We are all familiar with the Jewish Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis. In very recent times, we have also come to know the details of the Armenian genocide – a tragedy that the world’s superpower, the United States government, has refused to accept.

However, one scarcely-known atrocity was the annihilation of one million Ethiopians at the hands of the Fascist Italians.

When Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1935, in order to Christianize and civilize the Ethiopians (even though they were both Christian and civilized before the Italians), the Emperor Hailé Sellassié was forced to leave Ethiopia. One national hero who sustained and encouraged his co-national patriots to continue fighting for their independence was the holy Orthodox bishop Abune Petros, who was baffled as to how a Christian country like Italy would occupy another peaceful Christian country like Ethiopia in such a brutal manner.

Atrocities committed by the Italians included “the use of mustard gas, the bombing of Red Cross hospitals and ambulances, the execution of captured prisoners without trial, the Graziani massacre, the killings at Debre Libanos monastery, and the shooting of ‘witch-doctors’ accused of prophesying the end of Fascist rule.”

The Italians killed approximately 1 million Ethiopians, in addition to destroying 2,000 churches, 525,000 homes and 14 million domestic animals.

What was the West’s reaction to this?

The United States distanced itself from the Ethiopian situation and did not give any assistance to the Ethiopians against their aggressors. Other nations pretended to ignore this tragedy as well.

Why has this atrocity been hidden from the pages of our history books? Where is the outrage about this injustice?

In his newest book, Ethiopian & Eritrean Monasticism, Mario Alexis Portella exposes the horrors of the Ethiopian genocide and sheds light on the courageous figures who stood strong in the face of such inhumanity.