History of Ethiopia: Yekatit 12 Monument

History of Ethiopia: Yekatit 12 Monument

A contemporary war crime for which no one has yet been held accountable. A war crime that should not be concealed by a phony diplomatic mask or an armistice agreement with war criminals. A very vicious and savage contemporary war crime killed innocent bystanders by setting them on fire, shooting, stabbing, or blowing them up with grenades under the fascist regime in Italy. After a three-day and three-night assassination attempt on Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, the then-Marquis of Negligee and Viceroy of Italian East Africa, a previously unheard-of systematic terror attack was launched, resulting in the brutal murder of 30,000 innocent men, women, children, and elderly people. Armed with a Cart Blanche order, the so-called Italian Black Shirts, a paramilitary force affiliated with the National Italian Fascist Party, joined with local Italian laborers and citizens and began killing Ethiopians without distinction.

Ethiopia was prevented from having representation on the UN War Crime Commission despite being a member of the League of Nations and then the UN, which served as a deterrent to any efforts at justice. The British were the ones who led Ethiopia’s exclusion from the UN War Crime Commission, depriving the country of justice and enabling a collective amnesia.

Anticipating that the Ethiopian government would provide material on war crimes perpetrated by the Italians during the Italo-Abyssinian war, a letter was written and sent to the UNWCC Secretary-General. According to this letter, the Italians had been charged with: ordering the use of poison gas, the burning of hospitals and ambulances, and the bombing of towns between October 1935 and March 1936; resorting to systematic terrorism against civilians, ending in the widespread attacks approved by the Viceroy of Italian East Africa and Governor-General of Addis Abeba, General Rodolfo Graziani, in 1937; burning villages and massacring inhabitants, including women and children, as reprisals; murdering prisoners of war and hostages; deporting and subjecting the civilian population to forced labor. Specifically, the Ethiopians accused General Graziani of ordering the two massacres at Debre Libanos, where (according to Graziani himself) between 19 and 21 May 1937 297 monks and 129 deacons were killed by Italian colonialists, and “Yekatit 12,” the date on the Ethiopian calendar that indicates the day when indiscriminate killing and imprisonment of Ethiopians by Italian occupation forces began.

This was in retaliation for the attempted assassination of Graziani on 19 February 1937. While the Ethiopian government states the number of noncombatant civilian Ethiopians slaughtered in the Addis Ababa massacre to be 30,000, the number of Debre Libanos massacres is as high as 2000. In October 1935, Benito Mussolini’s Italy invaded Ethiopia, defying all international arbitration. From 1935 to 1941, the Italian fascist army massacred one million people, destroying 2,000 churches, 525,000 homes, and 14 million animals in addition to looting paintings, artwork, and other cultural properties, many of which were books, icons, and other Ethiopian church paraphernalia that are currently in the Vatican library’s possession.

The following are the primary goals of the Global Alliance for Justice – The Ethiopian Cause:

the return of stolen property from Italy and the Vatican to Ethiopia; sufficient compensation from fascist Italy for the war crimes it perpetrated against Ethiopia;
Ethiopia received an apology from the Vatican for Ethiopia’s involvement with fascist Italy;
The destruction of the mausoleum identified Rodolfo Graziani as a fascist criminal, as did the UN’s admission of the fascist Italian war crime against Ethiopia.
According to the Global Alliance for Justice the Ethiopian Cause (GAJEC), the history of the Italian war criminals’ unfulfilled prosecution is both a clear illustration of the international community’s failure and of winners’ justice. We think it was the result of a cold-blooded decision to give impunity to all of the Italian military commanders that the UN War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), an organ supported by the UN, had identified as the most responsible for the horrific crimes committed by the Italians between 1935 and September 1943. This allowed for a blatant violation of international treaties, including the Treaty of Peace and the Instrument of Surrender, as well as the principles outlined in Nuremberg and Tokyo. The Italian government’s allegiance to the new order justified this decision.

Every year on February 19, Ethiopians commemorate Martyrs Day, when 81 years ago, after an attempt on Marshal Rodolfo Graziani’s life, over 30,000 Ethiopians were slaughtered by the forces of Fascist Italy. For this reason, February is also observed as a martyr’s month. The most horrific atrocity, which may have qualified as the greatest form of genocide, was carried out by the Italians.

