65Percent.org Presents Jawar Mohammed
Humans must be evaluated by their skill and deeds not by their Ethnicity.
The Turn of the Century Brits divide and Conquer old and evil Ethnic division cancerous motto must be eradicated not Just from Ethiopia from all over Sub sahra Africa it WAS WRONG THEN IT’S WRONG NOW
There is no talk of love or hate here. It is talk of right and freedom, fight for justice for the people. Would you mention where the hate is expressed in the interview? I rather than can see your hate to the people who fight against injustice.
There is no BHERE OR BEHERESEBE in ETHIOPIA. The only race which is there or exists is HUMAN RACE. Language, Culture and Religion is adopted by every individual after his\her HUMANITY, and are not representing any human being; they are just tools to communicate and live together as a society. Every individual came to this world naked as a human being without any other baggage, so nothing that he/she learned from the society he/she lived with changes his/her human race, it is just an experience depending where he/she lives. For example a human being born from 2 Oromo Language speakers loose his parents by some kind of accident, and adopted by a Gurage language speaker in WOLKITE, this child learn how to speak Guragegna language and the culture and the religion of his surrounding society and his adopting father and mother, but that doesn’t mean, the situation changes his human race because he is always a human being just like others anywhere.
Another additional thing to mention, there are many languages spoken in Ethiopia, but that doesn’t mean they own the area they live in. Every part of Ethiopia belongs to all human beings born in side the Geographic area of Ethiopia, and no individual or group have a right to change any thing when ever they want because that country belongs to all Ethiopians not for one language speaker or group.
GOD BLESSES ETHIOPIA AND HUMAN BEINGS IN ETHIOPIA!!!
I just cannot believe this guy to talk about 400 year back as if he knows about Ethiopian history. How on earth he can consider the elite’s struggle as if it represents the whole tribe of Amhara. He is a deluded individual and very intoxicated with gaining power by any means. Except the elites from all tribes the majority people in Ethiopia suffers equally. To prove this fact,one need not to be genius, you can check how the living condition in rural Ethiopia. Juar is a very deluded individual. Wey Ethiopia!!
Jawar seems to have been reading and thinking a lot lately, but he still needs challenge that might help him reflect on almost of everything he has read or thought. The interview suggests to me that he has to do more.
First of all, Jewar’s definition of so called “Andnet force” does not make sense. In his definitio0n he suggests that the “Andnet forces” deny there was national oppression in Ethiopia and reject organizing people on national basis and the forces support that people should organize as individuals. (Listen to his talk in the first few minutes)
The days of that kind of “Andnet forces” has long gone.
Forget individuals to their opinions. The organized “Andnet forces” we know today fully recognize that nations do exist in Ethiopia.
Obviously, “Andnet forces” prefer that people put aside their national identities and organize themselves as people ( with their national identities still unaffected) leaving issues of power and resource distribution to democracy.
It is sad that Jawar picks elements that define non-existent “Andnet forces” particularly by ommiting that they embrace democracy as the best equalizer. As ever, his view of “Andnet forces” is twisted. And this gives credence to people who suspect that he is hell bent on dividing people and positioning them against each other. That is “Andnet forces” and the Oromo, but based on false and wrong definational premise.
Democracy has effectively solved national question in many countries to the satisfaction of those who raise it. This is not to say organizing around national question and struggling for it has not led to some success, but it time taking (in some cases hundreds of years), costly in terms of loss of the nationality demanding rights particularly separation (there are so many cases in history all over the globe) which in turn led to economic, cultural and social ruin. Democracy has succeeded to reduce if not avoid all these disasters.
To be continued
First of all uncover your face in oder to defend your stand as a kid of old neftegna. That means you are not an Oromo and don’t use the Oromo name.
If you want to solve the problems of the Empire state of Ethiopia seriously. First, you have to denounce all the bad deeds of all past and present repressive systems. Second, make sure for yourself that the hegemony of the Habesha will not have place in Oromia henceforth.
Calling the ghost of Minilik or crying for unity in order to sustain your previous privileges will not help any group forever.
