AmdeTsion, My AmdeTsion!

June 26, 2008 at 12:22 pm 15 comments

I am in LOVE!
Had the most awesome lunch ever in which i had my first Epiphany. And now I’m in-love! In love, with Amdetsion! Emperor Amdetsion! Who, before today, I only knew through history books I never read and a poem I had translated for my Ge’ez class:


What, and, which territory he brought back I didn’t know. Didn’t ask! Didn’t care! But I asked this morning and explain my friend did, what/why and how, to the last drop! I am not a huge fan of politics. Am worse when it comes to world affairs. My history knowledge, however, is more or less non-existent. I only know names and with what to associate them.

  • “The French Revolution” I associate with a spoilt princess, “Best of times, worst of times”, Charles Dickens, and Le Guillotine
  • “Watergate” I associate with Nixon, ‘I’m not a crook” and an ABBA’s song made for Waterloo
  • Which I associate with Napoleon & Josephine

That’s all I needed to appear learned, informed. And with it I either convinced them, or confused them. This day of our Lord, 26th day of the year 2008 though, I asked all the questions. The what, the why, the who and the how. Then I went to Google to read on it. And baptised I was, with love! For “ArBegna AmdeTsion, MeLaLash YeWossen”.

It’s a sick feeling, coming across accusations you “beDabesa” know can’t be blamed on our government 100% (like Somalia and Ogaden), as I came across this morning. What am I missing, I ask myself, that I don’t seem to know how to get through to these people that Ethiopia NEED to hold onto her guns if she has to survive as a nation?!. That many were our ill wishers, and powerful are those who take care of them, for us to lie on our bed at nights and dream of “England”, so to say?! That we would have to keep our guns by our bedside at all times, have them lie on our knees when we are preparing each “gursha” to throw into our mouth; that we can’t afford to, don’t have the freedom of mind for, the eating of our enjera, and lapping of our water unawares (like dogs?!)

I knew all these – beDabesa!! But couldn’t explain it to neither Dr. Ethiopia (over by Abesha Bunna Bet) nor his pacifist friends for I knew not what I was really talking about. A female soldier minus her “Qeleha”, the undersigned had become for a moment there, ill-prepared to fight the holy war (our “holy war” this time, the war for survival as a nation & individuals who won’t have it no other way) becoming an easy target for both friends and foe.

But history lesson I had on lunch time. The very best! So I’m in love now, in love with Amdetsion and know why this East African country needs to have the biggest military power in all of Africa, inspite of being the poorest, inspite of famine and food aids. Our guns are our means of survival, as has been for thousands of years. And they should continue to be as long as there is breath in an Ethiopian’s body and those whose eyes turn red at the sight of one!

Now, I’m not sure how to make this crystal clear to you, how Somalia & Ogaden (and all those ensuing places of our war of survival Al-Jazeera would be telling it the way it hasn’t happened against us) are above religion and beyond heaven, without being politically incorrect. Perhaps you should try to meet with my friend and discuss it with him. He knows how to tell it, the way it’s been and is happening. And I am in love, en-chanted, in-toxicated by one AmdeTsion, Emperor of Ethiopia. And, yes, Meles, I’m with you on this one!

God speed!


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Can quote me on that! Breaking news!!

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  June 26, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I usually do not leave comments even though i read your blogs. But this article pushed me to write a comment or a question to you.
    So just based on one persons explanation of history, and it may be a biased view since he was probably telling you a stroy from his point of view, you are going to justfy the fact that innocent people are dying? and did your friend explain why Ethiopia is involved in a war that is not its war?

    “That we would have to keep our guns by our bedside at all times, have them lie on our knees when we are preparing each “gursha” to throw into our mouth; that we can’t afford to, don’t have the freedom of mind for, the eating of our enjera, and lapping of our water unawares – like dogs?!

    So does every country not just Ethiopia, then again are we justfying what US did to Irak in the same token?

    I believe u are jumping to conclusions just after one history lesson over Lunch time….

