On 6 April 2023, CECOE organized an event under the theme: Dialogue – Narratives on Ethiopian History. More than 50 participants drawn from CSOs and Political parties attended the event. The event was opened by CECOE’s executive director, Abera Hailemariam’s opening remarks. Subsequently, the moderator of the event Debebe Hailegebriale, lawyer and founder of Habegar debates called the session to order and introduced the speaker.
The event’s discussions were focused on a presentation titled “Narratives on Ethiopian History” presented by Birhanu Deboch – Lecturer, Author and Critic. The presenter made his presentation in two categories: National and Ethnic historical narratives.
National historical perspectives
The national historical perspective narrates that the Ethiopian nation and nationalities have a shared history, taking state expansion and other related events as a positive process. This category often referred as “Etiopist” is based on recorded documents written by chroniclers. However, the reliability of these recorded documents is often challenged by people in the other historical camp.
Ethnic based historical perspectives
Historians who prefer to see Ethiopia’s history from ethnic perspective portray that the nation’s history is a history of expansion and subjugation. The main information sources of this historical perspective are anthropological sources. However, historians in the other camp state that this perspective is highly characterized by victimization and methodologies used are not in line with history writing principles.
Q & A Session
Following the presentation, a Q & A session followed and the participants reflected and raised their questions. This event is part of CECOE’s effort to create a discussion platform whereby political elites (CSO representatives and academia) deliberate on controversies surrounding Ethiopian history and mitigating misinformation transpiring on social media. The event was the second of its kind organized by CECOE. More events aimed at strengthening discussion culture and dialogue are in the pipeline.