Origin of Tribalisation of Ethiopian Politics: From Fascism to Fascism by Prof. Aleme Eshete
From Baron Prochazka to Benito Mussolini “Legge Organica” the “Charter” for the Tribal Dismemberment of Ethiopia
The Nazis of Austro Hungary had already in the 1930’s targeted Ethiopia as a threat against white supremacy, and white colonialism in Africa, in much the same way as the Bush administration talks about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” and threat to “Western Civilization.” In the case of Ethiopia, the classic work on the subject, which we have repeatedly introduced to the Ethiopian public, myself and the Ethiopian patriotic Diaspora in Germany, was , of course, the book by the Austrian Nazi, Baron Roman Prochazka’s “Abyssinia the Powder Barrel” (Vienna 1935), translated in all the major Western languages (including American English, as the following text shows) before the Italian invasion in 1936. Baron Roman Prochazka was posted for two years as Austrian Consul in Addis Ababa until his expulsion in February 1934, as we say now for activities not compatible with his job of a diplomat. The Italian translation of Prochazka’s book entitled ABISSINIA PERICOLO NERO meaning “Abyssinia the Black Threat or Danger” was published in 1935, which is a year before the Fascist invasion .Starting from the first page, Prochazka alerts his white public by stating that since four years that Emperor Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia, in “close co-operation with Japan,” was engaged “on a life and death struggle with the white race, the consequences of which are incalculable. The targets are the colonial powers in Africa without exception. It is hardly possible to imagine a more unhappy situation of a white man than to have to live under the oppression of an Abyssinian grandee. The prevalence of this contemptuous invective is characteristic of the mentality and attitude of the natives who imagine themselves to be infinitely superior to the white race.”
Strikingly, the solution proposed by Prochazka is, and that is where he brings us to to the subject under discussion, is the tribalisation of Ethiopian politics for the purpose of divide and destroy. Prochazka was the first ever to have spoken of “self determination “as the most handy instrument for the dismantlement of the Ethiopian State. Here in brief are the highlights of Prochazka’s strategy:
“The numerous peoples and tribes who inhabit the territory of the Ethiopian state, and which differ in race, language, culture and religion from the ruling minority of the Abyssinians proper, would long ago have thrown off the Abyssinian yoke if they had been given the right of self-determination. Instead, they are being forcibly kept cut off from European influences and from the advantages that progressive colonization
could confer upon the country. The final aim of (Abyssinian) policy of antagonism to the white race, in co-operation with Japan, is nothing less than to act as the champions of all the colored peoples of Africa… It is incumbent on the legations of the civilized nations in Abyssinia to warn their governments to take a definite stand before the Abyssinians attack and destroy western culture and civilization in its entirety. There is no such thing as a united Abyssinian people. The greater part of the non-Christian tribes in Abyssinia has no more burning desire than to be freed from the tyranny of the Amharas… If they would vote freely they would certainly prefer a European protectorate to universally hated extortionists and slave drivers. This country is cracking at all its joints and has only been kept together up to the present by methods of ruthless coercion.”With all the talk of the “right of self determination” in the 1930’s, would you say the CIA’s Ethiopia policy of the right of self-determination and nations and nationalities has not been copied word for word from the Nazi Baron Roman Prochazka, for the tribal dismemberment of Ethiopia?