The real solution is mutual understanding and respect. Besides that be ready to give the necessary compensation for all subjugated nations since the era of Minilik.
Osborne slightest I like your comments. Jawar have a problem of inferiority. He can’t talk about us oromos. He is so immature &sale out to Egypt _our greatest enemy
An Oromo has no such stupid kid like you. Whether you like it or not Jawar is one if the brilliant Oromo of his time. He is in the bottom heart of the whole Oromo nation. In oder to live with the Oromo people try to reconcile yourself with the views of Jawar.
Dadi? The mask(Dadi) you pick up isn’t covering you.
My humblest regrets for typo errors in my previous posting. Please be patient if you find some in this too. I hate to read what I write in one sitting. Thanks.
To a question Jawar was asked about emphasis that was put on national question in the past 25 years and what « Andenet forces » might have learned from the situation and the “Force’s” role in the future, he expands the question stretching the time frame of 25 years to a period of 40 years – even to further to 120 years . It is not clear why such a stretch was necessary. Given that Jawar is a media personality who knows air time costs money, his answer should have been brief and to the point. That’s for the future if he heeds advice from an honest observer who wants to see Jawar excel in everything he does.
Now to his answer. He begins by asserting that “the current politics of Ethiopia dates back to Zemene Mesafint” (ZM). He continues: “During Z.M., Amara, Tigre and Oromo forces were in political (he also calls it territorial ) struggle which lasted for 400 years was concluded in the 19th century with the victory of the Amara. Again, according to Jawar, “The victory (of the Amara) coincides with Menelik era (he lacks the decency to call him by his rightful title which is EMPEROR). He concludes by saying that “what we’re trying to change Amara supremacy created at this epoch in the country”
To begin with, historians suggest that the Amara became rulers of Ethiopia with the restoration of the Solomonic dynasty in the 13th century (from 1270 to be exact) . The 700 years Amara rule came to an end with the end of the monarchy in the 1970s with the declaration of the first republic. Emperor Menelik II’s reign in the late 19th century is only part of a continuum of the same Amara rule which was interrupted briefly by a Tigre rule. What Emperor Menelik did was reconfigure and restore Ethiopia’s territory to pre Ahmed Gragn (early 15th century) and Oromo expansion (late 15th to 19th century) which cut the country in to central cum northern region on one hand and the south – south east and south west on the other. What the Emperor restored as Ethiopia’s territory holds to this day recognized internationally and protected by successive governments.
Unlike what Jawar claims, our reading of history does not establish that Zememe Mesafent which lasted about hundred years (from about 1750 to 1850) was not a tripartite clash between Amara, Tigre and Oromo forces. The Oromo were not seriously challenged by on their expansion the rulers of Ethiopia for a number of reasons. One was the y were war weary after the Ahmed Gragn devastation of a large population on a vast territory; they were not ready for a new war and attempts to mobilize resources miserably failed. Another was the reasons for Oromo expansion which included population explosion, poverty and semiarid environment in their homeland deep south. They needed water and grazing for their animals. So, they made it to the west, north and east with little or no resistance. Recognition by the rulers that the Oromo are Ethiopians and they can move to a better land was also a factor. Over all, Oromo expansion is driven by population, economic and environmental reasons rather than political.
Zemene Mesafent has not eliminated the Solomonic dynasty. Lord-vassal relationship and titles associated with it accompanied by the gradual militarization of multiple forces that pay allegiance to the political line of the dynasty resulted in power struggle. This was mainly in the north of the country. With the Oromo who have already made it to central and northern Ethiopia during the expansion have already joined the ranks of the nobility in the north and participated in the power struggle. However, the Oromo had not emerged as a force on their own with articulated political goal to achieve. They have allied with Amara elites in Gondar and attacked Tigre nobility, but it was all for the Amara.
At the time Zemene Mesafent raged in the north, the Solomonic dynasty of Shewa was quietly reorganizing itself to finally take over power. That effort culminated with Emperor Menelik II called to govern whom many thank for giving them a beautiful country.
