A tribute to Sibhat Gebre’gziabher: personal perspective on Letum Ayinegalign


dontcensor

Tamrat Tam Rat.

[Feb 20, 2012]
No Addis Ababa downtown has ever been paid as much accolades as been paid for Wube-Bereha, Serategna Sefer, Doro Manekia endorsed by literary and theater writers; and lyricist. Much has been said about Addis fellas, namely called Aradas’, who had been constant and frequent visitors of those distinct bars and prostitutes. However, All anecdotes that has been narrated by journo, depicted by painters, recounted by Arada admirers and fans, epics and poems that was written by poetry and performed by musicians has no power of portraying the big reality of wube bereha et al. all forms of medias has built huge misconceptions and misunderstandings about Arada and Wube-Bereha, at least for me.

According to those media streams, Arada was a place where people had been tempting to visit perusing bale and boogie-boogie dance, party friends, affordable meal (Tire Siga be 1birr and 50 cent…

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Complted and incomplete Files: MATAKO, Bezzabih (Jima), Giiftii QAALLITTII of GALAAN, JIILLE MASSACRE, GAJJA Massacre, SODDO Displacement, Aabbichuu genocide and scatter, etc


The outcome of our discussion on the cold blood murder of Moti MATAKO BOJIA and Dejazmatch Bezibih (father of Jima) by King Menelik of Abyssinia was kept on PDF until unanimous permission is obtained and all facts compiled. The Wosenu Abba Farda issue, thew mariage of Fitawurari Amha Aberra Kassa to the daughter of Giftti Asselefech Alemu Ejersa MAAKO will be attached to the file. The issue of SALAALE Oromo eviction from their native land will follow. The second topic which was completed in September 2011: BARA BADI JIILLEE, the Gajja Massacre, and The SODDO Oromo forced resttlement in Gimbi, Wollagga, was ready for public readership on History-Matters.org

The forced displacement and scatter of the Abbichu Oromo all over central Oromia and around BUNO BADDALLE, iIluu Abbaa Bora is left to Dr Abiyos Itticha Danboba.
The details on death by hanging of GIIFTII QAALLITTI of GALAAN, the betrayal Col. Comboni, was left incomplete as the Obbo Alemu RORRISAA of QAALLITTI was assassinated by the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) ruling party government of Ethiopia in soon after the post-CHARTER era.

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Oda Boru Dori’s pages


On Oromo Affairs

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History Matters: Captain Gary D. Payton’s Analyiss of the USSR-ETHIOPIA MILITARY RELATION of 1975-1990(1991)


 

The Soviet-Ethiopian Liaison

airlift and beyond

Captain Gary D. Payton

On the night of 28 November 1977, the Soviet Union launched a major military airlift of arms and materiel bound for the Horn of Africa.1 In succeeding weeks the U.S.S.R. employed An-12 (NATO Cub) and An-22 (NATO Cock) transport aircraft along with seagoing cargo vessels to deliver an estimated $1 billion in fighter-bombers, tanks, artillery, and ammunition to the Ethiopian regime of Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam. Mengistu’s armies were staggering in the Ogaden desert under the attack of Somali-backed rebels, trying to capture territory claimed by the Mogadiscio government as part of a “Greater Somalia.” Although this resupply campaign did not rival the scale of the 1973 effort to rearm the Arab states in the wake of the October War, it was highlighted by the speed of Soviet reaction and the morale boost it provided the beleaguered Ethiopian army. As a result of the weapons supplied by the U.S.S.R. and the augmentation of Mengistu’s forces by Cuban combat soldiers and Soviet technicians and advisors, Ethiopia mounted a successful counteroffensive to regain the Ogaden in February and March of 1978.

These recent events clearly demonstrate the ability of the U.S.S.R. to project military force abroad in order to achieve foreign policy objectives. In the short-term this episode affirms the foresight of those military planners of the 1960s who recognized the requirement of the Soviet armed forces to be globally mobile. In the long-term the Ethiopian liaison marks the logical conclusion of a Soviet foreign policy process driven by ideological, geopolitical, and systemic needs. In response to four basic questions, this article will examine how U.S.S.R. military doctrine and capability have grown to accomplish this task, what the Soviet-Ethiopian relationship has been over time, why this new political and military affiliation has developed, and where the relationship may lead.

How?

The military force responsible for success in Ethiopia did not materialize overnight to meet this specific crisis. It had been carefully and capably constructed over the last decade to fill a void in the otherwise potent armor of Soviet offensive forces. In repeated post-World War II episodes, Soviet military leaders had witnessed demonstrations of U. S. ability to project military force abroad. They could not help being impressed by America’s air and sealift capability to respond to crises in Berlin (1948), Korea (1950), Lebanon (1958), the Dominican Republic and Vietnam (1965). This final example was the most spectacular. In 100 days the United States moved 100,000 men to a locale 10,000 miles from our borders with relative ease of transport and without substantially reducing our troop commitments elsewhere in the world.2 If the Soviet Union were truly to become a world power, its military had to achieve a force mix capable of projecting power around the globe.

In his concise account of how Soviet military strategists developed their mobility concept, Colonel William F. Scott, former U.S. Air Attaché in Moscow, has argued that the Soviet armed forces are firmly dedicated to the defense of those socialist countries traditionally allied with the U.S.S.R. This defensive dedication has now been extended to progressive socialist regimes in the Third World. As the new doctrine slowly emerged from the Academy of Science’s research institutes and the General Staff, the announced emphasis on the role of the military changed. Leonid Brezhnev asserted in 1971 at the 24th Party Congress that “the Soviet Armed Forces are prepared to repel an enemy attack, no matter from where it comes.”3 Yet by 1974 this previous characterization, based on defense of the homeland, was modified by the Minister of Defense, Marshal Andrey Grechko, to affirm that:

At the present stage the historic function of the Soviet Armed Forces is not restricted merely to their function in defending our Motherland and the other socialist countries. In its foreign policy activity the Soviet state actively purposefully opposes the export of counter-revolution and the policy of oppression, supports the national-liberation struggle, and resolutely resists imperialist aggression in whatever distant region of our Planet it may appear.4

The shift in emphasis to an aggressive defense of progressive forces no matter where they reside has peep called “…probably the most significant Soviet pronouncement on international affairs made thus far in the 1970s.”5 Yet until 1977 there had been only limited foreign demonstration of this doctrinal change. Prior to 1977 the most significant projection of force into sub-Saharan Africa was the support provided Angola in 1975 and 1976. At that time the U.S.S.R. ferried Cuban combat troops to Angola via Aeroflot (Soviet national airline) aircraft and troop ships and supplied military hardware to the floundering government of Dr. Agostinho Neto. The Soviet assistance pr9ved to be but a foreshadowing of events in Ethiopia, however.

