Adwa – Triumph of Unassailable Humanity

By Abel Merawi

Adwa Victory 1896March 8, 2021 ( -- Adwa marked the victory of freedom for the oppressed over the Western ideology of supremacy. White hegemony has been an agency of evil, which spread its insidious root using shallow pseudointellectuals to cover sheer lust for power and money. The academic wolves wore sheep garbs to defend their theory of Teutonic Origins. This theory advocated white supremacy by claiming to have noble origins as descendants of ancient Germany’s Teutonic tribe, which vouches of whites’ exceptional ability for nation-building, justifying their unparalleled crime of colonization and slavery. This white fire of hoax had affirmed itself as most African nations and indigenous people across the globe were consumed by this evil. Consequently, they were able to make the world believe their dominance, being undefeatable by any other race. But Adwa shifted the course of history by defeating Italian colonizers and dispelling the myth of white supremacy.

The swift Ethiopian victory at Adwa reawakened a slowly dying spirit of the colonized. It showed that the pompous theory of white supremacy is but a myth. Ethiopia stood as the proud nation of the unconquerable people, the defenders of unassailable humanity – the humanity which flourishes only in freedom and equality. That Sunday morning of March 1, 1896 echoes through space and time to teach us a lesson on unity, justice, and the triumph of good over evil. Furthermore, this victory was possible only through the central role of great women, which carries a lesson to the misogynists and chauvinistic men. Sadly, this historic occasion is marred internally by ethnic myth-makers and externally by past colonizers who now pride themselves as the defenders and prescribers of democracy to the world.

The victory of Adwa manifests the strategic genius and combat skill of Ethiopians. Italian colonizers relied on their advanced weaponry and their ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. They worked hard to weaken the rule of Emperor Menelik by bribing provincial princes and rulers. Yet, they failed to see that these Princes were mostly loyal to the King, who reported to the king while still leading the colonizers to assume otherwise. Furthermore, the King sent diplomatic letters to the Italian representatives while ordering every brave leader in every section of the country to prepare for war, which made it easier to organize the approximately 100,000 brave warriors when the official decree for battle was issued. Empress Taytu also outwitted Count Antonelli, when she managed to play the same trick Italians played on the Treaty of Wuchale, Article 17, by making him sign a statement that discarded this article, which he assumed to only postpone discussion of the article. Ethiopia communicated this new agreement with the rest of the world, making the Wuchale Treaty null and void. This constituted a double victory in the diplomatic and the battlefront.

We have mentioned the Empress Taytu, and so truth demands speaking of the Queen and all the patriotic women who defended our nation. The Queen proved to be a great military strategist when she instructed 1,000 of her special guards to control at night the stream which served as a water source for Italian troops, who barricaded themselves in the thickly constructed Church embankment. The Italians futile attempt to recaptured the stream for 15 days failed and finally evacuated through the appeal of an Italian commander.

Moreover, Empress Taytu didn’t stay sheltered but directly participated in the battle. As Tsehafe-Teizaz Gabre-Selassie remarks, the Queen became the vanguard with her riflemen, courageously uttering, “Courage! come on! victory is ours! cut down the enemy!” She managed to command the army that broke the Italian troops that tried to penetrate the Ethiopian formation. Her Majesty had also organized the women in the camp to fetch water to fighters and care for the wounded. Besides the Empress, the peasant Tigray women made their contribution as they cut the telegraph wires by rubbing them between two stones. Above all, the courage of Ethiopian female freedom fighters was even uttered by Dr. Ambrogetti, an Italian engineer, who admitted to seeing a woman firing a rifle at them. We must realize that Ethiopian mothers chose to fight for freedom, they refused to abandon their children to a life of servitude. The response of the queen when the Italian Count Antonelli tried to threaten with war still stands. The patriotic words of Empress Taytu resonate even now to those who attempt to invade our sovereignty:

No one here is afraid of your threats. We will slaughter those who come to invade us. There is no Ethiopian who will not plant his feet in the sand and face death to save his country. To shed one’s blood and lose one’s life for the motherland is not death, it is an honor!

