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Ethiopia's Fragmented Elites: Origins and Syndromes
By Messay Kebede
One question that regularly and intensely consumes the mind of many Ethiopians is the question of knowing why Ethiopian elites are unable to work together. Especially those opposing the TPLF regime, even though they are well aware that the regime is their common enemy, invariably prove unable to agree on a common political agenda, let alone to act in concert to remove their common foe. Is the failure to act jointly due to irrational forces or is it the outcome of definite causes that are susceptible of a rational explanation? This paper is an attempt to rationally comprehend the failure, with the hope that some such comprehension will have a liberating impact, obvious as it is that the conscious awareness of the forces of division is liable to significantly reduce their grip on the mind of Ethiopian elites.
The first answer that springs to mind to the question why Ethiopian elites are unable to work together is, of course, the lack of unity. But the latter is more of a question than an answer. For, why is there such a deficiency of unity? Why are elites, despite their enduring frustration toward the regime, nay their recurring conviction that the regime is leading the country to chaos, incapable of overcoming their divisions?
The seriousness of the matter forces us to look for causes transcending the immediate preoccupations of Ethiopian elites, the very ones having to do with historical reasons. I submit that the most compelling causes are historical in that the lack of unity is a product of the ideological and political struggles since the dawn of the Ethiopian process of modernization. Let me explain.
The appearance of a centralized and oppressive government and its ever-tightening grip over the country as essential ingredients of the Ethiopian process of modernization have entailed a growing rivalry over the control of power and wealth among old and emerging elites. As the progress of modernization modified the Ethiopian social fabric, the rivalry intensified. It reached its peak in the 60s when the conflict between the old nobility and the imperial state on the one hand and the various modern sectors (students, intellectuals, the emerging bourgeoisie, the bureaucratic and military elites, etc.) on the other hand increasingly took a political and ideological form.
Where there is no enough wealth, state power becomes the privileged instrument to exclude competitors. The need to exclude generates, in turn, radical ideologies either in the form of hardened conservatism or extreme revolutionarism. The function of radical ideologies is to justify the political exclusion of opponents. Thus, to the conservatism of the nobility and the imperial state in the 60s and early 70s, students and intellectuals opposed socialism and ethnonationalism. The ideology of socialism allows elites to claim that they are the sole representatives of the working people, thereby depriving other competing elites of the right to represent the overwhelming majority of the people. As to ethnonationalism, it restricts the right to represent a given ethnic group to native elites, and so denies all political legitimacy to non-kin elites. Unsurprisingly, both ideologies justify absolute power as necessary to effect the exclusion.
The characteristics of a state whose function is to exclude rivals are quite different from a democratic state. In the latter, not only conflicts are recognized, but they are also provided with the means of reaching an accommodation based on the verdict of the people. The provision of accommodation prevents the recourse to violence to settle disputes. By contrast, the excluding state rejects all form of accommodation, leaving to opponents no other choice than the overthrow of the state by violent means.
This politics of exclusion foments a culture of confrontation pursuing a zero-sum game. The fact that winners take all, in addition to exasperating the conflicts between elites, inaugurates an endless cycle of violent confrontations during which one group overthrows the ruling elite until it is itself overthrown by another group and so on. The intensification of conflicts undermines the unity of the country and, most of all, weakens the ability of elites to work together by fostering a culture of mutual animosity and mistrust. As a result, the effort to generate a democratic state is repeatedly foiled. Clearly, these characteristics trace an accurate portrait of the Ethiopian state and elites.
The main drawback of a state practicing exclusion is the lack of legitimacy. One group subduing other groups by means of force does not mean that the subdued groups recognize the authority of the state and are willing to obey. On the contrary, the groups are in a state of permanent rebellion and are just waiting for the opportunity to reverse the situation in their favor. However, their expectation makes victims of the lack of legitimacy of the state by nurturing an anarchic idea of entitlement to power. Indeed, where the state lacks legitimacy, many individuals feel entitled to aspire for the ownership of power. This aspiration stands in the way of the effort to create a collaborative spirit among elites by ignite mistrust and rivalry.
A pertinent illustration of fragmentation is the tendency to create parties revolving around individuals rather than being based on ideas and goals. Nothing better confirms the truth of this analysis than the anarchic proliferation of parties in Ethiopia whose number is estimated to be more than eighty. Worse yet, these parties have the tendency to split into smaller parties because disagreements cannot be managed democratically. Given that influential individuals consider political parties as their private possession, they are apt to create a splinter party by walking away with their followers each time internal disputes arise.
One must not forget that the flourishing of radical ideologies in Ethiopia is a direct consequence of modern education. Insofar as a system of education alien to the country’s history and culture has shaped modern Ethiopian elites, it has greatly facilitated the absorption of imported ideologies. The main outcome of Western education is not only to undermine the inherited common culture, but it is also to inculcate the paradigm of modernity versus tradition. The weakening of the common culture lessens unity while the paradigm of modernity values imitativeness by advocating the rejection of whatever is traditional as uncivilized, backward and by painting Western countries as the model to follow.
