Authors: Dr. Busha Taa and Dr. Kibur Hunie
University of Gondar, Ethiopia
Commentary (not a critic): Semaneh T. Jemere, Ottawa Canada
Today I finished reading the book entitled ‘THE GLORIOUS ETHIOPIA’ written by Dr. Busha Taa and Dr. Kibur Hunie of the University of Gondar. Admittedly, it is a book that enriched my understanding of Ethiopia’s antique civilization and its biblical history. I owe the authors a debt of gratitude for educating me on the forgotten and sometimes deliberately ignored history of Ethiopia.
My recollections of the authors are limited. Candidly speaking, I have not met Dr. Kibur in person except for a brief phone conversation. I met Dr. Busha in Ottawa, Canada in early 2000. He was a scholar of high caliber and a balanced advocate of truth free of ethnic fanaticism and ideological dogmatism. As Gladwell says “The world is a lot more complex than we imagine in our first impressions,” so, it’s imperative “to develop a habit of withholding judgment until you have exhausted all possible or all relevant explanations.” Today, after twenty years, I have come to ascertain my impressions of this great man through the book that he co-authored with Dr. Kibur.
The book is written in flawless English articulated with facts in a manner to be understood by Ethiopians of different backgrounds. I would have preferred it to be written in Amharic or any one of the indigenous languages, i.e., Oromiffa, Tigrinya, Sidamu Afoo, etc. I suspect English is chosen to educate the international community who often vilified Ethiopia’s history and purposefully ignored its contributions to agricultural development, global commerce, astronomy, and the connectivity with GOD. If the objective of writing in English is to raise the global audience’s understanding of Ethiopia’s contributions to human civilization, then the book has profoundly met its goal.
Twentieth-century Ethiopian elites fight among themselves often by glorifying minor differences to prominence and without understanding their golden history. For example, Ethiopian politicians and religious activists are engaged in rewriting ‘the Bible’ by changing their country’s name from ‘Ethiopia’ (mentioned 45 times in the Bible) to ‘Kush’. International Evangelists are unnerved by the fact that ‘Ethiopia’ is mentioned in the Bible repeatedly, while America and Western powers aren’t. This book seems to have answered the dichotomy surrounding the nomenclature of the country as Kush vs Ethiopia. According to the book, Kush and Ethiopia are interchangeable names where Kush means Ethiopia and Ethiopia means Kush in two distinct languages. Kush in Hebrew means Ethiopia and Ethiopia in Greek it means Ethiopia.
The book reveals facts with indisputable historical, biblical and linguistic evidence by referencing scholarly researched and written documents. It educates the readers to de-politicize the Ethiopia cum Kush conundrum with unshakeable evidence. Religious and political activist Ethiopians who lack understanding and knowledge of the difference between the two words are using it to divide Ethiopians into ideological and religious fault lines.
The mountain of evidence and references illustrated in the book is breathtaking. In their extensive research, the authors agonizingly referenced over 520 manuscripts where 90.4% (470) of them are authored by external scholars and 9.6% ( 50) are written by Ethiopians. A shred of clear evidence signifies how foreigners understood Ethiopia’s historical facts better than Ethiopian scholars. Undoubtedly, the book illustrates Ethiopia’s ancient contributions to Egyptian, Roman, Indian, African, and Greek civilizations. “Glorious Ethiopia’ has unveiled the cradles of Ethiopia’s antique civilization to the world.
Ethiopia’s 20th and 21st-century political turmoil emanates from Ethiopians’ lack of understanding of their history and civilization. A history that has not been taught properly in school. For far too long, Ethiopia’s school curriculums focussed on teaching students about European and American history at the expense of their own. Regrettably, it would be difficult to undo the wrongs of the past. However, it is equally possible to amend the country’s future.
Cognizant of the fact that ignorance has led us to the current political turmoil and instability, Ethiopia needs to invest in educating the new generation about the glorious history (past and present) of Ethiopia and Ethiopianism. Great nations are sustained and/or defended by generations who understand their history shrouded in self-pride. Countries like China, the United States of America, Canada, India, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Russia, South Africa, and Germany ascertained their greatness by educating their people about the history of their nations. Mind you, some of these countries existed for less than three centuries only. Whereas Ethiopia, which existed for over three thousand years, has lots of history and civilization to tell more than most countries on the planet today. Certainly, this book could contribute a great deal to educating the Ethiopian youth, the lynchpin of Ethiopia’s future. I recommend the book be incorporated into the country’s school curriculum to enable the youth to understand their history.
The authors’ scholarly wisdom and experience are a hybrid product of the intermarriage of the Oromo and Amhara ancestry of Ethiopian society. Both serving at Gondar University are the true examples and role models of Ethiopianism. Their Ethiopianism amplified in their book is a true testament to their professional integrity and unwavering desire to bring Ethiopians together. It is incumbent upon all Ethiopians to read it in earnest and advise themselves about corrective actions. I wholeheartedly thank the duo (Kibur & Busha) for emboldening my understanding of my glorious past.
While looking forward to meeting the authors, I conclude my comments with Nelson Mandela’s famous words, which said “Ethiopia always has a special place in my imagination and the prospect of visiting Ethiopia attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England, and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African.” Yes, in my view, this book helps Ethiopians unearth the history that made them Ethiopian and the origin of humanity.
Semaneh T. Jemere
Date: Friday, April 15, 2022
1 thought on “Book Title: THE GLORIOUS ETHIOPIA: A CRADLE OF ANTIQUE CIVILIZATION”
I looked for the book and have not been able to locate it. Why don’t they list it on Amazon and other book stores? Grief!