Development of the military hardware to implement this new policy has been fully documented in recent years. Through a sustained program to upgrade the Soviet navy and expand and modernize the Soviet air force, the U.S.S.R. now possesses the military capability to influence international events on a worldwide scale. Most relevant to the Ethiopian adventure is the proven ability of the An-12 Cub and the An-22 Cock to “surge” arms and materiel to a location thousands of miles from the Soviet homeland. As demonstrated in late 1977, the Soviet air force can respond in rapid fashion to meet the crisis needs of the nation’s client states. By coupling its air and sealift capacity, the Soviet military has demonstrated once more that it maintains a force with proven global reach.

What?

The roots of Russian interest in Ethiopia run far deeper than the recent emergency. Drawn by the prospects of uniting the Orthodox world, Russian czars beginning with Peter the Great sought to curry favor with the feudal aristocracy of Abyssinia. This interaction was later highlighted by the exchange of ambassadors in the 1880s as Czar Alexander III tried to influence the imperial court of Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II. In an overlooked footnote to Russian history, Slavophile officials under Alexander viewed the Horn as a logical location for a Russian colony during the years that the European powers were partitioning the African continent. To that end, the small colony of New Moscow was established in the present state of Djibouti in 1889.6 Though the handful of hearty adventurers ultimately returned to Russia, the importance of the Strait of Bab al-Mandab continued to be recognized by military strategists.

Not to be outdone by the Western powers, who were allocating the spoils of World War II. Stalin attempted to acquire a United Nations trusteeship over the Red Sea colony of Eritrea or Italian Somalia in 1945 and 1946. But, despite his diplomatic jockeying, Stalin came away empty-handed as the territories were kept within the Western sphere ofinfluence.7

When Ethiopia signed a military assistance agreement in 195~ with the United States, Soviet interest in Ethiopia was effectively checked for twenty years. During this period U.S. military personnel trained and equipped thousands of Ethiopian regulars in the conduct of conventional and counterinsurgency warfare. In return, the United States operated a sophisticated communication facility at Kagnew Station in the Eritrean capital of Asmara. All of these factors changed, however, with the demise of Emperor Haile Selassie I in a “creeping coup” of 1974. The radical Provisional Military Administrative Council, or Dirgue, espoused their belief in Marxism -Leninism as the only method of bringing true social reform to Ethiopia; As the Dirgue grew increasingly hostile in its denunciation of the United States, relations between the two states cooled. When the U.S. refused to supply additional war materiel requested by the Addis regime, the military council looked elsewhere for support.

Faced with growing dissent in the Ethiopian provinces, a hostile Somali government across the Ogaden border, and a continuing armed liberation movement in Eritrea, the Dirgue turned to the U.S.S.R. for military assistance. In December 1976 Ethiopian military leaders signed an arms agreement in Moscow assuring a renewed flow of modern weapons.

Had the scenario continued on a “peaceful” course, it is possible that Soviet military assistance would have flowed into Ethiopia via routinely scheduled air and sea deliveries. The arms buildup would have been progressive. Some Soviet technicians would have been required for training and weapons familiarization, but no massive resupply effort could be foreseen. Ethiopia would be just another sub-Saharan state undergoing a periodic flirtation with the Soviet Union and the African brand of Marxism.

But external factors precluded this “peaceful” scenario. In July 1977 the Western Somali Liberation Front, backed by regular Somali forces, mounted an offensive against the Ogaden Province of Ethiopia. In rapid order the Somalis rolled back the Ethiopian army and by October had captured one-third of the nation’s territory. This action, coupled with the military successes of the Eritrean “freedom fighters,” placed Colonel Mengistu in a desperate situation. The vital rail link connecting the central highlands with the port facilities of Massawa and Assab were harassed by Eritrean guerrillas. If Mengistu were to survive this crisis and continue the Ethiopian revolution, drastic measures had to be taken. Those drastic measures took the form of the airlift of arms and materiel from the Soviet Union and the infusion of thousands of Cuban combat soldiers to assist in the Ogaden battle.

The critical nature of Mengistu’s situation was illustrated by the actions of his Soviet and Cuban supporters. In the sixty days after the airlift began, fifty flights were flown from bases in southern Russia to the Ethiopian capital.8 Soviet pilots reportedly filed false reports with air traffic controllers along the routes to mask the nature of their missions and the on-board cargo. To relieve the strain placed on the Cuban air force, which was contributing pilots for the Ogaden conflict, it was reported that as many as 30 Soviet air defense pilots were transferred to Cuba to fly MiG-21 interceptor missions.9 Finally, not trusting its monetary and manpower investment to the direction of Ethiopian commanders, Moscow assigned General Vasiliy I. Petrov, Deputy Commander in Chief of Soviet Ground Forces, to coordinate the counteroffensive against Somalia.10

The airlift transferred crated MiG-21 fighters, self-propelled artillery, and modern battle tanks from supply depots across the southern regions of the U.S.S.R. In particular, war materiel stored near the Central Asian city of Tashkent was flown to the combat theater.

Though some Cuban soldiers flew into Ethiopia directly from Havana, hundreds of troops were shuttled across Africa from garrisons in Angola. To this end the existing fleet of Ethiopian airline Boeing 707s proved most useful.11 Not configured for cargo, these aircraft served as “people haulers” in the cross continent hop.

Why?

By itself, Mengistu’s plight may not have been sufficient cause to generate the kind of Soviet response that followed. The crisis did, however, present the opportunity for the U.S.S.R. to reassert its presence on the Horn of Africa. Only days before the airlift began, President Muhammad Siad Barre ejected Soviet military advisors from Somalia, closed the port facility of Berbera to the Soviet navy, and abrogated the three-year-old Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. While it is doubtful that Politburo and Ministry of Defense officials had fully assessed the impact of this action, the Somali episode undoubtedly influenced the decision to initiate the airlift. Yet to justify a $1 billion resupply effort, significant factors beyond Mengistu’s battle losses and the Somali expulsion had to be at work.12

ideology and doctrine

The ruling elite of the Soviet Union and Ethiopia profess their dedication to Marxism-Leninism. One Western analyst has suggested that the aging Soviet leadership was greatly inspired by the revolutionary zeal of Mengistu and his cohorts. This view implies that the U.S.S.R. sees the Ethiopian military regime as a fledgling Marxist government dedicated to the destruction of the feudal aristocracy and intent on land reform and the continuation of an Ethiopian class struggle. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Gromyko has reportedly described the Dirgue leadership as “young revolutionaries for whom the Soviets would do much.”13

