The Battle of Adwa was the climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The Ethiopian forces defeated the Italian invading force on Sunday 1 March 1896, near the town of Adwa.
The decisive victory thwarted the campaign of the Kingdom of Italy to expand its colonial empire in the Horn of Africa. Historians and researchers quoted that Adwa is a showcase of Ethiopians’ unity and a symbol of independence and pride for Africans that incited not only Africans but also all black people across the world to fight against colonialism and assure their freedom.
And some other historians stipulate that Adwa campaign was the ever greater military campaign of the 19th century being campaigned for longer period of time. It takes five months military campaign from September 1895 until the victory in March 1896.
A century and two decades ago, on March 01/1896 Ethiopians demonstrated an impressive unity and wrote an extraordinary history which maintains a glorious rise to the country.
The day, March 01/1896, was not only about scoring victory over the aggressors; but it has further shown the level of Ethiopians’ unity, their commitment and patriotic sentiments.
What is more, the Victory ignited resistance among Africans and black people across the globe against colonialism and has initiated the spirit of Pan-Africanism movement. The day was unique in getting together hundreds of thousands people as one following the call made by the then Emperor Menelik II who were leading the country during the time.
When the king learned the ill intention of the Fascist Italian aggressor, he officially announced the case and urged the public to accompany him in his journey to the Battle of Adwa where the war between Ethiopia and the forces of the Fascist Italy had taken place and to defend their country. “An enemy that intends to destroy our homeland and change our religion has come crossing our God-given frontiers digging in like a mole. Now, with the help of God, I will not allow him to have my country.
You, my countrymen, I have never knowingly hurt you, nor have you hurt me. Help me, those of you with zeal and willpower; those who do not have the zeal, for the sake of your wives and your religion, help me with your prayers.” This was a message the Emperor conveyed to the public and urged them to join him and marching to the warfront. Consequently, responding to the call, large number of people from East to West and North to South, from all walks of life and ethnic groups, swarming into the battlefield. And as unity is strength, Ethiopians crushed the colonial army armed to the teeth.
The public memorize and celebrate the day that Ethiopian patriots defeated the Italian forces at the Battle of Adwa in the capital Addis Ababa, Adwa and countrywide through various ceremonial occasions.
Last Wednesday, Ethiopians commemorated the golden day with different memorial events. Special attention has also given to repeat those forefathers’ fruitful struggles against foreign aggression to the present generation to fight backwardness, poverty, division and strengthen unity to realize the country’s journey towards sustainable development.
Last year in a program organized to commemorate the Victory of Adwa, the former South African President and veteran of the anti-apartheid movement Thabo Mbeki said that the Victory at Adwa underlined the vital importance of a skilled and patriotic leadership capable of outsmarting the enemy not only on the deadly military field of battle, but also in the challenging areas of politics and diplomacy. He emphasized that the global community has to learn more from Adwa Victory since the Victory represents all Africans.
It is the history that all Africans proudly share. South Africa’s former President usually sees debating on recognizing Adwa’s Victory. He always speaks as Adwa’s Victory deserves glorious place in the hearts of all Africans; and he urges the government of Ethiopia, African and all Ethiopians to give more tribute for this glittering African Victory scored over colonization. Commemorating the Day needs further engagements from all stakeholders to scale up Ethiopia’s success to other countries in nation building and ensure the current generation’s socio-economic freedom, he indicated.
Since the Victory was achieved through the united action of the Ethiopian people, one of the primary lessons, apart from a progressive vision, is the critical importance of national unity as it is a fundamental element for the realization of Africa’s strategic goals.
“Given the fact that these strategic goals also relate to our continent as a whole, this surely means that we must mobilize all African countries to act together in unity to achieve these strategic goals,” he noted. “All this means that we should together act to honor the injunction coming out of Adwa – let each of our countries as well as our continent as a whole act in unity to achieve our strategic goal.
” The second lesson, Africans must draw from the Victory is the absolute imperative that the Continent face properly to carry out the necessary preparations to enable us achieve the strategic victories we seek. I am certain that in this regard we are familiar with the diplomatic, political, logistic and military preparations which were essential to secure the Victory at Adwa.
“The other lesson that we must draw from Adwa is that since it is only through struggle that we could achieve our strategic goals, we must be ready to make the necessary sacrifices as we strive to overcome the resistance of those who will oppose us.” Thus, the current generation has greater responsibilities in passing down such African proud historical achievements and realizing economic emancipation, he emphasized.
In sum, when commemorating the victory of Adwa the current generation has to work actively in fighting poverty, illiteracy, and undemocratic administrations. Currently, Ethiopians from all walks of life are working hand in hand to write their own history.
The accomplishment of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) by own resources, finance, skill and knowledge, witnesses the country’s firm commitment to repeat the Golden Victory of Adwa in the economic sector.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
The Ethiopian 4 March 2022