Somalis were appalled that the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) allowed Ethiopian army in Baidoa to abuse the proud military history of our Somali National Army (SNA) by glorifying Soviet Union and its allies’ acts of aggression against Somalia in Karamardha as part of 1977-78 Western Somalia Liberation War.
The abhorrent antics of Ethiopian troops embedded in ATMIS are not only an affront to Somalia’s sovereignty, dignity and sensibility but are also against the Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) signed by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Article VI addresses conduct of AMISOM and ATMIS personnel who are required to always adhere to international and impartial framework of AU/UN mandate, as well as to abide by local laws, customs and norms.
As an ardent pansomalist who categorically opposes any hegemonic agenda of the Ethiopians, formerly known as Abyssinians, I would like to address the revisionism of our history by chauvinistic Amharas who are trying to rewrite history of our ancestors with ample evidence. I will also provide explain why Somalis regard Abyssinia as their sworn enemy and the last vestiges of colonialism in Africa.
The historic animosity between Somalis and Ethiopians dates back to the 14th century. From 1529 to 1543, the Somali ruler of the Adal Empire named Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, known as Ahmad “Gurey” (the left-handed) annihilated the Amhara hordes after their many assaults. Ahmed also roamed freely through Abyssinia for almost two decades and plundered at will. Ashamed, the Amhara Emperor Lebna Dengel fled like a coward.
As anticipated, Emperor Dengel asked military aid from his Portuguese ally as he wasn’t able to face Somalis alone. This will become a familiar theme for the Amharas, the dominant tribe in Abyssinia, who have in fact been accustomed to begging for military aid from foreign allies against the Somalis for almost six centuries.
After Ahmed Gurey’s death, another Somali leader, Amir Nur Ibn Mujahid, took over. Once again the Somalis were able to defeat the Amhara army and their Portuguese allies. In 1559, Amir Nur killed in battle the Abyssinian Emperor Galawdewos, thereby avenging the death of Gurey who died in an ambush by the Portuguese.
Three centuries later, Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan and his faithful Dervishes led an armed resistance against the British, Italian and Abyssinian colonial armies for nearly 25 years. The Somalis wiped out the invading British army and killed its commander Richard Corfield. In retaliation, the British Air Force struck Taleh, destroying the fortified city and massacring its civilian population.
As for the 1977 war, the SNA annihilated the Abyssinian army and assumed full authority over almost the entire region of Western Somali which Britain illegally ceded to Emperor Selassie in 1955. As expected, Ethiopian leader Mengistu had cowardly rushed to Moscow and begged for military aid like his Amhara ancestors did before.
The Soviet Union deployed all of the armies and war material of the Warsaw Pact, as well as 17,000 Cubans, 1,500 Russian military advisers, units of the Libyan and South Yemeni armies, to save the besieged Abyssinian army. The SNA Forces stood up admirably to the assaults of these mercenaries helped by Russian military aid of 2.3 billion dollars for nearly 6 months.
The Somali army eventually retreated before the overwhelming power displayed by the communist bloc, but Somalis did not give in to their aspirations to live together as one people, as symbolized by the five-pointed star on our flag.
I am confident that these aspirations will be attained. As you know, for almost eight centuries our ancestors fought against our sworn enemy Abyssinia which is an artificial entity, because today’s Ethiopia is a set of colonized nations forcibly bound together by Abyssinian deep state.
With this Amhara attempt to distort this illustrious past, Somalia must demand responses from ATMIS and the African Union for Ethiopia’s appalling violations of SOMA. The foreign ministry must also summon the Ethiopian ambassador and demand an apology from Ethiopia for the abuse of Somalia’s military history and national sensitivity.
This piece first appeared as a couple of Twitter threads by Wadani Warrior @Somali_Lawyer. The author who tweets extensively on Somali issues describes himself as a “proud pansomalist, Public International Law practitioner and promoter of peaceful coexistence of my people”.