  • 2. Dr. Ethiopia  |  June 26, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Wow! i was wondering why we disagree so much on this particular issue, but i see the point after a whole post was dedicated to it by Ms. Abesheet.

    You know, if you want Ethiopia to be the America of Afica, then it just goes without saying that, don’t be shocked later why we are enemy #1 in Africa.

    Obviously, we have manged to create the biggest Humanitarian Crisis in Africa today in Somalia, and congrats for a mighty military made of bunch of animals who act and then think.

    I know dogs who act better than our stupid military, who debunks every heineous crime that is associated with them.

    i am not so naive that i would go so far as saying, let me see it with my own 2 eyes, as to what is happening in The Horn of Africa today.

    Agressors is what we have become. I couldn’t imagine someone invading my country just because they can.

    As for your friend, i tell him to go screw himself and his screwed up rhetoric. If he wants a war of ideologies, then he just might get what he is asking for.

    It is too selfish to think in his context, and i refuse to share that with him. I absolutely refuse to be lectured by someone like him.

    I know scholars who are experts in this whole East Africa and Islamism issue, i don’t think he will stand a minute with them.

    To each his own. it just pains me to see that we have become a nation that is selfish, reckless and indifferent. No need to go afar to see what is becoming now the closest thing to the Rwanda Genocide and its long ignored aftermath.

    It is ok to ignore the news reporting of all these refugees in Somalia today. But for how long? I don’t see anyone coming to Addis Ababa, and massacring folks and causing them to flee their homes and families.

    It is an utter disbelief that news medias (no matter who) will be blamed for our actions as a nation. After all, we gave them the news, so let’s not be the judge of their reporting too. We are dictaing enough already.

    I guess once a dictator always a dictator.

    P.S. I don’t think i would call your readers pacifist friends, i guess we all get carried away in the heat of the moment.

  • 3. Ras X  |  June 27, 2008 at 6:50 am


    I wonder why Dr. Ethiopia have to have friends who are experts? Are you too busy to be an expert yourself? 🙂

  • 4. abesheet  |  June 27, 2008 at 7:04 am

    But Dr. Ethiopia… we are their number 1 enemies. Always have been. Always will. Give me one ethiopian Emperor, king or Leader who didn’t go to war with one or other of his neighbours!! As long as there is Israel and the Nile, they won’t leave us alone. That’s just it. We have to fight for our survival. There is no other way for it. Such is our fate. We are “unfortunately” placed. What’s more, we have been unbeatable till now.

    No, Anonymous.
    I was neither trying to justify wrong doings, nor saying America had the right to be in Iraq. Iraq wasn’t a threat to America. That was an invasion! Ours isn’t, we were invited there by the Somali government, and we went there because we have so much at stake if Islamic coursts managed to over throw the central government and came to power (read Tsegaye’s comment on Whateva Dude for a detailed explanation). In short: the same powers that are leading & those powers that are financing the Islamic courts are leading and financing the rebells at Ogaden. Powers who, as I said on my first comment on Dr. Ethiopia’s blog, would like to see the horn minus us.

    Even if I don’t have much faith in Al-Jazeera’s reports, raping of women and killing of children can never be right, by any measure! I still am sorry for Somalis (men, women, child) who are paying for mistakes they had nothing to do with. For politics is “yePolitikegnoch Nibret”, not of the common people, and it’s the politicans who should be paying for the mistakes they make come bad times (but that rarely happens). Still, I dare say better them than me. Does that sound too selfish? Better them than us for this is a question of survival to us, as it’s to them.

    Back to Dr. Ethiopia:
    You said we have become Agressors! Tell me, when have we ever gone there and invaded them?! Aren’t they the one who always came knocking at our door, looking for trouble?!. Siyed Barre, Sudan, Egypt, Eritrea, in Harar, in Ogaden?! Brothers and Sisters, we see them as, fellow africans. “Fathers in the faith”, we consider them. We are hospitable to their immigrants. We treat them as one of ours (remember the case with Eritrea and the Eritreans in Ethiopia? And how they are running back to us when Issayas started showing his true colors?!) But do they let us rest, for a minute? Do they leave us alone to enjoy our hard earned peace?!