Beyond any shared ideology lies the doctrinal commitment to assist friendly governments in repelling foreign aggression. The new Soviet constitution, accepted by the Supreme Soviet in 1977, “virtually enshrines the Brezhnev doctrine by committing the Soviet state to ‘strengthening the position of world socialism and supporting the struggle of peoples for national liberation.’ “14 It further guarantees the “inviolability of borders” and the “territorial integrity of states.” Throughout the Ogaden war, the U.S.S.R. stressed that its support to the Dirgue was based on an Ethiopian request for military assistance to repel the Somali invaders. The Soviets repeatedly affirmed the Organization of African Unity position regarding the inviolability of colonial borders and indicated that they were firmly supporting an established principle in African international relations.

geopolitics

Despite the moral tone of these arguments, they offer little substantive rationale to explain the 1977 airlift. This ideological posturing only serves to confuse the more basic motives of Soviet foreign policy. In a recent presentation former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dismissed the unselfish” response of the U.S.S.R. to the Ethiopian appeal for assistance and stated that their motives were strictly geopolitical. The Soviet Union, he asserted, was trying “to outflank the Middle East, to demonstrate that the US cannot protect its friends, to raise doubts in Saudi Arabia, right across the Red Sea, in Egypt, in the Sudan, in Iran.”15

During a March 1977 visit to the Horn of Africa, Cuba’s Fidel Castro met in Aden with the leaders of Ethiopia and Somalia. Castro’s intention was to gain acceptance for a Soviet scheme to create a loose confederation of states on the Horn. The concept of confederation would unite the “Marxist” governments of Ethiopia, South Yemen, and Somalia, thereby creating a powerful geographic block surrounding the Strait of Bab al-Mandab.16 Both Moscow and Havana miscalculated the historic animosity between the Ethiopians and the Somalis, and the July eruption of the Ogaden war effectively scuttled all hope for the confederation.

Events in northeast Africa during November 1977 were the cause of extreme concern for the Kremlin leadership. Besides the Somali eviction and the state of Ethiopia’s Ogaden battle, the dramatic diplomatic maneuvers of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat brought into serious question the Soviet Union’s future policy in the Middle East. Had Sadat’s 19 November journey t Jerusalem resulted in the immediate resolution of long-standing Arab-Israeli strife, Soviet leverage on its remaining Arab allies might have been markedly reduced.

These Middle Eastern events may have been a significant factor in the decision to launch the Ethiopian airlift on 28 November. Since the 1972 explusion of military personnel from Egypt and the renouncement of a $4 billion debt, Moscow has been embittered with Sadat’s independent actions. Support to Ethiopia can in part be interpreted as a further attempt to isolate Sadat by bolstering another Red Sea “Marxist” regime.

Perhaps the most touted explanation for the intervention on the Horn of Africa is the Soviet desire to control the sea lines of communication in the northwest Indian Ocean. Clearly a sizable military force based in Ethiopia would be in a position to disrupt the shipping routes carrying crude oil to Western Europe and the Americas. Likewise, this military fore (naval and air) could serve to diminish the threat of U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missiles which may be operating in the Persian gulf. Despite the array of proponents of this view, the fact remains that if the U.S.S.R. severed these sea lines it would be committing an act of war that could escalate into a major military confrontation. If the act were conducted in isolation, the American reaction would presumably be swift and powerful. If the act were conducted as an immediate prelude to general war, the relative importance of the Horn of Africa would be greatly diminished. Attention would quickly turn to the European theater and focus on NATO and Warsaw Pact forces. While the international waterways adjacent to this region may serve as a genuine pressure point to threaten Western nations, once armed conflict has begun the strategic importance of the Horn of Africa may quickly be forgotten.

political legitimation

Neither ideology nor geopolitics provides a completely satisfactory explanation of Soviet motives in northeast Africa. To gain more insight into the rationale behind the events, one must carefully view the state of Soviet domestic politics in the era of détente. Historian Richard Pipes in testifying before the Senate Armed Ser: vices Committee has suggested that the Soviet political system requires crises in order to sustain itself.17 Because the ruling elite lacks a popular mandate from the people, the regime must appear to be protecting the population from internal and external enemies in order to remain legitimate. This need for political legitimation manifests itself in the foreign sector in the exploitation of targets of opportunity. Through the use of a strategic airlift, the Soviet Union assured the survival of a new-born “Marxist” state despite the combined efforts of “Western imperialists.” The stabilization of Mengistu’s regime can therefore be offered to the people of the nation as another positive step taken by the ruling elite of the Communist party to defend socialism against foreign aggression.

For the last thirty years, the United States has represented in the eyes of the Soviet leadership all the evils inherent in the capitalist system. During this time the repeated confrontations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. have provided ample opportunities to be manipulated by the Soviet elite to serve its purposes. The era of détente has brought relative calm to superpower relations. With that calm the number of external crises that could be exploited was reduced. But the need to affirm the legitimacy of the party continues. It now appears that the Soviet Union has focused on the Third World as the next arena to provide the necessary “proofs of victory.” This systemic need for turmoil is a basic characteristic of the Soviet. political process. In spite of détente, demonstrations of the “superiority” of the Soviet state will always be required. It is a logical conclusion, then, that a regular and recurring feature of East-West relations in the 1980s will be episodes of support similar to that seen in the Soviet-Ethiopian liaison.

Where Now?

As 1978 drew to a close, the full impact of Soviet intervention in Ethiopia became clearer. With the weapons provided by the U.S.S.R. and the guidance of Cuban military advisors, the Ethiopian army wrested much of Eritrea from its rebel holders. The November offensive effectively returned the province to the control of Addis Ababa. The U.S. State Department concluded that the Ethiopian gains resulted from the overwhelming arms superiority enjoyed by the government forces.18 This, then, is the lesson of the Soviet-Ethiopian liaison: By providing massive amounts of military equipment to one side of a sputtering military conflict, the U.S.S.R. can tip the balance of power to achieve Moscow’s political objective. Indeed, without Soviet arms Mengistu’s ability to remain in power was questionable. He had been challenged simultaneously by internal political disorder, the Eritrean liberation movement, and the Somali insurgency. Between September 1977 and June 1978 no fewer than nine assassination attempts were made on his life.19 Now, however, his shaky regime has been stabilized through Soviet military assistance.

In the tradition of Soviet/Third World relationships, Moscow signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Ethiopia on 20 November 1978. This treaty served to replace the one abrogated by Somalia the year before. It now complements those signed by the African states of Angola (1975) and Mozambique (1977). But can the U.S.S.R. genuinely assist Ethiopia In improving its economy and better the life of the people? True, the Soviet Union now possesses adequate strength to project military force abroad, but what happens after the political objectives are achieved? The Soviet economic model does not provide a viable alternative for developing nations. The U.S.S.R. may inject massive amounts of military hardware to achieve battlefield success, but in the long-term it fails to satisfy the genuine needs of the client state.

Washington, D.C.

Notes

1. Don Oberdorfer, “The Superpowers and Africa’s Horn,” Washington Post, March 5, 1978, p. A10.

2. Morton Schwartz, The Foreign Policy of the USSR Domestic Factors (Encino, California: Dickenson Publishing Co.,” 1975), pp, 42-46.

