ABYSSINIA TO ETHIOPIA: FROM OBFUSCATION TO CONFUSION
(By Tuji Jidda, Washington D.C Via Feyiso Kedir Negeso)
The term habesha or Abyssynia doesn’t define the current Ethiopia. According to credible sources, the name Abyssinia is derived from the Arabic word ‘Habesh’, which means ‘mongrel’. Abyssinia in English, Habesha in Amharic and Habesh in Arabic- is a well-known “historical” country recognized by the neighboring countries, Arabs and Europeans.
Moreover, the “historical” Abyssinian country is located in present day North Ethiopia and Southern Eritrea-Hamasien, Akaleguzai and Sera’e. Hence, the newly created Federal arrangement in Ethiopia didn’t explicitly recognize the name and state of Abyssinia though the name Abyssinia and Abyssinian nationalism is reviving under disguise after EPRDF government’s administrative division of different ethnic groups of Abyssinia and non-Abyssinian Ethiopians under federal arrangement.
Abyssinians are Semitic in origin & they have very complicated myths, weird culture and their own version of Christianity that can be characterized by backward superstition and miracles of local tribal saints. They refer their country as Abyssinia:
“A Christian Island surrounded by enemy Islam and pagans”. It is Abyssinia that was a Christian Island.
Ethiopia, however, never was a Christian Island. It is rather a country inhibited by large number of Muslims and traditional believers. It is Kassa latter Tewodros of Gondare tribe who, for the first time in the history of Abyssinia, attempted to subjugate the other chiefs of Abyssinia -but never the present Ethiopia, under the banner of eliminating the neighboring Wello Islam Oromo from Christian Island, Abyssinia.
The history of Abyssinia taking another shape following Menelik’s devastating holocaust (conquest) of unrelated vast territories of Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic people of the Horn region. By doing that, Menelik controlled fertile territories of, at least, five times larger than the size of Abyssinian proper. The already invented Abyssinian myths are consolidated during this time. After conquering what makes up at least 70 percent of the land mass of the present-day empire- areas primarily lying to the south of Abyssinia- Menelik signed boundary treaties with European colonial powers to form the present day Ethiopia and tried to adopt the name Ethiopia to give cohesion to the bogus history of the country.
The legacy of Menelik’s conquests, which took place a century ago, and the structure of the state built to incorporate the survivors of conquered peoples are the major underlying cause of many of Ethiopia’s problems today. It should be noted that Abyssinian kings rule over Ethiopia but without either acceptance or recognition by non-Abyssinians. But, even today Abyssinians assert that Menelik is a unifier, though the territories he incorporated was short of his dream.
One of the most interesting & confusing tactics Abyssinian devised to obfuscate the atrocities committed while at the same time getting legitimacy over the newly confiscated country and people was fabricating history, presenting their myths as history, using diplomatic verbiage and changing their name of Semitic Abyssinia to Cushitic Ethiopia.
In subsequent years they grossly denied the history, culture, language, identity etc of vast enslaved survivors of Menelik’s Holocaust.
The most important myths Abyssinians used as ideological weapon to subjugate the overwhelmingly majority non-Abyssinians and confuse local as well as foreign historians are the following:
That it is only 500 years since Oromo migrated and settled in the fertile Abyssinia/Ethiopia lands and that they are some how granted permanent residence status or citizenship. So people who don’t have rich history of 3000 years like that of Abyssinian they can’t claim equal right.
Abyssinians are related to Jesus Christ by blood through Solomonic dynasty and that the blessing given to holly land Israel was transferred to ‘Abyssinia’ or ‘Ethiopia’ after the former crucified Jesus Christ. As a result, Abyssinian are ‘chosen race’ that they should be the master of conquered Oromo and other tribes of the present Ethiopia.
The myth that the true Arc of Covenant is hidden in Abyssinia. Hence, their tactical change of the Abyssinia name to Biblical Ethiopia. By imposing Abyssinia name on non-Abyssinians, effort was made to abandon both Abyssinian and Southern country’s names at all in favor of Ethiopia. Thus, the minority Abyssinian rulers denied the existence of other dehumanized people including their history, culture, etc and promoted the policy of ‘swallowing majority non-Abyssinians’.
Despite the rigorous efforts exerted by Teferi, official quest to change the name of the newly formed country from Abyssinia to Ethiopia did not get international recognition up until the establishment of the United Nation in 1948. The League of Nations admitted the controversial Ethiopian membership to the League not as Ethiopia but as Abyssinia.
Evidences and facts show that, by any means of imagination, the biblical name Cushitic Ethiopia has no relation with Semitic state of Abyssinia except being neighbors. Strictly speaking, Ethiopia belongs to the direct geographical descendent of ancient country Nubians or the Sudan both historically and Biblically, but not to Abyssinia or even the present day Ethiopia.
