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Ethiopia - Soul of the South, where art thou?



  02:29:57 am, by   , 1085 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Golto Aila

Ethiopia - Soul of the South, where art thou?

Ethiopia - Soul of the South, where art thou?

By Golto Aila

Published on April 13, 2008

Part of my early childhood was in southern Ethiopia and by all measure it was the best time of my life. Not because of its bounty, not because of its sophistication, but because of my culture and because of my family values. The rule in my home and among my relatives was in stark contrast to the way the region was ruled! To drive home the importance of treating people with dignity, it was a rule that the family and household workers all ate their meals together from the same sahin. I addressed our servants with titles depending on their gender and age. It is the lesson I carry with me everywhere to this day and I’m proud of it.

In those days, the realm was ruled from the North. The south served the north in every sense of that word. Ironically the advent of Mengistu’s era ushered in the period where the southerners dared to think they were equal to their compatriots in the North! Every cloud has a silver lining, but it was cloud all the same! When the current regime came along they promised autonomy and that somehow the southerners will be masters of their fate. But of course that did not happen – that was not the intention at all, the intention was to divide and destroy! Instead the South became a convenient tool of this regime’s political game! The government’s hand is, invariably, in every so-called inter-ethnic conflict that I have heard of in the South – neighboring ethnic groups and clans fight each other like never before! The latest clash was that between the Guji and the Sidama, near Wendo-Gennet! This regime took the concept of divide and rule to a new level – divide and destroy! So, left to its own devices, there will be no future to talk about by the time Meles is done with Ethiopia in general and the South in particular!

Because of decades of misrule of the South, the politics of the South is largely driven by the psychology of the subjugated, much to the disadvantage of the south itself! Every strategy appears to be a reaction to the previous and current misrule, hence, the drive for “liberation” by the likes of OLF! While such sentiments are perfectly understandable it would be utterly irresponsible to pursue policies which will only lead to more suffering of the citizens of the South and the entire country! It would make some sense if an independent South can just transfer itself to another location in the world where it can be at peace! But that is impossible! So, now “independence” is created in a hostile environment where the people become hostages of their own actions!

We need not go far for examples of what will happen – look at Eritrea who “liberated” itself from Ethiopia! Our brothers and sisters in Eritrea are suffering like they have never suffered before in our history, in spite of having a long coastline of one of the most important and strategic waterways in the world! Eritrea is one big prison camp which they fought for and won! The fact that OLF and ONLF are camped there is no coincidence – it is worrisome that in their efforts to free their people from tyranny they have gone to seek help from tyrant par excellence! The South should learn from their past and make every effort to prevent its recurrence in the future. The most sensible path is for the South to get to the center of Ethiopia’s MARCH TO DEMOCRACY and claim its rightful place in the reconstruction of their great country!

Today is a new day, a day full of challenges and opportunities for Ethiopia in general and the South in particular! Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy! The South should embrace democratic principles, throw off the fears of former misrule (most people in Ethiopia were misruled), embrace the democratic future, and stand up to be counted. The South should stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the country and fight for the survival of Ethiopia in which everybody will live with dignity. It is self-doubt, morbid suspicion, complacency and paranoia that force people to make bad choices! It is incumbent on the Southern leaders (political or otherwise) to come out and join hands with fellow democratic minded Ethiopians irrespective of ethnic, religious, social and economic backgrounds, and lead the way to a brighter future for ALL!

There will always be differences of opinion between people (it happens within families) and that is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact the more the merrier, so that people get the opportunity of greater choices. If your object is to give your constituents the best opportunities in life, why should you have any difficulty in accepting a choice which may benefit even you!

When Eritrea got independence, the calculation from its leadership was obvious – they’ve got Ethiopia where they wanted - by the scruff of her neck! They had decapitated Ethiopia, it would not survive and if it did, it would be at their mercy! Miraculously, don't ask me how but Ethiopia sprouted another head/heads and survived - after some fashion! Little did the Eritrean leadership know of the fact that a head without a body to nourish it cannot survive either! No strategy of mutilating Ethiopia will work for anybody! It is simply foolish because it amounts to a deliberate self mutilation! Also it pays to understand that the task of retrieving Ethiopia from this anarchy and rehabilitating it is squarely on the shoulders of all Ethiopians. It will be Ethiopians who will determine whether or not the country and its peoples will be free and democratic. “Liberation movements” whose strategies are based on exploitation of peoples’ emotions based on past experiences, instead of using those experiences to craft solutions for challenges of tomorrow, are movements towards doom for the country and its entire population! Friends, however well meaning, can only help Ethiopia achieve what Ethiopians set out to do.