3. William F. Scott, “The USSR’s Growing Global Mobility,” Air Force Magazine, March 1977, p. 57, quoting Leonid Brezhnev.

4. Ibid., p. 57, quoting Andrey Grechko, Emphasis added.

5. Ibid.

6. Edward T. Wilson, Russia and Africa before World War II (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1974), p. 32.

7. Alvin Z. Rubinstein, Red Star on the Nile The Soviet-Egyptian Influence Relationship Since the June War (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press,1977), p. 3.

8. Bonner Day, “Soviet Airlift to Ethiopia,” Air Force Magazine, September 1978, p. 33.

9. Aviation Week & Space Technology, March 6, 1978, p. 9.

10. Bernard Gwerztzam, “U.S. Cautions Soviet Its Action in Africa May Hurt Relations,” New York Times, February 26, 1978. p. 1.

11. Roland Evans and Robert Novak, “Africa: Will Carter Move Too Late?” Washington Post, March 2, 1978, p. A23.

12. For a discussion by this author of the Soviet-Somali liaison see “Soviet Military Presence Abroad: The Lessons of Somalia,” Military Review, January 1979, pp.67-77.

13. Kevin Klose, “Ethiopians’ Zeal Said to Captivate Kremlin Leaders,” Washington Post, November 16, 1977.

14. Peter Vanneman and Marlin James, “Soviet Thrust into the Horn of Africa: The Next Targets,” Strategic Review, Spring 1978, pp. 38-39.

15. “Moscow’s Geopolitics,” Time, May 8, 1978, p. 37.

16. John Darnton, “Turnabout in Africa: Somali Ouster Completes Shift of Soviet Role,” New York Times, November 15, 1977, p. 8.

17. U.S.” Congress, Senate, Committee on Armed Services, Hearings before the Subcommittee on SALT, 91st Cong., 2d sess., 1970.

18. “Ethiopia’s Eritrea Gains Attributed to Soviet Aid,” New York Times, December 1, 1978, p. A3.

19. “Ethiopia Tells of 9 Tries on Mengistu’s Life,” New York Times, June 29, 1978.


Contributor

Captain Gary D. Payton (USAFA; M.A.S., Johns Hopkins University) is assigned to Hq USAFE, Ramstein AB, Germany. He has served as a signals intelligence officer in the USAF Security Service and as an intelligence analyst in Turkey, Alaska, and the National Security Agency, Washington, DC. Captain Payton was a 1979 AFIT student in the Russian Area Studies Program at Georgetown University.

Disclaimer

The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.


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PRELUDE TO THE ETHIOPIAN REVOLUTION-EPRP IN THE EYES OF AN INSIDER (A Repost by Oda Boru Dori)


PRELUDE TO THE 1974 FEEBRUARY ETHIOPIAN REVOLUTION: ACTORS, IDELOGUES, CONNECTIONS, DELUSION  AND THE AFTERMTH (View by the late Dr Aleme Eshete, died in exile in Italy) Title adapted by me-Oda Boru Dori

As if invited to celebrate an organised uprising and regime change , in the same way we have assisted on other secret occasions, by 1969 Eshetu Chole, Henoch Kifle, Tamrat Kebede (and Enderyas Eshete ?) had returned from America to Addis Ababa. Not all of them were known for beiong “leftist” or “revolutionary” but for the occasion they had arrived attired as one to fully fuel the Addis Ababa University anti-Haile Selassie leftist student agitation. Indeed we have seen the names of all four, together with Desalegn Rahmato and Professor Hagos Gebre Yesus in August 1968 amongst the founding members of Meison. Of these we now know the CIA connections and repeated apperacnces as American proxy of Henoch Kifle and Enderyas Eshete. They must have been the firs Ethiopians t to be recruited by the CIA in the United States itself with Abdul Mohamed Aba Bora. Both Enderyas and Abdul Mohamed are believed to have been selected in Addis Ababa by U.S recruiters to be sent for short periods in “leadership” formation to the United States. The selection which must have been done by the CIA itself (posing as American Embassy) had a special name which I have now forgotten. Since his recruitment Endryas, changing his position regularly on every major issue, from one public to another, changing from Marxism, to Socialism and to capitalism as the situation required, changing his names for every occasion, he has managed to stay on undiscovered until almost the advent of the EPLF-TPLF in May 1991 when at last he dared to come out clearly.. I am sure our patriotic compatriots who have lived in proximity and followed him day by day would be better judges of the duplicity of Enderyas. Anyway with such a reputation now, and the secrecy so well kept to this date, It was with great surprise that I learnt from Andargachew (Andargachew Aseged p.14) that Enderyas and Henoch were amongst the founders in absentia of Meison. My immediate reaction was, “infiltration” of Meison. More so when I found that such an insider of student politics as Zeru Kehshen did not know of the fact and would not believe me when I told him of Enderyas and Henoch as founders of Meison. In any case their utter inactivity in Meison as well as their claim to be left as independent (observer) group inside Meison not bound by the party’s decision – pretext naturally refused and served as excuse for leaving Meison in 1972, plus Zeru’s information that the same group had also applied for group membership of EPRP following the establishment of the EPRP in Berlin in 1972, had convinced me that it was really a story of “infiltration” .Daniel Tadesse was known to have been regularly complaining against Enderyas whom he had assigned to create cells within the Addis Ababa university to only find him completely inactive. Enderyas had other “chats a fouetter” as the French would say. A few years later following the bitter attack and name calling of Meison by the same group as “opportunist”, “Salon Marxists” etc. following acceptance by Meison to collaborate with the Derg with its “critical support”, and particularly the formation of the Mass organisational Office, Negede Gobezie will blast in a tract the whole group, including our Wingate friend Tamrat, as “CIA financed aristocracy”.

Among the leading European activists the French educated Dr. Worqu Ferede and Daniel Tadesse both founding members and leaders of Meison were back in Addis Ababa since 1968. Dr. Worqu, a serious, quite , unassuming, and dedicated revolutionary, who was employed as a lecturer in the Faculty of law was particularly active in agitating student politics. In the same way, it is clear with the assistance of such highly experienced political agitators student politics must have made a long stride forward and gained in maturity. In this connection did you know that Meison was divided into Meison at Home” and “Meison Abroad”. The “Meison at Home” would be Worqu and Daniel, who after years of Western theoretical studies and discussions had come to face the reality in Ethiopia, read more on Ethiopian history, and were gradually departing from some of their basic tenets and drifting away gradually from the “Meison Abroad” Haile Fida, Negede etc. And this was most obvious regarding the so called “national question”. After seeing and knowing what the Ethiopians were and how they lived he will completely abandon the ” the rights of nations and nationalities propaganda and becomes a convinced champion of Ethiopian unity. (Edget Belo Wedqet -Ye Wetader Socialism” ,Addis Ababa, 1998) With the rise of the Derg and the subsequent return of Haile Fida, Negede and the rest, Worqu will be completely eclipsed .

