Mikael Wossen, PhD.
In 1896, Atse Menelik scared and scandalized the racist European mindset – by maintaining the freedom of Ethiopians from European colonial plunder and slavery. He was called a barbarian by the Crispi leadership. His people, the Amaras, were incorrectly labeled as colonial “oppressors” by the Europeans, for heroically resisting and defeating a European power. Fear and racism combined, helped to create this warped consciousness.
Hence too, the lasting “Amaraophobia” embedded in the local “fifth column” ethnic politicos, whose parentage descends from Askaris. The latter were natives hired by the Italians for servitude and for military service against their own compatriots. These forces were organized as the TPLf, OLF & EPLF. The Askari-Banda crimes against humanity are still being committed, under a false pretext that Amharas are colonialists. In real colonies, all Caucasians were privileged by virtue of their race, not so with Amaras. Euro-Americans turned indifferent to the ongoing Amara genocide, and forgot the “never again” pledge. In fact, they support the genociders. Also, they are whining about Russia’s alleged “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine. Clearly, not all genocides are equal. Adorno rightly believed that propaganda consists in the “rational manipulation of what is irrational” and constitutes the “prerogative” of the totalitarians, and their native collaborators, we might add.
This manipulation of the white man by propaganda simmered like a volcano for decades, if not for centuries. The alleged inferiority of Africans was elaborated on and justified in great detail. It was said that the Africans were childish, and could not govern themselves. They had no history. Building a state was said to be beyond the capacity of tribal Africans. In 1936, after being declared persona non grata by Ethiopia, the Austrian Nazi Prochazka in his opus Abyssinia, The Powder Barrel- misleadingly wrote that there is no such thing as a united Ethiopia. Actually “the numerous peoples and tribes who inhabit the territory of the Ethiopian state and which differ in race, language, culture, and religion from the ruling minority proper, would long have thrown the Abyssinian yoke if they had been given the right to self-determination. Instead, they are being forcibly kept from European influences and the advantages that progressive colonialism could confer upon the country (trans. by Aleme Eshete, 2008).This shameless white supremacist labeled the enslaving, exploitative, and neck/hand-chopping European colonialism as a “progressive” force. This progressive opportunity was allegedly denied to Ethiopians, because of the evil Menelik and Amharas.
Prochazka’s paranoia and lies were extreme. He was worried that Ethiopia’s victory and independence will influence other colonial Africans to unchain themselves from colonialism. For instance, the Kenyan neighbors would no longer refer to whites as Bwana (Master). He was of the opinion that the white and “civilized” West had to immediately abort Ethiopians’ deleterious influence on Africans. Together with Japan, he wrote, Ethiopia was engaged in a “life and death” struggle against the white European powers.
He argued that the degree of hatred and contempt Amhara’s exhibit towards whites must be curbed by any means and before it spreads to the neighboring regions. As long as Ethiopians remained independent, free, and united, the future of the white man in Africa was in danger.
The first word, he claimed, that white foreigners hear in Ethiopia is “dirty” (or koshasha). Whiteness is a word of insult among pride-filled Amaras. Foreigners are seen as koshasha ferenji, and as “white dogs.” Ethiopians actually see themselves as superior to whites, and perceive themselves as being the only masters of their land, and believe in maitre chez nous. They are adept at exploiting and humiliating the foreigners who came to work in Ethiopia, he wrote. An Ethiopian with dirty and tattered clothing is given priority in services and respect. He urged that we cannot afford to wait until fellow whites are massacred mercilessly once and for all. White Europe cannot indulge these savages and include them amongst the civilized nations of the world. Europe’s “laisser faire, laissier passer” policy must seize. He suggested that for the safety and security of whites, Ethiopia needs to be conquered and placed under British suzerainty. His book was translated into all foreign languages and served as an instruction manual for European embassies, and their foreign ministries.
Amaras were demonized and de-Africanized instantly after Adwa. Because they had decisively defeated a white army, they were said to be closer to the so-called Caucasian race. The whites could not accept being defeated by an African army, hence the racial re-engineering of Amaras. Prochazka alleged that Ethiopia’s two-tiered law favors natives, and is punitive towards whites. He mentions a bar in Ethiopia, where whites are welcomed as “pigs” and regularly abused by Ethiopians. He heaps tons of false allegations against Ethiopians.
To get to the irrationality and original misdiagnosis of the problem of this alleged Amhara’s original sin, certain analytical distinctions are in order.