Conversely, no amount of outside assistance to Meles will keep him in power if the country doesn’t want him. History is replete with examples of such futility!

So, I appeal to the Soul of the South, to let reason prevail and work for the creation and preservation of a unitary Democratic Ethiopia and your beautiful South, for the posterity!

Waqi ha nu jabbessu!


Comment from: qassimosis [Visitor]

dood, i like the way you write.
and i agree with you to some extent.

04/13/08 @ 02:48
Comment from: Ali Roble [Visitor]
Ali  Roble

Soul of the North, where is the shame thou?

To be honest with you,I’m not from south South, but I can reality still felt pity people like you. Don’t insult any one’s intellegency.I can still see your non-sensical, long, and lobsided arguement about the past. I still feel your nostalgia about sense of entitelment of superiorty status in the the down-trotten natives.

You can’t convince even five years chlild with your dishosnest and pseudo-intellectual comments. How come you care the plight and inter-conflict of Sidamos vs Guji or Borana vs Garre and so on now, if you never did before? It is a simply hogwash and hypocry arts in the pretext of unity slogan. Wake up,we live in the first century info revolution.

04/13/08 @ 03:36
Comment from: nuna [Visitor]

It’s well said and very right,Ethiopians from south to north east to west ought to work together to rid of mistrust, infighing,greed and powermongering.

04/13/08 @ 09:12
Comment from: Shewa Anbessa [Visitor]
Shewa Anbessa

There is great political confustion in in the Southern part of the country,becousy of this sub nestional (narrow nastionalistic polisy) of present regem in Ethiopia.most southerners dont really know even which nationality they belongs to…..youngsters dereven by only ethinic propaganda of some ethinic based political organaistion but to be honest they are not qute seoure whay they are suporting this or that political party.this is very sad to our decent and hambel people of the south.

Eg there are a millions of Amharians and Tigrians in the southern part of the country esp in Oromiya and SNNP Who there human and dimocratic wright has been denayed by “woyyane” government….. no school for there chldren to teach them in ther own mathor thong and they dont have democratic wright to reflect and exprese ther true identity……

Some of them forsed by OLF to be “BORN AGIN OROMOS” forced to talk afan Oromo and to reflect themselfes as other nationality than ther owen true community.

To the next generetion there will be great identetiy craises in the southe

04/13/08 @ 10:31
Comment from: Guiguy [Visitor]  

I reckon that Southern Ethiopian children need 1) A decent living,food, clean water health, education
2) Esencial basic Infrastructurs
3) Skills &, decent job
4) Finally find someone like Ato Golto Aila who w’d stands for there interest and fight for there voice to be heard.

04/13/08 @ 14:12
Comment from: engeda [Visitor]

Your article sounds like an independent judgment with full of hope. You pointed out the failure in Eritrean independence to deliver the promise and the development need. Without creating a real and understandable reconciliation between the people who leaves for long and then separated it is for me unthinkable to get interdependence for a bigger challenge. Here is what I understand about the people in the south. The people in the south are more of natural and human, they lived under small democratic social structure for long. Not to mention the bigger structures resulted from those small social structures in the past, still those social structures are the way they lead there day to day life. The problem usually arose when undemocratic nature of power tries to interfere the way they used to leave. I have been working around Arba Minch and further south. I get a chance to visit most of the ethnic groups leaving around north and south of Omo. I was in arbore communities, a small village surrounded by borens, hammer, geleba, tsemay and others for a week. It is really incredible to get so democratic social structure in those small rural communities from the country led by dictators for long. That makes me more optimist for thinking the future of Ethiopia. A leader we can build the values based on the common values of those societies to drive for the bigger challenge in my opinion is the force for creating a better reconciliation to get out of this bad situation.
Unfortunately our government is destroying this nature and creating a more hostile region across the country. That has to be condemned strongly and the people working to address those constituents have to get together and have to resonate those common values across the country.
I rely enjoy your article and believe they are valuable but you ignored most of the realities and felt more optimist about the situation. The leaders and the people around them are not willing for the progress of those dreams, because they are more interested in being faithful for the values generated by those leaders long ago. Any way it was worthy to read your article.

04/13/08 @ 14:48
Comment from: Golto Aila [Visitor]
Golto Aila

Thanks Ali Roble!

You said “Wake up,we live in the first century info revolution.”

May be that is the reason you don’t seem to understand what we are talking about! By the way you sound you came from the East in the 1st Century!


