Ethiopia : Where are we heading? (By Kebour Ghenna)

(By Kebour Ghenna)
May 5,2019

In recent years institutional barriers and nationalist ideologies have inhibited reasoned discussion of our constitutional future. The politics of Oromia is to a large extent setting the agenda for Ethiopian politics.
Clearly, Oromo nationalists have plenty of people with authority to speak for it. In contrast, Oromo federalists, who also number not a few in Ethiopian politics, are having difficulty responding to their opposite counterparts’ thoughts powerfully expressed by people like Msser Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba.

Similarly an Amhara nationalist movement has dramatically emerged in the last three years, and growing by the day. Both nationalist movements present a real existential threat to Ethiopia.

Across the country we also notice that the pressures for solidarity within competing nationalist communities continue to deepen the differences between them, and impede the discovery and stimulation of commonalities that would have strengthened citizenship ties.

Both the theory and the practice of divided identities and dual representation in Ethiopian federalism have become a key target of nationalists, and especially of Oromo, Amhara, Sidama nationalist elites seeking to monopolize the voice of their people. From their perspective, the ‘Ethiopian’ civic identity of the country as a whole is a threat and a rival. Indeed, there are many who describe the federal system as a threat because it divides Oromos or Amharas against themselves.

But wait…what if we break up: How will we treat each other if we do become foreigners?

Would we be the best of friend? Would we be the worst of enemies…. There will, I fear, be great bitterness and a nasty split. Of course these tendencies do not yet dominate the way in which we view each other. They coexist with the on-goingness of the existing system. Even in Oromia a complete break from Ethiopia does not seem to be sought by the majority. The point nevertheless remains that on both sides, inside and outside Oromia or Amhara, a possible future in which we no longer belong to the same country is worrying people of all walks of life.

From some nationalist perspective, Ethiopia is already seen as a foreign country. Future relations are viewed from the perspective of Oromo’s or Amharas self-interest. What will happen outside Ethiopia is relevant only to the extent that it will have an effect in, say, Oromia or Amhara.

That’s the current discourse in the country….Backwardness by excellence.

Dear readers, why not elevate our thoughts in the way to get people live peacefully with one another, do business, work hard and cooperate. Why?

Why is it we can’t reflect on what a modern postnational state should look like. By postnational state read a country with no core identity, no exclusionary space, say, an Ethiopia that accommodates any resident born anywhere in Ethiopia, together with new comers from Africa and the world. A country philosophically predisposed to openness. A post modern state emerging and thriving amid multiple identities and allegiances. Indeed, a new model of another way of belonging.

Yes, such ideas are never going to be easy to agree to given our history. But do we really have much choice but adopting the use of a different lens to examine the 21st century challenges and precepts of an entire politics, economy and society. So again, why is it that, we Ethiopians, can’t build a better society, can’t even discuss the creation of a dynamic new conception of nationhood, one unshackled from the state’s, and old-fashioned politicians, demarcated borderlines and walls… its connection to blood and soil. Are we that dim?

Editor’s note : This article was first shared on the personal facebook page of Kebour
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10 Responses to "Ethiopia : Where are we heading? (By Kebour Ghenna)"

  1. rezen   May 5, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Subject: “Ethiopia: Where are we heading? By Kebour Ghenna) May 5,2019”

    Commentary, 5 May 2019
    Where is Ethiopia heading? Very incisive and fully loaded question with wisdom. It deserves honest answer. The short and cruel answer is: >>> ‘Ethiopia is heading to disintegration.’ It further means the END of enviable ancient history, unparalleled in Africa and, no doubt, in one of the few Global ancient countries.

    What happened? It is a long history. In a very short description, Ethiopia has never been known as a democratic country but only as a total dictatorial emperorship. In that history, FAIRNESS and democratic governance had no place. Consequently, [let us be boldly frank] the overwhelming MAJORITY population of Ethiopia – the Oromos — found themselves at the level of servitude for centuries. So much so, (let us again be frank) Oromos were psychologically deeply affected that they were changing their identities (i.e. NAMES) to Amharic names!!! It was the most hopeless denial of identities, resulting out of prolonged insidious inferiority complex, arising from subjugation. In such a climate, one does NOT even know he/she is being manipulated. It was a CRIME perpetrated by the Emperor’s Tribe against the vast majority of the Population of Ethiopia i.e. the most generous, co-habitant and friendly people of Oromo. It was an honour. and life long pleasure for me to have the best humane Oromo friend. Though he had all the ‘doors’ opened to him in the hierarchy of ባላባትነትና በተመንግስትነት he preferred to live modest ordinary life. I used to prick him with his Amharic first name though accompanied by a well-known Oromo father’s name. I truly lost a friend. May God Bless his Soul.

    Time has changed. Now: a) we have a young, shrewd, polite and insightful Oromo Prime Minister of Ethiopia, bestowed with Doctor of Philosophy Degree; b) various Oromo Political Parties; and c) most importantly, Oromo people are now conscious and sensitive to their majority status and naturally deserve democratically balanced structure in Ethiopia’s political sphere. The days of yesterday’s hegemony of a particular race is OVER and will never come back. This is the reality of the 21st Century – and there is no turning back.