As the CIA psych op. and prominent “Ethiopianist” the late Paul Henze (Layers of Time, 2000) pointed out “Shoan predominance and Amhara domination” are different matters, or “not the same thing.” As such, they need to be decoupled from each other. This is crucial to understanding Prochazka’s misdiagnosis. Namely, Shoan-Amara domination was effectively crushed by the Mengistu regime in 1974. An ardent TPLF supporter and godfather, Henze also acknowledges that “in actuality the core Amhara regions-Gojjam, Begemeder and Wollo… were at least as neglected as Tigrai in the allocation of developmental resources during the entire period.” (Henze, 2000) The ” entire period” refers to the century misleadingly characterized as a period of Amhara dominance and even “colonialism,” by hostile whites and Bandas.
Yet, in the period of what was Shoan-Solomonic predominance, the Amara population of Ethiopia had no preferential privileges whatsoever. It fared no better politically or materially than its Tigrean or Oromo compatriots. During the pre-revolutionary days of Shoan supremacy, the great majority of the Amhara population has always been as deprived and as poor, if not poorer than its Tigrean-Oromo compatriots. Condemning these impoverished farmers as “colonials” is part of a long-standing irrational foreign (European) doctrine to dissolve Ethiopia, and to rule the divided and tribalized population as European colonials.
After Adwa’s thrashing, Ethiopians were hated and demonized for having, militarily and politically, defeated the European-Askari army, thereby snuffing out imperial-colonial ambitions. Their victory fired up the logocentric imagination and anti-colonial indignation of the darker people worldwide.
Just as Europe questioned the blackness of Amaras, it also questioned the Caucasianess of Italians, who could not even defeat an African army. This ignited fascist Mussolini’s rage and framed his attempt at chemically conquering Ethiopia. He ordered his fascist soldiers to kill Amaras indiscriminately, and labeled them as “dogs’ ‘ in his leaflets, addressed to Tigreans (Parlesak,1989). He ordered them not to feed hungry and wounded Amhara-Arbegna soldiers, but to murder them ruthlessly. Butcher Graziani instructed his commanders to pitilessly and speedily exterminate “Amhara chiefs, great and small” (I. Campbell, 296, 2010) to avoid further trouble. He also ordered the elimination of the Tewahido clergy and monks. Fascism and Catholicism joined hands to conquer Ethiopia.
In the end, the criminal fascists lost Italy’s war again, and were kicked out unceremoniously. In time, the African continent was alight with liberation wars that aimed to throw out the colonialists. Both, Prochazka’s fears and Menelik’s vision, were thus realized to a certain extent. In time, Ethiopia began to be ruled by Italy’s native servants. These native Bandas (Meles & Co.) put in practice (constitutionalized) their masters Amarophobic and tribalization ambitions. Prochazka and Mussolini became history, while their irrational and hate-filled ideas remained to bedevil Ethiopians. Only the leadership of the EPLF has lately disavowed this mistaken Amarophobic position. A brutal and murderous movement towards Oromuma ethno-fascism and Pentecostalism is currently in progress, and is led by the voluntarily colonized.
Atse Menelik remains Ethiopia’s Eternal Emperor!
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What is the point of this extremely one sided article? I am Greek, therefore white and i had the privilege to live and work in your beautiful country for the last 5 years. I got nothing but love and respect for the Amara. In fact i was living in Gondar for 4 years and i am happily married to an Amara woman. I got many friends also so i can say that i know a few things about, Amara and Ethiopia culture and pride.
First of all, i want to point out that bagging all white as being racist and evil colonialists that have hatred for Amara specifically is narrow minded, unfair and it shows ignorance of the international community.
The disgusting racist Prochazcka of course was an enemy of the black people and an evil soul, but he represents a mentality that was defeated (do you realise it?) with the end of WW 2. People have changed their mentality and in advanced countries there is very little racism and many people intermarry and huge demonstrations are held all over the world to support the struggle of black people. Not to mention the billions that Ethiopia received in the last 30 years.
So instead of pointing your finger to the easy target, the koshasha farenji that come to steal your land nad women, look at your own self and ask, what do you have to show? You were never colonized, you are a famous country worldwide because of your history, you never been colonized and you are a big country with young energetic ambitious population.
You got to understand my brothers….it is now more about black or white and race its just about poor and rich. So do your self criticism and realise why you are failing another generation..why don’t you get angry about your own leba? You get angry with the English because they “bought” stole some religious books and some crosses…but do you know that the British museum has one floor for stolen ancient Greek artifacts (our best) and another floor with Egyptian artifacts. When we ask them back can you imagine their answer. That we don’t have a proper museum and it better for us that they are displayed in the British museum!!! Is this answer racist? (Mind you we both white). Of course it is..but much more it shows the dynamic between a big strong rich country (England) and a smaller, poorer and more dependent country (Greece). Can you see where this goes….
So my Ethiopian brothers its time for some self criticism and catharsis. More over i urge you to start fact checking and questioning everything you hear or read. There is no excuse for ignorance and gullible belief of mythical stories. History is a science, study it. Nowadays we have all the knowledge of the world accessible through our smart phone. Be informed.
So,dear author you should know that it is well documented from different sources that your emperor Menelik claimed that he was not black, but in fact Caucasian!! This idea stemmed from the superiority complex that Habesha people were superior to other Africans , a claim that still persist today. Don’t you call darker people bareo?? Why don’t you inform your readers that in order to get the Italians out of Ethiopia you signed and agreement that gave Eritrea to the Italians, therefore making Ethiopia a landlocked country, with all the disadvantages this creates. You didn’t achieve a decisive victory over the Italians (which is nothing to be ashamed of since their army was very modern, they had airplanes and you had the ugly “privilege” to be the first people to be sprayed with the chemical called “mustard gas”). So the Emperor was forced to diplomacy to end this carnage. And in diplomacy you wim some you loose some. Menelik saved Ethiopia by sacrificing Eritrea and thats is facts. You see i know enough of Ethiopia, to have an opinion, unfortunately i am talking about the negatives today and not about the many incredible characteristics that consist the habesha identity.
This brings me to my last point. I faced a kind of racist behaviour in Ethiopia especially after i got married. When i was single and living in Gondar i would hear some ugly words from time to time,but it would be from drunk or crazy people. I made friends for life in Gondar and on 99% of the time i was feeling very welcomed. It changed a little with the Corona virus where people started yelling China, or fuck you, or CORONA! But that also stopped after a few weeks.
The real change that affected me and eventually made me want to come back to my country happened after j got married. I believed that i would be more accepted and included, something that i would really like because i got nothing but love and respect for the culture. Surprisingly that when i saw the ugly face of discrimination. Random people at restaurants were trying to provoke me into fighting, Ride drivers would ask my wife if she is with me for the money(in front of me while driving) , they would ask her why is she fckng a farenji and not them! It got so annoying that my wife no longer wanted to go outside the house with me. Or we would walk on the opposite side of the street so that we don’t attract attention.
So, please brothers don’t be so fast to point fingers and blame others for your misery. Since 1935 it’s been 98 years!! 98!! Stop whining. Look inside your hearts, don’t loose another generation. 3% of your students wrote 5 or higher in the university exams. This is so much more important than your pride or your tribe, isn’t it? Ethiopia has been the number 1 recipient of international help for the last 30 years 1 billion per year. You will say that junta stole it. Maybe, but if you have been in Tigray, ha it certainly didn’t go to the Tigrean people. So who took it? Why you don’t get angry that one of the billioners in Ethiopia is a woman that is selling chat! There for harming the youth and making billions. Now, But you choose to point fingers to others because this woman is you, the junta is you, Emperor Menelik and Taitou is also you. Me is also you my brother. What do i have to divide with you, nothing. Let us understand that the struggle is between the rich and the poor. Instead of eating eachother why not eat the rich? Color has nothing to do anymore.
Iam from somaliland your article attracts me.
Congratulation how well you explained that the problem is not black and white
I hope the so-called intellectuals among us would wean themselves off silly shenanigans like this one. It will not serve anything for the good of those upright people. In fact it will perpetuate and even create new animosity among people that supposed to live in peace and harmony.
Menilik II was a traitor and genocider mutilating children and women and fanos did all crimes in most gruesome manner
amhara elites history is stuffed with war crimes and satanism
It is all a matter of perspective, the less data between the ears, the grandest the exaggerated-opinion copied from their trusted cadres…
I am sure there are some Oromo-intellectuals today (including those who said “the first man God created was Oromo”…) who support TPLF and condemn and vilify Abiy the same way…
They forget that they are a product of a FREE society because of the sacrifices & Victory Atse Menelik II has championed. But Ignorants among us fan their inherited-ignorance around as if it was true.
No matter the power & insistence of these assailants, Truth will live on!!!
