Ethiopia: History of Beginning, Thriving and Ending of Abyssinia Colonial Occupation
The Abyssinian Aksumites (Amhara and Tigre) living at Axum or Aksum town founded in the first century of A.D first identified themselves as Ethiopians in the 4th century of A.D during reign of Ezana. So, Amhara and Tigre Regions in the North of the country as shown in the map are together called Ethiopia. Only Abyssinians [Amhara and Tigre – also known as Habesha peoples of Semitic ethnic group] are Ethiopians. The rest of the people in Ethiopia are not Ethiopians but they are Cushitic peoples. In the process of Abyssinia violent conquests and annexations of Cushitic lands, Cushitic peoples (Oromo, Somalis, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambela, Wolayta, SNNAPR etc) were forced to claim Ethiopia and Ethiopians.
Abyssinians migrated down South and established their capital at Gondar in 1632 and had a period of peace and prosperity before warlords split the kingdom in the 18th century. King Tewodros II reunified Ethiopia in 1885. His reign was followed by king Yohannes IV who was killed in 1889. King Menelik II became the emperor of Ethiopia from 1889-1913. During this period, king Menelik II began expanding Ethiopia to the West, South and East through violent conquests and annexations of Cushitic lands starting with Oromo, Sidaama, Gurage, Wolayta, Somalis, Afar and other ethnic groups resulting in the current borders of Ethiopian Empire. But the Abyssinian developing colonial occupation started first with mass-killings of Oromo people in the Ethiopian highlands by 1850.
The Semitic Abyssinian colonial invasions and annexations of Hamitic Cushitic peoples exactly coincided with the European colonial conquest and occupation of Africa (European Conquests:1884; Abyssinian Annexations: 1889). This is clear evidence that Abyssinians participated in the Partition of Africa late 19th century after Berlin Conference of 1884 with the Europeans’ tacit approval of sparing Ethiopia from European colonialism and supplying weapons, as usual, for the conquests and annexations. As Europeans invaded Africa for cheap labour and raw materials for their nascent Industrial Revolution, Abyssinia Empire conquered Cushitic lands for their richness in natural resources.
Amhara people believe that they are not Africans but came over to the Horn of Africa from the Middle East in ancient times. They also believe that they own Ethiopia and Ethiopians claiming that they inherited them from their forefathers even if they contend that they came from the Middle East. Because of that false mentality and arrogance, Amhara becomes the least liked ethnic group in Ethiopia.
For the outside world, Ethiopia is viewed as a great empire more civilized and more advanced than the rest of Africa. An empire never colonized by Europeans when the rest of Africa became inevitable prey to European scramble for partition to colonize the continent brutally for cheap labor and raw materials. That is the false history of Ethiopia made by Abyssinians to cover up their brutal colonial occupation of Cushitic peoples and their lands. But for Ethiopians, particularly for the majority Cushitic peoples, Ethiopia is a country whose history is of invasions, conquests, violent annexations, massacres, genocides, injustices, repressions, oppressions, destructions, displacements etc inflicted on Cushitic peoples by the invading Abyssinians or Ethiopians, mainly by Amhara kingdoms, for over 170 years. That is the true history of Ethiopia that Abyssinians want to hide it from the outside world. Such humiliating subjugation and black colonial occupation of Cushitic peoples imposed by Abyssinians resulted in creating deep hostility, bitterness and hatred between Abyssinians (the dominating minority) and Cushitic peoples (the dominated majority).
For the history of Ethiopian empire, Cushitic peoples were not allowed to rule Ethiopia but they were treated as owned subjects by Abyssinians including their lands. Amhara treated Cushitic peoples much worse than European colonizers did to Africans and regarded them as owned humans without dignity and honour. Only Abyssinians (Amhara and Tigre) were qualified to rule Ethiopia with the exception of PM Abiye Ahmed whose identity is yet unknown other than having Amhara mother and Amhara wife. Oromo people were first to face brutal crackdown by PM Abiye Ahmed, the same people who put him in the office of the land, imprisoning Oromo major political opposition leaders to eliminate their rivalry in elections like the recent farce elections of EPP and thousands of Oromo young men to subdue them for his dictatorship. It is shameless betrayal that may haunt Abiye Ahmed for the rest of his life.
