Open Letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia

June 2, 2018

Your Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

Subject: Seeking Justice and Release of the Agaw-Kemant Prisoners of Ethiopia

Dear Prime Minister,

This is a second letter to the Ethiopian Government in request for the release of Agaw-Kemant prisoners, like other Ethiopian detainees. On March 11, 2018, we sent the letter to his Excellency FDRE Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, but no action. A copy of the letter had been published in Tigrai Online, Voice of Justice and Agew Discussion Forum social media.  Your Excellency’s latest efforts to secure the release of the Ethiopian detainees even from the neighboring countries sparkled our hope to write you this letter.

The enclosed 1-page document is a list of prisoners of the Agaw-Kemants in North Gondar, Ethiopia. They have been in a detention since 2015 because of their demand for self-rule inline with the Ethiopian Constitution, Article 39, Subarticle-3. It can be recalled that about 10,000 government forces conducted an excessive military operation in the Kemant area in late 2015, which caused destruction on human life and property. The operation was intended to force the Agaw-Kemants to drop their constitutional demand or to annex lowland Kemant areas, Metema and Quara, the west of Lake Tana.

The impact of the military campaign was investigated by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and reported to the Ethiopian Parliament in June 2016. The parliament passed a resolution by authorizing appropriate compensation for the Kemant victims and due justice on the perpetrators. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian Government declined to implement the parliament’s resolution, neither the victims received the compensation nor the offenders brought to justice. Above all, the cause of destruction, demand for self-rule has not yet guaranteed. The government’s repeated unconstitutional efforts to split the Kemant community into two has been rejected. The Kemant people have insisted on their constitutional rights regardless of hardship they have been experiencing. The region is currently under tension, imminent for a third round conflict, perhaps similar to the 1992 Rawanda  genocide.  Provocative actions have been taken by the regional government, including fresh arrest of innocent farmers such as Mr. Andergachew Molla, who traveled to Gondar City for shopping and deployment of  paratroops known as Special forces to initiate violence in the region. Approximately, 1000 troops have been deployed in Chilga Woreda alone in the localities of Chonchock and Negade Bhir. The army also sent to localities of Robit, Maura and other two kebeles in Lay Armachiho. The government side has a ridiculous excuse to field soldiers, falsely blaming our fellow Tigrians and even Egyptians for the Agaws’ assertiveness to their rights.  The deployment is in violation of the 2015 agreement that prohibits the deployment of the paratroops in the Kemant areas.

The Ethiopian Government freed thousands of political prisoners February through May 2018. We are aware that currently Your Excellency is coordinating extraordinary diplomatic efforts to ensure the discharge of the Ethiopian detainees in neighboring countries. But, unfortunately, the release did not include the Agaw political prisoners at home, except three military personnel from Lasta. Here in a Diaspora, why the Agaws  have been discriminated is becoming a point of discussion. We believe that they have been deprived the opportunity because of their Agaw ethnic identity.

We are kindly seeking equal justice, including the immediate release of the Agaw-Kemant prisoners listed in the attached document, like other Ethiopians at least under the current amnesty. We are thoughtfully asking withdrawal of the paratroops whom have been refueling violence in the region.

Indeed, we would like to express our thanks in advance to Your Excellency for taking your precious time to look into the case for fair justice.  It is truly an honor to present for Your Excellency’s attention to this appeal on behalf of 10-million Agaw people.

With regards,

Workuw Berihu, Agaw Human Rights Observer, Associated with Agaw Community in Diaspora, Dallas, TX


The identities of Agaw-Kemant political prisoners under detention since 2015 at Gondar City and Aykel, Chilga Prisons:

No Name Address of Prison
1 Setegn Alemu Gondar City
2 Bayuh Meles Gondar City
3 Dessie Bihonegni Gondar City
4 Kefale Sisay Gondar City
5 Birili Bicha Aykel, Chilga