    I’m sorry, my friend. If all my neighbours wanted me dead or gone I just won’t curl down and die to oblige them. And leave us they never will. They simply can’t afford to!! Amdetsion knew this. IN THE 14th century!! Even threatened to divert Nile unless they left his kingdom alone. Yifat reblled, Egypt sends someone over! Adal rebelled, Egypt sent him troops (showing this really wasn’t about independence but making sure we don’t have a day of rest with which to write a history that didn’t have war all over it, making sure that we buy guns instead of food, that we wreck our country instead of build it).

    It just wasn’t Mengistu’s paranoia, brother. Not just about our well document “toreginet” (which we won’t have survived without, come to think of it!!). It’s what our neighbours have been doing, and are doing now. I have no problem with the religious aspect of the question. Muslim or Christian, a ruler is a ruler to me. I would gladly convert to Islam if Egypt would leave us alone then. But would she?! No! Because this isn’t about Muslim/Christian. Just as the Holocaust wasn’t about Jews killing Christ! This is about them being threatened by our very existence and we saying “we would rather, thankuverymuch!”. It’s about politics, power and the Nile. You don’t have to take my (or my friend’s) word for it Doc. Just wait and see. The minute they got on their feet, be it Somalia or Sudan, they’d start walking around us like a lion looking for whom to devour!

    I just hope they take some of our “tiBqinas” for them into consideration ;).

  • 5. sistu  |  June 27, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    ikir, fikir, fikir…. fikir asiazkegn iKO
    lela, lela, lela…. lela alfeligim iKO
    (fikir, fikir…………fikir yizognal
    weyneee gude….. min yishalegnal (chris min yilegnal?))

    ok abesheet, now you talking. i like this post much much more than satc and its subjects… k. davis.

    well, not meaning to mechefelaleq ur new found romance with gebrisha, but gebrish (your amde, according to wiki), sounds a bit like a teb yelesh bedabo to me. a teb yelesh bedabo who nonetheless did well to win his dabo. now, its true that my ethio history is not highly dependable and that it relies heavily on elementary school tariq lessons and the sign and the seal as well as wiki. so it would have been nice to learn more about what an antura habt of a knowledge your friend mawress-ed you that convinced u solidly. but i come from a family apt at making do, so i will make do here with what i do know.

    one thing i have to say on this subject is that for all those who pride themselves on that yeferedebet 3000 yrs of werqama and widiYe history of ours, you need to get over your current outrage over our Somalian invasion or whatever is going on in Ogaden. we didn’t stay a country for that long because people around us thought we were just too cute and adorable as a country. i am not sold on the idea that jihadists, islamists, terrorists and extremists are issues sold to us by the western world. since i am big on the idea of not having things sold to me by the western world, i should have some credibility when i claim that the west hasn’t needed to sell us such ideas and is not even attempting to…. they might be selling it to their own citizens but certainly not to us. No, we are miraqachinin waTT yaregin experts on matters of tilacha, bekel, kiyiyim, kursho and the like. We were (or at least i was) raised tekotkuten with the story of gragn mohammed and yodit gudit. and please do not blame matters on that chuchE of a country known as america that probably doesn’t know what she is getting herself into. dittos to israel for recruiting that hiTsan country to a centuries old dibidib of jews vs Christians and then christians and jews vs muslims. true, these people have been based in different countries over the centuries but its gulicha beekeyayer weT ayatafitim, the issue has always been there. perhaps the only people who have stayed put in one place through the turmoil of this here haymanotawee girigir are us Ethiopians and we probably owe that to our heightened sense of neger filega and teB achareenet that we have going for us. That tinged with a deep sense of mistrust we have for all things that are not us.

