Stop putting political symbols on Ethiopian flag

August 23rd, 2010 Print Print Email Email

by Teddy Fikre August 23rd, 2010 posted on NewsDire

Ethiopian Flag

I know I am about to wade into potentially explosive debate, one that is strife with tensions on multiple side and could well drag out the worse side of Ethiopian political divides. With that said, as an Ethiopian who has an affinity for anything that is related to Ethiopia, it goes without saying that I am especially drawn to the Ethiopian flag. However, whenever I see the current Ethiopian flag, I feel like I am looking at something alien. Of course, I am drawn to the green, yellow, and red, but then there is a symbol in the middle that always manages to make my eyes avert from my homeland’s flag.

I will admit readily that the flag that I prefer the most, the one that binds me the most to the Ethiopia that I know in my mind is the one that has the lion of Judah on it. This flag carries with it a history that binds us to multiple cultures throughout the world, a flag that symbolizes the magnificent history of Ethiopia from the first emperor right down to our last and a flag that is adored by countless millions throughout the world. However, I realize that there are others who see in that symbol something different than I do, a feeling which cannot be smoothed over with a lecture about its history and its symbolism. As much passion and love that I have for this version of the flag, I am sure others are equally passionate about it in the opposite extreme.

Since the time I was born in 1974, I have seen the flag that I most equate with Ethiopia changed on two different occasions. When the Derg took over, they replaced the Lion of Judah with the hammer and sickle that would symbolize the embedding of communism in Ethiopia. After the TPLF defeated the Derg in 1993, they eradicated the hammer and sickle and replaced it with a yellow star placed over a blue background. In each case, the power structure used the Ethiopian flag as an imprimatur of their dominion, to erase the past and to move forward with the way that they saw fit. In each case, the symbol in the middle of the flag became a divisive issue, one that had supporters and detractors engaged in heated rhetoric about which flag truly represented Ethiopia.

Flags are powerful symbols, they can either divide a country or they can be divisive icons that separate people based on heritage and ethnic affiliation. You will not find too many Americans that would disparage the flag of the United States. However, there are certain states that embed within their state flags the some symbols which are divisive to the core. The flag of Mississippi has the confederate flag interwoven within the colors of the United States flag. This issue has divided the South for generations, serving as an affront to millions of people who rightly see the confederate flag as a symbol of hatred and exclusion.

Symbols are powerful because they invoke passions and ultimately exclude people as much as they include people. Within each community, within each region of Ethiopia, I am sure you will find different people who would rather replace the yellow flag with another symbol. I am sure some—like myself—would rather go back to the lion of Judah, while others who want to replace it with a different symbol all together, while there are others still who would rather maintain the flag as it is. Just as Southern states can do a lot to take down a divisive symbolism from their state flags, so too should powers that be in Ethiopia in order to have an inclusive flag instead of one that is excludes people who are not part of the power structure.

While each group can argue passionately about the symbol, one thing that most will not argue is that the basic premise of the flag, the green, yellow, and red, is the one uniting force. So why argue about the various symbols, why not instead take the symbol off the flag and leave the green, yellow, and red speak for itself, the true colors of Ethiopia. It is time for successive regimes to stop using the flag as their personal tool of propaganda and return the flag to the colors that are familiar to all without a symbol embedded in the middle. Governments should have their legacies determined by the good work that they accomplish not based on the propaganda they propagate through symbols they keep erasing and adding to our flag.

  1. Aba Kifayi Guda Kedjella / Shoa
    | #1

    The lion as a haraldic animal of Ethiopia goes back to pre Axumatic Empire.
    All Ethiopian Emperors have kept the lione befor the so called civilized Europeans began to use the lione as their symbol of power.

    The black lione of Ethiopia does not have any religion.
    It is a Zionist and white supremacists conspiracy to eradicate our lion from the nathional flag, from the Ethiopian Air lines etc. etc.
    Those who have no histroy want to steal our legacy in the heart of Africa. Ethiopüia is the only ancient Black state in the World.

