The resistance of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people has made
back-to-back headline news for the past 3 weeks. Desperate Palestinians with small arms, stones and sacrificing themselves by becoming human bombs are trying to resist an occupying force that is armed with advanced weaponry and the support of western powers. I am not stating new facts that world (you) do not know already.
However we Ethiopians of all people do and should relate to the plight and humiliation of the Palestinian people. On October 3, 1935 Ethiopia was invaded by fascist Italy and occupied for 5 years. During this
time Ethiopia endured the most atrocious human right violation by the
occupying force. Children were killed, thousand were gassed, women raped and a nation was humiliated. Those who did dare resist occupation were harshly dealt with. This dark moment in Ethiopian history is high lighted by the historic speech made by Emperor Haile Selassie on June 1936 seeking international help from the league of nations now the
United Nations (U.N):(The full version of the speech can be found @
"...I ask the fifty-two nations not to forget today the policy upon which they embarked eight months ago, and on faith of which I directed the resistance of my people against the aggressor whom they had denounced to the world. Despite the inferiority of my weapons, the complete lack of aircraft, artillery, munitions, hospital services, my confidence in the League was absolute. I thought it to be impossible that fifty-two nations, including the most powerful in the world, should be successfully opposed by a single aggressor. Counting on the faith due to treaties, I had made no preparation for war, and that is the case with certain small countries in Europe.
...When the danger became more urgent, being aware of my responsibilities towards my people, during the first six months of 1935 I tried to acquire armaments. Many Governments proclaimed an embargo to prevent my doing so, whereas the Italian Government through the Suez Canal, was given all facilities for transporting without cessation and without protest, troops,arms, and munitions.
...War then took place in the atrocious conditions which I have laid before the Assembly. In that unequal struggle between a Government commanding more than forty-two million inhabitants, having at its disposal financial,industrial and technical means which enabled it to create unlimited quantities of the most death-dealing weapons, and, on the other hand,a small people of twelve million inhabitants, without arms, without resources having on its side only the justice of its own cause and the promise of the League of Nations. What real assistance was given to Ethiopia by the fifty two nations who had declared the Rome Government guilty of a breach of the Covenant and had undertaken to prevent the triumph of the aggressor? Has each of the States Members, as it was its duty to do in virtue of its signature appended to Article 15 of the Covenant, considered the aggressor as having committed an act of war personally directed against itself? I had placed all my hopes in the execution of these undertakings. My
confidence had been confirmed by the repeated declarations made in the
Council to the effect that aggression must not be rewarded, and that force would end by being compelled to bow before right.
It is collective security: it is the very existence of the League of
Nations. It is the confidence that each State is to place in international treaties. It is the value of promises made to small States that their integrity and their independence shall be respected and ensured. It is the principle of the equality of States on the one hand, or otherwise the obligation laid upon smail Powers to accept the bonds of vassalship. In a word, it is international morality that is at stake. Have the signatures appended to a Treaty value only in so far as the signatory Powers have a personal, direct and immediate interest involved?
No subtlety can change the problem or shift the grounds of the discussion. It is in all sincerity that I submit these considerations to the Assembly. At a time when my people are threatened with extermination, when the support of the League may ward off the final blow, may I be allowed to speak with complete frankness, without reticence, in all directness such as is demanded by the rule of equality as between all States Members of the League? Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation
that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government
finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment..."
Although the people of Palestine are different from Ethiopians, there is
similarity in their experiences of resistance. The fact that both people
appealed to world and all they got was silence and appeasement of their
aggressors, the fact that several resolution were passed but never enforced and the fact that they had their hands tied down by the world not arm and defend their lands, strikes a remarkable similarity of the 2 nations. Ethiopia of course did not have suicide bombers but I am sure that it would have if it was occupied, oppressed, humiliated for fifty years. Ethiopia endured the occupation and humiliation of fascist Italy for 5 years. For the Palestinians it has been more than a half a century and it is continuing today. They have been labeled terrorist when all they are trying to do is resist occupation. It is immoral to ask "one things you won’t do", that is asking the Palestinian people to stop resisting against their occupying force. No one can pretend things should be normal when he sees his father,mother, sister and brother die everyday under the hand of a foreign occupying force in guise of terrorism.
The fact that some countries that break international law and UN resolution are dealt with harshly by economic sanction followed by a military campaign and others are encouraged to continue their flagrant disregard for the "Law" and human rights.
History does repeat itself. But in the end it’s my hope that the “Just” will prevail.
What do you think?
View user's profile
We learn from history that we don't learn from history
Palestinians have endured too much pain and indignity. It is sad and disturbing to see the world has done "absolutely" nothing to stop the massacre and the colossal property damage inflicted on them by a ruthless regime (Israel).