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  • Prof. Adamu Walelign (Ph.D.)

Amhara Demonization: The Enduring Legacy of a Malevolent Narrative

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

Adamu Walelign (Ph.D.) is an Emeritus Professor of English at San Diego City College, California, United States of America.

The Critical Role of Narratives and How They Are Deployed

Few of us realize how much narratives affect the trajectory of our lives, and how critical it is for us to be adept at refuting false charges often circulated by malign actors to harm our standing in the world. Youval Harari asserts:

We humans control the world because we live in a dual reality. All other animals live in an objective reality; their reality consists of objective entities, like rivers, and trees, and lions and elephants. We humans live in an objective reality. In our world, too, there are rivers, and trees, and lions and elephants. But, over the centuries, we have constructed…a second layer of fictional reality, a reality made of fictional entities, like nations, like gods, like money, like corporations. What is amazing is that, as history unfolded, this fictional reality became more and more powerful, so that today, the most powerful forces are these fictional entities. Today, the very survival of rivers…and lions, and elephants depends on the decisions and wishes of fictional entities like the U.S., like Google, like the World Bank—entities that exist only in our own imagination…[1]

On any given day, we could find ourselves swatting down some trifling innuendo without getting bent out of shape over it, but, occasionally, what comes down the pike is such a sinister meshwork of blatant fabrications, laced with half-truths, which makes us out to be shape-shifting monsters, and try as we might, we cannot put it to rest. One such narrative, centuries in the making, has snowballed into an all-purpose charge, featuring the Amhara/Abyssinian people, as an evil bunch behind every calamity—except, perhaps, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. For instance, in Feb. 1975 (የካቲት 1968) the Tigray People’s Liberation Organization, the forerunner the TPLF, said:

During the reign of Emperor Yohannes IV, Tigray’s power grew, and it forced neighboring kingdoms to submit to its will. However, after Emperor Yohannes died and Menelik replaced him, Tigray came under the control of the Central government, at which point Amhara aristocrats and their retainers stripped Tigray of its independence, undermined its people’s unity, and, through overt and covert methods (Shoan dirty tricks) did everything in their power to turn Tigray into an oppressed nationality, where people are mired in illiteracy, disease, and famine, and are forced to discard their identity and adopt an Amhara one; where the land has been confiscated, and the people crushed by a multitude of challenges, forcing them to emigrate.[2]

Now, we might be tempted to debate the merit of this assertion, but that would miss the point. The aim here is to show that, despite its glaring speciousness, this assertion has remained undiminished in potency since 1975, which raises the question of why some narratives soar high in the ether, while others sputter and die a pitiful death! Three observations: First, a resonant narrative must go hand-in-hand with assembling a cadre of ardent boosters: Preached in homogenous echo-chambers, where participants marinate in each other’s half-truths day after day, any narrative can acquire the intensity of a religious creed! Second, how well a narrative succeeds in garnering support outside of the inner circle has less to do with its truthfulness, than with how well it aligns with the agendas and vital interests of powerful gatekeepers who control which narratives are told ad nauseum, which ones get savaged mercilessly, and which ones die in their infancy. (For an eye-opening discussion of this topic, see: “From Basma to Ethiopia—How C2FC Is Using Lethal Journalism…against Ethiopia”).[3] Thus, the anti-Amhara/Abyssinia narrative keeps going strong because it aligns with the agenda of powerful forces with a vested interest in keeping Africa forever fragile, and these forces see Amharas/Abyssinians as an impediment to this grand strategy! The final determinant of success is ensuring how strategically the narrative is deployed and which time-tested tactics are used—deploying it at a time and location of our choosing; defining our rivals before they defines us; compiling a list of dog-whistles--ትምክህተኛ (chauvinist), ጡት ቆራጭ (breast mutilator); never allowing the truth to deter us, etc. Thus, well-heeled terrorists, like TPLF, traffic in falsehoods all the time, yet its lies cost it nothing, while a storied nation, like Ethiopia, observes the Marquis of Queensbury Rules, yet it is denied a fair hearing and forced to fight with its “hands tied behind its back!”[4]

