Article 39, Oromo Nationalism, Abyssinian Exceptionalism & Expectations Raised by Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s Premiership (Part II)

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Article 39, Oromo Nationalism, Abyssinian Exceptionalism & Expectations Raised by Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s Premiership (Part II)

Mekuria Bulcha, PhD, Professor

10 July 2018


As indicated in the first part of this article, the declaration of most of the opposition political organizations that came to life and disappeared during the last 26 year has been to scrap Article 39 as soon as they come to power. I have also pointed out that the declaration is supported by many commentators who use emotionally loaded language to express their rejection of Article 39. The commentators argued that the terms “nations”, “nationalities” and “peoples” which are used in the Article should be rejected because they give “tribes” the status of peoplehood and nationhood contradicting the sovereignty and integrity of the “three thousand years old Abyssinian-cum-Ethiopian state and nation”. The commentators promote the myth about Abyssinia’s/Ethiopia’s antiquity as a single state and nation as a canonical truth.

In this part of the article, I will first explore the reasons that gave the myth prominence in the anti-Article 39 discourse of the Habeshaelite. Secondly, I will define the myth, and contextualize the contradictions of its assumptions with the actual history of the modern Ethiopian empire state as well as with the fundamental human rights coded as Article 39. Finally, I will assess briefly the Habeshaelite’s understanding of Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s concept of “meddemer” (“added-ness”) vis-à-vis Article 39. I will argue that, for the present Ethiopian regime, the only means to solve the present crisis is not the rejection but an unreserved implementation of Article 39 and acknowledgment of the injustices committed by the Abyssinian ruling elite in the making of the current Ethiopian state.

The Oromo struggle vs the myth of Abyssinia’s antiquity

The Abyssinian elite had for a long time scoffed at the Oromo struggle as an inconsequential nuisance caused by a power-seeking elite. When the Oromo youth were in conflict with the TPLF regime for many years, they watched what was going on in silence. Tens of thousands Oromo youth were imprisoned, thousands were killed or disappeared, and thousands have fled the country since the TPLF-led regime came to power. Thousands of Oromo students were dismissed from universities and high schools since then. In 2004 over 350 Oromo students were dismissed from Addis Ababa University alone. According to one source, between 2011 and 2014 over 5,000 Oromos were put in prison.[1] Whatever the Habeshaelite wrote or said about what was going on in Oromia rarely mentioned the atrocities committed by the EPRDF regime against the Oromo. No sense of solidarity with the Oromo youth was reflected in the commentaries.

However, when the protests of the Oromo youth, which broke out in November 2015, developed into an Oromia wide uprising in 2016, it was seen no more a nuisance that can be dismissed quoting the Amharic proverb that says “just a gun for a thousand skirmishing Galla” (pejorative for Oromos) as in the past (“ለሺጋላአንድጠበንጃ”). As the Oromo protesters continued with their rallies all over Oromia, and became increasingly persistent in their demands to stop the Addis Ababa Master Plan (AAMP) and the release of political prisoners, fearless of the batons and bullets of the TPLF security forces, they became a cause for worry not only for the TPLF regime but also the rest of the Habeshaelite, including even the opponents of the regime. The TPLF regime’s control of political power was no more the main problem; its inability to control the Oromo youth became a cause for an increasing fear.

When the protests, in which initially only the Oromo youth known as qeerroo (the unmarried young men) and qarree (girls) were participating, were joined by entire urban and rural communities everywhere in Oromia, the Habeshaelite saw it not only as an obstacle to their ambition to reclaim political power in Finfinnee, but also a threat to the survival of their ancient Abyssinian state. Consequently, they left no stone unturned to question the legitimacy of Oromo claims which include the recognition of the inalienable rights coded as Article 39 in the Ethiopian constitution, particularly the right to national self-determination. It was then that the myth about the3,000 years old Ethiopian state was brought to the forefront in the Habeshaelite’s political discourse and became a mantra recycled in every political meeting and every statement made to oppose Article 39. The purpose is to prove that Ethiopia is, and had been, “a nation and a state” since ancient times. The myth is used as an evidence to reject Article 39 and its representation of the Ethiopian polity as a collection of nations and nationalities with their own languages, cultures and recognizable homelands.

