To where does Ethiopia belong? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

To where does Ethiopia belong?

The readers who are interested in the history of colonialism know this; colonialism is a part of modern Western history. Colonialism and racism in Africa advanced head to head. Racism leans on a wicked feeling like “the colonized people deserved this”. The racism in Africa is mostly related with skin color, which made it easier for the “White” and “Civilized” Europeans to enchain “Black” Africans and turn them into slaves. The result of racism in the 18th and 19th centuries was slavery, which had enchained “Blacks” and had casted them into the world market like an object for sale.

Columbus’ discovery of the “New World”, in other words America, had triggered developments, which left its mark on Africa’s most humiliating periods. In order to provide the slave flow to America, the colonists had chosen Africa as the most appropriate continent. As for “Ethiopia”, or “Abyssinia”, as we commemorate it, the country was the only region of Africa that hadn’t been colonized yet.

Ethiopia was being separated from the “Arabic Peninsula” with a thin water way (Red Sea). For centuries, Abyssinians believed that their country was a piece of the Arabic Peninsula. Even one of the “African Union‘s" leaders, Haile Selassie, who was also the Emperor of Ethiopia, held this opinion at first. From 1930 until 1950, Ethiopia was a part of the Middle East, not Africa, according to the official policy of the Selassie regime. The colonist administration used “Africa” first as a humiliating term. As for Western geographers, they named the continent “Africa”. Post-colonial African nationalists adopted this name and internalized it. After the 1950s, fearing the reaction of the Selassie radical regimes and being left alone, the Emperor accepted Ethiopia to be “Africanized”. In reality, Ethiopia’s cultural similarities and common bonds with the Arabic Peninsula were much more significant when compared with other regions of Africa.

The decision of ending the African continent’s borders at the Red Sea, rather than at the Persian Gulf region, was made by the geographers who were serving European colonists. This was one of the solutions Western colonists came up with in order to stop Islam from spreading through Northern Africa to inner Africa. Muslims, who’ve entered Africa, married locals and combined with the community, since they did not regard skin color as a dismissive, humiliating reason. Because Islam regards religions, colors and languages as the versicle of God. Today, it is not surprising to encounter tens of thousands of people in Northern Africa and Yemen, who claim that their ancestors were Turkish.

Western geographers ripped the Africa content from the Middle East. As for the colonial administrations, they’ve sliced Africa within itself, ripped it to shreds, destroyed local, unique, peaceful structures. Imported structures became the source of the post-colonial period’s internal conflicts. Colonists distinguished Africans as “Ugandans”, “Kenyans”, “Ghanaians” and “Ivory Coast”. However, before any colonist set foot on these lands, there was no Uganda, Kenya, Ghana or Ivory Coast. Africans used to call each other as more local, smaller groups. Western colonists formed artificial borders and maps at Africa. As it happens in the Middle East, those artificial maps in Africa are being torn. If you’ve paid attention, the existing conflicts are continuing, more over these torn maps. Fifty years had passed; however, the “African Union” didn’t cure all of the Africans’ problems. Isn’t it time for pondering over more natural, positive and motivating ideas of unity, rather than the idea of unity that is based on artificial maps?


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