The Long and Meandering Evolution of ‘Abyssinian’/Amhara Demonization

The Portuguese Contribution to the Anti-‘Abyssinian’/Anti-Amhara Narrative

1667 is as good a starting point as any to anchor the time-line for the anti-‘Abyssinian’ narrative, since a series of notable events had occurred by this date: the Portuguese had arrived and helped defeat the Muslims, established a Jesuit mission—Fremona--near Adwa, Tigray; converted Emperor Susynios to Catholicism; tried to reform the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and recruit converts, and provoked a public outcry—forcing Fasiledes, the ‘Abyssinian’ emperor (whose reign would end that year), to expel all missionaries. This expulsion would give birth to the view that Abyssinians (a term often used as a condescending stand-in for Amharas) are unreliable people to work with,[5] a charge which would get a boost toward the end of the 18th Century, when the proliferation of warlords encouraged Europeans to descend on Ethiopian towns, in search of gullible warlords. Although many visitors would come to see the rulers in Gondar, because most tended to enter via Massawa, geography often dictated that they first visit the ruler of Tigray, where they would have their bellies filled, their secrets spilled, their gift-bags lightened considerably, and their mind primed with malicious mis-characterizations of the Amhara people and the ruler in Gondar, etc. Most of these would go on to publish ‘books,’ most often rehashing the same pseudo-historical sketches and tropes.

C. W. Issenberg and J. L. Krapf and the Damage Their ‘Journals’ Would Cause to Inter-Ethnic Relations

The journals which C. W. Issenberg and J. L. Krapf published, following their four-year stay at the court of King Sahle Selassie of Shoa would play a major role in further bolstering the anti-Amhara narrative. In their book,[6] these partisan authors spew anti-Amhara and anti-Orthodox tirades at every turn: They downplay Sahle Selassie’s need for constant vigilance-- surrounded as he was by hostile Oromos (see Levine, about Sahle Selassie’s plea to the people of Manz to break Matako’s siege against him p.p. 36-37).[7] Overall, their anti-Amhara rants, along with their diatribe against the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, would resonate with the Italians in 1935, and also re-surface in Sibhat Negga’s infamous boast: “የአማራንና የኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ቤትክርስትያንን አከርካሪ ሰብረነዋል,” which, roughly, means, “We have broken the backbone of Amharas and the EOTC”! We now see that the narrative has taken on an ethnic, as well as a religious, dimension!

The Tragic Aftermath of Emperor Tewodros’ Reign and Its Impact on Amhara Standing in the World

A cascading series of events in 1867-‘68 led to a conflict which would alter the trajectory of Ethiopian history: The successive deaths of Tewodros’ confidants, Bell and Plowden,[8] the incompetence of British clerks, whose sloppiness would result in Emperor Tewodros’ letter to Queen Victoria going astray; the change in leadership at the British Foreign Office; the impertinence of the Europeans in Gondar, and the enormous strain Tewodros was under would all cause Tewodros to mis-interpret the silence of Victoria—who, evidently, never got the letter—as a deliberate snub, and take out his anger on his European tormentors, some thirteen of whom he would imprison. In response, Britain would dispatch an expeditionary force--led by Robert Napier--to Ethiopia. Although hauling heavy weaponry up the steep escarpments and through the narrow passes of the north is a daunting task, Napier’s forces accomplished this easily, thanks to the help of one Tigrayan, and two Oromo chiefs--both drooling at the prospect of obtaining rewards. The Tigrayan chief, Ras Kahsai, who was willing to do anything to satisfy his lust for power, which, as we see below, was in sharp contrast to Wagshum Gobeze of Lasta, another rival of Tewodros’, who refused to help the British:

…Although Napier made it clear that he would not take sides, as Kahsai had asked, in domestic Abyssinian feuds, he gave him an assurance that he would ‘represent his friendship very favorably to Her Majesty the Queen of England and I felt sure that Her Majesty would then acknowledge his friendship very favorably in the way most gratifying to him’…The rewards that Kahsai wanted most were the destruction of the Emperor Theodorus, and his own succession to the imperial throne, (Bates, The Abyssinian Difficulty pp. 150-151).[9]