With Fascist occupation of Addis Ababa on May 5, 1936, and through the law of 18, 1936 independent Ethiopia had ceased to exist “the territories and people belonging to the Empire of Ethiopia have come under the full sovereignty of the kingdom of Italy.” Fascist strategy was very clearly the “smembramento” (dismemberment) of the Ethiopian nation into several walled tribal colonies each with a legal personality; in other words, with “the right of self determination” the whole was to be regrouped under one faceless name of “Africa Orientale Italiana” ( our present “Horn of Africa” ). Each “Governo” was divided into “coimmissarato”, itself divided into “Residenza” and “vcice Residenza.” Under the circumstances there was no one colony but five colonies including the Governorato of Addis Ababa which was itself considered a separate colony. “superior to the rest, and itself having its own legal personality” With Amhara (Shoa) defined as the principal enemy from where major resistance and recalcitrance was expected, each tribal government was encouraged to have its own language and script encouraging the use of Latin and Arabic, and its own religion with Islam defined as “pupil of the eye” of Fascism, as well as its own elementary educational system, at the expense of Amharic and Orthodox Christianity. “Amharic was displaced as the official language and Arabic, Galligna and Kaffigna were ordered taught in schools.” Each one of these tribal and regional colonies were largely autonomous and “autarchico” having little or nothing to do with each other, and each one empowered through its governor to directly deal with the central government in Rome (Ministry of Colonies ) over even the head of the Governorato Generale in Addis Ababa, (article 12) even political and military affairs, specially following the end of the administration of the inflated Fascist viceroy and Governor General Rudolfo Graziani (1936 -December 1937) to be replaced by Amedeo Duca d’Aosta as Governor General. That is also why several academicians of Italian colonial studies spoke of a non-unitary “federation” of tribal and regional colonies.
Is it, therefore, exaggeration to say that the CIA-Weyane have made a carbon copy from Fascist Mussolini? Do you see any difference in strategy and objective with CIA-Weyane “federation of tribal states” and the tribal dismemberment and annihilation of Ethiopia of to day.The conventional war against the Fascist invaders lost at Mai Chew, to a large part to air bombardment and the intensive use of chemical warfare to which the Ethiopian warrior was not prepared nor accustomed to. Emperor Haile Selassie gone to exile, with Fascist occupation of Addis Ababa on May 5, 1936, consecrated the occupation of Ethiopia. However, the Ethiopian people, the peasants, the ordinary men and women, did organize, elect their leaders and start the heroic guerrilla war of liberation that fully demonstrated the wealth of Ethiopia’s heritage in the business of defending her liberty all over the country. In the war of liberation the role of the Ethiopian clergy was phenomenal. The entry of Rudolfo Graziani as Governor of occupied Ethiopia in May 1936 replacing Badoglio coincides with the rise of the war of resistance and the simultaneous brutal repression by Graziani, the butcher already known as the “hyena of Libya.”
Mussolini’s “Legge Organica” or “Basic Law” or Charter and Constitution drawn for the conquered Ethiopia in June 1936 was an instrument of “divide et Impera” following Prochazka ‘s strategy of tribal dismemberment. According to Mussolini’s “Legge Organica” Ethiopia was divided into five tribal units:1. Governo dell’Eritrea (including Tigrai)
2. Governo dell’ Amhara
3. Governo dell’ Harar
4. Governo dei Galla e Sidama
5. Governo Della Somalia (capital Moqadisho, including Italian Somaliland, the Ethiopian Ogaden, southern lowlands of Bale, Sidamo and Boran.)
To this was added the autonomous government of the Chartered city of Addis Ababa .with jurisdiction of the territories around extending to 60 kilometers.
FASCIST TRIBAL MAP OF ETHIOPIA
This FASCIST TRIBAL MAP shows:
- Eritrea (including Tigrai)
As Del Boca says, “What immediately appears evident, from an analysis of the territorial division of these governments (done with excessive haste) is the punitive concept which has inspired the legislator. The Ethiopian Empire has been dismembered, recomposed on prevalently tribal basis, and rendered unrecognizable.” The Fascist propagandist Professor Raffaele di Lauro wrote: “The choice of the capital of each tribal government and border demarcation of the five component territories have been decided following a clear political criteria , that is to say,
consideration of political opportunity and verification of unfailing positive result. The legislator has made every thing possible to keep strictly to the principle uniting under one government, people of the same linguistic, and ethnic, and historical identity. And the territorial borders of the colonies are living evidences of the care and attention paid by Fascist legislators to the political situation in Ethiopia, to the disposition of the various peoples and events that have marked the history of Ethiopia in the last century. Everybody knows the centralizing propensities of the Shoan government at the expense of the peripheral peoples of Ethiopia. Shoan xenophobia in general, and Italophobia in particular is also well known.
