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Home Articles The Distorted History of Ethiopia in the Lens of Assimilation by force

The Distorted History of Ethiopia in the Lens of Assimilation by force

This is a brief review of Dr. Fikre Tolosa’s book regarding the origin of the Amharas and the Oromos. There can be no 

disagreement regarding Dr. Fikre’s assertion that the Amharas and the Oromos have a common origin and we, Ethiopians should own up and take back our history which has been distorted by foreigners. As an Ethiopian scholar of Oromo origin, I commend him for that position.

Indeed, not only the Oromos and the Amharas but also the Tigrés, the Guragés, the Agaws, the Afars and scores of other ethnic groups of Ethiopia do share undeniable genetic and linguistic backgrounds due to dwelling in the same land, being endowed with common heritage and coalescing through intermarriage; they all have Cushitic and Semitic roots, though some more than others. This is inevitable because the Ethiopian people have lived together for thousands of years, have fended off foreign invaders and kept their cherished political independence while all Africans went under the yoke of colonialism. The glorious victories achieved at the battles of inter alia, Zafar (555); Woina Daga (1543); Gundet (1875,) Gura (1876); Kufit (1885,); Dogali (1887); Gallabat (1889); Amba Alagie (1895); Adwa (1896); Jijiga (1977); and Badme (1999).  were rarely won by just one ethnic group.

If we look around the globe, even lily white Americans who subscribe to the philosophy of Jim Crow are now waking up to the reality of their geneology, that they have Hispanic, First Nation and African-American blood, thanks to advances in archival research and DNA lab Tests by and others. Some of the readers of this review may remember that I have argued vehemently in my ESAT interview a few months ago that Ethiopians are one people though speaking over 82 different languages. So, we concur on that with Dr. Fikre.


Furthermore, Prof. Messay Kebede and I have also argued with plausible proof more than a decade ago in the Internal Journal of Ethiopian Studies that the Coptic and Ethiopian church's position that the Queen of Sheba is Ethiopian and not Yemeni and that the great Axumite scholar of the 16th century, Zara Yacob is not a fake as European scholars like Cerulli and Ullendorff assert, - that he, not a 19th century Jesuit priest, actually wrote the philosophical tracts ascribed to him and thus deserves a respectable place with contemporary rationalist European scholars such as René Descartes.

Here is where the similarities between the arguments of Prof. Messay Kebede and myself on the one hand and those of Dr. Fikre Tolosa on the other end. Sadly, by conflating the serious matters the two of us have raised with hallucinatory allusions, he has reduced the weight of our primary variables and has made a mockery of the rational arguments we have made. With this book, Dr. Fikre did not rewrite Ethiopian history as some may be duped to believe; he simply wove a beautiful fairy tale which belongs in the realm of fantasy.

Let us revisit his statements and ask him to present tangible proofs for his assertions:

All of the above are total fiction and total Fairy Tale. They are much in the realm of delusionary and phantom apparitions symbolized by Dukak diktats that qat addicts describe after taking a pause in their chewing regimen. But please note that here I am not referring to Dr. Fikre’s argument that Ethiopians are one and the same people though they differ linguistically. That paradigm is incontestable. I am rather referring to the evidence or arguments he presents to support his assertions or the axiom of a historical fact.  In other words, the problem I have is with his so called researched proofs.

Item: Dr. Fikre exhibits an important archaeological find whose image appears tantalisingly on the cover of his book. Why doesn’t he or his collaborators bequeath it to the Ethiopian national museum that is currently home to the fossil of Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis), so that scientific researchers can carefully examine it.  Scholarly objectivity would also demand why UNESCO does not mention anything related to this “great find!”

Currently, Dr. Fikre’s monograph is selling like hot cakes to gullible Ethiopians whose background in Ethiopian history is nil or those nationalist Ethiopians disillusioned by the Woyane’s ethnicization of their motherland who buy and read it though they do harbour doubts about the veracity of the assertions in the book. I hope young Ethiopians who have no background in their country’s history will not read this book and quote it in their research papers.

The work, nevertheless, has a place in Wikipedia where anybody can write anything and anybody can edit it. In most cases Wikipedia information is a case of garbage in garbage out. Friendly warning to Ethiopian compatriots both at home and in the Diaspora: if you believe in historical explanations that deserve to find their way into Wikipedia, then you can believe in the plausibility of the existence of qorit, the blood thirsty spirit that is said to dwell in the Bishoftu Irrecha Lake able to decipher all dreams, delusions and riddles so much so that in Ethiopian folklore, even Emperor Haile Selassie and his consort, Itége Menen were rumoured to have consulted it during their lifetime.

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