Their key talking points include “restoring” Amhara identity in external territories and providing protection for Amhara living around the country, including by instituting Amhara zones to achieve self-administration.
But a big question remains: what is the future of Amhara nationalism, and by extension ethnic federalism, if and when its proponents realize that they can’t deliver on most of their promises to the people?
In the past, Amhara nationalism failed, as scholars couldn’t even agree on whether an Amhara ethnicity ever existed. During the 2005 polls, the only relatively free multiparty election in our history, the then-Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM, now ADP) was embarrassed, with nearly zero support in the cities and even suffering major electoral losses in Amhara state to the CUD opposition party, which is now represented by Ginbot 7.
For years, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi supported building up ANDM, because his ultimate success depended on native Amharic speakers buying into ethnic federalism. Yet, ANDM remained the laughing stock of the country for two decades, as it rigged ‘elections’ to stay in power and serve TPLF. And even when Amharic-speaking Ethiopians were repressed, ANDM did nothing.
We’re faced with a half-baked Amhara ethnic identity
Even ideologically, the majority of Amharic speakers have been historically affiliated with Ethiopianism, instead of Amhara nationalism. So ethnic Amhara movements didn’t receive grassroots support—until now that is.
After 27 years of normalizing ethnic differentiation in Ethiopian society, the resulting growth of identity-based youth movements and the weakening of TPLF have finally provided legitimacy to the ANDM, and thus a fertile ground for organizations like NaMA to promote Amhara nationalism.
When it comes to Amhara ethnogenesis, some observers give credit to the forces of “external ascription”; claiming that the current Ethiopian young generation grew up only knowing and breathing tribalism, constantly being told “you are Amhara.”
While this is a major factor, Amhara identity also seems to have emerged out of what sociologists like Max Weber credit as victimhood or, both real and perceived, shared persecution. Thus, Amhara identity was born out of a sense of common adversity, despite the concept of an Amhara nation never existing before.
Therefore, these social constructionist factors helped to cover up the reality that tens of millions of geographically dispersed Amharic speakers who might otherwise be eligible for “Amhara membership” actually do not have the common ancestry, the common custom, values, religion, appearance etc or even the common polity and sense of national identity that are all necessary ingredients to qualify as a real ethnic group. Their only commonality was facing hardship in the name of Amhara.
Nonetheless, we are now faced with a half-baked Amhara ethnic identity, and both ANDM (ADP) and NaMA have become influential independent actors in Ethiopian politics.
Can ethnonationalists attract Amharic speakers?
Let’s play the devil’s advocate and take these Amhara nationalists at their own word. One of the prime reasons why ADP and NaMA have gained support is reportedly due to the persecution of Amharic speakers nationwide.
So, ADP and NaMA claim that they can protect Amhara people from these problems. NaMA has even opened up new branches outside Amhara, in Addis Ababa and other cities, where Amharic speakers reside. Despite their critics blaming the rise in Amhara tribalism for causing more death and displacement to Amharic speakers living outside “Amhara state,” NaMA and ADP are still winning many hearts and minds.
Amhara identity protests in Wolkait, Metekel and Raya are some examples of Amhara nationalists demanding their rights outside of Amhara. Accordingly, many Amhara nationalists have been applying a ‘holier than thou’ approach when it comes to the current Ethiopian constitution.
They claim that Amhara state is the most democratic inside the ethnofederal system because minorities have self-administration. The biggest example to support this claim is the Oromia and Agew Awi zones inside Amhara. In the Oromo zone, Afaan-Oromo is the working language and Oromo politicians control local government.
Many urban areas in Oromia are dominated by Amhara
Thus, Amhara nationalists want reciprocal benefits for their people outside Amhara. The prime candidate where new Amhara zones would be established is in Oromia. Historically, just as Oromo speakers have migrated north, Amharic speakers migrated south, or simply intermarried. Therefore, today, many urban areas in Oromia are dominated by Amhara, especially Addis Ababa and Nazret (Adama).
According to the 2007 census, about 60 percent of residents in Adama Special Zone had Amharic as their mother tongue. Therefore, in a country where language-based federalism is the law, Adama (Nazret) would constitutionally comprise one of the Amhara zones inside Oromia. This eventually might disqualify Adama from being the seat of Oromia parliament. Also in Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) City of Oromia, residents with Amharic mother-tongue makeup even higher proportions: at 72 percent. And in Jimma city in Oromia, out of 120,000 residents only about 48,000 were native Afaan Oromo speakers. Even in Mejenger Zone of Gambella, the majority by mother tongue is actually Amhara.
