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HomeOpinionHow Hermitized and Tribalized Ethiopian Intellectual Class Deny Ethiopia Global Opportunities

How Hermitized and Tribalized Ethiopian Intellectual Class Deny Ethiopia Global Opportunities

Editor’s note : Views expressed in article reflect that of the writer’s, not the views of borkena.com

Yonas Biru
Yonas Biru (File)

Yonas Biru, PhD

Ethiopia has two existential threats: Its Tribal Constitution that is primitive in its governance architecture and degenerative in its political philosophy, and its dinosaurian intellectuals of a tribal peasant’s mind and tradition. The problem is the Constitution cannot be civilized by way of a transformative reform before the nation’s intellectual class is unshackled from the chains of its cultural backwardness. The damage for our country is existential in a world that is transforming at a faster rate than it has experienced over past millennia.

In June 2018, I wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Abiy, stating:

Mr. Prime Minister: You have come to office as the US and Europe are witnessing major social transformations. Whether we love it, hate it, or sneer at it, Trump’s agenda is a movement. A revolution of sorts. His America First agenda has ushered him into the White House, and this is not an electoral hiccup.

His policy against immigrants is neither stimulated by race nor driven by political expediency. Those who cite his “shit-hole countries” and his statement in the wake of a White nationalist rally in Charlottesville are missing the forest for the tree.

The anti-immigrant sentiment is neither an isolated American phenomenon nor a passing flirtation with racism. There are structural and fundamental factors in play. Governments in the US and Europe understand that tough immigration policies alone are not enough to keep immigrants away from their borders. Supporting Africa’s development has become a strategic policy anchored in national interest fueled by anti-immigration sentiments.

The rapid globalization and the seemingly intractable terrorism problem have created urgency to a structural shift in international development policies. Institutions like the World Bank and IMF are frantically reforming themselves to catch up with the conservative tsunami.

Your government must actively position itself to showcase an aggressive market driven reform that can in a reasonably short time demonstrate Ethiopia can achieve what East Asian countries have achieved in a short period. Ethiopia must position herself as a grand experiment to showcase an African success story.

Positioning your administration to such a global play should be your priority. Your administration should proactively leverage Ethiopia’s aggressive development agenda and position its strategic development framework at the nexus of the emerging global geopolitics and the ensuing international development policy. You need to make Ethiopia an active international development aid seeker, not a passive recipient of it.

My open letter was aimed at encouraging the PM to take proactive steps to get ahead of, or at least keep pace with, new geopolitical developments. My hope was the intellectual community would take a lead. That was the purpose of the independent economic advisory council proposal that Professor Lemma and I developed. But the backward intellectual culture was not open for such an intellectual endeavor. Rather, for our intellectuals the #NoMore idiocy is a more fitting doctrine to their hermitized and tribalized thinking.

What is the change in the global development paradigm? Allow me to share with you three paragraphs from an Article I published in December 2018.

Driven by trivariate geopolitical interests to contain China’s growing influence in Africa, arrest the flow of migrants and refugees to the US and Europe, and mitigate Africa’s susceptibility as a breeding ground for international terrorism, the US and its allies are fundamentally reshaping the international development aid modality.

The speedy passage of the US Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act of 2018 represents a cornerstone of the change. The Act incentivizes flows of private capital to Africa to spur private sector-led economic growth and job creation and extends preferential trade agreements to African countries to boost their export earnings.

The UK also aims to “boost trade between the UK and Africa,” with the aim of “making the UK the largest G7 investor in Africa by 2022.” The billions that Britain plans to invest will help “African economies grow by trillions,” British Prime Minister Theresa May avowed.

Two recent articles in the US reaffirmed what I have been writing. One is titled “How America Can Foster an African Boom: The Continent Needs Investment—Not Just Aid.”  (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/africa/how-america-can-foster-african-boom#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20government%20can%20also,%2C%20at%20below%2Dmarket%20rates)    It appeared in African Affairs in August 2022. The second is titled “The New U.S. Africa Strategy Breaks From the Status Quo.”(https://carnegieendowment.org/2022/08/11/new-u.s.-africa-strategy-breaks-from-status-quo-with-some-perplexing-stumbles-pub-87666)

Conclusion

The world is changing. The only thing that is frozen in time is the hermitized and tribalized Ethiopian intellectual class. Its #NoMore campaign is its article of faith fountaining from the well of its geopolitical ignorance. Seeing them jump up and down with moronic slogans on the streets of Washington and Brussels is entertaining for the eyes. But it is damaging to the nation they purport to defend.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. For whatever reasons, all Dr. Yonas is doing in several of his articles is meant to place him in good graces of far-right groups in America. Someone who defends Trump not being racist or tries to explain away his statements following the Charlottsville massacre is utterly untrustworthy.

