Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Response to Teddy Afro’s Holy War

By Jalata Lami | December 16, 2013
Currently, we are hearing that different individuals, groups and political parties as well as St. Marry Church(Located near National Palace around Arat Killo, Addis Ababa) are preparing to celebrate or are celebrating the 100th year of Menilik II death. It is shocking that Orthodox Christian Church is organizing a ceremony to officially celebrate the 100th year of Menilik II death. Different comments are being given on the celebration from different perspectives. From advocators side, Tewodros Kassahun  gave his response about the celebration on Inku Magazine Number 107 published on December 2013.  I found it necessary to provide responses to his interview on the magazine. Before directly commenting on his responses, it is better to have background information.
As said above, some individuals and groups are celebrating the 100th year of Menilik II death. On the other hand, there are Ethiopian peoples and ethnic groups who never like to hear about Menilik II. For instance, Oromo, Kaffa, Wolayita and other peoples suffered greatly under the rule of Menilik II. Hence, such peoples do not have good flash back about the past administration of the king. Oromo people, for instance, do not have good memory about the king. There are people whose fathers and forefathers and mothers, grand mothers were killed by the king. It is said that Menilik II  waged genocide war on Oromo people.
According to different source, more than 5 million people were killed by the king. Thousands lost their different parts of their body. The hands of male and breasts of female were horribly cut. These made the Oromo people to remember the king with bad memory. Thus, celebrating the 100th year of the king’s death means indirectly not caring for the wound of the Oromo and other peoples who suffered under the rule of that king or simply it means inserting stick in their wound. This is also activating the wound of Oromo people and make sick of what happened a century ago. For this reason, it argued that the king and his horrible administration should not be remembered, rather must be condemned.

Having the above as background informanation, know I will proceed to commenting on the response. Tewodros Kassahun provided different responses to Inku Magazine (Number 107 published on December 2013) regarding Menilik II and other related issues. However, I will comment on some of his responses.
The first issue he raised is regarding the celebration of Menilik II. Tewodros K. responded that “Personally, not celebrating Menilik II identity and his contribution to Ethiopia at National Level worries me.”  It is not unexpected to here such words from the singer. For example, Hallelujah Lulie(2013) said that “His [Tewodros K.] unreserved love and appreciation for Menelik, his unexamined and narrow knowledge of history, and the existence of a fan base that swallows whatever comes out of him without chewing are the three most points that facilitate such a statement.”  Tewodros K. love, praise and appreciate Menilik II in different ways.  For instance, he expressed his love and appreciation for Meniliek II by singing a song ‘Menilik Tikur Sew.’ Now his is saying ignoring to celebrate the Menilik II identity and his contribution to Ethiopia is worrying him.
Tewodros K. claims to preach love, peace and respect for each other on different concerts. Contrary to this, he wants to celebrate and praise Menilik II  who killed millions of Oromo in the end of 19thce and beginning of  20th century. By doing so, he wants to cover the genocide that the king made on Oromo people. He wants to refresh the wound of Oromo people or enjoy on the death of million Oromos and ignoring the pain of the people.  He seems not bothered for the unjust and great harm done on Oromo People.  Tewodros K.  need to celebrate the king appears to reveals the attitude and hatred of the singer to Oromo people. He do not feel the wound and sorrow of the people. Celebrating the horrible past, will broaden the gap between who suffered under the past administration and those who are celebrating the past actions.
The 2nd main point he raised is that the need of celebrating the king.  Tewodros K.  stated that the  need to remember individuals like Menilik II is to transfer things that should be improved and repeated to the new generation. He added that when to we praise individuals who become National Pride, it would initiate other people who can perform good works. I am saying there is no as such good that we pass to the next generation. The king committed genocide against our people and this should not be celebrated and remembered. Rather it should be condemned.
On the other hand, I believe that there are things that should be improved. On this point, I share the comment of the singer. If we need peaceful coexistence of the Ethiopian People, first we should clearly know the truth that happened in the past. In addition, we should condemn the wrong did of the past, than celebrating it. Rather than celebrating the horrible war, it is better to remember those who suffered because of the war. I believe that there should be National Memorial Day in which the million people who killed at Anolle, Calanqo and other areas are remembered and those who committed the crime are condemned.  This one of the things that should be improved.
The new generation should clearly know what had happed in the past. Individuals and groups, should condemn the crime of the past and those who committed it. The current generation should not praise the king and his war of genocide, rather should denounce it. Knowing the badness of the history, this generation should keep themselves from committing similar crime. By denouncing the bad actions of the past, this generation should look for how to live together peacefully.
Besides, Tewodros K was asked  to  provide his own opinion on how he considers the war made by Menilik II to form the present Ethiopia. With out hesitation he replied that “The war that Menilik II made to unify Ethiopia is a ‘holy war’ for me.”   It is really annoying  to hear such words from the singer.  In 21st century, when love and respect to each other is advocated, calling a war ‘holy’ appears to surprised many of us. The key question to ask here is ‘how a war can  be ‘holy’? He seems lacks or ignores the historical experiences of Ethiopian peoples. As I stated earlier, million of Oromo people were killed by the war made by Melinik II.  In addition, the war that is given a holy’  title was the war in which hundred thousands of Kaffa and Walaita people were killed.  He is considering that terrible war as ‘holy’. As to me, no war is holy. Hence, considering the war in which millions Oromo lost their life as ‘holy war’ confirms his disrespect  and hatred to Oromo and other Peoples. He ignores the pain of Oromo people. By doing so, he is refreshing the wound of Oromo people.

Tewodros appears to ignore or unaware of historical facts of Ethiopian Peoples. He attempted to hide the truth that exits on the ground. Regarding this, Hallelujah Lulie(2013) said that Teddy’s preaching on peace, love and unity is a uninformed, shallow and naive. There cannot be love without truth. And at this moment he doesn’t look like he is able or willing to face the truth and preach it” His response is also contrary to what he claims to preach on different stage. The consideration of such horrible war as a ‘holy war’ is equals with preaching hatred between groups of people. It is also asserting war between groups of people and will not help the unity of the country. Rather it distracts the unity.  That why his response disconfirms what he preached: on peace, love and unity.
What will be our response and reaction:
Hayyu Kanate said,“For us[Oromo People]celebrating Menilik II is considered as the celebrating Hitler as a German National Holyday or it means building the Statue of Grazziani in Finfinne, not in Rome”. Besides, Memihir Gebrekidan Desta stated, “If you continued to praise Hitler, it means that still you will not be reserved to repeat the action made by Hitler.” In similar analogy, those who are praising the Menilik II and considering his horrible genocide war as “Holy”, it means that they will do what Menilik II had done on Ethiopian peoples if they get the chance to do so. Celebrating a king that sided with certain group and hurt others have no significance for the coexistence of Ethiopian peoples. Rather it inflames fire between those who suffered under the rule and who are praising the rule of the King and his administration system. It can also lead to conflict between the two.
The person who celebrates the king who murdered my grand father, grand mother, father and mother is my enemy. Those who are celebrating Minilik II are our GREAT ENEMY. Menilik II is gone forever. Hence, we are not going to wrangle with the killer and administration system. However, we will fight with those who are praising him as a hero. In other words, we, who endured under the rule of Menelik II, will not fight with Menilik II. He is no more. We oppose and we will fight with those who are celebrating him. The opposition and struggle will continue with the advocators of Menilik II and his administration system.
Caalaa Yommiyyuu

1 comment:

  1. Good article! Killing of each other is our bad history. I think most of the countries were created with conflict and civil war. But what is wrong if we cellebrate his aniversary for the history that he made on Adwa? God Bless Ethiopian People!