There are more. Other candidates for Amhara zones include small parts of Hawassa, Assosa and Dire Dawa which contain about 100,000 Amhara residents each.
If we include Welkait and other parts of Tigray where a large population of native Amharic speakers live, it is possible to have over a dozen major Amhara zones outside Amhara state.
Will ADP and NaMA deliver Amhara zones?
Or, as NaMA chairman Desalegn Chane recently said, can they actually restore the “dignity and God given rights of Amhara people”?
Of course not.
Particularly, Amharic speaking majorities living in urban Oromia and other states are abandoned by Amhara nationalists. Yet, even in rural Oromia districts like Dera Woreda, which is the northernmost district of North Shoa Zone, where Amhara makeup between 45 to 55 percent of the population, thousands of Amhara protested for self-rule last week; but both ADP and NaMA have so far done little to meet their demands.
Establishing Amhara zones inside Oromia, Tigray and other regional states is a fantasy, for many reasons. After all, ethnic federalism is created at the expense of both Amhara and multiethnic cosmopolitans, who are either forced to pick a fraction of their ancestral identity during a census or become invisible.
First of all, creating Amhara zones, just like Oromo zones, will lead to more ethnic conflict and territorial disputes. Secondly, it will lead to a more dangerous zero-sum game when it comes to ethnic politics, by weakening moderates and empowering extremists. And this threat of civil war is what keeps leaders like Abiy Ahmed up at night. That is why Oromo leaders like Lemma Megersa, and Abiy, preach unity and “Ethiopiawinet” whenever they are in front of diverse audience.
Abiy did tell the truth about our intertwined history
For example, during his speech in Germany, Abiy was questioned about the fate of Amhara living outside Amhara, particularly in Tigray. His instinctive response was to discourage tribalism among Amhara activists. In his answer, Abiy cited historical accounts about Abyssinian kings who were dependent on thousands of Oromo soldiers who marched to Gondar. Abiy said the northern movement of Oromos has resulted in intermarriages and multiethnic mixture. Thus, Abiy concluded that there is no pure Amhara blood today because people were mixed for centuries.
While Abiy did tell the truth about our intertwined history, one can only imagine the level of outrage if the roles were reversed, and if an Amhara leader said there is no pure Oromo because of post-conflict ethnic fusion. Such a person would have been crucified by Oromo elites and their social media cheerleaders. It seems like for Oromo nationalists, they embrace history only when it is convenient.
Abiy’s speech in Germany was not the first time he rebuked Amhara nationalism. When Abiy was asked about the Welkait-Tsegede issue earlier this year, he was quick to scold and discourage “Amhara tribalism.”
Abiy is not alone, although others have different motives. Jawar Mohammed and like-minded influential ethnonationalists turn on and off the Welkait switch as a bargaining chip against TPLF. Otherwise, they prefer not to push Amhara nationalism too hard to the right. For these tribalists, Amhara nationalism is good only to justify the existence of some ‘foreign’ land where Amharic ‘settlers’ can go back to. Otherwise, it is something bad, something to be discouraged or shunned, because they know it can ultimately backfire on them.
It appears that in the eyes of the Prime Minister, TPLF and most ethnonationalists, the Amhara question of Welkait, Raya and Metekel is dead on arrival.
Amhara nationalism is toothless
So, one must ask: if Amhara nationalists cannot even achieve their basic responsibility of restoring lands they claim to belong to Amhara, what is the purpose for their existence? If Amhara nationalists cannot establish Amhara zones outside Amhara, what is the point of embracing ethnic federalism?
To be blunt, the harsh reality is, the ethnic “Scramble for Ethiopia” was supervised by TPLF, OLF and other similarly minded organizations two decades ago to determine who gets which pieces of the pie.
Let alone Ethiopian nationalists, even independent Amhara were not invited to that party. Unless Amhara nationalists redraw the maps and declare Addis Ababa, Wolkait, Adama and many areas in other states as Amhara zones, their nationalism is meaningless. It has no purpose. They exist only to facilitate the current ethnofederal system and to justify further persecution of Amharic speakers nationwide.
The Amhara revanchists’ rhetoric might appear like an existential threat to neighboring states. But, other than slogans and posters, Amhara nationalism is toothless. So far, Amhara tribalism is only serving its original purpose for its creators: to weaken Ethiopian nationalism.
