Interview with Professor Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

 

Professor Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis has been a prolific writer on Ethioindex’s Medrek forum. He has extremely rich knowledge of the history of the Middle East and Eastern and Northern Africa regions. He brought to light the often-confusing history of the Horn of Africa for the average public. Voice Finfinne is very pleased that Professor Megalommatis accepted its invitation to interview him on different issues.

 

Clearly, he is a learned fellow, as one writer described him on one of the internet discussion forums. Voice Finfinne has not done major editing to his answers, except for minor ones such as typo, for that would be, as he calls it, guaranteed misinformation. So we decided to publish his answers to our written interview questions ‘as is’ even though we may not necessarily agree on all issues. Our readers can reach him through us or directly at m1shams1meg@yahoo.fr.

 

This interview is divided into four parts. Part I focuses on some background and motivation of the discussions, Part II on Abyssinia, Part III on Meroe/Kush/Oromo and Part IV on the vision of the future of Oromo/Kush and Abyssinia/Semitic. Following is the first part of the interview. The remaining parts will be published weekly on Saturdays for the next three weeks.

 

What was designed as an in-depth interview has turned out to be a large booklet. We hope that it will generate multiparty interests for research and policy issues in East Africa. 

 

Part I. Background and Motivation

 

Voice Finfinne (VF): Could you briefly tell us about yourself?

 

Professor Megalommatis (Prof): Thank you for your interest. It is an honor for me to be interviewed by Voice Finfinne, the website that bears the real name of the city that is usually but thoughtlessly called ‘Addis Ababa’. I am Greek citizen of Turkish origin; my father, my mother and my grandparents were all born in the Ottoman Empire. During my childhood, I became familiar with a trilingual phenomenon – Turkish at home, Greek in the streets, and French in school. I belong to a family that had Muslim and Christian members who did not have difficulty in changing their faith while preserving their deepest cultural personality intact – an uncle to my father, named Murad, fought against the British at Basra in 1916, but easily became Christian, and was renamed as Evdokimos when the family decided to move to Greece 14 years later! I belong to a family of merchants – my paternal grandfather was a big sugar merchant from Caesarea of Cappadocia, and later owner of a Brokerage and Securities company at the Athens Stock Exchange. I belong to two families, I mean paternal and maternal, whose members were familiar with extensive travels throughout the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus area, and Central Asia at the end of the 19th and in the early 20th centuries. They were the first to describe to me, when a child at Athens – Greece, all the marvels of the Orient, the pyramids of Egypt, the zikkurat of Ur in southern Mesopotamia, the great palaces of Assurbanipal at Nineveh, nearby Mosul, the ruins of Persepolis, the great Phoenician temple of Baalbek, the majestic Islamic sites of Najaf - Iraq, Shiraz, Esfahan, Samarkand, Damascus, Jerusalem, and Cairo, the wilderness of Baluchistan, the magic coasts of the Red Sea, and of course what was home to them the majestic and bewitching cities of Anatolia, Caesarea, Castamone, Sebastea, Konya, Malatya, Urfa, Erzerum, Diyarbakir, and of course Istanbul. My mother’s family had a maritime vocation, moving from Izmir/Smyrna in the Western coast of Turkey to the Aegean Sea islands of Cassos and Carpathos, before settling at Athens. It was only normal consequence that before 10 I knew in three languages the real meaning of terms such as ‘Hieroglyphic’ and ‘Cuneiform’ scriptures. And it was only normal for me to accept that ‘borders’ mean nothing to anybody – except the rulers, of course – and that the best way for anyone to see things is to go to the other side of the ‘border’, and see things from there as well!

 

What came afterwards was … easy! A great love for Renaissance and Humanism in the high school, Plato more than Aristotle, of course, Classical studies at Athens, postgraduate studies at Paris with focus on Egyptology (mostly Akhenaten and the New Kingdom) and Assyriology (mostly the Sargonid Empire), then London, Brussels, and finally Germany for my thesis’ preparation. For many years, from 1983 to 1990, I combined journalism and archeological research and study in Middle Eastern countries (Syria, Israel, Iraq, Iran and Turkey) for about 8 months per year, and composition of my thesis in Germany for about 3 months per year. I was writing much for Greek, Turkish, and Iranian magazines, reviews and newspapers, but at the epicenter of a warfront report – written by me about let’s say the Val Fajr 9 Iranian operations against Iraq’s Suleymaniyah – there was always History! Through my texts, one could feel that Assarhaddon, Tiglatpileser III, Khusraw I, and the Kurdish epics are more significant to us than the vulgarity of Saddam Hussein and the Baath nationalists. I was the only Western journalist who wrote in favor of Iran during those days, and consequently the only Western archeologist who was allowed to move free in Iran! I moved extensively, wherever I wanted, even in archeological sites nearby Oshnaviyah and Piranshahr, just 2 or 3 km from the warfront! It was not a matter of bargaining. I was enthusiastic meeting for the first time in my life – when the notorious Soviet Union of Brejnev, Andropov, Chernenko and Gorbachev was still in place – that there were simple people ready to die for an ideal, for a faith; it was the pure rejection of the Western consumerism and of the Socialist materialism!