Underpinned by the ideology of Ethiopiawinnet (Ethiopianism/Ethiopianness), the myth is taken as a political charter that can ensure the revival of the old order, not necessarily with an emperor as head of state, but a strong leader who can ensure the survival of the empire state. In an interview with a journalist, the former US Ambassador Herman Cohen said that when he asked an Ethiopian Professor in Addis Ababa why Mr. Meles Zenawi’s regime which came to power promising democracy became authoritarian, the Professor answered that “Ethiopia cannot be governed any other way.” He said, “This is our culture; this is how we govern ourselves.”[2]This is also what the opponents of Article 39 have been saying, if not explicitly. They have not been talking about establishing democracy, but primarily about the revocation of the federal structure put in place by Article 39, and the revival of the old imperial provincial administrative structure. The second task is banning the qubee script currently used in Oromia and the imposition of the Ge’ez alphabet as a “national” script. They were waiting for a strong leader to emerge and do that. The jubilation and ecstasy with which they have been following every move and statement made by Dr. Abiy Ahmed during the last three months indicate that they believe they have found the strong leader they have been looking for now. I come back to that later.

Abyssinian exceptionalism defined

Wendy Belcher notes, in her book Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson, that “The Habesha have consistently made vivid claims for their own exceptionality based on a hybrid ethnic origin African and Semitic, an exemplary religion, a faithful people, an ancient written culture.” She wrote “no matter what question you ask an Ethiopian Habesha, the answer always begins, ‘Well, three thousand years ago …” to indicate Abyssinia’s antiquity as a state and nation. According to the Habeshaelite, the rights promoted by the Article constitute the nemesis of the unique nation and state preserved by their ancestors for three thousand years and passed down to them.

Markakis notes that “To the outside world, the imperial regime presented Ethiopia as an ancient society welded in unity by its history and devotion to the Christian faith.”[3]Opponents of Article 39 claim that Ethiopia was ruled not only by the oldest dynasty in the world up to 1974, but also that the history of her rulers is exceptional. The Solomonic dynasty, of which the Abyssinian emperors were descendants, ruled Ethiopia for about three thousand years, starting with Emperor Menelik I (r. 982-958B.C.) and ending with the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I (1930-1974 A.D.). If that is true, the Abyssinians had a unique history indeed. However, the Oromo do not share the myth with them; they were not the subjects of the Solomonic dynasty.

The Abyssinian rulers looked above and beyond their people for their authority and identity; they claimed that their superordinate status and power was bestowed on them from God and their ancestors were not Africans but from Israel. In addition to being one of the oldest Christian cultures in the world, the Abyssinian elite count the possession of an ancient alphabet (Ge’ez), and written literature in the world to underline the exceptionality of their civilization and longevity of their statehood and nationhood. There are even several other achievements and issues which the Habeshaelite mention as indicators of the centrality of their greatness. Some of them are commendable; some of them are ridiculous, but since they are not relevant for our present purpose, I will not take them up here.

Indeed, the Abyssinians had undeniable achievements in terms of literacy and ancient religious literature in which they can and should take pride. There are also other artefacts such as remnants of religious buildings that serve the same purpose. However, the myth should not be misused or distort the history of the non-Abyssinian peoples. As I will explain below, in the past, the myth was used to justify the conquest and subordination of what is today the southern part of Ethiopia. Now it is recast and narrated as if it includes the Oromo and the other non-Abyssinian peoples of the south. Presented deceptively as a common heritage, the myth conceals the colonial nature of the Ethiopian state. It overshadows the crimes committed in the wake of the Abyssinian conquest of the south and make their acknowledgment irrelevant.