The Fundamental Law (Legge Organica) for the organization of the colonies has dealt a severe blow to the ‘bubbone Scioano’ -Shoan tumor- by eradicating even its very name, so that there is no trace to-day of the existence of a province called Shoa, which had been the center of all anti-Italian activity under the Negus.”Compare this text with Meles Zenawi’s interview with Paul Henze soon after Meles rose to power. You will again witness a carbon copy! Regarding Shoa however, the Fascist authority will reintroduce the province as we shall soon see.
Let us now see Mussolini’s five tribal governments one by one and compare them with CIA-Weyane Fascistic apartheid and bantustanization in order to discern similarities and differences. We will see in several instances that the CIA-Weyane have carried the tribal dismemberment of Ethiopia and the crime of ethnic cleansing, massacres and mass deportation to a much higher stage than was even contemplated by Mussolini.
II. Fascist Governo of Eritrea (1936-41)
Being the “primo genito” and being the most trusted region, the Governor of Eritrea was probably the most important Fascist personage in the colony, more important even than the viceroy in Addis Ababa as we will have occasions to see. He was called “Gran Governatore”. Tigrai was governed as part of Eritrea. Although nominally under the Governor of Amhara, Shoa, as we shall see, was under the Gran Governatore of Eritrea. The “Governo” of Eritrea was divided into the following “Commissariati” until July 1939: . There was no independent “Governo” of Tigrai. Tigrai was broken up into several “commissariati” of Eritrea, namely Western Tigrai, Agame, Enderta , and Tembien:
1. Hamasien (Asmara) with Residenza in Asmara;
2. Serae (Addi Ugri) with Residenza at Addi Ugri, and Vice-residenza at Addi Quala
3. Akle Guzai (Addi Qaieh) with Residenza at Addi Qaieh and Vice-Residenza at Arafali and Deqe Mehari
4. Eastern Lowland (Massawa) with Residenza at Massawa , and Vice-Residenza at Ghinda
5. Western Lowland (Agordat) with Residenza at Agordat , Barentu and Tessenei, and Vice-Residenza at Om Hagere
6.. Western Tigrai (Adowa) with the
Residence of Adowa ,
Residence of Axum,
Residence of Ende Sellassie, Ad Daro , Enticcio,
7. Adigrat (Agame) with Residenza at Adigrat, Hausien, Azbi, and Vice-Residenza at Agula and Au
8. Mekele (Enderta) with Residenza at Mekele,
9. Tembien (Abbi Addi) with Residenza at Abbi Addi, Samre, and Abergalle
10. Dancalia (Assab) with Residenza at Assab
Adding up the parts we will find out that the borders of Tigrai annexed to Eritrea upon Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1936 were the traditional historical borders of Tigrai as we have known them to the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, – the Tekezie-Tsellari-Ashenghe border, not CIA-Weyane’s enlarged, redoubled Tigrai, with the annexation of Gondarine and Wollo territories. Although not indicated in the list, as a chapter of the objective of tribal dismemberment, Raya and Azebo as well as Yedju (called
“Galla”) were removed from Wollo in Governo Amhara and added to the Governo of Eritrea as a separate Residence south of Enderta (Tigrai) with its seat at Alamata close to Qobbo. Cerulli explained the reason:
“Given the special character of this Residence it was from the very beginning declared “Autonomous” and depends directly on the Governo of Eritrea. Among its dependencies are found two vice-residences, one at Corbetta ) as the capital of Azebo Galla and the other at the river Ala Weha, extreme southern border of of the new Eritrea.. This vast and extremely rich territory is divided into 14 districts under native chiefs
selected by Major De Sarno for their fidelity to Fascist Italy.
“These Galla have always been persecuted by the Shoan Amhara dominators and by whom they were harassed taking their land as a land of razzia for pillaging. And hence their inextinguishable hate towards the Amhara. The Amhara clergy also engaged in violent and extensive works of proselytism among the Galla originally all Muslims.
