‘The Duce will have Ethiopia, with or without the Ethiopians’. Rodolfo Graziani
I am writing this as a proud Ethiopian because Graziani’s promise to the Fascist dictator was thwarted by my gallant ancestors. If it was not for the bravery and sacrifice of our grandparents, to day our country will be referred to as ex Italian Colony, we will be conversing in Italian, our national dish would be spaghetti and my name will probably be Mario. Please don’t knock it because my country being referred to as the only independent country in Africa, having my own national language, dining on Injera and answering to an original name is what defines me as unique member of the human race.
The Ethiopian and Italian entanglement goes very far back in history. The period known as ’the scramble for Africa’ from 1870 to 1914 is a good place to start. It was a time the European powers were invading, colonizing, occupying and abusing Africans all over the continent. After the scrooge of slavery this was another century where being black was not a desirable existence, not that it is any different now. To avoid warring each other the Europeans decided to sit around a table and carve out the continent into outright ownership of people and country and spheres of influence. Italy already had Libya and decided to include Ethiopia in its portfolio.
Unfortunate for the Italians the Ethiopians found the idea absurd to say the least. The battle of Adwa settled the matter and dealt the Europeans their one and only defeat in Africa. The victory at Adwa will forever define what it means to be an Ethiopian. Generations will use this colossal event to shape and mold their children to grow up with pride and determination to guard what is their own and not to covet what belongs to others.