Celebrating Independence Day 2020 in America and Ethiopia!

7 mins read

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

Happy July 4th to all!
On July 4, 2006, in a comment entitled, “Awakening Giant!”, I asked:


On July 4, 2020, I answer that question with the fierce urgency of now.

Now is the time for all diaspora Ethiopians to come to the aid of their country!

Ethiopia has remained independent for thousands of years. Ethiopian’s rugged terrain and the unconquerable spirit of its people has kept many invaders at bay.

Indeed, Ethiopia is the only African country that has never been colonized.

Italy tried to colonize Ethiopia during the European “scramble for Africa” but suffered a humiliating defeat in 1896 which was reprised in 1941 during Italy’s second attempt.

The Egyptians also tried tampering with Ethiopia’s independence by controlling the Nile River and making Ethiopia a “water colony”. They too suffered humiliating defeats in 1875-76 and left with their tails between their legs.

In 2020, Ethiopia’s independence is facing an existential threat.

Every day, Egypt sounds the drumbeat of war and bugles its army to ready itself for war if Ethiopia “takes one drop of water from the Nile River.”

Egypt has sailed the seven seas to find allies who will help her bring Ethiopia to its knees.

Egypt unsuccessfully connived with the Trump administration to force Ethiopia to sign an agreement on the Nile that will sell Ethiopia’s independence down the (Nile) river.

When Ethiopia defended its independence and asserted its sovereignty over the Nile, Egypt tried to put Ethiopia on trial in the U.N. Security Council.

Egypt has arranged with the World Bank and the International monetary Fund to deny Ethiopia loans and other financial assistance to pressure her to sign an agreement.

Egypt has conspired with terrorists in Ethiopia to spark an ethnic civil war hoping that will prevent the initial filling of the GERD this month.

Egypt’s efforts to deprive Ethiopia its sovereign right to independently use Nile River waters reasonably, equitably and without causing significant harm to other downstream countries has failed.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is the ultimate symbol of Ethiopia’s independence.

The GERD will liberate Ethiopia’s 115 million people from abject poverty.

The GERD will open the floodgates of prosperity for 115 million people.

The GERD will be proof of Ethiopia’s independent identity and indomitability.

When the English colonial subjects in North America declared independence in 1776, Ethiopia was a thriving independent kingdom ruled by Emperor Tekle Haimanot II.

In the Declaration of Independence, the American revolutionists proclaimed their independence from British colonial rule. “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States,” wrote Thomas Jefferson.

The Declaration of Independence, a document that inspired Ho Chi Minh to rid French colonialism from Vietnam to African liberation movements, is a timeless political statement affirming the fact that no nation shall be subjected to oppression, exploitation and depredation by another.

I was so inspired by the American Declaration of Independence that I wrote my own “Declaration in Defense of Human Rights in Ethiopia” on July 4, 2007 patterned after the American Declaration, co-signed by 74 individuals.

I celebrate today the ideals enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence: That all men, and emphatically all women, indeed all human beings are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Independence and sovereignty are two sides of the same coin.

There are many who say no African country today is truly free or independent.

African countries are manipulated and controlled in a neocolonial system in which they depend on their former colonizers for aid, trade and loans.

Africa has been described as the “beggar continent” and beggars depend on their benefactors for their daily bread.

Ethiopia aims to declare its independence from beggary, poverty and privation by producing hydropower not just for itself but also for its neighbors.

The GERD shall power regional prosperity and banish poverty.

The GERD shall liberate Ethiopia from a fate of perpetual panhandling of neocolonial powers and their multilateral lending institutions.

When the GERD begins its initial filling this month, it will be one small step for Ethiopia and one giant leap out of poverty for a maligned continent of beggars.

Now is the time for all diaspora Ethiopians to come to the aid of their country!

Now is the time for all diaspora Ethiopians to come to together and defend Ethiopia’s independence against hydro-colonialism.

Now is the time for all diaspora Ethiopians to stand up, speak up and shout out for the heavens to hear:


Ethiopians united shall never be defeated.

Ethiopians united shall always maintain their independence.

One GERD for all Ethiopians. All Ethiopians for one GERD.




