From the Soul of Adwa: #No More
Dr. Ibrahim srour*
من روح معركة “ادوا”: # لا مزيد
يقدم هذا المقال تفصيلا دقيقا عن كيفية مقاومة الإثيوبيين لضغوط الولايات المتحدة غير المبررة في شؤون بلادهم. إن هذه المعركة ضد التدخل الأجنبي تنقلها الشعارات والكلمات والهتافات. وقد استمد الإثيوبيون الفخورون الدعم من روح “ادوا” في تحركهم # لا مزيد الذي يهدف إلى معارضة التدخل الأمريكي في القضايا الداخلية لإثيوبيا، الذي يتم تحت ستار الأعمال “الإنسانية” التي هي في الواقع عملًا “عسكريًّا” من خلال الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير تيغرايTPLF. وبالتالي، فإن الغرض من المقال هو تصوير كيف توحد المغتربين الإثيوبيين تحت قضيّة واحدة من أجل دعم بلدهم.
الكلمات المفاتيح: المقاومة، التدخل، ادوا، # لا مزيد.
This article presents a detailed account of how Ethiopians resisted the US undue pressure in their Country’s affairs. This fight against foreign intervention is conveyed through slogans, words, and chants. Proud Ethiopians have called upon the spirit of Adwa to support them in their #NoMore movement in opposition to the US meddling with Ethiopia’s internal issues under the veil of ‘humanitarian’ acts which was actually a ‘military’ action through TPLF. Thus, the purpose of the article is to portray how the Ethiopian Diaspora united under one cause in order to support their country.
Key Terms: Resistance, Intervention, Adwa, #NoMore
On the 6th of March 2022, the Ethiopian Consulate in Beirut, Lebanon celebrated the victory day of Adwa colorfully with Ethiopian Diaspora and friends of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. At that event Ethiopians came with their costume and artifacts to instill the memory of the spirit of Adwa. In fact the singing of the national anthem by kids of age range 4-9 was heart-warming. These kids will never forget their first public appearance with their Ethiopian satire and flag in their hands. This trend means that these kids would indeed be the future Adwa posterity for that Country.
After 126 years of its occurrence, its reverberations still echo till our present day. Adwa was the glorious bomb that turned colonization into splinters. As such, Ethiopia witnessed the rise of its victorious sun and its independence glittered in the clear sky, announcing a new heartbeat of the Horn. Through Adwa, the Horn _______________________
*(PhD) Associate Professor, Lebanese University, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Department of English Language and Literature (Branch Five). E-mail: email@example.com
pierced the heart of colonialism and the colonialist’s efforts to subdue the righteous movement of the mighty Ethiopians. The people of Ethiopia refused any foreign interference in the business of their country as well as any type of colonialisation, whether ideological or cultural. And from the soul of Adwa springs the #NoMore movement.
Nowadays, the same foreign meddling with the Horn in general and with Ethiopia in particular is taking place by the US government and some of its allies. Such a government is not sparing any effort, whether masked or unmasked, to clasp its grip on the African resources. The most recent is seen in the Tigray war where the US put its thumb towards the insurgents to topple Abiy’s government and control the country’s future. However, according to Negatu (2022)
The evolving crises in the countries [Eritrea and Ethiopia] have exposed Washington’s lack of a clear and coherent policy for the region…where Washington would be wise to rethink its approach to regional cooperation, and lay out a more inclusive, values-driven, and future-oriented strategy for the region. (p.3)
This is because Prime Minister Abby Ahmed, supported by the people of Ethiopia together with the legitimate police, quelled the TPLF.
Foreign interference is not only through war but it is also achieved through systematic and coordinated media and NGOs campaign funded by interest. Such was the US interference intertwined with other auxiliary players of politics. Ethiopians abroad also understood well ahead such mischievous coordination against the interest of their Country. As a result, a #nomore movement started in Ethiopia and then spread its wings across the world; a movement condemning the US constant intrusion in the Ethiopian Affairs. Borago (2021) states that #nomore is the African #NoMore movement is an anti-war movement and anti-trespassing onto Ethiopia’s internal as well as external affairs movement which is directed towards the US.
