The “fake news” of fascism on Debre Libanos – Unpublished documents

Antonello Carvigiani
28 November 2019
Unpublished documents show how investigations into the attack on Graziani were carried out only to confirm the pre-established thesis that saw the monastery as the “center” of a revolt

The massacre of Debre Libanos, in Ethiopia, is a retaliation for the attack on Graziani on 19 February 1937. According to the Italian authorities, the minds of the plot are there. In a few weeks, summary investigations and interrogations are made. Reports and reports show a picture of labile clues, vague statements, extracted testimonies, conjectures and preconceptions. A judicial machine that seems to have only the purpose of finding confirmation to a truth already established a priori. Graziani hatches a paranoid resentment against the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia, which he sees as the backbone of the resistance. Debre Libanos – the country’s spiritual and civil soul – would be its cornerstone. The attack is an opportunity to settle the accounts. These are the documents – almost all unpublished, some published but little known – of that military investigation. On March 5th,ed] with well-known attackers who took refuge in the convent for the first time ». Debre Libanos is already in the sights. The attackers are believed to have found refuge there. The flight of the prior is an indication of the involvement of the monks. The “truth” about the attack is already written. Graziani explicitly says so, on March 7: “All the clergy of Debra Libanos and neighboring populations are complicit in knowing exactly the names of those who first fled to the convent after participating in the attack on the Viceroy”. Tracchia instructs the carabinieri to investigate. Colonel Garelli goes to Debre Libanos and briefs Tracchia who, in turn, on 11 March, turns the information over to Graziani. These are the same news that Major Mario Quercia sends, on March 14, to the superior command of the weapon. According to Quercia, the links between the two attackers and the monastery are clear. Since September, Abraham Debotch and Mogus Asghedom have been attending a house near the convent where three women live, aunts of the former’s wife. On February 9, the two accompanied Debotch’s wife – Taddesesc Istefanos – to Debre and then, on the 12th, they left for Addis Ababa. With them, for a few days in the capital there is also Abba Confù, a religious from Debre, a friend of both Debotch and “the prior of the convent and old friend and confidant of Ras Desta”. Abba Confù returns to the monastery before the attack. Abraham Debotch and Mogus Asghedom reappear, however, in Debre Libanos after the attack on Graziani, between 20 and 21 February. Since September, Abraham Debotch and Mogus Asghedom have been attending a house near the convent where three women live, aunts of the former’s wife. On February 9, the two accompanied Debotch’s wife – Taddesesc Istefanos – to Debre and then, on the 12th, they left for Addis Ababa. With them, for a few days in the capital there is also Abba Confù, a religious from Debre, a friend of both Debotch and “the prior of the convent and old friend and confidant of Ras Desta”. Abba Confù returns to the monastery before the attack. Abraham Debotch and Mogus Asghedom reappear, however, in Debre Libanos after the attack on Graziani, between 20 and 21 February. Since September, Abraham Debotch and Mogus Asghedom have been attending a house near the convent where three women live, aunts of the former’s wife. On February 9, the two accompanied Debotch’s wife – Taddesesc Istefanos – to Debre and then, on the 12th, they left for Addis Ababa. With them, for a few days in the capital there is also Abba Confù, a religious from Debre, a friend of both Debotch and “of the prior of the convent and old friend and confidant of Ras Desta”. Abba Confù returns to the monastery before the attack. Abraham Debotch and Mogus Asghedom reappear, however, in Debre Libanos after the attack on Graziani, between 20 and 21 February. for a few days in the capital there is also Abba Confù, a religious from Debre, a friend of both Debotch and “the prior of the convent and old friend and confidant of Ras Desta”. Abba Confù returns to the monastery before the attack. Abraham Debotch and Mogus Asghedom reappear, however, in Debre Libanos after the attack on Graziani, between 20 and 21 February. for a few days in the capital there is also Abba Confù, a religious from Debre, a friend of both Debotch and “the prior of the convent and old friend and confidant of Ras Desta”. Abba Confù returns to the monastery before the attack. Abraham Debotch and Mogus Asghedom reappear, however, in Debre Libanos after the attack on Graziani, between 20 and 21 February.

