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Adwa Victory: Preparations for celebration, government restrictions 

Ethiopian Defense Force to oversee the coordination and celebration of Adwa Victory starting this year 

Ethiopian News _ Adwa Victory _ Addis Ababa
Emperor Menelik II statue in the heart of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. (Photo : SM)

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Ethiopia is getting ready to celebrate the 127th anniversary of Adwa Victory. The victory is the outcome of a battle fought against, under the leadership of Emperor Menelik II and Empress Taytu Betul,  the invading Italian Colonial Army on March 2, 1896. 

It has been widely believed that its significance transcends Ethiopia and its history. 

With radical ethnic nationalist forces in power for over thirty years now, there has been an attempt to first make its relevance appear dim and in more recent years an overt effort to separate Adwa victory from the leader that led to it, Emperor Menelik II. 

The move appears to be politically motivated as the foundation of radical ethnic politics in Ethiopia, especially radical ethnic Oromo nationalists, is essentially based on hostility to part of Ethiopia’s history under emperor Menelik. 

A poster used in a state-organized event this week in Addis Ababa regarding the upcoming celebration featured one of Emperor Menelik’s abled military generals, Balcha Safo and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The latter’s image was of military fatigue. Both pictures were in proportional size. Emperor Menelk’s nor Empress Taitu’s portrait was not seen anywhere in the poster. 

It triggered a passive reaction. Some social media users saw it just as a “stupid thing.” Others saw it as a manifestation of a dedicated effort to distort history by taking Emperor Menelik out of Adwa Victory narratives. Still, others saw it as a supposed clever agenda-setting effort to distract Ethiopians as the radical forces who are in power now are undertaking multifaceted projects whose goal is creating an Oromized Ethiopia. 

Even more radical actions 

There are reports, from local private Amharic news outlets, that the government is taking even more radical action to enforce that posters, pamphlets and t-shirts bearing emperor Menelik’s image are not circulating. 

Addis Maleda has reported that the Printing business in the capital Addis Ababa got a stern warning that they do not print a T-Shirt or poster with the Emperor’s image. Those who do not comply are said to be risking losing their business as the government has vowed to shut them down. 

Celebration place 

Adwa Victory has always been celebrated near Emperor Menelik’s Majestic Statue in the Heart of Addis Ababa.  But this year, it will be celebrated in different places. 

Addis Ababa Police on Tuesday released a statement saying that government officials will put a wreath of flowers near Emperor Menelik Statue in the morning, and then there will be a walk event to Adwa bridge. The bigger portion of the event is organized at Meskel Square. 

Information released by police also indicates that 53 roads will be closed in Addis Ababa for the event – but it will happen at different times. 

It will also be celebrated across Ethiopia. 

The Defense Force

This week, state media outlets reported that the Ethiopian Defense Force will be in charge of the Adwa Victory Celebration starting this year.  

An exhibition was launched by the Defense Force featuring the history of Adwa Victory.  

There are rumors that a military parade is organized for the celebration. Fighter jets were flying in Addis Ababa skies. 

The government did not release any information regarding that.

Online Celebrations 

It has been days since Ethiopians started celebrating Adwa Victory on different social media platforms. Portraits of Emperor Menelik and Empress Taytu have been inundating social media timelines for several days now. 

Ethiopian Diaspora Celebration 

Ethiopians in the Diaspora have the tradition of celebrating Adwa Victory. This year, those in London organized a stellar celebration that went viral on social media. 

Many other cities in the rest of Europe and North America are organizing celebrations. 

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