Banchi Tamru


Aykel, Chilga

Ms Banchi and her husband have been prisoned since 2016 leaving their six children without a caregiver.
7 Dinku Zegeye Aykel, Chilga
8 Asmaraw Ayelgni Gondar City
9 Mihiretie Bazezew Gondar City
10 Melkamu Getahun Aykel, Chilga
11 Amdework Addisu Aykel, Chilga
12 Asmaraw Mesno Aykel, Chilga
13 Enyew Goshu Aykel, Chilga
14 Muluken Tesema Aykel, Chilga
15 Chalachew Alemu Aykel, Chilga
16 Misganaw Eyeyu Gondar City
17 Asrie Meles Gondar City
18 Samuel Gashaw Gondar City
Posted in Agaw Kemant | Leave a comment

Ras Prince Mengesha Siyoum and New Book on Agaw People

The new book, Identity and History: Who Is Not Agaw in Gojjam and Gondar, Ethiopia, the Constitution of 1995 and Unequal Treatment of Agaw People – Beta Israel

is not just limited to Gojjam and Gondar. It touches briefly Tigray to Eritrea in relevant contexts. For instance, one of the longest footnoted covers Ras Mengesha Siyoum’s Agaw Midir private visit in the 1960s. Mengesha was the Prince of Ethiopia and Ras of Tigray (governor of Tigray) until the 1974 revolution. According to the author, Ras Prince Mengesha came to Agaw Midir in respect of his root with the Agaw people. As well, the author lists the Mengesha’s two sons, Yohannes and Estifanos who accompanied him during his visit.  The author characterizes Ras Prince Mengesha as confident and esteemed, but a humble and sociable figure who interacts intensively with ordinary people. Follow the link below to find the book.

ሰላም ለሁሉም

ቁምላቸው ደስታ ነኝ

Ras Prince Mengesha Siyoum and the book

Both images obtained from Balambaras Negash Facebook, the author of the article, ቁምላቸው ደስታ didn’t have them initially.

Follow the link also to find article entitled Who is Prince Mengesha Siyoum in Amharic, by Balambaras Negash.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | Leave a comment

In Quara, Kemant Farmers Boycott Referendum Voting and Illegal Voters Cast their Vote

(wlka informantt from Mtema): According to the latest report,  the regional government and security officials registered 1500 illegal voters in Quar alone. The illegal voters by definition are not residing a particular election kebele and not qualified to vote on the basis of the Ethiopian election law. Those illegal voters came to a respective voting station on Sunday morning to vote. The Kemants told them not to take part in the election illegally. But the illegal voters ignored the Kemants warnings and continued voting. Then, the Kemants boycott the process and return their home without casting the vote.

the similar dispute was broke in Shinfe due to the presence of illegal voters. But some of the illegal voters return their home without voting and the process continued. The problem is the regional security forces snatched voting cards from the Kemants and many of them couldn’t vote in Shinfe. Since the Kemants were walking to voting stations without arms, there was nothing they could do when police snatched and tore their cards.

According to the informant, all those illegal activities and fraud was reported to National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), but it failed to discharge its constitutional responsibilities by preventing the process from fraud.

Some observers believe that outcome of the result is predetermined to the regional government and one should not expect anything different. The board is just there to legitimize the fraudulent referendum.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 4 Comments

Letter to US-Department of State

April 14, 2016

US-Department of State
2201 C St. NW
Washington, DC 20520

Reference: Appeal for United States’ Voice and Humanitarian Assistance for Victims of December 2015 Kemant Genocide in North Gondar, Ethiopia

The Kemant genocide, which took place in North Gondar, Ethiopia December 9-18, 2015, slaughtered more than 95 Kemants, women, children, and elders ; wounded 86 Kemants, kept in detention unknown number of people, displaced approximately 25,000 people. The displaced victims have been deprived basic needs, they have neither food nor shelter and currently suffering from hunger and diseases. Perpetrators also demolished or burned in fire 986 residencies, emptying the enter villages in some localities; destroyed or taken away 42,284 quintals of grain, seized more than 18, 700 domestic animals. The total of property loss in the course of genocide is estimated to be US$34.4 million.

Genocide was carried out by Amhara Regional Government forces of Ethiopia, comprised of 10,000 Special Forces, paratroops and armed militia who used 58 to 62 heavy trucks to transport logistics and personnel. The regional government has not denied perpetration of genocide, but portrayed as if it was people to people hostility, between Amharas and Kemants.