If PM Abiye Ahmed were Oromo, sadly he spoiled the first opportunity of Cushitic peoples to lead Ethiopia by an Oromo leader that would establish reliable democratic federal system for all Ethiopia. PM Abiye Ahmed is not independent leader, he is in the pocket of Amhara who manipulate him for their own political benefits even though badly backfired. PM Abiye Ahmed has no vision for Ethiopia and that is why he becomes a mother bear eating its cub. A Somali Scholar, Faisal Roble, said: “Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed inherited a state. He sacrificed it to the dream of an empire, today he has neither a state nor an empire.”
Amhara massively participated in the war against Tigre Region with the intention of eliminating power rivalry ofTigre people so that no one challenges Amhara in ruling Ethiopia. Abiye Ahmed government, Eritrea Government and Amhara Administration committed serious war crimes in Tigre Region including ethnic cleansing, displacement, suspected orchestrated famine, looting, rampant rape etc. In this intention, Amhara dismissed the Cushitic peoples as they have no right or role to rule Ethiopia in their turn. Differently, Abiye Ahmed believed, in his turn, that Tigre Region Administration was major obstacle to his dictatorship that could pave the way for his kingship in future and that is why he ordered military invasion against it on November 4, 2020 to subdue Tigre People for his dreamed kingship. PM Abiye Ahmed and his deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen, failed to lead Ethiopia with vision but ran it with impulsive personal emotions throwing Ethiopia off the cliff lying helplessly in blood. Amhara have lost to eliminate Tigre people to rule Ethiopia and Abiye Ahmed has his dream doomed as the way of thinking of both sides is vestige of the past.
With even losing the war, Amhara is still committed to have colonial resurrection In Ethiopia to recycle their former tyrannical Kingdom to reimpose old Abyssinian black colonialism on Cushitic peoples as well as on the rest of Ethiopia. Amhara try first to eliminate democratic federal system of Ethiopia by abolishing federal constitution, removing article 39 of federal constitution that permits regional states secession, ending ethnic-based administration to scrap their cultural identity and land ownership to create Ethiopia of their own in order to re-establish Amhara led unitary government that could gradually reimpose Abyssinian black colonialism again on the people of Ethiopia under one religion, one flag and one Amhara language. In order to get justification for abolishing Ethiopia democratic federal system and reinstating Amhara’s oppressive, suppressive unitary government or kingdom, Amhara blames the federal system for the current woes and devastating civil wars in Ethiopia instead of blaming their long time colonial domination and abusive, repressive imperial power for the current problems.
If Amhara does not renounce Abyssinian black colonial domination in Ethiopia and does not respect the democratic institutions and federal system of Ethiopia but prefer to re-instate the old colonial unitary system of government or kingdom against the rest of Ethiopia, then devastating civil wars in Ethiopia will definitely continue , particularly between Oromo (the biggest ethnic group in Ethiopia) and Amhara. The other Ethiopian nationalities (Somalis, Sidamo, Wolayta, Gambela, Afar, Tigre and others) will join Oromo in the war against Amhara’s oppressive and repressive domination to liberate themselves from Amhara black colonialism too. Abyssinians, particularly Amhara, must accept and respect the democratic federal system of Ethiopia thus ending Abyssinian colonial domination on Ethiopia.
The gathered resentment, anger and hatred over long-time of injustices, atrocities and brutalities by Abyssinians against Cushitic peoples resulted, as historical consequences, in the uncontrollable explosive civil wars in Ethiopia today. Cushitic peoples at the head of Oromo people, the biggest ethnic group in Ethiopia, believe that it is their unchallenged chance to rule Ethiopia as both Amhara and Tigre failed Ethiopia for their long-time brutal, abusive kingdoms and repressive, oppressive governments. The West should not support unilateral government declared by TDF to avoid endless bloodbath between Cushitic peoples and Abyssinians in future considering the unique sad history of Ethiopia. Change of Ethiopia name is recommended for country name that all maybe satisfied with. Origin of country name can sometimes influence wrongly the system of governance of a country or even some ethnic groups dislike it.
