Right now, there is a bloody civil war in Ethiopia that is discussed on CNN, BBC and FOXNEWS. And this book aims to shift these discussions back to the late antique period, when Ethiopia was one of the greatest empires in the world and to 1930's when the fascists entered Ethiopia, because that is the root cause of the war that is happening today. Ethiopia has a secret history, and no one is focusing on this.
The book attempts to shed light on these points by surveying historical events which leads up to about the sixteenth century-with few exceptions. This time period was selected as the termination point because many sources are available for events dealing with the past two to three centuries of history. Hence, people who are interested in this timeline can easily access the particular era that interests them. In this early part of history, we see how Ethiopia was a great superpower who traded with Egyptians, the Middle East, India, Greeks, Romans and Persians. Trading with such influential regions made the country rich and powerful. This nation was so great that the third century prophet Mani mentioned that Ethiopia was one of the four great empires of the time (along with Rome, China and Persia). Regrettably, this great story is seldomly related to our generation because fascists who came into Ethiopia in the 1930's, with the intent of forcefully taking natural resources (ex. ivory, gold, copper), stole the history of Ethiopia.
The second aim of the book deals with how in the late 19thcentury as the Europeans started to carve up Africa, Italy chose Ethiopia. Unfortunately for the colonizers, Italy became the only European country to lose to an African nation. As a result, Italy lost respect from other European nations. Newspapers at the time shamed Italy for losing to a nation of black people. Needless to say, Italy wanted revenge. They got their chance with Benito Mussolini and the fascists. Mussolini sent researchers like Carlo Conti Rossini and Enrico Cerulli to study the best way to conquer Ethiopia. These men studied Ethiopian religion, ethnicity and language the same way the Nazis studied the Jewish community, to see the most efficient way to divide and conquer them. The real tragedy happened when the original research of - Conti Rossini and Cerulli - became seen as the official history. The research they conducted, unfortunately found its way into western universities wherein they are being studied to this day. Their writings became the authoritative history of Ethiopia. Regrettably, present-day Ethiopians are killing each other because of ethnic and religious differences which the Italians wrote was the central cause of conflict in their country.
The second section of the book is a fable meant to highlight the negative impact of ethnic divisions in Ethiopia. As the reader will recognize, the style and voice of this section is unique compared with the previous sections. Perhaps the most distinctive feature is that the fable's main character is a fictional talking mouse named Sammy. This mouse and the journey he embarks on are meant to serve as a metaphor for our present state of affairs.
The secondary goal of this book is to change our attitude of learning about history. Often times history is told in a dry and uninteresting way that is off-putting to young people. Especially when it comes to the history of Ethiopia, we often shy away from telling our story for fear of insulting others. In reality, history does not have to be dull or contentious. It can be enjoyable and unifying. The way a story is told is arguably just as important as the story being told. With that being said, the author has decided to tell the story of Ethiopia through the symbolic lens of the love that exists between a husband and wife. By employing such a rhetorical device, the author attempts to tell the story of Ethiopia in a way that is digestible for everyone.
Deacon Dawit Muluneh is the author of Hopeless Romantic: The Untold History of Ethiopia, I Need Answers and is a Ph.D. student of Ethiopian and Arabic Studies. He grew up in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Chuch and at age seven, his family immigrated to the US from Ethiopia. Muluneh graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Upon completing his education at Virginia Tech, he worked at a patent and trademark office for three years. At age 27 he sold his house and car and traveled to a monastery in Ethiopia - Debris Libanos - to learn the traditional teachings of the church. Afterward, he was ordained a deacon in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.After a year and a half, Muluneh returned to the States to join a graduate program at the Catholic University of America, where he currently studies Ethiopian and Arabic Studies. He has been trained in Ge'ez, Arabic, Coptic, and Greek, and is currently preparing to take his Ph.D. comprehension exams. He lives in Washington, DC.