Ethiopia: History of Beginning, Thriving and Ending of Abyssinia Colonial Occupation

Ethiopia: History of Beginning, Thriving and Ending of Abyssinia Colonial Occupation

Axum empire
The Kingdom of Aksum was named as one of the four great powers of its time, along with the Sasanian Empire, the Roman Empire, and the Three Kingdoms of China. The rulers of Aksum sailed all the seas and traded with India, Africa and Alexandria. Source: Cool Kid Facts

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.

2 Comments

  1. First of all I want to thanks the writer of the article and the I want to comment that if this all article composed together like a book for future reference in high school, college, and elsewhere where it is need in the future study the history .

  2. Ya Oromo

    Listen up! The game is over! Many among the Oromo elite have ‘bought’ into the hope of “reforming & transforming” Ethiopia, at least, during the last fifty years. These ‘Oromos,’ as the “educated” bridge between the Empire and the Oromo people, have tried to pacify the Oromo people into accepting their relationship to the armed Amahara Nefxagna Settler State as subjects, servants, and tenants. Guess what? It HAS NOT WORKED! IT HAS NOT WORKED WITH MEISON, THE OPDO, OR THE ODP! IT IS NOT WORKING RIGHT NOW WITH ABIYOT AKA ABIY AHMED & HIS PROSPERITY PARTY! IT WILL NOT WORK TOMORROW EITHER, NO MATTER WHICH ORGANIZATION IS GOING TO SPEARHEAD THE EFFORT!

    In the following few pages, one of our brilliant Oromo writers who published a Series of essays Called ‘The Kindling Point,” under the pen name of H. Q. Loltu, addressed this same failed idea of ‘reforming’ an Empire, some forty years ago! With hardly noticeable substitution of names, dates, and minor details, I am sure you are going to gain some insight as to why ETHIOPIA CAN NOT BE REFORMED! FOR THE MISERY OF THE PEOPLE IN THE ETHIOPIAN EMPIRE TO END, “ETHIOPIA AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT MUST CEASE TO EXIST.”
    The Last sentence is a verbatim quote from H.Q. Loltu!

    Enjoy!

    The Kindling Point #6
    “ON THE QUESTION OF REFORMING AN EMPIRE”
    By Hordhoofa Q. Loltu
    April, 1985

    “The media attention to the famine situation in Ethiopia has caused many people,
    even total strangers to the area, to talk about or write articles about their ideas for what would be necessary to bring peace and prosperity to the region. During the last two or three weeks I have read everything I could find, watched interviews with the experts on television, and had conversations with a lot of different kinds of people about what they think should happen to end the suffering in Ethiopia.

    It is not too surprising that everyone’s solution perfectly fits his or her interest.

    1) The Military Junta and its supporters say, “If there could be a decisive military victory, then the regime could turn its full attention to solving the problems of the country. All that is needed is more time and more billions of dollars worth of arms. The only reason that there has not been a satisfactory military conclusion is that the 3 billion dollars in armaments was not yet enough for bringing the ‘final solution.’

    2) People involved in international humanitarian and relief aid agencies say, “Give more aid! Give aid until the people are self-sufficient and can stand on their own two feet. But do not ask us how they are going to be able to get there, because that is not our area.[of expertise] We are not in development or politics, and becoming self-sufficient involves too much politics, planning, and spending. As long as the salaries that we receive for our ‘selfless’ assistance work are large enough to maintain a high living standard at home when the trouble is over, we will be there with bandages, butter oil, and protein supplement biscuits.”

    3) Representatives of intergovernmental institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that finance and advise on economic development, say,
    “More economic development and expert advice is what is needed, especially high-yielding variety seeds, some of the remarkable new fertilizers developed from petroleum, the latest technology (appropriate, of course) and programming that requires a few years of consultation from an expert counterpart either from the West or trained in one of the West’s top institutions of higher learning.”

    4) Politicians, administrators and bureaucrats in countries that have not supported this government say, “The entire problem in Ethiopia is its new superpower alignment! If only this regime could only realize the terrible mistake it made to switch its alliance to the U.S.S.R., and decide to transfer its superpower allegiance back to the West right away, all sins could be forgotten and things could be shaped up in a reasonable period of time. All that is needed is ‘proper’ political advice and the West’s technical help instead of the East’s.”

