The Amhara people of Ethiopia built the Abyssinian Empire with firearms from Italy in the late 19th century, and in doing so adopted a uniquely African brand of ethnic chauvinism. Anyone familiar with the myth of Haile Sellasie the supposed “anti-colonialist” of modern African legend can find Amhara chauvinism front and center.
The major feat of the Amhara was conquering their traditional enemies the Oromo, whose legendary cavalry routed all Abyssinian invasions until the last one, which saw the brutal subjugation of Africa’s largest nationality and the sort of ethnic hatred towards the vanquished rarely seen so virulent.
Amhara’s call the Oromo “galla”, or slave, and viewed them as little more than subhuman. So today for Ethiopia to have an Oromo P.M. and leading Ethiopia’s largest political party and seemingly inevitable electoral sweep in the next election in 2020 the Amhara chauvinists have started to strike back.
When the Oromo’s celebrating the return of their heroes from the Oromo Liberation Front from exile in Eritrea were attacked following the concert/rally it didn’t take long before two senior Amhara Ginbot movement “Welcoming Committee” for Amhara leaders returning from exile where arrested for this crime. This atrocity, amongst others, has led to a split in the Amhara based Ginbot resistance to the TPLF regime and hopefully is seeing the development of an anti chauvinism movement amongst the Amhara people.
Oromos and Eritrea, both symptomatic of the collapse of the Amhara Abyssinian Empire, are the main targets of this ethnic chauvinism, for to see Eritrea rebels successfully defeat the best Ethiopia could send at them and win independence and now to have an Oromo P.M. telling Amhara’s what to do, the rage has been bubbling and inevitably it broke out in a splurge of looting and killings that shocked Ethiopians.
To see just how pervasive this ethnic superiority complex is check out the Amhara based internet for anything positive about Eritrea playing a critical role in “Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution”, or any mention of how the Oromo’s recognize what a hero Eritrean President Issias Aferwerki has been in their return to leading one of Africa’s oldest modern civilizations.
Try and find anywhere in the Amhara media P.M. Abiy’s speech on July 8 welcoming Eritrean President Issias Aferwerki to Addis Ababa where he said “Issias is leading us”. How could every single one of thousands of Amhara journalist fail to watch this speech to the point where this statement was made? Smells of chauvinism to me, what of any consequence could an Oromo leader be saying after half an hour of addressing the nation?
To see their two worst enemies united is to much to publicly recognize, for what ethnically proud Amhara can feel comfortable with this? Amhara’s created the modern African empire of Ethiopia and are the rightful rulers of the country, or so the chauvinists believe. So no mention of the essential role played by Eritrea in regime change in Ethiopia is acceptable. Don’t believe me, go see for yourself what is being said and written in Addis Ababa by the Amhara pundits there.
The remainents of the TPLF regime in Ethiopia’s Tigray province, or “Weyane” as they are known, remain a problem but not a major threat. All Ethiopians hate Weyane and the large, well armed Tigrayan rebel army on the Eritrean border (they have now moved into more critical areas of Tigray) known as Demhit is easily able to wipe out any attempt by the Weyane to engage in insurgency.
The Amhara chauvinists on the other hand, remain, deep in their hearts, opposed to both Eritrean Independence and the second coming of the Oromo nation. Until this ethnic chauvinism is vanquished from the hearts and minds of the Amhara people and Abyssinian Imperialism is buried once and for all the rest of Ethiopia will have to beware of this cancer suppurating in the body politic of the country.
Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist in Eritrea living and reporting from here since 2006. See thomascmountain on Facebook, thomascmountain on Twitter or best reach him at thomascmountain at gmail dot com