What is fascinating about Amhara tribalism is the potential for it to be a double-edged sword for its creators.
Meles Zenawi passed away without seeing the fruits of his ethnic federalism vis-a-vis Amhara nationalism. Ironically, he would not have been that excited about the Wolkait rhetoric either. After all, he wanted an Amhara nationalism that he can control and exploit. He wanted Amhara ethnic awareness; not the empowering version, but a self-hating one. He wanted an Amhara population that is forever filled with a sense of imperial guilt.
For him and for Oromo nationalists, all historical problems in Ethiopia are pinned on the Amhara. For that to happen, the Amharic speakers who used to only call themselves Gojjame, Wolloye, Shewan, etc must first embrace the Amhara label and then wear the guilty Amhara costume.
Once Amhara nationalists digest the reality of their powerlessness and gradually realize that tribalism was never created for their benefit, the next natural step should be to consider the alternative: Ethiopian nationalism and individual rights.
By all measures, Amhara nationalism is not the only nationalism that is failing today. Ethnic federalism is slowly unraveling and proving increasingly toxic. Even since Abiy arrived and preached tolerance, peace and democracy, hundreds of deaths and more than a million internal displacements have brought a sense of hopelessness. Hidden behind the media headlines of women appointments is the reality that Ethiopia is now ranked first in the world for the most internal displacement of its own people in the first-half of 2018.
As Berhanu Nega told Addis Standard recently, Ethiopian society is losing its “moral compass.” The last seven months have proven that Oromo lives do not even matter to Oromo elites like Jawar who are ignoring the killing of Oromos in Somali region and Kamashi Zone of Benishangul-Gumuz. In the past, every single Oromo death triggered outrage on social media and it was weaponized for propaganda. But today, it seems some Oromo leaders care more about saving the face of the ethnic federalism system than they care about their own people.
Behind the scenes, Oromo nationalists are doing the same thing the TPLF did to the Amhara over the last 27 years: shifting the demographics. Now that they have gained some power, Oromo elites don’t even talk publicly about Finfinne anymore because they saw how Addis Ababa residents utterly rejected Oromo nationalism and OLF in September.
Individual liberty will lift all boats
Their new focus now is changing the demographics of urban Oromia. They are copying the TPLF blueprint of Tigrayan mass resettlement policy in Wolkait by pushing Oromos into urban and suburban areas in Oromia, where they are a minority. That is why we see so many more ethnic conflicts in Dire Dawa, Adama, Harar, etc.
News of Qeerroo evicting urban neighborhoods and ethnic cleansing kebeles has become the new normal. Even in Bishoftu (DebreZeit), where virtually all residents are native Amharic speakers, Oromo youths are threatening and disenfranchising local citizens.
Therefore, instead of enabling the ethnic-segregation laws of the country, it is now more important than ever that Amharic speakers reject Amhara nationalism, and instead advocate for citizenship-based democracy.
Amharic speakers must thus choose the alternative: give more support to groups like Ginbot 7 who promote individual rights and civic nationalism, instead of wasting their capital on supporting Amhara nationalism.
In the end, individual liberty will lift all boats, resulting in not only benefiting persecuted Amharic-speaking Ethiopians, but also benefiting all Ethiopians no matter their religion, clan, region or ethnicity. When that time comes when we respect the rights of every individual over the rights of an identity-based political group; we can then regain our moral compass and cherish every human life.
For that to happen, let us dream of that future, when all Ethiopians have the right to live anywhere in Ethiopia, when no land has a tribal label on it, and when we all belong everywhere in Ethiopia.
That is also when we can unleash our social and economic potential and guarantee our basic rights as human beings. And that will be a country we can be proud of, which we can all call our home.
Query or correction? Email us
Main photo: NaMA’s founding event in Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara region
The opinions are the author’s and are no reflection of the views of the website. However, Ethiopia Insight is responsible for factual errors.
Published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Cite Ethiopia Insight and link to this page if republished.
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Nov. 11, The EPRDF is dead, long live the EPRDF!
Oct. 28, After Eritrea thaw, Tigray’s southern border with Amhara heats up
Sep. 26, Mob killings split Ethiopians as political fault lines test Abiy’s big tent
We just need a free and fair election to sort this out. At the end of the day Ethipianism and Amharanism naturally go hand in hand. The Amhara people didn’t have any confusion between the two, meaning, which ever an individual selects it works well for him or her and the group as a whole. For OLF and TPLF Karma will eventually catches up with them, it always does.
