for Ethiopia, but not live in it with their full dignity and identity.”[9] This also underpins the lukewarm Oromo attitude toward the history of Adwa.

That the role of Oromo fighters was crucial for Menelik’s victory at Adwa is undeniable, but the victory did not help them as a people in any manner. It is remarkable that Borago and Larebo who come from conquered and marginalized peoples in the south, the Walaita and Hadiya respectively, could miss the cause of the unenthusiastic Oromo feeling toward Ethiopia and “Ethiopiawinnet”. Presenting Oromo forefathers as significant players in defense of the Abyssinian Empire does not change that reality or disprove the fact that the empire was a colonial creation and the Oromo are its colonial subjects. The point is, the Oromo did not fight at Adwa as ethnic Abyssinians or citizens of Abyssinia as Borago and other commentators try to suggest. They fought for their colonizers. They were not the first people to fight a war for their enemies. Colonized peoples had done that throughout history. For example, over 1,355,300 Africans fought for the British in WWII.[10] They did not become Englishmen because of their contributions to British victory in that war.  They returned home and struggled for their independence. The Oromo have not been silent subjects because of the victory at the Battle of Adwa. Although their struggle has been sporadic, as reflected in the current uprising, the hope for independence is alive and strong.

Did the Abyssinians participate in the Scramble for Africa?

Teshome Borago is suggesting that a “united Ethiopia” was in place long before Adwa when he says “One has to wonder, how could [did] we win unless a multiethnic Ethiopian nation existed long before the so-called ‘Abyssinian colonization’? How can we defeat a European superpower without sharing a sense of common identity and destiny?” With these rhetorical questions he joins the numerous Habesha politicians and scholars who deny Abyssinia’s participation in the Scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century. Concerning Abyssinia’s conquest and colonization of the Oromo and the other peoples in the south, the attitude of Habesha politicians’ and scholars’ is like that of climate change deniers. They ignore volumes of historical and scientific evidence that prove the reality of what they deny. However, to answer Borago’s questions, a multi-ethnic Abyssinian state and nation existed for sure long before the Scramble for Africa. Its main ethnic constituents were the Amhara and the Tigrayans with Agaw, Qimant, Falasha and Shinasha ethnicities. Its territorial base was, to a large extent, the current Amhara and Tigray Regional States and parts of highland Eritrea. One sees them as an Ethiopian nation since Abyssinia and Ethiopia often are interchangeably used.  In contrast, the Ethiopian nation Borago has in mind did not exist before Adwa and is not a reality even today. The reality Borago will not acknowledge is that in the Horn of Africa, there were nations like the Oromo, the Sidama, the Walaita, the Afar, Somali and the Kaficho that existed parallel to and independent from Abyssinia. The victory at Adwa not only saved Abyssinia from European colonization, it also encouraged Menelik to continue, with renewed vigour, the colonization of the rest of the Oromo territory and the greater part of what is now south and southwest Ethiopia. I will present, below, a summary of evidence gleaned from the works of scholars on Abyssinia’s colonial exploits during the Scramble for African. I will use “imperial ambitions”, “ideology” and “possession of firearms” as guiding themes to identify the parity of Abyssinia’s participation in the Scramble for Africa with that of the European imperialist powers of the day.

Imperial ambitions: The evidence for Abyssinian imperial ambitions is reflected in Menelik’s letter to European heads of state wherein he states “if Powers at a distance come forward to partition Africa between them … I do not intend to be an indifferent spectator.”[11] In the words of Gebru Tareke, impelled by “the appearance of European colonialist in the region”,[12] Menelik “embarked on a much larger scale of colonization in the 1880s” than what had been attempted previously. Bahiru Tafla wrote also that it was “European colonial acquisition in Africa [which] awakened imperialist interest in the minds of the Ethiopian rulers of the late nineteenth century.”[13] The influence of European imperialism on Menelik is articulated further by Elspeth Huxley who figuratively states that “the Abyssinians had caught a severe attack of the prevailing imperialist fever” and they “were the only Africans to join the scramble for Africa.”[14] In his Ethiopia: The Last Frontiers, John Markakis writes that Abyssinia “competed successfully in the imperialist partition of the region [Horn of Africa]. Not a victim but a participant in the ‘scramble’, Ethiopia doubled its territory and population in a burst of expansionist energy, and thereafter proudly styled itself the ‘Ethiopian Empire’. He notes that “the title [‘Empire’] is not a misnomer, since Ethiopia’s rulers governed their new possessions more or less the same way and for similar ends as other imperial powers were doing. The people who took the pride in calling themselves Ethiopians were known also as Abyssinians (Habesha).” He states that “Today’s ruling elite frown at the use of this name because it obstructs their effort to forge an inclusive Ethiopian national identity.”[15]Here, it is interesting to note that the Abyssinian use the term today, particularly in the diaspora, to differentiate themselves from other black peoples. When used as such, it has racial underpinnings as indicated by Hussein and Ademo in their article mentioned above.

Ideology: Asserting the colonial ideological factor in the creation of the Abyssinian empire, the conflict researcher Christian Scherrer notes that “European and Abyssinian colonialism occurred simultaneously, pursued similar interests, albeit from differing socio-economic bases, and this was reinforced by comparable colonial ideologies of the idea of empire and notion of ‘civilizing mission’ and the exploitation of the subjugated peoples.”[16] Writing on the ideological underpinnings of Menelik’s colonial conquests, Gebru Tareke, a historian from the north, has also stated that the Abyssinian ruling elite acted like the white colonial rulers in the rest of Africa. The language they used when describing their colonial subjects did not differ from the language the European colonialists were using. It was a language which was infused with stereotypes, prejudices and paternalism. He adds, “They [the Abyssinian elite] tried much like the European colonisers of their time, to justify the exploitability, and moral validity of occupation.” They “looked upon and treated the indigenous people as backward.”[17] One can add here that stereotypes and ethnic slurs about the Oromo, popular in Habesha discourse are the product of this colonial ideology.

Military technology: Obviously firearms were the other crucial elements in making the imperial colonial penetration of the African continent in the nineteenth century possible. Therefore, drawing parallels between the Abyssinian and European and Abyssinian colonial expansion during the Scramble, Margery Perham notes “The speed with which this great extension of the empire was made ….is explained by the …firearms which the emperor [Menelik] was obtaining from France and Italy. This same superiority was carrying the European powers at the same speed at the same time from the coast into the heart of Africa.”[18] The Swedish historian Norberg also says that “using the same military technology as the European powers”,[19] Menelik managed not only to conquer the neighbouring African territories, but was also able to garrison them with large forces called naftanya who controlled and lived on the conquered populations. As suggested by Richard Caulk, “the system of near serfdom imposed on wide areas of the south by the end of the nineteenth century could have not been maintained had the newcomers not been so differently armed.[20] The historian Darkwah notes that “Menelik succeeded in keeping the arms out of the reach of the [Oromo] enemy. He did this by imposing a strict control over the movement of firearms into his tributary territories and the lands beyond his frontiers.”[21]

Menelik was not a manufacturer of firearms, but was a keen importer of them. The bulk of firearms in his arsenal numbered around 25,000 in 1878.  According to Luckman and Bekele, he was able to import over one million rifles, a quantity of Hotchkiss guns and artillery pieces between 1880 and 1900.[22] For that purpose, he used more than a dozen French and Italian commercial agents and suppliers of firearms. In addition, European states were also supplying him with modern weapons in an attempt to use him as a proxy in their colonial scheme in northeast Africa.[23] As I will explain below, the support Menelik received from European powers in his Scramble for colonies was not limited to firearms; military training and diplomacy were also included.