This movement was organized by the hub of Horn of Africa. A coalition of activists from Ethiopia as well as Eritrea generated it and was led by Hermela Aregawi. The prime target was exposing the intentions and actions of some Western Governments led by the US and their media that were consistently misinforming the world about the facts in Ethiopia and in Africa, with crocodile tears by calling for contradictory actions such as humanitarian interference, in addition to imposing economic and military warfare simultaneously. All of this was intended for their own political agenda of weakening the legitimate governments, generally in Africa and particularly in the Horn of Africa. The focal axis of the movement has been Ethiopia because it is the place where the US supported the TPLF insurgents in their war against the official government. In this act, the US through it would control the country and its region. But alas, the steadfast government of Abiy Ahmed destabilized America’s plans and turned them into ashes.
Many African nations in addition to other worldwide countries support the #nomore movement. The supporters oppose the war in Africa and back up the nonviolent reforms that occur in a democratic manner. Accordingly, global marches were organized “by the Answer Coalition and the US-based Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) which opposes ‘western military power to impose western control of African land and resources’ among others” (Borago, 2021, p.4). This intervention, Borago believes, was strongly supported by Biden’s administration and its NATO allies who shroud themselves “behind a modern-day version of the ‘White man’s burden’ otherwise known as “Responsibility to Protect (R2P).” (p.4) who sent its US Secretary to Africa in order to support the rebels in Tigray. This is an example of the sheet foreign US intervention in Ethiopia.
Thus, the #nomore movement grew more and more so that it resonated across the globe. Many slogans were collocated with the hashtag #nomore such as:
- Biden, Stop undue pressure on Ethiopia! CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Reuters FAKE NEWS
- #NoMore meddling with Ethiopia
- Out of Ethiopia NOW!!!
- #NoMore CNN fake News
- End US support for TPLF
- #NoMore Intervention
- Hands off Ethiopia, STOP intervention in our internal issues
- #NoMore Neo-Colonialism will not work on Ethiopia
- LEAVE Ethiopia Alone.
- #NoMore Western Intervention in the Horn of Africa
- Respect Ethiopia’s Democracy
- #NoMore Media Lies
- #NoMore Divided Africa
These slogans are interesting through their content because “they serve a mass request for a particular cause…realize the interests and positions of those who make these signs” (Kress, 2003, p. 45). Consequently, they include specific demands to be accomplished. By definition, a slogan according to Hare (1991) is a battle cry of a group of people or a clan which is utilized to instill horror and fear in the heart of the enemy. In fact, the #NoMore movement is in itself a cry and an outburst call for impeding any foreign interference in Ethiopia, be it from the US or others such as the EU, UK, or Brussels.
Accordingly, the slogans demand respect for Ethiopia’s democracy, the stop of media lies and fake news, the stop of neo-colonialism, and the unity of Africa. In this manner, the #NoMore movement serves a definitive purpose by sending a clear message throughout the world that Ethiopia is a sovereign country which will do anything in its power to hinder and obliterate any ‘strange’ outside intervention.
Hence, the movement outbreak is global as follows. In Addis, the major start of the movement empowered a chain of #NoMore movements worldwide, where the Ethiopians sent a message that Africa problems can be solved by Africa. Then in Athens, the same message was transmitted. In Atlanta, Ethiopians joined forces with Eritreans to rally, near CNN center against fake news and tell CNN to stop its war on Ethiopia and Eritrea. Moreover, in Barcelona was another rally to dement the hindrance of US interference in Ethiopia’s internal issues and announce to the world that Ethiopia is an independent country. Also, in Bonn, Ethiopians raised signs written in English and in German demanding #NoMore “fake news” and #NoMore Terrorism in Ethiopia.
