Africa and statues

Of all the continents, Africa is the only one described as “geographical fiction.” More fictitious is the depiction of Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s 20th-century monarchy.

Perhaps Edward Blyden’s assertion that an “African is often too illiterate of his history” even when he is literate, is not wide of the mark.

Therefore, the African future often hangs on feeble images of the present. How else can one explain the portrait of #Selassia as Pan-Africanist?

To begin with, the former feudal king believed and propagated that he was born out of a Semitic womb in a cursed continent! The dark skin was according to him, “naturally unholy” and “unclean.”

This theological myth was put in practice when the fictitious “Lion of Judah” contemptuously refused to shake the hand of the famous Pan-African revivalist, Marcus Garvey.

The year was 1936, the place was London and #Selassia was on the run when #Ethiopia came under attack from equally fictitious “children of Jesus,” the fascist Italians.

Garvey was then mobilising international solidarity for Ethiopia and though literate, he was illiterate about Ethiopian history.

But describing #Selassia as “puppet, coward and a mistaken breed,” Garvey, soon discovered the monarch’s Semitic obsession and his total disdain for the black race.

As part of the intricacies of Africa being a geographical myth, the official policy of the “Emperor Haile Selassie” was in the words of Ali Mazrui, to “emphasise that Ethiopia was part of the Middle East rather than part of Africa until 1950.”

For Mazrui, the monarch’s only contribution to the formation of the defunct (OAU/AU) was the fear to be outflanked by the “radicalism of Nasser of Egypt and Nkrumah of Ghana.

In short, if Africans are proud of #Selassie, then there is nothing wrong with the statue of #Cecil Rhodes in Cape Town and that of #King Leopold in Kinshasa. After all, the Lion of Judah was not more sympathetic or less brutal to the black race.

But the paradox of it all, is in the posture of #Abiy Ahmad, a man of an Oromo descendent, the nation that bore the brunt of #Selassia’s brutal enslavement!

Maybe the saying that a domesticated Oromo is more “humble” than an adopted Ahmar is proven right. For Mengistu Haile Mariam, overthrew Haile Selassie when Abiy Ahmad has erected a statue for his father’s master.

– Abdirik Aden Muhumad