    one thing i read in graham hancok’s book that had me going bura-kereyo was a conversation between him and Richard pankhurst on the deceitful nature of our Ethiopian personality that makes us always wary of others. Now that i have reflected and reconsidered, i might just agree with them. In short, Abesheet, you are right to fall head over heals for Amde Tsion if you are proud of what he did. But don’t make a habit of going after these old rulers or Fasilidas, my Fasilidas, may just become your next conquest. Here is what my jegnas-tiyalesh-isu did (according to sign and the seal:)

    “Fasilidas did one other thing also. Despite the debt of gratitude that his country owed to the Portuguese (whose numbers had been allowed to increase steadily after the successful conclusion of the war with Gragn [which the Portuguese helped us with]) he made it his business to throw all the settlers out. Indeed, he seemed so wary of their intentions that he entered into a business arrangement with the Turks at Massawa (MiTsiwa): any Portuguese travelers arriving there and seeking entry into Ethiopia were to be apprehended and decapitated – with a substantial sum in gold payable for each head thus obtained.”

    That, ladies and gents, is what Ethiopia is (and has been) all about.

  • 6. sistu  |  June 27, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    that smiley face again. i had typed a ” ) :” i have nothing to do with that face

  • 7. Dr. Ethiopia  |  June 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm


    Oh dear, I never thought you would buy into “we were invited” by the Somalis propoganda.

    I was going to lecture you on history and wars, but I was convinced you have convictions that are deeply rooted, so we would have to agree to disagree.

    Remember years and decades from now the Somalia war would go as one that was perfectly outsourced by the US

    American history and the beauty of it is it exposes everything.

    For as long as America had existed it had successfully outsourced their wars.

    F you would like to hear more and examples, I would list them all in detail, I just aint sure it would help to balance your judgment.

    And oh, Eritrea is still spitting on our face, I guess they are not immediate threats and the poor Somalians were.

    Anyway sis, I love doing this and enjoy it and I hope you know that. Nice debate.

  • 8. dr. Ethiopia  |  June 28, 2008 at 4:12 am

    Abesheet, this article will open your eyes a great deal. America and the politics of it all is fascinating. I picked one of the best experst, out of so many and his article here, to see how the Americans are experts in creating a blood-bath between neighbors, cousins, and brothers.

    It is called – – –

    The Nixon Doctrine

    It’s an unwritten rule: each president gets one foreign policy doctrine. James Monroe’s was defense of the Americas. Harry S Truman’s was containment. And George W. Bush’s–spelled out after the defeat of the Taliban in 2002–was pre-emptive war to defeat terrorism and spread democracy.

    To a lot of people, it sounded good at the time. The country was united, the military was triumphant, the mood was resolute. Americans were ready, literally, to take on the world.

    Now it sounds crazy. The military is cracking from wartime strain. Isolationism is on the rise. Americans don’t want to sustain one pre-emptive war, let alone start others.

    And so the Bush Administration has begun cribbing from a very different doctrine: Richard Nixon’s. The Nixon Doctrine is the foreign policy equivalent of outsourcing.

    Nixon unveiled it in 1969 to a nation wearied by Vietnam. No longer would Americans man the front lines against global communism.

    In Vietnam, we would turn the fighting over to Saigon. In the Persian Gulf, we would build up Iran to check Soviet expansion.

    America would no longer be a global cop; it would be a global benefactor, quartermaster and coach–helping allies contain communism on their own.

    Now President Bush is trying something similar. For much of 2006, Administration officials fretted about Somalia, where some of the ruling Islamists had terrorist ties.

    Next door in Djibouti, America stations around 1,000 troops. But instead of sending them in, we turned to Ethiopia, Somalia’s neighbor and longtime rival. When the Ethiopian military rolled into Mogadishu and sent the Islamists fleeing last week, the Bush Administration kept a low profile, applauding the invasion and thanking its lucky stars that it was Ethiopia that launched it, not us.

    It’s becoming a familiar story. In Afghanistan, the U.S. has handed over much of the anti-Taliban fight to NATO. On North Korea, America works largely through China. On Darfur, we have banked on peacekeepers from the African Union.

