Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

The skies above Addis Ababa glow with an unusual brilliance, as if poised to shed light on a significant chapter of Black history.

One hundred and twenty-eight years ago, Ethiopians from all corners of the land united in response to Emperor Menelik II’s call to resist colonial domination, marking a pivotal moment.

The recently inaugurated Adwa Victory Memorial, in the Ethiopian capital, featuring a museum, Pan-African monuments, recreational areas, and multipurpose halls, stands as a testament to this victory.

Positioned at the historic rallying point for the war, the memorial embodies the resilience and unity of the Ethiopian people.

March 2 commemorates the remarkable victory of the Ethiopian nation — the first defiance against a formidable army.

Despite the loss of over 100,000 lives, Ethiopians courageously defended their sovereignty with mere swords and traditional shields.

“To celebrate Adwa on this day holds profound significance for me. Such unity is what we need in our fragmented, individualistic lives,” says Afewerk, an Addis Ababa resident who recently visited the Adwa Victory Memorial.

He believes the museum serves as a beacon for foreigners seeking to learn about the “glory of Blacks that humbled the arrogance of colonizers.”

The 1889 Wuchale Treaty ignited the conflict between Italy and Ethiopia, unfolding amidst the rugged landscapes of northern Ethiopia.

This year’s celebration of Adwa takes on broader significance, encompassing diverse events and narratives that unite the Ethiopian people.

Historian Ibrahim Mulushewa emphasizes that Adwa’s victory belongs to all Ethiopians, transcending any single emperor or faction.

However, he acknowledges the controversy surrounding Adwa’s narrative, which often overlooks internal conflicts and glorifies victory at the expense of others’ blood.

The victory, sealed by the Addis Ababa Treaty of October 1896, restored Ethiopia’s sovereignty and affirmed its independence.

Kwame Nkrumah, a champion of Pan-Africanism, proclaims the battle of Adwa as “a turning point in African history, demonstrating that Africans can unite to defeat colonial powers.”

Nkrumah’s quote is proudly displayed in the Adwa Memorial Museum, serving as a poignant reminder of the triumph of unity and resistance.

Ethiopia’s strategic positioning of its capital at the heart of the country symbolizes its resilience against exploitation and colonialism — a shining example for all Pan-Africanists fighting for freedom and self-determination.

Addis Ababa, often referred to as the capital of Africa, symbolizes resilience and resistance against aggression, leading to its designation as the headquarters of the African Union.

The victory also highlights the role of women and women’s leadership, with empress Taitu Betul serving as a model for rising women in the country.

“Viva Menelik, Viva Taitu!” was chanted all over Rome, protesting colonial rule after the Ethiopians defeated the Italian army, led by brigadiers Albertone, Dabormida, Ellena, and Arimondi.

By Joy

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