Unlike what Jawar says, history does not show that Oromos were in political struggle with the Amara and Tigre during Zemene Mesafent. The territory the Oromo occupy now is acquired during the expansion, but it is bestowed onto them and recognized as such by successive governments.
After all, the Oromo are Ethiopians with full right to use what the country has.
I agree with Jawar’s claim that Amara supremacy has to change, but the question is how.
I ‘ll get back to that question in my next write up.
To be continued.
Stop writing your nonsense. Do you want to compare yourself with Jawar? It is a dream and Jawar is not an ingnorant like you. Your husband should have be ashamed of you if you really have one.
Continued . . .
It’s me again. Thanks for the patience.
As I mentioned in my previous posting Emperor Menelik’s lifelong work was to “. . . reconfigure and restore Ethiopia’s territory to pre – Ahmed Gragn (early 15th century) and pre – Oromo expansion (late 15th to 18th century) which cut the country into central cum northern region on one hand and the south, south – east and south – west on the other. What the Emperor restored as Ethiopia’s territory holds to this day recognized internationally and protected by successive Ethiopian governments.”
Jawar used the word “territory” in his discussion in its utmost obscure sense. He said: “What happened during Menelik is forced territorial demarcation, occupation and something you can call conquest.”
Which “forced territorial demarcation” is he talking about? Until this speech, I thought he has no problem with Ethiopia’s international territory which the Emperor secured first by establishing physical control over the land and then by concluding treaties with the governments of Britain, France and Italy. That international territory with its current frontier is what the Emperor secured and passed to the new generation. Even then, the territory was delineated – vaguely – but not demarcated at all. That’s why we have demarcation problems to this day with some of our neighbours.
It remains unclear though if Jawar is talking about internal “forced territorial demarcation”. If that is the case, what does he mean by “forced territorial demarcation”? Was there internal demarcation to talk about at the time? Since his idea on this point is unclear let’s put it aside and look at his other assertions: “ . . . forced . . . occupation and . . . conquest.” I have no doubt that Emperor Menelik used force to streamline a country ruled by regional and semi-regional entities without a central power to direct them. The only question is if there were transgressions worth condemning now.
Honestly speaking, modern governments were not governed by regional and semi-regional entities at the time. Emperor Menelik who very well knew about Zemene Mesafent where central rule broke down and local lords took over governance felt that the country needed central government. Though slightly different, the situation was similar in the south, east and west of the country. Following this realization the Emperor acted.
Where regional and semi-regional lords were persuaded to accept the central power, no force was used. Where it was resisted, force was used resulting in loss of lives and property. In both situations, though, the Emperor left local administration in place.
If what Jawar calls “occupation and . . . conquest” is Emperor Menelik’s expedition, I have no qualms with his characterization of the situation except that the words might confuse rather clarify what actually took place.
Jawar continues his discussion by making interesting but seriously questionable claim.
“State making began with Haile Selassie (note here also that Jawar doesn’t call him EMPEROR). After Italian invasion, Ethiopian elites educated in France came up with a philosophy. Since Ethiopia is a country of nations and nationalities and religions, the elites perceived the situation as dangerous for national unity (Jawar adds the expression “national agenda” to “national unity” whatever it might mean). To curb down the danger and create national unity, they adopted “assimilation policy.”
In his subsequent discussions, Jawar calls names of elites responsible the adoption of assimilation policy. Who were educated in France with the strength to influence the Emperor, the nobility and the aristocracy after Italian invasion? Wasn’t post II world war Ethiopia under British and American influence (including supplying advisors in state organization issues) than that of France? Didn’t Britain and America train and educate Ethiopians that make its elites? Was there any deliberate policy choice in favour of “assimilation” in the country? Can any document be produced to this effect or testimony given by someone who was present at the time or even heard about it?
This is not to suggest that Jawar’s claim is baseless. I am rather asking for proof because I suspect his claim emanates from his understanding of France’s colonialist policy of assimilation of its subjects in the colonies. Since he believes Ethiopia has used “assimilation policy” in treating Oromos and perhaps all non-Amara people, it appears that the only justification he found is to say Ethiopia got its policy from her French educated elites. If he admits post II world war Ethiopia was under British and American influence, his talk of “assimilation policy” falls apart because the British and Americans are multiculturalists.