Persecution against the Kemant population, killing and detention have been in effect, especially since 2013. Kemants through their representative, called Kemant coordinating committee and supporters appealed to the Ethiopian Federal Government more than four times. The Federal Government of Ethiopia acknowledged the problem following current genocide and set up a special committee led by Kassa Tekilebirhan, former House Speaker and currently a cabinet member to implement self-rule for Kemants in 126-128 kebels/localities, 8-counties, but the committee has achieved nothing so far. Alternatively, a creation of a regional state for Kemants, proper & Amharic speaking Agaws in general and Beta Israelis living throughout Gondar and Gojjam, currently repressed in Amhara Region is believed to be the best remedy to guarantee durable security. Otherwise, provincial, zonal arrangement may not provide needed lasting security for Kemants and other ethnic groups.

Indeed, the central government’s inadequate response to the crisis is a reason for Kemant’s present sufferings. The central government has lacked the political will and commitment to bring alleged perpetrators, suspected officials to justice. Despite systematic atrocity committed against the Kemant population with purity, no key top officials presumably responsible for genocide have been brought to before justice, with exceptions of questioning junior ones who allegedly acted on top regional officials’ directives.

Unfortunately, even after December 2015, genocide is still in effect. On January 21, a government security force opened fire on the crowd gathered to celebrate the Ethiopian traditional Epiphany in Chilga and killed five people including the chief priest, Bisret Abera carrying a replica of Ark of Covenant and wounded dozens. On March 26, 2016, the regional government’s Special Forces, paratroops numbered 400-500 entered into the town of Tikildingay, Lay Armachiho County in the midnight and terrorized population including torture.

Moreover, the regional government officials are currently retraining including retired soldiers and disseminating propaganda via a party line obviously for large scale genocide on Kemants probably comparable to Rwanda 1992, or World War-II Holocaust against the Jewish people.

I under signed hereby, an independent human rights observer and community constituent kindly appeal on behalf of the victims, the United States to voice against injustice and play a positive role working with the Ethiopian Government for the following, purposes, but not limited:
a) all perpetrators to be tried at neutral court and prevent similar atrocity in the future.
b) The displaced victims to be provided with immediate humanitarian assistance.
c) The victims’ families to be provided with adequate compensation for lost life and properties.
d) One of the key suspects of genocide Mr, Gedu Andargachew, incumbent Head of Region-3, called Amhara Regional State currently in the US to be tried.

Attached please find a copy of the report of December 2015 Kemant Genocide, includes a list of victims, the location of catastrophe and names of suspected officials involved in genocide and theory for genocide.


Worku Berihu

CC to:

Prime Minister of Ethiopia, other concerned governments and international organizations

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 2 Comments

AgDP Statement on Agaw-Kemant Hostages in Ethiopia, Gondar

Follow the link:


Posted in Agaw Kemant | Leave a comment

Thirty Agaw-Kemant Human Rights and Democracy Activists Taken Hostage in Gondar, Ethiopia (breaking news)

According to a source wants to remain in anonymity for safety, thirty Agaw-Kemant human rights and democracy activists taken hostage by regional paratroops. The victims had been seized  last night while they were at a meeting in Gondar City, Northern Ethiopia. According to the report, some of them have beaten and taken unknown destination. The Kemant people are in dispute with the government since 2007, following their quest for self-government in their area, like other Ethiopians. The identities of victims will be published as soon as available to wlka.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 2 Comments

Agaw Democratic Party/AgDP’s Bylaw

The attached is the Agaw Democratic Party/AgDP’s Bylaw approved by the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). The bylaw is written in Amharic. The wlka received this bylaw 5-years ago, but kept in in its record without publishing it. Since many people are currently joining the party, the wlka has decided to publish it for accessibility.  The party’s law is public a document as stated in Revised Parties Registration Proclamation (2008).


Posted in Agaw Kemant | Leave a comment

Wag-Lasta Demands Statehood Status and Condemns Ethnic Cleansing

Thousands of Wag Lasta demonstrators at Seqota town yesterday June 30, 2018 demanded statehood for Wag-Lasta province. The demonstrators also declared that Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the ruling party does not represent the Agaw people. Wag-Lasta has been hardly hit by poverty for the past 27 years. They have considered the statehood status as a means to way out from the present poverty.

The meanwhile the demonstrators condemned ethnic cleansing took place in the country, including Metema and other areas.


