Former South African president,Thabo Mbeki ,is one of the many African leaders who understood the political,social,cultural and historical context and importance of Adwa victory not just for Ethiopia but to Africa as well. He is cited by Ethiopians everywhere for his remarkable speeches about Ethiopia and its inspirational role in the struggle for freedom from the yoke of colonialism.
Guess what? he was invited to celebration of the 121st anniversary of Adwa Victory in Adwa Ethiopia. And it seem that he had lots of things to teach Ethiopian leaders in just a matter of ten or so minutes.
Reflecting on the essence of Adwa, Thabo Mbeki said that Adwa victory is a victory for all the people’s of Africa.
He had a message relevant for good governance and beyond,too.
“Adwa teaches a principled and determined leadership,” he told high ranking Ethiopian officials including president Mulatu Teshome and Tigray region’s president Abbay Woldu – whom many Ethiopians see as Tigay ethno-suprmacist with enmity towards Amharic speaking Ethiopians.
As well, Thabo Mbeki reminded Ethiopian officials that Ethiopia is the seat of African Union and that it is not by accident highlighting its role as an inspiration to Africa.
The current Tigray People’s Liberation Front led administration in Ethiopia attempted for decades to trivialize Ethiopian history and its struggle to maintain its independence including the importance of the battle of Adwa.
Apparently, the political motivation to do so was the lust to glorify seventeen years of guerrilla struggle by Tigray People’s Liberation Front,which in fact had state sponsors which exploited it as a tool in order to weaken Ethiopia, against military government of Mengistu Hailemariam.
This year, the government took a different turn so much so that it encouraged celebration of 121st anniversary across Ethiopia and invited African dignitaries like Thabo Mbeki to the historic battle site in Adwa, northern Ethiopia.
Is it the case that the government in power learned that it was a mistake to undermine Adwa Victory – among other historical achievements of Ethiopia? It does not seem to be that way. It is possible to highlight at least two signs that it is not the case. First, it is projecting the victory of Adwa in a way to be a tool for what its calls “development” propaganda. Secondly, the TPLF led government is trying to inject ethnic sentiment to the history of Adwa victory in a way to hail chauvinist ethnic supremacist sentiment to glorify Tigray ethnicity. Ethiopia is became an ethnic based Federal state under the leadership of TPLF.
In some sense, it is surprising that the administration invited a person like Thabo Mbeki who could tell them about Adwa victory like it is. Below is his speech today at Adwa.
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