What do the flags carried into battle tell us?

Ethiopia’s official flag

There’s no doubt what the flag of Ethiopia looks like.

Here it is shown last week, when Prime Minister Abiy met with the three mediators from the African Union – the former Presidents of Liberia, Mozambique and South Africa.

Wikipedia points out, The three traditional colours of green, yellow and red date back to Lij Iyasu (reigned 1913ā€“1916).  The green recalls the land, yellow stands for peace and hope, and red is symbolic of strength.

Here it is again.

Since 1996 it has always had the emblem of Ethiopia in its centre.

As Wikipedia says: “The star testifies to Ethiopia’s bright future, while the yellow rays which it emits are equidistant and are said to represent the equality of all Ethiopians regardless of race, creed, or sex.

In recent years, the government of Ethiopia has taken a conscious effort to increase the usage of the flag with the emblem, which had been seen far less than the plain tricolour.”

This is the old Imperial Flag, which was used until 1941, when Haile Selassie introduced the lion of Judah in its centre.

The use of this flag is now illegal.

In 2009, the Parliament of Ethiopia passed Proclamation 654/2009 (The Federal Flag Proclamation), which prohibited firstly amongst 23 other provisions “use [of] the Flag without its Emblem”, as well as “to deface the Flag by writing or displaying signs, [sic] symbols, emblems or picture [sic]”, or “to prepare or use the Flag without the proper order of its colours and size or its Emblem.”

While most offences were punishable by a fine of “3000 birr or rigorous imprisonment up to one year,” the first offense, mandating the usage of the emblem, received an increased penalty of “5000 birr or rigorous imprisonment up to one year and six months.”

The Imperial flag is illegal, so why is it being carried into battle?


As pictures carried on social media show, the old Imperial flag is being flown on tanks….

And on flag poles.

So why is this the case?

A colleague suggests that the Imperial flag is the preferred flag of the hardline Amhara  – hence  it is being flown by the Amhara militia.

Does this explain the vision militant Amhara militia have for the future of Ethiopia – once more an Imperial state?


  1. This war is among one dictator against one etinic tigrina means tigray the world mast stop and take the action enstad of whoch and help for dictators Stop war Stop killing enocent people to n tigray stop gonocite for tigray people

  2. Abiy Ahmed is trying to return clocks back and endorse Imperial Ethiopia,s flag which was used Amhara long rule which characterised the era of feudalism and slavery of other ethnicities .

    It is really an alarming sign to see at battleground as it signals that PzM Abiy Ahmed I’d aiming to become the new emperor after get rid of Tigray obstacle and his crack down on Oromos killing and imprisoning thousands of people of all rancks.

    I believe PM Abiy and his Amhara backers are playing a dangerous gambling by trying to impose absolute ethnic dictatorship that doesn’t work in the past and the ultimate outcome would be chaos and never ending violence.

  3. Even Meles,the enemy of this flag and Amhara,once used this flag when he was in War with Eritrea.The main job,however,is to free Ethiopia from shameless Tigrean gangsters…that may include you both!

  4. Well, the flag is not a big issue for all interest groups can have its own preference. TPLF uses its red and yellow sheets to represent their hope and belief while OLF uses its green, black and red symbols. Likewise, others do as they prefer. This is nonesense talking about flags. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the fraternity, love and peaceful coexistence of the people of Ethiopia. I think, Amharas do not bother about what others are flagging why do others bother? … it is nonesense.
    Besides, the biggest hatered for the emperial regime was from the Amhara poor. If the writer do not know about history, I advise him to sit down and read or learn. Idiots always prefer badmouthing than knowledge.
    For the writer’s information, Meles Zenawi also used this flag in his war with Eritrea because he belived that only this flag can win the hearts of most Ethiopians. Of course; he used it for his evil mission. After mission accomplished, he showed his deeper hatred for such flag by declaring such punishments as stated in the above article. Please, don’t fight a nonesense fight for flags. We should see the big picture: our country, Ethiopia. I think, everybody believes in harmoney, in our national unity with no one to be sidelined or ignored. Ethiopia is for all, not only for Amharas, Oromos, Tigres, … So please let us cone together for a bright and hopefull Ethiopia.
    By the way, the predictions and prophesies of the socalled political analysts that Ethiopia is on verge of disintegration is all for vain. Because, the bloodhound dogs of TPLF are knocked down.
    Congratulation peace and Unity loving Ethiopians. Bravo our heros, our National Defence Force.
    May our beloved country, Ethiopa, live long with prosperity, equality and fraternity.

  5. Tigray against

    1. Ethiopian National Defense Forces.

    2. Eritrean National Defense Forces.

    3. Amhara Special Forces.

    4. Amhara Militias.

    5. Somalia Military.

    6. South Sudanese Military.

    7. Emirati drones.

    8. Israeli Intelligence.

    Iā€™m so proud!

    TIGRAY WILL PREVAIL! āœŠšŸ½šŸ’›ā¤ļø

  6. It matters because Ethiopian flag with the lion of juda emblem represents Amhara as a superior ethnic group, Amhara’s superiority syndrome over other ethnicities in Ethiopia did not die with the defeat of haileslassie, using in the current battle symbolises this was is of Amhara against tigray yhe amhara probably will fly it too in their fight against the promo. This flag represents the oppressive nature of the bitter imperialistic Amhara, what about the rest of ethiopa?

  7. Thanks for the long justifying comment, but you did not say how the different interest groups/ethnics can coexist. Because Ethiopia is not yet a modern state although they claim to be the only uncolonized nation in Africa. And the problem is that there have never been an implemented constitution up to now. TPLF introduced a beautiful constitution but they shelved and employed the term of “it is all about my ethnic”. Abiy has been in office now for almost three years without any interest in making the country a constitutional modern state where law is above all. So if there is no law in place, who will inhibit the power hanger of the elite groups from the dominant ethnics? When you look at the media black outs which has been used more frequent than any other nation in Africa, it seems that Ethiopia will remain the land of “survival of the fittest”.

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