Abyssinia

(Moving some stuff over from an older blog… )

Africa…

Okay. I just had my mind blown.
I’m not stupid. Not really. Well, by some standards, maybe. But, not really. Private school education, early education in the UK, Mum taught at a university in the north of England, and I really enjoyed learning. That, and I have a pretty good memory.
A memory that, for some reason, does not recollect any teacher anywhere EVER teaching me that Africa was home to an empire that lasted from 980 years before the birth of the Nazarene to … get this … 197-fackin-4!
Abyssinia.
Also known as the Ethiopian Empire.
Founded in 980 BC and dissolved via coup d’etat in 1974, with only a couple of hiccups – ie: European attempts at stealing the show – in the 20th Century.
What the FACK??
How do I not know this?
After 46 years of education, both formal and non, 40 years of voracious reading, many many years of watching and reading the news, and now a good 15 years of net-surfing for interesting stories, not to mention the lovely friends who surround me, most of them quite well educated, how is it possible that I am discovering this nugget of information ten days after my 46th birthday?
Although it is possible, I suppose, that I have a blind-spot here, my paranoid brain kicks in and thinks, “Is it possible that this information has been deliberately kept from me? And, not just from me, but from those around me?”
I just did a quick poll of my friends here, backstage at No Sex, Please, We’re British, many of whom are a) British, b) well educated, and c) well traveled. None of them could tell me the first thing about Abyssinia, save one, Sam, who knew that Haile Selassie was its last leader.
I posit this: that my lack of knowledge in this area is not so much due to ignorance or a blind spot, but more due to the fact that an African empire that spanned close to 3000 years is not something that Euro-centric educators care to advertise to growing minds. This span makes it the single longest-lasting empire in history. I’m thinking that fact wouldn’t really sit well with people whose mind-set is still stuck in “we noble, educated whites must save the poor ignorant darkies from themselves…”
Furthermore, the Ethiopian Empire would still exist, were it not for the combined efforts of the Italians – prior to WW II – and the Soviets thereafter.
Ethiopian.
These days, a euphemism for starvation.
Nice job, Europe.
Blur their history, then starve them. Nicely done.
Yeah. I can’t even be funny now. ‘Cause it just ain’t.

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