My humble submission is that Amara rulers were both “assimilationist and multiculturalists”
Blaming everything you hear and see will not help you and will not help your nation. The dark time of the Minilik’s era will not come back again. The rotten and inhumane systems of your forefathers will never reincarnate. The ghost of Minilik also will not defend the failed ambitions of his offspring. The main problem is your mentality and the culture in which you grew up. The mentality and the culture of the dark era of Minilik, Haile Selassie and Derg which are still influencing and confusing you. You need redemption. The Qubee generation probably can help you. But in the meantime it is better if you reconcile yourself with the reality of your time. You cannot turn back the wheel of history.
If I didn’t know any better I would think the empire you are talking about is a power to reckon with, but we know this Abyssinian empire that they proudly talking about is the most impoverished one in the history of the mankind. One thing we can all be sure of is that things will never ever go back to the era Amhara domination. If this country to survive it must accommodate the Oromo, Tigray and Somalis. equal rights and real democracy with a fair distribution of resources.
After reading your comment the first time I said ‘Wow!”. Then I read it again and still ended up saying ‘Wow!!’. After the 3rd and 4th time, there was no change in my reaction. Your comment is well written and it shows your mastery of the English language. Kudos for that! And there is one coincidence that just popped up in my mind. I said to myself ‘what will happen if you cross path with Shegitu dadi in one off the beaten paths in the Chercher Highlands with a fully loaded AK47 in your hand?’. Mind you Shegitu seems to be the ‘fan’ of Menelik of ‘Ethiopia’, that ‘Ethiopia’ which must ‘get out of Oromia’ by hook or crook. And Shegitu who by some individuals lingo he/she must be a Neo-Gobenite, is repeating the same things he mentioned in his comment above. What will you do with him? Remember nobody is looking and it is during the dead of the night. Did you just say ‘nothing’? Come on man!! You have a loaded AK47 and this Neo-Gobenite’ is standing on your way, man. Now be honest!!!
Allow me to begin this part of my discussion with what I called Jawar’s interesting but seriously questionable claim which reads as follows:
“State making began with Haile Selassie. After Italian invasion, Ethiopian elites educated in France came up with a philosophy. Since Ethiopia is a country of nations and nationalities and religions, the elites perceived the situation as dangerous for national unity (“national agenda”). To curb down the danger and create national unity, they adopted “assimilation policy.”
In all honesty, state making in Ethiopia did not begin with Emperor Haile Selassie. Ethiopia was always a state (in fact and in law) and recognized as such by the international community for millennia. That’s why some distinguished Ethiopianists use a qualifying term viz. “modern state” when they speak about the recent Ethiopian state. The same Ethiopianists add that the “modern state” began with Emperor Menelik II continued in its expanded and more complete form by Emperor Haile Selassie. As existence of the Ethiopian state for millennia is a public knowledge backed by extensive body of research, I don’t think Jawar will ask for any proof on the subject.
In my previous note, I asked a number of questions about the role of French educated elites on the adoption of “assimilation policy” in Ethiopia. (Jawar calls the “assimilation policy” a “philosophy” too). Again, despite a cry of “foul” by some of my friends who reached me via e-mail, I still doubt that there was a “policy or philosophy of assimilation” introduced by French educated elites and adopted by the state.
One influential French educated elite whose name Jawar gives as an example of personalities behind “policy or philosophy of assimilation” is Prime Minister Aklilu Habtewolde. Unlike what Jawar says, Prime Minister Aklilu Habtewolde’s biography (available on line with opinions of four or five foreign scholars) presents him as a person concerned with the welfare of all Ethiopians and Ethiopia as a country. All facts considered, neither the Prime Minister nor others educated in France authored “assimilation policy” in Ethiopia.
It is surprising that Jawar picked the post Italian invasion period for his analysis. He picked it – obviously- not because French educated elites came up with a “policy or philosophy of assimilation”, but because Italy used ethnicity and religion to divide and conquer Ethiopia.
