The Unification of Ethiopia and Djibouti will be of Paramount Historical Significance

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By Ghelawdewos Araia, PhD

The unification of Ethiopia and Djibouti would be a historical reaffirmation of the genetic linkage of the two peoples. I argue that the peoples of Ethiopia and Djibouti are genetically and historically inextricably linked together, not only to imply that their respective countries are geo-politically intertwined, but also to undergird the common heritage, historical experiences, the oneness of cultural ethos, same language, and linguistic semiotics shared by the two peoples on either side of the Ethiopia-Djibouti border. The two main ethnic groups that make up Djibouti are the Afar and Issa, whose ancestral homes are in Ethiopia. Wherever they may be, all Afar people claim Awsa, Ethiopia as the birthplace of their ancestors. Likewise, all Issa (a Somali clan) strongly believe that their original home is Ugaz (in greater Dire Dawa, Ethiopia).

Due to historical circumstances and superimposed imperial hegemony, the peoples of Ethiopia and Djibouti have gone separate ways and were divided by artificial boundaries, and as a result they evolved discrete national identities. Put otherwise, same ethnic groups found themselves in different nation-states, as it was experienced by many African nationalities, most notably the Fulani and Mandingo of West Africa.

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