Posted in Agaw Kemant | 1 Comment

Ethiopian Federal Army and Regional Paratroops Deployed in North Gondar, Agaw-Kemant Area

Since the beginning of this week, the Ethiopian Federal Army and Regional Paratroops (special forces) have been deployed in Kemant areas:

1) In Chilga Woreda, Kebeles (localities) of Bihona, Chonchock Town,  and Negade Bhir

2) In Lay Armachho Woreda: Tikil Dingay Town, Jankikew, Robit Town, Maura and Anbezo

Observers told wlka that the federal army was ordered to enter the region upon the request by the regional government.

The Agaw-Kemants have been in dispute with the government since 2007 following their quest for self-rule, like other Ethiopian nations and nationalities in accordance with Ethiopian Constitution, Article 39, Subarticle 3. The government dismissed the Kemant’s demand against its constitution and consequently created the longstanding dispute. However, recently, the government approved the Kemants to rule, partial districts (69 kebeles), but the Kemant people refused to accept the partial territory and outlined preconditions for inclusion of the districts of Metema and Quara to setup self-rule.  Both districts are inhabited by the Kemants an overwhelming majority, 75-80 percent.

The government forces made two wars against the Kemant population previously. In 2015, in the month of November, the regional paratroops lunched war against resident farmers at the district of Maura/Mawra, where 92 government forces were killed, 26 surrender to the farmers and the remaining forces flew to Gondar City. In the same year, in the month of December,  about 10,000 men was fielded for military campaigns  against Kemant people in districts of  Shinfa, Metema, Quara and other areas. According to an available report, in this campaign, more 600 government forces lost their life and 95 Kemants killed, 85 people sustained injuries and more than 25,000 were displaced. The army revenged its defeat by burning 900 houses on fire, 18,000 quintals of grain and taking 38, 000 cattle and goats.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 1 Comment

Reply to Biruk Abegaz’s Mythological Comment About Identity of Lalibela/Zagwe Emperors

አገውነት በደም የተገነባ እንጂ በቋንቋ የተገደበ አይደለም! (ትናንት በሰ/ጎንደር  በቅማንት አገው ወንድሞቻችን ላይ የተፈጸመው በደል ሳያንስ አሁን ደግሞ ዓለም የሚያዉቀው የራሱ ታሪክ ያለውን የላስታ አገው ሕዝብ ለቁጥር ማሟያ እንዲሆን አማራነው ብሎ የፕሮፓጋንዳ ዘመቻ ማጧጧፎ ለጋራ እሴት ግምባትና እንደክልል ለጋራ ሕልውናችን ተጨማሪ አደጋ ነው፥)

By Wondmu Workuw

Many of us read the comment by Biruk Abegaz (ብሩክ አበጋዝ)  posted on Facebook, Agew Discussion Forum on May 4, 2018. As indicated in this post, he claimed that King Lalibela’s name was not related to the Agaw language and he felt that the Agaw identity of Lalibela/ Zagwe kings, in general, is simply a saga, in effect constructed by historians. Then, the commentator tried to define the Zagwe identity into his old fabricated mythological contexts.

In spite of his claim, he didn’t provide specific reliable scholarly sources/references to support his views. His comment is based on the traditional anti-Zagwe myths (ፀረ ዛጉኤ ተረት ተረት). He and his associate social media users’ comments in Amharic just concentrated on rebuffing Zagwe identity and the Agaw people in general. Actually, such comments are based on the old-fashioned myth generated by so-called Solomonic Dynasty 8-centuries back to defeat the Zagwes. The sources cited in his comment, namely, the monks, Yesu Mao, and St. Teklehyaymanot are key fabricators of Kebre Negast, the main source of mythology and accounted for centuries of a political crisis in Ethiopia. አሣ ጎርጓሪ ዘንዶ ያወጣል እንደሚባለው ሁሉ, as stated in his Gadl, St. Tekelehaymanot was the one who instructed Yekuno Amlak to open gunfire at the last Zagwe King, Yitbarek’s palace in 1270. Consequently, these Gadls and the related name mentioned in his comment are not scholarly sources, but the extensions of the Kebra Negast myth and unacceptable in such critical issue. Musa (2009), the African writer describes Kebra Negast in the following phrases, as cited in Belai (2017):

“Kebra Negast was actually produced principally to justify, legitimize, and glorify the so-called Solomonic Dynasty after the overthrow of the Zagwe Dynasty of Agaw descent… The document was motivated by the desire of the Abyssinian royal house to assert their divine right to the throne.”