Colonialist propaganda targeted the Amhara for the usual ‘divide and rule’. Like everywhere else in multi ethnic nations, without exception, one particular group tends to ‘lead’ or dominate and Ethiopia’s case was no different. There was a time when the Zagwe, the Adal Sultanet, the Yejju, and even Tigray, to mention a few, dominated in Ethiopia at different periods. Tigray’s emperor Yohannes in 19th century was the fourth king with the same coronation name hence he was called Yohannes IV b/c there were three other king Yohannes’s before him in Gondar at different times.
The author just quoted from other books but without quotation marks. He also mentioned Colonel Parlesak’s translated book in 1989 by Ethiopian engineer Teshale Tchane. The original was published in 1948 in Prague. The colonel wrote what he observed during the second war with Italy in which he was one of the commanders on the Ethiopian side. In one of the pages there was Dejazmach Haile Selassie Gugsa of Tigray who went over to the Italian side. A Greek merchant who also resided in Tigray was also working for the Italian fascists in secret and he was the one who befriended the Tigrayan ruler through his sister’s relationship with the Dejazmach. Col Parlesak was there when the merchant was caught and put in chains. That guy was the exception though, and not the rule.
On Yekatit 12/Feb 19, 1937 fascist Italians by the order of Graziani killed tens of thousands of Addis Ababa residents in most gruesome ways. Thousands of Amhara men, women and their children were rounded up and shipped to Genalle/Denalle in Somalia on backs of big trucks. Many died on the long journey. Those who made it there became slaves on banana plantations where many more perished.
Long before 1896 Menelik II had figured out colonialists were coming. Long before he became king, Gobenna Datchie had joined king Haile Melekot of Shewa, Menelik’s father, in an effort to stop the inter-tribal war of the Oromo. When the Oromo regional ruler, Werkitu, captured Menelik after his escape from Tewodros’s Mekdela prison, she meant to trade the young prince off for her son who was also in Mekdela jail at that time. But news came back that Tewodros had killed her son already and she believed that can only be the work of God and sent Menelik on his way with her own soldiers and horses for additional protection. A Tewodros appointee was ruling Shewa by then and Gobenna was one of his generals but switched sides to Menelik’s. Ever since that day Menelik and Gobenna would ‘widen’ the Shewa authority over most of Ethiopia through battles and diplomacy. By the time Yohannes IV was killed in a major war in Metema, there was no question who was gonna be the next king. After he consolidated his power Menelik was poised to be emperor of Ethiopia. Dej Mekonnen, his two brothers and two dozen entourage were sent to Rome on diplomatic mission but the coronation had to wait b/c Menelik was mourning Ras Gobenna’s passing. When Mekonnen came back from Europe and Palestine, Menelik met him in Mekelle where he went to stop the civil war among the Tigrayan Princes there. Mekonnen had missed his cousin’s crowning ceremony in Addis while he was in Rome but he was awarded additional territory of Tchertcher on top of Harerghe and the title of Ras all in the same day. The year was 1891.
The Shewan empire was a mixture of powerful chiefs under Menelik II. Amhara at times meant just Christian in many parts of Ethiopia. There were powerful Muslim chiefs with their own vast territories and armies within that empire. Historians to this day have difficulties finding out the ethnic backgrounds of many leaders. Balcha is one such historical figure. According to some writers he was very little when his mother was escaping a raid by Oromo warriors and they had captured and disfigured him. He was mogassized into Oromo but he always thought of himself a HAMMARIE. There are still a few thousand Hammar sub-tribe Gurage in the former Shewa province. He was a teenager when Ras Gobanna’s army captured him. He was raised in Menelik’s palace and put in charge of the treasury with the title of Bejirond. In the 1896 war he was promoted to Dejazmach for heroism and ruled over the rich province of Sidama and at times Harerghe before he sided with queen Zewditu against H/Selassie and went to jail for it. He is believed to be nearly 80 when he made a daring attack on fascist occupied Addis Ababa in 1937 with other resistance fighters. An eye witness nephew saw him mowed down with machinegun near his birth place while he shouted FUKERA “Balcha ZE HAMMAR” as he always did and fired back the last of his own bullets. The great Balcha Aba Nebso Safo was no more.
