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We saw last week that the fascists in Addis Ababa responded to an attempt on the life of the Italian Viceroy

, Graziani, on 19 February 1937, by unleashing a three-day massacre, which was to have a major impact on the Ethiopian Patriotic movement. The massacre was so important that its documentation requires further elaboration.. "Burning Houses Illuminated the African Night" One of several graphic eye-witness accounts is provided by the Hungarian, Dr Ladislav Sava, or Shaska. He recalls that immediately after the attempt, the fascist party leader, Guido Cortese, "convoked the blackshirts to the seat of the Fascio, the chiefs to a consultation, and the others to wait for orders. Very soon they sped from the Fascio in every direction, fully armed. Everyone in the town was a prey to anticipation, but what really happened was worse than anyone had feared. I am bound to say, for it is true, that blood was literally streaming down the streets. The corpses of men, women and children, over which vultures hovered, were lying in all directions. Great flames from the burning houses illuminated the African night. . . "The greatest slaughter began after 6 o'clock in the evening... During that awful night, Ethiopians were thrust into lorries, heavily guarded by armed blackshirts. Revolvers, truncheons, rifles and daggers were used to murder completely unarmed black people, of both sexes and all ages. Every black person seen was arrested and bundled into a lorry and killed, either in the lorry or near the Little Ghebi [the present Addis Ababa University building], sometimes at the moment when he met the blackshirts. Ethiopian houses and huts were searched and then burnt with their inhabitants. To quicken the flames, benzine and oil were used in great quantities. The shooting never ceased all night, but most of the murders were committed with daggers and blows with a truncheon at the head of the victim. Whole streets were burned down, and if any of the occupants of the houses ran out from the flames they were machine-gunned or stabbed with cries of 'Duce! Duce! Duce!' From the lorries in which groups of prisoners were brought up to be murdered near the Ghebi, the blood flowed on to the streets and again from the lorries we heard the cry, `Duce! Duce! Duce!'". "I shall never forget," Sava concludes, "that I saw that night Italian officers passing in their luxurious cars through the blood-drenched streets, stopping at some point whence they could have a better panorama of the murdering and the burning, accompanied by their wives whom I am very reluctant to call women. The Ethiopian Embassy in London Another eye-witness report, released by the Ethiopian Legation in London, declared that: "the streets were strewn with dead bodies... No one dared venture out. From that time began a method which was followed thoroughly during the three long days... The method consisted of setting fire to the houses, waiting for the inhabitants to be driven out by the fire and massacring them without distinction, with daggers, bayonets, hand grenades, cudgels, stones and, at times, with guns. One could see groups of Fascists chaining the lorries and amusing themselves by dragging along poor men from one part of the town to the other until their bodies fell to pieces... In certain quarters the corpses entirely covered the streets and the squares. In St. George's Square already robbed of the equestrian statue of Menelik II, the dead bodies formed a veritable pile. Now the appearance of the city is like a field of battle after the fighting is over."

A Missionary Account The above picture was later corroborated by the American missionaries, Herbert and Della Hanson. They report that on visiting the city shortly after the massacre they " found large areas burned that had formerly been covered with inhabited huts. Even around the hospital walls, where there had been many huts, all was blackened ruins. It made us heart sick to see the devastation, especially where we learned that many of the huts had been burned with their owners in them." French and British Reports Shortly after the massacre a special correspondent of the "Manchester Guardian" reported that the French Minister in Addis Ababa had stated that 6,000 Ethiopians had been "murdered in three days," and that the British Consulate "knew over 2,000 names of the killed." Subsequent Statements On Oath Other observers, speaking later on oath, also confirm the above accounts. Thus an Armenian merchant, Edouard Garabedian, related that on the first day of the massacre he heard Italians "saying they were waiting orders for reprisals", and that "at about five o'clock, I saw them with my own eyes, beating every Ethiopian they could find. These Italians were civilians. They were using what they could find, as cudgels, etc... I learnt from some of the Italians that they had received orders to burn different Ethiopian quarters. They were burning houses during the whole night... Next morning I heard that many Ethiopians had been killed during the night when the Italians were burning their houses. The following day I started to go to my work at 9 o'clock but there was a great panic and Ethiopians were running from everywhere without self-control. The Italian blackshirts were pursuing them and beating them... That day I did not go out from my house; but from there I heard much shooting and I saw burning houses all around. "On the third day I went to my shop. This time there were no Ethiopians to be seen in the streets, but many Italians were circulating. I heard many of them saying that they had burnt such and such places and that they had murdered so many Ethiopians." Not an Accidental Fire Captain Toka Binegid, an Ethiopian in the Addis Ababa municipal fire-brigade, likewise later testified that when the first signs of fire were seen his commanding officer [an Italian] ordered them to the Sidist Kilo area of the town to put out an assumed accidental conflagration, but "when we arrived there we saw the Italians burning the houses intentionally, so our officer ordered us not to put out the fire, saying he understood what it was all about. While still standing there we saw many people being killed by Italians while trying to escape from burning houses. "The Italians," Toka adds, "divided themselves into different formations: while some of them were murdering, some collected the corpses and threw them on the trucks. They were gathering the corpses from the roads with iron rakes. Among the persons who were pulled by the iron rakes many were alive... I saw Italian soldiers being photographed while standing on the dead bodies of their victims. The burning of houses and killing of people which started on Friday... continued up to Monday morning." Another observer of these events, Blatta Dawit Ogbazgi, who was arrested on the Friday and detained with "about a thousand people" in a police station near Ras