Europeans in the making of the Ethiopian empire

The other dimension of the history of Abyssinia’s conquest of the south, which is bypassed silently by Ethiopian historiographers and is denied incessantly by Habesha politicians, is the involvement of European fortune seekers and mercenaries in the making of Menelik’s Empire. There is no research on how many Europeans were in his service but, whatever their number might have been, the role they played in his conquest of the south must have been significant.  Darkwah notes that “in 1877 a Frenchman named Pottier was employed in training a group of Shewan youths in European military techniques. Another Frenchman, Pino, was a regular officer in the army which was commanded by Ras Gobana. Swiss engineers, Alfred Ilg and Zemmerman were employed on, among other things, building bridges across the Awash and other rivers to facilitate movement.”[24]According to Chris Prouty, Colonel Artamonov together with other Europeans was attached to the forces commanded by Ras Tasamma Nadew in Ilu Abbabor. He adds that even Count Nicholas Leontiev, a colonel in the Russian army, was a commander of a force which was sent to conquer the southwest in the 1890s. Another Russian officer, Baron Chedeuvre was Leontiev’s second-in-command during the expedition. Several French and Russian medical officers were also attached to the Abyssinian forces, particularly those which were led by Menelik and European commanders. The Russian Cossack Captain Alexander Bulatovich wrote that with him, there were Lieutenants Davydov, Kokhovskiy and Arnoldi along with a command of Cossacks who had finished their term of service” and who were received in audience by Menelik and took leave from him and returned to Russia in June 1898.[25]

Several advisors helped Menelik in different fields to build his Empire. The Swiss engineer, Alfred Ilg had served him in a variety of capacities including diplomatic contacts for 27 years. The Italians made not only material but also diplomatic contributions that enabled Menelik to compete effectively in the scramble for colonies. The idea and the contents of the circular letter which Menelik sent to European heads of state in 1891 delineating his territorial claims came, for example, from the Italian Prime Minister Francesco Crispi himself. Menelik was advised to send the letter to European heads of state because the European powers were about to meet in Paris and establish the boundaries of their colonies in Africa. The territories which were defined in the letter the Italians drafted for Menelik to claim extended “as far as Khartoum and to Lake Nyanza beyond the land of the Galla [Oromo].” [26]The territories were those which the Italians were planning to claim for themselves through Menelik as their proxy. However, the European support in firearms and diplomacy given to Menelik was a double-edged sword. It helped him to conquer the Oromo and amass resources to defeat the Italians at Adwa. That said, the conclusion we can draw is that Abyssinia’s participation in the Scramble for Africa is crystal clear. As the historian Haggai Erlich succinctly stated, “While rebuffing imperialism successfully in the north, Ethiopia managed to practice it in the south.”[27] It was also based on what is outlined above that Bonnie Holcomb and Sisai Ibssa have eloquently described the Abyssinian conquest of the south as manifestation of “dependent colonialism” and its outcome the “invention of Ethiopia”.[28] By that they meant the direct and indirect meshing of Abyssinian and European interests in the making of the Abyssinian-cum-Ethiopian Empire. Thus, notwithstanding the inconclusive arguments being orchestrated by denialists, the historical facts lead to the unescapable conclusion that Abyssinia was an active participant in the Scramble for Africa.

Where colonialism did not have race or color

Based on what I have described above, it is logical to construe that colonialism had no specific color or nationality in the Horn of Africa – its color was white and black and its nationality English, French, Italian or Abyssinian. The difference is in the degree of brutality used against the colonized peoples and the severity of exploitation exercised in the colonies. The intensity of demonizing Oromo scholars, activists and politicians who write and speak about the colonization of Oromia and the cacophony of denials expressed in the flora of written and oral commentaries will not change this historical truth.

That a black African force had defeated a white European army at Adwa in 1896 is beyond doubt. But, the representation of Adwa as an anti-colonial war and an African victory over colonialism is an atrocious lie. Indeed, Adwa was a turning point in the Scramble for colonies in the Horn of Africa; Menelik relinquished the role he was playing as an Italian proxy at the battle of Adwa, retained for himself the territories he had hitherto conquered using the firearms he had acquired partly from the Italians, with the understanding that they would be partners in the ownership of the territories he was conquering. He became a member of the colonialist club in his own right. In short, as colonialism lost its color at Adwa, military might became the decisive factor in the share of the African cake. The European mass media of the time reported that fact. The Spectator of 27 February 1897, for example, reflected the British view of the matter stating that, although Menelik, his queen, and his generals care little for human life, “this native dynasty of dark men,” nominally Christian is “orderly enough to be received into intercourse with Europe.” The European colonial powers recognized ‘the dynasty of dark men’, as their junior partner in the scramble for colonies. Soon after Adwa, both Britain and France negotiated and signed agreements that delineated the colonial borders with Abyssinia.

The whole story about the battle of Adwa is not written yet. Its bright side has been illuminated time and again. But its ugly sides are deliberately concealed from proper scrutiny or distorted by self-appointed “gurus” of Ethiopian history with Professor Haile Larebo as their outstanding representative. In the following paragraphs, I will describe briefly some of the non-glamorous sides of the victory at Adwa, namely, the ‘recruitment’ of colonial subjects for the war efforts, their treatment in the aftermath of Adwa, and the atrocious treatment of black (Eritrean) prisoners of war.

The circumstances, under which the peoples of the south, such as the Oromo, who were conquered in the 1880s, and the Walaita, who were conquered by Menelik two years before the battle of Adwa, were made to march north and participate in the battle, remains uninvestigated. Did they march north to fight against Italian colonialism voluntarily? What had happened to them after the war? These questions are never raised or answered in the story. Were they rewarded for their contributions in the victory over the Italians? I will not delve into details, but the answer is a definitive ‘No’! They were, as indicated in the case of the Walaita, captives who were forced to march north and became cannon-fodder. The reward for those who had survived the war and returned home must have varied depending on their status. The probability for those who were slaves to remain as such was almost hundred percent. The probability that some were sold by their masters to cover expenses on their southward journey after the war or afterwards was significant. Thus, the Oromo, the Sidama and Walaita, who participated in the battle of Adwa, did not win any victory over colonialism for themselves. They helped a black colonialist to defeat a white colonialist in a war over colonies. They did not defend themselves or their peoples against the colonialists. They fought for their enemy and strengthened the grip of black imperialism on themselves by defeating its white Italian antagonist. It was after Adwa that Menelik imposed the notorious gabbar system on the conquered south. Slavery and the slave trade became even more rampant thereafter with the conquest of the rest of the south and southwest which became hunting grounds for captives and ivory.[29] Ironically, it was the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1936 which brought the outrageous institution and evil trade in human beings to an end. To suggest that it was a “united Ethiopia” that fought the Battle of Adwa or Ethiopia was united because of the victory achieved at Adwa is a charade.

In the interview he gave on March 22, 2017 to Radio Atronos, Larebo calls Menelik the most democratic emperor in world history and that Ethiopia was blessed to have had him as their ruler. However, this “most democratic” emperor had no mercy for black prisoners of war. In his book From Menelik to Haile Selassie II, (was used a history text book in grades four through seven in the 1960s in Ethiopia) the historian Tekle Tsadiq Mekuriya notes that “Menelik released the Italian and Arab [presumably Libyan] prisoners of war and gave them food and drinks, but he ordered with the approval of the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abuna Matewos, the mutilation of Eritreans caught fighting on the Italian side.”[30]According to another source, “The Italians taken prisoner were treated well but Ethiopian [Eritrean] troops (around 800) who had fought for the Italians were mutilated with their right hands and left feet being cut off.”[31] Where is the saint-like character Professor Larebo ascribes to Menelik? The cruelty with which the Eritreans were treated was similar to the crime committed against thousands of Oromo men and women whose arms and breasts were hacked off by the order of Menelik’s paternal uncle Ras Darge ten years earlier at Anole, in Arsi. The difference was that the Eritreans were Italian colonial soldiers while the Oromo were unarmed men and women who were invited to a meeting, which appeared to be for peacemaking, by Ras Darge many months after the Battle of Azule in September 1886. In that battle with the invading Abyssinian forces the Arsi Oromo lost some 12,000 warriors and were defeated.

