‘what is the Obelisk of Axum to Ambo?’ Part I

The relevance of our Flag
And the symbol and guardian of this shared culture has been our national flag. Whatever biased opinions some of us might attach to it lately, we cannot deny that our flag has always stood as the guardian of our way of life, under which we live in absolute independence. The threats it had to survive are the very threats directed against all of us. Our flag, in times of peace symbolized the reign of our independence. It has always been there at social events. We carried it during our moments of pleasure and pain. The holidays we celebrate so colorfully and in accordance with our rich and diverse socio-cultural heritages, glow even more as we hoist the flag the same guardian of the continuity of our way of life; our way of life; our identity as Ethiopians. The flag also symbolizes the integrity and continuity of Ethiopian’s independence and its organic identity. On account of the sacrifice of our patriotic for fathers paid to keep the flag, Ethiopia has survived unbeaten by the ill-intents and leads of potential colonizers. To the extent that the flag was threatened, our way of life was exposed to the poisoning vices of the intruders.
The brief colonizing interlude of Italy in our most recent history was proclaimed of the substitution of the Ethiopian flag by the vulgar sign of fascist Italy. With the dethronement of our guardian, our flag, our diverse and organic way of life- all of them-fell into the hands of a colonizer, which hated and tried to defile them the entire colonizer targeted our socio-cultural heritages- our common denominators and had worked to defile them all.
No wonder all of us rose up together!
All of us have to fight- here at home like the numerous heroes such as Belay Zeleke, and in Rome, Abdissa Aga. Belay and Abdissa fought for the same flag, just like Ethiopians from all corners of the nation had rallied with Emperor Menelik against the same Italy- and won!
Unfortunately, both of them were not treated as they deserved at the hands of the Emperor, who ‘mistreated’ Abdissa and hanged Belay.
This incident tells us; on the one hand, of the common agonies we have been suffering at the hands of the powers that be, and on the other, of the role of the flag as a guardian of the soul of the nation- our shared culture.
Now, given this, what do we have to complain about? Why do some of us talk about subjugation by empire?
If, Ethiopia is not a nation and if it is an Empire- who built it? And who was not part of the continued and multifaceted interactions, which have caused the amalgamation and then the creation of a widely shared national identity? To say that the Ethiopian tribe have nothing in common, because they also have difference, among themselves is as good as saying two brothers have nothing in common because they differ from each other- in looks, behaviors etc. but they indeed share a mother the closest common denominator there in hence, in a planet where no two individuals could be identical, and where individual or group difference is the absolute rule (which gives no room for exceptions) the secret of identity and relationship is to be searched for in the common denominators (in the mother and the shared culture) rather than in individual difference (looks, and different languages)
Now that we have established the essence of Ethiopia’s identity and the shared way of life, which is but a product of the contribution we all made through and in the course of our continuous and divers interactions, there is no room to single out differences to justify complaints of subjugation or claim of secession. And it’s quite erroneous to assume that some tribes have a better claim over the historical heritages which baffle and intrigue us all. Indeed, these are nothing more irresponsible, ignorant and so far from the truth than the argument reportedly uttered by one of our higher officials: ‘what is the Obelisk of Axum to Ambo?’ this argumentative question is confession of ignorance on the part of its speaker about the nation, its way of life and shared identity. For, firstly, what he had said so irresponsibly is nothing but a question which he should have tried to answer or at least understood.
Source: Organic Ethiopia
By Markos Retta-2003
Page 14-16


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