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Woyane Tigrai is the Phoenix, the ultimate symbol of strength and renewal!

By Eyob Tadelle Gebre-hiwot
Tigrai Online Feb. 18, 2020

Woyane Tigrai is the Phoenix, the ultimate symbol of strength and renewal
Woyane is the Spirit that created the grand Tigraian Civilization millennia ago – a civilization that had sprouted around Da’emat and it is the same Spirit that is ready to crush the enemies of Tigrai.

Never is there a mountain
that we can’t climb,
 Nor is it a river
that we don’t cross,
The CAUSE is our verve, and the PEOPLE - our strength,
victory is ours!*


The CAUSE – the Tigray CAUSE – was not only the conditio sin qua non but also the conditio sin quam – for the series of complex political conditions that culminated in one of the most decisive political events in the politico-historical life of Tigray - an event, simply second in importance to no other. An event, its end result tremblingly shook Ethiopia’s century-old and inherently flawed state formation project to its foundations, and finally, brought it to its unceremonious debacle.

Forty-five years ago – on February 18, 1975 - the first gunshot was fired upwards to the dark sky of Dedebit – paradigmatically heralding the transformation of the Tigray Revolution to a higher level – to a higher historical phenomenon - to an armed struggle - Kal’ai Woyane!!

The confluences of factors - politico-economic, socio-cultural and historical - which led to the popular Woyane Tigray (revolution), and later to the protracted armed struggle that drifted Ethiopia to a bloody civil war - were complex, and as such, intricately intertwined with the long and rich history of Tigray.

Stenographically speaking, however, Woyane Tigray was a result of the lingering pathology that had existed within the larger political physiognomy of the center-periphery relations between Ethiopia and Tigray – of systemic marginalization and national oppression!

Having launched the armed struggle from the mountainous areas of Dedebit in Western Tigray, handful young Tigrean freedom fighters, with not more than five obsolete rifles, managed to effectively mobilize the people, and through time, succeeded in doing the seemingly impossible task of creating a highly disciplined large army that defeated one of the strongest army in Africa – the dictatorial Derg regime.

A bitter struggle – seventeen years of armed struggle – a struggle that claimed colossal sacrifices – human and material, yet, waged for a great cause – to extricate Tigray from the yoke of national oppression and systemic marginalization!

A struggle waged by the gallant sons and daughters of Tigray to reclaim the glory and pride of Tigray!

Also, a struggle for self rule and self determination, a long and bitter struggle the likes of which Africa has never seen before!

Tigreans fought ‘all as one and all together!’ under the Woyane Sprit!  

Woyane transcends any political groupings in Tigray. It is, simply, the legatee of the Tigray Spirit!

The Spirit that created the grand Tigrean Civilization millennia ago – a civilization that had sprouted around Da’emat, mushroomed in Yeha, flourished and reached at its apogee in Axum - an awe-inspiring civilization glaringly animated to this day by the resounding monuments and obelisks in Axum, the ruined castle in Yeha, the mysterious cave of King Kaleb, the Ezana Stone, the ruined city of Bete Sema’eti, the Geez alphabets and numbers, the minted coins and myriads of priceless archeologically unearthed artifacts, inter alia.

It is the Spirit that established one of the strongest Empires in the ancient world, rubbing shoulders with such great powers of the day as the Roman and Byzantine Empires, the Greece and China, among others.

Woyane is Tigray Spirit qua Tigray Spirit - the Spirit that ruled over the Red Sea and beyond!

It is the Spirit that crushed the Egyptian expansionist army at the Battles of Gundet and Gura’e! It is the Spirit that annihilated the Italian colonialist army at the Battle of Dog’ali, the first crushing defeat of a European power by African forces.

The Spirit that crushed the strongest army in sub Saharan Africa – the dictatorial military Derg regime!

It is the Spirit that has shaped and significantly determined post 1991 Ethiopian political physiognomy!

It is the Spirit, which is poised, as it has always been, to address Tigray’s most argent questions - to make its hopes and dreams a reality – and to determine its destiny!

Woyane is the Phoenix, the ultimate symbol of strength and renewal!