As for the Oromo chiefs, Worqit, and Mestawit--two wives of a recently deceased Oromo chief—were engaged in a bitter war against each other to control their late husband’s dominions, and were ready to do anything for British help:

When Napier came to deal with the [Oromos] … they did not complicate matters by making any pretense of acting on anybody’s behalf but their own…they made it clear that…they wanted a firm promise that the British would not merely make Theodorus release his …captives but destroy his power completely. Napier’s need of the [Oromos]’ help to prevent the emperor from eluding him was so great that in the end he gave them…an assurance in writing…to release the captives …[and] punish the emperor, (Bates, p.169).[10]

Unlike Ras Kahsai, Wagshum Gobeze, would not dirty his hands by aiding invaders. Although Napier tried to entice Gobezie, the latter would not even see him, liaising with him via a deputy instead. Even after Tewodros’ death, he would decline Napier’s offer for him to occupy Maqdela. Soon after the British left, Gobezie crowned himself Emperor Tekle Giyorgis II and demanded Kahsai’s fealty, but Kahsai, armed with the latest in British weaponry, had other ideas: far from swearing allegiance, he challenged, and routed, Gobezie, crowning himself Emperor Yohannes IV. The Tigrayan and Oromo chiefs’ critical help in a crisis allegedly incited by an Amhara king would lend further credence to the belief that Amharas were a hostile people Europeans could not work with, while the other ethnic groups were deemed compliant partners. Nor did it help that many of the ex-prisoners would go on to write scathing memoirs[11]—excoriating both Tewodros and Amharas as a whole. All of this would factor in future British foreign-policy decisions, and decades later, in the 1970s and 1980s, when, during the fight against the Derg, the West pointedly shunned multi-ethnic groups, like EPRP and backed the ethno-extremists. More importantly, when the West convened a meeting to form a transition government, in 1991, it invited only the leaders of the “Liberation Fronts”.

Baron Roman Prochaxka and His Anti-Abyssinian Vilification Campaign

The next milestone in the evolution of the anti-Abyssinian narrative came in the mid-1930s. Baron Roman Prochaxka, an ill-tempered Polish lawyer and fire-breathing bigot, published Abyssinia: The Powder Barrel, a propaganda booklet, whose goal was to portray the Amhara people as the devil-incarnate, and an impediment to Europe’s mission to colonize Africa. He especially hated the cadre of newly educated ‘Abyssinians,’ which foreshadows the brutal treatment the Italians would subject this group to--with long-term consequences:

…[T]he present Ethiopian Empire is not fit…to develop or follow a policy of its own; and that to allow it…to do so would be counter to the interests of all civilized nations and would seriously endanger the peace of the world. Moreover, the opponents of Imperialism should bear in mind that the numerous non-Amharic natives, tribes in Ethiopia, and this constitute by far the greater part of the tribal population of the empire, are themselves the victims of Abyssinian imperialism. It is therefore utterly mistaken to represent the Abyssinian usurpers as being in any way oppressed and worthy of protection (Forward).[12]

The Italian Invasion and Anti-‘Abyssinian’ Revenge 40 Years in the Making

On October 3, 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia, and, although its soldiers faced stiff resistance initially, they quickly snuffed this out, by illegally spraying the defenseless peasants with mustard gas and yperite! With early resistance crushed thus, the Italians proceeded to partition Ethiopia into ethnic/religious regions, and to single out Amharas for relentless humiliation: They introduced an ethno-religious pecking order, with Libyans at the top, followed by Somalis, Eritreans and Oromos—Amharas nowhere in sight! As for religion, they favored Muslims over Orthodox Christians, again putting the Libyans and Somalis at the head of the line. In Ethiopia under Mussolini, Sbacchi says: “…Oromo animosity toward the Amhara, encouraged by the Italians, became so bad that the Amhara…were reduced to the level of slaves,” (p.p. 157-158).[13] Further on, Sbaachi adds: “Employing Amhara in government offices and using the Amharic language in non-Amharic territories was prohibited” (p.159).[14] Worse measures would soon follow, with the massacre of educated Amharas: Rudolfo Graziani--whose hostility to educated Amharas was matched by his scorn for the clergy--set out to eradicate both groups: Using a failed assassination plot against him as a pretext, he ordered troops to open fire on a huge crowd of civilians—not only murdering everyone there--but also flushing out all the rest and shooting them on sight. Turning next to the clergy, he executed a respected bishop, Abuna Petros, and then dispatched troops to Debre Libanos Monastery, which they turned into a scene of unspeakable slaughter!

