“With little training, Ethiopians rallied to the ‘mother’s call’ – the mother country cry for protection against the enemy. The Derg government offered a call for a short time and made it by bringing back respect of the country. It is in our history to pay for our country’s sacrifice and sacrifice ourselves for our country. Soon enough the invaders felt the wrath and the blade of Ethiopian heroes who were prepared to go to any length and sacrifice to defend their motherland. Within a short period, not only was the Somalia invader defeated but the territorial integrity, sovereignty and respect of the nation was restored in full. Rubbed the wrong way, the lion roars, the true Ethiopian rises to glory” (Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, 05.03.2020).
I don’t have the answers here. This is loosely translated from his Facebook post. However, the way it mentions thing it started me to question things and look into it. He celebrated the Karamara victory, the one where Ethiopia successfully where able to annex the Ogaden or the Somali region of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Therefore, it is hot topic to begin with, as the Ethiopian are seen as invaders and as colonizers of the region to begin with.
It is reason why its called the Somali region or Ogaden. Because, it’s belonging to the Federal Republic of Somalia. Now, its been like this ever since, ever since the loss of the war. Still, there are Ethiopian forces fighting for Mogadishu government at the mercy of Addis Ababa. This is known, so for the Prime Minister to celebrate this. Really, shows there are some aims at supremacy for the Prosperity Party and the Prime Minister.
He recalls old glories and even uses wordings, that former Dictator Megistu used to rally up the forces for the “Red Terror”. Using wordings that resembles the battle-cry of the DERG. For me that is weird. Not patriotic, but a sign that the man isn’t that peaceful after all.
Small fragments of the “Call of the Motherland”:
“Mengistu took a war-like stance against these threats in the aftermath of the coup on February 3, 1977. A communique issued in the name of the Derg on the following day pointed out that Ethiopian progressives (members of Mengistu’s coalition) had been unable to take action against the counter-revolutionaries because of the dominance of the reactionaries and their supporters in the Derg? it then stated that the revolution’s strategy would, from that day, be transformed from the defensive into the offensive. In his address to a rally held on the same day, Mengistu condemned Teferi and his faction, EPRP, EDU, the Eritrean Liberation Forces, the conservative states of the region and imperialism as enemies of the Ethiopian revolution. In his address at another rally on April 12, Mengistu again condemned the same forces and asked the Ethiopian people to rally around the banner of ‘Call of the Motherland’ and fight the enemies of the revolution” (ANDARGACHEW TIRUNEH – The Ethiopian Revolution (1974 to 1984), P: 285-286, 1990).
“Government dailies had a section of their front-page devoted to the “Call of the Revolutionary Motherland” from the beginning of May 1977. From the outset, the media campaign combined calls for the defense of territorial integrity with encouragements to denounce internal opponents. See e.g. Ethiopian Herald, 3 May 1977, ‘Call of Motherland: to defend the frontiers, to protect the revolution and to increase production’” (Jacob Wiebel – ‘Revolutionary Terror Campaigns in Addis Ababa, 1976-1978’, 2014).
“French MilAtt was informed March 5 by Soviet MilAtt that Jijiga had been recaptured that morning. Soviet also confirmed that Kara Mara Pass had fallen to Ethiopians. French MilAtt believed that major thrust toward Jijiga was from NNW and was combined Ethiopian-Cuban operation. French MilAtt further stated that Ethiopians took heavy casualties” (Office of the Historian – ‘69. Telegram From the Embassy in Ethiopia to the Department of State’ Addis Ababa, March 6, 1978, 1407Z 1054. Subj: Ethiopian Forces Recapture Strategic Ogaden Town of Jijiga. Ref: Addis Ababa 1025).
So, for someone calling himself a reformist and a man whose mission is to make the Republic better. He surely brings back memory of a regime and a type of government he shouldn’t associate himself with. Especially, this is a insult to the Somali and Somalia. They have answered this. Even Oromo leader Mohammad Jawar has addressed it. Therefore, the backlash has occurred.
Still, there is need to ask if this is a gaffe or an intended approach by the Prime Minister. As he has created his “one-party” ahead of elections and with statements like these. He will gain supporters and show flex. However, his also reminding people of a bloody past. A past where the state used terror against dissidents and used all means to stay in power. Therefore, the Prime Minister should consider that.
That its that easy to think in this direction, by the words and wording in his statement. Should boggle us in 2020. As he should not rewrite and praise the Derg, but instead condemn it and their ill-actions. The ramifications plenty of people are still living with today. The EPRDF has used techniques the Derg did too.
As his supposed to reform, he should know better. However, seemingly he wants this messages out. I just question it. As it sparks some memories and his wording isn’t making it better. Especially, when his trying to be a peacemaker in the region. Instead, this way his just another imperialist with in sheep’s cloth. A hidden wolf awaiting his time eat. Peace.