Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

ICES20 logo

Use the "back" button of your browser to return to the list of abstracts.


Michael GÜTERBOCK, Germany, Berlin, Freie Universität, Ähiopistischer Arbeitskreis (Prof. Rainer Voigt)

The paper, based on the files of the archive of the German ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its first part is about what has been the the German look on the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 – the official one and the popular reception with a glance at the historical background. In this context, there will be given an outline of the activities of the German Embassy in Ad-dis Abeba, even in everyday issues, meandering between requests of a state with racist ideo-logy and traditional common sense of professional diplomats of pre-fascistic schooling. In Tigrinian literature the memory of this war is small and late compared e.g. with the reception of the Civil War in Erythrea, only one novel treating with this topic: Wåddi Waʽro „Son of a Lioness“ by Bǝrhanä ʼAččame. The thesis is that Tigrinian literature as an emerging one has not to avoid comparison (although probably being almoust unknown outside the Horn of Africa and the diaspora), which may be demonstrated by this book, too. But the author, a champion in describing the psychology of his individuals and combining their features with the course of events, complaining the want of literary coverage of this war aims even further, at developing his language to still higher stages. Moreover, the main topic giving only the background, the novel lives by its individual features, presenting a vast range of national traditions etc. The part of women is the traditional one – modern gendering was no issue two generations ago. After this pioneer work, for the future we may hope for still other coverages of this theme, perhaps also by other media, for instance by film. It would be desirable, if there would be developing a mutual exchange of this – also of the historical research, of course – between Africa and the Western World.