 

Whereas during the late 80’s I was versed in contributing many long entries to encyclopedias, in the early 90’s I turned towards scholarly writing, academic publications, and books. Whereas until my Ph. D. I was more versed into the Asiatic part of the Middle East (mostly Assyriology and Iranology), after that term I turned rather to the African part of the Middle East (mostly Egyptology). I lived in Egypt and the Sudan, and moved to Abyssinia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Yemen, becoming more familiar with the Red Sea world for the needs of a book on the ‘Periplus of the Red Sea’. 

 

In addition, I must tell you that I was a politically involved historian, sign that when I was student in Athens I had my communist, pro-Soviet, and socialist centrifugal ‘moment’. I believe, however, that History has been so badly manipulated by ignorant politicians, who like Apprentice Magicians turn often History against themselves, that it is an imperative task for Historians to address the general public, since the general public is always the main target and the principal recipient of the falsified versions of History promoted by politicians and governments. I did not hesitate, while living in Greece, to attack the Greek nationalist dogma that is a historical aberration and a paradoxical mixture of archeolatry and byzantinomania, to lambaste the racist character of the Greek political establishment that was at that moment hysterically anti-Turkish, anti-Macedonian, anti-Albanian, anti-Islamic, anti-European, and – last but not least – anti-Semitic!

 

I mobilized many Greeks, democratic and rationalistic people, against a neo-nazi monthly magazine named ‘Davlos’ that attempted an usurpation of earlier civilizations by diffusing the idiocy that the Greeks were behind all the great moments of History, and that this ‘truth’ was ‘buried’ by Jews!

 

I mobilized the World Muslim League for a most insulting and totally erroneous ‘manual’ of ‘Political History of the Islamic Area’ that was taught to the students of the Panteios University by a certain Constantine Patelos, who had never studied Islam before, and did not know a word of Arabic!

 

I mobilized the European Union and Jacques Delors personally to reject the Greek establishment’s hysteria against the excellent book of European History by Jean Baptiste Duroselle that was due to his refutation of the falsehood of the Greek national historical dogma.

 

I published in 1985 an article stating that Turkey was a more advanced democratic and western country than Greece since the Turkish constitution stipulated the separation of the religion from the state, whereas Greece still remains a religious state with a Constitution issued ‘at the name of the holy trinity’!

 

In 1990, I demanded that Greece recognize officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, publishing an article in Exormisi (18/4/90), the daily newspaper – organ of PASOK, the main opposition party (then and now). For all the aforementioned daring attitudes and stands I was very often threatened and insulted, but of course this does not bring any result, when a person who knows history faces opponents who attempt to alter History for their interests. 

 

After publishing ten (10) books and dozens of scholarly articles, I worked during two years for the Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta – Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, participating in numerous congresses, colloquia and conferences, some of political context, namely the Western Thrace Turkish Association. You know, in that province of North-Eastern Greece, the Turkish majority lives under conditions of serious oppression, similar to those that characterize other minorities in Greece, the Macedonians, the Vlachians, the Arvanites, the Latins, the Gypsies, and the recently arrived Albanian emigrants. It is deplorable that the religious government of Greece does not permit the erection of a mosque at Athens, where more than 500000 Muslims live. As far as Northern Cyprus is concerned, it is needless to say that I was the only Greek living in that country, which was not recognized by the country that had issued my passport!

 

But, of course, academic research or political activism, the predicament was always there for me; sometimes I turned to the former, sometimes I turned to the latter! After 1997, academic reflection became even more attractive for me! Whereas in the past subjects from Political Ideology to Religious and Philosophical Concepts and Conflicts, and fields from Ancient Geography and Cosmography to the Development of Trade between Rome, India and China were of the utmost importance to me, over the past six – seven years I focused on critical subjects about the nature, the origin, the method and the possibilities of the Orientalism.

