Nationalistic and Political Qənes

4 Nationalistic and Political Qənes       


BaläQənes are usually stern about national issues and make sure their opinions are accordingly heard. Even when they are reprimanding leaders about their behavior, they are usually rewarded for their courage rather than being forced to be a partisan to the administration. The Qəne culture encourages impartiality and rebukes, when it is appropriate, those who fell from the grace of power as well as those still in power. It also analyzes the problems of the society and tries to give advice to the society on what actions to take. Here are some examples:


a. Sahləkä (3ኛ መጽሐፍ ገጽ 112)


ኩሉ ትውልድ በበመካኑ፣

ለኢትዮጵያ ድንግል ግብረ ዚአሃ ይዜኑ፣

ድንግል ኢትዮጵያ

መንግሥተ ዘእንበለ ዘርዕ ወለደት አኮኑ፡፡




        Each generation in its place

        Tells the story of the Virgin Mary / Ethiopia

        Virgin Mary/ Ethiopia

        Because has borne a child/government without any relations/ royal lineage


The Säm tells us that generations are grateful to the Virgin Mary for giving birth to Christ without any sexual relations (Luke 1:48). The Wärq is telling us that Ethiopia has a new leader who is not from the royal line. The Qəne is referring to the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974 by Mengistu Haile Mariam.


b. During the war between EPRDF and the Darg by Mämhər Wäldä Sänbät of ʾälamat’a ʾiyäsus Church


ተጋዳይ የዱር አንበሳ በዘለቀ ጊዜ ድንገት እያስጎሰመ ከበሮ፣

ደርግ የቁልቁለት ቶፋ ወደቀ ተሰብሮ፣

ቀንድ የለውምና ከላይ የሚያገለግለው ለኑሮ፣

ወኢሠፓሂ ደርግ ያገር ደንቆሮ፣

ጨረሰችው የትግሬ ቀበሮ (ወይዘሮ)፡፡


When the warrior wild-lion suddenly advanced pounding the drums

Darg the escarpment clay pot tumbled down and was broken

Since it doesn’t have horns on top to help him survive

And ESapa darg, the country’s idiot

Was finished by a Tigrean fox (lady).



The Säm is saying that a clay pot lying downhill without any support will break easily and even a loud noise is enough to make it tumble down. Likewise, animals are frightened when they hear the roar of a Lion and the earth starts to shake when the animals are fleeing. Just like the clay pot, Darg (symbolized as a fleeing animal) seeing the lion-like fighters of the rebel army was frightened and tumbled like the pot. The rebels are symbolized by the fox since they used to dig trenches and later by a lady since some of the fighters were female.


Mäwädəs of  Mämhər Nahu Sänay of Mäqäle Marəyam Church (1991)


ኤርትራ አእምሩ ከመ ትሰጠሙ                               

በዘኤርትራ ቀላይ ከመ ፈርዖን በኤርትራ፣              

ወከመ ትውእዩ ነደ እስመ በሥላሴ ገሞራ፣            

መትልዎ ሙሴ መለስ ዜናዊ፣                    

እስመ ነስዓ በትረ እደ ሙሴ ዘዕፁብ ግብራ፣          

ብእሲተ ሎጥ ምድረ አምሐራ፣                

እንዘ እንዘ ትኔጽር ዓይነ እምነ ርሁቅ ነቢራ፣           

እምነሂ ኢትዮጵያ ቅጽልተ ዘዮሐንስ ጌራ፣             

ክልኤሆን አዋልድኪ ትግራይ ወኤርትራ፣              

እፎ ሆከኪ በጽንፈ ሽራሮ ሁመራ፣                     

እንዘ ዘልፈ ይትርአሳ ወዘልፈ ይትፋቀራ፡፡             


Mind Ye Eritreans that you are going to drown

In the depths of the Red Sea like Pharaoh

And that you will burn with the fire of the Trinity just as in Gomorrah

Moses’ follower Meles Zenawi

as has picked the staff of Moses with its amazing powers

Lot’s  wife / the Land of Amhara

Is observing the comings and goings sitting back from afar.

Our mother Ethiopia an extension of John’s armor

Your two daughters Tigrai and Eritrea

Why are they disturbing you by the boundaries of Shiraro and Humera

While they are always quarreling and always loving each other.



Sahləkä of Märigeta Fəssəha Kidane


ትቤ ሀገር ዘኢትጻሙ

ኢይፈቅድ እንበር ለኢሳይያስ በስሙ፣

በስምየ እስመ ሀሎ አሐዱ ወሬዛ ዘሐጺር ቆሙ፡፡


Says a country that’s not shy

I do not want to be under Issayas’s domain

Since I have another short youth in my name.


The Säm tells us that a wise married lady prevents the advance of an amorous man by telling him that she is promised to somebody else. Likewise, Ethiopia thwarted the advance of Issayas of Eritrea when he invaded Ethiopia in 1998 by telling him that she has her own man. The short man in the Qəne is Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.   



Sahləkä of Liqä Mäzäməran  Taddässä


ፈላሲ ዐባይ እንተ ይሰቲ

ማየ ብሔሩ ለባዕድ አምህላዌ ግብጽ አኀቲ፣

በልቡ ኀለየ ወተመነየ፣

ይትመየጥ መንገለ ሀገሩ ዘተወልደ ባቲ፡፡


Migrant/ Abay that gives

His country’s water to a stranger at Egypt

Contemplated and wished

To return towards his country where he was born.


