ethno-nationalists anachronistic tendencies in deconstructing the ethiopian Past and the role of the Past in Unifying the People


  • tsegaye ebabey Demissie


Ethiopia; Ethnic politics; secessionists; the Ethiopian past, heritagizing the past


This paper assesses the persistent backache and intransigent ethnicization of the Ethiopian past and shows the role of heritagizing the past as a common heritage for unity. Formerly introduced by colonial agents, ethnicization and abusing the past was practiced since the 1960s Students' Movement. The movement against the imperial regime assumed consolidation in subsequent rise of ethnonationalist armed fronts of the 1970s and 1980s. Thus, 1991 only marked the capture of state power by few ethno political coalitions led by TPLF. Anachronistically, Ethiopians' interactions and coexistence, state formation pro- cess, epidemic diseases and the EOTC have been subjected for ambitious ethno-political or secessionism intrigues. The country's past is distorted and devaluated as a mythical construction. Injustices are primarily advocated, causing ethnic conflicts. However, our past is a resource that can be valorized as a shared heritage to bring better harmonious relationship and mutual development for its burgeoning population. In regard to this, Ethiopia is best placed to improve the life and unity of its people than battling over it. The empire formation process, which many ethno nationalist writers propagate as all too negative, can- not be seen in the "scramble for Africa" perspective. The process took three main phases. Being well flourished as a result of continuous agricultural and commercial activities and settlement process of its preceding periods, the Aksumite period took the first phase and the second continued following the shift of the Ethiopian state into Lasta and Shewa since the 10th century A.D. The rise of Emperor Tewodros II in 1855 marked the beginning of the last phase and completed under Menelik II. The foundation of Addis Ababa as the empire's center in 1886 was mainly linked with its role during the medieval period. Its cultural legacies needs valorization, the opening of Menelik's palace as "Unity Park" for tourists is a worthy instance to heritagize and communalizes the Ethiopian past.