For Conquest or Conversion?
ዓድዋ versus AADWA
By Obo Arada Shawl
03-13 – 2010
The title seems a bit odd and perhaps ambiguous. Yes, the word ADWA has a double meaning; you guessed it right.
The question is whose side are you on?
Last year, March 2009, a conference on a choice between CONFEDERATION and FEDERATION – between Ethiopia and Eritrea was held in Oakland, California. The main proponents for either Confederation or Federation were Professors Tesfazion Medhane and Daniel Kinde respectively. Both professors have presented their proposals in book forms as well as in different mass media – RTVO- አርቲቮ. That conference was discredited by Aiga forum but was endorsed by President Issais of Eritrea.
This year it is expected to continue the same discussion more so with identified problems and studied solutions for in this conference, sixteen professionals comprising six professors, four Drs (PhD) and six Messrs will be attending as keynote speakers, panel discussants and presenters of researched papers.
We all know that there are solutions out there, but we have to figure out which one fits best for all Eathiopians, federation, confederation or other alternative choices.
As a reminder for the participants of the conference, before forging friendships, one should delve into the main reasons for their separation. The participants would have to agree on answering the following three basic questions in a precise and concise manner. (Hint: colonialism or confusion or betrayal etc)
- What was the main cause for their separation?
- Why do Eritreans now need to have a relationship with Ethiopians?
- How do we go about forging relationships? (Hint: 16 monetary countries or 27 political countries of EU)
In the past, it was true that most Eritreans and Ethiopians did not differentiate between Wars and Revolutions. Federation or Confederation may also be a difficult concept for our understanding. Otherwise, we are all enthusiastic to support especially the researched papers from our beloved scholars and academicians of Eathiopia. I hope they will come up with real solutions.
The above are the basic questions to focus on for forward looking, otherwise, it will be a futile attempt to search for an answer be it from legalistic, economic, political, moral or cultural points of view.
If nothing concrete comes from the planned conference, In the meantime, I ask readers to ponder over the following two concepts with almost the same vocalization.
ADWA: the place for Conquest
The majority of urban Ethiopians and Eritreans recognize the name of Adwa. First of all, it is the place where the Eathiopians defeated the Italians some 113 years ago (1896). Secondly, it is the birthplace of the current leader of Ethiopia with many of his top entourages. I cannot emphasis enough to the reader about the significance of these two events for recognition and birthright, both in the name of liberation and freedom.
It is true that all people are all born ignorant (without facts and figures) but not stupid. Much of the stupidity we have been witnessing with our political leaders and their advisors from the educated class - ምሁራን was induced by the educational system that was imposed from elementary through universities. We were indoctrinated which meant that our education did not involve the inheritance of knowledge, experience or culture in order to pass it on to the next generation. Our educators have dwelt on promoting fashions as in the case of Haile Sellasie’s government, notions as in DERG’s dictatorial regime or ideologies as in EPRDF’s governance of confusion and terror. In other words, indoctrination is not the same thing as education.
Denial and counter-denial is a river that runs through the heads of the first category of ADWA. Some of us think that defeating the foreigners in battles was much important than abandoning the Eritreans and conquering the Oromos. The experience of life could help us outgrow whatever we were indoctrinated with. What may persist though, however, is the lazy habit of hearing one side of the issue and being galvanized into action without hearing the other side and more fundamentally, not having developed any mental skills that would enable one to systematically test one set of beliefs against another. It is a sad story that the Eritreans, the Oromos and the Ogadenis dwell too much on the past history of Adwa and its aftermath. I hope it is not the same story to tell to their children about the current governance of the Adwa cliques. Let us close the chapter of the place called Adwa and move on forward. Let us share honestly both the victory and the betrayal from the annals of historical Adwa.
It is wise for any solution seekers to understand and to reconcile Adwa, the place either for Liberation or for Slavery. It is sad that Adwa was and is a place for both events of victory and defeat. There is not even a middle ground.
ADWA: a concept of Conversion
Peasant Eathiopians once exposed to the outside world are apt to copy and emulate ideas and issues very quickly. But fortunately or unfortunately, their country’s physical geography and their “philosophical” moral belief or Orthodox Christianity prevented them from fully endorsing new ideas or issues. As a result they ended up in what one writer described them as “impenetrable personality sustained by self-deception.”
Whereas ጽንሐተ-ምሁራን Ts’n’hate M’hu-ran have the tendency for emulating victory like the Romans (examples EPLF and TPLF), others emulate the Jews while still others seek for knowledge following the traditions of the Greeks. In other words, conversion is possible among Eathiopian intellectuals.
ADWA is the Footprint, the Missing Link and the Vision of EPRP.
It is an acronym for a place called ASSIMBA signifying the heart and soul of EPRA, DEBTERAW signifying DEMOCRACIA and WALLELIGN embodying the concept of freedom and democracy.
It was against such proud declaration of many Haile Sellasie I university students who went to EUS service who said loudly and clearly to their student in the countryside of Eathiopia “we are here to teach you how to think, not what to think.” This was in spite of the career teachers and professors of the time and Peace Corps who were teaching their students what to think, about everything including their tribal race and gender.
It was against these backgrounds that the Eway Revolution in concordance with a philosopher who taught that the most important knowledge is knowledge of one’s ignorance. Those who understood these conversions for vision firmly stood against the mighty forces of Haile Sellasie, the DERG and the current regimes of Melese’s. Their defiance against ethnicity, narrow nationalism and reactionary education has proved them right. Viva AADWA. The Eway solution is eminent.
If our educated classጽንሐተ ምሁራን mihuran such as the ones who are going to propose solutions, it is a welcome event.
TRUTH WILL PREVAIL
For questions and concerns