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Adwa’s Anniversary Is A Reminder of the Joy of Unity and Sovereignty

The 103rd Anniversary today of the Victory of the Battle of Adwa, in which united Ethiopian forces under Emperor Menelik II resoundingly defeated the invading Italian Army in 1896, has brought a call from the Ethiopian Crown to all people in the greater Ethiopian community to pause and think of the benefits of unity and peace.

In a special statement to mark the anniversary, the President of the Corwn Council of Ethiopia, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie said: “At this extremely unsettled time in Ethiopia’s history, we need to reflect on the great benefit my late kinsman and our great Emperor, Menelik II, brought to Ethiopia when he united the nation in 1896 to defeat the Italian invaders.”

“That unity has in recent years been threatened by policies which have divided our nation, and caused Ethiopians to fight among themselves, risking the very structure and sovereignty of our Empire in the process. The present war within the Ethiopian family should never have occurred; it should never have been necessary. It has been the result of petty regionalism, in which the desire for power has led people to split off parts of our country, or attempt to do so.”

“We may be thankful that the present war may be coming to a close, but it has cost the Ethiopian community of peoples most dearly. Tens of thousands of families are mourning the deaths or mutilation of their young sons when they should not have had to do so. Many more thousands of Ethiopians — and I speak here of the broader Ethiopian family — have been displaced from their homes by years of communal rivalry.”

“But the war has not ended, and will not end merely when the fighting stops. The hatred and rivalry which this totally preventable war has created will take generations to heal. The Victory of the Battle of Adwa healed the nation after the internal squabbles which had preceded Emperor Menelik’s rise to the Throne. The battles of today have brought some of the peoples of Ethiopia together, at a greater human cost than Adwa, but they have also left a legacy of hatred which we must now overcome.”

“All of this has distracted us from the path of unity, strength, economic growth, peace and stability. And while we have been distracted, we have seen others in the region attempt to sew the seeds of ethnic and religious discord among Ethiopians.”

“There are those outside our country who have attempted to introduce radical Islamism to Ethiopian Muslims, who are a pillar of Ethiopian society, and to induce them into try to break up Ethiopia. This will not work. Ethiopians are Ethiopians: the differences in the various peoples of our nation are a cause for celebration, and not for division. And the religious beliefs of Ethiopians are their own private concern; this does not affect their Ethiopianness.”

“Today, we mourn the dead and injured of all branches of the Ethiopian family in the current war, and thank them profoundly for the sacrifice to the cause of Ethiopian unity.”

“Today, we should also remember the great valor and sacrifice of Emperor Menelik and the Ethiopians of 1896, who laid the foundations for the great achievements of Emperor Haile Selassie until 1974.”

“The coup of 1974 caused a great upheaval in Ethiopia’s progress. We have not yet recovered from this, and the division of our country in 1993 and the subsequent communal divisions in Ethiopia have only prolonged the restoration of true national unity. Think how great Ethiopia would have been today if the coup had not occured, and if 1974 Constitution had been implemented and if there had been no civil war, no brutal genocide, and no communism.”

“The possible end to the current fighting is not a signal for Ethiopians to relax. This war should serve merely as a warning that we must now begin the process of true unification, with the restoration of Ethiopia’s 3,000 years of tradition. Now we must truly come together to rebuild Ethiopia and return to the path of economic, social and democratic progress. The Ethiopian Crown is committed to this, and will never walk away from this historic challenge and duty.”

“The war has demonstrated that Ethiopians cherish their nation and its unity and that they have not forgotten how to sacrifice for the salvation of their kinsmen. We must honor their sacrifice and redouble our efforts to rebuild our beloved country.”