The Contemporary Period and the Home-Grown Anti-Amhara Vendetta

Moving next to the last thirty years, TPLF, installed by Herman Cohen in 1991, copied the failed Italian model and divided Ethiopia into ethnic enclaves. Notably, it removed the fertile regions of Wolqayit, Tegede, and Telemet, from the province of Begemidir, as well as Alamata, Raya and Qobbo from the province of Wollo, and annexed them to Tigray. Likewise, it took away Metekel, Wombera, and Guba from the province of Gojjam and combined them with land taken from the province of Wollega, to create Beni Shangul. These decisions would lead to the displacement and deaths of upwards of a million Amharas over 27 years! As for the still evolving events of the present era, the anti-Amhara carnage would reach its apogee in 2020-2021: The butchery began in November 2020, with the heinous slaughter of non-Tigrayan members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, by TPLF, precipitating the crisis in Tigray. Then came the massacre of over one thousand defenseless non-Tigrayans in Mai Kadra, in 2020. Also, in both Oromia and Beni Shangul, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of displaced, tens of thousands would die in the most-ghastly manner, which only a horror-movie director could imagine—hacking to death, burning alive, feeding to wild animals alive, and so on. Some cannibalistic monsters would not only butcher victims, but actually eat their hearts, kidneys, and livers, all of which they would wash down with the victims’ blood!! Most ghastly of all, pregnant women would have their bellies slit open, their fetuses ripped out, and--if still conscious—told to hold their ‘babies’![15]

Are the Amharas As Monstrous As They Are Made out to Be?

The Amhara people have been portrayed in such hyperbolic terms, that anyone not personally acquainted with them could go away with the image of some ten-foot ogre. This is because many people who spout sweeping assertions about Amharas usually know little to nothing about them. Perhaps an anti-dote to this exceedingly dark portrayal might be an alternative narrative, shared by many Amharas, and in some cases other Ethiopians: At the center of the average Amhara’s sense of self is the belief (ፈሪሃ እግዚአብሔር) that there is an omniscient God who will not allow one to get away with injustice of any kind. A related quality which permeates Amhara culture is ይሉኝታ--or the almost obsessive fretting about other people’s perceptions—which requires absence of hubris, and is quite out of step with a world obsessed with self-promotion and the tendency to say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”! At times, this holding-back is misread as something born out of weakness! Whatever others’ interpretations, Amharas prefer waiting to be recognized, to clamoring for the spotlight, and taking time to get to know people before swearing eternal friendship![16]