    This past summer the Bush Administration briefly put Israel in charge of our Iran policy, supporting Jerusalem’s war against Hizballah in hopes of crippling Tehran’s powerful Lebanese ally. And in Iraq the U.S. is relying more and more on Nouri al-Maliki to defeat the insurgents, disarm the militias and give us a way out.

    All this outsourcing makes some sense. Bogged down in Iraq, America simply can’t intervene as aggressively–militarily or even diplomatically–as we could a few years ago.

    But there are costs too. When America relies on other countries to do our bidding, they often end up doing their own instead. Ethiopia may capture some terrorists, but it is also making a play for dominance in Africa’s horn.

    Somali Islamists have already vowed to wage guerrilla war against the country’s new occupiers.

    If Ethiopia tries to make Somalia its puppet, it could spur a nationalist insurgency backed by archrival Eritrea. And that could spark a regional war.

    Outsourcing has created problems elsewhere as well. Some of America’s NATO partners won’t send their troops to Afghanistan’s dangerous south.

    On North Korea, China has put enough pressure on Pyongyang to make it resume talks on its nuclear program but not nearly enough to make those talks go anywhere.

    Finally, while the Bush Administration cheered on Israel last summer as it destroyed Hizballah encampments from the air, the bombing campaign virtually destroyed Lebanon’s pro-Western government as well–wrecking what was once a crown jewel in Bush’s campaign for Middle East democracy.

    The original Nixon Doctrine didn’t turn out that well either. When American troops left, South Vietnam crumbled. The Shah of Iran, America’s bulwark against Soviet meddling in the Persian Gulf, used the threat of communist subversion to establish a dictatorship. A few years later, the ayatullahs were in power.

    In the short run, we may have little choice but to outsource parts of our foreign policy. But in the longer term, America will pay dearly for its inability to lead.

    The return of the Nixon Doctrine is one of the hidden costs of the war in Iraq. And it is another reason that, unless Iraq’s leaders quickly forge a political compact across sectarian lines, America must leave. When that happens, U.S. policymakers will be able to scan the globe anew, with more time and resources at their command. Then the U.S. can abandon the Nixon Doctrine once and for all.

    Beinart is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • 9. dr. Ethiopia  |  June 28, 2008 at 4:52 am

    @ Abesheet

    My friend, people like you and i, should be the voice that cjallenges this type of war, where we are riding the band-wagon of super powers. We should be the generation to challenge this old and tired politicians who come with the same ideology that hasn’t worked for decades.

    We should lead and take the mantle of the intelectual leadership, and ask the tough questions that comes from a very unique and broad view of the world.

    The whole, an eye for an eye thing would leave the whole world blind. And guess who said that? Ghandi.

    That’s why we MUST dig deeper and ask ourselves, is Somalia really our war? The answer will come back as NO, time and again.

    ou don’t invade a nation and claim “we were invited”. That would go down as one of the biggest political jokes pulled on Africans, and especially ethiopians.

    I have a hrad time believing we would go to darfur if we were invited, rather we would supplement the AU troops with some of ours.

    There is a check-and-balance for everything, and with Somalia we got away with something that would take generations to resolve.

    Let’s just not be surpised when the chikens come home to roost.

  • 10. abesheet  |  June 30, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Darling, I see where you are coming from, really I do!. That’s my favorite quote of Ghandi’s also. Awesome, wasn’t he, Ben Kingsley, when he played him?!. I have a feeling the Israeli’s may not see eye-to-eye on it, coz these ppl are painfully aware of what it takes to survive. Or [the Hebrew] God for that matter. But still … :).

    I also found your wish to bring peace b/n those neighbours who would like to see you disappear through “peaceful resistence” adorable.