Makonnen Bridge, later testified that "the same day people were brought in lorries; they were taken without distinction and most of them were bleeding from hits. The fascists used to throw them down from the lorries. Some of them rolled down to the river because they were thrown from the lorries, and these the Italians shot in front of us. All the houses and tukuls which were in front of us were burning." The Death Toll Among the Foreign Educated During the massacre the fascists murdered a number of foreign-educated Ethiopians, above all those who had studied in Britain or the United States. The death toll thus included Tsege Marqos Wolde Tekle, Gabre Medhen Awoqe, Ayenna Birru, Yohannes Boru, and Yosuf and Benjamin Martin, sons of the Ethiopian Minister in London, all six of whom had been students in England; Besha Worrid Hapte Wold and Makonnen Haile, who had both studied in the United States; and Kifle Nassibu who was Frencheducated. Consequences for the Patriotic Movement This terrible massacre, it is generally agreed, had a profound influence on Ethiopian thinking, and gave new strength to the resistance movement. The "New Times and Ethiopia News" correspondent in Djibouti reported shortly afterwards, on 11 March, that Addis Ababa was "almost empty of Abyssinians," and added that as a result of the incident "the Abyssinians know there is nothing left for them but to fight, and the world will presently hear that they are everywhere attacking anew. Those who fled from Addis well know what to expect from Italy and they will fight again." This forecast proved true. Blatta Dawit, giving his evidence a decade later, stated that one of the most important results of the massacre was that Ras Abebe Aregai, the principal Patriot leader in Shoa, "had his forces increased immensely, at least by 10,000; also other patriot forces received reinforcements, because when people heard of what had taken place... they left their homes and went away from the neighborhood of Addis Ababa." Salome Gabre Egzaiabher, studying the question three decades later likewise attached considerable significance to this development. She declares that "many of the people of Addis Ababa who escaped from the shootings went to join the Patriots who were living in the forests around the capital". Next Week: The Ethiopian Patriots in 1937.

Among the confusion and killings, there were Ethiopian thieves looting Ethiopians. My uncle Berhane was stabbed to death by thieves trying to steal money from the office he worked in as auditor. more on the Graziani massacre cause and other interesting notes from the book "Ethiopia A New Political history" by Richard Greenfield, 1965:p. 242 INCIDENT IN ROME Patriot resistance to the Italians further increased after the Grazani massacres and the unbroken spirit of the Ethiopian peoples was evident even in Italy itself where in 1937 an imperial ceremony was held to commemorate the first anniversary of the occupation of Addis Ababa. An Eritrean youth aged twenty-one named Zerai Deress was sent to Rome to present some captured Ethiopian trophies, including a sword, to certain high officials at a function attended by both Mussolini and the King of Italy.