As I have discussed in the first part of this article, the opponents of Article 39 use the myth as a political charter to oppose “the right of nations, nationalities, and peoples to self-determination” and preserve the mythical 3,000 years old state intact. However, the current discourse about the myth cannot serve as a panacea for the crisis of the Ethiopian state. It cannot silence the demand for self-determination by the non-Abyssinian peoples such as the Oromo. The myth should be treated as an Abyssinian myth, not as an Oromo, Sidama or Konso history. They have their own traditions to celebrate, histories to remember, myths to tell and their God to worship. Imposing an Abyssinian myth on the Oromo and the other non-Abyssinian peoples or vice-versa cannot serve by itself any positive purpose.

As nations, the Oromo and Abyssinians are separated, by and large, by language, worldview, and territory. However, as neighbors they share certain common cultures; they have borrowed certain customs and habits from each other, but that does not mean they are or have become “one nation”. Take for example the Swedes and Norwegians. The two nations speak dialects of the same language, practice the same religion. They are a North Germanic people, have the same myth – Norse mythology – which characterizes their cosmology and is reflected in their languages, cultures, arts and personal and place names. The Norwegians were ruled by Swedish monarchs for about a century, but when they resolved to declare their independence in 1905, the Swedes did not say “you cannot secede” and start war. They acceded and the Norwegians formed their independent state peacefully. Today, the two nations live amicably in peace as neighbors. The separation of Czechs and the Slovaks in 1993 is another example.

Here, my point is, the revocation of Article 39 will be a costly venture since it cannot stop the Oromo from seeking self-determination including independence. The emotion-driven efforts of the opponents of the Article reminds me of an Amharic maxim that defines the follies of irrationality and greed. The maxim says “የቆጡንአወርዳለሁብላየብብትዋንጣለች”which means “Trying to get what is out of her reach, she dropped what was in her grip.” Needless to say that Article 39 was adopted in 1991 to serve as a “glue” and hold together the differentnations brought under one state by those who built the Ethiopian empire at the end of the nineteenth century. The adoption of federalism was not a choice; it was a must. Although federalism did not function as envisaged, Article 39 has without doubt saved Ethiopia from disintegration so far. Any effort made to rescind it will, by definition, “remove” the glue that kept the fissiparous polity together during the last 27 years. In other words, it will violate the right of self-determination of the non-Abyssinian peoples and provoke them, particularly the Oromo to use all means necessary to establish their own independent state. Peaceful coexistence between the peoples of Ethiopia in one or several independent states demands not denial, but the recognition of the national identities of the non-Abyssinian peoples and correction of historical distortions. Needless to add here that the rejection of Article 39 to save Ethiopia from its present crisis is a miscalculation. It will pave the way for a disastrous conflict.

A myth used to degrade and deny the history of non-Abyssinian peoples

In the past, the Abyssinian elite’s claim to exceptionality was not limited to harking back and boasting about the achievements of their ancestors, but also to downgrade the achievements of the neighboring nations, and conquer and dominate them.[4]As stated by Professor Gebru Tareke, the Abyssinians used the myth as an evidence to claim superiority over their neighbors and the right to conquer and “civilize” them just as the European colonizers did in the rest of Africa at the same time.

Abyssinian politicians and scholars were adept not only in proclaiming their superiority over other Africans, but also in enlisting the support of Europeans and later also Americans for the same purpose. Belcher wrote that “Discovering and then announcing the Habesha’shistorical centrality has been the repeated if obscure, project of individual European scholars for at least four hundred years.” She argued that, often,‘European scholars saw what the Abyssinian ruling elite allowed them to see; wrote down what they were told by the Habeshaelite; and reproduced the Abyssinian elite’s representation of themselves and others’. This was reflected clearly in the work of Edward Ullendorff who won the Haile Selassie I Prize for “discovering” the exceptionality of the Abyssinians among Africans of the Horn, and “announcing” it to the world. He argued that “the Abyssinians proper, the carriers of the historical civilization of Semiticized Ethiopia are the true Ethiopians.”[5]In contrast, he disparaged the Oromo as a people who “had nothing to contribute to the civilization of Ethiopia” and declared that the Oromo “social organization was at a far lower stage of development than the population among whom they settled.”[6]The core of the Oromo “social organization” disparaged by Ullendorff is the Gada system which is recognized by UNESCO in 2015 as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Thus, as Belcher noted, “the Habesha success in projecting themselves as exceptional has come at the tremendous costs of others.”[7]With the help of the Ethiopianists such as Ullendorff, the Abyssinian elite could obscure Oromo history and traditions and keep them more or less hidden from the rest of the world. To be hidden means to be condemned, confined and kept out of the sight of outsiders. That is how prisoners are treated. That was more or less the fate of the Oromo and other oppressed peoples who were ruled by the Abyssinian elite for a long time. As the political philosopher Ernst Gellner has characterized it, Ethiopia was “prison house of nations”[8]; the world knew almost nothing about its inmates except about the Abyssinians who, as a matter of fact, were not prisoners but prison-keepers.