    But the Somali war has been made our war. Because if we don’t fight it, and make sure the threat that is the Islamic Court is removed, they’d come after us the minute they stood on their feet. And who knows where we would be by then?! When Siyed Barre came to our border, equipped to the brim, looking for “teb yalesh bedabo” (as the darling girl would call it) we were ill-prepared for it. But we knew the art of war, for war has been our “qeleb” for as long as history remembers (again, not of our own choosing!), and fight we did. If we hadn’t fought that war, and won, it might have been us begging our neighbours to help us defend our border. Now, that doesn’t mean [and that’s the whole point i was trying to make in my comment] our reason for being there is “pure as the driven snow”. Even our Premier didn’t deny we weren’t there for a selfless reason. He admitted that we have interests to look after in Somalia [as would everybody else, America included] and look after them, we are doing! So everybody gets what they want and everybody is happy. Except the Somali people, the civilians! But, like I said, better them then us! Sorry! I’m trying to be honest here.

    Which is why I doubted you even took a look at my comment. Here is the gist: I, too, want to live in peace with my neighbours! I, too, care! I, too, know war won’t solve anything. But peace is one of those things that takes two to tango. It won’t fall on my lap just because I wished it or went hungry for days quitely watching my assailors making their way to my capital, as a typical Ghandian would have perhaps done… in a la la world ;).

    Regarding the:

    Oh dear, I never thought you would buy into “we were invited” by the Somalis propoganda.

    Well.. I happen to believe what people tell me unless I have a reason to suspect it [like what Al-Jazeera says! Now.. you thinking Al-jezeera doesn’t have no islamic agenda and reports everything “fairly and balancedly” was quite hillarious to me because I had reasons to believe otherwise; thousand of them!!]. What else am i supposed to do when the Head of Somalia’s transitional government kept shaking hands with our Premier and thanked him for the latter’s aid and support?!

    I’m afraid I don’t see eye to eye with your:

    I was going to lecture you on history and wars, but I was convinced you have convictions that are deeply rooted, so we would have to agree to disagree.


    With all due respect and sisterly love, I don’t think you know as much about it as you’d like to appear. Thus your not wanting to discuss it sounds wise ;)!

  • 11. dereje  |  June 30, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I think history will tell if it is right for us to invade / accept invitation Libalem yechelal/.
    What is important for now,in my opinion, is how long can we stay in Somalia to stablise the situtation ,or is it possible at all for Somalis to form a strong gov’t in any near future.Simple solutions like invading / yes, i think it is invasion / has proved to be not working.
    I think it is impossible to find a solution to the Somali problem without solving the border dispute b/n ethiopia and eritrea.Not only that all disputes among countries in the Horn must be solved.Countries in the horn of Africa must have a friendly relation to solve the problem. Be’andu chiger a’ndu esat eyaketatele, u can’t solve it.Edil etachenen be’gulbet yemnaskebrebet gize is taking all our energy, and damaging our unity as a nation.
    Chigeru our leaders have simple solutions.
    Lemangnawem, melkam gize.

  • 12. Dr. Ethiopia  |  June 30, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    @ Abesheet – cheap shot and a lot of low-blows there in your last comment. Too judgmental. well, i guess we would leave it as it is. I tried, but since you have already decided for me what i know and don’t know, i refuse to becalled a fool or dumb twice.

    I love how you and your crony government can predict future threats. I love the “guess war”. You are guessing the Islamic court will be coming after us “in the future”, so we would go and create the biggest Humanitarian Crisis? Just absolutely beautiful.

    That’s what power in the wrong hands does. It blinds you. Well, enough said.

    It is “patriotic” to say we shouldn’t be the police of the Horn. “Patriotism” is not necessarily saying “better them than us”, that will be rightfully named “inhumane”.

    Cooking up projects and blaming everything on selected few (The Islamic Court, int his case) is an insult to people who “think”.

    P.S. I read your comments, and precisely that is why i try to give you my little 2 cents, on The Nixon Doctrine thinking it would help, but obviously when people’s convictions are solidly cemented, it is hard to gain a yard.

  • 13. Amba Asela  |  October 4, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Abesheet. You could not be more correct about Amde Tsyon. I smiled when I read the very first comment on this page. Amde Tsyon, for sure has his detractors. His war horse was not called Areb Asfere for a reason(Smile). Even amongst our own we have the Dawit Yohaness who state ” The Ethiopian Army never won a single battle before the EPRDF”. Wow ! Tres Bizarre ! But then again ask any Egyptian, Turk or any of the others we sent back to their little holes to lick their wounds and they will say the same thing.