This copyism or extraverted psyche is one of the reasons why the modern educated sector of Ethiopian society easily adopted Marxism-Leninism, which was the dominant ideology in the 60s and early 70s. The Marxist-Leninist definition of political struggle as a resolute elimination of rivals, as opposed to the accommodative stand of democracy, became the rule for Ethiopian elites, while ideological radicalization further exasperated their conflicts to the point where they were perceived as irreconcilable. The high point of these antagonistic relationships was none other than the insidious proliferation of ethnonationalism among the educated elites.
The Lack of Galvanizing Ideas
The progressive decline of the fascination with Marxism-Leninism as a result of repeated economic and political failures of socialist countries and the prevalence of liberal democracy constitute an additional reason for the fragmentation of elites. The undeniable power of Marxism-Leninism was that it was a galvanizing ideology in that it identified the interests of elites with the liberation and empowerment of the working masses. The identification provided a nationalist vision investing elites, especially students and intellectuals, with the electrifying mission of becoming the liberators of the masses from oppression and exploitation and of their country from imperialism. Liberalism offers none of the excitements associated with revolutionary goals.
True, liberalism can inspire a fervent defense of freedom that can be as revolutionary as the idea of socialism. But we must see it in the context of Ethiopia, that is, of a mentality not yet emancipated from the totalitarian doctrine of the 60s. Such a mentality could not but amalgamate liberalism with Leninism, the outcome of which is the confusion of liberalism with individualism. The attempt to combine ethnonationalism with liberal principles, as sadly exemplified by the ruling ideology of the TPLF, is the worst form of the confusion.
The amalgam tries to apply liberalism while suppressing freedom in all its manifestations because of the Leninist remnant of politics defined as exclusion of opponents. Together with the caricature of liberalism by those who control power, there spreads among elites the interpretation of liberalism in the direction of selfish individualism. For this distorted liberalism, individuals should not be concerned about other people; their only worry should be their own interests so that all pursuit of grand causes is devalued. Clearly, where egoistic individualism becomes the norm, unity of purpose among elites is difficult to achieve.
In Ethiopia, the unity of purpose has been seriously hindered both by the proliferation of ethnonationalist ideologies and by the inability to find a matching or counter ideology against ethnonationalism. The choice is reduced to being either a supporter, an opponent, or a resigned tolerant of ethnonationalism. The perversion of Ethiopia with ethnonationalist ideologies is a stumbling block to the formation of a common purpose if only because the threat to the integrity of the nation deprives competitors of a common cause. Since elites rejecting the Ethiopian nationhood aspire either to secede or to become dominant, they cannot work together with those who defend the unity of the nation, still less can they accept an all-embracing ideology.
Divide-and-Rule Strategy and the Politics of Fear
Given that the fragmentation of Ethiopian elites along ethnic lines is the work of the TPLF, it follows that the main culprit for the lack of unity is the TPLF regime itself. It is important to note here that the TPLF did not only divide Ethiopia along ethnic states, but it also opted for a terrorist method of government, the essential function of which is the inculcation of fear. Government by fear has a paralyzing effect: though the overwhelming majority of elites is set against the regime, it cannot act in concert to get rid of the regime because of the paralyzing effect of fear. Instead of action, resignation takes the lead with the consequence that the dislike of the regime never transcends the subjective realm of feelings so as to translate into political action.
Be it noted that one of the effects of fear is the propensity to justify the postponement of political action. Indeed, fear provides justification for not acting together by enhancing little differences to the level of a fundamental disagreement. To the question of why opponents do not act together to remove the regime, the ready answer is the absence of agreement. Magnifying minor differences is how fear camouflaged itself into a valid reason for not acting, thereby avoiding the risks and dangers implied in political action. Not only does fear paralyze, but it also inspires fragmentation as a way of deferring political action. It is because dictatorial governments know that elites broken by fear cannot act in concert that they resort to systematic campaigns designed to spread fear.
In default of promoting action, fear encourages wishful thinking. Terror induces hope but in the form of magic or fantasy. Evidence of this is the recurrent predication of an imminent collapse of the regime by many opponents. By underestimating the strength and survival capacity of the regime, they tell us that it is on its last legs, though nothing is being done to turn the hope into reality. This kind of magical faith is another way of avoiding the risks and sacrifices necessary to actually remove the regime. There is some consolation in doing nothing when it is believed that magical forces are bound to intervene in our favor.
Beyond the Humiliated Generation
All the defects hampering rival elites pertain to a generation that has gone through the bitter experience of defeat and humiliation. The dreams of the generation of the 60s and early 70s have been squashed by the victory of the Derg whose dictatorial rule decimated its morale and that of their offspring. Both were offered nothing but the humiliation of a massive exodus. Whether they stayed in the country or left, all experienced another cycle of humiliating events when they witnessed, powerless, the defeat of the Ethiopian army, the invasion of the country by an ethnic army, and the secession of Eritrea. It is hard not to infer from these events a severe damage to Ethiopian nationalism and an erosion of self-confidence such that the generation’s belief in its ability to accomplish great things has received a deadly blow. Without self-confidence, the readiness to unite for a great cause is also likely to suffer gravely.
