Amhara Supremacy as a “Critical Asset” (By: Faisal Roble)

Lately, we have seen the Deputy Acting President of the Somali region defending or at least normalizing “Amhara supremacy.” One needs to understand the sociopolitical aspect of the Amhara supremacy I often write about. It is not anti-Amhara people. It is simply a rejection of the political and imperial supremacy that was imposed on the Somalis and other oppressed peoples in Ethiopia.

Neither is Amhara supremacy the same as “residents of Jigjiga ordering their beloved cup of tea in Amhara,” or “af-Xabashi ayaa Jigjiga Shah lagu dslbadaa.”

Unbeknownst to some of my people, that statement in itself is a testimony of the entrenched Amhara privilege, as in “white” privilege I talk about.

Let me illustrate my point. Amhara writers and educators through the last century dominated education centers, media outlets, and cultural institutions. During this long and protracted period, Somalis, Oromo, Walyta, Afar, etcetera did not even have their languages written. Any part of their formal education was taught in Amharic. In that education setting Somali people were consider what Professor Mesvin Welde Mariam once told me at a dinner in Los Angeles. When I was introduced to him as Somali, he retorted “I worked many years with Somali tribes, or “ya Somale Zalanoch.” I tried to correct and said, “You mean the Somali nation.” No, he repeated and added “Somalis are not a nation, but a collection of nomadic tribes.’ It was after that conversation I wrote a critical piece on his Amhara supremacist book titled “Somalia, the Problem Child of Africa.”

A history of Amhara, sometimes camouflaged as “Ethiopian history” was fed both to kids and adults alike of different nationalities. Repeated historical accounts that promote one supremacy at the expense of another ends up promoting what one writer called “critical superiority.” Ordering your Somali tea in Amharic in Jigjiga is a reflection of “critical” Amhara superiority from which even our so-called educated and administrators could not escape.

Amhara values are assets dearly protected by their benefactors, in the same way, White assets or South African white assets are protected. these assets are economic, political, cultural and psychological. That is why an Amhara civilian can today whip a Somali man in Jigjiga with immunity.

Those minority members who want to join that protected superiority must abandon their identity in the hope to join and benefit from the powerful and ‘critical” Amhara values and established power. The Somali masses, however, will not and will never benefit from such a superiority. They can only benefit if they remove institutions of oppression and reclaim their God-given Somali rights, thereby establish their own system of government.