It is said often that freedom is not free. This was certainly the case during the second Italian war of aggression against Ethiopia. After failing miserably to colonize Ethiopia during the Battle of Adwa in 1896, Mussolini decided to take a second bite of the apple. Determined to avenge the humiliation Italians felt forty years prior, he unleashed a chemical holocaust against Ethiopians.

The world ignored the cries of nearly 1 million men, women and children being annihilated by mustard gas, but our forefathers rose to the task and kicked back as they were being decimated.  As their forefathers did at Adwa, Ethiopians put aside their tribal differences and united to repel fascist invaders from their homelands.

Before they were old enough to graduate first grade, kids were introduced to the horrors of Mussolini and the nightmares of chemical weapons.

The valor of Ethiopians in battle was truly astounding. Outgunned and with precious few resources, rebels known as arbegnoch defied the inhumane campaign of terrorism being waged by the Mussolini and his diabolical general Rodolfo Graziani. Men and women alike picked up guns, spears and stones against Italian soldiers who were armed with machine guns, blowtorches and chemical weapons. Even as a genocide was being committed against their country, arbegnoch put the fear of God in their tormentors.

There is a reason why Ethiopians have an inherent love of country and feel a deep spiritual connection to their homeland. The sacrifice that our forefathers gave for their country in order to keep future generations free from colonization is one that can never be forgotten. Though we have our sets of challenges and times seem bleak, it’s a matter of time before calmer voices emerge and lead us away from this era of tribalism and separatism that is threatening to break Ethiopia apart.

The way to prosperity is not through separatism and ethnic federalism but through unity and remembering #Ethiopia|winet. #SoulsOfArbegnoch Click To Tweet

The soul of arbegnoch is still with us, in our hearts and in our spirits live the will and determination of our jegnoch that can never be washed away no matter how much some try to wash away our common identity. As we remember the accomplishments and valor of jegnoch and arbegnoch, let us have our own collective uprising and have an Adwa Awakening in order to defend Ethiopia from Zemene Zeregnenet.

This video below is an homage to Ethiopian history and a dedication to the souls of arbegnoch who kept Ethiopia free from colonization and passed down to us the love of our nation.