I know from some of my readings in the area that Italian anthropologists were studying Ethiopia for a long time way before the 1935 Italian invasion. What the Italian government learned from the works of the anthropologists was that Ethiopia has diverse ethnic groups and two major religions with vast following which can be used to play against each. It then made its war policy to isolate Amara and the Orthodox Church since it realized they are the principal forces that will fight back. So, it played all non-Amara Ethiopians against the Amara and the Orthodox church against Muslims. The policy seemed to work for a while but not to the extent Italy wanted it. Eventually, Italy lost the war and left Ethiopia. The seed of ethnicity and religion however was sawed to flourish over the decades to come.
By pretending as if he is not aware of Italian divide and conquer policy applied in Ethiopia and its adverse effects in ethnic and religious harmony, Jawar made a a very limited effort to explain how his perceived “assimilation policy” came into existence. He is convinced that somebody must have imported the policy from somewhere and it happened to be French educated elites. The interesting coincidence is colonialist France was assimilationist. Whoever is familiar with French assimilation will know none of was introduced in Ethiopia. There is plenty of material on the internet on French assimilation policy and practices. Check it up.
Again, my suggestion here is not to say there is no assimilationist aspect to the Ethiopian (Amara) state practice, but it was also multiculturalist. Both practices co-existed for centuries in the country with one or another dominating at a given point in time.
I was away for the weekend to review my notes for a high school leaving exam. I guess it went well. I have devoted the next fifteen minutes to continue from where I left on Jawar’s interview.
I feel that Jawar’s claims got outlandish as he tried to elaborate some points.
First, he talked about a written Ethiopian state policy of “one language – one identity for all peoples of the country” and then mentions his perceived notion of Amarazation of different nationalities to make everybody identical. He adds that Amarization was defeated before it took root. For him, it merely existed between 1942 and 1960. Then the attempted coup d’état of Mengistu Neway which Jawar describes as progressive led to the emergence of forces that aspire for change in the country.
For now, I’ll not dwell on Jawar’s every assertion put above; I promise to come back on them later. Instead, I’ve chosen to look into what I think is important background to centuries old Amara – Oromo relations. I am surprised by what I discovering while reading the interactions of the two peoples. Unlike what present day nationalits would like to tell us, they are not estranged people to each other.
My reading of Ethiopian history points out to me that before Amarization which Jawar rightly put as 20th century phenomenon, there took place massive Oromization and Islamization in Ethiopia. What happened in the 16th century is pivotal to understand the long process of assimilation (by the Oromo), integration (by the Amara) and finally Amarization in the country.
Where the Oromo settled during the expansion (late 16th to 19th century) not only the people who were occupied lost vast lands but also received the Oromo culture including their language. The vast population in central Ethiopia now speaking Oromifa appears to be descendants of families assimilated by Oromo occupiers. I guess that helped to swell the Oromo population to what it is now.
History also tells me that Ethiopian emperors let the Oromo absorb the totality of Choa (or Shewa) and a large part of Wello. Only Gojam and Begemeder were spared because of fierce resistance supported by nature such as Nile river and its tributaries, thick forests and rugged terrain and diseases that kept the Oromo at bay.
Elsewhere there were attempts to integrate the Oromo to the Solomonic – Amara social and political life. Examples of such attempts include one during Susenyos and Fasiledes (both in the 17th century) and Iyassu I ( in the 18th century). When Iyassu was a ruler, a large Oromo population comprising farmers, labourers and soldiers lived in Gonder. The Oromo masses learned highland agriculture, assumed the material culture of christian farmers but also their language, religion, and political economy. Gonderian period was marked by political integration of the Oromo though it did not go as far as one would have liked.
Integration does not mean the process went smoothly between the Amara and Oromo. The end of the 18 th century indicated the emergence of skirmishes between sovereign Amara and Oromom sub-groups (confederates). But the skirmishes never degenerated to serious conflicts. In effect, the power positions of the Amara and Oromo remained unchanged.
History has also established that the presence of the Oromo – wherever it was – had never been questioned by the Amara. More importantly, there were always the Oromo on the side of the Amara.