“These facts were well known by our Commando Superior (Supreme Command), as were also well known the proud warrior virtues of these people. And Major De Sarno was charged with the responsibility to attract to his base, train, arm, and lead huge masses of Raya and Azebo to attack the Ethiopian army on the left and right as well as from behind. This was the case in December 1035 and January 1936when out troops were engaged at Ende Yesus. Major de Sarno
accomplished his mission wonderfully and the Galla were of precious help specially after Amba Aradam when the retreating Ras Mulugueta (Ethiopia’s Minister of Defense) was attacked by the Galla and broke up hopelessly. The Ras himself was killed by the Galla at the Agumberta Pass. The Galla also impeded the orderly retreat of the Negus (Haile Selassie) towards Dessie during and after the battle of Maichew, destroying whatever remained of his army.
“Naturally the Galla conscious of the value of their contribution, and proud for having given hundreds dead for the Fascist cause, consider themselves our allies, very different from other peoples brought under our order. From the beginning they were promised that Fascist Italy will liberate them once and for all from Amhara domination . the Galla still constitute a formidable reserve for the complete submission of Wejirat and Lasta. Last autumn when Dejach Wend Wessen Kassa (brother of Abera Kassa) threatened to march against Qobbo we only had to send a mass of Galla militia against him, to stop him forever trying again. For this service the Galla were paid a lot of money as a prize by H.E Pirzio Biroli (Governor of Amhara). No other territory of Ethiopia is quite, safe and loyal as is this region because of the service the Galla are rendering to Fascist Italy and they are proud to depend directly on the Gran Governatore who to them represents the Italian Government.”
This is also what the CIA-Weyane have forged once again, transforming what has been the southern border of Fascist Eritrrea to become the southern border of present day Tigrai!
III. Fascist Governo of Amhara (1936-41)
The Fascist government of “Amhara” (capital Gondar) bordered on the government of Eritrea in the north and northeast, along a line which follows the rivers Setit-Tekezie and that of river Tsellari. From there the borderline continues to south of Ashenghe near Korem up to the border of Aussa. Thus Amhara included among others the province of Gondar north and south of Anghereb up to the Setit-Tekezie border of Eritrea in the north and the Tekezie-Tsellari-Ashenghe border of Tigrai in the east and south as well as the whole of pre-1991 Wollo.
The Fascist “governorato of Amhara” was divided into the following commissariats, residences and sub-residences:
1.Fascist Commissariats of southern Gondar and Gojam: Gondar, with Residenza at Gondar and Vice Residenza at Sengi;
Metemma with V.R at Gadabiet ,Matabia,Celga; Ambachiara with V.R at Adiscia;
Tana with seat at Gorgora, and V.R at Ifag and Dagossa;
Dongur with V.R at Alefa and Gubba;
Begemidre (Debra Tabor) with Residenza at Debra Tabor and V.R at Istie,Semada, Melma, Mechetoa,
Eastern Tana at Uolala;
Gaint with seat at Arbi Ghebia, V.R at Segala , Sodie, and Mugguia);
Western Gojam (Danghila) with Residenza at Agaw Midre (seat at Danghila)and V.R at Ingiabara and Ghimbiabiet;
Southern Tana with seat at Bahr Dar and V.R at Acefer, Zeghie, Meccia, Ilmana Densa;
Shanqilla (Nilo-Saharans) with seat in Wembera and V.R at kikag (?) and Bilinghi;
Eastern Gojam (Debre Markos) with Residenza at Debre Markos, and V.R at Mata, Baso;
Damot with seat at Burie and V.R at Dembecha, Farabiet;
2.Commissariats of Gondar North of Anghereb Semien (New Debarek with Residence at Debarek and V.R at Dabat, Amba Ghiroghis, Haggiret, Waldebba Tsegedie;
Upper Semien with seat at Deresghe and V.R at Beieda and Sahalla;
Tselemt with seat at Addi Arcai and V.R at Dima, Ataba and Addi Weseni)
Beyond Setit with seat at Adi Remoz, and V.R at Birkutan, Cafta, Abdelrafi
3.Commissariats of Wollo-Lasta
Lasta-Wag with Residenza at Wag (Socota).
