I write this article for all oppressed people globally and the endless nations who have been victimized by imperialism and hubris. Though tyrants killed our forefathers and subjugated our ancestors with brute force, they cannot stifle the will of the people and they will not invert justice in perpetuity. By they, I do not mean to paint with a broad brush nor in any way ascribe the sins of a few unto the masses, people who have, and continue to commit atrocities globally, are not contained to one race, religion or ideology. Until we realize this, we will continue being hoodwinked by the establishment and paid demagogues who pretend to be standing for justice. In time, the truth comes out; those who are elevated as heroes by way of state propaganda and indoctrination will eventually get exposed for the charlatans they are.
This article is an example of this very fact, what is done in the night in time gets exposed in the light. One hundred and fifty years ago, a once emperor of Ethiopia and a king who was a hero of the people was driven to death before his time at the hands of the British crown. For having the audacity to send a letter to Queen Victoria demanding justice for his nation, Ethiopia was invaded by the United Kingdom and a once real life version of Robin Hood was shortly thereafter felled. Atse Tewodros II, born Kassa Hailu, was a man leagues ahead of his time. He unified Ethiopia by sheer will and in the process stood up for the people who were being oppressed by the covetous and disjointed nobility. The age known as Zemene Mesafint, the age of princes, was thrown into the ash heap of history by Atse Tewodros as he united Ethiopia and delivered the people from the hands of the powerful.
A divided Ethiopia was coveted by colonial powers in Europe; leaders in England, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Italy were licking their chops to get at the only land throughout the continent untouched by foreign occupiers. These axis of European evil had already bludgeoned the continent we now call Africa as industrial pigs fattened their wallets by destroying millions of lives. It was Atse Tewodros II who saved Ethiopia from a fate of being a clientele state of European fascists—his effort to consolidate Ethiopia as one nation gave birth to the Battle of Adwa. The war of 1896 in Adwa was a classic example of how unity can defeat tyranny; Ethiopians gave would be colonizers a shellacking and sent them back to Rome packing. As they came with arrogance saying “veni vidi vici”; my ancestors had other plans and responded as only lions of Judah could with a collective “veni vidi embi (no)!”
Atse Tewodros II paid with his life in order to keep Ethiopia safe from the clutches of colonial despots. It was his refusal to face death rather than submit to fascists that paved the way to the battle of Adwa. When he demanded that the British stop meddling in the affairs of Ethiopia and to be treated as equals, the Brits unleashed their military might against Ethiopia. Though Ethiopians were fierce fighters and many fought to the death at the Battle of Magdala, their valor was no match for the technical superiority of British weaponry. The kings of Ethiopia, Atse Tewodros included, trace their lineage to King David by way of King Solomon and King Sheba, sadly biblical history would not be repeated in the 19th century—the King David of Ethiopia was eradicated by the British Goliath. History records that Atse Tewodros II committed suicide in Magdala rather than face capture by the British military. We know that Atse Tewodros gave his life so that his people’s spine would be stiffened for an oncoming invasion. History records that Atse Tewodros II committed suicide in Magdala rather than face capture by the British military. We know that Atse Tewodros gave his life so that his people's spine would be stiffened for an oncoming invasion. Click To Tweet
And this is where the second act of imperial treachery takes place. Colonizers kill twice; the first is to kill heroes, the second crime is when they co-opt the narratives of people they kill in order to further the interests of the victors. Ever since his death, Atse Tewodros II, who is beloved by millions of Ethiopians, has been maligned by western educators and colonial propagandists as a tyrant and an unstable butcher. This is done on purpose; the powerful do not want the masses to get a whiff of leaders who actually stand for the people. We have been trained and programmed to accept injustice and to see the treasonous monsters who have a seat at the table of power as champions of the people when they are actually the root of our oppression.
Atse Tewodros II disturbed this narrative; he took from the powerful in order to give back to the powerless. This is why his soldiers were willing to go through the fires of hell at his command. It was his kindness and his care for the multitude that turned a once desperado into the greatest emperor of Ethiopia. Colonizers could not abide this truth about Aste Tewodros II, so one book after another—written by interlopers and university mercenaries—was used to assassinate the character of a king the British already murdered through their heinous intervention. Bullets kill once, but words commit a holocaust against a people and justice forever.
For years, I simmered and my blood would boil when I Googled “Atse Tewodros” and saw the first and second page populated by propaganda and outright lies written by non-Ethiopians. This is the pernicious face of paternalism and institutional repression that is part and parcel of the corporate media and academia. One liar and fabricator of history after another is deployed by moneyed interests in order to hijack the history of nations and to keep the masses in the perpetual darkness of ignorance. A people without a sense of self and a knowledge of their history soon perish and become property of the state. This is why the powerful have gobbled up one media entity after another; we are in another Zemene Mesafint where dark princes and nefarious intellectuals are colonizing all of our minds and our ability to pursue our God given rights of self-determination.