04/13/08 @ 15:09
Comment from: Hailu [Visitor]

good idea

Ethiopian history tell us that we have never democratically elected leaders in the past.We want a leader who leason his people and work with people. We sufer in the past by dectator leaders. But we have never have leaders who are the enemy of that country, who divid and rule us like now. Meles planted ethinic poletics which we now see it inside our colege campus and unversitys, like in Jima. Ethinic poletics will further divid us and distruct us from bulding our country.

If we elect our leaders democratically,we don not need ethinic poletics that can only benefit the rulers. If we have an independent judisial system, the rule of law will be respected and we will have equal voices among each ethinic groups.This articl is wel said
thank you

04/13/08 @ 18:34
Comment from: selam [Visitor]

Mr. Golto has presented a scholarly arguement on the plight of the South from historical and political perspectives and I would encourage the concerned intellectuals of the South and and fellow Ethiopians who share similar fate to stand up for what you believe and expose the past maladies and future politicao-economic neglect of this regime and solidify the chances of defeating the forces of divide and destroy.

04/13/08 @ 21:26
Comment from: anon1 [Visitor]

well said. There are a lot more to add but I would like to add one thing. The struggle should be for for a free liberated ethiopia where all nationalities live together in equality.Those who do not believe in equality of all nationalitiess of ethiopia should be brought to justice.

04/13/08 @ 21:32
Comment from: Cessna skyhawk [Visitor]
Cessna skyhawk

I won’t understand how someone who is a pro Ethiopian has a negative view of Golto Ails’s assesment. Very articulate!

04/13/08 @ 22:39
Comment from: MrGK [Visitor]

hi brother
even though as u said people in Eritrea are living in a big prison but u have to know that all poeple in Eritrea are treated equally with out discrimination and all the people are fried on the same Pan without any difference.What about the democratic Ethiopians is that happening ? U give the answer by urself as in ur question in the topic Ethiopia - Soul of the South, where art thou? :?::crazy:

04/14/08 @ 03:17
Comment from: hani [Visitor]

What a rubbish point of view…it’s really shame….my point it you Ethiopian people need to review your history concerning about Eritrean independence ……i guess you slept for 3000 years and you need someone to wake you up. Think about it!

04/14/08 @ 03:48
Comment from: Snit [Visitor]  

I am Eritrean, and I feel so sorry whenever I hear Ethiopians not to give their political anaylsis without looking and comparing themselves with Eritrea.

For God’s sake, Ethiopia is a country with a lot of beautiful history. You today’s Ethiopians; your grandfathers did a great job and they where ahead of everybody. Your great grand father never look back to campare themselves to minor states. In thier time all the story was about war and they were great worriors.

What role is Ethiopia playing in the things that our region needs in today’s story. Today’s story is about human rights, equality, justice and living in harmony while working together for better development.

Is there anything our country Eritrea can see from Ethiopia, except history books? Had the Ethiopias tried for the better of themselves, we (the whole region) would have benefited.

Ethiopian problem, “They know their great grandfathers were good at war, they were able to defend themselves even from Europeans.” It was in 19th century, two century ago. Is there anybody in Ethiopia who lives in the 21st century. Anyone who can say let’s make our region heaven.

My understanding is if the Ethiopians got a leader whose mind is peace, our region will be heaven.

God bles Ethiopia
God give Ethiopians eye to see the future rather than refering to history.
God give Ethiopians the wisdom to think for the better of everybody.

04/14/08 @ 11:27
Comment from: philly [Visitor]


thank you.

04/14/08 @ 18:00
Comment from: geletta [Visitor]

i appreciate all the people who are trying to share their views. but guys/gals, would you please check your spelling before you post your comments? some of the posts are hardly understandable.

04/14/08 @ 20:09
Comment from: reality [Visitor]

Good article. If I may disucss the Liberation Fronts. Remember, TPLF was one of them and it has been in power now for 17 yrs. Their main reason for not leaving the power for true democratic leadership is that, they say they fought for years to have power in Ethiopia and exploit therefore, why should they leave such luxury? Guess what, the next armed liberations such as the ONLF and OLF are fighting and when TPLF is overthrown either by the will of the people or by the LFs, and those Liberation Fronts again will take power for another exploitation of Ethiopians and ethnocentrist leadership. This is going to be vicious cycle that Ethiopia will be experiencing for a long time. As we Ethiopians, South, North, Center,East or West, are we really thinking about such consequences? Who or what do we have ready after TPLF? We all say we want equal right and true democratic leaderhsip, what quick solutions do we have ready after TPLF and such vicious cycle is to start again? Let us think about. The best organization that has come close so far is Kinijit. So, the sooner we support Kinijit the better.

Long live One Ethiopia!

04/16/08 @ 14:13



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