Amharas, in fact, take pride in having many admirable qualities: Even in dire circumstances, such as during famines, they believe in sharing whatever is available; yet, they would rather starve than eat the seed-corn needed for the next planting season, nor slaughter the oxen needed for ploughing the land, nor selling the cow providing the milk for feeding their children.* Whenever the country’s faith or sovereignty is at stake, Amharas have never hesitated to gather whatever clothing, provisions, or armaments they could muster on their own, and go into battle without any fuss. To be sure, Amharas--as indeed most Ethiopians--no matter how low their station in life--have a sense of self that is characterized by unfailing courteousness to others while maintaining a certain reserve—which may, to some people, come across as arrogance. Being part of a storied nation affects even an Ethiopian’s sense of his/her place in the racial totem-pole as being high, thus being blasé about a white person’s color. A couplet from a song’s lyrics goes, ጠይም ነች ጠይም ነች፣ ጠይም አሣ መሳይ፣ እኔ እናቷን ብሆን ለሰውም አላሳይ! (which extols a dark-brown maiden’s beauty to the extent that the lyricist says: “If I were her mother, I wouldn’t expose her to a stranger’s gaze). The upshot of this is that, such a demeanor can easily deflate the ego of a Caucasian accustomed to jaw-dropping adulation from the ‘natives’! (See Bates, p. 159,[17] and Parkyns, who has no qualms about using ‘nigger’ liberally, yet says): “…Strange to say, the Abyssinians quiz not only the whites about their color, but also the blacks; in fact, everyone who is not of their own café au lait mixture…” p. 114.[18]. To be sure, there used to be a bit of color-shade snobbery in Ethiopia, but people now fully accept that they cannot condemn bigotry abroad yet practice even a faint copy of it at home!

Even setting all this aside, the problem with anti-Amhara allegations is the faulty premise of a monolithic group which under-girds such opinions. First, Amharas are a people spread over four separate provinces (Wollo, Shoa, Begemidir and Gojjam), not to speak of the millions in other provinces. This being the case, there is wide variation among them--as indeed, among Oromos--and people should be wary of foreign authors with minimal cross-cultural literacy, who skid over the tremendous variation among the different groups under the Amhara/Oromo label. Levine, who actually lived among the people of Manz for an extended period, is one of the few people with the credibility to make such pronouncements. After studying the Amharas of Manz, and those of Gondar, he contrasted the more out-going, ‘war-like’ Manzes, and the more ‘literate’ and reserved Gonderes (See Levine, 1967.[19] Also, Hoben’, 1973).[20] Another big problem with such a perspective is that it ignores the millions of Ethiopians who, thanks to intermarriage over the decades, not to speak of centuries, span multiple ethnicities, and being an Ethiopian is their over-arching identity!

In addition to foreign pundits, we should also be wary of proponents of the Amhara-vilification campaign who portray Amharas as the very embodiment of evil: This is a distinguishing characteristic of ethno-centrism--to make a person a legitimate target for attack, you first portray the person in very dark terms. Gebru Asrat, one of the former TPLF leaders, shares the astonishment of TPLF fighters, heading south to occupy the capital, who, upon reaching Amhara-settled areas of Shoa, were baffled by the discrepancy between the Shoan Amharas, long portrayed to them as blood-suckers, and the bedraggled peasants they actually met. Likewise, the President of the Somali Regional government, H.E. Mustefe Omer, on a trip to Bahir Dar, shared how Somali politicians, too, had, in the past, indulged in willfully distorting the Amharas’ character by portraying them as evil personified. As for Oromos, whose leaders actually erected a statue at Hanole, depicting Amharas cutting Oromo breasts, a group of Oromo volunteers, who, while travelling across Gojjam, to help with combating the “Imboch”, crisis at Lake Tana, were astounded by the poverty they saw among the peasants all along the way. With regard to foreigners disabused of such myopic views toward Amhara, Bates says: “…To the surprise of the British and the newspaper correspondents, who had been led by travelers’ tales and the complaints of the captives to expect something else, the Amhara were found to be generally honest, polite, dignified, and courteous, and as soldiers to be brave, disciplined, and better armed, according to Dr. Austin, than British infantry had been twenty years before ….” (Bates, p. 159).[21]

* I’m grateful to Ato Yoseph Anteneh for bringing to my attention the following lyrics from “Balageru” by Desalegne Melku:

አርሶና አፈር አፍሶ ባጎረሰን ለኛ፣

ራብ ደጉን ጠጣው የኔ ቀናተኛ፡፡

ይህ የኔ ባላገር የሰው የማይነካ፣

ጾሙን እንዳያፈርስ ነው የሞተው ለካ፣

ጥማድ በሬዎቹን ላሞቹን ሳይነካ፣

እምነቱን ጠብቆ ነው የሞተው ለካ፣


ከእንስሶቹ በፊት ነው የሞተው ለካ፡፡

Did Amharas Really Monopolize All the Available Opportunities?