Defeat and humiliation entail leadership crisis. Just as a defeated army questions the competence of its commanding officers, so too a vanquished generation loses faith in leadership. Once leadership is distrusted, the willingness to unite in an organization is drastically reduced. No less than the need to accomplish great goals, confidence in leaders is a requirement of unity. Without exaggeration, leadership crisis is one of the crucial setbacks of post-revolutionary Ethiopia, all the more so as the Ethiopian culture is prone to the cult of heroes, as witnessed by the fact that its past history shows that the death or the exceptional courage of leaders often determined the fate of wars.
It would be naive to expect from a wounded generation the solutions to Ethiopia’s numerous problems. What was ruined by one generation cannot be fixed by the same generation. True change requires, above all, culture change, which takes time because it is a matter of creativity and growth. In short, real change is a generational issue. The TPLF, secessionist groups, and their opponents are all products of the dominant culture of the 60s. Their collaborations and conflicts show that society follows a determined path until it sees a precipice. The generation that takes the precipice as a precipice, and not as a redress of a vile social order, is the one called upon to change the direction. It sees an impasse in what other characterize as positive or negative developments.
When things go wrong, the culprits and their opponents are the two poles of the same reality. To the extent that the thinking of the one is just the opposite of the other, they are one and the same, as they remain tied to each other by their very contradiction. Thus, as action and reaction, the Derg and the TPLF are one and the same. That is why many of the actions of the TPLF often give us the impression of a déjà vu. That is why also, just as the Derg, the TPLF is unable to solve the problems of Ethiopia.
The generation that is free of the thinking uniting the Derg and the TPLF is alone able to bring real change to Ethiopia. However, the condition of its emancipation grows from the previous opposition, the development of which draws the limit beyond which the precipice lies. Reaching the limit clears the ground for the new, for “where danger is, also grows the saving power,” as says Heidegger. Whether such a generation is in sight is hard to tell. One thing is sure, though: the best that the defeated generation and perhaps their immediate descendant can do is to take a hard critical look at themselves and exchange their ambition to remain makers of history for the much more subdued role of midwife of the coming repaired generation.
Dear Professor Messay,
You are a giant in Ethiopian politics. I have been following your writings for years now and sometimes writing you personal notes here and there and I can say without any reservation you are in a class of your own. I may not agree with all of your opinions but I totally agree with the overarching theme of your challenges to Ethiopians, mainly the learned ones, which is to hold a dialogue and resolve differences through civilzed means than descending to chaos like the rest of the backward world. I could say a lot more but for now I just want to say keep the thought provoking articles coming until our elite get it. One thing I want to push back on though is your view that the unity of the often dysfunctional elite against woyanne is a silverbullet that could fix all. But what is the vision that they could unify under and win a formidable and ardent following? Democracy? Close to half a million Americans died in the American Civil War while there was a fledgling Democracy. Ethiopia needs something more than Democracy to create national unity against woyanne and beyond. The elite need to start by addressing the concrete issues raised by different groups in Ethiopian politics which led to the defeat of the nationalist force by the quasi-Federalists. Yielding those issues to woyanne is the big mistake and the source of the division. Woyanne must lose its place as Federalist of Ethiopia because it failed at it. The opposition must reclaim its place as the champion of equality to leave woyanne gasping for air. That is the silverbullet, not democracy.
The next generation will contribute its share in solving the complex problems our country faces. Whether these contributions are up to the challenge or not depends on their mastery of their recent history,their ability to extract the lessons enshrined therein, and the creative and smart learning they engage in. To aid in this endeavor our intellectuals must keep churning sober/scientific analysis of our recent political history and the current quagmire. This will serve as one of bedrocks on which solid, objective, and broad ideals/values/missions that must inform and guide the actions of this and the coming generations rest on.
May I dare to suggest that you work on (a) book(s) containing your attempts to answer the questions you raised in this article? I am sure they are worthy of several books at least.
Dr. Messay Kebede asks “…why Ethiopian elites are unable to work together.”
Ethiopian elites are not always the same: Some Ethiopian elites are more educated than the other Ethiopian elites. Some Ethiopian elites are richer than the other Ethiopian elites; some Ethiopian elites have gotten their education from a prestigious university than the other Ethiopian elites. Some Ethiopia elites are born from a noble race while others are born from an ordinary or a common race. Some Ethiopian elites brag the way they look if they are light skins; they also brag which part of Ethiopia they are from, to which religious denomination they belong, and what kind of language they speak. All these factors may have brought some problems against the Ethiopian elites to come together and work together for a common purpose that benefits their homeland, Ethiopia, and if they cannot overcome these dividing factors, the Ethiopian elites will remain divided, and the result, as the great teacher of all time has said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25).
Our ancestors were responsible for their generation, and we are responsible for ruining or building our country. Rendering the past Ethiopian elites responsible for the divisions of the present Ethiopian elites will not help Ethiopia to prosper and advance forward in the 21st century.