A person who is exiled in another country always dreams of returning to his native country and working towards the benefit of his country rather than for another country. Similarly, the river Abay (Blue Nile), which has been working for the benefit of Egypt by transporting water and soil, due to the resoluteness of Ethiopians has promised to serve its own country. This Qəne was composed in 2011 when the Ethiopian government announced its plan to build a dam on the Blue Nile.


Mibäzhu of Mämhərt ʾəmahoy ʾämätä  Marəyam

ለአዳም ዐባይ ሀበሀገሩ ገነት መለስ አዶናይ፣

በከመሜጦ መቅድመ ምስለ ሠራዊት መካልይ፣

ኀበ ብዙኃን ሜጦ ለመናኔ ዓለም ግዕዝ መስፍነ ዓለም ነቢይ፡፡


Toward his country/ paradise was returned Abay/ Adam by Meles / God

Just like he returned him before with his troops / gold

The ruler of the world / prophet returned the monk / geez towards the multitude



The Säm tells us that just as God returned Adam to his birthplace (Paradise), Prime Minister Meles by building a dam made sure Abay (the Blue Nile) returned to its homeland. For the Wärq, when the Ge’ez language, let alone in the wider world, was forsaken in its own country a wise man rose to make sure the language is revived again.  




ቀ. Mäwädəs (ከመሪጌታ ይቻለዋል ጎሹሜ የተገኘ)


ተወካፌ ሕማም ወግፍዕ መድኃኔዓለም

ሕማመ ዚአሁ ዘበዝሀ በሀገረ ዳዊት ወኢዮቤድ፣

ይቤ አሐውር ኀበ አቡየ ዋህድ፣

ዘእንበለ ሕማም ወተገፍዖ

በቁዔተ እስመ ኢረከብኩ በዛቲ አፀድ፣

ወበገሊላ ሀገረ እሙ

ለለጽባሑ ይሰምዕ ጽርፈተ ባዕዳን አይሁድ፡፡

ፀአነሂ መናብርቲሁ በአፍራሰ እሳት ወነድ፣

እስመ ኢኀደገ ተንሥአቱ እምነ ገሊላ ሀገረ ባዕድ፣

ወእስከ ሠላሳ አክራም እመ ይነግድ፣

ዘእንበለ ሞት እዳ ሰብአ ኢያትረፈ በገሀድ፡፡


        The Savior of the world, on the receiving end of pain and cruelty

        His suffering increasing in the Land of David and Eyobed

        Said, “I will go to my father

        Full of  suffering and cruelty

        I have not found anything useful in this land.”

        And in his mother’s land Galilee

        He was insulted daily by the strange Jews

        He packed his throne on the flaming fire horses

        Since he is still going to leave this strange Galilee

        Even while travelling for 30 years as a merchant

        Besides the fate of man (death), he has made no profit.


The Säm tells us that a person/merchant migrates to another country in order to have a fresh start. But if things are not getting better under hard conditions, the merchant will return to his country cutting his losses. Christ who has been represented by the merchant also left his father’s land for Galilee and stayed 30 years or so in his mother’s country surrounded by strangers (Jews) who insulted him and at the end crucified him. So seeing all this, Jesus decided to return to his father’s country and bridled his horses and ascended to the heavens.


There is also a political slant to this Qəne. If there is a government that overlooks the killing of its citizens, and just like the Jewish priests allows for false accusations, and it is in the citizen’s right to leave a country with such a government and to be exiled to another better country.






Mäwädəs of  Märigeta Haylä Tsəyon


በሥጋ ወደም ዘኦርቶዶክሳዊት

ቤተክርስቲያን ምዉት ወለተ ያሬድ ካህን፣

ኢወለደት ወልደ ወእስከናሁ መካን፣

እስመ ቀታሊያን ግብጻዊያን ገነዝዋ ወአመንኮስዋ እምዘቦ ህጻን፣

እንዘ ኢይትኤዝዝ በወንጌል እንበለ ዘወንጌል ቃል ዘቆመ ለግፉአን፣

ወቤተክርስቲያን እቤርተ ሥጋ ህዝንተ ብዙኅ ሀዘን፣

ለፌ በመናፍቅ ወለፌ በበሀማን፣

እንዘ ኩልሄ ትበኪ ብካየ ሊቃውንት ሄራን፣

ተጋብአ ኀበ ውስጣ ደዌ መነኮሳት ግኑዛን፡፡


        Born as an orthodox

        The daughter of the Priest Yared / Church is dead

        She has not borne a son and is still barren

        Since the killers / Egyptians embalmed her and made her a nun while a child

        And this is not sanctioned by the gospels and benefits oppressors.

        And the church / old lady full of sorrow

        Because of heretics and the dumb

        Is always shedding tears of the chosen erudite

        Since she has contracted the disease of the embalmed monks.              


The Säm tells us that a family is saddened when a daughter of theirs becomes a nun without understanding what the process entails. Later on, if she decides to have a family of her own it might be biologically too late. Thus, there should be prudence when allowing young girls to become nuns, since there is no turning back to worldly ways. And those who lead the young ladies through this path without adequate warning of what the path entails will be held responsible. Likewise, the EOTC was duped by the Egyptian Coptic Church to become a nun without understanding what the process entailed and therefore could not ordain her own bishops and her own autonomy in spiritual matters.