By Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni
Let’s stop confusing the Ethiopian flag with the Insignia and Emblems of Ethiopia’s changing regimes. Each Ethiopian regimes from Emperor Menelik to Emperor Haile Selassie and from the Derg Regime to the TPLF regime adopted their own insignia and emblems and inscribed it on the Ethiopian flag. Those insignias and emblems were changing as the regimes change.
Let’s briefly see the insignias and emblems of the past Ethiopian regimes. Under Emperor Menelik, it was the initial of Menelik himself in Amharic, “M”. Under Emperor Haile Sellasie, it was the Lion with a Crown on it. Under Derg, it was some sort of “hebretsebawinet” designed by artists. Under the TPLF regime, it is the star dubbed as “Ambasha”, a local ethnic Tigrean bread.
There is no surprise to see the Ethiopian people reject and demand the removal of the emblem of the hated and most repressive and criminal group in Ethiopian history, the TPLF from the Ethiopian flag. In fact, for most Ethiopians, waving the red, yellow and green Ethiopian flag without the TPLF insignia and emblem is part of the resistance movement and part of the regime change demand for the last 27 years. It seems near certain that the TPLF regime emblem will be removed from the flag in a very short time once the transformation process is completed.
Here is where the confusion arises. The TPLF regime insignia on the Ethiopian flag and the flag itself is not one and the same. The Ethiopian people can rightly and legitimately reject the TPLF regime insignia. But, rejecting the Ethiopian flag or associating the Ethiopian flag with one particular regime, ethnic group or religion or region is entirely another thing.
The Ethiopian flag is the flag of all Ethiopians. All Ethiopians from all regions, religions, and ethnicity died for this flag and for the honor of it. The Battle of Adwa, Machew, Ogaden and many other battles that kept Ethiopia independent, sovereign and proud are fought under this flag. All the heroes and heroines we have as a people and as a country died for this flag. Despising this flag is despising them all. That is totally unacceptable and morally reprehensible.
Furthermore, the Ethiopian flag is not Ethiopia’s flag only. It is an African flag. The Red, the Yellow and the Green colors are now African colors. Most African countries adopted these colors as the flag of their liberation struggle inspired by Ethiopia’s victory at the Battle of Adwa. All Ethiopians should be proud of this magnificent history.
Stop Confusing the Ethiopian Flag with the Insignias and Emblems of Ethiopia’s Changing Ethiopian regimes or by associating the Ethiopian flag with one particular regime, religion or ethnicity when the flag has no particular association with any one of these groups.
The Ethiopian elites, media, and activists should behave responsibly and act prudently in matters of national concern such as the flag and national unity and harmony among our diverse, multicultural,s multireligious and pluralistic country.
Editor’s note : Birhanemeskel shared this post first on his facebook page.
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“…the hated and most repressive and criminal group in Ethiopian history, the TPLF…”
Really? Worse than Communist Derg’s Red Terror that massacred over 100,000 Ethiopians, charging victims’ families for the bullets?
Although I don’t agree with some of the ideas in the article, I fully support that the real and uncontested flag of Ethiopia is the Green, Yellow, Red without any symbols of any govt or group on it.
I want to ask the writer and this website to push for a refferendum vote to be made by the people so we can constitutionally enshrine this “clean” flag as our flag forever!
I would like to ask the writer to clarify the following questions:
What does a flag symbolise or stand for?
Who created the first flag of Ethiopia?
Who has the right to choose and adopt the flag of Ethiopia?
I hope you will answer my questions.
It is mind boggling how trivial things are over exaggerated, and overblown by some Ethiopians. The issue of the flag does not deserve the time and energy rendered towards this cause, only so that they see their views represented. Mr Gurhan’s questions above are worth pondering on. The notion that we continue the historical trend very well outlined by the author of this article and change the looks of our flag with ever administration is a senseless act, and needles to say would draw no consensus among Ethiopians. Debating over such a trivial matter would only open a pandora box that would instead of bridging among the various diverse Ethiopians would only further introduce a rather more divisive opinions of what should be done about it. For those who continue to push for the green, yellow and red flag, the current flag is mostly those colors. Thus for peace sake, let us not continue this nonsensical drum that might only drive a wedge among our very own opinionated Ethiopians.
The author should speak for himself only. That flag was imposed on my ancestors after Menelik’s empire expansion. People died under that flag once it had already been imposed on them.
A flag is not a cocktail to enjoy when you feel like it. No government should change the look or the symbol it represent unfortunately so far it has been changed four times. Enough is enough put it back as it was. The flag existence MUST be engraved in writing under the new constitution hopefully soon.