You are confusing the ethno-regional and hate-mongering Diaspora with the Ethiopian Elites. The ethno-regional and hate-mongering Diaspora is made up of people like you. The group is formed from two unholy alliances – from the now extinct feudal-oligarch and the destroyed butcher Derg. You are joined together by your hatred of one common enemy – the transition and transformation of Ethiopia from the abject poverty and backwardness to economic growth and sustainable development. The necessary and sufficient condition for sustainable development is the complete destruction of the archaic feudalism and the butcher Derg system. Sustainable development emancipates and frees the people of Ethiopia from the yoke of misery and deprivation from which they suffered for too long under the rule of feudal –oligarch and the butcher Derg that you are now eulogizing and fighting for. That is way the interest of Ethiopian people and the interest of your hate-monger and ethno-regional group is totally antagonistic! Fortunately, the progress of Ethiopian people is flourishing and unstoppable while the system of your beloved Derg and the stinky feudal is crumbling and vanishing! That is why; you and your unholy feudal friends are working with the enemies of Ethiopia in a futile attempt to derail the progress that is being made in our country! Unfortunately for you, the backward feudal group and the butcher Derg group were slaughtering each other about two or three decades back. You do not trust each other. That is why you are a dysfunctional group.
The reasons why the Ethiopian elites are fragmented is not a new issue and has been discussed extensively by others who are actively engaged in opposing the policies of the Ethiopian government. One of the hardly bent anti-Ethiopia campaigner, Professor Alemayehu G/Mariam, out of frustration it seemed, wrote an article specifically on this issue and called upon the young generation of Ethiopian youths(who he named “Cheetas") to deal with this problem. Dr Birhanu Nega, a former EPRP thug and member of the dismantled Kinijit opposition political party had lamented on the same problem several times. Professor Getachew Begashaw(former EPRP), Dr Aklog Birara(former MEISON), Dr Negede Gobezie(former MEISON and the chief architect of the Red Terror),Jawar Mohammed(watch his inflammed speech recently on www.ethiotube.net to understand about his stand about the Oromo people and muslims), and many others in the toxic diaspora community had attempted to adress the problems of this issue hoping they will bring about some kind of unity among the seriously divided and dismantled toxic community in the diaspora. Professor Messay Kebede, who at one time was a lecturer at the Addis Abeba University and an ardent supporter of the fascist military government, is indirectly “confessing” his past failures but understandably remains bitterly opposed to the Ethiopian government.
The truth of the matter for the fragmentation of these elites is that the arguments on which their opposition to the Ethiopian government is based on politics of hate, their remaining strong sympathy and attachments to their former movements like EPRP, MEISON, DERG etc etc, and the deep-rooted conviction of ethnic politics. On top of all these anomalies and sick political diversions the greed for personal fame and recognition as Messay admittedly writes, I quote ” A pertinent illustration of fragmentation is the tendency to create parties revolving around individuals rather than being based on ideas and goals” is an outstanding problem that can never be resolved. To make matters worse, instead of trying to reconcile and win the support and sympathy of the Ethiopian people they allign themselves with dictators like Isias Afeworki and a radical muslim of an Egyptian origin who resides in the US. While the so-called opposition forces in the toxic diaspora dig their own graves, the Ethiopian government, more than any time in the history of our country, is transforming the society making Ethiopia one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Remarkable and astonishing achievements in areas of education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, electrification etc are the every day realities in Ethiopia from which the Ethiopian people are immensely benefiting and do not see any reason why they should not endorse the policies of the present government. The fragmented and poisonous politics of the toxic diaspora that allies itself with fanatics and extremists are and will remain alien to the Ethiopian people.
Ethiopia is prospering and shall continue to prosper!
I think I know you!!
You were one of the master minds of the communist red terror regime, because you were one of those that taught Marxist Leninist philosophy in Addis Abeba University during the Derg era. Everyone knows the horror stories about honor students being expelled from the university for not passing your dogmatic courses. Now you talk about dialogue and unity. If you want to be trusted, you better begin by writing honestly your own biography and what you have taught and done during the Derg era.
You may make endless speculations why regular Ethiopians prefer to live a normal life in a stable and developing nation. It is true that Ethiopians are very dissatisfied with the current ethnocentric regime. ETV and the government may exggerate the positive sides of life in present day Ethiopia, but it is also very true that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We are in no rush to sacrifice our hard earned peace and stability for some old die-hard Derg nostalgics.
The main weakness of Ethiopian opposition was stated by former American ambassador to Ethiopia Shinn: “Ethiopian opposition manifestly detached from the reality of Ethiopian society".
Badly written article. If an opposition party is lead by comedians then there is something wrong in the kitchen. Respect to each other is absent among opposition parties. Every one wants to be the leader, and will castigate any one who oppose him as Woyane or Hodam or a spy of…
Underestimation of the EPRDF is their usual mistake the last twenty years while the EPRDF is getting bigger and bigger by recruiting party members in millions.
A true opposition party should make itself legal and work in Addis not in DC. It should aspire to recruit only well educated people not what you have in America, especially in DC, full of Gondere balagers, and foul mouthed baria Mercato duruyes. Respect eachother must be the buz word.
This is what the Dilemma of the Ethiopian Elites .Unable where to stand and how to react against the Agazi bandits evil regime .Of course traitor bandas the likes of
Endrias Eshete and co. are unshamessly working hands in hands with the looter bandits .Other the likes Isaac Ephrem are ploting in the name of National Reconciliation
against the unity and sovereignty of the country . Patriotic Elites must for once and for all leave their internal quarels and stand for the rights of the peoples by joining the heroes at the battle fields . Than wasting their times by critisising each others .
