Addis Ababa March 02/2017 President Dr. Mulatu Teshome urged the youth to adhere and follow the footsteps of its forefathers in safeguarding the sovereignty of the country by building a prosperous nation.
The President made the remark at the celebration of the 121st victory of Adwa held in the town of Adwa. A hand over of a torch for the national movement of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was also maintained alongside the celebration.
The President during the celebration pointed out that the forefathers had defeated the enemy with extra patriotism and heroic deeds, making the present generation proud of its identity and keep his head high.
Having said, “The present and the coming generation must inherit the spirit of patriotism and courage,” Dr. Mulatu emphasized that the youth is indebted to handing over a poverty free country for the next generation.
The victory of Adwa demonstrated the leadership quality of Ethiopians and the timeless unity and cooperation of all Ethiopians during the battle field, he added.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen, on his part said that Ethiopians are expected to repeat the victory of Adwa, which was maintained through cooperation, in the overall development of the country.
The Deputy Prime Minister handed over the torch for the national movement of the GERD to Presiden Dr. Mulatu and Yalew Abate, Speaker of the House of Federation.
The national movement, which will be inaugurated on the 26th of March 2017, will be implemented across the country for the coming 11 months.
Addis Ababa March 02/2017 Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the victory of Adwa, in which Ethiopians fought the fascist Italy forces and score a remarkable feat, is a victory for those that have determination of self reliance and self independence.
The President said “it is the celebration of the African spirit, the African common voice and Africa taking hold of its own destiny and I hope we all be using that spirit as we celebrate Adwa.”
The battle of Adwa which culminated in the decisive victory of Ethiopians helped to raise Ethiopia’s status internationally and placed it at the center of Pan-African movement.
President Sirleaf said she is happy to attend the 121st anniversary of the victory of Adwa, which was an eye opener for Africans who were under colonization, that blacks can really defeat the super powers.
The President who is in Ethiopia for a three-day visit hopes to further enhance cooperation with Ethiopia.
“We are hoping that this visit will rekindle the spirit of cooperation, the spirit of partnership”,
The two countries have had a long historical relationship and partnership as they are among the countries forming the League of Nations and the Organization for African Unity, the predecessors of the United Nations and the African Union respectively.
Hawassa March 02/2017 Some of the industries within the Hawassa Industrial Park are expected to commence exporting their products this week for the first time, the Ethiopian Investment Commission announced.
The Deputy Commissioner, Dr Belachew Fikre told ENA that companies have finalized preparations to export their debut products from the park this week.
If activities by the companies are kept on the current speed, the Deputy Commissioner said that the one billion USD revenue, in which the nation aspires to obtain from industrial exports from the park could easily be attained.
The eco-industrial park, built in record time of less than one year, has attracted 15 leading global apparel and textile from America, China, India, Sri Lanka and six local companies.
Of the companies that are ready to export products, the Hong Kong-based TAL Apparel, one of the world’s largest clothing manufacturers, is one.
TAL Apparel is preparing to export dress shirts manufactured at the Hawassa industrial park to the U.S., said LelaAlem Techane, the community and communications head.
The company, which has employed 2,000 individuals so far, has planned to increase its employees to 4,500 soon to expand production, he added.
The Park which was inaugurated in 2016 in Southern Ethiopia is expected to create jobs for a total of 60,000 citizens, upon fully operational.
The number of people who get jobs at the park is increasing from time to time, the Deputy Commissioner said.
Number of people who received special trainings abroad and employed at the park has reached 5,000. Each week a number of people are being employed by the companies from the total 23,000 residents who registered to get jobs at the park, he added.
According to him, construction of 15 additional shades that would raise the number of manufacturing facilities in the park to 52 is being underway, he said.
Addis Ababa March 02/2017 The nation is striving to make the chain of mountains on which the battle of Adwa where the decisive war against colonialism took place as one of the top tourism destinations, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said.
Building pan African university and museum that would help to vividly demonstrate that the Battle of Adwa would be the most conspicuous and a top tourism destination are among the activities, the Ministry said.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Public and International Relations Director at the Ministry, Gezahegn Abate said that since it is a historic battle ground related to the identity of the peoples of Ethiopia, a memorial and museum should be prepared.