Ethnic federalism and a fight for cultural survival is being used by few narrow minded elites to do ethnic cleaning by manipulating the mass on ethnic background issues for their own occult power hunger dreams. Yes there was cultural transgresión in past regimes, but that is not justification to commit in propose mass ethnic harassment and grievances between ethnic groups. Also the current ethnic demarcated regions are as arbitrary as it could have been where and when Ethiopian boundary was demarcated before and today. Nothing stands clean if one goes way back in time and all Ethiopians should have the same rights and previlages in every corner of Ethiopian territory. If the narrow minded ethnic nationalist elites really care for the well being of their own ethnic fellows they should start by acknologing that every human being is to be respected in every region no matter his background if one wants the current avkward ethnic based regions are to be maintened. Respecting the right of each individual will prolong the peace and prosperity of the supposedly hosting community. But the ethno elitist are using the right for culture and language to gain in the background land and resources for themselves. And that is wrong and even is wrong to do this grab for one ethnic group at expense of other ethnic group and specially sending innocent youth that tomorrow will be asked for the attrocity committed they may be asked for. The ethnic region system is very wrong as delivered as defacto is saying two human beings are different and has different privileges by belonging to one ethnic group or other depending to which ethnic group the belong to. Moreover for some ethnic groups without any region associated with them they would Iive for generations in perpetual fear of being displaced. Internal displacement is product of this non sense system. And always the target of ethnic hate campaigns are the poor and weak that is wandering in every region to make ends meet and raise it’s family. While the ethnic elite celebrates in hotels and abroad using as tool mobilized inocent youth and advance their ulterior political and economic power hunger from a distance. One thing is clear no war is good for no one and when that starts not artificial regions will survive and a lot of life will be shattered and every one will be affected and outnumbering in population is not a protection against the devastation of war. My two cents is yes enshrine the cultural and language protection laws but separate those laws from human justice and equality on regards to both rights perspective and from land and resource ownership perspective. The whole ethinic based region approach defeats and contradicts from the begining basic individual rights enshrined in the Constitution. Ethinic federalism should be abolished and the Constitution should be reviewed in benefit of all citizens that live in current Ethiopia not matter what their political inclination is. It should be done not for the elite but to guarantee peace and prosperity for generation to come. And the youth should think deeply on these matters before joining any unintended and manipulated moves as they also will be tomorrow father’s, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers.
One good solution to solve current Ethiopian issue would be to make afán Oromo language a national language in pair with Amharic like other bilingual countries and abolish the ethnic region system and have a clause that enshrines all land, wealth and resource that is in Ethiopia is to be shared equally across all Ethiopians as birthright like some countries do
The writer is based on his dislike on amharan peoples.
well its obvious who the author dislikes isn’t it ??
………..Amharic speakers must thus choose the alternative: give more support to groups like Ginbot 7 who promote individual rights and civic nationalism, instead of wasting their capital on supporting Amhara nationalism………
Do you think citizenship politics can function only by Amharas and some groups from south? why don’t you work in other regions like Oromia and Tigray? Ethiopia should not survive in the expense of Amhara but all ethnic groups. Amhara nationalism is a must at-least to benefit the people in the region to organize politically, socially and economically.
Amhara ethnonationalists are obfuscating the debate. Why raise ideas that OLF and ONLF dumped as umpractical 20 years ago ?
Why accomplish the daydream of the dead corpse Meles Zenawi by putting Amharas in a collision course with Oromos, Gurage…and everyone else ?
Facts – from an educated Amhara :
– The “genocide” against Amharas does not exist and is pure fabrication.
– People who hated the idea of a united Ethiopia committed crimes against Amhara people.
– The quest for “pure Amharaland” will result in a war of everyone against everyone that will send us back to the stone age (and all our problems will still be there when its finished).
– All that has been done to weaken Ethiopianism targeted Amhara as main proponents of the idea of citizenship beyond ethnicity.
It is absolutely necessary for Amharas to regain all the lands stolen from them. There won’t be oeace in Ethiopia untill then. Peace should not depend on the silencing of the Amharas. Historical facts can’t be denied.