Wadla & Delanta (seat at Guana) with V.R at Dawnt,Mechiet and Delanta;
Lasta (seat at Lalibela) with V.R at Muggia;
Wollo-Yejou (Dessie) with Residenza at Dessie, and V.R. at Lake Haiq, Albuko, Werra Qallu, Ambassel, Werra Babo, Wadla Wedih;
Bati with V.R at Werra Ailu, Werra Bichu, Rikhie ; Werra Ilou with V.R at Jamma ;
Amara Saint with V.R at Borna, Wadla Weldìya;
Legaida with V.R at Derra, Legambo and Legagora;
Fascist Italian Incorporation Inside Eritrea of Gondar Territory North of Anghereb , 1936
The Story of Fascist Italian Incorporation Inside Eritrea of Gondar Territory North of Anghereb
Fascist Italy’s tribal “goverenorato” of Amhara, written “Amara” in Fascist Italian literature, was again arbitrarily taken north of Abbai to be composed of Gojam and Gondar bordering on a separate Shoa “governorato”, and Wollo, Wag, Bugna, Lasta and Angot – .This last region was of course the proper home and origin of the Amhara ! Let us concentrate on Fascist “Gondar.” The Ethiopian Emperor had lost his capital in the south (Shoa) and had established his new capital in the north at Gondar from the 17th to the end of the 19th century, following the Oromo invasion and settlement in southern and eastern Ethiopia beginning in the 16th century. And as the capital and seat of the Emperor, Gondar had naturally soon expanded to bring under the direct rule of the Emperor a large territory divided by the Anghereb River. The region north of Anghereb (Welqait, Tsegede, Waldebba, Tselemt Semen, Wogera) as we indicated above has had throughout history its own independent cultural , religious and linguistic identity largely
dominated by the Agaw Falasha. The original language of the people in these regions has been the Agaw and their religion Falasha (an Ethiopian version of Judaism to which they might have been converted since Axumite times.) Due to proximity with Tigrai on the other side of Tekezie commerce and communication has apparently been going on for centuries since Axumite times and hence the existence of important pockets of Axumite-Tigrai colonies spreading Geez-Tigregna particularly in Welqait. Tselemt with its own Shum Tselemt appointed by the Emperor and paying his allegiance directly to the Emperor had been at different periods of history appearing in the list of the negarits (provinces) of the viceroy of Tigrai until the end of the 16thth century.
But since the Gada-Galla nomadic pastoralist invasion of and settlement in southern Ethiopia as well as half of central Ethiopia including Angot-Amhara-Shoa, thus mutilating close to three-fourth of Ethiopia’s ancient provinces, the entire Ethiopian population had to flee and cram in a small corner constituted of Tigrai and the territory north of Abai (Blue Nile). Consequently also, the Emperor whose dynasty originated in Amhara-Angot-Shoa, having lost his base population and his power base, had but to move the seat of his throne to the newly conquered and Christianized Agaw and Falasha regions north of Lake Tana between Dembiya and Welqait. This region will from now on be known as the new Amhara, signifying not Amhara tribe (as the region remained predominantly Agaw ) but the centrality of the region from where the Emperor ruled his empire, and consequently the adoption of Amharic – the “lesane Negus” or “the language of the Negus” – which will spread fast and establish its supremacy together with Orthodox Christianity. That was also where the Emperor founded his new capital at Gondar!
And thus the new “Amhara” between Dembiya and Welqait has been thoroughly conquered, Christianized and Amharized permanently cutting out any more Tigrai influence west of Tekezie at that date. And that situation has lasted practically unaltered through even the Measafint Zemen, under Tewodros, under the Tigrai Emperor Yohannes IV, Menelik, under Iyassu-Zewditu, under the Fascist occupation period, Under Emperor Haile Selassie and the Derg. The administrative, cultural and linguistic map of Gondar had persisted even after Gondar lost its status as capital in favor of Addis Ababa . A Gondar administrative region composed of two parts north and south of Anghereb bordering on the Sudan is also what Fascist Italy found upon occupation of Ethiopia in 1936.
For military reasons of repressing Ethiopian nationalist resistance, Fascist Italy had temporarily annexed Gondar territory north of Anghereb as part of Eritrea in two steps, first by a decree of March 1938 when Welqait and Tseged were transferred to Eritrea and then by a decree of July 17, 1939. These temporary annexations undertaken for military reasons for the repression of patriotic resistance have served TPLF to annex to-day the same large chunks of fertile Gondar territories north of Anghereb as part of Tigrai.