 

I have collected an enormous material in refutation of the Colonial model or school of History; I mean the Greco-Romano-Christiano-centric approach that minimizes the World History into a misinterpreted annex of European Studies. In this direction I go in parallel with the pertinent researches undertaken by Prof. Martin Bernal, the illustrious author of Black Athena.

 

On the other hand, focusing on the collapse of the Islamic Wisdom, Knowledge and Science, and studying the role played by the colonial powers, France and England, in diffusing among other nationalisms the Pan-Arabic nationalistic falsehood, and in inciting the obscurantism of uneducated sheikhs to drive them to even more unrealistic, extremist and self-damaging positions, I came to place several groundbreaking conclusions of Edouard Said within a larger, not simply literary and scholarly context, and to identify finally the basic problems that worsen the entire situation in the Middle East and Africa, endangering the life and the future of many peoples. As you understand, I preferred a time of reflection to an average academic career. The conformism and the conventionalism of the majority of present day scholars mean nothing to me. I am totally indifferent to such a perspective. 

 

 Professor Megalommatis

 

VF: You must have seen diverse worlds: Christian, Muslim, historian and political activist. Did you find these experiences as advantages or challenges? 

 

Prof: I found them absolutely normal and average! They are the result of my elitist philosophical approach and of my universalistic culture that encapsulate everything in any Utopia – that of Tommaso Campanella, that of Thomas Moore, that of Voltaire, that of Cabet or that of the author of the Ancient Egyptian Narration of the Shipwrecked. When you study the division, you have the privilege to see the union, to perceive the entirety, and to be consequently lifted above and far from the level of division and partiality. But modesty is always an excellent advisor; I was never in Mandalay, I did not live in India, China and Tibet, I have not seen the Walls of the Great Zimbabwe, and la Puerta del Sol nearby the lake Titicaca in the Incas soil of Bolivia has escaped from my eyes…

 

VF: Your name became popular among some Ethiopian internet forum participants lately because of your writings on the history of the Horn of Africa and the Middle East regions. Many participants in the forum have tried to characterize you with different groups such as Islamic fundamentalism, member of Egyptian intelligence, member of Al Qa’eda, enemy of Ethiopia, hired by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). How do you define yourself as far as what you stand for goes?

 

Prof: I have no contact with all these numerous groups that are in conflict with one another! I expressed – not very much until now but enough I think – a resolute rejection of the Islamic fundamentalism and extremism. I consider this movement’s various branches have long been manipulated by colonial powers, France and England. I do not consider anyone belonging or accepting such groups, ideas, and strategies as a real Muslim. They are miserable victims that help in professionally and irreversibly denigrating Islam; you can call them anything from puppets to Satanists. Hatred, you know, is particular to Satan, according to all the religions of the world! If we go back to Ancient Egypt, we learn that the anger, the extremely negative expression, the hysteria in the discourse are all indications that the person in question has been ‘invaded’, possessed if you like, by Seth, the ancient Egyptian ‘Satan’. Now, when I hear some ‘sheikhs’ in delirium during their supposed ‘khutbah’, the Friday prayer sermon, my mind goes to Seth! I do not have anything in common with them!

 

Member of the Egyptian intelligence? This is a funny reproach, since I have always criticized strongly the present state of Egypt; what I have repeatedly published about Pan-Arabism, denouncing this falsehood as colonial tool of infiltration and destruction, contravenes the basic interests of present day Egypt! How can I work for a country the policies of which I strongly refute?

 

Enemy of Abyssinia? I was never! And why should I be? Enemy of the Ethiopia of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, i.e. the area of present day Northern and Eastern Sudan? Why? I loved, studied, and explored the area, as much as I loved Axumite Abyssinia. I passed exams on Gueze texts at Sorbonne with Maxime Rodinson. Why hate? Simply, I specified what is correct as a term for the national name of the country that has its capital in a city that they do not call after its original and true name, Finfinne, but they name ‘Addis Ababa’. The real name for that country is Abyssinia. Period.

 

Hired by the OLF? Well, this is also funny! First of all, there should not be an Oromo Liberation Front; the Oromo people have their own right to self-determination. As the majority in the existing country, Oromos must form the bulk of the army officers, the administration personnel, and the academia. Oromo language must be the official language of the country. Amharic is the language of a minority; it does not have the status of a national language. Second, I do not think that the OLF would seriously hire any scholar who never studied either Oromo language or any other modern Khammitic language, Berberic, Haussa, etc! Why for instance should the OLF hire an Egyptologist? It makes no sense. That is if the OLF, or any Liberation Front, hires a scholar whatsoever!

