In the past the indigenous people like Agaw, Oromos and others with Cushetic culture and identity were under a long threat, war and conflict to abandon their identity (culture, religion, language) by the legend solomonid dynasty. Among Ethiopians who received the brutal treatment by the pseudo Solomonid empire was Qemant. Though Qemantey including the other Agaw families was the original settler and indigenous people in the north- west part of Ethiopia, they were the first target by the baptizers and early converted Christians since the early 5th century.
This period was the period in which the same Agaw people disintegrated into fractions of smaller different families (Himt’a/Lasta, Blen Qementey, Awi,Simen , Kunfel, Woyto, Gaffat/Gojame and so on). The baptizers waged war among the brothers by labeling different name to different family group and by preaching that this group is superior to others and that group is inferior. To support their false discriminatory theory they imported false Glory of king (Kibre Negest) and translated it into Ge’ez. They fabricated the legend Saba and King Solomon. This is all where the identity crisis of all the converted and the converters started.
The legacy of this tyranny system is still reflected clearly today. There are people who still never get back to their true identity and struggle to eradicate those who maintain their identity. There are still converters who forcefully try to annex people. There are institutions today that deny the existence of different ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Those who had been already converted and called themselves by another name are now struggling to annex the remaining Qemant.
I would like to remind these activist who undertook the so called assessment to determine the identity of Qeman. We Qemants have distinct culture that needs nourishment, we have language that our people are still speaking, the language that once insulted by our oppressors as a” bird language”. We still identify ourselves Qemant and differ from them. Our oppressors know this very well and call us Qemant. When we ask self administration how on earth they have come up to the conclusion that there are no Qemants, they are annexed and disappeared. Well, they could ask their grandparents, they would ‘definitely tell them even you yourself are Qemant.’ The name our oppressors have now is only a Christian name and politically induced identity, no more, no less. What is right in terms of humanity, restoration of true natural identity or fighting to maintain false identity? Whether they like it or not, sooner or later, we will declare our self administration and will enjoy equality, and hope the oppressors too will realize their natural being/identity and may declare eventually to live in freedom and quality.