Even Mussolini’s facist propaganda in 1939 stated his war was reclaim Amharas. He didn’t even bother mention any other ethnic group. This ofcourse was documented by the central Inteligence Agency other wise known as the C.I.A. Amharas have fought to keep Ethiopia according to its true meaning. Aleph-Tav which represents God and the rest means beauty. That was the word used by Moses before the rabbis murdered the Levit priest ordained by God and took the seat of Moses to rewrite the bible in Ashurit scripts replacing the word Ethiopia with Cush. Amharas kept the Tabot to its letter while Galla/Oromos and others fell into the trap of roman catholicism, protestantism and Islam. Emperor Menilik II banned Protestant missionaries from entering Ethiopia. Whuch ended Johann Kraft stay in Ethiopia. His idea for the Gallas did die and it gave us today oromia. It was an idea Johann Kraft had introduced in 1856 as Ormania. So I disagree strongly. Amharas must exterminate Gallas from Ethiopia and regain their land. Gallas as the C.I.A refers to them in their declassified presidential debriefings, have killed King Fasil, rapped our women, castrated our priests and stole our lands. I say it is about time to exterminate them. Peace and tolerance we have tried for the past 400 years.It did nothing for Amharas. Today these same Gallas are taking our lands and beating our kids in board day light in our own capital city Addis Abeba.
Dear Ethiopia-Insight and William Davison,
It was with great interest when Ethiopia-Insight was established as another independent English Ethiopian news sight. We had hoped this sight would be an independent voice providing relevant news and in depth analysis of important issues at this critical time in Ethiopia’s history.
However, a recent article posted on your website titled “What is the point in Amhara Nationalism” was beneath the publication of a respectable news organization and unquestionably demeaning to millions of ethnic Amharas. We do not address our response to the author because we can clearly observe he has disdain for Amharas and incredulous that Amharas even exist. As such we are addressing this response to you, the owner and editor of Ethiopia-Insight. In the article, the author denies the existence of an Amhara ethnic group. While in the same article the author acknowledges the existence of other ethnic groups. It is at this point where you Mr. Davison as “editor”, should have deleted this article from your inbox.
An article that denies the existence of nearly 30 million people should be a non-starter because it gives reason to deny those same people any rights and worst a genocide, which has been enacted on Amharas since TPLF came into power.
It is extremely disappointing your news organizations allowed the publication of such poor and racist article. Other nationalist movements in Ethiopia are 40-50 years old. However, Amhara Movement is barely 3-years old and is now one of the main actors in the country but the author characterizes the Amhara Movement as toothless. National Movement for Amhara (NaMA) is the fastest growing political party in Ethiopia headquartered in Addis Ababa with close to 100 branches opened in less than a year. How can this organization grow so fast if Amharas did not exist and Amharas did not feel a need for political representation?? If you had observed the recent U.S. tour of the newly reformed Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) [not the old TPLF puppet ANDM], you would have seen packed attendance by thousands of Amharas engaged on important matters relevant to Amharas.
This article does not help in the current Ethiopian discourse but instead questions the true purpose and intentions of this news organization and yours (William Davison).
We expect a sincere apology from Ethiopia-Insight and you, Mr. William Davison for allowing an article that is blatantly demeaning and bigoted to be published.
We expect better.
Amhara Association of America
Thank you so much
You cannot have a serious discussion on ethnic nationalism when you refuse to acknowledge the existence of an ethnic group. The Amhara identity is real and has always been real. Such erasure and condescension of people’s identity will only strengthen ethnocentrist movements.
The writer has complete misunderstanding of history or is deliberately twisting it to his own interests . First of all it is a huge shame for any elite called a political analyst, to begin with a clam that Amhara doesn’t exist. Amhara ethnic a third of the population in Ethiopia. In-fact this ridiculous clam is what is making every single Amhara soul in the unity camp starting to question??? What is going on???. This is a complete illusion. Second, to cities in the central showa highlands, Amhara is not a new comer. The whole of Showa has always been the seat of the Amhara dynasty and the Amhara people. Denying this would’t bring any peace or future sustainable coexistence between the brotherly and highly inter-married ethnic groups in Showa. Specially the Oromo and Amhara whcih constitute 70% of the Ethiopian population. Basing your political analysis on false and twisted clams like the old times will only fire back. We need responsible elites that only base their analysis on truth. I have other things to say but I wouldn’t want to engage in any conversation with any one or group that doesn’t recognize my existence. That is not how you bring unity. To call me to unity you need to acknowledge that I exist. Thank you!!!
Others have said a lot, most of them baseless accusations, about entities that belong to Amharas. If a non-Amhara tells an untrue story about Amharas and the Amharas fail to respond, chances are that story will be taken as the “truth” just like the saying “a lie told over and over again shall turn to the truth”. While I encourage you to read what he had said in his lengthy article and have your say, I will have mine here.