 

How do I define myself? Well, in this regard, I am what I have always been, namely a Historian, Orientalist, Egyptologist, who studied the Ancient History of the Red Sea and the Eastern coast of Africa, as well as the navigation and the trade from Egypt to India. An Egyptologist who explored in-depth Ancient Sudan, that is Ethiopia of the Ancient Greeks, someone who visited and carefully studied almost all the archeological sites of Northern and Eastern Sudan. An Egyptologist who reached Punt – Somalia, out of his love for the famous text ‘Expedition to Punt’ by Queen Hatshepsut!

 

VF: You have a very impressive knowledge of history in general and the history of the Middle East and Horn of Africa regions in particular. In your discussions, you seem to focus on historical identity than current reality. For example, you have indicated that several nations in the Arab League have non-Arab identity from history’s perspective, but identify themselves as Arabs. Some contemporary scholars argue in favor of judging people on their own merits. How can we bring together such differing views?

 

Prof: Well! Good question! We will never! We must go back to the origin of the two approaches; we will never bring together, we will never merge, we will never mix Voltaire with Rousseau! These two 18th c. philosophers are like oil and water! You opt for this or you choose that! This is all! Well, this is all, as far as the intellectual, philosophical and academic spheres are concerned. But when it comes to politics, the transplantation of the predicament means just wars, wars, and wars! Thousands, millions of dead and invalid people, just for the search of a chimera! I believe that with the maturity of the 20th c. we came to understand that if the Chinese think they are Chinese, and at the same time the Indians think they are Chinese too, then perhaps we should search another planet to settle on! It is not that tragic, but we simply cannot, the Mankind cannot afford another war for identity purposes, whenever the identity becomes the field of demagogic, irrelevant politicians manipulated by the merchants of the nations. That is why I believe that it is very serious and very responsible academic an attitude to dismantle forever the disastrous spectrum of the Pan-Arabism. At this moment, I prepare a long series of articles on the subject. Bear in mind that before it touches politics, it exercises a tremendous impact on the social development, and creates its own dynamics. A false identity means always a permanent underdevelopment. Furthermore, it is not an issue for disputes only! When an entire people identifies erroneously its past, let it be with a people that does not exist anymore, when a people attempts to acquire an undisputed identity that is not his, the door opens for ideological extremes, political myths and ideological inconsistencies that lead to very dangerous fields. You cannot identify yourself today with the ancient Sumerians – an unclaimed identity – and go unpunished! Side effects will lead to ideological extremes. There is no innocence in such a claim!

 

But after all, what are the leading countries of the world? The answer is simple: those where people who know best and more accurately their past. Self-knowledge is essential for a person, and consequently for a people.

 

VF: Some knowledge about historical identity of peoples you have brought out to the public is in a way redefining a significant portion of the world in terms of historical identity of the peoples. You have made some bold suggestions that, some argue, are politically motivated instead of writing historical accounts. Your views have broken the 'sacrosanct' stuff. One of the most interesting borders is in Africa. African countries’ borders were drawn by what Bono, the Irish Rock star, calls retreating colonialists. The Organization of African Unity declared these borders sacrosanct. In reality, that may be a lame excuse for its failure to face the challenge head on to redefine the borders according to the wishes of its peoples. Do you have similar views on these issues?

 

Prof: As I told you, since my childhood I have never considered the borders as something sacrosanct; if one studies Political Sciences and International Relations, one realizes that borders are the result of the current equation of power at any possible moment. If one studies History, one realizes that there is nothing ‘cheaper’ than a border; there is nothing to be more easily violated than a border. I do not imply that it should be so; I mean that it has been so, and it is hypocrisy to deny it. There are actually many peoples and numerous ethnic and linguistic groups that are held captive within borders of no legitimacy at all! There are some borders that express free will of free people thinking freely; it is only normal for a democratic person to respect this type of borders. The recent example of the Czech Republic and Slovakia is a radiating paradigm of good willingness and peace of mind. The earlier united country split because this expressed the desires of the two – slightly different – peoples. Do not think that Czechs and Slovaks are as different as Oromos and Amharas, by the way! Then, a few years later, the two peoples had another appointment with History! They joined European Union within which they are again united but not of their own; they met other 23 peoples! This type of border of course one has the duty and the pleasure to respect!

