BY KFLEEYESUS ABEBE
Historians have underscored that Ethiopia’s victory at Adwa has inspired not just the African continent but it has also ignited the whole world for freedom fighting and equality movements. The pan Africanism movement is among such movements that began building a ‘can do atitude’ among people in Africa, Americas and people elsewhere who were subjugated.
History Professor Ahemd Zerkariya says the Adwa victory has set an example that people can defeat their oppressors. “The Adwa victory created a ‘can do atitude,’ black can trutly win over a white. It was very motivating for those people under repression. So, they carried on their fight and the pan African movement, as a result most of African Countries became independence in 1960s. That also led to the formation of the Orgnization of African Unity. Therefore, it is very fair to say the Adwa victory has boost the morale of repressed people to help them defeat the opperssor and live with freedom and liberty.”
The Adwa victory has also ensued Ethiopia to take the center stage in unifying Africans and fight their different battle together and in organized manner. That ultimately gave birth to the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) in1963 and became African Union (AU) in 2002. Author and African Affairs General at Ethiopian foreign ministry Akililu Kebede says Ethiopia has learnt the effect of standing alone at international stage during Geneva meeting in 1963. Ever since it has been stunch advocate of togetherness and African Unity.
“Those sole times that Ethiopia was the only independent country from the Africa to be member of league of nations and tough mements at Geneva were awakening. Ethiopia undestood it shouldn’t be alone rather it has to moblize other people and African countries for common goal. In case, it faced similar fate like that of the Italy invasion, it shouldn’t be alone. This is the very rational that Ethiopia sacrificed everything in its capacity for the African Unity.”
After many of the African countries declared their indepedence, Ethiopia was providing assitance and guidance for these countries to be member of the United Nations too. “ Ethiopia was among the founding members of the United Nations. So, it gave moral, financial, diplomacy upto military support for African Countries to be independent and then be a member of United Nations.” On the other hand, other African countries also recognized that unity is vital to make their future bright and free.
African and Asian Studies Lecturer at Addis Ababa Universty Samuel Tefera (PhD) said, “Adwa created an attiude among Africans who were being treated inhumanely that they can defeat the opperssor. They also realized that they have to be united to make their future bright and free.” Prof. PLO Lumumba recounts Ghana’s Nkrumah and other were convinced that only African Unity could fend of neo-colonialsim. “If we don’t unite now the neocolonialist is going to ensure that we remain disunited and we remain
small and they are going to ensure that the neo-colonial project continues.”
Hence their togetherness under Organisation African Unity (OAU) played a pivotal role in eradicating colonialism. On the other hand, it stregthens political and socioeconomic cooperation of African Countries. Cultural interactions for example games among members of state, economic co-operation that encouraged the establishment of regional economic groups such COMESA and ECOWAS, SADC, PTA and road transport links in Africa were the blessings of OAU. Most importantly, the organizations enabled members states to regularly discuss issues of common interest and have one voice at international stage on issues that affect them or their allies. Ghanaian former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised OAU for bringing Africans together. The latter African Union (AU) is also struggling for more cooperation of Africans.
It is obvious that Africans can’t stop their struggle and pan Africanism movement as the face of neo-colonialism- an attempt by previous colonialists to influence them through new methods of colonialsim is rampant. Political isolation, economic sanctions and other pressures have been the most noticeable forms of interventions and ways of influence these countries have been facing. Ethiopia is the recent victim of neo-colonialsm facing coordianted media attack, economic sanctions and political pressure for a year now. Ethiopia didn’t sit idle while this is going on.
It rather oppossed these attempts saying no more intervention, stating its sovergnity isn’t for sale. Accordingly, Ethiopian diaspora along with Eritreans, Somalians and black Americans stirs up a new wave of pan Africanism. Ethiopian once again found itself moblizing Africans to fight neo-colonialism. Professor Ahemd Zerkariya says no more movement gained quick response because Africans suffered similar problems.
“The #No more movement has once again brought pan africanism into attention. Ethiopians and Eritreans that understood the pressure on Ethiopia discussed and created the no more movement. The founder Hermela Aregawi and her friends created this sentiment. The no more movement that aimed to resisit the United Nations Security Council and American pressure gained fast reception. Many Africans faced similar challenges thus it spread to horn of Africa and Africa in general.”
Ethiopians have staged large demonstration in front of the United Nations headquarter, European Union, CNN headquarter and other places denouncing western intervention on Ethiopia. The rally happend in various cities across the world raising awareness among Africans on westerns attempt for neo-colonialism. Black Americans have been part of the rally.
The movement From neighborly African activists to Africans and black Americans living in different parts of the world joined the campaigned on twitter and appearing at rallies and giving speeches. In one rally American journalist and activist Eugene Puryear exposed that American policy on Horn of Africa is persistent. “It keeps them divided,” As to Professor Ahemd, this movement intended Africans to stregethen Unity of Africans, preserve their sovergnity and have control over their resources.
“Today African has 1.3 billion population. We should govern ourselves. We should have control over our natural resources. Till now they have been exploited and our relation with the west was abusive of us. So, we had to say no more. This movement has no gained momunteum. It is unstoppable. Youth are actively participating. It needs to have its philosophy and goal to sustain.”
Addis Ababa University political science Professor Kassahun Birhanu also said the definace and resilence of Ethiopia has resurrected the pan Africanism movement. He insists that the struggle is to safeguard basic principles of international law- freedom of people, sovergnity of countries and non interference. “ Ethiopia has ignited pan- Africanism from the start and it has now stirred up another wave of pan-Africanism. We shouldn’t relent this movement by no means. We can discuss other affairs after this but our sovergnity should be a red line.” Professor Kassahun indicates that Ethiopia should further strive to raise awareness among global community, stir discussion and negotiate with critical issues that affect itself and the continent at large.
The incidence also led Ethiopia to join other African countries in calling UN to give Africa permanent seat the UNSC. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahemd asked United Nations to give Africa a seat that can enable it to have a say on its own affairs. “I join other African leaders in reiterating that a continent of around 1.3 billion people needs a permanent voice and seat at the UNSC represented through a bloc. Issues and decisions that concern the continent cannot continue being addressed without continental representation.” Other leaders such as Sengal’s president Macky Sall and South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa immediatelty followed the preimer.
While the African Union 35th leaders summit is happeing here in Addis Ababa and majorly dwelling on issues of peace and security, Ethiopia is anticipated to call Africans to sustain and stregthen the sense of pan Africanism. It would ferventy encourage, mobilize and be decisive on pertinent matters such as fighting any form of intervention, stregthening the unity of Africans, economic interagtion and claiming permanent seat at UNSC. The success of this effort would determine whether Africans love honorable and graceful life where ever they are. It would also make Africa stable, propersous and economically and politically independent.
The February 8/2022