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CommentaryAdwa: Beyond Victory and National Pride

Adwa: Beyond Victory and National Pride

In 1896, a momentous victory was declared at the Battle of Adwa, forever etching its significance in Ethiopian history. 128-years later, this triumph is still celebrated as a symbol of monumental national pride in Addis Ababa. However, Adwa has also become a source of contention throughout the century, triggering competing narratives and perspectives. I personally came face-to-face with this reality during my tenure as the mayor of Addis Ababa.

On March 2, 2019, the city vibrated with festivities organized by the City Hall, Adwa Patriot Association, Guzo Adwa Group, and the residents. As the mayor, I had the honor of paying homage to King Menelik II with a floral tribute. Amidst the vibrant celebrations of our historical triumph, a chant broke out, when one group claimed the victory to its own while countering with their own claims.

This moment of division made me ponder the lost sense of our united victory. It highlighted the significance of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) commitment to fostering unity through the recently inaugurated the Adwa Victory Memorial in the capital—a sanctuary for all Ethiopians to rejoice in our collective heritage.

Freedom has always come at a cost. It carries implications that reach into the present and will continue to shape our future.

The collective legacy of our nation can be remembered as we march towards a greater dawn of national unity, defying adversity together. If there is one lesson Adwa teaches us, it is how our grandfathers weathered the tides of their time and prevailed.

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The current generation must not allow themselves to become entangled in the contingent liabilities of the past. Just as accounting recognizes assets and liabilities, our past assets can propel us toward a future of shared glory; they should not hold us back from reaching our horizons.

If the generation that triumphed at Adwa had prioritized individual aspirations over national interests, today’s generation would not be celebrating this complete victory.

As Ethiopians unite to honor the Adwa generation’s valiant struggle for liberty, we must rekindle a spirit of national cohesion over personal gain.

True, every achievement has its price. It’s imperative we toil with diligence to ensure the sacrifices our nation endures now do not outweigh the worth of our treasured heritage.

The critical question we face is whether Ethiopia can liberate itself from the syndrome of political stagnation. The answer lies in our collective will, in our capacity to look beyond personal ambitions and prioritize the welfare and unity of our nation.

Let us draw strength from the legacy of Adwa and build a future where we overcome our current challenges through collective effort and shared purpose. To make Adwa a testament to Unity and a Beacon for Ethiopia’s Future, here are some modest proposals.

First, Utilize Adwa’s Spirit for Cohesion and Growth: Adwa epitomizes Ethiopia’s unified strength in overcoming challenges. This spirit is key to fostering national unity, addressing current difficulties, and propelling development, inspiring a collective pursuit of prosperity.

Second, Apply Adwa’s Insights to Current Issues: The strategic acumen and perseverance that secured Adwa’s victory provide invaluable lessons. Ethiopia can leverage these insights to surmount today’s socio-political and economic hurdles, promoting innovation and solidarity for a brighter future.

Third, Adopt Adwa’s Principles for Peaceful Progress: Adwa’s ethos of collaboration and resilience offers a roadmap to peace and advancement, setting an example for Africa. This legacy aids Ethiopia in carving a path towards sustainable development and elevating its influence globally.

In conclusion, the Battle of Adwa was a watershed moment that ignited a sense of national pride and unity among Ethiopians. However, its significance extends far beyond commemoration and celebration.

Adwa’s legacy holds the power to shape Ethiopia’s future, driving national cohesion, confronting contemporary challenges, and leading the nation toward sustainable peace development.By embracing the spirit of Adwa and uniting under a shared vision, Ethiopia can overcome adversity, achieve prosperity, and become an exemplar of unity and progress.

Let us seize this opportunity to build a future worthy of Adwa’s legacy—where every Ethiopian contributes to a nation of unfathomable possibilities. In reaching the horizon that lies before us, let us remember that a brighter future will not be free of cost.

However, the price we pay as a nation now is already outweighing our treasured assets. We must transcend political leg-dragging and bridge divides, and work towards a united Ethiopia that cherishes and uplifts all its citizens. Only then can we steer our nation toward a future of prosperity, harmony, and enduring unity.

Adwa: Beyond Victory and National Pride | The Reporter | #1 Latest Ethiopian News Today


(Takele Uma Banti is the former Minister of Minerals and Energy of Ethiopia and a current student at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.)

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