‘Did Menelik II really say he is Caucasian?’: Fragments for the Little chaps, Lest you celebrate Prematurely
There is a renewed frenzy among social media activists in the Ethiopian right, who vow that Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia never claimed to be a Caucasian. They dispute the accuracy of his statement in which he said “I am not a Negro at all; I am a Caucasian.” In their most recent iteration, they claim that, among other things, the invocation of this statement is an attempt by “Some Oromo intellectuals” to trivialize the image of Menelik II and the famous battle of Adwa that supposedly he fought and won for the entire black race. They also claim, wrongly, that these ‘Oromo nationalists’ are doing so motivated by an ideological commitment to vindicate the Oromo right to secession and destroy the Ethiopian state. They insist that there is a sinister motive behind this calculated move to trivialize Adwa because Adwa is not only the symbol of black independence but also the foundational moment of the unity of the Ethiopian people (people in the singular). By undermining the significance of Adwa, their rant goes, ‘some Oromo intellectuals’ in general, and especially I, in particular, seek to undermine the basis of Ethiopian unity. Nothing can be further from the truth.