  1. Ethiopia has no independence day because we were never colonized. Let’s get our history straight.

    July fourth is an american independence holiday. It has nothing to do with Ethiopia what’s so ever.

    Please folks let’s not mix apples and oranges. This is the kind of thing that justifies the joke it’s way past bed time for our hippo generation.

    Ethiopian Americans know when to let America be America and Ethiopia be Ethiopia.

    Sorry but today is America’s birthday, not Ethiopia’s. And don’t bring our GERD into it.

    Thank you.

    God bless both countries!

  2. Al, someone who cant help himself can not help others. It looks like america is in a bigger mess right now than our motherland. Do you even know what’s going on in America right now? Just a glance of the news itself scary enough:

    America’s crazy President exploits racial and social divisions in dark speech at Mount Rushmore

    Trump got his crowd and his fireworks, and peddled his fake news fiction

    ‘White power’ video was a glimpse into political discourse in ‘America’s friendliest’ retirement community

    Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans

    In a jaw-dropping speech, Trump tries to drag America backward

    Neil Young ‘NOT ok’ with Trump playing his music at Mount Rushmore event

    So, my friend, enjoy Celebrating Independence Day 2020 in America and Ethiopia! in orange county. Keep the rest of us out of it.

    Adios Amigo

  3. Thank You Professor Al Mariam for keeping laser focused on the GERD, despite the self-inflicted challenges we Ethiopians face in others spheres this moment. If ever there was a defining moment for this generation of Ethiopians to show their mettle the GERD is it. And for those Ethiopians who have easily forgotten, I remind you what transpired the summer of 2013 as a wake up call.

    Back then, 3 June 2013, to be precise, the Egyptian government held a National Security Council meeting to deliberate on the Ethiopian dam. Chaired by President Mohamed Morsi, the meeting involved representatives of all the political and social forces in the country, including representatives of the Coptic Church and other minority religions in the country. The churchmen offered to mediate the dispute through their links with the Ethiopian Church, but the mood in the room was particularly warlike, and a leading Egyptian kingmaker (Ayman Nour) proposed a program of political violence against and destabilization of Ethiopia using economic and political means. Nour’s proposals called for using Ethiopia’s ethnic and religious diversity against it as well as military actions and diplomatic and geopolitical encirclement. His discourse and arguments turned the meeting into something akin to a nineteenth-century imperial war council.

    Does it come as any surprise then that Egypt’s playbook today (sewing ethnic division in Ethiopia, outright military threats , attempts at isolating Ethiopia and bringing pressure on the country internationally) is exactly as Nour has prescribed in 2013?

    Egypt’s insistence on not paying heed to the needs of others on the river stems from perceiving itself as somehow better than others in the basin, as somehow superior, and as entitled to water and to sole decision making over Nile waters, regardless of the needs of anyone else. In Egypt’s eyes: Sudan is a backyard—a former colony that, due to historical accidents, somehow managed to become independent, Ethiopia with its self-inflicted issues is right for the plunder. Personally, I think this is a gross miscalculation on the part of Egypt. Ethiopia has plenty of options if push comes to shove and the peoples of the Sudan might appease you for some time, but will not appease you all the time especially when their national interest is at stake.

    The best way forward for All – Egypt needs to follow Sudan in accepting that water, and therefore life, comes from Ethiopia (85%) and the other upstream Nile basin countries (25%). We should work as a community to address the challenges of global climate change and population growth rather to ensure the Nile waters availability for all rather than holding on to antiquated positions that denies upper riparians the right not only to develop their water resources but also to develop at all.

  4. It is appropriate that the month of July be celebrated as Ethiopia’s Independence Day from Poverty if filling GERD begins as planned. I say if because it might get delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. Ethiopia should not alienate friends that will be on her side because of rigid timeline. What matters is the end result. For instance, if AU or UNSC wants one or two weeks to exhaust all avenues to reach at an agreement, Ethiopia should comply. That is showing goodwill and puts her in the good books of all friendly countries. This act must be made clear that it was done purely out of respect for AU and/or UNSC., not giving in to demands or Egypt.

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