- Posted August 3, 2014 by
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Ethiopia : British - Ethio immoral policy in Benishangul
There would not be slavery abolishment if it was not for the economy interest of the British, because the independence of America, the decline of sugar colonies due to slavery revolts and resistances, and most of all industrial revolution in 18th Century have contributed significantly in getting rid of slave-based economy. So the Europeans have reinvented a new way of controlling the people and the resources of Africa, Asia and Latin America, that new invented method of domination was and still it is colonization.
Cotton rather than sugar became the raw material that the Britain needed for production, as Manchester and other cities became the centre of importance to the world due to the cotton products. This has increased the demand for raw materials, that made the Britain to search for new fertile lands for cotton plantation and new market for its products, in order to implement that they invaded Africa after the Berlin Conference in 1884 -1885, the conference in which they divided Africa that is not theirs. This unjust policy of repressive Britain power that invaded Sudan in 1898 made Egypt and Sudan colonies of the Britain.
The British made decision to retain control over the entire Nile Basin as well as Egypt, and Ethiopia became a source of anxiety to British policy-makers, because the Ethiopian Mountainsfurnish Egypt and Sudan with abundant of water, and the Britain is threatened by the fact that Ethiopia which is in possession of the mountains may flood the valley of the Nile or make a desert which would turn the cotton plantations in Egypt and Sudan into nothing.
Therefore, the Britain has made an arrangement that suited Menelik as Harrington said that ' Her Majesty's government did not recognize Menelek's right to this area but might be prepared to make an arrangement to suit his wishes', this mean the Britain government new that Abyssinian has no right to claim Benishangul, not only that Harrington retorted to the Menelek claims of Ethiopia saying that '......for that matter it was open to doubt whether his country was the Ethiopia known in ancient history', that was said by Harrington because he knew that Ethiopa meant to be Sudan not the current land which used to be known by Al Habasha and Abyssinia until its admission into leg of nation when its name was changed to Ethiopia.
The negotiation between Menelek and Britain continued, and Britain refused to recognize Menelek claim on Benishangul, and maintained its rights on all provinces that were under Egypt control, in fact Harington replied to Menelek that 'England as the protectors and controllers of Egyptian interests, had already stated her intention of recovering Egypt's lost provinces for her'. In fact the first instructions that were given to Harington by the British Government in order to resume outline in the negotiation were 1\ he was to tell Menelek 'that we have not intension of encroaching on territory which has always belonged to Abyssinia' 2\ that Great Britain claims the whole of the territory between Abyssinia and the Nile which formerly belonged to Egypt. That was a clear indication that there was nothing called Ethiopia until the time of negotiation, and Abyssinian border was limited to the land of highlanders,which included Gojam, Gondar, Tigray ,Showa and wollo. That is why the British government used to address all its letters and official talks as Abyssinia ,its historical name not Ethiopia which is fake and stolen name.
Harold G. Marcus in his publication 'Ethio-British Negotiations Concerning the Western Border with Sudan' stated that 'Harrington said that her Majesty's government did not recognize Menelek's right to this area,but might be prepared to make an arrangement to suit his wishes'. In 19 May 1899 a meeting broke up in an argument over the Benishangul area. On 26 May Harrington reported to Cromer that Menelek had his heart set on Benishangul and that nothing short of using force would induce him to abandon his claims to it. According, he hoped the arrangement he had made would be satisfactory to the British government. He had told Menelek that he would say nothing more about Benishangul if the concession for gold-mining in the area would be guaranteed to the British capitalists'. And also Harrington secured the most important part of their policy in Africa ensuring that there would be no interference with the water flow of the Blue Nile and Lake Tana unless Her Majesty and the Sudan government agrees on, and finally for the British to have the right to construct a railway through Abyssinian territory to connect the Sudan with Uganda.
Accordingly, Abyssinia has no right on Benishangul, the negotiation between Abyssinia and Britain was not that easy, and it is proven that Britain maintained its demand on all territories that were under Egyptian control, but the influences of France and Russian policies in the region has compelled Britain to surrender to the Menelek grip on Benishangul, this is how Benishangul became part of a country that is different and strange to the people of Benishangul. Therefore, the so called Ethiopian governments have done nothing to implement any project that would prosper and develop Benishangul people, since 1898 no schools, no hospitals, no projects, the only thing the people of Benishangul has been experiencing are killing, imprisonment and depriving the people off their land and waves of settling highlanders in Benishangul.
The British people have moral and legal responsibility toward the Benishangul people, because if it was not for British economic interest policy, the Benishangul would not be part of the so called Abyssinia which became Ethiopia in 20th Century, the entire conditions of the agreements were based on meeting the Britain short and long term policy, now it is 21st Century and the Benishangul people are still under the repressions and subjugation of Abyssinia that have no mercy on others, in fact the brutality of Abyssinia is not new, the British has experienced the savageness of Abyssinia in Magdella, thus, we request the 21st British generation to investigate the Ethiopian policies in Benishangul, and exercise pressure to release thousands of imprisoned politicians.
By Khalid Nasser Benishangul activist and Ahmed Abdi