In New York ECMAA Hosts Virtual Panel Reflecting on Adwa & Yekatit 12

Photos from past events organized by the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) in New York City. (Courtesy of ECMAA Facebook page)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 4th, 2022

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend in New York the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) will host an online panel discussion reflecting on two major defining historical events that to this day influence Ethiopia’s national approach to foreign policy, geopolitics and global affairs: Adwa & Yekatit 12.


As historian Ayele Bekerie, who has written extensively about Ethiopia’s consequential victory at the battle of Adwa 126 years ago this month and one of the panelists at the event, explains: “Simply put, Adwa became a turning point in modern African history.”

Professor Ayele notes that not only did the victory against Italian colonial ambitions on March 1, 1896 preserve Ethiopia’s sovereignty and independence as the only Black nation that has never been colonized, but it also inspired freedom movements around the world.

But, for the current generation that’s grappling with Ethiopia’s modern vulnerability to foreign exploitation due to decades of social decay and debilitating ethnic-identity politics “the full meaning and relevance of the victory at Adwa has yet to be realized within Ethiopia,” Dr. Ayele argues in an article published in Tadias last year. “That formula of unity should be repeated now to counter the large-scale displacements and violence encountered by our fellow Ethiopians throughout the country to this date.”

Yekatit 12

Despite Ethiopia’s resounding triumph at Adwa, however, Italy was not finished as it launched a brutal second invasion of the country some four decades later, unleashing a wave of crimes against humanity in another failed attempt to terrorize Ethiopians into subjugation.

Ethiopia, who was a member of the League of Nations at the time, was all but abandoned by its European allies and left to fend for itself against a powerful foreign aggressor.

As warned by then exiled Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, during his famous speech at the League’s headquarters in Geneva the October 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, which was led by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, would eventually set the stage for World War II engulfing Europe and the rest of the globe. Among the numerous crimes against humanity the Italian occupation forces committed in Ethiopia, the massacre of Yekatit 12 remains forever seared in the country’s collective memory.

For the past several years ECMAA, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Justice, has been hosting an annual event in remembrance of Yekatit 12 and the lives lost at the Addis Ababa massacre on February 19, 1937.

According to the announcement in addition to Professor Ayele the virtual panel discussion on Sunday, March 6th will feature Professor Getachew Metaferia and will be moderated by Hanna Yesuf.

If You Attend:
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