(To continue)

[1]James, W. “Preface” in Donham, D. & James, W. (eds.), The Southern Marches of Imperial Ethiopia: Essays in History and Social Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986, p. xiv.

[2] Marcus, H. The Life and Times of Menelik II: Ethiopia 1844-1913. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1975: 140, 73

[3] Pankhurs, R.  Economic History of Ethiopia, 1800-1935. Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University press, 1968: 102.

[4] Berhane-Selassie, T. “Menelik II: Conquest and Consolidation of Southern Provinces”, B.A. Thesis, History Department, Addis Ababa University, 1969.

[5] Cited in  Prouty, C. Empress Taytu and Menelik II: Ethiopia 1883-1910, Trenton, NJ: The Red Sea Press, 1996

[6] Prouty, C. ibid. p. 115

[7] De Salviac, M. An Ancient People in the State of Menelik: the Oromo, Great African Nation. Translated into English by Ayalew Kanno. 1901/2006: 354-355

[8] Araarsa, Tsegaye, Facebook post on March 1, 2016

[9] Hussein, H. & Mohammed Ademo, M. “Ethiopia’s Original Sin”, World Policy Journal, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, World Policy Institute, Fall 2016

[10] Plaut, M. “The Africans who fought in WWII, BBC November 9, 2009.

[11] Marcus, H. ibid.

[12] Tareke, Gebru. Ethiopia: Power and Protest. Lawrenceville, N.J: The Red Sea Press, 1996:40

[13] Bairu Tafla, in Asmé, 1905 [1987: 405, fn. 584]

[14] Huxley,  E. White Man’s Country: Lord Delamere and the Making of Kenya, 1967: 38-9

[15]Markakis, M. Ethiopia: The Last Frontiers, James Currey, New York, 2011, pp. 3-4.

[16] Scherrer, C.  “Analysis and Background to the refugee Crisis: The Unsolved Oromo Question”, in Scherrer, C. & Bulcha, M. War Against the Oromo and Mass Exodus From Ethiopia: Voices of Oromo Refugees in Kenya and the Sudan, 2002, p. 27

[17]Tareke, Gebru, ibid. p. 71

[18] Perham, M. (1969). The Government of Ethiopia, London: Faber and Faber, 1969: 294

[19] Norberg, V. H. “Swedes as a Pawn in Haile Selassie’s Foreign Policy: 1924-1952”, in Modern Ethiopia, Tubiana, J. (ed.), Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema, 1980:328

[20] Caulk. R. “Firearms and Princely Power in Ethiopia in the Nineteenth Century”, Journal of African History, XIII (4)

[21] Darkwah, R.H.K. Shewa, Menelik and the Ethiopian Empire, 1813-1889, London: Heinemann.  1975: 207.

[22] Luckman, R. & Bekele, D. “Foreign Powers and Militarism in the Horn of Africa”, Review of African Economy”, No. 30, 1984.

[23] Pankhurst, R.  Economic History of Ethiopia, 1800-1935. Addis Ababa, 1968: 21.

[24] Darkwah, R.H.K. ibid. pp. 58-9.

[25] Bulatovich A. Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes: A Country in Transition, 1896-1898, translated and edited by Richard Seltzer, Lawrenceville, N.J: The Red Sea Press. Two volumes combined in the English translation, 1900/2000: 162

[26] Marcus, H. ibid. p.124

[27] Cited in Markakis, J. ibid. p. 3.

[28] Holcomb, B. & Ibssa, S. (1990). The Invention of Ethiopia: The Making of a Dependent Colonial State in Northeast Africa, Trenton, N.J.: The Red Sea Press.

[29] See Darley, H. 1926. Slaves and Ivory: A Record of Adventure and Exploration in the Unknown Sudan, and Among the Abyssinian Slave-Raiders, for a vivid description of slave raiding by the conquerors in these areas in the 1920s.

[30] Tekle-Tsadik Mekuriya, The History of Ethiopia: From Emperor Tewodros to Emperor Haile Selassie. In Amharic. Addis Ababa: Berhan ena Selam, Printing Press. 7th Edition, 1961 Eth. C (1968). p. 98.

[31] See Dugdale-Pointon, T. Battle of Adwa, 1-2 March 1896, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_adwa.html, 19 February 2009. Accessed on 12 March 2017

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Incarnating Abyssinian Genocidal Hitlers through music January 13, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Self determination, Slavery, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized.
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‘Tedy Afro, for the past few years, has been deliberately resurrecting some dead zombies, and he is making money and fame out of such dirty and unethical work. The two great Zombies that he resurrected so far are Emperor Menelik and King Hailesilassie. Anytime some one resurrect the dead, a lot of questions crop up; from political to ethical. Is there any moral guide that stops musicians from reanimating worst dictators and mercenaries? What is the political significance of reincarnating a barbaric mass killer like Menelik for Ethiopian people at this time? As a matter of fact, Tedy started his career from the very beginning by glorifying King Hailessilassie. This is the same king who watched in silence as millions of Ethiopians perish during the 1973 famine. …The musical piece Tedy composed for the late monarch seems to have rallied the majority of feudal elements who during the reign of king Hailessilassie lived on the bloods and sweats of the Ethiopian poor. Now that Tedy wrote lyrics and composed music for the great zombie of all time (Menelik), he qualify to be recognized as an entrepreneur who lives on the fame of dead monarchies. He is making himself name and money off the dead dictators. By doing so he successfully milked those Abyssinians who always dreamt the second coming of Hailesilassie and Menelik, but immensely disrespected millions Ethiopians who suffered in the hand of these dictators.

One may ask him/herself  what objective the young artist might have on his mind when he composed the Tikur Sew lyrics for Menelik.  We know that Menelik is not Tikur. That is to say he is not Tikur by choice, by his own preference. Menelik is not a ‘black man’ because he rejected his blackness. You don’t need any other witness other than Menelik himself to prove that he wasn’t black.  Shame on you Tedy; you tried your best to twist history just in the same way many Debteras did in the past Ethiopian history. Unfortunately, what you tried to reverse is irreversible.  Historians have documented it very well. You cannot make Menelik to be proud of his blackness. Menelik dismissed it in public. He told the whole world that he is Caucasian, not black. ‘I am not a Negro at all; I am a Caucasian’ , Emperor Menelik told the West Indian pan-Africanist Benito Sylvian who had come to Addis Ababa to solicit the Emperor’s leadership in a society for the ‘Amelioration of the Negro race.’ Haile Sellassie confirmed that view in a declaration to Chief H. O. Davis, a well-known Nigerian nationalist, stating that the Ethiopians did not regard themselves as Africans, but as ‘a mixed Hamito-Semitic people.(See John H. Spencer, Ethiopia at Bay (1984), p. 306.) With regard to the great purpose that music plays to bring people together and minimize tension among ethnic lines, Tedy’s recent Album played the exact opposite. Oromo youth around the world have taken to facebook and other Medias to boycott the album which glorifies a mercenary who butchered our forefathers and mothers. This album is more dividing than healing Ethiopian people. In particular it is an insult to Oromo nation and Southern Nations and Nationalities. It is a complete disregard to the lives of those who were massacred by the invading army of Menelik.  It is an insult to the entire Oromo nation and South Nations who survived the genocide Abyssinian Army perpetrated against us.   It is an outrageous act of praising a criminal who inhumanly butchered millions of children, women and innocent men.’

http://shagarindex.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/reincarnating-menilik-just-one-step-away-from-repeating-genocide/

Reincarnating Menilik? Just one step away from repeating genocide.

As hardliner Abyssinian commemorate centennial of Emperor Menilik II, the conquered Nations and Nationalities mark 100 years of colonial subjugation under successive Abyssinian rulers.