According to Quercia, it is not only Abba Confù who has ties to the two bombers but also the prior of Debre Libanos. His sudden flight would demonstrate this: «The conviction that guilty of aiding and abetting the participants in the plot for the attack on SE the Vice King can be considered: the prior of the convent Tzebatié Teclagheorghis (fugitive) has formed. He is one of the participants in the plot or at least is a facilitator, because he admitted all the aforementioned suspects to be responsible for the attack in his convent. This is confirmed by his escape ». With him, eight other monks are accused. Seven are arrested. Two – including the prior – are on the run. The accusations are inconsistent: they would have tolerated that the two bombers, the wife of one of them with his three aunts, were in the convent citadel. An accusation that is worth little, if one takes into account how the monastery is structured. It is Quercia himself who in his report describes the conformation of the place, made up of “several hundredtukul where monks, friars, deacons, students, nuns live, scattered and hidden from view, in a wooded area of ​​olive acacias and eucalyptus trees, 5 to 3 and a half kilometers wide […]. Pilgrims go to this convent daily to pray and bathe in the waters that flow into a cave, because blessed by the saint Teclaimanot who died there. It is not possible to control the traffic of people ». If a family chooses to live in the conventual citadel, the prior is not responsible for it. Often he doesn’t even know her. According to the Italian reconstruction, the prior went several times to the house inhabited by the group of attackers. Is this enough to make him an accomplice? The escape, February 22, would be the clue that is in league with the attackers. For the other eight religious, it seems that it is enough to be a friend or collaborator of the prior to be involved in the preparation of the attack. When questioned, they are considered reticent, contradictory or liars. Eventually some admissions come “after vigorous questions” and making “confession after the threat of the shooting,” writes Major Quercia. The value of these admissions is all in the methods by which they were made. In mid-March, therefore, the belief that a small group of authoritative members of the monastery are involved in the attack has already matured. Quercia’s report rules out that the other monks are aware of it. Those arrested are taken to Addis Ababa “at the disposal” of the political office. They are interrogated. they are considered reticent, contradictory or liars. Eventually some admissions come “after vigorous questions” and making “confession after the threat of the shooting,” writes Major Quercia. The value of these admissions is all in the methods by which they were made. In mid-March, therefore, the belief that a small group of authoritative members of the monastery are involved in the attack has already matured. Quercia’s report rules out that the other monks are aware of it. Those arrested are taken to Addis Ababa “at the disposal” of the political office. They are interrogated. they are considered reticent, contradictory or liars. Eventually some admissions come “after vigorous questions” and making “confession after the threat of the shooting,” writes Major Quercia. The value of these admissions is all in the methods by which they were made. In mid-March, therefore, the belief that a small group of authoritative members of the monastery are involved in the attack has already matured. Quercia’s report rules out that the other monks are aware of it. Those arrested are taken to Addis Ababa “at the disposal” of the political office. They are interrogated. The value of these admissions is all in the methods by which they were made. In mid-March, therefore, the belief that a small group of authoritative members of the monastery are involved in the attack has already matured. Quercia’s report rules out that the other monks are aware of it. Those arrested are taken to Addis Ababa “at the disposal” of the political office. They are interrogated. The value of these admissions is all in the methods by which they were made. In mid-March, therefore, the belief that a small group of authoritative members of the monastery are involved in the attack has already matured. Quercia’s report rules out that the other monks are aware of it. Those arrested are taken to Addis Ababa “at the disposal” of the political office. They are interrogated.

