By Mikael Wossen, PhD.
Amhara is the enemy of the Tigray people. Amhara isn’t only one enemy, but it is a double enemy. Therefore, we must destroy Amhara. Tigray can’t live freely unless action is taken. Amhara is a major obstacle to the government we want to create now. (Tplf Manifesto).
If Ethiopia fails to heed the warnings, and delays imbuing citizens with a strong sense of a common or shared national identity/destiny, then archaic identities will inevitably become dominant. Centrifugal forces will prevail. This historical ‘law’ will create a contentious and tribalized society without a core. Populations who do not even share common citizenship rights nor language, and are isolated in Kilils (homelands), cannot even form fraternity/solidarity with each other, much less unite against foreign aggression. The country can no longer act coherently like one. We have witnessed this constitutionalized phenomenon maturing over the last three decades. As Achebe wrote: when the center collapses, or, no longer holds, “things fall apart…”
The problem is internal, and stems from an organized failure to defend and advance Ethiopian history. Instead, choosing to demonize and to erase the ‘Ethiopian’ and/or Amara national identity, is proving to be problematic. In simply terms, it means that a gaping hole is bound to emerge. Ethiopians/Amaras members account for a good half, if not way more, of the national society, and have been most widely dispersed and intermarried throughout the nation. It is a group which speaks Amharic and has been virtually synonymous with Ethiopia for centuries. Consequently, such a destructive policy (manifesto) implies a conditional federation of enemies, while trying to eliminate at least half of the population.
This arrangement is bound to create a bloody vacuum, one that will inevitably be filled with pre-national identities, complete with historical grievances and irredentist agendas. Tegaruism and Oromuma are not accidents; nor are the crimes being committed on their behalf, on the Amara and other Christians in Benishangul & Gumuz and/or Wollega. These are the ideological and political manifestations buried in the centrifugal historical processes set in motion by Tplf-Eprdf’s constitution/regime, and its powerful global partners In crime. This malignant constitution has been bequeathed “as is” to PM Abiy’s Prosperity.
It is no coincidence that every ethnicity has become far more assertive in pushing their unique identity and in demanding their political, economic and cultural sovereignty. So far, no more than ten so called “Peoples” out of over eighty, have gained ‘statehood’ within the prevailing arrangement of this fake “federation” of Bandas. In pursuing this process, most are also awakened to the inherent dangers of US-Zenawi’s malicious apartheid-like experiment with primordial ethnicity – up to secession. It is, starkly speaking, a suicidal program of perpetual internecine squabbles, instability and mutual liquidation of Ethiopia. Predictably, it has consumed its founders first, much to the dismay of the US Godfather.
The existing ethno-federalist system serves its foreign sponsor’s geo-political designs of “devide and rule”, rather than sustaining Ethiopians as a whole. Unless all of us declare/assert our common Ethiopianness in our political system, expecting others to do so is laughable! Hands off Ethiopia is a futile cry, while those hands have already deep reaches inside Ethiopia. The looming danger is, if Ethiopia’s identity risks being wiped out, and/or subsumed, every ethno-Kilil’s identity will also be subsumed in turn and in time. This is exactly the process we are currently witnessing. Today it is the Sidama, tomorrow it will be the Irob, and so on.
Even reckognizing the fact that Ethiopia was founded upon the inclusive ideas of the Semito-Cushitic Civilization, including individual right, is taboo nowadays. It is something many – if not most – of our political class and ‘leaders’ ignore.They either do not know, or are afraid to utter or accept it. Yet, Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yakob had advocated the salience of individual rights for all, way before the European Enlightenment thinkers.
Persuaded, or scared/bribed into believing that any assertion of Ethiopia’s national identity/interest and patriotism is somehow ‘chauvinistic’ and even ‘unitarian,’ many have simply given up. This is a historic mistake. It is precisely the moment for asserting, strengthening and popularizing the time-tested and unifying Ethiopian values and principles. These have, after all, kept the country in tact, and saved us from European depredation and colonial slavery. Ethiopianism is the symbol of an indomitable African spirit that defeated the world’s conquering forces. It is an identity and concept adopted voluntarily by the oppressed of the world. Thus, the hostility towards it of the powerful, and their puppets.
As the internal status quo extends itself further, the tribal identities will be more encrusted and assertive. This is inevitable, given the existing dynamics of the world system and the forces arrayed against Ethiopianism. Indeed, even under the changed name of Prosperity, people have continued bringing their old tribal loyalties/solidarities and disputes to the foreground. This trend blocks us from uniting as fellow ‘Ethiopians,’ who share a common national interest and future. To practice our diversity, we must first acknowledge our common humanity and Ethiopianness.
In short, these festering internal conflicts are structurally driven, and provide openings for foreign interference in the internal affairs of Ethiopia. That was the very objective of its hostile architects. That is to say, Sudanese aggression/occupation and Egyptian hubris have internal national reasons and pre-conditions. So has Euro-American meddling (US’s Resolution 97). No one is entitled to speak for a divided nation and rejected Identity. Even the PM is primarily head of the Oromo party, and only by default he has become leader of this great Ethiopian nation. The plea for non-interference in Ethiopia’s internal affairs is a futile cry, while the existing divisive and separatist structures of apartheid, and the hollow neo-colonial statehood remains in tact.
An important first step would be to re-engineer and nationalize our politics and education system. The root of our over-reliance on foreign ideologies rather than science, lies in our flawed and neo-colonial education system. We have to instill a stronger sense of patriotism, and teach respect for Ethiopia’s heroic history to the new generation. This practice is more sustainable, rather than dwelling on the victim-ridden approach that demonizes Ethiopia’s history, and presents it as one of oppressor vs. oppressed ethnicities hammered together by Atse Menelik. There is also the pretence that Ethiopia’s history and values, as well as Amharas don’t even exist. Our intellectuals need to get over this simplistic and deconstructive post-modern nonesense, and reconnect with objective reality. The existing apartheid system needs to be autlawed, and judged as terroristic and criminal as its Tplf middlemen.
In the final analysis, Ethiopia will either have a unifying Ethiopian identity, or amount to nothing more than space featuring a bunch of divided, impoverished and genocidal tribalistic groups, who are permanently aggrieved and warring. They will continue seeking foreign assistance, and blaming the Amara every time something happens anywhere in the country. In sum, there can be no peace or prosperity without first valuing our history and its national unity in diversity!
Ethiopia is facing a conflict between two diametrically opposed ideological paradigms of nation building: primordial tribalism vs. Ethiopianism. Exchange of rational ideas has become impossible under the existing entrenched circumstances.
Which version of Ethiopia do you all want to live in?
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