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                                                               The victory of Adwa & the Tigrean movement
Araya Belay

Tigrean opposition to the Ethiopian feudal & imperial rule started during Emperor Menelik?s reign. After the defeat of the Italians aggression in 1988, [sic] Atse Menilik deployed an 80,000 man army into Tigray without adequate provisions, thereby forcing the soldiers to live off the Tigrean people, confiscating their cattle, sheep & crops. Tigreans who died protecting their home against Menelik?s troops outnumbered, Tigreans who died to defeat Italians in the battle of Adwa. Again after forty years fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia and the main battlefield was again in Tigray and once again the inhabitant of Tigray suffered.

Soon after the defeat of Italy, Emperor Haileselassie returned to Ethiopia from his exile in the UK. Soon after Emperor Haileselassie return Tigrean peasants revolted against the Imperial regime and ?kedamai woyane?was born. The movement took advantage of popular discontent against shewa rule, but was primarily a localized resistance to imperial rule. Kedamai Woyane started in late 1936 however it was relatively brief lasting from May 22 to October 14, 1943. Although the rebels made some initial gains, the emperor forces supported by British Canberra aircrafts overpowered the resistance. The emperor imposed a harsh peace on Tigray. Poor military leadership combined with disagreement among the rebel leaders failed to sustain the movement and after the fall of Mekelle capital of Tigray on October 14, 1943, practically all organized resistance came to an end. Emperor Haileselassie exiled or imprisoned the leaders of the Woyane. The emperor took reprisals against peasants suspected of supporting the Woyane. Although the military victory restored imperial authority to Tigray it had devastated the region. Harsh measures used by the emperor on a daily basis brought drought, sickness and ignorance and the resistance continued.
Ethiopian resistance to the emperor scattered to all over the country, and finally in 1974 the fall of emperor Haileselassie became a reality. Junta military from the armed forces took the power. But the military still didn?t solve the country?s main problems and again Lekatit 11, 1975, kalai woyane was born. Kalai Woyane started in western Tigray a place called Dedebit. In February 18, 1975 The TPLF convened its first congress in Dima, many fighters and seven members of the central committee of the TPLF participated. During 1977 and 1978 many students joined with TPLF to avoid persecutions & military service of the Derg. TPLF gained attentions at home and abroad.

In the 1980?s TPLF controlled almost the whole rural areas of Tigray and established basic administrative unit called ?the people?s council [baito]?, which was typically introduced in to two stages. First stages, representatives from mass associations were elected to form a provisional administrative council. The second stage involves the establishment of a full-fledged people?s council members elected to two years term.

By the 1984 TPLF was active throughout Tigray and part of Gonder and Gojam, on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the birth of TPLF Feb 1988, TPLF was engaged in its largest offensive against the derg forces. Over a year and half the TPLF captured all of Tigray territories, including urban centers such as Axum, Adwa, Indaselassie, Adigrat, Wukro and Mekelle. By May 1989 the derg army humiliated by TPLF fighters was forced to runaway and concentrated in Wello.

Mean time in Jan 1989 TPLF entered in to alliance with the Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (EPDM) once belonged to EPRP, the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Ethiopian Democratic Officers Revolutionary Movement (EDO) all of them agreed to create the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In 1989 EPRDF moved from its stronghold in Tigray, Wello and Gonder south to Northern Shewa. During the six week period beginning in August 1989, EPRDF captured an estimated 20,000 government troops, seized vast stocks of military hardware. At the end of the 1989 EPRDF had succeeded in defeating the garrison of derg at Debretabor and cut the road between Gonder & Bahrdar.
On Feb 23 during operation Tewedros, EPRDF drove out derg troops from Gonder and Gojam. In March 1990 ?Dula billisuma welkita? Operation got started in Welega, which resulted in the capture of the regional military headquarter in Nekemt. Insurgent unit then advanced south & east and occupied Fincha. In mid May operation ?Wallelegn?began heading along the Wello front and by the end of May the EPRDF had captured all the government positions of Wello, North Shewa and were advancing to Addis Ababa. The next day Colonel Mengistu left the country.

In the aftermath of these campaigns the derg?s armed forces disintegrated, tens and thousands of soldiers crowded in to Addis Ababa. Despite such huge ex military personnel?s presence in Addis EPRDF established Peace and stability in the country. It is not how they say it; it is the way they show it. The Washington based army of CUDist do not want to know this truth. Cud?s army in Washington working with the notorious Eritrean Ambassador to United States, Girma Asmerom to get help military and financially to destabilize our country is truly sad. Tigreans still have a lot of things to do and the worst may still come. Lekatit 11 is the birthdays of our vanguard organization TPLF we have to celebrate with new spirit and moral, our enemies are watching the day we fall. This is unthinkable but only if we remain steadfast and mindful.
Zelealemawi zikri n?swuatna!
Victory of Adwa is the Victory of Ethiopians & the whole Africa
Long live our vanguard organization TPLF!