The walls of the ‘prison house of nations’ are yet to be erased

The introduction of the Oromo people to the media and to the international political forums was initiated by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) through its diplomatic activities and armed struggle starting in the late 1970s. The activities of the Oromo diaspora also had a significant role in introducing the Oromo to the international community.[9]The short-lived participation of the OLF in the Transitional Government of Ethiopia in 1991 and appearance of the map of Oromia map at the center of the Ethiopian empire state also cast more light on the identity of the Oromo nation. However, the prison walls that hid the Oromo people from the international community remained in place hindering flow of information and obscuring observation from outside. The walls started to crumble only when the Oromo youth stepped up their protests with unprecedented courage against the implementation of the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan in 2014. As most of my readers may remember, a greater part of it came down two years later on August 21, 2016 as the Oromo athlete Fayissa Lilesa crossed the finish line in second place in the men’s marathon race at the Rio Olympics Stadium with his arms lifted above his head and his wrists crossed to make an X, which is a symbol for Oromo resistance against the TPLF regime.

Fayissa told the world press that he was protesting against the killings of his Oromo people in Ethiopia and the X is a symbol of peaceful resistance used by his people. As hundreds of media outlets throughout the world reported the event, the two terms “Oromo” and “Oromia” were included in the vocabulary of journalists and the media around the world. The Oromo people and their protests against the Ethiopian regime were introduced to millions of people who were watching the closing events of the 2016 Rio Olympics. They stepped out of the state of invisibility and conspiracy of silence that was imposed on them for more than a century. However, that the Oromo have now gained some measure of media visibility does not mean the thick walls of the ‘prison house of nations’ are demolished totally and the atrocities perpetrated by the Ethiopian regime against its ‘inmates’ are exposed fully and stopped. I will come back to that at the end of this part of my article.

A myth used to deny crimes against humanity

Mentioning Abyssinian emperors who were perpetrators of proverbial cruelty against the Oromo in the past, Habeshascholars and politicians tell us today that we must follow their footpath in order to find a solution to the current crisis of the Ethiopian state.Dr. Ghelawdewos Araia argues, for instance, that“Emperors Tewodros and Yohannes IV became sacrificial lambs for Ethiopia and not for this or that nationality.”[10]He maintains that the solution to the present crisis is to embrace and promote Ethiopian nationalism represented by the heroic deeds of the two emperors. The question is, whose life did they protect and interests did they promote with their heroic deeds? What were their roles in relationship to the Oromo and other non-Abyssinian peoples?

To begin with, Dr. Ghelawdewosexaggerates the roles of Tewodros and Yohannes as the builder of modern Ethiopia. Tewodrostriedtounite Abyssinia and was partially successful in the beginning of his reign. His imagination of Ethiopia did not extend beyond the ancient Abyssinian territory with the kingdom of Shawa (Amhara) as its southern limit.[11]Even Emperor Yohannes had limited influence on the non-Abyssinian parts of the Ethiopian Empire. He was not even interested in the peoples of the south, except for receiving his share of the spoils in the form of tributes from his vassal Menelik, the king of Shawa. The unification of Abyssinia itself was not ascertained when he died in 1889. The largest part of what is now southern Ethiopia was conquered and colonized after his death.

