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Is this the end of Greater Ethiopia?

Ethiopia _

By Addissu Admas

In his widely read and discussed book Greater Ethiopia, Donald N. Levine (1931-2015), former professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and an Ethiopianist of exceptional acumen, wrote not only on the possibility, but most importantly, on the “sustainability of a multi ethnic society” in Ethiopia. As Levine noted with some irony in the preface to the revised edition of his book in 2000, the original version of his book appeared on the very day Emperor Haile Selassie I was deposed on September 12, 1974. However, neither the dethronement of the Emperor and the subsequent regimes, nor the ideologies that sustained them, made him change his original belief in the viability and sustainability of an Ethiopia that is “a multi-ethnic society”. Indeed, this was one of his main reasons for republishing his book some twenty-six years later.

Prof. Levine believed that the ideological glue that sustained Ethiopia’s unity were, successively, what he called the “Solomonid ideology” under the imperial regime which maintained that Ethiopia as a whole was an ancient kingdom that traces her origin to the union between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba as illustrated in the Kebre Negast. The Derg regime, which sought to unite the peoples of Ethiopia under the banner of Marxism, while the EPRDF regime, especially under Meles Zenawi, wanted to implement the never-quite-implemented ideas of Stalin contained in his Marxism and the National Question (1913). Had Prof. Levine been alive today, he would be hard-pressed to identify any form of “unifying ideology”, except the degeneration of the previous one into a fascistoid “rivendication” of past glories, “presumed exceptionalism”, or an amalgam of badly digested ideas that we are witnessing today.

As a genuine friend and lover of most things Ethiopian, prof. Levine hoped earnestly that Ethiopians could “neutralize the tendencies toward Balkanization” through promotion of “organizations based on multiethnic coalitions”, and by instituting organizations that are devoted to dealing with global economic social and cultural matters”, and by being “active in institutions that are “group-blind”.  He believed that celebrating, rather than denigrating our peculiar cultural traits – for example, by co-opting:  “the Oromo capacity for democratic political organization, …[by promoting] the historic Amhara-Tigrean creation of a multi-ethnic polity….[by encouraging] the industry of the Gurage and Beta Israel, the artistry of Harar and Dorze, and the myriad contributions of all the elements of Talakadu Ityopia”) – does far more to promote, not only the sustainability of our multicultural nation, but its welfare and stability. 

It is clear that, following this line of thought, Ethiopia needs a new ideology that re-affirms not only the possibility, but also the necessity of maintaining our multi-ethnic nation. Oromummaa, an ideology conceived and promoted by expatriate Oromo intellectuals, is by design too divisive, hegemonist and partisan to be of any use for holding the nation, let alone promote stability, peace and prosperity. Rather than celebrating and promoting our diversity, it appears to advocate assimilation and incorporation of “the others”, on the dubious presumption that Amharanization had done the same under emperors Menelik II and Haile Selassie I. Or, perhaps, it is motivated by the unjustifiable premise that TPLF had intended a new Ethiopia under Tigray’s supremacy. However, two wrongs do not make a right!

The reality is, despite the majoritarian status of the Oromo, they, like all the members of other ethnicities of Ethiopia, want to live in peace, go about their business without being molested by rogue officials, and live under a fair rule of law that does not infringe on their basic rights. When ideologues fail to deliver on what the people truly need, they continue to feed them myths that have no relevance to their lives, in the unlikely chance that it will sooth their stomachs and psyches. 

In the absence of unifying or organizing ideology, what Ethiopians need to focus is on creating together without distinction of ethnicity or religion, a state that aims to extricate its people from poverty, attempts to eliminate all forms of banditry, insecurity, anarchism, corruption, etc… Focusing to eliminate pragmatically all these ills collectively as a national program will have for sure a unifying and stabilizing effect as would any well-conceived, well-intentioned and well-implemented ideology.

What we have become instead is victims all to an ideology that will not only never deliver anything positive for Ethiopia, but not even to the very people it was intended to benefit. If it ever was construed as an ideology, Amharanization never succeeded to benefit the very people it was intended to benefit, since to this day, after nearly a century of Showan hegemony, the Amhara are not in any way distinguishable in wealth than the rest of Ethiopians. Their only notable advantage, if that is indeed one, is to have their language recognized as the working federal language. 

The Derg’s attempt to unify around the destruction of the feudal system and the expropriation of land and urban rental properties a la Soviet socialism, and its futile attempt to equalize Ethiopian society, resulted only in equalizing all in poverty. All this made even more dire by its constant war against the liberation fronts.

The ideology of Tigrean exceptionalism and nearly thirty years of preferential treatment of Tigray and Tigreans, has only led to a violent, cruel and destructive war that has brought death and destruction more on the Tigrean populace than the confectioners of that ideology, i.e. the TPLF. 

Today Oromummaa, besides being an ideology concocted in some “intellectual lab” abroad, is having the effect of generating more heat and hatred than a genuine point of discussion on our pressing problems. It will in fact succeed in leading us to at least the very edge of our dissolution, if not throw us over the precipice.  The reason for this is simple. If it can hold its sway over its base, i.e. the Oromo people, as it intends to do, we will be witnessing the end of Ethiopia we have known for over a century.

