MENELIK II and ADWA, and its Significance for anti colonial straggle.

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Nelson Mandela "Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting Ethiopia attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African. Meeting the Emperor himself would be like shaking hands with history."

Dr Kwameh Nkrumah of Ghana, who was then a student in Britain confessed:" As long as Ethiopia was free, we all hoped that Africa will one day be free." 

Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea  " The Ethiopian people are a great people-an African people, who fought bravely for the independence of Africa from colonialism and imperialism, and the preservation of freedom. Even though Africa was crushed by colonialism, because of Ethiopia, our presence in international councils was felt.

David Dacko of the CAR also noted: Ethiopia has taught us to be masters of our continent, and to throw back from African soil all foreign powers. Ethiopia's example could not be immediately followed because colonialism was careful not to give publicity to Ethiopia's courageous struggle."

Sir Winston Churchill's comment: the victory of Adwa is an example: "On the 1st of March, 1896: the Battle of Adwa was fought and Italy, at the hands of Abyssinia, sustained a crushing defeat. Two results followed which affected other nations. First, a great blow had been struck at European prestige in North Africa. Second, the value of Italy as a factor in European politics was depreciated."

Adowa was a rare moment in history that created collective effervescence among the polyethnic Ethiopian polity. The effervescence or collective exaltation affects deeply the structure of a given society. It provided a renewed opportunity for cementing the collective conscious of Ethiopians which was Ethiopianism or Ethiopian nationalism. March 1, 1996 marks the centennial of Adowa.

Rallying for the defense of the mother land was not new to Ethiopian polity. But what makes Adowa different from previous wars was the deep scar it created on the European pride of racial superiority and its repercussion on Ethiopian politics. Despite its victory, Ethiopia continued to suffer from the victory of Adowa syndrome. A syndrome that obsessed Europeans to retaliate their humiliation at Adowa. European obsession for revenge manifested by their secret diplomatic protocols that undermined the interest of the Ethiopian state. Some of these policies included treaties such as the 1906 Tripartite agreement that partitioned Ethiopia among the three powers.

The Italian invasion of 1935 was thus a distortion of facts that portrayed Ethiopia as a black colonialist that need to be broken into tiny ethnic states. Such a break up of the nation would have made it easier for colonial power to control the country.

Today, the colonial legacy of dismantling the Ethiopian state has passed to ethnonationalists who with a religious fervor are engaged in negating the historical existence of Ethiopia. In their ethnicization policy of the Ethiopian state, ethnonationalists are transforming the polity from civic based to decent based society. Because of the immense historical legacies and the statesmanship of Menilik II, Adowa remains the edifice of the Ethiopian history. Consequently, it has become the basis of discourse and controversy of Ethiopian history, politics and national identity. As a historical note for ethnonationalists, it is useful to briefly review some of the historical highlights of the treaty of Wuchalle and the victory of Adowa to dispel ethnonationalist distorted view of Ethiopian history.

1. INVITED TALK ON THE BATTLE OF ADWA: by Prof. Getachew Haile,  
    St. John's University, Avon, MN
 
2. EUROCENTERIC AND ETHIOPIANIST INTERPERETATION OF ETHIOPIAN HISTORY: by Prof. Solomon Gashaw,  
    Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota, Morris, MN

 
3. REFELECTIONS ON THE BATTLE OF ADWA: by Prof. Theodore M. Vestal
    Dept. of Political Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma.

 
4. THE BATTLE OF ADWA AS A "HISTORIC" EVENT: by Prof. Donald N. Levine
     Department of school of Sociology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
 
5. ARMS FOR ADWA: MENILEK'S ACQUISTION OF WEAPONS THROUGH HARAR: by Prof. Tim Carmichael
    Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
6. CONTEMPORARY ETHIOPIA IN THE CONTEXT OF THE BATTLE OF ADWA, 1896: by Prof. Mesfin Araya
    York College, CUNY, New York, NY
7.  THE VICTORY OF ADWA AND SUBSEQUENT CHALLENGES TO ETHIOPIAN STATHOOD: by Prof. Daniel Kendie
     Dept. of Social Sciences, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR
8.  SCHOOLING AND HISTORICAL MEMORIES: THE CASE OF THE BATTLE OF ADWA: Prof. Tilahun Sineshaw
      Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA
9.  THE GENIUS OF ADWA: MENELIK II, CONSENSUS BUILDER AND MASTER OF MOBILIZER: Prof. Shumet Sishagne
     Christopher Newport University, Newport, VA
10.  RACIST DISCOURSE ABOUT ETHIOPIA AND ETHIOPIANS BEFORE AND AFTER THE BATTLE OF ADWA: by Prof. Harold G. Marcus
       Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
11. THE LOGISTIC BASE AND MILITARY STRATEGY OF THE ETHIOPIAN ARMY: THE CAMPAGN AND BATTLE OD ADWA: Prof. Tsegaye Tegenu
      Department of History, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
12. MENELIK'S ETHIOPIA UNDER FIRE: THE DANGERS OF ETHNIC FEDERALISM: by Prof. Alemante G. Selassie
      The College of William and Mary, School of Law, Williamsburg, VA
13. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ADWA: PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE: by Prof. Hailu Fullas
      University of the District of Colombia
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