In terms of whether the Amharas prospered on account of their ethnicity, it might help to look at the strata in Amhara society: The vast majority of Amharas are subsistence farmers--tilling tiny plots of land and scratching out a meager existence. The veneer of modernity in urban areas should not blind us to the fact that a peasant’s life is one of endless drudgery, and, were it not for the many saints’ days, a peasant’s life would be unbearable indeed! The day for both husbands and wives begins long before day-break, and, most days do not end until long past sundown. In Gozamin, Gojjam, for instance, a peasant may even have to spend a whole night outdoors, despite the weather. (In a rotating system called ጭጨት, for one night in a fortnight, all the cattle in the community spend the entire night on the farmer’s plot, fertilizing it. The problem is that the farmer, too, has to spend the night there, often wearing nothing more than a sheep-skin cape, and exposed to the elements). As Wylde says: “There is no hard worker than the Abyssinian peasant, and no more harmless and hospitable person, when left alone and properly treated…” (p.3).[22]

Perhaps a case could be made for the fact that Ethiopian emperors usually doled out tracts of land to their military retainers. Warlords with the requisite qualities of courage and decisiveness attract many retainers, and ethnicity is not a barrier to recruitment or promotion, since leaders treasure bravery and loyalty above all others. Consider, for example, the bravery of the Kambata warriors, and the warrior Abichu of Selale, whose exploits during Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia Adolph Parlsac rhapsodized in የሃበሻ ጀብዱ. Thus, it is no surprise that Haile Selassie’s or Menelik’s most celebrated commanders were not exclusively Amhara, and we have storied heroes, such as Dejach Balcha, Ras Gobena, Ras Abebe Aregay, Dejach Geresu Duki, and, above all, Fitawrari Habtegiorgis--the prime mover and shaker during the reigns of Menelik, Lij Iyasu, and the early Haile Selassie years.[23] All of these were ethnic Oromos, as was Ras Mesfin Seleshi-- perhaps the wealthiest landowner in Ethiopia at one time. Finally, lest we forget, when there was discontent with Haile Selassie’s rule, the coup of 1960 was led by Mengistu Neway. Germame Neway, and Wokineh Gebeyehu--ethnic-Amharas! At any rate, even if we were to concede that Haile Selassie’s government was a government which benefited Amharas exclusively—which we most certainly do not--that government ended 47 years ago! Which ethnic groups have been making money hand over fist all these years? Certainly not Amharas!

1868: Napier-Kahsai; 1991: Cohen-Meles, 2021: Blinkin-Debretsion? Where Do We Go from Here?

The atrocities in Arba Gugu, Attaye, Gura Ferda, Mai Kadra, Metekel, Shashemene, etc. are not figments of Amhara imagination. No Ethiopian, should be a victim of such atrocities, and advocacy for respecting Amhara rights should not be equated with advocacy for trampling other peoples’ rights--Amhara rights and other Ethiopians’ rights are not mutually exclusive! It bears stressing that ethno-centrism is reductive, taking away the rich kaleidoscope of diversity in a nation, and replacing it with an impoverished collection of monochromatic enclaves. Nationalism, says Azel,

…exalts one above all others, and seeks power and prestige by projecting a national identity based on shared social characteristics, such as culture, language, religion, or political beliefs…As such, jingoistic nationalism transforms patriotism into a posture of superiority and aggression toward other nations. For example, that kind of nationalism was central to Hitler’s philosophy, and also led to the Japanese invasion of China in 1937…While nationalism can unite us, it often unites us against other[s][24] [Emphasis added].

