The multi-cultural army paid the ultimate sacrifice, when about nine thousands of its soldiers died at the battle. With their sacrifice, they set the stage for the birth of a new Ethiopia where the reach of freedom, politically and economically, would be more egalitarian.
The two Sunday mornings, 2nd March 1896 and 20th February 2022 had been the centers of the remarkably recorded treasured Ethiopian history in particular and that of African in general. The dates respectively helped Ethiopians to push invaders to the death’s door turning what Italians thought upside down and to turn many of Ethiopians’ life from darkness to light.
It is an undeniable fact that Ethiopians had already registered outstripping triumphs against invaders, who were regarded as untouchable, ever knowledgeable, even creators of other world next to God. Besides this, the country is also on its way to complete the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renascence Dam (GERD) which was also thought by the enemies of Ethiopia as an impossible fact.
Yes, as the Battle of Adwa has had a central place in the Ethiopian history, Ethiopians has been colorfully commemorating the victory for the last century and two decades. Our forefathers had kneeled down Italian colonialists at a specific and notable town-Adwa-employing special gallantry.
Also through launching the initial electric power generation of GERD last month, the current historical government and citizens have also put a millstone of poverty reduction. Thereupon it is possible to say it is among the recent wonder that clearly indicates the unity of Ethiopians.
Adwa is an icon of solidarity, sovereignty, peace, strength, motivation and freedom particularly, for Ethiopian and generally, for black peoples. Of course, the then resilient leaders of Ethiopia moved such a very determined army all the way to Adwa and achieved a milestone victory.
Apart from the victory achieved by Ethiopians among the Italian army, resources mobilized to move such a gigantic army and to complete the construction of GERD was extremely marvelous according to different historians and economists.
Approached by The , Mekuriya Abera, lecturer at Hawassa University under Department of History said that celebrating the historic Battle of Adwa this time is relevant to shed some light on one of the historic events that made Ethiopia a unique and a great African country. Winning a war may not make a country unique or great. Many countries have won many wars without claiming the desirable mantle of greatness.
Nevertheless, the victory of Adwa was not ordinary battle because its effects were far reaching and its impact goes well beyond Ethiopia and Africa. Some writers and scholars characterize the historic Battle of Adwa and the Ethiopian victory as the most important victory for the entire black people of the world against European white supremacist ideology, he elucidated.
By the same token, he mentioned that the current generation has also laid historical foundation of poverty reduction through showing its solidarity in completing the GERD, which is an electric power dam rather than irrigation dam.
On the first day of March, 126 years ago, traditional warriors, farmers and pastoralists as well as women defeated a well-armed Italian army in the northern town of Adwa in Ethiopia. Historically, it was the first ever for blacks to win against the whites using traditional war resources. All the resources mobilized during the war were technical and homemade.
“All the spears and shields used by the Ethiopian patriots were incomparably less when they are compared to the Italian modern army. However, Ethiopians have won the war bravely. Great victory and satisfaction was censured by Ethiopians with tactful and effective traditional resources,” Mekuriya asserted.
As to him, the victory of Adwa is still an engine for many Ethiopians to stand together for every national interest. All Ethiopians remember how the forefathers won the Italian army. And they always become motivated to fight both internal and external enemies of the country all together.
He also illustrated that Ethiopians across every corners have been participating in making the construction of GERD to become real. Accordingly, Ethiopians are scoring a decisive victory against global and internal forces that have an interest to dismantle Ethiopia and working hard to get victory against poverty.
Ethiopians from every tribe, culture and community answered Emperor’s call for a total mobilization of war against Italy. Regional leaders from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds responded unanimously creating an army of 100,000. Similarly following the meaningful reform in Ethiopia during the past three years, Ethiopians are also answering the government’s call made by the premier and other federal and state officials to fight poverty. As a result, it was able to bring significant economic, environmental, political and other changes.
Sharing the above rationale, Mekonen Abera, and economist said that the victory of Adwa and GERD had further significance for being the first crushing defeat of a European power by African forces during the colonial era and being the first mega project with a capacity to generate 5,500 MW electric power and which is being constructing by Ethiopians only.
At the Time of Adwa, resources were mobilized from all of the country; more than 100,000 troops were amassed from Addis Ababa, Were Illu, Ashenge, Mekele and other parts of the country. The royal court, the common governors and the officers were anticipated to bring their possessives, he noted.
He further illustrated that the framework of provisioning was organized on the rule of self-sufficiency, with distinctive sources. The assignment of bolstering a huge number of steeds, donkeys, cattle, sheep and other transport creatures was colossal.
In Ethiopia, the theater of military arrangement was an angle of the culture, and consequently it isn’t astounding that a significant sum of assets productively was mobilized for the fight of Adwa. The arrangement of the war in a limited period included the total nation.
Menilek’s victory over the Italians gave him significant credibility with the European powers, bolstered his mandate at home, and provided the Ethiopian kingdom with a period of peace in which it was able to expand and flourish, in contrast to most of the rest of the African countries at that time, which were embroiled in colonial conflicts.
Likewise, the aforementioned history and solidarity was repeated by the current generation. Making real to generate the initial 375 megawatts of electricity from one of its turbines of the GERD and completing 83 percent of the total project is among the exemplary work of the current generation, he remarked.
As to him, the commitment that was seen at that battle is being repeated for this day in a way to boost Ethiopia’s economy and to reduce poverty across the nation. Mentioning that Ethiopia is preparing and providing different economic reforms in order to increase the nation’s economy, Mekonnen further elucidated that Adwa can also be an engine for the current generation to be an active participant in supporting the government in revamping the nation’s economy.
Meanwhile, on his stay with the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA), Addis Ababa City Administration Mega Project Office Deputy CEO, Engineer Meressa Lekessa stated that in a way to commemorate the victory of Adwa and get economic benefits from it, the city administration is working aggressively in order to complete the Adwa Memorial Center project as per its time table. Mentioning the structural part of the construction has been completed and 75 percent of the project is being covered, he said that the construction is progressing well to be completed as per time scheduled.
Noting the construction is being carried at 3.3 hectare of land with a total outlay of 4.6 billion Birr the official further stated that the project is not only momentous for Ethiopians, but also for the African continent. Coupled with its historical significance, the center is also of paramount importance in creating many job opportunities as well as being amongst tourist hubs of the city administration. As to him, Adwa center will consist of a museum, a meeting hall with a total capacity of over 2000 people, three smaller auditoriums with a capacity of 400 people, a 1,000 car capacity parking space, a cinema and theater hall, a library, a gym, cafeterias and a childcare center among other leisure facilities.
Hence, these victorious achievements irresistibly ought to encourage the current generation to repeat similar determination and courage in their fight against poverty. The Battle of Adwa and the construction of GERD have a greater inspirations value for all young Ethiopians and Africans. The determination and heroism that has been exhibited by young Ethiopians at the Battle of Adwa needs to be replicated in other areas of social, economic and political activities in the present and future generation of Ethiopians, scholars suggested.
BY HIZKEL HAILU
WEDNESDAY 2 MARCH 2022