Another most important figure in Ethiopian politics who has returned to Addis Ababa in 1968 was Dr. Tesfaye Debesay, the future Secretary General of the EPRP. Tesfaye Debesai a native of Irob (Agame) like Zeru had followed his elementary and high school education at the catholic mission school in Adigrat. He had been sent by the Adigrat seminar to continue religious studies in Rome at the Catholic College formerly known as Propaganda Fide, now called Universitas Urbania where he studied philosophy.. He was destined to become a priest. However at the end of his studies, or even before Tesfay Debesay had become an atheist, or a positivist as he like to say, Positivism is a philosophical system founded by Auguste Comte which in ordinary language teaches one to believe in what he sees and what he touches, positive facts excluding speculation. Tesfaye had decided to abandon the Church and engage in Ethiopian politics. Following prearranged agreements at the end of his studies at the Propaganda Fide he had to return to Addis Ababa. When he arrived in Addis Ababa in 1968 he did not belong to any party nor did he have any known experience in politics. He was employed in teaching part-time at Abba Dina Police College, and working at Ministry of Information. Tesfaye Debesay had soon become a frequent visitor of Addis Ababa University where he went to meet his old friend Zeru Kehshen and bye and bye engage in the world of student politics. According to oral informants, students used his house for meetings and publishing and reproducing agitation propaganda.

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The presence of these subversives must certainly have had an impact in further radicalising and emboldening student protest and direct challenge against Haile Selassie’s “feudal” government. Although the administration had returned the mimeographing machine to the student union, it was clear that tracts and pamphlets did not come from the student Unions alone. It was in general becoming more and more clear that a new source of finance had been introduced. The technique had also changed with clandestine anti-government tracts and pamphlets over pouring everywhere. In those tracts and pamphlets Haile Selassie was in person targetted ridiculed in manners unknown never before. One six page pamphlet entitled “Haile Selassie’s Feudal Fascism” was pushed under the doors of African delegates at the Hilton Hotel. It described not only the general poverty of life in Ethiopia but also the divine absolute rule of the Emperor keeping the country without freedom of speech, and total absence of opposition , particularly the absence of political parties, and the ruthless suppression of any opposition. (Balsvik, op. cit.p.247). It also described Haile Selassie as a puppet of U.S imperialism, perhaps a contribution of the French educated subversives. The most common personal attack was treating the Aged emperor as senile. Very often however, the student anti-government propaganda, or in any case spread in the name of the students, was addressed to the people directly, as “Dear Ethiopians”, “Our Fathers, and Our Mothers, Ours Sisters and Our Brothers”. The pamphlets may also be addressed to particular groups , a real sign of sophistication. Thus certain pamphlets were addressed to the workers, to coolies. Tracts in the country side were addressed to the farmers (the tenant farmer or “Tisegna” with the “land to the tiller slogan”).The national question was always behind the issue of land which according the anti-Ethiopia propagandists was land belonging to what they call “aborigines” occupied by “Amhara” colonial settlers, as we have seen. At this date the study of the nationakl question on the basis of the text sent by Meison had reached the final stage. And while the original text wass reserved and moderate, the Eritrean secessionists like Yohannes Sebhatu, and others like Berhane Mesqel Redda had stretched the text to its extreme so as to render it perfectly anti-Ethiopian and an instrument to dismember the State, as we shall see it presented by the surrogate Walelegn who would repeatedly refer to the rebelklion in Bale and Eritrea. Certainly also the returnees from America like Enderyas and Henoch, must have contributed to giving an extremist touch to the formula of the “the rights of nations and nationalities. The home-based Meison leaders in particular, Daniel Tadesse and Worqu Ferede who were amongst the founders of Meison who under Haile Fida’s supervision drafted the text of the national question as rights up to secession, must certainly have fed some more propaganda to the students if they have not also contributed to push them to the extreme. Worqu has taken many years to modify his position .

In the same way Tesfay Debesay, the future EPRP Secretary General appears also even at this early date to have had particular interest in the national question. His very close friends inform us that he had a particular interest in the “liberation of the Galla”. Not only he must have been following the so called “Bale rebelklion” and the story of the “Macha and Tulama” association, but he could also have been receiving or reading German Protestant missionary pro-secessionist pro-Oromo liberation literature while in Italy. Was Tesfaay Debesay already in contact with Egypt, the Sudan or Somalia on that issue We d o not know . All we know therefore is that student tracts addressed to peasant farmers at this date appealed to them to rise and fight the Amhara “colonial settler” in armed struggle as in Bale.

Pamphlets were also addressed to the soldiers calling on them to join to end the Haile Selassie feudal regime.. Tracts addressed to the Orthodox Church priesthood, and denounced the growth under Haile Selassie , of Protestant and Cathollic missionaries, described as agents of imperialism.” “. Pamphlets were written in Amharic , and very rarely in English when addressed to the educated.. Balsvik had intelligently concluded :

A pamphlet had to be written by only a handful of people, the whereabouts of the duplicating machine had to be known to as few as possible. Also it was not always stated who was behind the various pamphlets…and certainly some handouts circulating in 1969 did not come from student quarters.” (p.249)

Following student demand for free education to all and their threat

to strike and boycott classes the government had pre-empted the action by closing the university and high schools on March 3, 1969 for an indefinite period. Early the same morning large forces of armed, regular army and bodyguard troops had taken up positions in the city and the university and schools evicting students and pupils. The students went into the city singing anti-government slogans. A large number of students were arrested. The government which , as usual, accused external enemy hands using the students, had assigned police to protect Embassies, government offices and hotels. The University having arranged for the students to return and classes to recommence some students had started to frequent the campuses. But most refused to go back until their arrested friends were released. The agitation did not however stop in the campuses. Finally in early April the police will intervene heavily to arrest several hundred students and taken to Sandafa.. Students were beaten and tortured. A total of one thousand students were arrested in March and April and subjected to such treatments. When the large majority were released after a few weeks, the ring leaders were taken to court and five (including The students who were responsible for the preparation of tracts in Amharic namely Walelegn Mekonnen, Getachew Sharew, and Fantahun Tiruneh, Gezahegn Mekonnen, as well as Yohannes Sebhatu were condemned to five years rigorous imprisonment. .They were accused ” of serving as tools of foreign agents against the interests of the nation.” Tsegaye Gebre Medhin, Zeru Kehshen,Yohannes Berhane and Mesfin Habtu all future EPRP cc members (with the exception of Mesfin habtu) were condemned to six months imprisonment. Berhane Mesqel Redda, Yohannes Mebratu …were sentenced from one to four months imprisonment. Seven students were expelled from the University indefinitely .Mostr were future EPRP leaders, including Berhane Messkel Redda, Zeru Kehshen, Gebru Gebre Wold, Yohannes Sebhatu, Tesfaye Kidane, Mesfin Habtu, and Mesfin Kassu (Meison founding member).