Below is a lengthy paragraph I transcribed from Jawar’s interview and translated it into English. As you can see, I have tried my best to be as accurate as possible. Trust me, I didn’t screw up.
I listened to Jawar’s interview again and again and read what I transcribed a number of times which helped me reflect on the role of Ethiopian “educated elements” who he said rejected Amarization since the early 1960s. He even added that the “elements” outlined the political future of the country based on individual rights and national identity.
Honestly speaking, I am a bit suspicious about the motives of Jawar when he called “educated elements” of the 1960s and 1970s democrats who stood for rights of nations. I might be naïve but aren’t the remnants of the 1960s and 1970s generation who Jawar elsewhere called “ unity – assimilationist forces” who still have trouble accepting rights of nations? Don’t those guys have disgusting names for “national question” such as apartheid system, zewge, yezeer politica etc rather than accept it as an important and seek solution to the satisfaction all concerned? Unlike what we see all over the world, aren’t they to this day arguing that respect of “individual rights” combined with democracy will make national question irrelevant? Or has Jawar forgiven them for their “ignorance” on behalf of the Oromo and other non -Amara people in Ethiopia? If that’s the case, I am saying “thanks, but no thanks”.
Now let’s pass to a more serious issue with a paragraph from what Jawar said.
“Educated elements rejected the existing doctrine (of Amarization). They asserted that the feudal venture of unitary state making that advanced assimilationist policy should not continue. Germame Neway and others outlined the future of the country to be based on individual rights and national identity. This idea grew and finally became an ideology in itself in the 1970s. Walelegn Mekonen and others of the same era believed that change in the country should not eliminate national identity; instead it should recognize and respect it. From the 1970s to 1991, this idea further grew in acceptance while the challenge from those in power and those who advance “assimilation policy” continued. Over time, the movement for the recognition and respect of national question backed by armed struggle defeated “assimilationists” in 1991.”
To begin with, what’s Amarization? As you might realize, Jawar uses “Amarization” as a term synonymous to “assimilation” without defining it or at least describing it. That makes addressing the issue difficult. A search on the net came up with a brief definition of Amarization to mean “a process of forcing people by Amara government to accept Amara culture, language, religion, etc.” Cambridge Dictionary defines “assimilation” in more or less identical words to Amarization by saying “the process of becoming similar to others by taking in and using their customs and culture.” For lack of a better one, I’ve accepted these as working definitions. Otherwise, I can’t proceed to express my opinion. I hope Jawar will have no qualms with these definitions.
Is Amarization (assimilation) a “doctrine”, “ideology” or “philosophy” or all of them? Jawar calls Amarization by all these words even if they do not look to mean the same thing. Again I’ll leave semantics aside and proceed to the issue at hand.
The question I will try to answer is this: was there an effort backed by policy in Ethiopia to force non-Amara people (including the Oromo) by Amara dominated government to accept Amara culture, language, religion etc. or become similar to the Amara? The government I’m talking about is Amara dominated government because I don’t believe there had been a purely Amara government in Ethiopia except when the Amara were governing only themselves. I understand that there are people who reject this view but that discussion is not for today.
Emperor Menelik II’s Amara dominated government is the first in the country’s history that faced Amarization – assimilation issues. Situation changed once the Emperor secured Ethiopia’s international boundary which the country still has and he centralized power by establishing modern government after the submission of autonomous ethnic administrations in the south of the country. Ethnic groups including the Oromo were brought to the fold.
Not long after, the Emperor realized a fundamental political problem that left him between two choices: giving power to ethnic regions or try complete assimilation. He also realized that the choice is necessitated by developments at the end of 17th and the beginning of 18th centuries. Generally speaking, post Ahmed Gragn invasion and Oromo expansion has left a serious menace to Amara rule. After the decline of the Goderean era in 1750s, the influence of the Oromo became so enormous in the imperial court that the Oromo language almost replaced Amaric in the political circles at the beginning of Zemene Mesafent.
The Amara reaction to growing influence of the Oromo began with Emperor Theodros II and expanded under Emperor Melnelik that diminished the influence. The Oromo were internally divided and weak to resist the move.
