Protest in Gondar chanting “I will never give away my country to somebody else”
In the old days, even before the coming to power of the ruling party in Ethiopia, region as opposed to ethnicity used to constitute a part of one’s identity.
People from Gojjam for example used to identify themselves as “Gojamme”, from Gonder as “Gondere” from Wollo as Wolloye, from Tigray – which considers with the name of the region- as Tigre, from Shewa as “shewe” e.t.c
And for people “hager” ( which means a country in Amharic language) mean both big and small. The very village they came from,not in the parochial sense of it, “hager” for them. Also the whole which is Ethiopia in this case is “hager”
During the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, there had been consultations with “bale hager” in various regions of Ethiopia under the leadership of “Rases” – a prestigious title in the years preceding the fall of imperial regime in what is now contested whether it was revolution or something else.
Oral tradition has it that the result of the consultations were astounding “No” to Italian rule over Ethiopia. Apparently, it was then that “Hageren lesewu alsetim ale” was sang by the locals as a motto of resistance against Italians.
Many people in Ethiopia seem to consider that the current ruling party – TPLF- is an ideological brain child of Fascist Italy – both in terms of the nature of repressive approaches and also in terms of its commitment to destroy if it is not meant to govern it indefinitely.
People in Gondar are singing it again in relation to the question of wolqaite in Gondar. If you don’t already know about it, people in wolqaite consider themselves as part of Gondar while the ruling party in Tigray and Addis Ababa is determined to make it part of Tigray.
The ruling party is already mobilizing in Tigray for propaganda purpose in what many speculate is a prelude to harsh military engagement.
Yet, people in Gondar are singing “hageren lesewu alsetim ale”
Cover Photo : screenshot from video