    5) Intellectuals, academics and various potential candidates for a new bureaucracy say, “The entire problem in Ethiopia is a problem of mismanagement! If this regime were only replaced by a new administration functioning in place of the current bureaucracy, then the resources and potential of ‘our country’ could be made to blossom.It is our turn to go into the Ministerial Offices and try our recipe for managing this situation. If we had our chance, everything could be saved and our frustration would be ended! Anyone who opposes this Mengistu government should be called ‘progressive’ and counted as an ally, because he can help to put us in control.”

    These proposed solutions all have two things in common: 1) They are all extremely self-serving. For all, Ethiopia is a mirror they can hold up to themselves to see their ambitions and opportunity. 2) None of them address or take any steps to solve the central problem that has brought Ethiopia to the disaster we see. They are all proposing reform of one kind or another.

    I, for one, am against reform to solve the problems of an empire. No reform can be good enough. The United States had all the opportunity it needed during the Haile Selassie years to reform Ethiopia in any direction it chose, but at the end, hundreds of thousands of people were literally starving to death. The
    Soviet Union has tried its formula during the past decade. It has become extremely clear that theirs is also a disastrous failure. Now millions of people are literally starving to death. Things are simply not working and it is going to take more than time to make matters improve. Ethiopia’s present course of action–to grab as much as possible from both sides of the East-West confrontation with promises to both is proving to be the worst option of all for the people. Until the basic diagnosis of the disease that Ethiopia is suffering from is recognized by any of the groups I have just mentioned, nothing they do will even help, let alone cure the country of its agonizing misery. They can merely stretch out the suffering. Only with a clear diagnosis can the proper steps be taken by anyone to bring health to the region and its people. I believe, however, that if they recognize a correct diagnosis, most of these groups could contribute in some way to a proper healing. But not until then.

    The nations in the Ethiopian empire are suffering from a parasite attached to them, a tapeworm–the tapeworm of a colonial ruling elite. Take the case of the Oromo nation. This tapeworm invaded the living system of the highly productive Oromo Nation and began to suck all the nutrients necessary for life away from the vital organism without contributing anything to the survival of the host. After its invasion, this tapeworm set up points of sucking all products away from the Oromo people for its own and others’ consumption.

    Almost everything that has kept Ethiopia afloat throughout the history of this empire since the invasion and conquest has come from Oromia–gold,coffee, ivory, skins, and even the slaves. (The slaves that Ethiopia was famous for were certainly not Abyssinians, but captured and sold by Abyssinians from the colonial areas such as Oromia.) If you go down a list of everything that has been exported as Ethiopian, and then look at a map of where that product comes from, you will see that the items come from Oromia. This tapeworm established itself through winding roads that linked garrison posts, trade centers, and customs points to the emperor’s palace, and through the railroads, to Europe and beyond. These posts became the points where the Neftennas drew the lifeblood out of the Oromo nation and became fat at the expense of the people who were made into tenants and slaves to feed them. But the parasite produced nothing on its own. The more help this colonial tapeworm got from outside, the more it grew fat and tried to improve its method of bleeding the producers, not improve the life of the conquered people.

    You simply cannot nurse a person back to health who has a tapeworm in his gut. A tapeworm like any parasite survives only by drawing the life away from another. THat is its nature. It cannot survive in any other fashion. The relationship between a tapeworm and its host is the perfect example of an antagonistic relationship. You CANNOT reconcile a parasite with the one that it lives off of. It can only live by taking from another. Unless the victim is made free of that parasite, nothing that is done for it can contribute to its survival. The more assistance or food that goes to the victim ignoring the problem, the fatter the tapeworm gets, the sooner the body dies.

    This is the true nature of the relationship between the parts of the Ethiopian Empire. It is a situation that CANNOT be reformed. Everything done for the victim, even if it is done with the best intention, will make the situation worse in the long term.

    Let me add a footnote here. When I think of the generous, well-intentioned humanitarian aid being sent by the public in Europe and the U.S. to help the famine victims in Ethiopia, it distresses me. It is exactly like feeding someone with a tapeworm in his gut. All the food in the world cannot cure him until his real problem is acknowledged. For school children to send their lunch money and old people on public assistance to sacrifice to feed a parasite unknowingly, is an outrage!

