The End of the Abyssinian Empire; The Dangers of Amhara Chauvinism in Today’s Ethiopia
By Thomas Mountain (*) – 04 October 2018
(Ecoterra) — The Amhara people of Ethiopia built the Abyssinian Empire with firearms from Italy in the late 19th century, and in doing so adopted a uniquely African brand of ethnic chauvinism. Anyone familiar with the myth of Haile Sellasie – the supposed “anti-colonialist” of modern African legend – can find Amhara chauvinism front, left, right and center.
The major feat of the Amhara was conquering their traditional enemies the Oromo, whose legendary cavalry routed all Abyssinian invasions until the last one, which saw the brutal subjugation of Africa’s largest nationality and the sort of ethnic hatred towards the vanquished rarely seen so virulent.
Amhara’s call the Oromo “Galla”, or named them slaves, and viewed them as little more than subhuman. So today for Ethiopia to have an Oromo P.M. and leading Ethiopia’s largest political party and seemingly inevitable electoral sweep in the next election in 2020 the Amhara chauvinists have started to strike back.
When the Oromo’s celebrating the return of their heroes from the Oromo Liberation Front from exile in Eritrea were attacked following the concert/rally it didn’t take long before two senior Amhara Ginbot movement “Welcoming Committee” for Amhara leaders returning from exile where arrested for this crime. This atrocity, amongst others, has led to a split in the Amhara based Ginbot resistance to the TPLF regime and hopefully is seeing the development of an anti-chauvinism movement amongst the Amhara people.
Oromiya and Eritrea, both symptomatic of the collapse of the Amhara Abyssinian Empire, are the main targets of this ethnic chauvinism, for to see Eritrea rebels successfully defeat the best Ethiopia could send at them and win independence and now to have an Oromo P.M. telling Amhara’s what to do, the rage has been bubbling and inevitably it broke out in a splurge of looting and killings that shocked all
To see just how pervasive this ethnic superiority complex is check out the Amhara based internet for anything positive about Eritrea playing a critical role in “Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution”, or any mention of how the Oromo recognize what a hero Eritrean President Issias Aferwerki has been in their return to leading one of Africa’s oldest modern civilizations.
Try and find anywhere in the Amhara media P.M. Abiy’s speech on July 8 2018 welcoming Eritrean President Issias Aferwerki to Addis Ababa where he said “Issias is leading us”. How could every single one of thousands of Amhara journalist fail to watch this speech to the point where this statement was made? Smells of chauvinism to me, and what of any consequence could an Oromo leader be saying after half an hour of addressing the nation?
To see their two worst enemies united is too much to publicly recognize, but for what ethnically proud Amhara can feel comfortable with this? Amharic people created the modern African empire of Ethiopia and are the rightful rulers of the country – or so the chauvinists believe.
Therefore no mention of the essential role played by Eritrea in regime change in Ethiopia seems acceptable. Don’t believe me, go see for yourself what is being said and written in Addis Ababa by the Amhara pundits there.
The remainents of the TPLF regime in Ethiopia’s Tigray province, or “Woyane” as they are known, remain a problem but not a major threat.
All Ethiopians hate Woyane and the large, well armed Tigrayan rebel army on the Eritrean border (they have now moved into more critical areas of Tigray) known as Demhit is easily able to wipe out any attempt by the Woyane to engage in insurgency.
The Amhara chauvinists on the other hand, remain, deep in their hearts, opposed to both Eritrean Independence and the second coming of the Oromo nation. Until this ethnic chauvinism is vanquished from the hearts and minds of the Amhara people and Abyssinian Imperialism is buried once and for all, the majority of Ethiopia will have to beware of this cancer suppurating in the body politic of the country.
Dynamite in new Ethiopian Governance
vf – For the first time the governing coalition of the new Ethiopian federal regime gathered in Finfinne (Addis Ababa) and after over 100 days in office the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali made another remark, which is worth noting:
He said that “Every Ethiopian has the right to live and work anywhere in Ethiopia.”
Historians will remember that the downfall of Somalia’s president Mohamed Siad Barre, though it was then carried out by a foreign-led coup, was started with his decree declaring all the rangelands of Somalia open to all Somali livestock owners. That triggered fatal animosity from and among all the Somali clans.
In the case of Oromiya we are not just talking of a clan – we are talking of a state-recognized nation.
Therefore the utterances by PM Abiy Ahmed Ali’s are dynamite, like it would be dynamite in the present climate to declare that every person of a UN member state would have the right to live and work in any country, which is member of the UN. Such would at present not even work on AU level.
Multiculturalism is dead, declared even German Chancellor Merkel already a while back and USAmerican President Donald Trump seems to have understood one thing: By denouncing the “false song of globalism,” Trump threw down the gauntlet and stated at the United Nations General Assembly: “There can be no substitute for strong sovereign independent nations.”
“First Nations” we have to add, and Nation States, of which the UN – thanks to colonialism – has so far very few.
Oromiyaa is one of them.
(*) Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist in Eritrea living and reporting from here since 2006. See thomascmountain on Facebook, thomascmountain on Twitter or best reach him at thomascmountain at gmail dot com