 

But how can you respect borders set up by retreating but permanently present colonials? I believe that after 300 years a historian will stress the point that the real colonialism did not end with the independence day of the African states, but it really started at that moment. The current level of impotent, ailing, plunged into anarchy states of Africa, where nothing left in place by the colonial powers, France and England, can change. This is the abysmal reality of the persisting, venomous colonial borders that for many people proved to be the embrace of inanity, pestilence, plague, starvation, extermination, and genocide.

 

I do not intend to stay longer on the pessimistic tribune; there is good reason for all to hope! In our global world, the interest of the perverted colonial state of France to keep the entire continent of Africa underdeveloped became a grave obstacle to the rising country’s policies; I mean it consists a real hindrance to the expansion of the American dream all over the world. Do you find a reason why Oromo should be less rich and less wealthy than Montana? I do not find any reason for that. Neither does any American.

 

Without Africa in shambles, France will be just another Poland in Europe! You know, just a little bit bigger and wealthier than present day Poland! But, no money for nuclear submarines, and aircraft carriers, Clemenceau and the like, you know! Without the various subjugated peoples of the Pacific, France would not have been a global nuclear power arranging alliances to preserve the tyrannical and criminal regime of Chirac’s friend, Saddam Hussein.

 

There is a great hope for a deep, consistent, and permanent involvement of America in Africa. Several American scholars rejected the Europeano-centric, colonial dogma of History. They focused on the Afro-Asiatic origins of the Classical world, and more is to be expected from this direction. This reassessment of the Orientalism, the Classical Studies, and the Humanities in general finds its parallel in the multicultural practices of the free American society. If these societal practices are exported to Africa, along with a strong political support, new classes that must be formed, and with a resolute financial involvement in terms of either direct investment or outsourcing (why Brazil and Argentine are more preferable in this regard than Senegal, Morocco, and Oromo for US companies outsourcing?), the overall change will be the beginning of the end of the Colonial Darkness.

 

VF: Have you thought about being called intruder into the affairs of the so-called sovereign states?

 

Prof: In what sense? How? Shall we agree on letting states decide on anything, especially by violating historical data, and by altering History? Where would this lead? And what if a sovereign state is a tyrannical state, where the language of the majority is not accepted as the official language? What if the so-called sovereign state exercises a methodic ethnic cleansing? Were the European and American democratic intellectuals, who fought against Franco in the Civil War of Spain in the mid 30’s, simple ‘intruders’? Don’t you think that it is rather high time for all the historians and the specialists to denounce some states that are truly and perilously ‘intruders’ in the field of History?

 

As a conclusion, I call the present state of the so-called ‘Ethiopia’ an intruder into the domain of History; the real name of that country is ‘Abyssinia’, not ‘Ethiopia’.  Abyssinia, Habashat, is the name of the Yemenite – not Arabic, don’t confuse – tribe that immigrated to Africa, and consists in the real ancestors of the present day Amhara and Tigray, who rule Abyssinia. Ethiopia is a completely different name, does not refer either to that Yemenite tribe and its descendants or to the surface of Abyssinia at all, it is the Ancient Greek name that describes the state, the nation and the country at the immediate southern border of Egypt, which is the present day Sudan. Usurping the name of Ethiopia makes of the Amhara/Tigray government of Abyssinia a real intruder within the domain of History. I totally deplore and denounce the event and the practice. Persistence in this regard proves automatically that there is a hidden agenda, and that the intruding regime intends to carry out dangerous policies that need to be based on an intended falsification of History and on a shameful, deliberate, usurpation of a historical national name that does not belong to them. I think it’s time for them just to renounce the use of that name, and to accept what specialists and historians certify, namely that the name Aithiopia (Ethiopia) can be used either by present day Sudan, or by the modern descendants of the Kushitic – Meroitic populations of the Ancient Ethiopia.

 

VF: Some participants on Ethioindex’s Medrek forum tried to belittle you instead of debating on your views and you were also responding back with some level of ferocity in a few instances. You have called some of the participants “objects”, “specimen” and “stuff” of your research. Some participants have suggested that you were going a little overboard for your caliber. Why did you choose to react that way?

 

Prof: I intended to show to them that they do not have the monopole of insult. I felt the need to let them understand that, when illiterate and ignorant people, speaking a very poor level of English, think it is possible for them to insult a specialist presenting the historical truth that they deny, it is only normal for them to wait the corresponding attitude. Arguments against arguments, and insults against insults! If they think that by insulting they impress others, they must be told that they are besotted and idiots. Well, this is just one point.