    Now to the final reality and practicality: It is absolutely essential for the modern Oromo authorities to be conscious of the fact that Ethiopia is a mold of various societies, representing all the people thereon without a revenge for yesterday’s crime, which has no value for future Ethiopia. There is no recourse other than to have the TRUE HISTORY of Ethiopia so that future generation will have the correct history of a land that independently survived from the ‘Evil Eyes’ of European marauders. Ethiopians must think TWICE before taking reckless emotional steps. THE END

    Reply
  2. zee   May 6, 2019 at 5:01 am

    There never really was a nation or country called Ethiopia. Ethiopia is just a predatory entity pretending to be a state that exists for the purpose of first Addis Ababa, and a distant second for the provinces.

    Stop lying to yourself.

    Oromos want to capture Addis Ababa because possessing Addis Ababa means the end of Ethipia as we know it. Rather than argueing for the lie that is Ethiopia, figure out your identity and begin to negotiate with the Amhara or Oromo for a state. Amhara and Oromo can not live in the same country as equals-stop lying.

    Reply
  3. Dawit   May 6, 2019 at 5:19 am

    Thank you so so much , every thing you said should be in our mind before thinking of separation . I personally am scared of walking up to a news of broken Ethiopia , there is nothing worse than that . We can be better than anyone together but the concept of separation is killing every progress we made . One thing is playing a big roll in what’s happening , political party/ personnel using people as a way to gain power .one thing we should ask is , who are they representing . We are so mixed that this Idea of separation will cost a lot of life , kid ,mother elderly people and women . No need to go far the news is full of victim of war who were families at one time .

    May God protect and unify our Ethiopia

    Reply
  4. Beza   May 6, 2019 at 10:00 am

    The problem is some Ethiopians take kindness for weakness. TPLF had been so kind to Ethiopia since early 1970’s until now. Instead of Ethiopians being kind to TPLF we hear them talk about TPLF as TPLF is weak.It DONOT matter how strong or how weak they think TPLF is the fact is TPLF has never been weak and will not be weak ever.Talk talk talk is weak. TPLF doesn’t talk about strategy actually doesnot need a new strategy. Who needs a strategy, are those pretending to be Leader materials Gondares that had been imitating TPLF for 28 years that now are confused , without TPLF around they are unable to find someone to copy.

    Reply
  5. Abe   May 6, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Mr. Kibur Genna, you are one of a very few voice of reasons in that country of ours.

    Reply
  6. Kassa Kebede   May 7, 2019 at 6:27 am

    We cannot say there is one Ethiopia longing to be United as one as long as we don’t have a fair society that treats all citizens equally.

    In today’s Ethiopia there are majorities who are peasants slaving themselves for the few BANDAS NEO-COLONIALISTS BOURGEOISIES.

    DID A PEASANT SLAVE MAKE YOUR CLOTHES? Is a question we should all raise to ourselves and to each other.

    Ethiopia’s peasants are said to be the lowest paid garment labor with unsafe working conditions . The peasant Garment workers in Ethiopia are said to be paid less than half what garment workers in anywhere in the world including in countries such as Bangladesh and Kenya are getting paid.

    Garment Factories for the SHEIMANNEI!!!

    Reply
  7. Bizu   May 8, 2019 at 12:07 am

    In today’s Ethiopia those in authority got no empathy, they only have empathy when it involves them. Because PM Abiy fought with Eritrea and it looks good in his resume including getting him peace prize he right away gave an answer to make peace with Eritrea and gave Badme to Eritrea with bullet speed.

    Or If we take the Federal Government AKA team Lemma they got empathy only for Oromo since what Oromo feels directly or indirectly involves Team Lemma , since they feel the Oromos pain ,they got committee to map out Addis Ababa And Oromia borders, actually Oromias borders all around being map out with lengthy discussions and spending too much time on it. since Addis Ababa is the Federal city and Oromia is where they got their empathy burried the file is on their desk for those two.
    others that got ignored for years even decades continue to get ignored because there is no empathy for them. Actually the Federal (those in authority that can make a difference) say to each other “their demands are easy we should not waste our time with them, when or if the time comes we meet their demands until then forget them let them know who is in power, put their request files in the warehouse.”

    Files Put with Other’s files which are thrown way back in the drawer they are forgetting about it, In the meantime EPRDF PM Abiy conspires with foreigners how to inslave the children who got born before the unanswered question were asked .The children are forced to inslave themselves for $26 USD a month salaries at the Garment Factories Industrial zones while Kenya pays over $200 USD monthly salaries for same type of jobs. Kenyans got these much salaries because their demands are not left in Warehouse but because the Kenyan government has empathy and gives a reply right away.

    Reply
  8. Lulu   May 8, 2019 at 1:48 am

    Testing… awaj awaj awaj! Yemotew ityopia balem lai yalew diaspra! Yet alachehu? Ahun jawar ena Co, be Dr aby sewer erdata, ityopian bemaferares lai yegegnal! Gezatachewen kamara meret beker kush belo beoromo merinet eyetenkesakese niw! Shewa lai torinet tekeftual bemecheresham, le666 minilik hezbenena haweltun yafersal. Ortodoxem yatefuatal amaram beoromona betigray eskemidekem deres torenet yekefetal! Bahunu gize jawar ena Co be dr aby sewer erdata debuben, somalin, afaren already kush gezat bemalet eyasamene yegegnal. Diadporaw zem beleh yewechiwochin habt lemagarat tesgebgbeh yihew lametat minim sataderg eyenork, weta biluhim kemechoteh, ityopia ager yemetemelesebet aynorehem! Lemeto amet latenor, endene jawar/omn ityopian lematfat sideraj, ametat alfo,yihew eyalekesk geleseb dr abyen mengist yektalin eyalk taleksaleh. Lemehonu ante yaltederajetkelet, yaltagelkelet hezbena ager mann litageleleh tefelegaleh? Bemaninetu yemytaweku, ena ituopian enetelalen lemilu 30 amet mulu eyenegeruh lalut belyeh lai eyetederaju lalut nesawchiwoch? Behaymanoteh sir tedebekeh ityopian madan ayechalem. Emeberhan beleh tenesteh kaltederajeh. Haimanot maker eko keferhat kemedebek nesa mehonun atawkim? Endeza kehonema kidus giorgis telatochun ayashenefem neber! Kign geziwochen eyelemenk lemindin niw yeityopia wedaj yehonutin ketint jemero yetewkew? Batetagel enkuan tesebasbeh abetuta letint wedajochua atakerbim? Lenegeru nesawchiwochu bemiteluat ityopia sim ytint ityooian wedaj wesdeweben lerasachew eyetetekemu niw. Lemehonu, tekaken neger enkuan mesrat leityopia yakateh, eske sint amet yemetenor meseleh? Lemin bedero abatochih lewedekulat sim tenegedaleh minim mareg zare yetesaneh?

    Yeityooian sim bahun gize eyatefu nachew. Kahun wedya mesehaf kedus ityopia yemitekesew aywekelachehum niw yemilut yewech telat. Bezu esetochachinim beityopia sim yalew aywekelachihum kush bemalet sim bemeterat.

    Ituyooia talinen kashenefech behuala, kign geziwoch, kekenyana somalia, yemen sewoch bedebek asgebetew yeityooian bememsel ityooiawi enezi sewoch noru, beyegizew, ketelatochachin gar yemiweyayu, meriachew kigngeziwoch, yadtemaruachew, ityppia wist bedebek yyabzuachew nachew, lezih niw, zare benesawchi sim ityooian bigodu maninetachew aynekam, minim aymeslachewem. Mission yetesetachew endene jawar, kelejinet jemero. Lezih niw ituooia betimot gid yemaysetachew. Ityooian lemadan zegyetual, eyandadesh halafinet tewesjialesh malet niw. Kign geziwoch befesum ayarfum ityopian kalaferaresu, yasadeguachew bkefetegna fitnet lai nachew. Ebakachehu , bemnetachihu meneged akumu, ityooia egziabher alelat belachehu ejachehun atatfachehu betekerstian sebeb tedrbekesh yaleshiw, wend,,set, 15 amet lij enkuan sayker. Benegerachin lai, zare ere ene poletika aymeleketegnim lijen lasadegebet, lastemerebet, lidarebet, yelej lij leyebet yemetelu, talian yewerere gize, arbegnoch, ye 9 amet lijun neber tor meda lai melekt emdiyastelalif yemilikew yeneberew, lijun lemot eygalete.

    Reply
  9. Jamal Diriye   May 9, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Ethiopia EPRDF maybe finally breaking free from Hailemariam Desalegn’s authoritarian command economy dictatorship authoritarian rule that destroyed the reputations of civil servants everywhere, for the first time in years EPRDF is now in May 2019 showing little signs of supporting the Farming economy by going against Hailemariam.

    Reply
  10. Temesgen   May 11, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Kebour raised deep and difficult questions. My observation is that we lack perspectives in analyzing issues and planning for the future. Our politicians lack visionary thinking and leadership because they lack perspective and get obsessed with power and serving their self interest. The education system does not foster thinking, creativity and problem solving. Thinking is not innate, it is a learned behaviour. The education system should foster collaborative work, dealing with different and difficult ideas.

    The most distressful part is when those who moved to and live in western democracies fail to outgrow their narrow and tribal politics. They fail to see that they are living with all kinds of people from around the world. What made this possible is the supremacy of the law and the robustness of the system. Yes, there are smaller communities from the same country that bring people together but they operate within the law. These people who work with and have neighbors from ten or fifteen countries, participate and add fuel to tribal politics in Ethiopia because they fail to see the perspective that their life in the US, Canada, UK or Australia is made possible because of the power of the system or the supremacy of the law.

    The only way forward, just my view, is educating the use and raising civic awareness and engagement. At birth, No one has any say, not any choice at all as to who our parents should be, what our gender or skin color should be, or what race we are. Judging people based on something that thy did not have any say about is not only a lack of perspective but also ignorance.

    I say the poverty in Ethiopia is more mental rather than material.

    Reply

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