The first transfer of Northern Gondar territory had been decreed by Mussolini’s Fascist government on March 13 1938. The mountainous and tortuous land north of Anghereb and south of that river bordering on the Sudan in the west and the Setit-Tekezie in the north and east has throughout history been a land of rebellion and resistance to oppression and hegemony.
North of Anghereb are found the famous mountainous regions of Semien, Tselemt, Welqait, and Tsegede. South of Anghereb is found the legendary Armachiho, the large territory estimated at 3500 sq. km. extending south up to Om Hager. The region north and south of Anghereb constituted among the centers of the highest resistance to Fascist occupation and brutality led by patriots like Fitawrari Wubneh (Amoraw Wubneh) and others among whom mention should be made of Bitweded Adane Mekonnen, Killed by the EPRP in cold blood in 1985 at the age of eighty four, a few kilometers beyond the Sudanese border engaged in fighting a guerrilla warfare as leader of EDU against the Derg.
Here is how an Italian officer during the Italian war of aggression described Armachiho: “Armachiho, thanks to its position, its difficult terrain, covered with a thick forest and inaccessible, has remained until to-day beyond any control. The population of Armachiho live surrounded by a legend of independence and inviolability of their territory, given that since times immemorial, they have never paid taxes to the Negus, and his troops have never penetrated in the region to claim sovereignty. In the recent past Armachiho was considered not only a safe asylum to outlaws and shiftas, but also was equally the storehouse of arms pillaged from passing caravans.
It is also believed that a section of the Emperor’s army while on retreat in April 1936 with 1000 guns was completely disarmed at the Dawa pass. Furthermore, it is known that a flourishing arms trade with distant countries is carried on in Armachiho.”Hence the major role Armachiho played in the resistance against Fascist occupation. That was the background of Fascist decision to modify the border of northern Gondar. On February 5, 1939 a high-level meeting of Fascist authorities in Eritrea (Asmara) under the chairmanship of General Teruzzi, Under-secretary of
State in the Ministry of African colonies on the question regarding the temporary modification of the border between Eritrea and Amhara transferring the whole of northern Gondar, north of Anghereb, to the Eritrean government, outside the provisions of the “Legge Organica” as we have seen. Hence the specific statement on the cover page treating that meeting:
“VERBALE DELLA RIUNIONE PRESIEDUTA DA S.E. IL GENERALE DI CORPO D’ARMATA ATTILIO TERUZZI, SOTTOSEGRETARIO DI STATO PER L’AFRICA ITALIANA IL 5FEBBRAIO 1939 – XVII° PRESSO IL PALAZZO GOVERNATORIALE DELL’ERITREA CIRCA IL TEMPORANEO PASSAGGIO AL GOVERNO DELL’ERITREA DEI TERRITORI A NORD DELL’ ANGHEREB”
“MINUTES OF THE MEETING PRESIDED BY H.E. GENERAL OF THE MILITARY CORPS ATTILIO TERUZZI, UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR ITALIAN AFRICA, FEBRUARY 5, 1939 – XVII° AT THE GOVERNMENT PALACE OF ERITREA REGARDING THE TEMPORARY TRANSFER TO THE GOVERNMENT OF ERITREA THE TERRITORIES NORTH OF ANGHEREB”
The meeting was also attended by S.E. Enrico Cerulli -Vice Governor General of Africa Italiana, a leading Ethiopianist! At that meeting General Teruzzi explained the situation and the justification for such a temporary transfer of the Amhara territories north of Anghereb to Eritrea on military grounds as being commanded by the necessity to crash Ethiopian patriotic resistance in Amhara north of Anghereb! Referring to the example of Shoa where the nationalist rebellion was ripe, Teruzzi explained how by creating a separate Fascist government under one military direction and control of the centre – Addis Ababa the repression of the patriotic resistance has been much more successful. On the other hand, in the governorate of
Amhara and Gojam the situation is different. Special operations of repression of patriots in Gojam is already underway under the direct supervision of the supreme Fascist military command in Italian Africa it was hoped it will be completed by the end of May. In the same way it was hoped to get a good politico-military result regarding the repression of patriotic resistance and “pacification” of the Amhara region through the temporary modification and transfer of Gondar territory north of Anghereb because of the lack of communication and the impossibility to conduct the repression of anti-Fascist rebellion in this mountainous and tortuous region from Gondar. Creating a “pacified zone” by crashing the patriotic resistance in the territories north of Anghereb will also help us to create a buffer zone between Eritrea and Amhara and protect ourselves from the risk of anti-Fascist resistance spreading into Eritrea.