But a people united can call the bluff and rebuff the ill intentions of colonial plutocrats. About a month and a half ago, I wrote an article about Atse Tewodros II which has been shared by over 2,000 people since the day it was published. The topic of Atse Tewodros II is very personal to me, I am his grandson five generations removed and I was named after him. Prior to writing about Atse Tewodros II, I wrote an about a song Teddy Afro released paying homage to this once emperor and lion of Ethiopia. I was blown away by the level of pride and ownership a lot of Ethiopians displayed as they used social media to reclaim our history and shared both articles globally to counter the lies of western propagandists. Collective action enabled us to tell our story instead of having our history told to us and for us by outsiders and colonial educators.
Little did I know that the article about Atse Tewodros II was quickly climbing Google’s algorithm based on hits and velocity of impressions. Yesterday I Googled “Atse Tewodros” and I was shocked to see that the article I wrote about my forefather was not only on the first page of Google, it was the second link listed right below the Wikipedia entry. The Quintessential Jegna of Ethiopia jumped over article after article, many that were written by British sources—one which is derisively titled ‘Mad king Tewodros’ of Abyssinia. Not content with having silenced Atse Tewodros II, these liars are intent on erasing his entire legacy. The British not only buried Atse Tewodros II, they also kidnapped his son Alemayehu Tewodros and kept him as a political prisoner and a personal spoil of war of Queen Victoria. Where they stole one branch, they left behind another; the other son of Atse Tewodros, Meshasha, flourished in the court of Emperor Menelik. It is from that lineage this letter is written and is being delivered to Queen Elizabeth II by way of a website dedicated to standing up for justice.
As I mentioned earlier, when I say “they”, I don’t mean to impugn the character of all British people, collective judgement is a moral failing. I reserve my condemnation for those who enriched themselves at the cost of my nation and billions of people globally. The same way the spirit of Atse Tewodros lives through us, so does the vile spirit of Queen Victoria through those who bleed nations for the sake of profiteering. The 21st century colonizers are now globalists, from the branch of Victoria emerged a host of incestuous inbreeds who are destroying this planet through their despicable greed and gluttony. They have managed to kneecap the entire continent of “Africa” and reduced my birth land Ethiopia into a clientele state of globalists.
A nation which has an abundance to feed the entire continent and enough natural resources to enrich the populace is reduced to a charity case as corporate colonialists steal our resources and then pretend like they are saviors by giving us back pennies on the billions. What is being done to Ethiopia is being done to America and to EVERY nation globally. As the children of Ethiopia cry, the children of Americans cry too. But as God is a witness this tyranny will not last forever—there is a kalkidan (covenant) that will one day be fulfilled because people will not submit to repression ad infinitum.
A day will come where all who suffer throughout the world under the hammer of capital greed and imperialist hegemony will be delivered from evil. A time will arrive where we will unite as a people regardless of our differences and throw off the yoke of these oligarchs. Oligarchs better be careful, people only take so much oppression before they wise up and rise up. It is best to stop oppressing the people before the people turn to the playbook of the French Revolution and make basket cases of the gentry.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable” ~ John F. Kennedy
To my fellow Ethiopians and those who refuse to be subdued by imperial mendacity, I ask you to summon up the spirit of Adwa once again and say embi (no) to colonizers the way our forefathers once did. We showed them a bit of what we can do, at least on this day, for this one moment, show imperialists that they cannot hijack our story and our culture in order to fit their colonial narrative. We are a people whose history goes back three thousand years, they have tried for centuries to erase our significance as they renamed the continent to diminish us, re-branded a biblical river named Ghion to the Nile river, and have now placed a demonic pentagram on our sendek alema (flag). But truth eventually finds its way among a million lies.
I ask all of you reading this, do not give your hands to these lying pundits, vacuous politicians and duplicitous professors. Their job is not to edify us, their job is to destroy truth and bury us in perpetual ignorance. We have the power to say embi (no) to these plutocrats and the demagogues they deploy. If you care about justice irrespective of your nationality or ethnicity, use social media to get out these type of articles in order to reclaim our history instead of tweeting about #NationalSelfieDay or using Facebook to take pictures of your food. They have been colonizing us for years and leaving our people broken and burdened by grief throughout he ages; for once can we colonize them back! Use social media today with the spirit of Adwa and spread this article along with #JusticeDelivered and disperse this article EVERYWHERE and defy the same elites who have been unleashing terror to silence our ancestors.
Let me end this letter on this note, to my fellow Ethiopians and oppressed people globally, this is the reason why the Ghion Jouranl was started. In the column of the oppressed I include the British citizenry and Europe as a whole along with the rest of humanity. The battle is not nation versus nation nor is it about identity versus identity. The battle has always been about the powerful versus the powerless. We can let the money of the powerful keep us perpetually oppressed or we can band together to say embi (no) to the neo-colonizers who are bleeding all of our hopes and our dreams. Click To Tweet
One man armed with truth and nothing else can defeat the lies of a thousand armed with millions at their disposal. One man when joined with millions is able to expose the lies of the powerful and reclaim history from the hands of imperial hyenas. We have a profound power within us, we don’t have to react to hatred but act in unity and love to overcome injustice. These same messages are what prophets throughout the ages have been trying to tell us. They killed one messenger 150 years ago, but try hard as they might, they could not kill the message. The spirit of Atse Tewodros II lives in all of us and it can now be found on the first page of Google #JusticeDelivered
“Justice is revenge.” ~ Saad Hariri
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
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- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019