Having seen Dr. Messay and actually charted his articles for quite some time all along, I usually end up tangled may be due to my powerlessness to grasp what was he preordained to say? Often times, I was mislaid in his props of vital arguments in lieu of mammoth burden of expectation as reverberate academic individual whom many of us expect better from him as an individual. His establishment to identify the nonthreatening terms of defining Ethiopian politics as a congenial in our inability to come up to terms whether it is to be blamed for western education, lack of independent educational curriculum of our Owen or maybe we need cultural revolution sort is a matter to be seen. It is only fair to praise Messay for his ontological definition of the unknown political cliff to borrow his word in “precipice” which political elites or parties see it moving blurred every time an inch closer to it. From non-skewed perspective, I can now see a fair assessment of Dr. Messay’s indulgence into the deep-routed structural cause of Ethiopian politics and its abyss animosity may give us a first hindsight as to why such twaddle has ever been in our dispositions for that long?
Thank you for being cogent this time
Mr. Mesay, i read your article in its entirety. all the reasons you gave for the disintegration of the opposition is absolutely off mark.
there is one and only one reason why the opposition is disintegrated miserably i e they don’t have CAUSE.
the ethiopian people are against them. they see them as useless , spineless, power hungry. and corrupt.
the ethiopian people know that all the reasons given to discredit this extraordinary government is false and mean spirited. they also know the number one reason why they bitterly hate this giovernment is not democracy or division, but the ethnicity of most of the leaders.in this regard sir, the main reason of your disappointment is only you are
A REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
A somali author, Nurruddin Farah, once said: the reason why we have so many brutal diactators in Africa is the way we were brought up to think as young children. We observe and take note that it is always the head of a household, the bread winner, who had the final say inany matter and it is to be obeyed without any hesitation. Such becomes the method of thinking in adulthood. Educted or not this dictatorial tendency (my way or the highway)will prevail through ones life span. When there is gun the dispute is often settled by bullet. I am sure you (the author of the articel) are fully aware, more than any body alive, of what happend during the Red Terror in Ethiopia.
Was there any reason for educated, so called Marxist Ethiopian intelelctuals, to murder adolescent children and dump their dead bodies on streets of Addis Ababa and other towns simply because the children differed in their views on politics? This is just to give you an example. You know very well what Mengistu did to consolidate his power. The dictatorial mentality extends, today, to church memembers fighting each other for power, split and weakining of political parties (EPRP), split and disapperance of community organizations, and the list goes on. Someone said the parties split and become weak becuase they do not have “CAUSE” to fight for and I do agree. I will go a little further and add: even if they have cause to fight for their dictatorial menatlity (my way or their highway) takes over and they start fighting each other and in the process achieve nothing.
Ante T’ekat’eko fit. Atarf? Remember the phrase ‘I think I know you’.
If you were honest, mostly to yourself, you wouldn’t dare to ask these questions of unity. According to different sources indicating, you were one of those elites whom had been living their life comfortable during the time that the majority of the Ethiopian people were struggling, and paying their presous life to get a read of the DERG or the bucher regime that the Ethiopian people ever endured. And yet, you have no shame to claim that as all Ethiopian elites in the same camp or as opposition to the current federalism system. Therefore, there is nothing could be expected form you, and likes that have had contributed nothing to the poor-beautiful nation and nationalties of the Ethiopian people, but you all have been fantasizing with your unpractical or fake unity dilemmas….
God bless the system!!
The writing is honest and tried to separate categorically what problems held the elites or opposition have to unite. Ato Messay argument is better than those who just shouts all day in their media or gathering but dont understand where the real problem lies.
In my opinion partly the problem lies on Tplf, partly on Derg, partly on Hailesese but majority on us each one of us. we are as society dont like to admit mistakes even we know the reality. we see anyone with different view than us as enemy so they have to be eliminated. we like to proud ourselves in our history but we dont want to talk about our problematic history. we spent majority of our history fighting each other. fighting colonialists and expansionists is our bright part of history and anyone who lived and live under ethiopian framework or attached to oppressed people of Africa or the world could be proud of that history bcs we can find connection in that. but some may try to detach themselves from that. and on the contrary some of us who are proud of our history dont want to admit the ugly part of our history.
