How the First Weyane Revolt of 1943 Is Viewed: Comment on Amhara TV/ATV/ Documentary
Alulla Ewnetu, 02-09-17
While at home I have developed the habit of watching different Cable TV Channel lineups by switching from one station to the other. The Amhara Regional TV known as ATV was one of my favorite cable channels among other regional TV Stations which I quite frequently watch during my leisure time until recently. The main reason for my frequent visits to this TV station however has helped me to learn more and more how the station has transformed itself from being an agent and catalyst for the undergoing peace, development and democracy programs in Ethiopia. If we closely examine most TV programs, be it news, songs and documentary films being aired by the Amhara Regional TV channel in the aftermath of the recent uprising in the region do not look healthy.
Let me take the readers back to 4 February 2017 Documentary program aired by the Amhara TV Channel which greatly inspired me to jot down this short piece. The Documentary TV program was dedicated to the patriotic resistance of the Amhara people led by Ras Abebe Aregay waged against fascist Italy during the brief occupation of Ethiopia by Mussolini. As an individual person I have no any personal animosity towards the people of Amhara in general and the Ras in particular at all. However, the way the TV presenter depicted the Ras as super human and the sole liberator and lone national patriot was an insult to the consciousness of nations and nationalities of Ethiopia who have paid immense sacrifices to liberate their mother land.
As if this was not enough the documentary film in its long narration about Ras Abebe Aregay has dropped a bomb shell on the people of Tigray and on their glorious history of struggle for their dignity and liberty. It has shamelessly narrated that Ras Abebe, following the liberation of the country, was sent by Haile Selassie to Tigray with a lofty mission of quelling a handful bandit’s movement in the Region. This indeed is a whole bunch of lies with full and deliberate distortion of history.
The true history of the popular uprising of the people of Tigray waged against the corrupted Feudal system of the Haile Selassie regime in 1943 in the wake of the Italian defeat was quite different from the shameful narration made by the Amhara TV. The popular movement known us the “ Woyane Rebellion” was an open resistance broke out almost throughout Tigrai though the intensity of the uprising varies from region to region. This rebellion shook the very foundation of the greedy feudal system of the Haile Selassie regime. The peasant fighters who have misleadingly been depicted as SHIFTAS by the ATV had beaten the huge government forces who were armed with tanks and modern weapons led by the notorious Haile Selassie`s General named Abebe Aregay. A certain British military strategist has expressed his admiration for Tigrian peasant fighters by saying” the Tigrayans weren`t only brave fighters but also astute military strategists’. It was well understood that had it not been for the intervention of British Imperialism it would have been the end of the Haile Selassie regime and his notorious general.
Although the peasant rebellion was finally crushed with the British Royal Air force intervention which brutally bombarded innocent civilians and villages, it has however left an unforgettable lesson both to the Haileselaisse regime and the future generation of the People Tigray. Accordingly, Haile Selassie had adopted a special policy with which the people of Tigray have been put under permanent poverty and ignorance in a way that they should not try it again in the future. In the same vein the sons and daughters of the veterans of the Woyane Revolution had equally realized that with better organization and scientific leadership nothing will stand in their way and that was indeed what TPLF did three decades later.
As a son of a veteran fighter of the First Woyane Rebellion it hurts me greatly to hear and watch such a distorted documentary film which deliberately targeted against the dignity and the glorious history of the people of Tigray. I have no the slightest doubt that this documentary program has been aired with the full knowledge and blessing of some of the higher echelon of ANDM. This same TV channel, who knows, might give a similar picture to the 17 years’ war of liberation struggle waged by the people of Tigray under the leadership of TPLF.