The testimonies of «Freu Akanau and the two Uizeros are also acquired Abbebec Istefanos and Uolette Ghiorghis Gabriet ». On April 21, Freu Akanau says: «About 20 days before the attack […] the Uzbek Abebec Istefanos visited who told us that in the following month (February) in Addis Ababa a great revolution would take place so that he advised against going to this city for this period. Abebec – at our request – said that the news had been learned from a priest of Debra Libanos, certainly Abba Gabreiesus ». It is these vague, highly labile information, rendered in Amharic and translated into Italian, under very strong psychological and physical pressure, that would demonstrate what the investigator is already the truth, namely that Debre Libanos is the political center of the revolt. On April 27, 1937, the Political Bureau draws up a report – signed by the major of the carabinieri, Alberto Faedda – and sent him to the war tribunal of Addis Ababa: «From the complex of the interrogation the responsibility of the members of the convent of Debra Libanos in relation to the attack by HE the Viceroy is evident». On 6 May, this provision, signed by Lieutenant Colonel Aldo Princivalle, was sent by the Addis Ababa Political Bureau to the High Command of the Carabinieri: “From further investigations carried out for the attack on SE the Viceroy it emerged that the abbey Ghebreiesus, of convent of Debra Libanos, he was aware of the same attack many days before it was committed ». The evidence of the monks ‘involvement would consist in the residence of the attackers’ family members in Debre Libanos, by the sporadic presence of the attackers, from the occasional frequentation of their home by the prior and his mysterious escape, from the testimony that someone knew that an unspecified revolution would happen in Addis Ababa. Inconsistent elements and which – however, in line of hypotheses – would refer to a limited number of people. Instead, on the basis of this nebulous reconstruction – merged into the conclusions of the military lawyers Olivieri and Franceschino – the alleged perpetrators are not prosecuted – if they have ever been proven to be so – but they are killed – from 21 to 29 of May 1937 – 452 people, according to the official Italian documents, or about two thousand according to some contemporary historians. A useless and unjust massacre. The papers of the investigation prove it. from the testimony that someone knew that an unspecified revolution would occur in Addis Ababa. Inconsistent elements and which – however, in line of hypotheses – would refer to a limited number of people. Instead, on the basis of this nebulous reconstruction – merged into the conclusions of the military lawyers Olivieri and Franceschino – the alleged perpetrators are not prosecuted – if they have ever been proven to be so – but they are killed – from 21 to 29 of May 1937 – 452 people, according to the official Italian documents, or about two thousand according to some contemporary historians. A useless and unjust massacre. The papers of the investigation prove it. from the testimony that someone knew that an unspecified revolution would occur in Addis Ababa. Inconsistent elements and which – however, in line of hypotheses – would refer to a limited number of people. Instead, on the basis of this nebulous reconstruction – merged into the conclusions of the military lawyers Olivieri and Franceschino – the alleged perpetrators are not prosecuted – if they have ever been proven to be so – but they are killed – from 21 to 29 of May 1937 – 452 people, according to the official Italian documents, or about two thousand according to some contemporary historians. A useless and unjust massacre. The papers of the investigation prove it. on the basis of this nebulous reconstruction – merged into the conclusions of the military lawyers Olivieri and Franceschino – the alleged perpetrators are not prosecuted – if they have ever been proven to be so – but they are killed – from 21 to 29 of May 1937 – 452 people, according to the documents Italian officers, or about two thousand according to some contemporary historians. A useless and unjust massacre. The papers of the investigation prove it. on the basis of this nebulous reconstruction – merged into the conclusions of the military lawyers Olivieri and Franceschino – the alleged perpetrators are not prosecuted – if they have ever been proven to be so – but they are killed – from 21 to 29 of May 1937 – 452 people, according to the documents Italian officers, or about two thousand according to some contemporary historians. A useless and unjust massacre. The papers of the investigation prove it.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Documenti inediti. Le “fake news” del fascismo su Debre Libanos

    Antonello Carvigiani giovedì 28 novembre 2019

    Documenti inediti mostrano come le indagini sull’attentato a Graziani siano state svolte solo per confermare la tes

  2. This narrative is absolutely wrong. It is indeed a hotchpotch of other Italian fascists. The truth of the matter is that on 19th February 1937 great patriots Abraha Deboch and Moges Asgedom attacked Marshal Graziani in Addis Ababa. Then followed the great pogrom massacre in Addis Ababa. More than 30 thousand Ethiopians were killed. Furthermore, on May 24 1937 Graziani , the butcher of Addis Ababa , ordered General Maletta to kill all the monks of Debre Libanos monastery in Shoa. The monks and nuns and so many Orthodox Christian believers were celebrating the yearly feast of St. Tekle Haimanot when they were encircled in the Mid night by Italian savage fascists. More than a thousand monks were killed in the monastery and thousands were taken to Debre Birhan and there were killed.

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