ARREST OF SUBVERSIVE RETURNEES FROM AMERICA AND EUROPE

In April 1969 “Henoch Kifle, Eshetu Chole, Tamrat Kebed and Dr. Worku were arrested at the Special Cabinet of the Emperor. No one was allowed to visit them. Yirga Tesema has been subjected to torture…the duplicating machine has been found in the house of Dr. Hanna Gobezie and she too is arrested. The photograph of the mimeographing machine has been all over the press.”

Haile Selassie’s judges and supporters presented the story in their own fashion. Here is how Berihun Kebede in his voluminous “Ye Atse Haile Selassie Tarik” (Addis Ababa, Meskerem 1993 -September 2000- page 771), describes the case : .. .

Henoch Kifle, and Tamrat Kebede had plotted by inciting people in Ethiopia and abroad, in order to overthrow the government of Emperor Haile Selassie. What is surprising is that not only their fathers are high ranking officials and they are Amhara. Regarding Tamrat Kebede, although his father is Known to have been Ato Belay Hadegu, her has been educated and raised with the utmost care

by General Kebede Gebre the former Defence Minister of Atse Haile Selassie. Fikre Merid is the son of the former Defence Minister Lieutenant General Merid Mengesha. Henoch Kifle is the son of the former high ranking official of Haile Selassie who had been promoted to the rank of Governor General and promoted to the rank of Dejazmach.

Andargachew (p.33) summarises the charges. The charge against Tamrat Kebede was that he paid the students who spread anti-Government tracts

with money that he received from abroad, that he had brought a duplicating machine from abroad which he has hidden at the house of Hanna Gobezie. Henoch was accused of allowing the preparation and duplication of anti-government propaganda in his house, and Worqu was accused of “receiving and paying students money sent to Tamrat from abroad”. Dr. Hanna was accused of having hidden a duplicating machine she received from Tamrat. The sentence given on Sene 3, 1961 (June 1969 ) was that from the date of their arrest Tamrat, Henoch, Walelegn, Zeru should remain in prison for seven and half years . Dr. Hanna was released as Tamrat clarified her from any responsibility for she was told that the bag left at her house contained books and not a duplicating machine. According to Berihun Kebede (op.cit) Abune Tewflos, Dejazmach Kifle Dadi, and Afe Negus Abeje having pleaded to the Emperor for mercy, the prisoners were liberated hardly three months after,

PAUL HENZE CIA AGENT IN ADDIS ABABA ARRIVES IN May 1969 (-1972)

Among the arrival of important subversive elements in Addis Ababa, impacting also on student politics mention must be made of the arrival of Paul Henze as the CIA agent to Ethiopia in May 1969. coinciding with the change of American policy towards Ethiopia and in particular ending support to Haile Selassie in Eritrea where, coupled with Vietnam, the Americans did not want to be involved . Haile Selassie was received very coolly at Washington in July 1969. The talk of a military coup d’état was rampant (News Week, July 1969) or of a regime change. We know for certain that at this date Leul Ras Asrate Kassa , the Enderasse of Eritrea, in direct contact with the CIA and the -american military base of Qagnew near Asmara, and in collaboration with Mossad the secret agency of Israel, in contact with Christian anti-ELF secessionist elements like Issayas Afework, was being openly talked as a successor to Haile Selassie. Issayas’ secret collaboration with the Ras Asrate was not a secret to Addis Ababa. Haile Selassie’s cabinet security man, General Daniel Menghistu, has in fact confirmed recently that Issayas Afwork served indeed as one of the Ethiopian spies infiltrated inside the ELF to report on the Muslim pro-Arab secessionist movement’s activities. (Interview in Menelik Megabit 1993 – March 2001- journal published in Addis ababa journal)

And one of these was Issayas Afeworkwhom they had recruited to follow the Eritrrean situation and report to them. It 2was precisely for that purpose that he was sent to join the ELF. Issayas was financed and equipped with all that he needed by Ras Asrate kassa (the Emperor’s enderase 1964-1970). Our agent in ther Sudan 2was also coordinating the activities orf our spies in the infiltration of the ELF. Our spies were largely Christians as the Christian highlandfers in Eritrea were afraid of being overwhelmed by the Muslims.”

We have little doubt , therefore, that the talk of a coup d’état, and the Western press propaganda about the need of a regime change in Ethiopia was referring to Ras Asrate. The family, who confirm that Ras Asrate was being approached by the U.S. Britain and Israel to take power, argue that he was not interested in overthrowing Haile Selassie and that his loyalty to the Emperor was stronger than his proverbial “ambition”. It is not also clear how regime change was to be brought about. – through a military coup, a palace coup, or direct intervention of the Americans and Israelis soldiers in Ethiopia. Further, somehow we also suspect some link of the regime change talk with the Oromo liberation propaganda of the German Protestant missionaries of Welega, for one source speaks of a new government headed by Yilma Deressa, an Oromo speaker !(Andargachew Aseged, op. cit. p.37) Asrate Kassa who was opposed to the militarisation of the Eritrean conflict and advocated instead for a political solution (of which his collaboration with the anti-ELF Christian highland movement of Issayas, in one chapter. On the other hand the Emperor, advised by the Prime Minister Aklilku Habte Wold, Ras Asrate’s arch rival, was for the declaration of martial law in Eritrea and finish off the uprising militarily. In any case Ras Asrate will be removed from Eritrea in 1970 to become a Crown Council member and his star will wane as of that date.

In the context of the Cold War, and the fight against communism , American policy of supporting a change of regime and placement of pro-American governments, may not have involved Ethiopia alone but the whole of the Horn of Africa.ted onl In May 1969 we have witnessed the military coup d’etat of General Nimeiry in collaboration with the Sudanese Communist Party. We will know later that Nimeiry was operating under CIA. Supervision, and that the whole enterprise was a trap for the Sudanese Communists who will be massacred en masse by the same Nimeiry. Somalia’ Siad Barre has also taken power masquerading as a Socialist revolutionary. It was a CIA strategy to in those days to dress its agents in Marxist vest. Siad Barre will jump first, as Nimeiry into Soviet arms, then into American arms and decimate Somali leftists. Who was the Ethiopian “socialist” general to be acclaimed by the “socialist leftist” students take power to crash away the genuine change seeking revolutionaries. Was something similar being planned in 1969 for Ethiopia too in the light of the right of the rise of leftist movements. If that plan failed in 1969, it will succeed perfectly in 1974 and the strategy of annihilating Ethiopia’s progressive elements shall be accomplished by the Derg and its opposition parties, including the EPRP.