Italy attempted a second colonization effort of Ethiopia in 1934, having spent forty years preparing after losing the Battle of Adwa. On May 14, 1934, Italy sent out a vast army prepared to seize all of Ethiopia, in defiance of a letter the late Emperor Haile Selassie had sent to the defunct League of Nations.

Italy sent out 685,000 troops. Italy had 390 aircraft, 2000 artillery pieces, 599 tanks, and 6,000 machine guns. Later, Italy purchased and procured 200 tanks, 205 aircraft, 275 artillery pieces, and 3,300 machine guns. The Ethiopian Army, with its 350,000–760,000 trained and unskilled peasant men, 234 ancient artillery pieces, 75 anti-tank guns, 4 tanks, and 13 outdated aircraft with four pilots, was much more formidable than this. (A war criminal who eluded justice, Kidane Alemayehu).

Ethiopia ought to have had the full backing and solidarity of the League of Nations as an independent nation against Italy’s invasion. What happened, however, was that the League’s flimsy and ineffectual actions allowed Fascist Italy to commit horrific war crimes in Ethiopia.

The use of mustard gas bombs by the fascist forces on at least ten locations in Ethiopia, including the Tekeze area, Ambalage, Borena (Wollo), Sekota, Mekele, Megalo, Wadla Delanta, Korem, Yirgalem, and Endamehoni, is documented by Grip, Lina, and Hart John in their book “The use of Chemical Weapons in the 1935 Italo-Ethiopian War.”

Interestingly, the terrorist group TPLF carried out brutal crimes in the same locations where the fascists had massacred people eighty years before.

A million Ethiopians, including patriots, women, and children, were massacred during the Italian occupation, according to Alberto Sbachi (Ethiopia Under Mussolini, pp. 47–63). Of these, 30,000 were killed in Addis Ababa within three days on Graziani’s orders, on February 19–21, 1937, along with over 2,000 monks and parishioners at Debre Libanos Monastery. The mustard poison gas that was sprayed across various sections of Ethiopia caused environmental contamination, destroying 2,000 churches, 525,000 dwellings, and 14 million animal deaths.

The first agreement to outlaw the use of chemical weapons was the Hague Convention of 1899, of which Italy was a member. The 1925 Geneva Protocol, which outlawed the use of deadly gases, came next. Thus, in complete defiance of the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the Italian Fascist Government used chemical weapons in its war crimes in Ethiopia.

Two years after they invaded Ethiopia, on February 19, 1937, Italy massacred innocent Ethiopians in Addis Ababa. 30,000 Ethiopians were randomly killed over three days by fascist Italy. The majority of the victims were old, nursing, pregnant, and their offspring.

To commemorate the birth of the baby Prince of Naples, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, Marchese di Neghelli, Viceroy of Italian East Africa, arranged a public celebration at the Genete Leul Palace (now the home of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University), where donations were given to the less fortunate. People from all walks of life flocked to and from the palace expecting presents, not knowing for sure what fate had in store for them.

Abraha Deboch and Mogus Asgedom, two young Ethiopians, decided to kill Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, Marchese di Neghelli, early on Friday morning in February 1937. Their strategy was aided by another young person their age. Simeyon Adefres, a cab driver, is credited by Richard Pankhurst for driving them out of town. He is also credited by Pankhurst with supplying the grenades that Mogus and Abraha launched at Graziani.

Italian authorities reacted swiftly to the attempted assassination. Mockler claims that the “Italian carabinieri had fired into the crowds of beggars and poor assembled for the distribution of alms and it is said that the Federal Secretary, Guido Cortese, even fired his revolver into the group of Ethiopian dignitaries standing around him.” Cortese issued the lethal order a few hours later. Bahiru Zewede claims that the Italians used the attempted murder as justification to carry out Mussolini’s command, which was given as early as May 3, 1936, to summarily kill “The Young Ethiopians,” a small group of intellectuals who had attended universities in the United States and Europe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *