For many, it is not strange by now that the government of Ethiopia has developed of annual rituals in a show of political propaganda to paint a picture of a working ethnic Federal system.
Some time in November, government celebrates “nations, Nationalities and peoples” day. The notion relates to one of the absurdities in the wordings of the constitutions. What it implies, so to speak, is the Ethiopian entity is divisible into nations, nationalities and people’s. The ethnic ideology of the ruling party underscores that there is no such thing as Ethiopian people.
There is also this “flag day.” Flag day is also divisible in “nations,nationalities and peoples” each having one. In the western world, the US celebrates the fourth of July, France celebrate its republic day, Canada celebrates its Canada day. The sense is similar to flag day. Yet, again entirely different as these countries have a progressive, relatively speaking, way of celebrating diversity without trading it off with nationalism. India with hundreds and hundreds of language groups within its territory, is not divided into “Nations, Nationalities and Peoples.”
Now, according to Fana Broadcasting – which is apparently government affiliated radio station- which cited ENA, the Ethiopian government is thinking in terms of celebrating “Pastoralism day.” Date of celebration is not indicated.
The designation “pastoralists day” sounds more like economic based yet people who fall into these categories correspond to particular language speaking group in the the South Eastern and Eastern parts of Ethiopia, and that sings very well to the ethnic ideology of the regime in power.
More so, the event is expected to bring third parties which the report described as “stakeholders” so as to “enhance development in pastoralist communities” – the reference is probably to “investors”
The parts of Ethiopia where animal husbandry is a major economic activity experienced outright massacre and part of the record is in the hands of human rights organizations.
What ever the “pastoralists day” mean for the government, Ethiopians in the pastoral parts of Ethiopia including Afar would might feel like celebration if government gives them a break from outright repression and killings.