    Until a proper relationship is established and a proper foundation is laid, there is no chance that even the most elaborate program or inputs could benefit the people who are suffering. Most of the assistance will make the parasitic groups fatter and cause the people to suffer more in the long run. I remember reading about the introduction of motor cars into the Arab World when oil was discovered there. It seemed logical to bring automobiles to where the gas was produced. But there was no local system for refining and delivering gasoline through service stations, there were no road system laid down, there were no repair facilities. The Sheiks who acquired the Cadillacs and the Mercedes could only get around in them by forcing the peasants to carry the cars around the streets for them on their backs.

    This same thing is being planned and is happening today in Ethiopia in another form under the reform program put forward by the government and economic consultants for “increased agricultural development and resettlement to eliminate famine.” Huge State farms and resettlement sites are being introduced which are designed to use modern equipment and improved technology. It may seem logical to bring large agricultural programs to an area suffering with large food shortages. But the labor is to come from unwilling local people who have to be threatened to leave their homes and farms to move to state farms, famine victims who are given no alternative to starvation, and people who are rounded up in the city streets without warning and trucked out to the site. Setting up a state farm or resettlement in an area where no roads, services, or any improvement exist (except those designed for better exploitation), is like sending a Mercedes to a country without petrol, repair garages, or highways–the work load to be carried by the peasants and increase their sweat and suffering.

    These projects aimed at reform through economic improvement are nothing more than status symbols for a parasitic colonial government; they do not function. They are being imposed on the country by force, without any foundation prepared for them. They are showpieces being carried on the backs of slave laborers, and they are not harmless status symbols either. Their very existence swells the Ethiopian tapeworm (the bureaucracy). It makes it fatter and increases its ability to suck more of the lifeblood from the producing peasants. Peasants have to leave their homes and farms to enter these places. There they are more victimized than ever before.

    The Ethiopian colonial system is structured to live off of the resources of the colonies. That relationship has only one cure. (I do not know what the cure for a tapeworm is called in English, but in [Afaan] Oromo we call it ‘heeto.’) That cure is a national liberation struggle. It cuts off that parasitic relation by attacking the colonial system itself until it dries up and is discarded. This cure brings health and nutrients directly to the suffering victim. In order for health and prosperity to come to that area, the Ethiopian colonial system itself has to be destroyed. That does not mean destroying the individual persons who are involved in it and benefiting from it (the neftennas and their supporters), it means eliminating the relationship. Those individuals inside the colonial system are then forced by the realities to abandon it and to enter into a different one, one which is a productive contributor to the community of nations in its own righ. When this happens the cure will be complete.

    Reform is an attempt to improve the social and political conditions inside a system of government without a radical change to the structure. Since anything that goes to the root is considered to be radical, I guess I am forced in this case to be radical. When a fatal disease which requires radical steps is diagnosed for a patient, the family is forced to endorse them in order to save a person. There comes a time to recognize that treating one part or one symptom of a problem at a time will not be enough. In this case, more arms, more aid, more advice, more programs, new faces in the offices, etc., are being proposed. But none of these will solve the problem; they will only make the situation worse.
    I am completely convinced that anything less than a restructuring of the entire relationship among the parts of the Ethiopian empire will only make the problem worse in the long run. Ethiopia as we have known it must cease to exist.

    This solution requires that the Amharas and other neftennas have to construct a different way of relating to the Oromos (and other people in the empire, for that matter). They are going to have to deal with those nations that occupy the Horn of Africa with them as their neighbors and fellows and not as tenants and slaves. Amharas are going to have to identify themselves as such and start to find ways of functioning as a productive organic unit. For them to deny the domination and bloodshed now and refuse to acknowledge the source of the problem will only stand in the way of good neighborliness in the future.

    One thing is absolutely certain. No peaceful, workable solution can be found to the dilemma of disaster in the Ethiopian empire that does not directly address the Oromo position and correct it. The Abyssinians who came as neftennas are unwanted, uninvited dinner guests who have stayed too long feeding off of the Oromos and not contributing anything to the survival of their hosts.

    Hordhoofa Q. Loltu

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