The narrative around the battle of Adwa from many sides is absolutely perplexing for me. Essentially, the battalions who came to Adwa, from Wollo, Shewa, Arsi etc region (collectively the South of Tigray) came under the pretext of “Ethiopia.” I understand many of these soldiers are Oromo in Ethnicity, but the way people play them out to be the heroes of Oromia truly perplexes me. They were there with Menelik for “EtHioPiA.” Then returned from the war with their newly acquired weapons to only continue with the war spirit and conquer the rest of the defenceless Oromo, Hadiya, Woliata, Sidama, Kambata etc…
The flaws in so many of these arguments always lead me to the conclusion that Ethiopia’s boundaries are in the centre between Oromia and Amhara’s current state borders (and possibly north Gurage). I continue to believe this original OroMara mix is essentially the fabric and glue of the true modern “Ethiopia” and Wollo, Shewa, Arsi region is the birthplace and is always trying to expand east into Afar and Ogaden. Therefore leaving all those in the periphery as either potential enemies (Tigray and Eritrea) to the state or potential labour and slaves (Those to the west and south).
And essentially, we are seeing this hegemony and the issues created by this union still overplaying in politics in Ethiopia today. It is these people who fear the upraising or Oromo nationalism the most. It is clear, they do not mind if Tigray leaves the empire, it is a minor loss. But if Oromia leaves, it leaves the boundaries of the conquest to a very small and confined region.
But the issue is not just facing the leaving of the Oromia from the axis. The unspoken fighters and the unspoken for victims are many of the minorities in the wider south and west of the country. For them too for the decades during Menelik and the century since, they have had their own battle with Ethiopianists infiltrating their social fabric and distorting the truth. Then we see their people essentially and sometimes literally working as slaves for this original OroMara (and yes, SOME Tigrayans and Gurage) mafia.
Did you know that majority of the ethnic groups who built the wealthy awash valley irrigation systems were immigrants from minority groups in the south? (I will send the research to you if you want) Essentially in the 1970-80s Hadiya, Kambata, Woliata, and even Tigrayans built the systems that feed the farms of the region. During war recruitments etc, these people, who stuck to their own ethnicity during this working period have become “Ethiopianised” even more. Come to the end of Derg and these workers get expelled from Oromia. Returning with untold trauma and the consequences that come with undealt with post-traumatic stress disorder, such as alcohol addiction. The youth and children of many of these workers have in turn become “Ethiopians” and pushed those with ethnic aspirations to flee or be imprisoned. Some intellects estimate hundreds of thousands of Hadiya and Kambata youth now live in South Africa, too frustrated to return to build their communities as those with “Ethiopianist” agendas have ruined the social fabric that could make them strong micronations.
The Awash valley money and power struggles is at the core of all conflict in Ethiopia, in the past and present. It is the sweat and blood of minorities in the periphery of this valley and those in fact inside that are constantly conscripted and used to fight wars, build infrastructure all for those who are in the original OroMara/Ethiopian mafia group. And it is their blood that is lost for these groups to gain dominance and control over each other. They may be one but are far from united. The war today is about those in Oromo and Amhara gaining the power of the capital and leadership. The Gurage (who hold large companies in the south of the Awash valley) hold a significant role here as well and to them, they do not wish to dominate the Ethiopian identity space, but their seat in power is very important, and keeping Ethiopia together is even more important to them. If Ethiopia disintegrates, not only does their new identity, so do their businesses. And I think I can say, historically they have aligned more with the Amhara dominance of this OroMara power struggle. For the Gurage elite, if Oromo wins it, they will lose out.
Undeniably with the EPRDF the TPLF (so very few Tigrayans) entered the battle/ money arena and became “Ethiopian” too (given the name was originally given to those in the North it made sense. But history theft and re-writing is rife throughout Ethiopia). During this time the OroMara/Gurage saw this as a threat to their pockets. And have seen to it, that this rival group from far north shall never have control for long. So came their media and now social campaigns to demonize the existence of the Tigrayan people. This has played out on the federal and local levels. Additionally, I believe the destruction of OLF in Oromia was done by the OroMara inside the EPRDF more than the TPLF, using only the Tigrayans of the union for their brute strength to carry out their plans. If OLF succeeds, the power of this fertile land is removed from the OroMara Ethiopianists. They had to ensure that destroyed the rise of Oromo nationalism to protect their financial interests in the valley’s richness and make sure it does not leave the Ethiopia that they so desperately desire to hold. During the 2016-2018 Oromo protests the OroMara/Gurage axis saw their chance to remove this rival (Tigrayans) and did so. Today we see the end of this program, to ensure that Tigray never dares enter the Awash valley again. By blaming the TPLF (Tigrayans) for carrying out the atrocities during the EPRDF reign, and using the “OPDO is a TPLF baby” narrative, the OroMara power struggle got be veiled in “outsiders” causing their issues. When in fact the evil axis created during the battle of Adwa between the OroMara dominance of Ethiopia never died just made a new face. Just as Menelik did to ensure that the native Tigrigna speakers of Tigray and now Eritrea and the Afar of Eritrea and Ethiopia are split so that the power and financial resources are not challenged. So did the OroMara/Gurage axis in the EPRDF.
It is without a doubt, that I feel the biggest mistake of the TPLF was believing that they could truly be accepted into this OroMara Ethiopia. I am of the school of thought that the Ethiopian experiment should have ended in the 1990’s and I only pray that Tigrayans are not asked to re-join this society, which is not theirs, but have stolen their history, battle glory, and culture.
As we can see, well I can see, the twist of the narratives to confuse the public is so clear. And this starts with the glorification of the hero’s of the battle of Adwa and the blaming of the TPLF all to make sure that the Tigrayans’ do not interfere in the fighting and money of the OroMara/Gurage axis. So that the minority groups can be taken in and fooled to be accepted as “One Ethiopia” so that their blood can spill when this axis wants. And I have not even started about the conflict and propaganda on the far eastern side of the valley. If Ogaden gets its freedom, another large chunk is lost, if the Afar even starts to create a national identity, then, even more, is gone!
So look to this map and the regions adjoined and see, the mind games played on the people from this evil axis will continue until a time that the wise youth rise up. But the sad reality is that they are dying or leaving as we are seeing with the Hadiya and Kambata exodus to South Africa. Never seeing the freedom of their people.
One can even assume, Isias in Eritrea doesn’t stop people from leaving SAWA so that his power is never challenged, but that is another topic, although very closely related! Linked to this is another narrative that needs to be cleared up, especially throughout the Eastern parts of the country, is that Tigray was part and parcel with Amhara expansion and abused the orthodox church mandate to subdue Muslims as they too are Semitic in culture and language. This is false, and I will write on it another day, quickly noting Amhara the identity group formed from the people of Agew and Tigray combined to gain power over the latter.
Through this, I hope you can see logically that those who have coveted the Awash valley, coveted the people’s minds, sweat, and blood of those in the periphery and twist the truth and help them fight those within their own society who refused to join their agenda. And this will continue until the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is discussed, including all the ugly bits!