By Legesse Allyn
As I sit here reading EthiopianReview.com report that China may be investing in and unfairly influencing Ethiopia, even too much for Ethiopia’s own good, I reflect on my research of 20 years into the ancient Ethiopian investment and importation of goods and technology into ancient Gebts that led to my recent book. Like cheap Chinese-made goods available today in Ethiopia, 5100 years ago it was Ethiopia food crops and goods that were exported to and sold in Gebts by ancient Ethiopian businessmen and women. Not only were crops and goods sold in ancient Gebts markets, but as Chinese are doing in Ethiopia today, 5100 years ago it was Ethiopians investing technology into Gebtsawian infrastructure that led to the very large-scale farming and production, first ever of it’s kind, that called for record keeping that finally became writing — the first written language of business and commerce.
Egyptologists will claim it was Ethiopians who “colonized” ancient Gebts, but far from it was Gebts “colonized” by Ethiopians. As just like with China being handed local Ethiopian commercial opportunities, some might say on a silver platter, it was the Ethiopians 5100 years ago who were handed administration of the ancient Gebts land by whoever controlled that region 5100 years ago, because it was Ethiopians who were providing the food to the Gebts population and that food was increasingly depended on. And with farming and production exported to Gebts shortly after the handover of administration, ancient Ethiopian technology provided the local Gebts people with farming and manufacturing jobs in the ruling Ethiopian farms and factories.
Though I do not get involved in Ethiopian politics, having been born in the USA and never yet having lived in Ethiopia (the land of my grandfather), I find it so interesting how many fear investment in Ethiopia by foreign societies like the Chinese. Especially when 5100 and for the nearly 3000 years that followed, it was Ethiopia that was investing in and influencing the societies of others not only in Gebts, but around the world. It makes me wonder if those foreign ancient societies expressed the same fears of takeover that Ethiopians might really have of the Chinese taking over influence of Ethiopia today.
After I published my book on the ancient Ethiopian involvement in ancient Gebts this past August of 2009, entitled “Amarigna & Tigrigna Qal Hieroglyphs for Beginners” (http://books.ancientgebts.org), now being kicked around like a soccer ball in some Ethiopian circles, Ethiopians regularly ask me what influence the ancient past could ever have on Ethiopian society today. I often answer to beware of the past, because one who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it. And in this case with the Chinese, it looks like the past is repeating itself in reverse, with Ethiopia the one being influenced. Back 5100 years ago when Ethiopia was influencing the world, it was Amarigna that was learned in ancient Gebts and other far away lands, just as Mandarin is said be to taught as part of the curriculum in a Chinese-financed school in Ethiopia, this according to an EthiopianReview.com article entitled “China’s Massive Investment in Ethiopia at What Cost?”
So, while those complain that what my book reports is unbelievable, the Chinese are not sitting on their haunches, but are repeating the very history begun by Ethiopians thousands of years ago in ancient Gebts and spread throughout ancient Europe, India, Asia, and the Middle East. Now the inventors of foreign investment, Ethiopians, whose society and culture is in fear of being unduly influenced this time. Like my book or not, it is our past that we have forgotten and now we might be suffering from, now paying the price according to those who complain about the Chinese investment into Ethiopia. It seems to me I would say to those with such fears to look to the past to capture your future and my book merely is the messenger of what we forgot to remember. After nearly 3000 years of Ethiopians influencing foreign politics, economies, languages, religion, and culture of foreign countries around the world, why are we now not the leaders — at the very least participants — in this very animal that we ourselves invented?
But even if we believe that Ethiopians actually “colonized” ancient Gebts as Egyptologists say instead of it being handed to Ethiopians, as ancient Gebts inscriptions state, it is at least something to think about. This is because if my research reported in my book is true, it is Ethiopians who today have the most to lose, having forgotten itself and its powerful past on its own. With some refusing to believe my account of Ethiopia’s past is true, even willing to try to block my book from ever being read and allowing others to decide for themselves by saying it is garbage or fantasy. But as I posted as a reply to one of these trashing my book and research on a message board thread about my book somewhere in Internetland, “There’s my truth, your truth, and THE truth.” Make sure that ignoring THE truth does not come back to bite you one day.
More information about “Amarigna & Tigrigna Qal Hieroglyphs for Beginners,” along with a sample page from the book, is available at ancientgebts.org, with copies of the book available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many other booksellers.
(The writer can be reached at email@example.com)