Map 1. Expansion of the Abyssinian Empire under

Emperor Yohannes and Menelik, King of Shawa

Map 2: Expansion under Emperor Menelik

Map 3. Expansion of the Ethiopia Empire after the Battle of Adwa

1897, 1900, 1902, 1907 are the dates when Menelik signed Border

Treaties with the English, French and Italians colonial powers

Genocidal policies toward the Oromo people

Secondly, it is ridiculous to posit that the two emperors had sacrificed their lives for the Oromo people. Both Tewodros and Yohannes were sworn enemies of the northern Oromo – Wallo, Yejju, and Rayya – who were the only branches of the Oromo nation in their reach. Tewodros attempted to cleanse them from what he imagined to be the Abyssinian territory including parts of Wallo.[12]As many readers of this article may know, he even boasted to Queen Victoria of Great Britain saying in a letter,

At my birth, God picked me up from the dust, gave me strength, raised me up, and by divine power have chased away the Galla [Oromo]. The Turks, however, resist the will of God, and since they refuse to surrender the land of my fathers, I am going out to fight them.[13]

Tewodros exaggerates his victory over the Oromo in the letter. In fact, what became his gravedigger was his attempts to subdue the Wallo Oromo. He spent his last years in his fortress on the Maqdala hills which he called “this heathen spot” in Wallo besieged by the armies of the Queen Warqitu the ruler of Wallo.[14]

Queen Warqituu of Wallo: She fought against Tewodros for many years. Tewodros mutilated and killed 25 of her relatives including her eldest son and heir. She helped Menelik to escape from Tewodros’s prison at Maqdala in 1865. As the king of Shawa he turned against Wallo and conquered it in 1876-78.

Evidently, Tewodros was not engaged in the unification of the Abyssinians but also in cleansing the Oromo from it. Chris Prouty notes that Tewodros had, in 1865, mutilated 25 relatives of Warqituu, the Queen of Wallo Oromo, including her eldest son by cutting off their hands and feet and then throwing them down from a cliff to die in agony.[15]It is important to note here that amputation was not limited to prisoners or to the Oromo but to all those who resisted his rule. However, as Bahru Zewde has noted, “Tewdros matched the fierce resistance of the Wallo people with a ruthless policy of terror, marked by the amputation of limbs that was to become proverbial.”[16]He was a sworn enemy of the northern Oromo until the last hour of his life. Asmé wrote that in1868, having released the English prisoners, Shawa prisoners, and Gojjam prisoners….Tewodros threw the rest of the Ethiopian balabbat and Wallo balabbatoch “who numbered more than 500” by throwing them“ down the precipice of Maqdalaafterhaving shot each of them with a bullet” some hours before he committed suicide.[17]

Yohannes had a policy which was similar to that of Tewodros. A Christian fundamentalist, he acted fanatically intolerant towards Islam, particularly the northern Oromo.[18]He used all means in the imperial toolkit – forced conversion, vicious slaughter of large numbers of people and deportation – against them. Immediately after taking power in 1872, he adopted a policy of forced religious conversion and cultural assimilation to eliminate the Muslim ‘threat’. In a decree issued in 1878 at Boru Meda in the middle of the Wallo territory, he declared: “If you wish to live in peace preserving your belongings, become Christians.”[19]To implement his policy, he set out baptizing the northern Oromo by force and viciously “exterminating those who refused.”[20]Those who would not convert “were offered only the unenviable choice of leaving Yohannes’s dominions.”[21]

The response of the northern Oromo to Yohannes’s policy of conversion was varied: it included resistance, acquiescence and flight. The majority resisted forced conversion. Among those converted were prominent members of the ruling families in Wallo and Yejju who were assimilated later through intermarriage with Abyssinian aristocracy. Those who chose exile to forced conversion to Christianity fled to the Sudan. Many others migrated to the Oromo country south of Abyssinia, particularly the Kingdom of Jimma in the southwest and Hararge in the east.