The Article might have been lengthy but the point he tried to make was simple. He concluded that Amhara don’t exist but Amharic speakers in bold letters. He called Amhara nationalism “toothless” and is “failing” before it is even started. He labeled ANDM (the former one) as “Amhara Nationalist” and concluded ANDM’s failure in 2005 election was because ethnic Amhara do not exist and people do not want to cast their votes for an “ethnic entity” that they didn’t belong. He dared to say CUD (ቅንጂት) and G7 are the same and for Amhara G7 is the only way etc….
We are Amhara not Amharic speakers!!!
For the writer and all other disciples of Mesfin Woldemariam, how many times should we tell you that we exist for you to realize our existence? Should an Amhara, a sharp shooter one, shoot you between your eyes for you to see we exist?? We are the son and daughters of the biblical Yotor of Moriah, an ancient name for the shore of Lake Tana and Blue Nile basin. We are the possessors of a unique gene trait that will enable us to survive in highlands with scant oxygen, a trait that is only formed upon inhabiting a highland for more than 50 million years. We are the craftsmen of Axum and the goldsmiths of Ethiopia. We are the people that owned the royalty that kept Ethiopia safe for thousands of years. Where do you think Amharic language came from? The birds gave it to you? Absolutely not! We, Amharas, had to communicate with a fellow Amhara like everyone does. That resulted in to the creation of differnt languages including Ge’ez and Amharic. We are the creator of Amharic and Ge’ez languages and taught it for others. Others who learned the language from us are called “Amharic speakers” but the teachers are called Amharas. You are an “Amharic speaker” but I am unequivocally Amhara!
When your professor were confronted by Mesafint Bazezew in Suburban Washington DC and asked “why do you kept on saying Amhara don’t exist,” to which he replied “if you do exist raise up as Amhara,” we showed him a stadium full of Amhara singing “the foot prints of Da’amat”. We showed him a city full of rally singing “I am Amhara, what are you going to do about it?” [ አማራ ነኝ እንግዲህ ምን ጭንቅ]. We showed him a field full of Amhara singing “አረሱት”. He learned his lesson the hard way; it is just you፣his followers, that never learn.
ANDM is not “Amhara Nationalist”
The writer mentioned, “ANDM lost to CUD in areas where they both competed because Amhara ethnic identity does not exist”. That is the dumbest conclusion I have ever seen in my entire life. ANDM lost to CUD because ANDM was a consulate office of TPLF in “Amhara region”. The people of Amhara casted their votes for CUD over ANDM because they believed ANDM and TPLF are equally dangerous for Amhara as well as Ethiopia. ANDM, like you said, is not “Amhara Nationlist”. Even their nationalism is called “democratic nationalism” a nickname given to suppress, and in the long run destroy, proud Amharas leaving the rest of Amhara into complete subjugation. ANDM, as a Trojan horse of TPLF, have killed a large sum of influential Amharas (they call them ትምክህተኛ አማራ). In conclusion ANDM (especially the ANDM in TPLF era) has never been an Amhara Nationalist.
G7 and CUD are not synonyms
In addition to splashing cold water on Amhara struggle for survival and perpetuation, the writer was also desperate to sell G7 for Amharas. But what he didn’t realize is that persecuting Amhara nationalism and denying our existence as one entity won’t win you the hearts of Amhara. As a pioneer of erecting government and governance, not only in Africa but also in the whole world, Amharas like political reasoning to buy your political merchandise. To my knowledge, to everyone’s knowledge CUD was a coalition of five different political parties named Ethiopian Democratic league, All Ethiopian Unity Party, United Ethiopian Democratic Party-Medhin, Rainbow Ethiopia and movement for Democracy and social justice. If one has to associate CUD with G7, it should be with Rainbow Ethiopia of CUD not the entire CUD. The presence of AEUP (formerly All Amhara People Organization founded by the martyr Prof Asrat) within the coalition played a key role for the success of CUD in “Amhara region” and in areas where Amharas lived in mass. Taking CUD’s success in 2005 as a means to repair the damaged reputation of G7 is political naivety to say the least. CUD was a coalition that achieved a tremendous result within a short time span; G7 to the contrary is an absolute fiasco and an embarrassment to the Ethiopian politics.