The fact that the Sudan preferred the Arabic name Al-Sudan over Ethiopia, means the black people, for what ever reasons, resulted in the confusion of the two countries people with their history. The arguments presented here and other facts lead one to the following clear understanding regarding the confusion over the names of Abyssinia & Ethiopia:
It is absolutely unacceptable, historically false, and politically malignant for the state of Abyssinia to abandon its name and insist on using the bogus-name of ‘Ethiopia’. Abyssinia is just one state of Ethiopia.
It is also historical crime to present Abyssinia as synonymous old name of Ethiopia. No more use of obfuscation diplomatic verbiage. They should use the only to refer Abyssinian- Northern Ethiopia, but no whole Ethiopia.
The Semitic Tigre and the Amharas of Gondar and Gojjam are real Abyssinian by race and Ethiopian by Nationality.
Unofficial use of such a controversial political name, in one way or other- as if it is interchangeable with Ethiopia- have negative connotation as it promotes hidden racism and discriminatory nationalism.
Oromo, Somali, Afar, Kambata, Hadiya, Sidama, Walayta, Kaffa Anuak, Nuer, and others are Ethiopians but can’t be Abyssinians. Therefore, calling and these people as Abyssinia inheriting their history, culture, and the like is not only improper, but also implies exercising the double meaning of slave-master bullying tactics.
The name Cushitic Ethiopia is more related to Cushitic Oromo, Somali, Afar, Kambata, Hadiya, Sidama, Agaw etc than to Semitic Abyssinians.
If Abyssinians want to reclaim and revive the old name, it would be appropriate if used overtly.
If one couldn’t agree on such simple and yet basic framework issues, it would be practically impossible to negotiate on the major political problems of the country.
To sum it up, it is becoming clearer from time to time that the century old tactics of obfuscating the names Abyssinia and Ethiopia is not working. The days of superficially mentioning non-Abyssinians in the introductory pages of everything and systematically excluding them from the main body of history should come to an end without any negotiation or precondition.
In other words, the old political tactic of promoting only Abyssinia under the disguise of bogus Ethiopia is no longer tolerable. Systematically changing the ‘Christian Island Abyssinia’ to ‘Christian Island Ethiopia” simply transforms the issue from obfuscation to confusion.
AMALAA MOOFAA HABASHOOTNII DAGACHUU DADHABAN KEESSA ISA MURAASA
Habashoonnii addemsa Oromoon biyyaa kana ittiin bulchaa jiru, shakkiin ilaaluu erga jalqabanii turaniiru. Yaada duraan akaakoo fi abboottiin isaanii Itiyoophiyaa bulchuuf waaqaan muudamneerra jedhu ilmaanii fi ilmaan ilmaanii Habashoota ammas kan dagatan nattii hin fakkaatu.
Seenaa hamaa abbootiin isaanii sabaa fi sablammii irratti raawwataniif dhiifama gaafachu osoo hin taanee, yeroo kana keessattis abbootii isaanii gocha yakkaa duguugaa sanyii sabaa fi sablammoota irratti raawwatan faarsuu filataniiru.
Adunyaa irratti democraciin dagaagee eenyummaa sabaa yeroo ukkaamsuun hindanda’mnee keessatti eenyumnaa Itiyoophiyaa duraanii sabaa fi sablammii biyyattii irratti fe’uuf yaadu. Kanaaf sirna federaalizimii sab_danneessa ta’ee kan
qabsoo hadhaawwaa fi dhiignii ilmaan sabaa cunqursamee ittii lolla’ee dhufee kanaa diiguuf karoorfatanii deemaa jiru.
Itiyoophiyaan Oromoon haganamu erga jalqabdee Seenaa biyyaa tana keessatti mirgii saba fi sablammii yeroo jalqabatiif kan ittii kabajamee akka ta’ee adunyaan hundii osoo faarsaa jiru, habashootnii garu jijjiiramaa kana argu hin dandeenye. Sababaa hogansii biyyatti Oromoo harka seenee qofaaf hogansii Dr. Abiyyii biyyaa Itiyoophiyaa jedhamtu diiguuf deemaa jedhanii ololaa sobaa hafarsaa jiru.
Itiyoophiyaa dullattii akaakoo fi abbootiin isaanii afaan, amantii fi eenyumma saba isaanii qofa irratti hundaayanii ijaaruuf jaarraa tokko guutuuf yaalan kan jalaa fashalaawwee ta’uu yeroo ammaa kanas Habashoonnii hin hubanee. Yaada moofa isaan biyyaa tana hin bulchinee taanaan Itiyoophiyaan ni diigamtii jedhu ammas hafarsuu hin dhiifnee.
Jecha Itophiyummaa isaan qoftii duraan ittiin sirban Oromoon kan isaan jalaa fudhatee tahuus baraniiru. Sodaa kana irraa kan ka’e yaada Itophiyummaa illee dhiisanii nu jalqaba Amhara dha (Amhara first) jechuun eegalaniiru. Kanaaf yaadaa isaanii qofa irratti hunduuftee Itiyoophiya hin hogannee taanaan, Habashoonnii yoomiyyuu kan morman ta’u fi eenyuunis jalatti buluuf kan hin hayamamnee akka ta’an seenaan durii isaanii ni addeessa.