The victory of Adwa is a national victory because it was Ethiopians regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or otherwise who sacrificed for the sake of a unified nation. The ethnic myth-makers attempt to defame the national victory and Great King who earned the name ‘Emye’ or ‘Motherly’ for his love and mercy. The formation of the Ethiopian army is enough to discard the contemporary ethnic discourse. The central army of the King mainly represented Showa Amhara infantry and Oromo cavalry. Ras Mekonnen’s troops were composed of Showa Amhara and Gurage Infantry with Oromo cavalry.  The son of Emperor Yohannes IV led Tigray and Azabo Raya Oromo infantry. In every division were found Muslims and Christian cavalry. As various sources, including the work of various authors titled ‘The Battle of Adwa: Reflections on Ethiopia’s Historic Victory Against European Colonialism’ prove, the Ethiopian army at Adwa comprised of all nationalities, religions, and genders, presenting a united front to defend a common cause – Ethiopian sovereignty.

Article 17 of the Treaty of Wuchale is symbolic as it speaks of the current demand of former Western colonizers and oppressors who canonized themselves as global defenders of democracy. The Italian version dictates that the Ethiopian king, ‘consents to avail himself' to the Italian king in foreign affairs, while the Amharic version states that the Ethiopian king, ‘may, if he so desires, avail himself’ to Italian king in foreign affairs. Currently, Westerners are demanding that Ethiopia should ‘consent’ to their standards of democracy. We, in the spirit of Adwa, will handle our internal issue and bring democracy by ourselves and will ask for their assistance if we only desire it. We are the Abyssinians who made a unified nation while Europeans were engaged in tribal wars that amounted to ethnic cleansing, which led to a mystically singular white identity. But we managed to maintain an Ethiopia in which diversity did not prevent unification. The message to both internal and external enemies has been engraved at the victory of Adwa – a victory of a united Ethiopia.


Abel Merawi is Addis Ababa-based contributor for He can be reached through this form.

Other articles by Abel Merawi:

Democracy and Democratic Institutions

Democracy and Democratic People

Paideia or Deep Education

Educational Purpose: Good Citizenry Vs Rational Autonomy

Crowd Leaders as National Enemies of Ethiopia

Ethiopia Under the Threat of Crowd Mentality

Conformist Realism in Ethnic Federalism

Alternatives to National Identity

Ethiopia in Conflict - Part II: A National Stand for Unity

Ethiopia in Conflict - Part I: EPRDF and the Creation of Ethnic Division

Forms of Human Violence (Part II)

Forms of Human Violence (Part I)

The ‘Having’ Mentality

Group Narcissism

Segregated Justice


Free but in Chain, Part IV: Personal Bondage

Free but in Chain. Part III: Economic Bondage

Free but in Chain. Part II: Social Bondage

Free but in Chain. Part I: Bondage of Worldview

Unemployment and Economic Growth in Ethiopia

The Underestimated Human Ignorance

Is America the Land of Freedom? (Part II)

Is America the Land of Freedom? (Part I)

Capitalism Becoming an Impediment to Morality

Ketman: Living in Disguise to Gain Acceptance

The System and the 'Criminal'

Trust as an Economic Force

Do You Trust the Government?

Our Online World

Fame Mistaken for Expertise

The Heavy Burden of Healthcare Workers

A Time to Reflect

The Plague by Albert Camus: Fiction Becomes Reality!

History of Pandemics in Ethiopia

Human Struggle Against Pandemics: Historical Perspective

Crisis Profiteers

You Can Make a Difference

Rule of Law for a Free Society


The Origins of Law

Determinants of Market Value: Part II

Determinants of Market Value: Part I

Your life Matters Too

Manifestations of Artistic Expression

Achievements vs Natural Accidents

The Grip of Sacrifice

Injustice is Never Justifiable

Education Demands of the Future

Job Security, Life and the Unpredictable Future

The Shift From Racism to Culturism

Sacrificing Meaning for Power?

Culture and Market Forces

Intersubjective Reality

Seeking Cosmic Justice

National Myths: Makers and Destroyers of Nations

Are We Truly Free?

Maturity: The Prerequisite to Freedom and Democracy

Loyalty to Truth, Not to Group

The Value of Work

The Flaws with Ethiopian Political System

Intellectuals and the People

Where Are Our Pathfinders?

The Allegory of the Cave and Its Lessons to Leaders

The Truth Behind Humanity

The Seven Virtues

The Seven Deadly Sins

What is the right thing to do?

Building National Identity

Adey Abeba and the Spirit of Change

Mob Violence

Living the Truth as a Human Being

Hubris - The Tragedy of Not Learning from Others

The Era of Group Mentality: Us vs Them

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