    It is a question of time. The Military junta collapsed. So also the Bantustan regieme of Melese Zenawi will perish.
    Ethiopia shall rise!

    The flag, our heraldic lion will be restored. Democracy and the rule of law will be materialized.

    Aba Kifayi

  2. Aba Kifayi Guda Kedjella / Shoa
    | #2

    The lion as a haraldic animal of Ethiopia goes back to pre-Axumatic Empire.
    All Ethiopian Emperors have kept the lion even befor the so called civilized Europeans began to use the lion as their symbol of power.

    The black lion of Ethiopia does not have any religious symbolism.
    It is a Zionist and white supremacists conspiracy to eradicate our lion from the nathional flag, from the Ethiopian Air ines etc. etc.
    Those who have no histroy, hate the existance of Ethiopia and want to steal our legacy in the heart of Africa by any means necessary.
    Ethiopüia is the only ancient Black state in the World. That makes them sick.

    It is a question of time. The Military junta collapsed. So also the puppet Bantustan regieme of Melese Zenawi will perish.
    Ethiopia shall rise!

    The flag, our heraldic lion will be restored.
    Democracy and the rule of law will be materialized.

    Aba Kifayi

  3. Yehuda
    | #3

    The symbol Meles Zenawi placed in the middle of the Ethiopian flag is commonly known as pentagram as it is sometimes referred as pentalpha (five pointed star)that ancient Greece and the Babylonians used to identify their faith. The Waccian religious sect used this symbol as their symbol of faith just as the Jews used the Star of David (six pointed star) as their symbol of faith just as much as the cross was and is used by Christians. From christians’ point of view in recent understanding, however, the symbol is the manifestation of suffering and and nothing else. Christians interpreted these five pointed star as the sign of CHRIST’S suffering by the Romand (you may say by the jews too) and the five pointed stars indicate the nail that peneterated Jesus’s two hunds, two legs and the one arrow that pierced the side of Jesus by the Roman guard. SO no one need to wonder why Meles choose this symbol that has nothing to do with the muslim and the christian faith but his wish for the suffering of both. History will answer the question.

  4. hanna
    | #4

    Written by:- Hanna kebede:- Switherland

    Jailed but not forgotten

    Birtukan’s story represents the struggle women across the world The bravery of these women despite all odds is inspirational. Women everywhere are paying a personal price for their political reality. It is these women, and the millions of women survivors of conflict who are striving every day to carry on in the midst of astronomical challenges, who are pushing us forward in the global women’s movement. It is these women who are standing up for peace and equality, finding their voices and speaking truth in the face of oppression and fear. These women deserve to have their voices heard.

    Birtukan Mideksa, an Ethiopian prisoner of conscience who is facing life imprisonment for speaking out against an oppressive government. Birtukan is an opposition leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (formerly Coalition for Unity and Democracy) party and is advocating for democracy
    Women are often faced with another layer of community and traditional demands, like Birtukan
    Ethiopia is still struggling to overcome oppression and establish political freedom. The parliamentary elections in 2005 violent protests, which led to the arbitrary arrest and detainment of hundreds of opposition leaders, journalists, human rights advocates and civilians. Birtukan was one of those arrested in 2005, and she received a life imprisonment sentence. Then, in 2007, Birtukan received a pardon and was released from prison, only to be put back into prison once more in 2008 for discussing the details of her prior arrest. Her original sentence of life imprisonment has since been reinstated.
    Much of Birtukan’s time in prison has been spent in solitary confinement. The only people allowed to visit Birtukan are her mother and her four-year-old daughter. Before her arrest, Birtukan was the main provider for her family, who is now suffering not only emotionally but also financially from Birtukan’s imprisonment. She is not allowed to meet with any legal representation and the government refuses to listen to her needs. There are even reports that she is being denied medical treatment, despite numerous requests for a physician. The Red Cross and other humanitarian officials are being denied access to the prison, and the exact treatment of Birtukan is unknown.
    Jailed but not forgotten
    Free Birtukan Midekesa

  5. Fayisa
    | #5

    Is there a way to clean up the Flag. Wipe the Bantustan first. It is a Divisive Flag so called as representing nations and nationalities.

