Adwa: A victory that still remains fresh

Exactly 126 years ago, Ethiopians had shown the world by making the impossible possible and the unthinkable thinkable. The untrained Ethiopian warriors with backward arms defeated a modern and well-equipped Italian force in 1896.

The Victory of Adwa changed a long-held narrative that black people were destined to live under oppression. The triumph had sent a shocking wave to foreign aggressors and colonial powers, and a ray of optimism flickered among the suppressed black communities across the nation. The victory has since been serving as a symbol of resistance and indomitability among the entire black communities.

Ethiopians putting their differences aside had fought, died, and triumphed together handing over the Italians a humiliating defeat that cannot be articulated in a few words.

Ethiopia’s victory over Italy broke the chains of coercion, a yoke of colonialism, changing the deep-rooted beliefs and attitudes of the west towards the black community, and changing the world setting.

The Victory of Adwa is still a living testimony of the strength and sacrifices of the people of Ethiopia made to defend their dignity and sovereignty. It sets a lesson that a united people can conquer a white power.

Adwa is also a witness to what ordinary Africans can do when they come together as farmers, pastoralists, women and rural people, workers and artists. Ethiopians were able to score a decisive victory against global colonialist forces.

Prior to the battle of Adwa, Ethiopia had been caught between internal division and rivalry, but all conflicting parties had journeyed under the same command and united forces to drive away invaders on the grounds that they gave priority to their motherland.

Quite interestingly, history has repeated itself 126 later. From the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam to the No-More movement, Ethiopia is leading the modern pan Africanism movement.

In what could be said reminisce of Adwa, Ethiopians have stood unified when the country’s sovereignty was put at risk by the terrorist TPLF clique as they attacked the North Command of Ethiopian Defense Forces. Similarly, Ethiopians at home and abroad stood together and defeated the internal and foreign adversaries.

Ethiopians stood firm with their leaders to repulse internal and external invading forces from the law enforcement operation to the last campaign where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led the army right from battlefields. The courage and unity of the Ethiopian people brought the current enemies to their knees.

Ethiopian history is replete with centuries of scarification and heroism. As bravery and pride are in the DNA of Ethiopians, they all rally behind their leaders to neutralize threats poised against the national existence of their country. These values are the mysteries behind Ethiopia’s history of independence and freedom.

It is these unique features that protect the country from foreign aggressors and internal traitors.

As witnessed in various historical incidents, Ethiopia’s leaders including the most-revered ones had been sacrificing their lives for the dignity and sovereignty of their country alongside the men and women patriot warriors of Ethiopians. Some even had fallen on battlefields fighting foreign aggressors.

With Ethiopia facing internal and external existential threats, its current leaders have decided to put their boots on the ground to fight alongside the rank and file.

In a similar vein, Emperor Menelik II had led his army to Adwa victory with his determined wife Empress Taytu Betul. In Ethiopia, whether the leader is a king or president or prime minister nobody shies away from paying even the ultimate price to safeguard the sacred values of Ethiopianism, sovereignty, and dignity.

In fact, millions of heroes and heroines of Ethiopians had paid the ultimate price to defend their freedom and perpetuate the sovereignty of the country.

Adwa echoed the spirit of winning the minds and hearts of the generation in Africa and beyond. The victory of Adwa is still an engine for many Ethiopians to stand together for every national interest. All Ethiopians remember how their forefathers won the Italian army. And they always become motivated to fight, the internal and external enemies of the country together.

Every year, Ethiopians celebrate this victory day, unlike other countries that mark independence or freedom day. This year’s commemoration of Adwa Day comes at a defining moment where the country has defeated internal and external enemies of Ethiopia.

“The spirit of Adwa is remaining in the minds and hearts of the society. It serves as an inspirational and great reminder of Ethiopia’s courage in the face of unprecedented hostility. It showcases our resolute and unity in protecting our sovereignty,” said Lij Daniel Jote Ethiopian Patriotic Association President.

The young generation should renew the spirit of Adwa and the sacrifice the patriots made for the independence of the nation to tackle today’s challenges notably neocolonialist tendencies, social science scholars made a call.

The victory of Ethiopian patriots over Italian invaders is an inspiration for the young generation and taught a lesson for the need to engage in activities that will contribute towards nation-building, said historian Dechasa Abebe (Ph.D.) speaking at a discussion forum organized by Addis Ababa Culture and Tourism Bureau in connection with the 126th Anniversary of the Victory of Adwa.

Noting the people and rulers of Ethiopia shared a common vision to defend their motherland from aggressors, the historian highlighted that commemorating the sacrifice made by patriots encourages today’s generation to repeat similar victory over anti-peace elements.

“Surprisingly, politicians and historians propagated a false narrative about the Victory of Adwa and instigated hostility among the people. “Due to this, we are now fighting with ourselves…. We need to recognize that all Ethiopians have an equal share in the victory.”

Addis Ababa University Political Science and International Relations Lecturer Yonas Ashine for his part said that the commemoration of Adwa should not only glorify the fallen heroes but also cherish the patriots of the day.

“We are in an unjust world and the current generation needs to be courageous enough as their forefathers and mothers to ensure the dignity of Ethiopia. Accordingly, we need to wake up and break the shielded trap of the growing neocolonial assault.”

“I think our current mysterious life is very interlinked with that of our history. The solution can be easily constructed by recounting the history of the country in unifying manner,” the academician recommended.

In an interview with The , British Historian Specializing in Ethiopia with a focus on the Italian occupation, Ian Campbell said that promoting the Adwa victory and others require institutions like Ethiopian Patriot Association. The new generations have heard very amazing stories on what their grandfathers/mothers did at the battle of Adwa and its aftermath.

As the young generations surprisingly know little about what happened in Ethiopia because anything that occurred 50 years ago sounds like medieval history, organizations like the Ethiopian Patriot Association, a lobbying body to increase awareness for the part of Ethiopians’ patriots’ story hardly known to Ethiopians, have to be consolidated.

“The young generation can be very surprised to hear about their grandfathers and grandmothers’ deeds and all these amazing actions. The internet changed completely the situation. The information is now freely available to access and know the truth about what happened in Ethiopia. Hence, it is the reason why Italians are becoming interested in knowing the truth about what happened in Ethiopia in 1935, 1936, and 1937 and before the coming of light to new generations,” he pinpointed.



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