I ll leave here to go back and investigate what road we took to the historians
the second thing i ll try to focus on contemporary events. i believe the opposing forces has contributed to Every growing EPRDF dominance and dictatorship. beacuse those parties fighting the derg was weather we like it or not represented a section of societies meaning ideas it may good or bad. those parties are the creation of hailelassie and majority
are the result of years the brutality of the derg regime. the problem in eritrea was minimum during hailesellase but haileselasse could have solved it easily than derg. derg inherited the eritran issue. could have mimimized it and handled it but throw down the hill and let another rebillion in Tigray erupted. so our history rolls on untill 1991. the winner at the time naturally but what we should know at the time even tplf spearhead the downfall of derg there was overwhelming.support of the oppressed power behind it otherwise there wont be no way a handful of rebels could overwhelm a professional, armed to the teeth like the former Ethiopian army. so when the rebels come their idea about ethnocentric ideology seem dangerous to some, but in my opinion it wasnt beause. that just a political arrangement like moving your furniture around the house. because our culture, tradition religion, and socio economic factors are stronger. when Tplf introduced this arrangement they should have been more careful. because the idea is new to us but the blunder at somelevel. so extremism starts to entrench on both side those who don’t support federal system even those who hate Tplf gut from the begining and those who belive they go freedom finally. so back and forth with eprdf started then got worst by the year. the fear led tplf to be more brutal bcs the opposition was allinating tplf. it treated it as alien who took power by chance and one day when they get chance they will send the to hell. the same feeling was created among those who were criticizing Eprdf. now we seem we got to a deadlock. i dont believe in armed opposition to topple tplf bcs first we have a good experience that blood and economy lost in the past. its like bold men fighting for a comb. second the Arab revolution showed as good example. if Ethiopian in Ethiopia believe that no one has to tell them. the only way is to engage the party back home to defeat their ideas.to defeat ideas we whave to engage them. a good exaple will be when meles came here in washington. Abebe got a chance to face him. i would rather want Abebe engage meles ask him touch questions. than insulting him i understand Abebe anger when he meet meles face to face. there is overwhelming pressure on him. but what message will meles take. is first easy way out bcs one citizen shouts the police escorted him out now back to business meles may be humilated but taht will be forgton as the iraqi journalist who threw shoe at bush. the turned the situation in to comedy than understanding the frustration of the
person. but engagement and facts will put Tplf in corner and show the the only way to go forward other wise
Ouch, this is literally a classic high-sounding-nothing article – Professor Messay at his prime with a worthless opinion again.
Why does this pseudo philosopher pretend so much and cleverly avoid dwelling on the core cause of modern Ethiopia’s shortcomings head on?
U are in reality a smart hypocrite of the first order! The agony that has left you restless and stressed at seeing the relative success of the “Kedamai Weyane” revolution of Tigray’s farmers did agitate you to write a worthless article – an article whose central theme is a coded incitement against Ethiopia’s Tigray. For the unsuspecting ordinary Ethiopians, because Messay calls for unity, it seduces them to rally around his mischievous call out of innocent love they have for great Ethiopia BUT for Tigray haters & bashers both Chiffra Shabiya and RiziRazgh Neftegna Buchiloch, it clearly lends them yet another hollow justification to continue hallucinating in full paranoia.
The article is biased, not objective becuause all along it’s driven by negative emotions & smouldering resentment.
BTW speaking of the junior twin brother of Fascist Shabiya, Fascist Derg’s social & psychological foundation was Neftegna politics a’la expansionist tiny & dry Ankoberite Shewa.
The call for the unity of the elites is simply ridiculous! Unity of the Amhara elites & the Oromo elites? Oh really?! What a smart move again.
I do not speak for the Oromo elites nor do I pretend to do so for the vast majority of my home region’s elites BUT the bottom line is the following:- Until the IDIOT Amhara elites & their auxiliary Amharaised Shewa-Oromo elites alike completely & sincerely STOP raising their apolitical children telling them the invented false history about their ancesstors of yester year and by extension STOP selectively narrating Tigray’s magnificient history as their own fathers achievements.
The second most significant point for the IDIOT Amhara elites to do is to accept the Oromo identity along with the others’s as one of the major organic pillars of Ehiopia’s multi-cultural identity. Acknowledging it and afterwards to give it mere lip-service won’t suffice at all.
Who will ever forget the machinations of the Dep’t of Philosophy at the College of Social Sciences in AAU? Were U not the long serving chair person of the dep’t back then under Fascist Derg? Were U not under the direct control of the grand children of Neftegna Shewa, serving them actively as their loyal auxiliary? Back then, AAU was the single most powerful little Kingdom of the educated Neftegna Lijoch next to the Bihereseboch Institute & the Central Planning Ministry (aka “Gojjam Berenda")?
Indeed, the Bihereseboc Institute was under the executive control of “Ashatire” Yigletu & ShewanDagn Belete – The Central Planning office at Sidist-Kilo was given the above by-name asuch because it was inunidated by a select crop of Gojjames who were given preferential privileges to assume key positions under a certain Gojjame named Mersi’E Ejigu who in-turn was under the direct control of the Derg’s Addis Tedla. As to the little Kingdom AAU, go back in time & figure out which individuals were actually commanding it … Theses individuals were acting with full excutive powers beyond the scope & duties of their respective depts fully consious of their group identity & narrow nationalist interests, namely: Ankoberite Shewa identity!
Prof. Messay, please think hard to be a genuine & credible philosopher for sake of a multi-cultural Ethiopia.
Aragaw aka Aragabiw
Teddy, the IDIOT #1 deported Amice
and last but not least, our illiterate Arogit senait
With all due respect, I disagree with the wholesale notion of that elites of the `60s and `70s generations, including yourself, were to be blamed for the persistent socio-political ills of Ethiopia. Of course they did some mistake here and there, but on the whole they did wonderful job by spearheading the down fall of the much-hated, backward, blood sucking and racist feudal system. Finding or agreeing on what is a right leadership is one and lamenting about the past is another thing. Majority of the people won`t miss the dreaded past rulers.