Furthermore, Boston is another American city where Ethiopians rallied against the US administration interference in Ethiopia’s sovereignty. This rally was organized by the Horn of Africa Hub, which believed that “U.S. just left Afghanistan, but the Biden administration is creating foreign policy disasters all over the world, and most urgently in Ethiopia” where the hub demanded the respect of Ethiopia’s democracy. It is worth noting that the movement announced that Ethiopia’s supporters in Boston are “just warming up” and that “#Boston is warming up” which is a clear indication that the rally will not cease unless the demands about Ethiopia are met. Moreover, Chicago is also raising the hashtag #NoMore, where the Ethiopians demanded Ethiopian unity and more involvement of Ethiopia in Worldwide diplomacy. This was announced through the hashtags #NoMore isolation of Ethiopia and #NoMore Dividing Ethiopia. In addition, the movement spread into Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Kansas, and Washington where important slogans were raised such as Pan-African voices and the @answercoalition stand together in DENVER saying #NoMore U.S. imperialist intervention in the Horn of Africa. #NoMore U.S. war on Ethiopia & Eritrea! #NoMore media disinformation against our people. #copolitics #coleg” and “Ethiopia does not take orders from FELTMAN
The list of the cities and countries where the movement spread are numerous such as Dublin, the Netherlands, Geneva, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Juba, Helsinki, Jamaica, London, Melbourne, Milan, Nairobi, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Stockholm, Rome, Toronto, and Turin.
What is interesting is that the most central country in whose states the movement occurred is the U.S., since it is the birthplace of imperialism and neo-colonialism. This is an indicative of the public disagreement of the U.S. government’s policy in Africa, especially in Ethiopia. It also reveals that the government has internal supporters of Ethiopia living on American soil. Such an outbreak of internal rallies conveys that the same people whom America is trying to subdue, can be a thorn in America’s side. Concurrently, Biden’s government most rethink its political actions and retreat from the global scene in terms of meddling with Ethiopia’s business.
The #NoMore movement took place in Lebanon as well. Xinhua (2021) reported that hundreds of Ethiopians demonstrated against the US foreign interference in Ethiopia’s affairs. In fact, the protesters who were in thousands, with their Ethiopian flag in their hands marched in the streets of the capital Beirut towards the ESCWA headquarter in order to show their support of the Ethiopian government and express their resentment of the US intervention in Ethiopia’s internal issues. Thus, they raised many slogans such as #NoMore Western intervention in the Horn of Africa, US Hands off Ethiopia, and they labeled the US as the imperial country with a neo-colonial agenda. Huaxia states that one of the reasons for the rally in Beirut is that the US continues to spread lies.
An example of spreading false news is when the American Embassy in Addis issues a warning to its American citizens residing in Ethiopia of a ‘possible’ terrorist attack in Addis while itself sending its envoy to the horn of Africa. In terms of language, the word possible is in inverted commas which means the chances of such an attack are open, at any time. Pragmatically, this creates in the cognitive schemata of the listeners particular emotions of terror and fear which in turn paralyze and hinders the individual from taking an action. Socially, this creates destabilization in terms of economy and social security. In response to this, the officials of the Ethiopian government warn the US embassy in Addis Ababa of concurrently spreading false information in the country. Such a warning on the part of the Ethiopian officials conveys that it is Ethiopia’s government who has the upper hand and not the US embassy.
In fact the Ethiopian officials led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not stop at only issuing a warning. In addition to this, they made sensational/incredible betting to receive and provide security and hospitality to a million Ethiopian Diaspora in order to celebrate the New Year and the Ethiopian Epiphany with them. Such an action dwarfed the calls of some western governments to their citizens in Ethiopia to leave that Country for Security reasons. Ethiopians and pan-Africanists also responded positively and as a result flocked to Ethiopia in hundreds of thousands by mobilizing funds aimed to rebuild back the infrastructure which was destroyed by the conflict.