Whether it is primary or a secondary source, reliability is closely associated with the independence of an author, replicability of a data collection procedure and consistency of an outcome. In the absence of such conditions, any document cannot be considered as scholarly literature, but to be understood as a layman’s opinion motivated by varying reasons. In such circumstance, the response was not necessarily desired since it would be simply barking for nothing—which I can say in Amharic— ላም  በሌለት ኩ በት ለቀማ.

However, regardless of all these deficiencies in his post, for the sake of educational clarification, I have decided to reply briefly point-by-point to his comment in the form of question and answer as indicated below.

Statement-1): Biruk says, ኤኔለ in Agaw language is ‘bee’ and not associated with the name Lalibela. Is it true?

Answer: It is true that phrase ላሊበላ (Lalibela) was derived from the two Agaw words. I’m a fluent Agaw Language speaker. I’m not familiar with ኤኔለ mentioned by Biruk. But, what I see is, it shares partial like sound with ለለ. Let us keep in mind, as stated in Lalibela/Gebre Meskel’s bibliography on Wikidepia, the bee’s recognition to Lalibela at his birth was in the old Agaw Language. That means the Lastan Agaw word ለለ, lala (bee) was the language of the past, but not anymore in use in Lasta area. This is a common phenomenon for any language. Naturally, a language is dynamic, which changes its meaning, modifies its wordings, or entirely dies over time. For example, the term “nimgimmer” is the obsolete English word spoken about 800-1000 years ago. Its meaning was a ‘doctor’. It is the language of past and not used in the given connotation by English speakers today. The similar situation is true in the case of the historic term ለለ in the Lasta area.

In this particular Agaw word context, the word still exists in diverse forms, but with similar connotations in different areas. For instance, ወ-ለሊ /ŋargi  in Agaw-Awŋi has the meaning of ‘honey’.  In Quaran Agaw dialect spoken in parts of Belaya/Belee and southwestern Quara/Kemant, the word  lali/ላሊ (ለአሊ) is the expression given to a drone/king bee (but not daily language), while swarms of bees are called cihere (ፅኸረ). Another word that has sort of similarity in sound is አሊሊ, which imply to a male bull in the same area (but it’s not also daily language). In some localities, it can be a designation to craftsman/leather processor, as used in daily language. The word ባላ in loose sound expresses ‘dinning’ (hu) in Quarian dialect, but when it is pressed it becomes the Amharic word for ‘pillar’. As discussed in the next section, this is an indication that the Amharic Language is considerably a collection of vocabularies from the Agaw Language.

I’m not sure whether the Agaw language and tradition are still alive in the Quara-Belee area. My illustration is based on my observation 35 years ago. Since the current government has come to power, the Agaw Language drastically disappeared in many areas. Find the note below, entitled Living in the Community of Belee-Quara.

Statement-2): Biruk says, the name of Zagwe kings is associated with Geez. Is it true?

Answer: It is true that Zagwe kings’ name is associated with Geez. Remember the Geez was the only church language until the end of the 20th centuries in Ethiopian Orthodox. Zagwe Kings were devoted Christians and their original names were converted to the religious names in two ritual events; first, during baptism on the 40th/80th days of a child’s birth; second at the time of coronation.  For instance, Lalibela’s crown name was Gebre Meskel. But, in 1162 it was converted to Lalibela. According to his bibliography recorded on Wikipedia counted to Taddesse Tamrat and other scholars,  Lalibela “was the given name, meaning “the bees recognize his sovereignty” in Old Agaw [Language] due to a swarm of bees said to have surrounded him at his birth, which his mother took as a sign of his future reign as Emperor Ethiopia “.  He is the son of Jan Siyoum. Jan is a traditional Agaw designation for intermediate rulers (refer Belai (2017), while the word Siyoum is the noun (መድብለ ስም) originated from Geez. Literature is also consistent with the meaning  of Zagwe Dynasty; it was driven from “the ancient Geez phrase Ze-Agaw meaning Dynasty of the Agaw” in reference to the Agaw people that constituted its ruling class.” In the old literature, it was also spelled as Agau and in a modern Amharic Agew.