As his policy met resistance, Yohannes resorted to physical annihilation of the recalcitrant. Both emperors sought to cleanse Abyssinia from “Oromo threat” based on ethnic and religious grounds. Tewodros murdered and deported the Oromo, while Yohannnes tried to achieve his objective combining ethnocide with the physical extermination of those recalcitrant to religious conversion. To call the two Abyssinian emperors “sacrificial lambs” whose lives were offered to protect Oromo lives shows lack of respect for the humanity of the Oromo victims of their atrocities and sensibility of the Oromo nation.

Can a bastion of slavery be a beacon of freedom?

Those who call the empire built by Menelik the beacon of African independence overlook the fact that it was the last bastion of slavery in Africa. They ignore the fact that he was the biggest slave owner of his time and the main beneficiary from the lucrative Red Sea slave trade. Since much is written elsewhere by many scholars including myself about Menelik’s involvement in the slave trade,[22] I will mention just a few facts in the words of a few well-known Ethiopianist historians. The late Harold Marcus wrote that Menelik was “indirectly Ethiopia’s greatest slave entrepreneur and received the bulk of the proceeds”.[23]He collected tributes in slaves. The annual tribute he received from Joote Tullu in 1908 included 200 slaves, Hamdan Abu Shok of the Gubba paid between 1,000 and 2,000 slaves.[24]According to Richard Pankhurst, Emperor Menelik and Queen Taytu had 70,000 slaves.[25]In comparative terms, this number is equal to a quarter of the entire slave population on all the plantations owned by white settlers in the 13 American colonies at the time of the declaration of American Independence in 1776.[26]

Slave raiding continued for more than two decades after the death of Menelik. Darley noted, “The Kenyasmatch(governor) was expecting shortly to be relieved of his command, and therefore catching and selling the local population as rapidly as possible in order to provide for a rainy day.”[27]Markakis wrote that

Their periods of service was normally short, and whenever a governor was transferred, he stripped his fiefdom bare before departing. When the governor of Kafa and Maji, Ras Wolde Giyorgis, was transferred to Begemidir in 1910, his soldiers collected all the natives they could and took them north as slaves, along with livestock and other movable booties.[28]

In many areas, this was the pattern until the mid-1930s. Maji had six governors between 1925 and 1932, all departing governors “raided for slaves in order to take what wealth they could to their home areas.”[29]The consequence of slave raiding by Abyssinian governors was a drastic reduction of the indigenous population. According to Hodson the Maji were reduced by over 90 percent or from about 45,000 in 1898 to about 3,000 in the 1920s.[30]One cannot talk about the sanctity of an empire built by Menelik ignoring its dreadful consequences against the humanity of the indigenous inhabitants of the territories he had annexed.

The Habeshaelicte call Menelik the father of African independence and the empire he built the beacon of African freedom ignoring the crimes he had committed in Oromia, Kafa, Walaita, and Gimira. Referring to the tragedy his conquest brought upon the Kingdom of Kafa, Darley wrote: “Menelik clinched his victory by the slaughter or deportation of two thirds of the unhappy population.”[31]By deportation Darley meant enslavement. As aptly pointed out by Professor Guluma Gemeda, “Praising Menilek and denying the harsh realities and the negative legacies of his reign may not bring the desired peace and unity quickly, or perhaps, never.”[32]In short, to use the “heroic” deeds of Menelik as an argument to deny the right to self-determination to the descendants of the peoples he had conquered, is a travesty.

To be continued

[1]Amnesty International, ‘Because I am Oromo’: Sweeping Repression in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, 2014, p. 22.

[2] See ESAT, January 5, 2012

[3]Markakis, J, Ethiopia: the Last Two Frontiers.James Currey, 2011, p.126

[4]The British journalist and author Evelyn Waugh wrote “To boast in his cups of his own bravery and the inferiority of all races, white, black, yellow and brown … where the characteristic pleasure of the Abyssinian.”Evelyn, E. Waugh in Abyssinia, Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University press, 1936, p. 64.