To make things worse for those westerners in their calls to their citizens to leave that Country for fictitious security reason, the Ethiopian Government officials lobbied effectively their counterparts in the African States to hold the 35th African heads meeting at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. This was conducted in person after two years of interruption due to Covid-19 Pandemic. Actually, these were effective attempts of diplomatic defeat against those who wanted to twist the hands of the Government.
According to Fanabc (2021), Ethiopians as well as Eritreans have rallied in Beirut against the West’s meddling with Ethiopia’s affairs. Shaded by the hashtag #NoMore, hundreds of Ethiopians and their fellow Eritreans protested against the US power interference in the internal issues of The Horn at large and Ethiopia in particular. The protesters did not only raise placards with the #NoMore slogans, but they also raised their voice and chanted slogans of unity of Africans in general and Ethiopians in particular. Among the chanted slogans were the following: “We have the wisdom to solve our own problems ourselves. We are sons and daughters of our forefathers, and Stop Fake News on Ethiopia”.
As a result of the worldwide marches, Ethiopia News Agency (ENA) stated that on February 11, 2022 Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen encouraged Ethiopians around the world to back-up the peace process and the efforts for development. He also enflamed them to resist the US undue pressure. Furthermore, Demeke met the members of the U.S based ‘Peace and Unity Taskforce’ which is a major contributor to and a coordinator of the #NoMore movement across North America. As ENA reported, Demeke said that “solidarity among Ethiopians is crucial to ensure lasting peace and development in Ethiopia”. Such words are of essence in maintaining unity among Ethiopians in the coming period and are necessary for keeping them intact against foreign meddling with Ethiopia’s sovereignty. He also believed that in addition to “Ethiopians, friends of Ethiopia as well as Ethiopia’s friends around the world played decisive roles in ‘curbing interference attempts and resisting undue external pressures gathered under the umbrella of the #NoMore movement”. As a result, Demeke noted that in the long run, the long-lasting positive effects of solidarity among Ethiopians are crucial in urging them to defend the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ethiopia. Consequently, Demeke extended his appreciation to the Ethiopian Diaspora efforts that are employed in order to safeguard Ethiopia’s interests. Such efforts are combined with the continuous support of Ethiopia’s government to maintain a long-lasting peace in the country.
In conclusion, fighting a dominant power or regime is not only done through a military action, but it takes place through words which are essential in making the voice of the people heard. This is exactly what happened with the Ethiopian Diaspora all over the globe. They rallied worldwide against the US interference in the Ethiopian affairs. Such an intervention has dangerous repercussions whether socially, politically, or even in terms of economy. For this reason, Ethiopians joined their hands and demanded, in one voice, that the hand of the US be obliterated. The campaign has reverberated the spirit of Adwa that radiated in the hearts of Ethiopians which hesitantly made the US to step back from its aggressive approach against Ethiopia and as a result to soften its language recently. This worldwide unity is hoped to be materialized all over Ethiopia for the maintenance of a long-lasting peace and a forthcoming prosperity.
Borago, T. (2021). Ethiopia: What is the African #NoMore movement about?
ENA (2022). DPM & FM calls on Ethiopians in diaspora to support peace, development efforts. https://www.ena.et/en/?p=33385
FBC (2021). Ethiopians, Eritreans in Beirut protest against west’s meddling under the slogan of #NoMore. https://www.fanabc.com/english/ethiopians-eritreans-in-beirut-protest-against-wests-meddling-under-the-slogan-of-nomore/
Hare, G. (1991). Studying political slogans as communication. Francophonie: The French Journal of the Association for Language Learning, 3(24). https://www.academia.edu/10463109
Kress, G. (2003). Literacy in the new media age. Routledge.
Negatu, G. (2022). The US risks losing its influence in the Horn of Africa. Here’s how to get it
NOMORE. (2021). Rallies. https://nomore-ethiopia.org/rallies#
Xinhua, H. (2021). Mideast in pictures: Hundreds of Ethiopians demonstrate against U.S. and western
meddling in the country’s affairs. http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/06/c_1310353367.html