The victory of Adwa was a historical demonstration of the national identity of the peoples of Ethiopia and the pride of Ethiopia and Africa in the period of colonialism which was busing in scrambling Africa.
The place is a new destination with unique historical significance as the victorious battle in the world fought to repulse an unwarranted aggression from a colonial power armed with modern weapons. It stands to reason therefore that Adwa should become an important tourist destination.
According to him, preliminary activities like expansion of parks and infrastructure development in the area and attempts to lure private investors in the area to work on projects that would facilitate a viable tourist destination at Adwa is underway.
“Establishing museum would mean visiting Ethiopia in a miniature. Various opportunities are available to recreate the Battle of Adwa through paintings, photos, graphic arts, literature and several other means, he added.
Making the battle ground a tourist attraction is a proper thing to make, said senior expert at the intangible heritages authority, Hailemelekot Agizew said.
He said “When we see the landscape where the Battle of Adwa took place, its location field sight where our forefathers were fought the invading Italian forces are remarkable and it has to be used for tourism purposes.”
Addis Ababa march 02/2017 Liberia wants to share from Ethiopia’s rich experience in creating conducive environment for investors, according to the country’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
President Sirleaf who is in Ethiopia for a three-day official visit to the country made the remark during a visit to Hawassa Industrial Park in Southern Ethiopia on Wednesday.
The president appreciated Ethiopia’s efforts in attracting local and domestic investors by developing industrial parks across the country.
The investment incentives provided by the government to attract investors to the industrial parks are strong, she noted.
The training given to investors to develop their leadership skill in doing business demonstrates the country’s far sighted journey in the sector, the President added.
“Liberia is country embarking on developing industrial parks; therefore, it wants to share from Ethiopia’s experience in the sector”, she said.
The President expressed her desire to closely work with Ethiopia, which she said its economic growth exceeds that of Liberia's.
According to Sirleaf, Liberia is one of the top rubber producers in Africa and want to work with Ethiopia to supply the product to shoe industries in Ethiopia.
On the other hand, Liberia is keen to utilize Ethiopia’s livestock resource and their products.
Technical and vocational education, health, livestock and fishery resource are among future areas of cooperation.
The president assured that the two countries will work together to enhance trade and investment that would strengthen trade integration among African countries.
The two countries have long standing relationship and assets, she said adding that they should work to strengthen their trade and investment ties as well.
The diplomatic relation between Ethiopia and Liberia dates back to 1959. Ethiopia demonstrated its partnership to Liberia by deploying peace keeping mission to ensure peace and stability, and health professionals to curb the Ebola outbreak.
Addis Ababa march 02/2017 The Victory of Adwa, which is the first decisive victory over European colonial power by African forces, has not been well addressed by professionals of creative arts, professionals in the sector said.
In spite of the role that creative arts can play in documenting and transferring history and thoughts to generations, major events in the history of Ethiopia such as the battle of Adwa are not well represented in the country’s entertainment industry.
Deacon Terefe Worku, a historian and researcher at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, said “we Ethiopians have not adequately documented about the victory of Adwa in arts while African Americans, Caribbean’s and Haitians make use of it to praise the sacrifice paid by the Ethiopians.”
The battle of Adwa which culminated in the decisive victory of Ethiopians placed the nation at the center of Pan-Africanism that emerged in the late nineteenth century, Deacon Terefe added.
“Our filmmakers must recognize that Hollywood portrays the strong and powerful America in its films even in the Vietnam War where the Americans lost the war whereas we have the internationally accepted victory of Adwa, but much has not yet been done of it.” Deacon Terfe stressed.
Desaalegne Hailu, Vice president of the Ethiopian Filmmakers Association, said that the film industry plays a significant economic, social, psychological, moral and political role. Besides, it has also created a considerable job opportunity for professionals in the field.
“Of course there is no doubt that it is a big industry whereby you can bring behavioral changes in the social consciousness of the public, but so far the industry has not been fully utilized to promote and transfer to the youth the historical heritages of the nation like the legacy of the victory at the Battle of Adwa.”