[5]Ibid. p. 20.

[6]Edward Ullendorff,The Ethiopians, 1965, p. 76

[7]Wendy, L. Belcher, Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian thought in the making of an English author, Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 24.

[8]Gellner, E. Nations and Nationalism, Oxford, Basil Blackwell Publishers, 1983, p. 85

[9]See Mekuria Bulcha, The Making of the Oromo Diaspora: A Historical Sociology of Forced Migration, Kirk House Publishers, Minneapolis MN, 2002.

[10]Ghelawdewos Aria, “Misreading History and Political Science and the Exigency of Smooth Power Transition in Ethiopia”, Tigrai Online, February 19, 2018.

[11]Zewde, Bahru, A History of Modern Ethiopia 1855-1974,London: James Currey. 1991, p. 60


[13]See Rubenson, S. et al (ed.), Acta Aethiopia: Tewodros and His Contemporaries, 1855-1868,Volume II, Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University Press, 1994, p. 203, emphasis mine.

[14]Bahru Zewde,ibid,40

[15]Prouty, C. Empress Taytu and Menelik II: Ethiopia 1883-1910,Trenton, NJ: The Red Sea Press, 1986, p.7.

[16]Bahru Zewde, ibid.

[17]AsméGiyorgis,History Galla and the Kingdom of Shawa,Translated and edited by Bahiru Tafla, Stuttgart: Steiner Vlg. Wiesbaden, 1905[1987], p. 599

[18]Zewde, Bahru, 1991. A History of Modern Ethiopia 1855-1974,London: James Currey, 1991, p. 48.

[19]Caulk, R. A. 1972. ”Religion and the State in Nineteenth Century Ethiopia,” Journal of Ethiopian Stuidies, Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 24

[20]Asmé Giyorgis, ibid., p. 689

[21] Caulk, R. A, “Religion and the State in nineteenth Century Ethiopia”, Journal of Ethiopian Studies, 10 (1), 1972, p. 23-41

[22]See Mekuria Bulcha, The Making of the Oromia Diaspora. A Historical Sociology of Forced Migration, Minneapolis, MN, Kirk House Publishers, 2002.

[23]Marcus, H. (1975).TheLifeandTimesofMenelikII:Ethiopia1844-1913.Oxford:ClarendonPress., 1975, p. 73.

[24]Garretson, P. “Manjil Hamdan Abu Shok (1898-19389) and the Administration of Gubba”, in Modern Ethiopia: From Accession of Menelik II to the Present, Tubiana, I (ed.), 1980. Johnson, D. H. “On the Nilotic Frontier; Imperial Ethiopia in Southern Sudan, 1898-1936, in The Southern Marches of Ethiopia, Donham, D. and James, W. (eds.), 1987, p. 233.

[25]There many Abyssinian potentates owned tens of thousands of slaves. RasWolde Giyorgis had 20,000 and even RasTeferi Emperor Haile Selassie was said to have owned 7,000. He freed them in 1931. From the south, Abba Jifar of Jimma, owned 10,000 slaves. See Pankhurst, R. Economic History of Ethiopia, 1800-1935. Addis Ababa University Press, 1968.

[26]In 1780, there 287,000 slaves in the 13 colonies, most into the southern colonies, see Lumen Learning, Boundless US History. Expansion of the Colonies, 1650-1750,…/the-growth-of-the-colonies

[27]Darley, H. ibid. p. 200

[28]Markakis, J. ibid, p.97


[30]Hodson, A. W. Seven Years in Southern Abyssinia, London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1927.

[31]Henry Darley, Slaves and Ivory: A Record of Adventure and Exploration in the Unknown Sudan, and the Abyssinian Slave-Raiders, London, 1926.

[32]Guluma Gemeda, “Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s Speeches, Menilek II and the Problem of National Integration in Ethiopia”, Oromia Today, May 16, 2018; Ayyaantu, May 16, 2018.

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