FROM STUDENT POLITICS TO ARMED STRUGGLE :THE ERA OF MASS EXILE

The 1ST.Student Hijacking Experience

Following the mass arrest of students and brutal repression of student principal student leaders seem to have reached a general conclusion and agreement that student political agitation has reached its final station and that there was a need to to pass into action – the armed struggle – to bring about the changes in regime and impact on the national question as reached through their studies. Thus a group of students led by Birhane Mesqel Reda , and opertionally led by Amnuel Gebre Yesus hijack an Ethiopian Air Lines plane in Bahr Dar and land in the Sudan in August 1969 . As the following list shows, the linguistic composition of the group suggests that the armed struggle for the liberation of the “oppressed nations and nationalities” was taken under consideration.

Berhane Mesqel Reda

Iyasu Alemayehu

Amanuel Gebre Yesus

Haile Yesus Welde Semayat

Abdissa Ayana

Benyam Adane

Gezahegn Endale

The Ethiopian students in Europe who were then meeting in Lund (Sweden) will celebrated the event singing revolutionary songs in a 20 kilometre march to Malme.

Issayas Afework himself was recruited by Richard Copeland of the CIA in November 1969. Richard Copeland may be Paul Henze himself who is known to constantly change his name for every operation as befits a secret agent

of the World’s superpower. In the context of the Cold War, given the rise of a socialist movement in Ethiopia (Meison at least) and among the students, plus Haile Selassie joggling with the Soviet Union when needed, plus his advanced age, the Issayas -Copeland agreement takes us back to the talk of the coup in 1969..As we wrote in our paper on the subject (” EPLF the Mother of all CIA Political Surrogates in Ethiopia – How Richard Copeland of the CIA Recruited Issayas Afework: 1969″ updated in June 2002) here is the story

as told by a member of the delegation , Tesfa Mikael Giorgio:

” On the appointment day (Hedar 28 1961 or November-December 1969),…The Americans told him indirectly that as they were worried that following the fall of the debilitated government of Haile_Selassie , there might come a military regime, unfriendly to the United _State, they were ready to ally themselves even with anti-unity secessionist forces. Indeed they stressed the point that desired to ally themselves with anti-Socialist force committed to defend the Qagnew Base as well as similar other bases in the Red Sea…Ato Issayas Afework stressed that they wanted full independence and that they will not accept a federal solution that may be proposed by the new government after Haile Selassie. In reply Richard Copeland had assured Issayas that as long as American interests were safeguarded, they care less about Ethiopian unity. If you satisfy our conditions and you want independence in return you shall have your independence.” Issayas was told. Ato Issayas was further assured that if Selfi Netsanet (his movement) could succeed in bringing the Red Sea coast under its control, they promised to supply unlimited quantity of arms by sea.”

With or without a push from the CIA -Richard Copeland or Paul Henze, and certainly with a push of the now newly reinforced ELF-PLF with CIA backing, student politics at Addis Ababa University had reached an unknown peak. The clique of Eritrean secessionists – Yohannes Sebhatu and the rest , and will dare to publishing in the November 10, 1969 issue of Struggle, using Walelegn as a surrogate their violent article on the national question calling for the tribal dismemberment of Ethiopia.

As well as supportive of Eritrean secession. The articles called for an armed struggle of the oppressed peoples of Ethiopia all over, as if they were already in the bush , in a liberated zone , where the State did not reach. Those days were really strange. “Struggle” the official student paper in Addis Ababa at the centre of Haile Selassie’s power, unchecked and uncontrolled the University administration, and without any consideration of Government repression, thus publishes openly the conclusion reached on the national question and calls for armed struggle using Walelegn Mekonnen as their surrogate. The editorial of that same issue was entitled: “It is the Obligation of the Oppressed and Plundered People to Protest by Taking Arms ” for the dismemberment of the State. The article which appeared in the name of Walelegn was a bitter anit-Amhara diatribe calling for the “oppressed nationalities” to rise and liberate themselves from the settler coloniser in accordance with the rights of nations and nationalities to self-determination up to secession.. The general reaction amongst students and staff was consternation. The Eritrean secessionists and other activists who masqueraded in the name of Marxism was supportive. As Balsvik wrote p.279: “There is abundant evidence in student publications of enthusiastic pride in and loyalty to Ethiopia…” The opposition to Eritrean secession among Ethiopian students was general. She has also noted that the antagonism between Tigrians and Amharic speakers was greater than between Amharic and Oromo speakers. (p.280).

Naturally Haile Sellassie’s Government reacts with another unprecedented violence which the students themselves noticed and feared…Struggle was abolished.

The student leader Tilahun Gezaw who was not an outright supporter of the tribal dismeberment of Ethiopia, was against confrontation with the government and had to stressed to the students that students alone did not have the force to overthrow the government and warned students not to fall into government repressive trap.

And yet Tilahun himself will fall the first victim to government repression as he was assassinated by presumed secret agents while walking home, just outside the University on Tahsas 19 (December 1969) in the evening. On the morrow an estimated 25000 elementary, high school and university students had gathered at Addis Ababa university to bury Tilahun. However the Imperial Body Guard will arrive in trucks in the University to recklessly open fire on the crowd killing at least 10 and wounding a large number. The repression was repeated for successive days in the university and the city’s high schools ending in more deaths and still more wounded people. This was an unprecedented level of Government repression that will close the chapter of student politics in Addis Ababa University.

Large numbers of University students will go into exile. The majority of them including Zeru will go for further studies to the United States in what appeared a predetermined American plan to welcome subversives.

Walelegn himself will die in a second hijack attempt in December 1971. together with a number of other activists. The only surviver will be Zeru’s future wife and long time friend, Tadelech Kidane Maryam. Her presence may be taken as proof of the identity of the group as future EPRP members. Among the hijackers killed on that flight was also Amanuel Yohannes an Eritrean secessionist and activist in Addis Ababa University who had joined ELF-PLF of Sabbe and Issayas in the Sahel with Musse and Yohannes Sebhatu..Hence a another proof of the association of the future EPRP with the Sabbe-Issayas Eritrean secessionist wing. After staying for a short time with the group in Sahel, Amanuel had returned to Addis Ababa under a false name of Belay Tadesse ( and Mohamed Osman Mohamed) and one or two false passports. Amanuel who had already had one hijack experience had certainly returned to organise the hijack of Walelegn and others. The complete list, of the seven hijackers (again seven), once again selected by nationality for the forthcoming armed struggle to dismember Ethiopia, is as follows:

1.Walelegn Mekonnen

2.Marta Mebratu ( daughter of General Mebratu Fesseha)

3. Amanuel Yohannes (appearing with the false name of Belay Tadesse, and Mohamed Osman Mohamed)

4.Getachew Habte

5.Tadelech Kidane Maryam

6. Yohannes Feqadu

7-Tesfaye Birega

Although appearing victorious, the long ad tortuous passage from the beginning to the end of student politics, to the talk of armed struggle, had critically debilitated the State. As Balsvik says, the events of 1969 demonstrated a most critical erosion of government ‘s authority .”Never had such a vehement verbal opposition against the Government been heard in Ethiopia…It reverberated through all the major towns of the country…The number of active supporters was much larger than before, and the geographical distribution much broader. Events proved beyond doubt that solidarity between university and secondary school students , which the unions had attempted to promote the last few years, was now a significant force.”