    If great Amde Tsyon had not existed, they would have had to create a fictional account about him. Wait ! They did.
    You hear the Egyptians lionize their Pasha’s, the Turk’s praise their Sultan’s and the British and Italians heap praises on their Kings and Queens long after these worthy’s settled for the insipid existence behind castle walls sending out warriors to die for them. Each year there is yet another story, paper, book, movie about King Arthur, a none existent British Monarch, Robin hood, who in real life was a blood thirsty murderer who never lived up to any of his claimed great qualities.

    The British directly and by proxy denigrate Ethiopia’s history by chipping away at the Solomonic Dynasty(claiming it did not exist before the 12th Century), the we Fet’ ha Negest(claiming it was plagiarized Arabian document, Ethiopia’s long history(claiming that Ethiopia, Axum and Abyssinia were different countries). They do this through proxies, the Yemeni and Egyptians notably who have not began claiming that Makeda(not even Saba) was in fact one of their own Queens. How her name happens to be Ethiopian has yet not had a lie created for it, we remain optimistic it will though.

    Doubtless as more Historical facts intrude on the fairy tale history of our African “over lords” we will yet continue to morph into the former colonial subjects of the British who barely 1000 years ago had yet to discover the benefit of washing and living in houses rather than rude huts and caves.

    Of course if they did not continue to do this their fear that the 6000 year old history of the Ethiopian Civilizations would embolden black people to awaken to the fact that the first “civilized” people were decidedly not Europeans would be realized. But truth is ever ascendant, ever bright. You simply can not continue to try to hide it, it will simply, like water, wear you down and turn even rock into fine dust as we may judge the civilizations that have stood in its way we judge drifting away to the shifting dunes to await the end of times.

    But back to Amde Tsyon. I remember reading King Arthur and his Knights etc etc. Even the wildly exaggerated stories of Iskandr of Macedonia could not do well to the simple story of our resplendent warrior king. First the story of Amde Tsyon comes down to us not from fable, not even so much from the we Awde Negest but from his own chronicler who does not miss an opportunity to task the Emperor with criticism or to detail some of what he sees as his liege’s flaws. Many have reasoned that the chronicler must have been a close relative because it is unheard of for that kind of outspokenness to go unchecked if not unpunished.

    Next the account of his legendary battle at the head of the few camp guards and his cadet’s guard of an Army of Arabian Warriors at whose approach …”animals of the wild were forced to flee blindly into our camps…”, as the chronicler puts it. The Emperor’s two Queens try in vain to keep the very ill Amde Tsyon from mounting for battle. And when he does give up and go into the Church tent weeping for what they thought would surely be his death.

    Next the inexperienced camp followers and drum and umbrella carriers that formed his vanguard hesitate and some flee when confronted by the sheer size of the Arab Army reinforced by his own subject, The Sultan of Hadya’s, considerable Army.

    The king orders the Cadet Guard of 9, one of whom is his son Saif Asegid to follow him into battle.
    His stalwarts, Sim’Yishahal, Inze-Aygeba, Digna Jan, raised by as his own children had been sent a day’s march away leading the elite Qeste-Nihb, Hareb Gonda, and Tekula regiments as well as the elite Korem. Amde Tsyon revived Axumite military structure which had since devolved into a small central army with local militia.

    But at the time of Amde Tsyon’s extreme need none of these units could respond fast enough.

    With only 9 warriors, a few reluctant camp followers a deathly ill Emperor led a vastly outnumbered force and defeated probably the finest fighting army the arabs had ever fielded against Ethiopia for its sheer size in numbers.