 

There is another dimension of pursuing the issue. Nothing is hidden in this world, you know! When someone speaks in public, one must be courageous enough to state name, identity, and background. If one thinks one can hide behind a forum nickname, and persistently insult in a hideous and absolutely barbaric way, one must be obligatorily driven to the conclusion that this is the worst possible thing to be done. The event exposes the average mentality, attitude, and behavior of the society and the country to which the vulgar person in question belongs. If more people wish to proceed so, the matter becomes even more serious and certainly representative. Such uncultured and uneducated people will regret their behavior, attitude and postings, when they are going to see extensive articles and quotations of their mails published in all the fora of the world, ridiculing and damaging the image of their country, culture, tribe, society. In the year 2004 people are civilized; if you are not, you lose, your country loses, and none else. I intend to go to this direction, and then keep my insulters properly informed about all that! All will be punished, since the image of their country for which they want to usurp another national name will be definitely tarnished, when people allover the world come to know these usurpers and insulters.

 

There is even a third point! Their reaction is certainly a matter of study! When a group from a certain people like the Amharas reacts massively in this psychotic way, a specialist gets a fabulous documentation for his/her mass psychology research. Psychology, Social Anthropology, History, History of Religions, Political Sciences, all these branches of modern scholarship interact in an interdisciplinary approach to the present day Amhara mass psychological – cultural identity. If their identity is so barbaric and so cannibalistic, all the people of the world have to know about the issue, isolate them, and make them impotent and incapable to harm others. 

 

By depicting the abysmal barbarism of Nazism, you convince the world that Jews must be saved, and the Hitler government exterminated. By presenting Amhara ruling class cultural cannibalism, you convince the world that these dangerous people must be isolated in their districts, and limited to ruling themselves, not other peoples!

 

There is no hatred involved in this regard; their reactions, their mentality, their attitude, their obscurantism, and their lack of education and culture has awakened me! That is all! I did not have any preconceived approach. As you see, my insulters by their stupidity unveiled their dark inner self! I did not ask for it! They offered it!

 

VF: How did characterizing you by some participants on EthioIndex’s forum make you feel?

 

Prof: I understand your question focuses on the personal issue; well, you know, I am very phlegmatic! I am rather happy, when - as a scholar - I collect material, all sorts of material, documentation, bibliography; they offered me a lot indeed! I now know that the Antichrist medieval awe and darkness lives deep inside them! These are the people, who do the evil, but they do not understand it, and in addition they perceive all their opponents as the focus of evil! Not a single sign of self-criticism! It is a really frenetic mental deviation! They live in the year 2004 in their material bodies indeed, but their psychic nucleus lives at the times of Justinian and Kaleb, or better at the times of the Christian reaction against the Islamic expansion! And because their ideological background is totally monophysitic, since they accepted that Jesus was godly only, they perceived Islam worse than all the rest; here I mean the Orthodox patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Nestorians, i.e. the Christian denomination that was closer to Islam, since they accepted that Jesus was human only! So, you see how much I like their hysteria! But when it comes to personal affairs, you must be sure that I am frozenly indifferent.

 

VF: Why did you choose to participate on an Internet discussion forum instead of writing on the traditional media, such as newspaper?

 

Prof: Interacting with the average mind in a venue, where debate is most desired, is a very vivid process. I do not like to issue statements, you know! I could have published this approach in a series of articles in a newspaper, magazine, scholarly review, but it would have only limited impact on the average people. Furthermore, the nucleus of my initial article – as well as of many others – was a subject that is well known and accepted among scholars. Not a single specialist would accept that the name of the country is Ethiopia, instead of Abyssinia! The usurpation of the name ‘Ethiopia’ was smartly submitted by colonial historians to the besotted monarchical ruling class of backward Abyssinia during the 20th c.; the same scholars, who submitted the idea as very profitable for the country, whereas it is disastrous, would never admit in public, when back in their homelands, such an irrelevant theory, well I mean aberration! On the other hand, and this is not to be forgotten, many  Ethioindex Medrek forum participants thanked me for what they came to learn through my articles; many said that I revivified the website, which I do not believe, it may be an exaggeration, and many expressed a strong support against the uncultured Amhara chauvinists. I must tell you that I intend to keep publishing there a lot of articles.