By: Ibrahim Hassan Gagale

[The civil war in Ethiopia today is a war between the past and the present, between colonial kingdoms and freedom seeking nations, between revisionist forces and progressive forces, between indignity and dignity, between domination and liberty].

After a longtime of ruthless Abyssinian colonial domination, particularly Amhara, of the rest of Ethiopia, it was in 1991 when Ethiopia finally established an ethnic federal system that granted full recognition to ethnic autonomy and its new constitution created a federal system largely consisting of ethnic-based territorial units. This was the best option of coexistence for a multiethnic nation like Ethiopia with historical animosity and hatred extending that far as only democratic federal scystem 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 lands. The ethnic-based federal system in Ethiopia was intended to end Abyssinian racist, brutal, barbaric colonial occupation against Cushitic peoples and their lands for over 135 years calling it the vestige of the past. Ethiopia should not have been practicing anymore the ugly, racist colonialism that the peoples of African continent rejected and defeated over 60 years ago.

For the history of Ethiopian empire, Cushitic peoples  (Oromo, Somalis, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambela, SNNAPR etc shown in the map) were not allowed to rule Ethiopia but they were treated as owned subjects 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. Abyssinian colonial occupation against Cushitic peoples and their lands was much worse than European colonialism in Africa in nature, particularly the way Amhara repressive, brutal governments and kingdoms treated Cushitic peoples by committing unabated serfdom, denial of giving them opportunities for better life forcing many to live in ghettos in their own country, constant killings, atrocities, massacres, injustices, repressions, oppressions, destructions and displacements against them.

So, for outsiders, Ethiopia was a great empire more civilised 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 colonise the continent brutally for cheap labour and raw materials. That is the false history of Ethiopia made by Abyssinians (Amhara) to cover up their atrocious colonial occupation of Cushitic peoples and their lands. But for insiders, Ethiopia is a country whose history is of invasions, conquests, violent annexations, massacres, genocides, repressions, oppressions, destructions, displacements etc inflicted on Cushitic peoples for over 135 years.

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. When Amhara people claim that they own Ethiopia and Ethiopians and that they inherited them from their forefathers, they just mean that their atrocious, invading son, King Menelik II, seized Cushitic peoples and their lands for Amhara through violent invasions and annexations in 1889.

In the following clips, Amhara claim arrogantly that they have no negro blood, that they are not Africans, they came originally from Asia and that they are superior to other Ethiopians. Amhara believe they are superior to the rest of Ethiopia and have the right to rule, dominate, and subjugate other Ethiopian ethnic groups. They don’t consider that other Ethiopians have equal rights to them. Amhara also say in the last clip that if an Oromo man kills an Amhara man, Amhara must kill 100 Oromo men for him, if a Benishangul-Gumuz man kills an Amhara man, Amhara must kill 100 Benishangul-Gumuz men for him. Because of that racist colonial mentality, false superiority and arrogance, Amhara becomes the most disliked ethnic group in Ethiopia.

Amhara needs to understand that today is not yesterday and that they are particularly blamed for most of Abyssinian colonial destructive consequences on Cushitic peoples as it was the epicentre of Ethiopia black colonialism. In order to get justification for abolishing Ethiopia democratic federal system based on ethnicity and reinstate Amhara’s longtime barbaric unitary government or kingdom, Amhara blames the federal system for the current woes and devastating civil wars in Ethiopia instead of blaming their longtime colonial domination practicing abusive, oppressive, repressive imperial power for the current problems.

Current Ethiopian Federalism is based on autonomous 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” promoted by PM Abiy Ahmed and Amhara erases cultural identity, religion, language and native land ownership of ethnic groups and restores the dominant, colonial system of Abyssinians, particularly Amhara. The idea behind creating zones in Ethiopia was to enable Amhara to have land expansion into the states of other ethnic groups so that they can bring all Ethiopia under their control. Only democratic federal system with fair and free elections can keep Ethiopia together to heal, coexist and trust one another and to become prosperous and friendly nation in the Horn of Africa.

While gathered resentment, animosity, bitterness and hatred over longtime of injustices, atrocities and brutalities by Abyssinian colonial occupation, particularly by Amhara, against Cushitic peoples resulting, as historical consequences, in the current uncontrollable explosive civil wars in Ethiopia, PM Abiy Ahmed’s narcissistic dictatorial leadership added more fuel to the eruptive situation for attempting to abolish the autonomous ethnic-based federalism and democratic elections in order to restore Abyssinian repressive, brutal, colonial kingdoms on behalf of Amhara.

Ethiopia is currently burning and engulfed by devastating civil wars. It is under total disintegration. Civil wars become more violent and wider and cities and towns destroyed. Economy and regular military collapsed. Foreign diplomacy in shambles. Abiye lost control of the country and each ethnic group is armed to the teeth taking matters into their own hands for their own existential survival as hope for coexistence is bleak. PM Abiy Ahmed tries to slow down the defeat of his genocidal regime by turning ethnic groups against one another but the federalist armed coalition of the awakened revolutionary popular forces are unstoppable with guaranteed victory. The civil war in Ethiopia today is a war between the past and the present, between colonial kingdoms and freedom seeking nations, between revisionist forces and progressive forces, between indignity and dignity, between domination and liberty.

There are two diverging visions competing in Ethiopia today that are responsible for the catastrophic situation. PM Abiy Ahmed, Isaias Afwerki and Amhara leaders espouse colonial vision of abolishing current autonomous ethnic-based democratic federal system established in 1991 and reinstating racist, repressive unitary government dominated by Amhara that finally leads to imperial kingdom led by Abiy Ahmed with one language, one religion and one flag subjugating and humiliating the rest of Ethiopia to restored colonial  occupation as before. The rest of Ethiopia espouses the federalist vision of keeping the current autonomous ethnic-based democratic federal system where all ethnic groups have equal rights with fair and free democratic elections from local to federal and without interfering an ethnic group by an another ethnic group or federal government in land ownership, regional administration, regional elections, native security forces and with full and 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 till his demise in 1974. If PM Abiy Ahmed and Amhara continue pursuing the revisionist, colonial, reactionary policy, Ethiopia will unravel and disintegrate into small, independent republics like Yugoslavia because Cushites will never accept the return of the dark, devastating 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 ethnic states go on their separate ways for self-determination to have independent republics taking article 39 of Ethiopian federal constitution that allows them to adopt to become independent country 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.

Due to the current Ethiopian vicious civil wars engulfing all ethnic groups, the unabated barbaric slaughter among them, the historical acrimony and bitterness between colonized Cushitic peoples and colonizing Abyssinians [Amahra] and Abiy Ahmed’s fascism fuelling to this historical animosity by using Amhara and Eritrea for ethnic cleansing against Tigray people and against other ethnic groups opposing his fascist regime in order to cling to power, it maybe difficult or even impossible to keep Ethiopia stay together with peaceful coexistence in the future.

#Ibrahim Hassan Gagale


– 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.

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