Abyssinian commemorate the epoch when their beloved emperor( Emiye Menelik –  literally translated as ‘mother Menilik’)annexed free people into his Empire.  Towards the end of 19 century, Emperor Menilik led Abyssinian’s   murderous colonial   army into the lands of Oromo, Somali,  Sidama, Kambata, Walayita,Gambella and other Nations and Nationalities.  Armed to the teeth with latest European arms, the army of Menelik annihilated millions of natives who were armed only with wooden spears. In over a decade of armed resistance, most nations and nationals outside Abyssinia proper fall under the army of Menilik.  In this colonial campaign Menilik army killed more than 5 million innocent civilians in Oromo land alone. Those who survived death were taken into captivity and sold into slavery. The remaining population were dispossessed of their lands and reduced into serfs to labor on the lands distributed to Menelik’s nobility, army and priests- until freed by death.

anole3

AANOLEE MARTYS MEMORIAL MONUMENT

The brutalities of Emperor Menilik and his army were unseen and have no parallel in the African continent. The Harma Muraa( breast cutting) and Harka Mura( arms chopping) at Aanolee in Arsi region of Oromia epitomize the  cruelty and barbarity of Menilik’s army, while it also captures the greatest  human tragedy that Empire builder had carried out in expanding their empire. Today, in Oromia region, monuments are being built in memory of millions of innocent civilians murdered by Menilik and his Army. (Aanole Martyrs memorial monument and cultural center)

Photo

This very week, those who share the legacy of Menilik commemorated 100 year anniversary of Menilik in the heart of Oromia, SHAGGAR( Addis Ababa as colonialists call it). This very land where they celebrate the event is the land confiscated by Menilik from Oromo peasants and distributed to Abyssinian Orthodox church. ( click here to watch the commemoration event).  Traditionally, Orthodox Church priests were/are legitimisers of the Abyssinian throne. The Tabot( tablet) followed the army of Menilik everywhere they fought the conquered people. As such, after the conquest of free nation was completed, the Orthodox Church was granted 1/3 of every inch of the conquered land as it’s fiefdom along with the conquered peasantry as its own property.  The Orthodox priest also played essential role as ideologues of the colonial undertaking of Abyssinia. (Follow this link to read more about the role of Orthodox Church in Abyssinian politics).

For Oromo Nation and other conquered people who survived the brutalities of Menilik and his army, this hardliner Abyssinian are opening our wounds afresh. They are boldly telling us that they have no respect for the millions killed brutally during Minilk’s colonial campaign. They are re-victimizing and insulting those who survived the heinous genocide carried out by Menilik and his army. There seems nothing will stop them from repeating Menilik’s heinous crime if they get the chance.

http://shagarindex.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/reincarnating-menilik-just-one-step-away-from-repeating-genocide/

Regardless of this evil forces shameless attempt to reincarnate Africa’s Hitler as  a benevolent Emperor,  for Oromo Nation and other conquered Nation and Nationality in the Ethiopian Empire, Menilik will remain a BULGU, a murderer, a villain , a butcher, and  a genocidal Emperor.

I summarized my comment by this African proverb. “Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter”. Jailers will continue to criminalize the innocent until free people stand up against them. The conquerors will continue to tell their glory until the conquered stands up and stop them. Free Nation Shall Prevail. Oromia Shall Be Free!

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/oromia/duguuggaan-sanyii-minilik-oromoorratti-oofe-waraana-qulqulluudha/

Oromo as a victim of hate crime at homeland and abroad

By Hara Olani 

In its broad meaning, hate crime is a category of crime used to describe bias-motivated violence: “assault, injury and murder on the basis of certain personal or group characteristics that include different appearance, different color, different religion, different nationality, different identity, etc.

For more than a century, the Oromo in Ethiopian empire specifically targeted and injured, killed, forced to flee their homeland, and even continuously abused verbally abroad by Ethiopian politicians, media, activists, and individuals that think being a true Ethiopian is being denying oneself’s identity.

Since the Oromo nation failed under Abyssinian oppression, the hate towards Oromo are planned, politically motivated and kept in place by the successive regimes that ruled that empire and including the current TPLF lead killer regime.

In a meaning to hate crime, Oromo are targeted and still a target of hate crime in a meaning more than their personal characteristics, appearance, color, nationality, language and religion. Oromo are a victim of hate crime in a Ethiopian related identity just because of what they are. This showed again and again openly and the fresh “I am Oromo first” sentence created anger and violence from narrow minded Ethiopians who used to disrespect Oromo.

As racist anti-black bias was the most frequently reported hate crime motivation in the USA even in 2011 for example, for more than a century long time frame being an Oromo is just away to be abused verbally by non-disciplined Ethiopians and to the worst killed, tortured, and disappeared by regimes that ruled the empire one after the other including the current once.

A serious hate crime against oromo in Ethiopia is clearly motivated by racial and it is involving violence. It is happening for long and continued today with out certain limits. It is more sad that the Oromo nation that is a back bone of that old empire but yet the identity of the Oromo people’s identity kept denied by narrow minded Ethiopians who deny the truth behind Oromo nation and the make up of the Ethiopian Empire. The hate crime against innocent Oromo caused social unrest, and a significant and wide-ranging psychological consequences on Oromo, not only upon the direct victim but also on other oppressed people in that uncivilized empire.

The hate crime that victimized millions over the century and continued today, is clearly planned. It is a politically motivated act and violence by oppressors, and organized officially and non-officially, measured its success and changes its form based on different factors. That is why today we can see the hate crime towards Oromo by narrow minded Ethiopians, made its way all long and continued even in the western democratic society member Ethiopians. There for, it can be taken as a crime that is organized by hate group that attacks Oromo and Oromummaa in every way possible in the Empire or out side. But is is really funny that even these groups that have common interest in attacking Oromo and Oromummaa are enemies to each other and made common bed when comes to such matter.

A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of others that are targeted. Accordingly, the hate group which currently targeted Oromo and Oromummaa at home and abroad, took a primary purpose of promoting animosity, hostility, and malice against oromo identity, language, culture, political organizations, associations, intellectuals, etc.

Like before currently, any thing that promote Oromo nation became a victim of these hate groups that includes the current killer regime in Ethiopia, those oppositions calling themselves they struggle for freedom and democracy in Ethiopia, opposition groups calling them selves freedom fighters of Ethiopian people, the so called activists, politicians, journalists, media, PC desk top heroes and heroine. Even though they have some thing to struggle for against each other but they showed unity in hating Oromo and Oromummaa. They cooperate successfully in advertising the hate towards Oromo nation in all costs of their activity.

If we try to see at least few examples that shows how Oromo are targeted inside that Empire, Oromo students are targeted and imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, killed and dismissed from their study at different levels, just because of they born Oromo and showed respect to their own identity than the identity others dreaming fro them. Many Oromo business men and women ended up in Prison from their own business as one of the hate crime objective towards Oromo, is to weaken the economy to the root level. Due to such police, it became clear that today others controlled all the business going inside Oromia. The Oromo farmers missed and continuously missing their piece of land under the so called investment with out any sufficient compensation. Oromo intellectuals lead a life in prison as the government planned it purposely to discourage the Oromo young generation. Even those Oromo politicians who are trying the way they think they can solve the problem of that empire, ended up in prison for the crime they never planned and did, even never thought.

Oromia as one of the state in the federal government that seems another way to strength the exploitation of oromia, Oromia contributed the largest GDP to the economy of that empire. But one can clearly see that most of the cities and villages in Oromia purposefully denied basic infrastructures and lagging behind of time. According to the new report from Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), out of a list of 528 political prisoners, the Oromo constituted almost 90% of the new statistics.

One can say only the lucky once has made away to escape the hate crime showering on Oromo in Ethiopia and just the luckiest once to westerns since many are still suffering in East African countries and Arab countries. But In reality, even those who made to westerns, faced another front line of hate crime from narrow minded Ethiopians who continued to deny Oromo’s self identity and never wants to hear about Oromo and Oromia. But wants to impose their own identity on others.

The hate group that is a fruit of century long hate towards Oromo in Ethiopian empire, continued to victimize Oromo even in western society. They wanted the Oromo to deny themselves and they condemn Oromo when the Oromo say what they are in public or private. But this is just a selfish dream that will never be fulfilled because Oromo can’t deny themselves.