A multiethnic nation like Ethiopia with historical animosity and hatred extending that far, only democratic federal system with fair and free elections can restore trust to keep it together. No people or ethnic group will accept black colonial domination based on false superiority and racism in the 21st century. People want to protect their rights, dignity and prestige to live in peace, freedom, justice and social equality on their land. Abyssinian brutal colonial occupation should be vestige of the past in Ethiopia. Ethiopia should not practice anymore the ugly colonialism that African continent rejected and defeated over 60 years ago. Amhara needs to understand that today is not yesterday and that Amhara people are particularly blamed for most of Abyssinian colonial destructive consequences on human life as it was yolk of Ethiopia colonialism.
Current Ethiopian Federalism is based on ethnic regional administrations where the leaders are independently elected by their people so that no ethnic group can dominate, influence or rule another ethnic group or even trespass to the land of another ethnic group. With this system, an ethnic group can not invade the region of another ethnic group or dictate on them. Abolishing ethnic identity in Ethiopia and dividing the country into what is called “Zones” erases cultural identity, religion, language and native land ownership of ethnic groups and restores the dominant brutal system of Abyssinians. Only democratic federal system with fair and free elections and without hostile interference in neighbouring countries can keep Ethiopia together to heal, coexist and trust one another and to become prosperous and friendly nation in the Horn of Africa.
Currently, Ethiopia is burning. It is under total disintegration. Civil wars become more violent and wider. Economy and regular military collapsed. Foreign diplomacy in shambles. Abiye lost control of the country and each ethnic is armed to the teeth taking matters in their own hands for their own existential survival as hope for coexistence is bleak. There are two competing diverge visions in Ethiopia today that are responsible for the catastrophic situation. PM Abiy Ahmed and Amhara are espousing vision of reinstating unitary government dominated by Amhara that finally leads to Amhara monarchic system with one language, one religion and one flag subjugating the rest of Ethiopia as before. The rest of Ethiopia espouses the vision of keeping the current ethnic federal system where all ethnic groups have equal rights with fair and free democratic elections from local to federal and without interference of an ethnic group by an another in land ownership, regional administration, regional elections, native security forces and with fair participation in federal parliament and federal government in civil sector, military, police and secret services.
The Cushitic peoples, who are the majority of Ethiopia, adamantly reject the restoration of the humiliating savage, atrocious black Abyssinian colonialism imposed on them since the conquests and annexations of King Menelik ll in 1889, and Haile Selassie in 1954. If PM Abiy Ahmed and Amhara continue pursuing the revisionist, reactionary policy, Ethiopia will unravel and disintegrate into small, independent republics like Yugoslavia because Cushites will never accept the return of the dark colonial past.
If coexistence among Ethiopian ethnic groups becomes difficult and interethnic civil wars become rampant, frequent and persistent with no hope of accepting one another, then it is reasonable to support them go on their separate ways for self-determination to have independent republics taking article 39 of Ethiopian federal constitution in order to have peace and stability instead of having perpetual bloodshed, gun violence, massacres, ethnic cleansing, genocide, displacement, fleeing, influx of refugees, instability etc in the Horn of Africa. The Abyssinia colonial occupation in Ethiopia began mainly in 1850 and ending 2021.
Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
August 5, 2021
SOME IMPORTANT REFERENCES
– Mekuria Bulcha, “Genocidal Violence in the Making of Nation and State in Ethiopia”, African Sociological Review Vol. 9(2), 2005.
– Bulatovich visited much of the Oromo territory between 1896 and 1898 and witnessed and acknowledged the damage done by the Abyssinian conquest.