According to Desaalegne, Professor Haile Gerima`s film on the victory of Adwa has gained him and Ethiopia a remarkable prestige and lasting national image which vividly depicted the first victory ever to be registered by Africans in their struggle against European colonial forces.
The films that are to be produced in connection to the victory of Adwa must emphasize on how Ethiopia was able to maintain its sovereignty for centuries and how it has become a pace setter and eye opener towards the struggle of African countries for independence.
The victory Adwa is by far the most worthy, sophisticated and expensive weapon of our time to fight poverty, Desaalegne stressed.
Biniyam worku, vice president of Ethiopian Professional Theatre Association, stated that few years back, professionals in theatrical arts have been able to artistically demonstrate the valor and nationalism demonstrated on the battle of Adwa, regrettably enough, little has been done to artistically show the significance of this battle and other historical battles that the peoples of Ethiopia have waged against foreign aggressors.
This has resulted in a situation whereby the youth have been carried away to appreciating artistic products of western countries instead of appreciating the historical feats of their forefathers, Biniyam emphasized.
“Today, colonization has changed its way of appearance through social media and for sure the victory of Adwa must be our unity to best tackle it and pursue our forefathers’ legacy.” Biniyam pointed out.
Hailemelekot Agizew, Senior Expert of the Ethiopian Intangible Cultural Heritage Safeguarding said “We should not judge the youth unless we provide what is required to be delivered for the generation for we certainly reap what we sow”
We are currently noticing some kind of westernization in our media and mostly the youth lean to it, Hailemelekot added.
The senior expert stated that any media out let can make a difference teaching proper history and educating the public about the value and significance of the battle of Adwa.
Hailemelekot underlined that the victory of Adwa is not a topic of entertainment rather it`s a value that need to be respected and promoted for its continuation throughout generations, and to do so the entertainment sector has make a deeper assessment in the matter.
Solomon Dibaba/ ENA/
The Battle of Adwa in which Ethiopians demonstrated their heroic feat against Italy took place only 11 years after the Berlin Conference (1884-1885) in which European powers staged a massive colonial program for the partition of Africa also known in history as the scramble for Africa.
“…the Berlin Conference was meant to create harmony and alignment between colonial powers and to reduce tension and competition among themselves in their quest of partitioning Africa” Dr. Kassahune Brehanu, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa University said.
The Battle of Adwa that took place on the 1st of March 1896 was a stunning victory for Ethiopia and Africa at large. Besides, the victory resonated powerfully in post-emancipation America and the Caribbean’s where hierarchies of race and ethnicity were only beginning a process of challenge and renegotiation.
“The Battle of Adwa is the first victory by black people in the history of the world representing Ethiopia as the theater of victory and echoing in all over the world to where the black are living, in Africa and of course in Ethiopia”, Dr. Ahmed Hassan, Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University said.
Dr. Ahmed added that the victory of Adwa came by as the result of the diplomatic and political skills exhibited by Emperor Menelik in cunningly isolating the Italians diplomatically so that the rest of the European powers will not join them for any level of support in the battle.
This historic victory later on became a living inspiration for the emergence of pan Africansim triggering the unity of Africans in the post independence Africa.
In the wake of the scramble for Africa, the Battle of Adwa had a greater impact on the development of Pan – Africanisim in the early 50s and 60s. Pan-African advocates including Emperor Haile Selassie, Julius Nyerere, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Kwame Nkrumah and Muammar Gaddafi, grassroots organizers such as Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, academics such as W. E. B. Du Bois, and others in the Diaspora were undoubtedly inspired by the outcomes of the Battle of Adwa.
It demonstrated that the invincible superiority of the European powers could be challenged by Africa whom the European powers considered as the Dark Continent. They claimed that they are bound to engage in a “civilizing mission” by skillfully concealing their deep seated and often professed desire to tap and exploit the natural resources of Africa for their newly emerging industries.