From activist and journalist Jawar Mohammed’s “I am Oromo first” to “we are oromo we are not ethiopians” of the protesters against violence against Oromo refugees in different countries, the anger, insult and verbal abuse that came out of habesha related media, politician, activists, journalists and individuals was clearly showed what does it mean being an Ethiopian according to them and also showed the future of that empire . The reality is that, the Ethiopia they dream of such character is good for nobody including for themselves. All this confirm that the hate crime involved killing, imprisoning, torturing of Oromo in Ethiopia took another form in dyaspora. It involves verbal violence.

Verbal violence is often a substitute for real violence and that the verbalization of hate has the potential to incite people who are incapable of distinguishing between real and verbal violence to engage in actual violence. These hate crimes against Oromo and Oromummaa have been conducted by internate hate groups and few Ethiopian media which are infected by Oromophobia.

Internate hate groups are hate groups that spread their messages by word of mouth or through the distribution of flyers and pamphlets in addition to electronic transmissions of sounds and images. The internet has been a boom for hate groups in general but specifically the narrow minded Ethiopian dyasporas have effectively used and using the internet targeting Oromo and Oromummaa and interms of organizing the hate crime against Oromo refugees. The plan was to silence the Oromo refugees about their identity but the failed plan doubled their anger and hate towards Oromo nation in general.

Today hate websites, social network groups, blogs, news groups, you tube, video sites, and TV under the arm band of “Emiye Ethiopia” became common and actively participating in advocating the hate groups organized to attack the Oromo people and nation verbally.

As the use of internet continues to grow among the Ethiopian dyaspora society, the narrow minded ethiopians have found “effective” and new ways to seek validation for their hateful agendas towards Oromo and oromo nation.

As the great African leader, the most inspiring leader for equality and justice, Nelson Mandela said “….people learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes from naturally to the human heart than its opposite”, thus let us work together to stop the hate crimes against the Oromo people in their own country and outside. The Oromo people respect their own identity and they respect identity of others too.

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/oromia/oromo-victim-hate-crime-homeland-abroad/

“Wa’ee Finfinnen Menelikiin qabamuu, Oromoo tokko ‘Inxooxxoo dhaabatani’ jedhee kan aarii isaa geerarsaan dhageessise dhaloota dhalootatti darbee jira. Geerarsisaa akkas jedha:

Inxooxxo dhaabatanii
Caffee gadi ilaaluun hafe
Finifinnee loon geesaani
Hora obaasuun hafe
Tulluu Daalattii irraatti
Yaaiin Gullallee hafe
Gafarsattii darbanii
Qoraan cabsachuun hafe
Hurufa Boombii irraatti
Jabbiilee yaasuun hafe
Bara jarrii dhufani
Loon keenyas indhumani
Eddaa Mashashaan dhufee
Birmadummaanis hafe! ”
http://www.voicefinfinne.org/AfaanOromo/Seenaa/mb_ao.html

“Members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group are celebrating online after the Heineken beer company announced that its Ethiopian franchise would cancel sponsorship of pop star Teddy Afro.

The Bedele beer company dropped its support for Teddy Afro’s upcoming national tour on Thursday, though it did not give a reason. Ethiopian Oromos have been campaigning to boycott the beer over controversial statements allegedly made by the entertainer. Oromos were outraged after he allegedly praised Emperor Menelik II, a 19th-century ruler who some see as a unifier and who placed territories belonging to Oromo and other groups under centralised rule. The magazine quoted Teddy Afro as saying, “For me, Menelik’s unification campaign was a holy war”. The artist’s most recent album also has a song dedicated to the emperor, among other popular historical leaders. Teddy Afro says the quote was falsely attributed to him, writing on Facebook, “Under circumstances unbeknownst to me and due to the error of the magazine, my photo was printed along side a different quote which is not in line with my belief or journey…. The magazine has issued a correction and apologized to us for its error.” Some expressed doubt that the comment was an error. Many celebrated the news from Heineken online, while some said they would not be satisfied without an apology from the singer.”

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201401032207-0023290

The sources suggest that more than 90 percent of the Maji or Dizi, about 80 percent of the Gimira, between third thirds and three quarter of the Kaficho and about half of the Oromo population had lost their lives as the consequence of the conquest and colonisation The small kingdom of Walaita also lost a large proportion of its inhabitants. An Abyssinian expedition in 1894 slaughtered about 119,000 men,women and children (Prouty, 1986:115) in less than two weeks.

Secondly, to spread terror among real and potential enemies, the Abyssinian forces committed acts of mass murder and mutilation against the different peoples they conquered. Here, unlike in the north, mutilation included even women. In that respect the best-known case was the mass mutilation of the Arsi Oromo during the wars of conquest fought from 1882 to 1886. What was remarkable here is that mutilation did not stop with Abyssinian victory at the battle of Azule in 1886 that cost the lives over 12,000 Oromo fighters (Haji, 1995; Zewde, 1991: 63). Weeks after the Arsi were defeated at battle of Azule, the commander of the conquering forces, Ras Darge Sahle Selassie, ordered thousands of Oromos to gather at a place called Anole. Thousands came obeying the order and were killed or mutilated – the men of their hands and the women of their breasts (Haji, 1995: 15-16).

According to (De Salviac, 1901:349-354 During the protracted war of conquest and the pacification that lasted for several decades, vast amounts of property belonging to the conquered peoples was confiscated or destroyed, and millions of head of livestock were looted. Tens of thousands of captives were deported and sold into slavery. The conduct of Abyssinian armies invading a land is simply barbaric. As the fire begins, surprised men in the huts or in the fields are three quarter massacred and horribly mutilated; the women, the children and many men are reduced to captivity. General Walde Gabriel was for a long time held in check, he had cut the right wrist of 400 notable Oromo in one day alone.  In these great expeditions (war), the generals have right to be preceded by eight drummers (negarit); the Nugus has 24 of them. The number is  trumpets is unlimited, Menelik brought back 10,000 oxen, and several thousands of slaves form just one campaign, not including the booty of subordinate officers. The number of heads of cattle captured in one expedition sometimes rises to 100,000; we have seen our eyes some of these glorious ones mutilated. In his hours of reflexion the general, almost a centenarian, believed seeing the specter of these 400 heroes, pursuing him with their reproach. The Nugus, whom I had asked the number of dead, had his guard of the seal make an inventory; each chief told how many victims their men had. Finally I had a total of 96,000 men killed and taken prisoners. I have seen Abyssinians escort string of prisoners; women, and children, making them carry the bloody stripped skins  of their husbands or their fathers. I have seen, and the Nugus (Menelik) had to make an edict  to prevent the atrocities, Abyssinian solders pull away infant from the breast and throw them in the field, in order to unload off the mother the weight which would have obstructed her from continuing  on the road all the way to the country. Page 354.

It was reported that in 1912, about 40,000 of the Gimira were rounded up and taken to the north, and that half of them died on the way while the rest were sold as slaves and scattered within and outside the Ethiopian empire (Pankhurst, 1968: 107).

While, in the case of the Arsi Oromo, both resistance and surrender to the conquering forces led to mass murder and mutilation, the initial passive incorporation of the Gimira and Maji/Dizi expedited their enslavement and mass deportation from their land (Hodson, 1927: 02). Writing about the Maji/Dizi, the German anthropologist Eike Haberland (1984: 47) notes that before the arrival of the Amhara troops in the 1890s and the subsequent forced incorporation of the Dizi into the Ethiopian empire, the Dizi probably numbered between 50,000 and 100,000.

Bulatovich referred to the one-sidedness of the killing he had witnessed. An expedition which would have cost any European power millions, was carried out by the Abyssinians almost free, if you don’t count several hundred men killed and several thou sands cartridges shot ([1898], 2000: 381). .Bulatovich,the Menelik punishments against Oromo even peace time.