  6. Mark
    | #6

    Aba Kifayi,
    I don’t really know whether you purpossly ignored the implication of lion synbol on Ethiopian old biased flag or may you did not understand the implication. A lion on Ethiopian flag is symbol of minorty ethnic christian relgion. As you know Ethiopia is a country of people with different religion, but the radical ethnic religious fanatic symbol bias aganist other Ethiopian religion. You can not honestly say this is Ethiopian flag. The EPRDF flag is also represent TPLF so called star fighters. It does not represent all Ethiopian. Red, Yellow, Green is the symbol of African independent from colony. It’s better to use red, yellow and green flag.

    It important to understand the implication of symbols or marks.

  7. eeewunetu
    | #7

    ante yahunu atwedewum eniye gin ewedewalehugn.ante yedirew tiwedewaleh eniye gin sayewum yamegnal alwedewum.ena min yitebes.

  8. ፍቅር
    | #8

    እግዚአብሔርን እንዲህ ብሉት ስራህ ግሩም እና ድንቅ ነው::

  9. adamass
  10. ታዛቢው
    | #10

    አረንጓዴ ቢጫና ቀይ ባንዴራ ሲወርድ ሲዋረድ አብሮን የመጣና በተለይም ብዙ የአፍሪካና የላቲን አሜሪካ ሀገራት እንደ የነጻነት መለያ በመቁጠር በተለያዬ አቀማመጥ የተጠቀሙበት ኢትዮጵያን የቅኝ ገዥዎችን ቅስም መስበሪያ ተምሳሌት በመውሰድ መሆኑ ከምንኮራበት ታሪካችን አንዱ ፈርጅ ነው:: የሆነ ሆኖ የተፈራረቁብን ስልጣን ያናዎዛቸው መንግስታት የራሳቸውን ሙሉዕ በኩላሄ ቅዠት እውን ለማድረግ በባንዴራችን ላይ በየጊዜው ባዕድ ድሪቶ እየለጠፉ ህዝቡን ሲያሳዝኑ ኖረዋል:: ይህ ሁኔታ ጨቋኝ መንግስታት እስከተፈራረቁ ድረስ መቀጠሉ የማይቀር ነው:: ይሁን እንጅ ኢትዮጵያውያን የራሳቸውን መንግስት ለመመስረት ሲበቁ የተለጠፈው ድሪቶ ተመንጥቆ መጣሉ የማይቀርለት ሀቅ ነው:: ባንዴራችንም ሆነ ሀገራችን ጤና የሚያገኙት የኛ ያልሆኑ መንግስታት ሲወገዱ ብቻ መሆኑን መገንዘብ ያሻል:: በሀገር ቤት የሚኖረው ወገንችን በጠመንጃ አፈሙዝ ተገዶ እንዲቀበል ቢደረግም በውጭ የምንኖረው ግን ነባሯን ባንዴራችንን ማውለብለቡን መቀጠል አለብን:: ድሪቶውን የሚለጥፉ ካሉ ሰልፋቸው ከማን ጋር እንደሆነ ስለሚያስገነዝብ ከዘርፈ ብዙው ትግል ጋር አቆራኝቶ መመልከት ይጠበቅብናል::

  11. አለም
    | #11

    ፍቅር: እግዚአብሔር ስራው ድንቅ ግሩም መሆኑን እኛ መንገር ለምን አስፈለገን? እግዚአብሐር ከእኛ የሚፈልገው ምስጋና ብቻ ነው:: አድናቆት አይደለም:: በምስጋና ፈጣሪያችን እና አምላካችን መሆኑን ጥበቃውን እንለምናዋለን እንጠይቀዋለን::

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