Anyway, naming in Geez has nothing to do with Amhara identity. Geez and Amharic are not similar languages as once thought, rather Amharic is highly associated with Agaw language, but Amharic has enriched itself by borrowing vocabularies from Geez, Arabic, Heberu, Affan Oromo (Fayyis, 2012) cited in Belai (2017) who compares grammatical structural similarities between the Agaw language and Amharic, Geez and Amharic and other languages. According to this source, Geez and Amharic do not even share similar grammatical structure (find the table below).

Grammatical structures of Amharic and other languages

Language Sentence, Example
Agaw/Awhi Mr. Adam (n) cane (o) tekelha (v)
Amharic Mr. Adam (n) zaf (o) tekele (v)
Ofaan Oromo Mr. Adam (n) muka (o) dhaabe (v)
Tigregna Mr. Adam (n) ome (o) tekilo (v)
Af Somali Mr. Adam (n) geed (o) beeray (v)
Geez Mr. Adam (n) tekele (v) ome (o)
English Mr. Adam (n) planted (v) a tree (o)
n = noun, o = object, v = verb

Source: Belai (2017), Identity and History …

Statment-3) Biruk says, Lasta … was once Amhara homelnd. Is it true?

Answer: This statement is not true. If the writer wanted to learn facts, he could use independent scholarly historical sources. If one wants to learn about Chemistry, primary/secondary (books /journals written by Chemistry experts are legitimate sources. The similar analogy should be true to history and other subjects. The main historical sources of the Ethiopian history literature are written by foreign travelers, Arabic literature, Royal Chronicles (Zena Mewal) and independent academics. According to scholars in the area, these sources noticed the presence of an Amhara area in southern Wollo, north of Shewa and South of Lasta.  But, there was no community called Amhara anywhere else, including Lasta, Gojjam, Gondar and Shewa unless it is defined in terms of a religious denomination.  Whether ‘Amhara’ is an ethnic group is still subject to controversy. For instance, prominent scholars, like Professor Mesfin Woldemaryam categorically rejected the existence of an ethnic group called Amhara in Ethiopia.

Whereas Zagwe Dynasty’s identity is concerned, there are over 98 sources, including online literature that confirm the Agaw identity of Zagwe kings. For now, I want to cite just three accessible academic sources by Haile Laribo, World History Professor; Teshale Tibebu, History Professor & the author of the ‘Ethiopian History’ and prominent Ethiopian historian, Professor Taddesse Tamrat.

Haile Laribo (2016) states as follows in his Amharic article regarding the Amhara community:  “ዐማራ” የሚያመለክተው፣ የተወሰነ የመሬት ክልል መሆኑ አይካድም። የተለያዩና በየጊዜው የመጡት የውጭ አገርና ያገር ቤት ጸሓፊዎች አላንዳች ማዛባት እንደሚናገሩ፣ ክልሉ በምዕራብ በኩል በአባይና እሱን በሚመግበው የበሽሎ ወንዝ፣ በሰሜን በአንጎትና ላስታ፣ በደቡብ በወንጭት ወንዝ፣ በምሥራቅ ደግሞ ወደደንከል በረሃ በሚደርሰው ሰፋፊ ገደላገደል የተከበበውን ምድር ይዋሰናል። ይኸ ዝርዝር እንደማስረጃ ካገለገለን ..፣ ዛሬ የወያኔ መንግሥት ዐማራ ብሎ የሚጠራቸውን እንደነጐጃም፣ በጌምድር፣ ሸዋ እንዲሁም የወሎን ከፊሉን አያካትትም (Larebo, 2016,

Professor Laribo (2017) also clarified the same facts in his interview with ESAT on January 10 &22, 2017. In Part 2, he said,  “Wag Shums, the People of Lasta,  are founders of Zagwe Dynasty as Agaws and nowadays, the Agaws speak Amharic”.  In the Part-1 interview, the professor told that “the people of Gojjam and Begemdir are Agaws, they are not Amharas” just “they speak Amharic”. The area of “Amhara is limited in the portions of Wollo”. “Emperor Tewodros is Quaran” [in effect Kemant-Agaw) not Amhara. He further stated that the evidence was obtained from Arabic sources written until the 19th century and Royal Chronicles (Zena Mewal).