At the end of the 19th century when it became clear that the Amara, population wise, are not the majority to ask what place do non-Amara people have in Ethiopian society.
Emperor Menelik who was the first ruler to face the question after Emperor Theodros saw his predessor’s effort to simply assimilate them to Amara culture has failed. He then opted to soft policy of spontaneous assimilation. With Amara at the top with power to rule, the rulinfg classes of non-Amara were integrated to the Amara ruling class via appointment and other means. Furthermore the Emperor made major concession to regionalism. Non-Amara have regions governed by their own rulers with their culture in tact. A confirmation to this is 1908 proclamations were read in Dire Dawa in Amaric, Harar, Oromo and Somali.
It is from some kind of self-rule of Emperor Menelik that Emperor Haile Selassie took over and started to build a different administration.
I thought this page was gone to archives, but it is still available to wrrite comments. This is my other 15 minutes sit and write exercise. Thanks.
Continued . . .
In my previous posting, I made a guess as to the origin of national issues and how Emperors Theodros II and Menelik II were confronted with the problem and dealt with it. By way of recapitulation, I will begin with the following paragraph.
“Emperor Menelik II’s Amara dominated government is the first in the country’s history that faced “Amarization – assimilation” issues. It emerged once the Emperor secured Ethiopia’s international boundary . . . and he centralized power by establishing modern government after the submission of semi – autonomous ethnic administrations in the east, south and west of the country. Ethnic groups including the Oromo were brought to the fold.”
Again, as we saw previously, Emperor Menelik applied soft policy of spontaneous assimilation, integration of non-Amara ruling classes to the Amara ruling class and some kind of regional autonomy. Despite the widespread accusation of Emperor Menelik as oppressive to the Oromo and other ethnic groups, he took his policy of soft assimilation, integration and regional autonomy to new height when he designated Iyassu V as a successor of his throne. Iyassu is the son of Woizero Shoaregga, Emperor Menelik’s first daughter and Ras Mekael, an Oromo and governor of Wollo and close a friend of Menelik. That was an Amara gesture at its best which is not praised by most Ormos to this day.
Contrary to the designation of Emperor, Iyassu was not crowned but governed from 1913 to 1916. As history goes, the nobility charged Iyasu with apostacy, alleging that he had converted to Islam and he should forfeit the Imperial crown. He was deposed in favor of Zewditu who became Empress of Ethiopia and Tafari Makonnen the heir apparent of the throne. Loyal to his son, Ras Mechael who believed Iyassu should be reinstated to the throne marched on Addis with tens of thousands strong, fought bravely for a full day but lost.
An attempt by Ras Hailu of Gojam to free Iyassu from prison and reinstate him to the throne also failed. Ras Hailu whom Emperor Haile Selassie considered a security risk had had his own political ambitions, but not to the throne. Again, this gesture by an Amara to support a Muslim Oromo to become Emperor has not received praise by many Oromos.
These two cases that amply prove the embrace of the Oromo by the Amara combined with the extensive contacts with assimilation of one another over the centuries suggests that the narration of oppression of one by the other is an exaggeration – if not misrepresentation.
Emperor Haile Selassie who was crowned in 1930 after the death of Empress Zewditu is widely believed to be the main source of Amarization – assimilation . Some suggest that he distinguished himself from his predecessors whose conception of governance was based on personal relations and loyalty or in extreme case – domination. The Emperor was not sure that that was enough in a country with multi- ethnic groups and cultures. He was worried about the possibility of betrayal.
As a result, Emperor Haile Selassie used force to centralizing internal administration using the 1931 constitution as a his source of authority. His first victim was Abba Jifar II of Jimma whose autonomy was guaranteed in 1884 by Emperor Menelik in return for tribute. Abba Jifar II was accused of raising an army to fight the Emperor and was invaded by imperial troops. Governorship of Jimma was given to the emperor’s son-in law. These kinds of invasions have taken place in the country not limited to the the Oromo. Gojjam, Tigray and Somali were also invaded in response to rebellion.
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