Judicial System and Procedure

The exercise of judicial functions rests partly in the emperor and commanders of regions and districts, and partly in the people itself.

Each leader has the right to judge and punish his subordinates, and each individual person has the same right over his servants.

In the forty-fourth chapter, it talks about imperial power. The time of appearance of this book coincides with the apogee of imperial power.

Crimes and punishments are as follows:

1) State crime — capital punishment (in very rare cases); cutting off the right hand and left leg; most often, putting inchains and life imprisonment.

2) Insulting majesty — cutting out the tongue.

3) Murder — the murderer is given to the family of the person killed, who kill him in the same manner that he killed.

4) Robbery — capital punishment (in this way, Emperor Menelik eliminated robbery, which formerly was very widespread).

5) Insulting a personality by action or word 104 — monetary fine.

6) Fraud — monetary fine.

7) Accidental manslaughter — monetary fine from 50 to 1,000 talers.

8) Non-performance of instruction of the government — monetary fine and flogging.

9) Criminal breach of trust — removal from job, putting into chains, monetary fine, confiscation of property. The imposition of punishments by separate individuals goes in the following steps:

1) Each private individual in relationship to servants and minor commanders have the right to throw someone into chains for an indeterminate time and to impose 25 lashes by birch rods (kurbach).

2) The commander of a marketplace can impose monetary fines and flogging with whip (jiraf) up to 8 lashes.

3) The commander of an area — cutting off hands, up to 50 lashes (jiraf), and monetary fine.

4) Afa-negus — cutting off hands, up to 75 lashes (jiraf), and monetary fine.

5) The emperor — capital punishment, up to 100 lashes (jiraf), monetary fine, and life imprisonment. Capital punishment is carried out by hanging, or, in case of murder, it is carried out by relatives in the same manner in which the murderer killed. When the murderer is sentenced, he is given over to the relatives, who take him outside town and kill him. Very often, this task is entrusted to a child. Bulatovich,

http://oromiatimes.org/2014/01/04/evidence-meneliks-genocide-against-oromo-and-other-nations/



Koreen bakka bu’oota dhaabbilee barnoota ol’aanoo Bulchiinsa Mootummaa Naannoo Oromiyaatii fi Obbo Johan Doyer,General Manager of Heineken Ethiopiaf xalayaa barreesse. Guyyaa Mudde 30,bara 2013. barreefame Bulchiinsa Mootummaa Naannoo Oromiyaatiif/BMNOf/. Finfinnee Dhimmi Isaa:-Faarfannaa waggaa dhibbaffaa Miniliik Oromoo fi Oromiyaa irratti gaggeeffamuuf deemu ittisuuf. – Nuti kanneen maqaa fi mallatoon keenya armaan gaditti eerame dhimma atattamaa kana bakkaan ga’uuf bakka buutota dhaabbilee barnoota ol’aanoo irraa koree ariifachiisaa ta’uun muudamnee jirra. -Iyyannoon kun ariifachiisaa ta’uu irra darbee qaama dhimmi isaa ilaallatu hundaan furmaata yeroo hin kennine kan barbaadu ta’uu dursnee jabinaan hubachiisuu barbaanna. Dhimmi harma muraa ayyolee Oromoo fi harka muraa abbootii Oromoo namticha mootii ofiin jedhu Miniliik 2ffaan gochi gara jabinaa Oromoota irratti gaggeeffamaa ture seenaa yeroo dhiyoo fi Oromoota biratti yoomuu kan hin dagatamne ta’uu isaa duubatti deebinee seenaa wal barsiisuu otoo hin ta’iin wal yaadachiisuun qofti ga’aa fakkaata. Kun ammo kan akka Oromoottiis ta’ee akka namaatti boqonnaa nama hin kennine ta’uu isaa namni akka namaatti yaadu hubachuu dhiba jennee hin amannu. Egaa dabni yeroo dheeraaf gaggeeffamaa ture kun akkanaan otoo jiru Oromoota biratti waan dagatame fi dhokate fakkeessuun namoonni hawwii bulchiinsa namticha kanaa qabanii figochaa isaa kanaaf deeggarsa fi gammachuu qaban har’a kabaja ykn faarfannaa waggaa dhibbaffaa mootii Miniliik jechuun Oromoo fi Oromiyaa irra naanna’uun maqaa konsertiin ispoonsarummaa waarshaa biiraa baddalleen wal ta’uun faarfachuuf qophii xumuranii akka jiran kan eenyu jalaa iyyuu hin dhokannee fi ifatti hubatamaa jiru dha. Kun immoo uummata miidhame isaa kana seenaaf jedhee qabatee obsaan taa’e kana madaa isaa yeroo irratti gammachuun faarfatan callisee obsaan dhaggeeffata jedhanii yaaduun ykn eeguun gara laafina irra tufii ta’uu hunda keenya jalaa waan dhokatu hin fakkaatu. Tarii gochaan maal dhibdiin ykn maaltu dhufaan gaggeeffamuuf jiru kun mootummaa ykn sirni biyya bulchaa jiru addattu mootummaan naannoo Oromiyaa akkamiin irraa callisee ilaala? kan jedhu gaaffii uummata Oromoo ta’uus, gochaan kun uummata Oromoo saboota kaan waliin kabajaa fi obsaan jiraachaa jiru seenaa badaa kana myeroo irratti faarfamu of irraa ittisuun waan dirquuf kallattii hin barbaachisne qabachuun dirqama ta’uun hundi keenya hubachuu feesisa. Kanaaf,qaamni dhimmi isaa ilaallatu hundi addatti mootummaan naannoo Oromiyaa gaaffii keenya kaanf deebii kennuu qofaa otoo hin ta’iin, akka abbaa dhimmaattiis hal dureen fuula dura dhaabbachuun gochaan kun Oromiyaa irratti gonkumaa akka hin dandahamiin jabinaan ittisuun akka irraa eeggamu hubachiifna.Gaaffiin karaa seera qabeessaan eegale kun gama qaama dhimmi ilaallatu hundaatti marsaa marsaan haga bulchiinsa aanaatti itti fufuun deebii akka argatu qabsoon ykn gaaffiin keenya akka itti fufuus gamanumaa hubachiisuu irra dabree gaaffiin karaa seeraa fi mirgaan gaafatamaa jiru kun atattamaan furmaata argatee warri gochaa kanaaf tirtiraniis addatti weellisaa Teedii Afroo fi waarshaa biiraa Baddallee gochaa isaanii kana irraa dhaabbatanii seera fuula duratti yoo hin dhiyaannee fi gochaa isaanii tuffiin itti fufanii argaman Oromoon kamuu kanaa ol obsa kan hin qabne ta’uu hubatamee miidhama ga’u kamiifuu gaafatamaan sirna biyya bulchaa jiru addatti mootummaan bulchiinsa naannoo Oromiyaa,Waarshaa biiraa Baddallee fi weellisaa Teedii Afroo akkasumaas kanneen duubaan deeggarsa gochaa jiran hundaa akka ta’e jabeessinee hubachiifna.

Maqaa fi Mallattoo………..

Mudde,bara 2013. Koree bakka bu’oota dhaabbilee barnoota ol’aanoo Bulchiinsa naannoo Oromiyaaf

http://www.opride.com/oromsis/news/horn-of-africa/3729-political-layers-behind-teddy-afro-and-boycottbedele

(OPride) – A recent social media campaignagainst Ethiopia’s Heineken-owned Bedele Brewery, over its planned sponsorship of a yearlong musical tour for controversial Amharic singer Tewdros Kassahun, has forced the premium beer maker to drop the agreement.
In a span of two weeks, the campaign rallied more than 42,000 supporters on Facebook pressuring Heineken NV to issue a statement saying, “we are not going to pursue the sponsorship contract” with Kassahun.
Kassahun’s unexamined adoration and immortalization of past Ethiopian rulers is popularly seen as offensive and deluded among the Oromo and other nations in Ethiopia’s south. As such, Heineken’s sponsorship of Kassahun, who is better known as Teddy Afro, was widely viewed as a complicit attempt to revive a historical injury among those forcibly incorporated into Abyssinia during Menelik’s 19th century southward imperial expansion.