The issue of Welqait, Raya, Metekel and Showa
The writer stated the issue of welqaite, Raya, Metekel and Showa as “a dead end” for Amharas. He advised Amharas to drop issues pursuant to those historical Amhara lands. That is not going to happen dude. That is a reckless underestimation of the power of Amhara by the way. We have now a warm blooded Amhara youth willing to die for their land. As the issue of Welqaite is a “dead end” to you, any political entity (such as your G7) and scholar that don’t recognize the welqaite, Raya, Metekel and Showa identity of Amhara are dead to Amharas. Period!
The whole point of Amhara Nationalism!
“Teaching the pop how to be a deacon”
The end goal of Amhara Nationalism, like you said, is not to establish “zones within Oromo region”. The end goal of Amhara nationalism is to safeguard our identity from scavengers such as yourself. The Amhara nationalism is the glue that will connect Amharas living in Gursum with Amharas living in Metekel. With the central dogma of Amhara nationalism a hit in the eyes of Amharas in Dembi Dollo, will hurt a lot in the nose of an Amhara in Midre Gagne (ከሚሴ). Did the Amhara nationalism achieve such a level yet? Absolutely not! But it will (let’s not forget it is a very young movement). No Amhara Nationalist despise a real “Ethiopianist”, it is just you the peudo-ethionationalists that we don’t want to see. For me, trying to teach Amhara on how to be Ethiopian is like teaching the pop on how to be a deacon. Exactly the same! Do you know how well I performed in my “Ethiopian History” course back in college? Not that I was special or something but I put too much love and attention to it. For me, the pleasure I used to get attending a history class every Saturday was more than the pleasure I used to get all the major classes combined!! That is the story of every Amhara. How many years will it take you to realize why Ethiopia is weaker and fragile now than it used to be more than 50 years ago?? When will you realize that the reason for Ethiopia to be in deep pit hole was a weaker Amhara following your repeated biting and backstabbing? Like I said Amhara Nationalism won’t let you establish a “New Ethiopa” over the grave of Amharas. We shall prevail and perpetuate at any cost and Amhara Nationalism is only and the high way!!
I read this article:
1. It denied our ethnic identity, by calling us “Amharic speaking Ethiopian population”.
2. It alleged that the people of Amhara have no a common heritage and don’t have shared values that could bring them together except real and imagined sense of victimhood.
3. The author alleged that ANDM (ADP) has been the bearer of Amhara Nationalism and ANDM’s failure is the failure of our Nationalism.
4. The author thought the ultimate goal of Amhara nationalism is to create multiple special zones across the nation, which could never materializ as per his understanding.
5. The author alleged that Amhara Nationalism have exacerbated and will exacerbate the suffering of the people of Amhara who live among and with other ethnic groups.
6. The author urged us automatically to abondon our nationalism and our salivation depends on embracing the fake unity camp G7.
If the author of the article had exerted a little effort and made a little bit research about the history of Amhara and Amhara nationalism, he would have saved himself from embarrassing and shameful assumptions, erroneous premises and unwarranted conclusions.
1. His assumption and premise of characterizing All Amharic speakers as Amharas is very big wrong. No need to explain further.
2. No other ethnic group in Ethiopia, can claim a greater and better common heritage and shared values like we, the Amharas. And our coomon heritages and shared values have been built on unshakable foundations. No amount of adversities, hostilities and persecutions from the Felasha’s Yodit Gudit to jehadist Gragne Ahmed, from the mass displacement and massacre by Oromo expansionism up to fascist Italy, from the massacre of Derg up to the systemic genocidal endeavour of the gulag system of TPLF deterred us to come out victories. Wherever we live and whatever our trade is, our common heritage and shared values follow us and live with in us. Our common heritage and shared values are manifested by our long and bold history, Abrahamic religions, vibrant culture and our beautiful languages. If anyone wants to know who the Amharas are, simply, go and read a single book, Wax and Gold. The author of the article miserably failed himself by coming with such a rubbish.
3. The author falsely alleged ANDM/ADP has been the proponent of Amhara Nationalism that its rejection by the Amhara people is the rejection of Amhara Nationalism. What a farce?! ANDM have never been and still is not the true bearer of our Nationalism. In fact, ANDM was a tool created and run by the enemy of our people until recently a pro democracy faction took control of its leadership. It’s with full knowledge and cooperation of ANDM that AAPO, the then legitimate party that represented our Nationalism, was dismantled and its beloved leader ,Pro. Asrat the true son of Amhara, was killed.