Zerai did not know that he would have to present these in a public place where he could become an object of ridicule. In the middle of the parade his eyes lighted on the captured gold Lion of Judah which the Italians had removed from its stand near the Addis Ababa railway station. Identifying himself with Ethiopia's shame he knelt to pray. Two policemen tried to move him, but be turned furiously upon them, drew the ceremonial sword and killed five fascist officials before he in his turn was brought down by gunfire. Seriously wounded he was taken to hospital and some years later he died in an Italian island prison. A statue and an Amharic booklet published after the war commemorate his patriotism. Page 246 WOMEN PATRIOTS Among the Ethiopian Patriot leaders were numbered several women such as Woizero Balainesh in Arusi, Woizero Ayalech, Woizero Likelesh Beyan, Woizero Abedech Cherkose and Woizero Kebedech, Leul-Ras Seyoum's daughter (whose husband Dejazmatch Aberra Kassa had been murdered with his brother in breach of their safe conduct), but perhaps the greatest was Woizero Shoaregad Gedlé. She joined the Patriots after having given most of her money to the Red Cross at the time of the invasion but was taken prisoner and sent to a Mediterranean prison island after the attempt on Graziani's life. Returning two years later she narrowly escaped death in reprisals for the killing of an Italian officer in Addis Alem. She rejoined the Patriots but was captured. Her adopted son was murdered before her eyes and she was tied to a tree and publicly flogged. However, she recovered, escaped and fought on to the end of the Occupation in the Debra Berhan region of central Shewa but died later, some say, in quite mysterious circumstances in 1946. Prices were put on the heads of several Patriot leaders and one who continued to be much sought after by the Italians was Blatta Takelé. On one occasion he was trapped in the basement of a building and seventeen of his guerrillas were killed before he and his son-in-law managed through a ruse to escape. His Patriot wife died from bullet wounds after another action and he himself moved to Gojjam, thus avoiding a clash of personalities with his former subordinate in the Addis Ababa municipality, Abebe Aragai. REPUBLICANISM IS DISCUSSED Takelé went to visit Khartoum, where there was much talk amongst the Ethiopian exiles of setting up a republican government. Letters were actually written to this effect by an Ethiopian personality, who became prominent in the 1960s, to the French authorities, that country being a republic, requesting assistance and guidance in the matter. The letters were also secretly copied and sent by Major Mesfin Sileshi to Hailé Sellassié, in his exile in Bath, England. It was quite natural for Ethiopian leaders at that time to look to France for inspiration and friendship. Many of the more Ethiopian people, who never admitted defeat, were to see even collapse of her armies and those of the British Expeditionary Force before theGerman onslaught. Several Ethiopian officers had been trained in France and they had considered her the world's premier military power. However, stimulated by these events Italy began to consider entering the European war on the side of Germany and the Patriot leaders at once took heart. They had been disappointed that Italy had kept out of the war for so many months after it bad spread to western Europe in I 939. Similarly in London, Italy's moves were a signal for far greater activity on the part of the Ethiopian colony there and their families all of whom bad remained staunchly monarchist.

Hailé Sellassié became more than just one of the growing number of London's exiled monarchs. He had patiently waited for an opportunity such as this, as bad several exiles in Jerusalem where affairs were looked after by Dejazmatch Makonnen Endalkatchew. Hailé Sellassié soon became a political factor of world importance and before long plans for his return to Ethiopia were being discussed. In London that great warrior and propagandist Miss Sylvia Pankhurst had long edited the New Times and the Ethiopian News -which also ran to some Amharic editions for circulation -in Italian-occupied Ethiopia. Nor had she allowed the British public to forget the plight of the Ethiopians, and British Government recognition of the Italian occupation was soon to be withdrawn. However, some groups of Ethiopians elsewhere made approaches to the British authorities to try to prevent the return of the Emperor. These negotiations were going on when Blatta Takelé left Khartoum, ostensibly to visit a cotton plantation, but actually in order to slip back over the border into the Ethiopian hills. Once there he was met by the elder brother of Fitwrary Hailu Kibret, and was taken to Gondar. He had to settle a dispute between certain leaders, and to dissuade others from proclaiming Lij Yohannes, a son of the dead Emperor Eyasu, as their leader. In 1963 Lij Yohannes lived in exile in Jimma as did Betwoded Negash (previously dejazmatch),a great Gojjam Patriot leader. At a meeting of Patriot commanders a document was prepared for the League of Nations and others 'whom it might concern', setting out the wishes of some 900 Patriot leaders, touching on the form which future government of their country might take. News of this also reached Hailé Sellassié and a secret communication, signed by the secretary Woldé Giorgis and purporting to have been written on the Emperor's instructions, was soon afterwards received by Dejazmatch Wobneh whom Ethiopians nickname Amoraw (‘the eagle’). The new trend, read the massive, was contrary to the traditions and wishes of the Ethiopian masses. Should a man seek the throne, it suggested, if it were the will of God that he succeed, the Emperor would not mind for that would be in conformity with the long-standing traditions of the country; but republicanism was an alien concept, one that would endanger Ethiopian advance to freedom (independence). The letter also contained secret instructions, but when the Dejazmatch tried to put them into effect they resulted in dissension and fighting amongst the Patriots. The home of Hagos, the 'Eagle's' brother, was burnt. Blatta Takelé restored some semblance of unity by confining the operations of some leaders to certain geographical limits and by pointing out that only the Italians rejoiced at internal divisions amongst the Patriots themselves.