TO BE CONTINUED

EPRP – ON ARAB PETRO-DOLLAR CONNECTIONS TO DISMEMBER ETHIOPIA::

THE ARMED STRUGGLE THAT NEVER WAS<!– document.write(lycos_ad[‘leaderboard2’]); –>

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Oromian Au Currant

Berehanu Tafese of Dandi, ex-governor of Ambo got married to Gen. Abba Dula Gammada’s sister.

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Pages from Oromian Aucurrant: Gobana Dachi

ODA BORU DORI

Lord Gobana Daaccii (Ras Gobena Dachi)-an Oromo warrior and minister of war during Emperor Menelik’s reign was a man of highest prowess. Large pages of history books mention about him-especially his military success in building Ethiopia, of course under King Menelik. But, there are controversies as to his political accomplishments:

1. The Oromos (his own nation blame him for annexing, incorporating his nation and others into the Abyssinian empire by denying his own nation-the Oromos and others their independence by brining them under Menelik’s rule. For this reason, nationalist Oromos condemn him for their loss of independence and freedom under GADA-Oromo democracy. Ethiopians (Abyssinians, especially the Amhara ruling class adore him for his heroic activity in incorporating the Oromos and others into their Coptic Orthodox tiny monarchic enclave. Opinions vary about his cooperation with King Menelik of Abyssinia.  Opinions are held by immediate and close family members and, Oromo historians…

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Oromian Aucurrant


Lord Gobana Daaccii (Ras Gobena Dachi)-an Oromo warrior and minister of war during Emperor Menelik’s reign was a man of highest prowess. Large pages of history books mention about him-especially his military success in building Ethiopia, of course under King Menelik. But, there are controversies as to his political accomplishments:

1. The Oromos (his own nation blame him for annexing, incorporating his nation and others into the Abyssinian empire by denying his own nation-the Oromos and others their independence by brining them under Menelik’s rule. For this reason, nationalist Oromos condemn him for their loss of independence and freedom under GADA-Oromo democracy. Ethiopians (Abyssinians, especially the Amhara ruling class adore him for his heroic activity in incorporating the Oromos and others into their Coptic Orthodox tiny monarchic enclave. Opinions vary about his cooperation with King Menelik of Abyssinia.  Opinions are held by immediate and close family members and, Oromo historians which indicate that his (Lord Gobana Dachi’s) intention was not to annex Oromos to fall under Ethiopian brutal rule but, had an envisaged concordance with  King Menelik of Abyssinia to form a con-federal empire of a bloc type that would comprise Oromos and other Ethiopians without loss of independence. At least Ras Gobena committed one grave error by recognizing  Emperor Menelik as the leader of the confederation eventhough it was just for military defence  against the then impending European and Egyptian expansion.

2. Some points in oral history and records also show that Lord Gobena Dachi was betrayed by King Menelik, and hence his accidental death by poisoning by the latter when the prior raised concerns about the loss of his national political identity as against his intention for con-federal status only.  Hence, close family members as well as historians fully hold this notion. Regardless, the Oromo nationalists put full blame on him and other Oromo QUISLINGS for the loss of freedom of Oromos and their subjugation under successive Ethiopian regimes. The learned Oromos attach the label NEO GOBENA to all pro-Ethiopian Oromos. The nationalist Oromos who did not favour the 1974 Ethiopian Marxist Revoltion under the DARG (PMCA) attach the label RED GOBENA’s to the socialist Oromo intellectuals who forfeited the Oromo national cause for common social reforms inclusively with other Ethiopians. Among these are the political group-“OROMIA”  (1972-1978). The nationalist Oromos who dissociate themselves from Ethiopian affairs and just fight for the independence of Oromia/Oromiyaa-to restore GADA (Democracy) label the educated pro-Ethiopian Oromos as READ GOBENAs, meaning well educated but perverted/deviated Oromos who betrayed the avenue to freedom and emancipation. Whatever the case, LORD GOBANA seems to have lost honour and glory in the conscience of the nationalist Oromos while highly glorified by unitarist Abyssinian/Ethiopian clerics of history and the Oromo ASSIMILADOS-who the Ethiopians call GALLA GABAR (originally Galla (Oromo) but Ethiopianized- attaching secondary citizenship status regardless of their contribution to the survival and continuity of Ethiopia. As a person with attachment of lineage to Ras Gobena, I feel sad and humiliated when he is condemned by own nationalists. At the same time, I understand the pain of the Oromo nationalists why they condemn Ras Gobena as they attribute the current appalling Oromo situation under Ethiopian rule to the initial act of the general who played the major role in incorporating Oromos and others under the Ethiopian empire.

 

Immediate Famliy Members of Ras Doobana Daaccii

Title: Ras Lord Field Marshal

Name  :Gobana Datchi

BORN : 1819

DIED : JUL 1889

Cause of Death: Poisoned by Emperor Menelik /court

Reason: Political diffrences as to imperial structure, Lord Gobana wanted independence for Oromo as against incorporation (Sirak Belayneh, grandson of Askale Gobana and memoires hel by Fit/OBD

PARTNER 1 : Woizero Denaye Fayyee Tura

Children:

 Askale Gobena (F)

 Tenagne Gobena(F)

 Tedale Gobena (F)

Lij Zewdie Gobena(M)

Lij Wolderufael Gobena(M)

Lij Tulu Gobena (M)

PARTNER 2 : Woizero Ayeletch Abbaa Risaa

Lij Delenso Gobena

Lij Mered Gobena [ – 1887]

Lij Abdi Gobena [ – 1870]

Dejazmatch Wadaje Gobena [ – 26 MAY 1905]

Woizerit Menna Gobena [ – 1887]

PARTNER 3 : Untraced

Woizerit Yewedar Gobena (Yewwee is the subclan of Abbichuu)

Woizerit Atsede Gobena

Lij Ejere Gobena

Compiled by Oda Boru Dori aka Edao

For more Detail: “OROMIA” Special Edition Vol.1 No. 3 1974 (Liyyuu Ittim, Qits.1 Qutir.3 1966 Eth Calendar Amharic script.

Terms: Land to the natives

               Black Yankees Go Home

                Down with Neo Gobenas/Red Gobenas

                Revolution or Decolonization? Which avenue for Oromos

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