  2. The Making, Unmaking and Remaking of the Ideal Uncle Tom
    perfect title! Ain’t it? Too bad though! I cannot be the one to see to it that it comes to fruition! For I got to confess, man! The very thought of you just scare the **** outa me! Don’t know why dude but it does!
    So any body feel free to grab and run with the project! And good luck with it! Holly C**P!
    And on unrelated note, why did you decline that position dude!?
    It was perfect! For once you were offered the most ideal exchange of role! You the colonial viceroy and your partner the Tribal Warrant chief! Man U fool! Sometimes geniuses can be damb too! Or I simple must have overrated you! Whateve!
    Tellin’ u that position was perfect do! Or was it all make believe bullc*** man!?

  3. The Making, Unmaking and Remaking of the Ideal Uncle Tom; The Case of Yoni
    perfect title! Ain’t it? Too bad though! I cannot be the one to see to it that it comes to fruition! For I got to confess, man! The very thought of you just scare the **** outa me! Don’t know why dude but it does!
    So any body feel free to grab and run with the project! And good luck with it! Holly C**P!
    And on unrelated note, why did you decline that position dude!?
    It was perfect! For once you were offered the most ideal exchange of role! You the colonial viceroy and your partner the Tribal Warrant chief! Man U fool! Sometimes geniuses can be damb too! Or I simple must have overrated you! Whateve!
    Tellin’ u that position was perfect do! Or was it all make believe bullc*** man!?

  4. The NoMore movement, spearheaded by the journalist Hermela Agegawi, had (has) tremendous positive impact on Ethiopian politics. Hermela should be lauded for her initiative and display of her Ethiopian-ness, not demonized. The author also tends to demonize other high profile Ethiopians, including PM Abiye, Professor Al Mariam, and others who generally possess superior professional skills, knowledge, leadership qualities, etc. People obsessed with pulling down others’ accomplishments/successes usually are characterized as exhibiting Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Symptoms the disorder, according the highly respected Mayo Clinic, are as follow:

    : Have an unreasonably high sense of self-importance and require constant, excessive admiration.
    : Feel that they deserve privileges and special treatment.
    : Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements.
    : Make achievements and talents seem bigger than they are.
    : Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate.
    : Believe they are superior to others and can only spend time with or be understood by equally special people.
    : Be critical of and look down on people they feel are not important.
    : Expect special favors and expect other people to do what they want without questioning them.
    : Take advantage of others to get what they want.
    : Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others.
    : Be envious of others and believe others envy them.
    : Behave in an arrogant way, brag a lot and come across as conceited.
    : Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office.

    People with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they view as criticism. They can:-

    : Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special recognition or treatment.
    : Have major problems interacting with others and easily feel slighted.
    : React with rage or contempt and try to belittle other people to make themselves appear superior.
    : Have difficulty managing their emotions and behavior.
    : Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change.
    : Withdraw from or avoid situations in which they might fail.
    : Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection.
    : Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, humiliation and fear of being exposed as a failure.

    I suggest readers, including Borkena editors (and other media), google the author’s name to find out about his professional background, including his tenure at the World Bank and subsequent dismissal. He tried to use every leverage imagined to revenge his firing, including threatening to cut his finger and send the piece as protest to delegates who were attending the World Bank-IMF annual meeting at that time. Management of the World Bank took his threat seriously, and instructed security to never allow him set feet in any of the Bank’s buildings, which I believe is still in effect. You may find all that online. The World Bank’s independent Omdurman Office reviewed his case and agreed with the firing.

    I laud the author’s consistent efforts to share his views through any medium he can; we should all try to do the same. But the ideas shared should be truly professional fitting the authors’ training, helpful and practical to help in managing the complicated problems of governing the diverse and very poor country as Ethiopia is, communicated in as simple writing as possible, not encased in seemingly complicated and circular phrases and words which at times can be deliberately meant to hide substance.

    Polemics would not help in any attempt to influence people. Such was the legacy of immature Wannabee communist politicians of the 60s and 70s that called themselves “revolutionaries”, founded on theory aped from the then communist Russia and Germany in Marx and Engle. The immature wannabee communists, pretending to have been heavy intellectual leaders of the time, spewed the seeds of current virulent polemic filled politics by spreading their lies as ‘The Rights of Peoples, Nations, and Nationalities of Ethiopia’. Such is the legacy still used by self appointed ‘liberators of this or that ethnic groups’ such as OLF/Shene, OFECO, TPLF, extremist Amharas, and others. We should get over that legacy, and at least try to build a cohesive and economically developing country called Ethiopia to leave for the future generation. A serious reset is required.

  5. What Prof. Yonas is saying, get with globalization transformation that will affect Ethiopia and he is right But what nobody is saying is how can Ethiopia be part of globalization transform while war and killing is continuing in Ethiopia?

    As for #no more movement and Hermela, it is true, Ethiopians have become just like ocean that move as the wind blows with no direction. What is #no more movement? Who is Hermela? Is she not cia? She is from Adwa whom most Eritreans are controlling. That is why she quickly changed from Tplf to ” Ethiopianist” whom she is in fact pushing Eritrean and foreign agenda. Where is #ni more movement now? Short lived, it did it’s purpose. When will Ethiopians have their own true movement? You are following your greatest enemy Shabia as your savior? Indeed, the reason Ethiopians who flicked to West since Derg time has now made inept except the very few, your education is hypnosis whom even the Westerners think that is what it is, which lead to God dental.

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