Professor Teshale Tibebu, on the other hand, clearly describes  King Lalibela’s  Agawness in the following terms:

“King Lalibela (ruled c. 1200-1250) was the most famous king of the short-lived Zagwe dynasty (dynasty of the Agaw) that came after the demise of the Aksum kingdom. The Zagwe period runs from about 1137 to 1270, and the Agaw is one of the oldest indigenous people of Ethiopia” (

Taddesse Tamrat (1972) not only confirms the Agawness of Zagwe Dynasty, it also points out the dynasty’s distinct tradition from later Ethiopian rulers’ on power transfer. He states that Unlike the practice of later rulers of Ethiopia, under the Zagwe dynasty the order of succession was that of brother succeeding brother as king, based on the Agaw law of inheritance.”

Indeed,Biruk’s comment is contrary to the historical facts.  Biruk Abegaz and his associates believe that a repeated lie becomes a truth in a span of time (ብሩክና መሰሎቹ ውሸት ሲደጋገም እውነት ይሆናል በሚል በተሣሣተ አመለካከት ተሞልተው አምባቢውን ለመታለል መሞካራቸው እነሱ ራሳቸው በስብእና ቅውሠት  ውስጥ መሆናቸውን በግልጽ ያመለክታል፥). It is once again, a tragic error and unconstructive. It will never build unity and mutual confidence among us rather it creates rife valley that can threaten our common development and peaceful co-existence as a community.  We can only be bound together by common interests on equal footing, whilst accepting facts and respecting one another, as Agaw and Amhara.

In conclusion: We live in high tech-edge in the history of mankind, nothing can be hidden. What I said here can be checked through DNA analysis and archaeological studies beyond the existing historical literature. In what circumstances or measurement that the people of Lasta can be defined as Amhara? Identity is not a choice, like an ideology, lifestyle, or citizenship, but a natural gift that we have to accept and preserve as it is. Biruk Abegaz’s  post/comment is just fake, the piece of fiction and politically motivated rather than a search of knowledge of the truth. I believe that the objective of the current propaganda campaign, like this post, is to abort the Lasta people’s aspiration for self-rule/zonal administration to overcome the extreme poverty they have been experiencing and to rehabilitate their precious heritage. This is a malicious intent that cannot be imagined in other parts of the world in this 21st  century. Therefore, I have to conclude with an Amharic key phrase as follows:-  ዓለም የሚያዉቀው የራሱ ታሪክ ያለውን የላስታ አገው ሕዝብ ለቁጥር ማሙያ እንዲሆን ከኦሮሞ ጋር በቁጥር ለመወዳደር ተብሎ አማራ ነው ማለት ንቀት ብቻ ሳይሆን ሥድብም ጭምር ነውብየ አምናለሁ፥

Dissolved Lasta Lalibela Band

Note: Living in the Community of Belee-Quara

Exactly 35-years ago, in 1983, I stayed long in Belaya and Quara community. Definitely, the dialect was difficult to understand for me. It took me more than a month to catch up the pronunciation. The people were very kind, they fed me a fish and honey daily. My host told me the presence of pre-Biblical Judaism faithful Kemant-Agaws on the far upper of Emperor Tewords (Tewdrow Ketema). Quara and Chilga are the only places in the world where pre-Biblical Judaism has been preserved by the Agaw-Kemants. At that time, I was ideologically communist and had little interest to look into the matter. There were a few churches in the area, at a distance of about 20 km between them. The administrator of the Church was called Qese Gebez (he is not a priest, but speaks Amharic barley with a strong accent).

Christianity and tradition were simultaneously functional. Sounds of birds and donkeys’ behaviors were closely monitored before starting a long trip. There were birds of sounds that conveyed warnings and a message of danger or bore the message of an opportunity. Based on the message, a man had to remove tangible danger before starting the trip or canceled the trip if there were uncertainty to identify sources of danger and eliminate it. If the message of an opportunity was ringing,  then a man pursued his trip with delight expecting some sort of gain in this particular journey.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 4 Comments