Map that shows The Enlarged Map of Tigrai, 1979
TPLF or its consultants have done the necessary research, and have been good at copying Fascist tribal maps and borders. In this respect the most striking reproduction of Mussolini’s Fascist Italian colonial map is that of the transformation of the Fascist map of Eritrea (including Tigrai) as the map of Tigrai alone
in order to justify the annexation (and denomination as “Western Tigrai” of almost half of Gondar – the fertile regions beyond Anghereb (Welqait , Tsegede, Waldebba, Tselemt,) – separated from Tigrai by the Tekezie, as well as a large chunk of Wollo – extending to the river Alewoha (commonly called Ala in Fascist Italian maps) as integral parts of Tigrai. That is why we have written that that God had created the TPLF in 1975 with, in its belly or its head, the map (or evolving maps) of Tigrai and its borders already carved out. This appears so because, already in its first political programmes (see Map ?) TPLF presents a modified and aggrandized , almost doubled, Tigrai so that TPLF’s Tigrai border reaches the Sudan in the west and the Red Sea hinterland in the southeast.
And this is the Fascist Italian colonial map temporarily annexing to Eritrea, the Gondar-Wollo territory extending from Anghereb to Alewoha, now reproduced most faithfully by the TPLF as representing the historical map of Tigrai!This was also the Fascist map that the British inherited following their victory over the Fascist troops and which they made the basis of their colonialist Tigrai Tigregn project during the British administration period (1941-1952). The area north of Anghereb-Aleweha border was also the one indicated for the Tigrai-Tigregn project of the first Woyane in 1943. That is also the border the TPLF has arbitrarily and fascistically chosen to inherit from Mussolini invasion as the border of Tigrai! And yet even Fascist Italy had never denied that the regions west of Tekezie and north of the Angherreb were integral parts of Gondar. [See enclosed Fascist Italian map of Gondar]
The Tigrai-Tigregn project, which the TPLF has adopted, since its origin is made by trespassing the river Tekezie and annexing a large chunk of the Gondar region west of the river and extending the southern border of Tigrai north of Anghereb valley, to include Tselemt, Waldebba, Welqait, and Tsegede.
Thus aggrandized in the west and south , TPLF’s Tigrai has been blown up from the traditional and official size of 65,000 sq. kms to 102,000 sq. kms “restoring” what the TPLF says was land taken away from Tigrai, on the basis of an entirely unfounded , unhistorical claim and assertion that following the Woyane revolt of 1943, “Haile Selassie . incorporated parts of Tigray to Amhara provinces.” (see TIGRAY – A NATION IN STRUGGLE,” a TPLF publication, October 1979). A glance at the administrative maps of Ethiopia in the twentieth century between 1900 and 194 , including even Fascist Italy’s maps during the occupation period (1936-1941), is enough to discredit such a baseless claim intended to justify TPLF expansionist agenda. Christopher Clapham had thus exposed Meles territorial expansion and opportunism:
“The TPLF needs to define Tigray in such a way as to gain external access, and the two geographically most appropriate ways of doing so, by claiming a corridor to the Red Sea at Tiyo or Mers Fatma on the one hand, or to the Sudan between the Gash and Setit rivers on the other, are both closed off because they form part of Eritrea. The TPLF has, therefore, instead claimed, part of northern Gondar, asserting entirely fictitiously that for a couple of years in the early 1940’s this was administered as part of Tigray. It has claimed Wag in northern Wollo on the same grounds.”
Copyright © 2003 by Prof. Aleme Eshete