ASS B. Goittu
Which camp you admire most? Even though you probably look and walk like typical northern mountain`s monkey, you surely support the worst camp when it comes treachery, colour, ethnicity and religious fascism mindsets. Given a chance, you seem to aspire to become the worst enemy within for majority of Ethiopian regardless of Muslim, Christian or Indiginous faith affiliation.
I tip my hat to Ken Keb and Faysal for their excellent posts.
Messay Kebede is a crook, a liar, a small time bully and a former Derg Cadre at Addis Ababa University.
I wonder how he was able to become a Professor at University in the USA. Even without considering his political background, I seriously doubt his academic credentials. Does this man know proper philosophy other than Marxist mumbo-jumbo? Messay’s personality cannot lend to philosophical thinking and inquiry. I have observed this man in the late 1980’s at AAU, and my conclusion is that he is a cadre, an agitator and a person with imagination deficiency.
Great article Prof. Messay, keep up the good work Sir.But I miss Addis Zefany. It is probably too intelectual of an article for him to comment on, or he is content with the disunity of the oposition. As to the comment-insult of Dej. Balcha. you were not in a position to respond to Prof. Messay excellent article, instead you showed the level of your intelect through slanderous response.
I like your input exposing these losers, dissecting their past history point A to Z. They need to be told who they really are. “komatan komatta kalalut gebito yefetafital” newinna!
It is amazing why the diaspora wanna be opposition kept to tolerate these liars. How long they keep their silence like a sheep lead to its slaughter house, remains to be seen.
For example I myself know personally, that tamagne beyene is a self centered, greedy son of a b!tch hoddam, who never has an ounce of respect or love what so ever for Ethiopians. All he cares and enjoys is, the luxury life he has now, and traveling all over the world in the name of fund raising, checking in five star hotels, and most of all, the spot light which the diaspora sheep calling him “hero".
When is the diaspora sheep gonna wake up, and see the dishonest and lie they’ve been fantasizing is just nothing but a self serving hot air filled hope?
They owe it to themselves, to wake up and smell the coffee, before it is too late.
They’re just standing on the hill, their mouth wide open for the roast duck to drop in.
IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!!!!
Ali, awchie Roble, rebel (visitor),
You have been lately eating crow and peddling around, confused, as most Muslims today are, whether you belong to the past or to the present elites; the fact is that you have never reached to the level of past or present elites because you are a ruthless Jihadist Muslim who do not believe in deductive or inductive thinking: logical thinking is foreign to all Muslims and that is why they easily get angry when one debates them on certain issues such as blowing up motels, hotels, and burning down Synagogues, Temples, and Churches. Not only that, they would come with a dagger or sword to kill the person who exposes their ignorance why they kill a person who rejects their fake religion. If people like this fussy Ali had not been around in our Christian country, we would not have put in place the anti-terrorism law, but we must have that law to frustrate the fussy Ali demonic plot to subvert our system of democratic and Christian government.
The truculent Ali fussy seems he is in bewilderment as to which elites he belongs: I will tell him which elites he belongs to: Mister Ali fussy, you belong to the Boko Haram Islamist elites or to the Egyptian terrorist Muslim Brotherhood elites or to the Hazbala or Hamas Jihadist elites or simply you do not belong to anything except to the groups of mending or weaving of clothes. I think you are simply the second bilal or azan, the person who calls Muslims for prayer every Friday afternoon. He climbs the minaret and from there shouts or adhan. That is not a bad job for an illiterate Ali fussy, Ali dirty, and Ali shinti!
The elites of the 60s and the 70s have been the brilliant ones and the highly educated elites who have trained thousands of educated young men and young girls; of course, you are not one of them. These elites of the 60s and the 70s fought hard to bring change to their mother land, and they brought change: they were not fragmented elites; they were elites who believed in one country, in one flag, in one language, and in one God. Unfortunately, the present elites who believe in multiculturalism, in interfaith, in political correctness, and in Islamophobic have been advocating western democracy that encourages same sex marriage, which is foreign to the African culture, to Ethiopia, the land of Christianity. The present Ethiopian elites are infected by the contagious disease – Islam; therefore, they cannot think properly; they cannot work together, and they cannot even eat the same food. Muslims eat halal food; Christians and Jews don’t.
When, for example, the present Ethiopian elites have a discussion about some issues, if there are some Muslim elites in the panel, the Muslim elites will cut the discussion and go to perform their ablution in the middle of the discussion. Right there the division or the fragmentation of the present Ethiopian elites begins. And from there it will attempt to cover how to plot to bring down the Christian government and establish an Islamic government in the Christian land of Ethiopia.
If the present Ethiopian elites want to succeed in achieving their aspiration, what ever it may be, they must know with whom they are discussing their issues. If they are discussing their issues with those who believe in multiculturalism, in interfaith, in political correctness, and in Islamophobic, then they must know they are doomed to fail.
Multiculturalism, interfaith, political correctness, and Islamophobic have been the best proven means for the Jihadist Muslims, like Ali fussy, to destroy Christianity, to impose Islam on the Ethiopian people, and finally to empower the backward Muslims in Ethiopia so that the Muslim dreams for the establishment of the caliphate will be materialized on the Christian land of Ethiopia. Of course, it is just an empty dream all Muslims have been dreaming for the demise of Christianity in Ethiopia, but it will never happen as far as the Arab-Muslim elites are just petro-oil-oriented elites as the Egyptian Muslims are Nile-oriented elites, and nothing more and nothing else!