The anger against Teddy reached fever pitch mid-December after a local magazine published, but later retracted, Teddy’s comments condoning Menelik’s war of conquest as a “holy war.” The social media-based activists said the music tour which was scheduled to start on Jan. 11 in Oromia, the Oromo homeland, amounted to inviting victims of Menelik’s deadly campaign to a dance-party on their ancestors’ graveyard.

Teddy’s crude comments were not surprising per se, but the tour served as a reminder of his scurrilous behavior and bold insolence toward Oromo history. In a statement celebrating the group’s triumph, the #BoycottBedele campaign noted,Dire Dawa, where the tour was scheduled to taper off, is “only miles away from the grave at Calanqo” where according to eyewitness accounts “the blood of Oromos (killed at the battle) gushed like a river.”

After stopping the multi-million sponsorship, the campaigners posed a series of questions that are likely linger in the minds of this generation: what does Teddy’s tour got to do with love? How does lionizing and glorifying someone of Menilik’s statue ever meet the minimum threshold for a tour meant to promote love?  Has Teddy ever thought of honoring the victims over the killer?

Beyond its momentous victory, the swift social mobilization and reverberation of the campaign offers a menu of lessons. First, notwithstanding the schism of diaspora politics, it proved how vociferously and in unison the Oromo people could stand together against a brick wall of historical injustice. The novelized assumption of political disunity among the Oromo saw its self-rectification which was inimical to a flaw in speculation.

The Oromo youth, who came together and stood up to powerful political and business interests, passed a “litmus taste” by turning Teddy’s ostentatious “journey of love” into a “walk of shame.” Menilik’s brutal campaign epitomizes one of the most callous acts of pain in Oromo history and the history of Ethiopia’s southern nations and nationalities. While much of Menelik’s brutality is obscured by the battle of Adwa, in which Ethiopian forces defeated Italy in 1896, no other Ethiopian ruler represents such a savage face of repression for the Oromo.

In one of the first acts of acknowledgement, the Oromia Regional Government erected a memorial statue in 2009 to honor victims of Menelik’s genocidal campaign at Anole and Calanqo. In 1886, at the Anole gathering called to make peace with Arsi Oromos after a deadly battle at Azule, Menelik’s forces cut off Oromo women’s breasts and men’s hands amputated. One of the harshest chapters in Ethiopia’s tortuous history, Anole stands as a single most traumatic event for the Oromo.

Which road to love: denial or repentance?

Now that the euphoria and disappointment over #BoycottBedele’s victory is over, in order to move the conversation beyond individuals and historical figures, it is important to take up the underlying issues at the core of the debate.

As hopeless as it looks given the current political climate, there’s a greater need for reconciliation and healing. However, it’s even more important to note that such an endeavor presupposes not a stingy denial, but an active repentance and acknowledgement from those who were historically privileged.

The events of last two weeks offer ominous prospects. Posing as academics, journalists and historians, revivalists of Menilik’s vision offered a wide range of views in different forums. On the face of it, the diversity of perspectives and robust discussions of issues is crucial. However, much of the commentary focused on downplaying or outright denial of Menilik’s murderous expansion and the consequent extermination of the Oromo and other southern people.

In addition, using their media establishments and vocal presence on social media, they sought to control the direction of the discourse by portraying all debates on past injustices as a fair game. Even more appalling, they tried to draw a false parallel between Menelik’s colonial project and a phenomenon known as the Oromo expansion. The later historical event refers to a period in 16th century described by historians as a return of Cushitic Oromos to their roots.

As sober and at times poignant as some of the denials get, much has also been uncovered from a group whose basis of reaction was a simple ignorance and emotional ambition to keep the phantom of the “highland kingdom” alive, even in this century.

Tabling the issue of past injustices for debate does great disservice to the millions of victims. Nonetheless, this benign question begs for a sober consideration by Menilikian revivalists: which road takes to reconciliation in Ethiopia – denial or acknowledgement of historical injustice?

Freedom of speech and customary laws against heinous crimes

One form of denial was disguised and masqueraded under the posture of “freedom of speech.” Teddy’s fans were quick to point out that the cancellation of his contract sat a dangerous precedent on free speech. But the reactionary gate keepers and vanguards of hallow Ethiopianism didn’t wait too long to accuse Oromo activists as separatists, secessionists and other labels, essentially for exercising their inalienable freedom of speech.

Alarming hate speeches, some only marginally short of a declaration of war, were hurled at Oromo activists under the camouflage of free expression. Some liberal Ethiopianists even sought to turn Teddy and his fans into martyrs for freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a universal right for all but why did a simple act of campaigning to stop the continuation of historical injustices warrant so many tantrums and whining?

Let us examine similar cases and interpretations elsewhere with regards to the denial of historical injustices.

The nature and degree of atrocities committed by Menilik, even if not of similar proportion, in some ways resembles the Jewish holocaust that took place in Germany. Absent a robust media spotlight, the inherent socio-political fragility and efforts to obfuscate the facts by varnishing rosy layers over traumatic events make the former far less glaring. Notwithstanding the ongoing bid to contain the bad publicity generated by the campaign, the grief stands, the wound itches and the trauma resonates across Oromos from all walks of life.

Across continental Europe, the denial of the holocaust constitutes a legal and moral offense penalized by applicable criminal laws. For instance, in Austria, under the 1945 criminal statute, which was amended in 1992, the denial of the Holocaust is punishable by a prison term of up to ten years. In 2006, in one of the most publicized cases, an Austrian court convicted David Irving, a British writer, for Holocaust denial and sentenced him to three years in prison.

Similarly, in France, Robert Faurisson a professor of literature) was convicted in 1991 for contesting that holocaust doesn’t constitute a crime against humanity under a French criminal law.

Faurisson subsequently appealed his case before the UN Human Rights Committee (a quasi- judicial body with the mandate to monitor international human rights) by contending that the law curtails his right to freedom of expression and academic freedom. The Committee upheld the legality of the French legislation by noting that France’s introduction of the law was intended to serve the struggle against racism. From Spain to Germany there are simply a plethora of examples to prove that laws criminalizing the denial of historical injustice are not in violation of the normative framework of freedom of expression.

Jurisprudentially speaking, freedom of speech is not and has never been an absolute right. It has a number of justifiable and legitimate exceptions. Article 8(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights, one of the most progressive protection instruments, stipulates similar kinds of grounds limiting the bounds of freedom of speech. Article 29(6) of Ethiopian constitution, in theory, sets a fine limit on freedom of speech to protect against injury to others’ human dignity. In the eyes of most Oromos, nothing is more injurious and offensive than the denial of historical injustice perpetrated by Menilik and his successors.

In fact, Menilik’s atrocities could easily be placed under crimes against humanity and war crimes. For those who argue that violence during Menelik’s time was the order of the day, it is enough to note that several international customary laws that regulate heinous crimes were fully operational dating back a century ago. In addition, no law bars the retroactive regulation of these crimes. For example, after WWII, at the Nuremberg Trials for German war criminals the terms laid down in the 1907 Hague Convention were retroactively used in sync with other laws and customs of war.

Ultimately, whether justice is administered or not, Menilik’s atrocities in the south cannot be cherry-picked for expedient political goals. Efforts to disassociate Menilik’s brutal war from the normative framework of customary rules of crimes against humanity and war crimes are shallow and obloquies.

In a specific reference to the non-limitation statute regarding crimes against humanity, article 28 of the current the Ethiopian Constitution gives a weighty tone to the intolerance of the law toward past perpetrators and their current idolizers.

Besides these legal regulations, the recognition of Menilik’s brutality by Oromia regional government itself speaks volume. The inference is clear: honoring the Oromo martyrdom at Anole and Calanqo with a memorial statue is a first important step in the establishment of a historical and legal truth.