4. The author miserably assumed that the ultimate goal of Amhara Nationalism is to create multiple special zones across the nation. It’s not. The ultimate goal of Amhara Nationalism is to liberate all the Amharas that are held hostage by the gulag system put in place by our sworn enemies, to dismantle the apartheid like system and replace it with a humanly and most importantly with Amhara friendly governance system. And if our country must fall and disintegrate, Amhara Nationalism would make sure its debris will not fall on the shoulders of our people. In the event of the fall of the nation, Amhara Nationalism will make sure the indivisibility of our people’s unity and our historical territorial integrityto remain ours own, the Amhara.
5. The autho’s allegation that the Amhara Nationalism has exacerbated the suffering of Amhara people is unfounded and in fact it’s a reversal of the facts on the ground. The Amharas have been subjected for different forms of persecutions for the last 40+ years with having no a single voice to speak of their sufferings. Today it has ever become harder to persecute Amharas without paying a hefty political price. Today,we stand by Wolkayete and Rays Amharas with full force. Once we consolidate our base and have full control of it, we will make sure every single Amhara across the nation is safe and have equal protection as any other citizen of our country.
6. The author insidiously urges us that our salvation depends on the fake unity camp G7. That’s very much embarrassing. For the obvious reasons, G7 has failed the Amhara people. While amassing its finance and footsoldiers from the Amhara people, in so many instances, G7 promoted anti Amhara narrations and a political program that intentionally marginaliz the Amhara from its top leadership. All the so called the unity camp, in particular G7 people, want the Amhara people to serve their power lust; not to serve the inherent interests of the Amhara people. For the last 40+ years, the people of Amhara have been stabbed from all the corners of power and governed by proxy. We’ll never allow such a thing to happen henceforth. We shall be the makers and shapers our destiny.
Once more, the correct answer to Amhara nationalism, is to explain and convince that every suffering of the Amhara people :
– Atrocities in TPLF jails
– People displacement from Bench Maji, Benishangul, Harerghe lowland areas
– Simplification of essentially multicultural areas like Tsegede/Humera/Welkayit/Tselemt/Raya.
is due exclusively to a lack of Ethiopian patriotism and citizenship politics.
The Amharic language is the English of Ethiopia.
Thus Amhara region in Ethiopia have now the choice of being either like the culturally leading, economically prosperous and melting pot open America, or like shrinking, ever narrowing nationalist England.
Nonetheless the grandstanding and condescending tone will be counter-productive at this stage, 27 years of fabricated hatred can be dealt with the way Lemma Megersa is doing it for Oromos : educate, educate, educate…
your “scramble for Ethiopia” description was perfect! weyane and olf got the best peaces of land. the kaffa, hadiya and ancient southern ppl got screwed!
FYI, Amhara means mixed habesha people of the mountain. they were southern kushitic ppl of Aksum who spoke their own version of geez. there is no distinct Amhara tribe..its all made up!
ADP is a slave of ODP, just like ANDM was TPLF slave.
ADP’s tilahun flex muscle about wolkayt but never says word about Dera Woreda or Addis Ababa
Its all a game
I strongly believe distinct nations with their own languages, customs, history, geographic region and the resultant affinity toward members of such community will continue to exist in Ethiopia as it would all over the world.
The question for political leaders is how to create a political community in which all thrive and without offending anyone group. A political formula that corrects past ills and brings forth the good in all.
Ethiopia is a criminally injured country.
Teshomes article does not help in this regard.
Amhara elites have to do their homework, by educating the people about the benefits of Ethiopianism, just like Oromo elites did.
They have to forget exploiting tribalism to secure political concessions, Welkayit, or Amhara zones in Oromia. Will be a tough sell though b/c Oromos got so much saying “Gimme this and that or I will secede”.
Once tribalism is gone, and the right of settling freely is secured, people will start moving to develop the empty lowlands from the overpopulated highlands. A lot of problems will then be solved. Making people travel, intermarry and settle is the answer.
Your hate and bias started in the first paragraph “……have been working hard to get support from the Amharic-speaking Ethiopian population……. ” . You better name your journal “Old insight” instead of Addis Insight.
The website is called Ethiopia Insight.
Fantastic piece thank you, seems like a valuable contribution, any chance of it being translated into Amharic?
We don’t have a budget for translations currently. But it is one of the priorities for when we do have resources.
just read a lot before analysis ethiopia and the african horn are the origin of civilization even for ancient egypt, they are the home of refuge,justice according to all major religion chtistian muslim,judiasim so whe respect not only our tribe but also the whole world. so just read who u r and who r the one r writing & bieng rich is a challenge in front of true believer of any religoun.