“The victory of Adwa, like many events in the Afro-American experience, became a kind of folk story that was well known to all blacks and passed among individuals within the black community in beauty parlors and barber shops, at church congregations, at various meetings and gatherings, and in family circles. (Sylvia M. Jacobs, The African Nexus- Black perspectives on European Partitioning of Africa, 1880-1922.)
In the word’s of another African American writer, “Adwa signaled the coming of a new day for African people and identified Ethiopia as God's chosen instrument for black redemption. The Christian Century, an influential black religious periodical wrote in an editorial entitled "Capturing and Holding Adwa" that Ethiopian victory produced throughout the world new appreciation of race, intellect and power. (William R. Scott, The Sons of Sheba's Race: Afro-Americans and the Italo-Ethiopian War. 1935-1941)
The armed superiority of the Italian invading forces was completely outweighed by an ill equipped army of peasants, artesian and Ethiopians from across the country in all walks of life numbering about 100,000. The army represented the nations, nationalities and peoples in the country with no distinction on race, religion or any local difference.
Ethiopians in all walks of life including barefoot farmers, tanners, weavers, potters, priests, metal workers, merchants heeded to the calls of Emperor Menelik and participated in the war. Warriors from almost every ethnic group in the country rallied behind the Emperor. This was a national resistance and a heroic feat against a colonial power from Europe.
Associate Professor Kassahune Brehanu shares the same view, “every ethnic group and people from all walks of life voluntarily participated in this war which clearly demonstrated the unity among the peoples of Ethiopia.”
The Ethiopian army composed of the youth got into face off and the battle raged against four brigades totaling 17,978 troops, with fifty-six artillery pieces.
Dr. Kasahune added “The Battle of Adwa was part of Italy’s colonial ambitions. They already had their foothold in Somalia and Eretria and were eager to expand inwards into the Horn of Africa to create a larger territory under the Italian administration.”
Dr. Ahmed had this to say. “Very importantly those who decided to go to the Battle of Adwa were the youth of those days who were under 30. Those who were in the leadership of the time use the youth for the proper place.”
Political machinations and deceptions which started at the Treaty of Uchalle and the subsequent treachery that the Italians tried to play through Conte Antonelli were foiled by the wisdom of Empress Taitu who also led a battalion of Ethiopian army to the battle of Adwa.
The victory at the battle of Adwa has been a pride of Ethiopians for hundreds of years but what is the implication of the battle for Ethiopian youth of modern times and for the current generation at large? Today the nation is battling against poverty which is the main enemy of the peoples of Ethiopia. The country has already set a vision to defeat poverty as it did on the battle of Adwa. The late Premier of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Melese zenawi once said:
“As far as halving poverty is concerned, we will achieve it. I have no doubt about it. I believe by 2025 we will be a middle income country with a per capita income of at least $1,000 a year and at around that time, slightly before perhaps, we will be completely free of aid of any variety.”
Already, the peoples and government of Ethiopia are engaged in gigantic mega projects that would set the basis for achieving the national vision. Developments in infrastructures, manufacturing industries through industrial parks, health infrastructures, education, agriculture, and creation of carbon free economy, the struggle against terrorism and maintenance of regional peace and security are all the epicenters of a national agenda.
Responding to a question from the Guardian Newspaper on the relation between poverty and security, Prime Minister Hailemariam once said “We believe that poverty is the worst enemy that brings insecurity. We have to fight poverty tooth and nail. It’s essential. The more you reduce the poverty rate, the more secure the country will be”
As we celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Adwa, the youth should remain mindful of the fact that as the youth in the days of the Battle of Adwa have defeated the aggressors, the youth in this generation should spearhead the battle against poverty in the spirit of democratic patriotism.
Youth development and creating a favorable ground for the participation of the youth in rolling back poverty are being implemented through government programs to ascertain the leading role of the youth in nation building.
Dr. Ahmed stressed that “we need to create an enabling environment for the youth so that they will be able to effectively participate in the development programs of the nation.”
The historic success at the Battle of Adwa has resulted from selfless commitment up to and including lives of farmers who fought the aggressors with primitive weapons. The present generation is not required to shed blood for any cause but to renew their commitments to rid the nation of the bondage of age old poverty.