Haile Selassie was back in Omedla, Gojjam in October 1940 where he hoisted the flag for the first time in nearly five years. The resistance fighters who had to cross to British occupied Sudan had joined him. Among those were many Oromo that refused to listen to the British evil propaganda of ‘divide and rule’. Meanwhile the traditional ruler of Gojjam, Ras Hailu, had been serving the Italians for the whole five years of occupation. When the emperor was leaving Debre Markos to Addis Ababa, the Ras offered his Alfa Romeo for free but he was turned down. The great resistance fighter Dej Belay Zeleke was in control of vast part of Gojjam throughout the fascist occupation and while he was respectful to the emperor he didn’t like the British that came from Sudan. Fitawrarie Worku Sinke, father of the great soccer star Mengistu Worku, and Col. Wingate have succeeded in calming down the great Belay and things went smooth for a while. In Gondar fascist Italians dug in and even Asmara was freed before that old capital city did. The British Airforce and artillery was badly needed to finish off the Italian fascists.
The Italo-Ethiopian wars are very unique in recent world history. No Black nation did put up so much resistance against European colonization both in scope and magnitude. The infamous Mussolini speech from the balcony is often mentioned in popular culture to this day. The first time I saw that b/w footage on TV I was probably four or five. And I thought it was a comedy movie. Mussolini was hanged by Italians themselves. Libya was compensated with billions of dollars. Ethiopia got spare change in comparison. Still no apology from Vatican for the pope’s blessing of fascist tanks on their way to Ethiopia.
To add insult to injury, leftist students in Europe, America and at home adapted theories of two of the worst leaders in history-Mussolini and Stalin. Karl Marx himself had a very low opinion for Blacks in general and he was their hero. The ethnic-KILILization of TPLF and Mussolini’s are very similar, except for the fact even Mussolini put Welkait, Tegede, Telemt and Raya in Amhara.
That is the problem, the minority in our mix, so called ‘intellectuals” have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the colonialist-propaganda, which the colonialists put together purposely to keep us BACKWARD-THINKERS so that they keep stealing our resources while we fight about “yesterday” wasting today instead of using our time-today working to innovate & progress to make our tomorrow better.
No, No, No, we must keep looking in the rearview mirror criticizing what our ancestors collectively achieved or failed to achieve. Let the historians worry about yesterday, we are BORN today, to do what is needed now so that the future generation STOPS pointing back, and keeps moving forward and uses its time to innovate making tomorrow better for everyone.
If the Chinese were engaged in their yesterday bad-times of the “opium wars’ ‘, they would still be where they were in the 1970’s.
No, No, No, they refused to waste their precious-time talking about yesterday, instead they chose in the 1980’s to move-forward , learn, innovate so that they and their children will have a better tomorrow.
As a result they moved China from the 10-most-poorest nations list in 1980 to the #2 richest nation in the world.
10 poorest in Asia
China in #1 spot , India in #6
Source = youtube.com/watch?v=YkM1XzJ1Ky8
China & Ethiopia:
Both China and Ethiopia were the #2 and #3 poorest nations in the world in 1980, respectively.
China exited the list in 1984 (in the first 4 years)
Ethiopia exited the list in 2012/13 ( in #2 SPOT for nearly 20 years, and out after 33 years in the list)
Source = youtube.com/watch?v=AHhK9wQ1ZW0
China in 40 years moved from the #2 poorest in1980, to the #2 largest economy in the world in 2023.
China is going to be the #1 LARGEST ECONOMY in the WORLD in the coming years, simply because they CHOSE to LOOK FORWARD.
PLEASE START looking FORWARD, so that you and your children can live better, plus it is very lonely & sad to be in the bottom #2 again… especially with 5 times the population this time, than last time Ethiopia was #3 & #2 poorest.
Like the old saying goes:
ምከረው ምከረው፣ ካልሰማ መከራ ይምከረው።
This is a good article. It also reveals the ultimate problem, which happens to be the fake emperor who named himself “Menelik II”. By continuing this fairytale of Solomon and Sheba, he effectively brought about the demise of Amharic speakers. By taking Tigray culture and attaching it with the Shewa empire, it bridged a false narrative between the two regions. Instead, he should have made Shewa culture dominant.
The fake emperor also sold Eritrea to Italy, just like Teferi sold Jabuuti to France. These two made Abyssinia landlocked. These mistakes brought economic devastation, such as famine and drought. This is the real reason for all of the ethnic uprisings over the past few decades. If people are poor and hungry, they will be angry and they will fight. They will want freedom from repression.
If our country did not suffer from poverty, we would have less complaints. Unfortunately, that is not the case. So who else can they blame other than “Menelik II” and his supporters, which he said were the “Amharas”.