No black person anywhere in the world will be able to hold his or her head high so long as we allow regional and international puppet-masters to manipulate Africans into engaging in gladiatorial contests for their entertainment, as they continue to suck the vitality out of Africa. That’s why we must declare, once and for all, that Africa cannot afford the TPLFs and OLFs of this world, because they are the instruments of our fragmentation and continued degradation, which, as the former AU Ambassador to the U.S. eloquently explained, was the prescription the colonial powers at the Berlin Conference of 1884 ordered for Africa. One important step in that direction would be to reject the toxic tales the West loves to promote. If they did not have Ethiopia’s Amhara vs Tigrayans/Oromos, Kenya’s Kikuyu vs Luo, Zimbabwe’s Shona vs Ndebele, South Africa’s Zulus vs Xhosas, Nigeria’s Igbos vs Hausas/Yoruba, etc. rivalries, they would invent them! We should never lose sight of the fact that, whether it is the Russians the Chinese, the Americans, or the Europeans: not one of them respects those who have no self-respect! There’s an apt Amharic aphorism, which goes: ባለቤቱ ያቀለለውን አሞሌ፣ ባለእዳው አይቀበለውም! Regardless of whether a person is doing well relative to others, as long as he/she is an African, in the eyes of the world, he/she is in the ‘shit-hole’ zone! Luckily, there is now a growing effort to create African regional transportation, economic, and security accords. These are the kinds of links which will deliver Africa from perpetual poverty, not the foreign aid it is addicted to! 1.3 billion Africans need to speak with one voice; fragmentation is not the way to achieve self-reliance and dignity![25] Speaking with one voice, however, does not mean we should ignore each other’s narratives, but simply a matter of avoiding what Adieche calls the myth of the single story—all those stories need to be heard, but without malice as the driving force![26]


1. Youval Harari. (2021). The Myths We Need to Survive.

2. Tigray people’s Liberation Organozation. Manifesto, Yekatit 1968.

3. Alan Derishowitz. (July 3, 2006). “Should We Fight Terror with Torture?” London, UK: The Independent, Independent News and Media Limited.

4. Jerome Lobo. (1978). Voyage to Abyssinia. New York, NY: AMC Press Inc.

6. C.W. Isenberg and J.L. Krapf. (1968). The Journal of CW Isenberg and JL Krapf. London, UK. Frank Cass & Co Ltd.

7. Donald Levine. (1967). Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press

8. Walter Chichele Plowden. (1972). Travels in Abyssinia and the Gala Country. Westmead, Farnborough, UK: Greg International Publishers Limited

9. Darrell Bates. (1978). The Abyssinian Difficulty. Fakenham, Norfolk, UK: Fakenham Press Limited

10. Bates, Ibid.

11. Henry Blanc. (1970). A Narrative of Captivity in Abyssinia: with Some Account of the Late Emperor Theodore, His Country and People. London, UK: Fran Cass & Co.

12. Baron Roman Prochzka. (1935). Abyssinia: The Powder Barrell. London:UK: British International News

13. Alberto Sbacchi. (1985). Ethiopia under Mussolini. Avon, UK: The Bath Press

14. Sbacchi (Ibid)

16. Levine ibid

17. Bates, Ibid, p. 159

18. Mansfield Parkyns. (1966). Life in Abyssinia: Being Notes Collected during Three Years’ Residence and Travels in That Country, New Impression on the Second Edition. London, UK: Frank Cass & Co, Ltd.

19. Levine, Ibid

20. Allan Hoben. (1973). Land Tenure among the Amhara of Ethiopia: The Dynamics of Cognatic Descent. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press

21. August Wylde (1901). Modern Abyssinia. Methuen and Co.

22. Arnold Wienholt Hodson. (1927). Seven Years in Southern Abyssinia. London, UK: T. Fisher Unwin Ltd.

23. Jose Azel. (2016). “Patriotism vs. Nationalism”. In America Now: Short Essays on Current Issues. Edited by Robert Atwan.Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin. Pp.353-356.

24. GP Editor. (July 27, 2021). “From Basma to Ethiopia—How CEFC Is Using Lethal Journalism to Conduct

25. Arikana Chihombore-Quai. (2019). AU Ambassador to the US Offers a Masterful History Lesson Dissecting the Legacy of Colonization.

26. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (2009) “The Danger of the Single Story”, Ted-Talk.

The article represents the author’s viewpoint. You can contact the author through the Horn of Africa Insight at


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