The ramification is that any act of idolizing and glorifying the past injustice is offensive to the Oromo people. If justice was administered as per applicable local and international laws, Teddy and the Menilikians have no legitimate right to glorify these injustices.

Yet, much more remains for young generation of Oromos to continue to deconstruct Ethiopia’s fictionalized history and reconstruct Oromo historical narratives in order to reclaim their agency.

The Imbroglio of Ethiopian Emperor and Theory of State-Formation

In response to the campaign, in sync with Teddy’s hagiography, several pundits tried to cast Ethiopian emperors as unifiers and state builders. Some even went so far as to equate Menelik with American unionists. They alleged that state-formation normally exhibits and comes at the cost of violence and war. And that Ethiopia’s was no exception to this rule. A quick glance at the theory of state-building might help these pseudo scholars out of their confusion. Hobbes’s and Locke’s “social contract theory” presupposes the existence of “State of Nature”, where individuals are entitled to an absolute right, including even the right to kill each other over fulfillments of their interests.

According to Hobbe’s, in this state of nature which solemnly favors the most powerful group only the strongest survives. The society has to come together under a “covenant” and agree to voluntarily pass over their authority to a sovereign body, which is duly authorized to look over all members of a society pursuant to “the contract or the agreement.”

Here, such a covenant presupposes a voluntary and consensual agreement as opposed to a brutal and targeted massacre of specific groups in the society. This is how a supposedly unorganized society (living in a state of nature) is legitimately and sanely metamorphosed into a modern polity or nation-state. Seen through this lens, the glorification of Menilik as a nation builder – as often shamelessly claimed by neo-feudalists – is utterly ridiculous and a gross distortion of reality.

Instead, Menilik’s brutal killings and imperialistic expansion illustrates the gloomy shadow of the “State of Nature.” Menelik and his successors never tried to create a polity based on a social contract. In many respects, Ethiopia is still a continuation of its imperial past – stuck in Hobbe’s state of nature.

That is why pro-Menilik activists and those with unexamined and superfluous knowledge of history continue to suppress efforts to reform and redefine the notion of home and national state in Ethiopia.

Dream as they might, the era of monopoly over historical facts is long gone, never to return. Oromo people have reclaimed much that has been lost and now own their narratives. The successful execution of #BoycottBedele campaign is but a dramatic example of a resurgent voice that no amount of hullabaloo can dwarf.

*Henok G.Gabisa is a Visiting International Law Fellow at Washington and Lee University School of Law, Lexington Virginia. He can be reached atGabisaH@wlu.edu

The real Hero

Inni kunis ilma Geexeen deesse akkuma Asaffaa Sharoo Lammii.
Minilik and Hayile Sellassee did never fought Italians, as dictators just claimed the credit.

Here is the real man, the real hero, Who made real fight and defeated Italians at Adowa in 1896.

Mohammed Ali (King Mika’el, 1850- 1918), an Oromo, was born in Wollo. His father was Imam Ali Abba Bula and his mother was aadde Geexee. Mohammed Ali was a relative of Queen Worqitu of Wollo. He was the father of Iyasu. Mohammed Ali Abba Bula (Ras/King Mika’el) led the feared Oromo cavalry against the invading Italians at the Battle of Adowa. An Italian brigade began a fighting retreat towards the main Italian positions. However, the brigade inadvertently marched into a narrow valley where Ras Mika’el’s cavalry slaughtered them while shouting “Reap! Reap!” (Ebalgume! Ebalgume!). The remains of the brigade’s commander were never found. ‘Negus Mikael (Ali) of Wollo—-father of Lij Iyasu V—-lead a fearless and feared Oromo cavalry of fighters in the Battle of Adwa in 1896, wiping out an entire Italian brigade.)’ http://diasporicroots.tumblr.com/post/12623441087/zulu-rose-ras-mikael-ali-of-wollo-and-the

George Fitz-Hardinge Berkeley, Campaign of Adowa (1902), quoted in Lewis, Fashoda, p. 118.
He was the founder of Dessie (Deessee) as his Oromo capital.

Photo: Inni kunis ilma Geexeen deesse akkuma Asaffaa Sharoo Lammii.<br /><br /><br />
Minilik and Hayile Sellassee did never fought Italians, as dictators just claimed the credit.</p><br /><br />
<p>Here is the real man, the real hero, Who made real fight and defeated Italians at Adowa in 1886.</p><br /><br />
<p>Mohammed Ali (King Mika'el, 1850- 1918), an Oromo, was born in Wollo. His father was Imam Ali Abba Bula and his mother was aadde Geexee. Mohammed Ali was a relative of Queen Worqitu of Wollo. He was the father of Iyasu. Mohammed Ali Abba Bula (Ras/King Mika'el) led the feared Oromo cavalry against the invading Italians at the Battle of Adowa. An Italian brigade began a fighting retreat towards the main Italian positions. However, the brigade inadvertently marched into a narrow valley where Ras Mika'el's cavalry slaughtered them while shouting "Reap! Reap!" (Ebalgume! Ebalgume!). The remains of the brigade's commander were never found. 'Negus Mikael (Ali) of Wollo—-father of Lij Iyasu V—-lead a fearless and feared Oromo cavalry of fighters in the Battle of Adwa in 1896, wiping out an entire Italian brigade.)' http://diasporicroots.tumblr.com/post/12623441087/zulu-rose-ras-mikael-ali-of-wollo-and-the</p><br /><br />
<p>George Fitz-Hardinge Berkeley, Campaign of Adowa (1902), quoted in Lewis, Fashoda, p. 118.<br /><br /><br />
He was the founder of Dessie (Deessee) as his  Oromo capital.

http://diasporicroots.tumblr.com/post/12623441087/zulu-rose-ras-mikael-ali-of-wollo-and-the

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‘For history students, the coagulation of Menelikites, with their core extreme ideology of “Galla Geday” (Oromo Killer) is identical to the formation of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the USA. Following the Civil War, the US Congress directed reconstruction of the war torn states and the society. In the South, the policies of Reconstruction aimed at extending the rights of blacks. However, the policy also injured the moral of the slave-owners, giving rise to the KKK, which immediately began organizing to perpetrate systematic violence in opposition to the new social order. KKK unleashed terror against former slaves, but also Northern teachers, judges, and politicians. Historians see the creation of KKK as a true sign of the death of slavery. The “Galla Geday” of Ethiopia, with a minute scale and unlikely chance to grow to any capacity of treat, also marks the beginning of the end of Amhara supremacy. This unheard of celebration of a death instead of a birth of an emperor has become a new motto, a new uniting slogan of Menelik’s ethnic tribe that suffered great defeats economically and politically over the last few decades, just like the KKK advocated a wave of dogma to affirm the existence and interest of slave owners. The profligate claim to greatness by way of a brutal emperor fails to serve good for Ethiopia simply because the wounds of Menelik’s barbaric expansion are not allowed to heal for good. It also cultivates and grows hate among peoples.’http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/new-statue-for-menelik/

Nuding Ethiopian History and the Naked Political Reply from Right Wingers

http ://birhanumegersalenjiso.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/nuding-ethiopian-history-and-naked.html?spref=fb

The Strange Twist in Amhara Politics: Rehabilitating Past Tyrants

shaggar

article1There are people who thrive on the fame of the dead. Indeed there are people who thrive on the noxious fumes of dead zombies. One such person is Tedy Afro who continued living on the dead spirit of Abyssinian worst dictators. This article is in response to Teddy Afro’s latest Album, the album which Tedy wrongly labeled Tikur Sew.  My intention is not to educate Tedy or any other Habesha musician. The objective of this article is to indicate how Tedy abused music and also how he wronged the late Emperor Menelik II by mislabelling the Caucasian Emperor as a black man.

Purpose of music

Humanity employed music for several purposes, positive as well as negative. Music has been part of human experience in every culture and society since time immemorial. From the earliest cultures of humankind until now music has been used to express a wide range of human…

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