    It was not because they did not know there were only 9 warriors they were fighting, but because those 9 warriors threw themselves right into the middle of that army and fought like lions causing a massive breakdown in command and control and causing the Arab commanders who could not regain control of their troops to simply flee to save their own lives. Instead of acting as one army the massive force started acting as a mass of individuals suffering more casualties from its own warriors being trampled, blindly fighting each other and fleeing. The fleeing camp followers had stopped, shamed by the word of their master who had ordered them back when he sensed their initial hesitation according to the chronicler. The chronicler does not spare Amde Tsyon criticism for endangering himself and not waiting for “.. the children you raised with your own hands…” the elite units a days march away. Emboldened by the success of the 9 warriors and the emperor the followers resurge and engage the remaining Arab army which goes into full flight. Here we don’t know the number of the camp followers(which may have been significant). The chronicler does state I think that all had given up hope of seeing Amde Tsyon hoping to recover his body when they cam upon him sitting under a tree his arms too tired from swinging his sword.

    At this point it is not clear if elements of elite forces alerted by messenger joined in the chase or if the Arab army continued in full flight or if it was slain to a man but I believe the former is probably the case.

    The emperor rode back into camp to the delight of his Empresses Jan’Mangassa and Bilen Saba who went back into the Church tent to give their thanks. Though Amde Tsyon is remarkable his chronicler is even more so recording the stern rebuke the Emperor then gives the entire camp including his Empresses for their behavior during the Arab’s approach. The chronicler does not spare the Emperor his own criticism.

    His other exploits are too numerous to mention but this engagement, in the same tradition as the Axumite (Ethiopian) martyr’s regiment in Najran, puts him in the same league as the Spartans at Thermopylae, the US 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” at Bastogne, the 1st, 2nd,3rd, 5th and 6th combat units of Ethiopian Irregulars at Mount Belaya, Wadera,QubQub and the Imperial Bodyguard’s redoubtable Kagnew Battalion in Korea and Congo.

  • 14. abesheet  |  October 6, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Thank you, Amba Asela, for sharing. This is why i love making posts (and because i have a low self esteem 🙂 ). You get to know much more than you bargained for!

    Yeah.. Amde Tsion was indeed an extraordinary individual. But most of them were, weren’t they? Not just because “whoever in power writes history”. But because these people have guts. I was reading a friend’s application letter this morning and it sounded so different from the man i know him to be. Which he shouldn’t be blamed for, since he needed the job badly and he’s gotta convince his would-be employers that he was the man for the job. But the way he described himself, “grovel” would best describe it, made me ask “have we become such a compromising generation that we’ve turned out into “abaat asedabi” sell-outs”?

    Take my father, for example. Not many would call him “wise” – he has yet to figure out how to live in peace with his neighbours! But he’d die for what he believes in! That, infact, is the only thing i admire in him (and the fact that he was a loyal husband to my mom). For i’ve seen him die little deathes, over and over again, for those things he thought were right at the expense of all those things a lesser determined man would hold dear. Me? Well.. I wouldn’t sell my soul to the devil (unless he’s got something totally irresistable on the table, like coming back as a handsome and successful man in my next life), and I play by the rules (because people and the law terrorize me, especially after i saw a guy being beaten to crap at a police station for uttering the word “behig amlak” when a cop hits him across the face for interrupting someone or other) but i don’t think i’m the type who lives and dies for what she believes in. I’d no doubt agree with the right thing. I may even make a post on it. But in the end I’m likely to raise my eyes to heaven, shake the head in despondency, lament “what is the world coming to” and move on.

    But not these people! So.. although i’m likely to stand by the likes of me and call them names (to make my own “liMitMitnet” sound less weak) credits should be given where credits are due. So.. i promise herewith that if I were to have a son, a very thin possibility perhaps but “qen yemiyametaw ayitawQim”, amma calling him Amde Tsion. BeteGbaar enesun mehon biyaQiten leSimachew metasebia maanor ayaqetenim, aydel? In the hope that the next generation would figure a way to reconcile that which my neither here nor there lukewarm generation couldn’t. (For more info, check out Your name, your heritage)

    Don’t be a stranger now.

  • 15. abesheet  |  December 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Found this very interesting article on Check it out when you get the time. Ethiopia’s Strategic Dilemma in the Horn of Africa

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The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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