By: Berhane Tadese|
As an annual public event, The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association of New York and Global Alliance – The Ethiopian Cause organized a virtual commemoration program to pay tribute to victims of Rodolfo Graziani’s cowardly attack that claimed thousands of innocent Ethiopian lives on February 19, 1937, 86 Years ago, and Mussolini’s colonizer ambition to occupy Ethiopians at the Battle of Adwa in 1896,127 years ago, but Mussolini’s troops were defeated. The virtual Commemoration meeting was held on Saturday, March 4, 2023. I have an opportunity to participate in the event.
To memorialize these tragic events, we listened to the history of Adwa by the subject matter expert guest speaker Professor Raymond Jonas, the author of the book “ The Battle of ADWA African Victory in the Age of Empire.” We want to say Thank you, Professor Jonas. For the Yaktit 12 program portion, we watched a documentary video about one of the unsung patriots, Dejacmatch the Kebede Bizunesh. We learned a lot about Dejacmatch Kebede’s courageous contribution during the five-year Italian occupation. The story brings out courage and bravery in all of us. There are so many unsung and forgotten heroes unknown to Ethiopians. Their stories must be told. In memory of the dead in 2017 at Yekatit 12 commemoration program, guest speaker Dr. Girma gave a presentation to another unsung hero of the Ethiopian, i.e., Dr. Melaku. E. Bayne. Dr. Melaku established, in New York, “The Ethiopian world Federation Inc.” to mobilize and organize African American and the Caribbeans to stand courageously on the side of Ethiopia. There is no doubt that Dr. Melaku’s historic activism for just cause continues to stand tall for generations to come. Dr. Melaku died of a nervous breakdown at age 39 and was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York (visit https://www.woodlawn.org/conservancy/notable-residents/black-history/).
The contribution of our forefathers and mothers fighting against the Italian aggressor was remarkable; however, the aggression consequences were heartbreaking. Our ancestors were mocked, our dignity was stolen, and our people paid a heavy price.
We are so proud and deeply grateful to all of them. Historical awareness is one of the ingredients that shape our identity and restores national pride. Many histories are told in books, but attending commemoration day gives more understanding of the courage of our ancestors who shaped Ethiopia’s state over the past several decades. Our hope is that the courage, bravery, and love of the country of our forefathers set an example to the younger generation of Ethiopians to embrace Ethiopian unity.
Ethiopians fought against Italians on March 1, 1896, in Adwa (The Battle of Adwa), where the Italian armies ran in total disarray from the battlefield. They were resoundingly defeated. The battle of Adwa became a source of pride for Ethiopians and Africans. Our patriots strived under impossible conditions during the wars. We must remember this freedom we are enjoying now is given to us by our forefathers. We should not let the Yekatit 12 and the Battle of Adwa pass by without celebrating.
We must continue to commemorate each year to say “Thank You very much” to our forefathers for setting us free from the yoke of the Italian invaders. Long live Ethiopia!
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