Marcus ,Idiot Crook Banda .Prof Messay is the first professor of the Addis _Abeba University who majored and took his PHD from European well known Universities on Philosophy .Comparing to the bunch of illeterate ,TPLF fake Intellectuals with only Knowledge is Agaz_Amice Stupid Ideology of Talaku Tigrai .Kena Keb time for you to talk about your own Agazi Crypto Intellectuals ,vomiting daily their usual Ethno Ideology of hates and masterminding programs of Genocide
and mass murdering . By the way Adgi your so called “.. a self centered, greedy son of a b!tch hoddam, who never has an ounce of respect or love what so ever for Ethiopians. All he cares and enjoys is, the luxury life he has now, and traveling all over the world..” concernes your own Bandit masters ,from the Evil Widow , the whole Agazi Goat Herders to the Tigre Mafiosis and Bandas .
Now, my question is:
1. the more educated one is in Ethiopia, the more selfish, the more greedy, the more egoist and the more polarizing figure he/she will be?
So, it is then true when al Amariam wrote the Un education of the educated. What reverses the brain of educated Ethiopian elites? I would say it will be a huge research investment for study.
Overall, Ethiopia is rich with water resources but poor on Mandela like citizens. I believe the Zemenemesafint stage of cultural evolution has not been completed. with this I would say that Ethiopian elites are little chimpanzees, very alpha males who like to domineer and dominate but fail to accomplish it and end up fragmented. I have not finished reading his post. Dialogue culture and confession for the sake of truth is non existent. No apologies culture what so ever. No culture of Biography so we can learn from it.
@ Nesanet Ethiipia,
It dismays me deeply to engage many IDIOT Ethiopians like you in a substantive manner & style because you will NEVER & EVER accept the fact that Ethiopia does NOT have a Single Uniform Universal cultural identity.
You lamented hopelessly to the effect that I didn’t respond to Prof. Messay’s worthless opinion – Look, my fellow Ethiopian: I don’t have the slightest doubt whatsoever that the unlucky professor does understand very very well the core substance of my response without qualifications! To his credit, though, the loser professor has indeed correctly identified the symptoms, but not the origins of, as to why the Ethiopian elites are not getting united to wrestle state political power from EPRDF.
But to press it home, I now take the liberty to translate what I wrote him for you once again as follows…
It goes without saying that the Origin of Ethiopian elites disunity is the narrow nationalist political maneuver of Ankoberite Shewa whose aspirations and core agenda was by and large to organise Ethiopia around “Ankoberite Shewa-Amhara culture” as its centre based on a Racist & Chauvnist hierarchical structurisation of the rest under its tight control! The unacceptable false assumption of this Fascist ideology of Shewa elites was that the culture of Shewa Amhara taken as a superior construct which according to them was destined to civilise the rest (categorising them correspondingly as inferior to it) under its guidance & leadership. Moreover, this leadership claim of theirs was to be traced back in time as the only genuine legitimate continuity of its alleged inheritance, of course by false divine will, from the Holy Throne of Axumite Zion through faked genealogical ancestory.
So much so it is under this above antiEthiopia & anti-human political agenda that the Oromo elite & others are now supposed to rally themselves around a bogus “Ethiopian Elites United Front” in the name of democracy & majority rule. Let alone the ever proud & vigilant Tigrayoch, neither the Oromo & the Ogadeni elite nor does the Afar elite & the elites of Debub-Killil will ever accept such a manipulative agenda of the Shewa elite (i.e. the confused elites of Shewa Amhara + Amharised Shewa-Oromo).
It did NOT work in the past 100 yrs & it won’t work in the future too!
In fact, why Ethiopian elites will never get united is: For instance, no sooner a group of Ethiopians reach a consuns around a pan-Ethiopian noble idea than the embeded ethnic & regional cultural identity of each member’s will actively play a pronounced role from the outset in the whole process! That is why restructuring Ethiopia along ethnic & regional federal states is a centrist solution so that the elite of a given region will somehow feel free to commit itself wholeheartedly for the advancement & transformation of its respective ethnics/multi-ethnics-region because a certain elite understands the psycological make-up of its own ethnics than say an alien elite who happens to possess the technical qualifications but he/she is devoid of the most crucial substance in his/her assignemts to serve Ethiiopia, namely: his own ethnics cultural identity!
Relax and accept the rights and aspirations of multi-cultural Ethiopia under a decentralised federal system.
Have a great weekend … Cheers!
Dr Messay is a very confused person. He doesn’t know what he is talking about. Messay was one of the teachers at AAU who made down the bright Ethiopian students when he was there. His usual favorite words were ” A for Karl Marx, B for me, Messay, C for brave student and D for regular students.” Please don’t confuse others.
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«"alemayehu g. mariam "» «"ali mohammed"» "education" «"human rights"» "usaid" agriculture «alemayehu g. mariam» birtukan china clinton «commodity exchange» dc9 economics economy ecx «eskinder nega» inflation «meles zenawi» «messay kebede» «messay kebede» mideksa murder wikileaks «yilma bekele»