It is the hope of every Ethiopian of goodwill that this destructive ideology is not embraced, not even by a minority of Oromos, and much less by PM Abiy, unless he does not mind presiding over the dissolution of this historically and culturally rich nation. This is far from what he had intimated when he came to power. On the contrary, he appears to want to preside over a unified, strong and prosperous nation. What he needs to do is revisit with open mind the ideology that promotes, and not destroy the unity of Ethiopia. The way has already been indicated for him to follow. What he needs is to pursue it with determination. 

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com  

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7 COMMENTS

  1. የእውነትንና የህግን መራራ ሄምሎክ በኢትዮጵያዊያን ፊት ክእምእጋት ሌላ ምንም ምርጫ የለም!!!!! የእውነትንና የህግን መራራ ሄምሎክ በኢትዮጵያዊያን ፊት ክእምእጋት ሌላ ምንም ምርጫ የለም!!!!!

    Look here, the intention of the author may be genuine and solution oriented. The reality on the ground is completely different. Whatever the intention and hidden agenda of the incompetent and imbecilic regime of abiy ahmed and his repulsive pp is not and should not be the concern of Ethiopians.

    This buffoon came to the political arena, with unprecedented domestic support of tens of millions, a well wishing and largely supportive diaspora base and widely accepted and recognized international support.

    He had two clearly marked or bifurcated directions. One was the road to a moral, economical, societal higher ground, a rebirth of a nation that so ached for justice, liberty the rule of law, accountability, and individual rights of each and every Ethiopian.

    The second was a return to the status quo, a world of intrigue, political machinations, Machiavellianism. The fool chose, he gambled and lost. There is no ifs or buts here. He is not fit to lead. He exposed his greatest flows and character deficits.

    1) he is an ideologue, not a pragmatist

    2) he is not truthful or even credible, even by a politician’s standard

    3) his lust for power and control are sociopathic and psychopathic

    4) he is inhumane, cruel and impervious to the suffering of the least protected and marginalized

    5) he is undemocratic, tyrannical

    6) he lacks humility and a sense of self awareness

    7 he is a pathological liar.

    8) and on and on

    How on earth can this individual be taken seriously and how on earth can Ethiopia rise out of the quagmire She is immersed under during his five years of reign of terror, political, financial, economic collapse.

    If the rule of law is to be, then his regime is not to be. For most certainly, the only outcome when the book is thrown at this regime is a steady march to the gallows or the gulags or Ethiopian equivalent thereof for every member of abiy’s regime በ24 ሰዐት ሙሉ ድንጋይ ቁፋሮ ያሸበረቀች አለም በቃኝ እና የእውነትን መራራ የፍርድ ሄምሎክ በህዝብ ፊት ከመጋት ውጭ ምንም ምርጫ የለውም ሰውየውም ሆነ በንፁሃን ደም የጨቀየው የግፍ ስርአቱ!!!!!!

  2. የእውነትንና የህግን መራራ ሄምሎክ በኢትዮጵያዊያን ፊት ከመጋት ሌላ ምንም ምርጫ የለም!!!!! የእውነትንና የህግን መራራ ሄምሎክ በኢትዮጵያዊያን ፊት ከመጋት ሌላ ምንም ምርጫ የለም!!!!!

    Typo corrections:

    his greatest flows and character deficits, should read his greats flaws and character deficits.

    The fool chose, he gambled and lost, should read The fool chose the latter. He gambled and lost.

  3. Subject: “Is this the end of Greater Ethiopia? By Addissu Admas, June 22, 2023”

    Humble Opinion
    The destiny of Ethiopia does NOT depend on PM Abiy. NEVER.

    The destiny of Ethiopia depends on various clan LEADERS whose inherent interests are for themselves. FULL STOP.

    Please, I beg you , Prove me Absolutely Wrong.

    TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT.

    Sincerely Yours
    The Absolute Innocent of the Century

  4. As an American with an Ethiopian wife, I can say from a birds eye view what is happening in Ethiopia today is extremely disturbing. Like the ancient Austrian Empire, Holy Roman Empire and many other empires of old: the unifying figure was the king or emperor. Its popular to be anti-monarchal today, because billion dollar corporate media and academia teach us so, but while Marxism teaches division and tyranny, democracy teaches division while laying the groundwork for future tyranny.

    A king extends from the root word “kin” or family, so when you replace or assassinate your king, you commit that act against the father of your own People and blood. Democracies like to pretend to offer presidents and prime ministers who care for the people in the kings stead, but where do we really see more then thieves, liars and smooth talkers? The choice for the future is clear: does Ethiopia want unity under the old fathers of the People, or dissolution and destruction under a smooth talking politician preaching under the false religion of democracy.

    • Paul, greetings from the WSW*! My best wishes with your Ethiopian wife! You remind me of Solomon & Makda/Saba/Sheba. I hope you are not another of Solomon’s scions →lest your children claim the throne →Clash of Monarchs →Another War in Ethiopia…

      Saba/Makda/Sheba/etc. went to Jewrusalem to sleep with Solomon! Hallelujah, good for them! Why does that give their ‘scions’ the right to be Ethiopia’s King/Queen/Prince(ss)? The WSW preaches democracy but fights non-puppet elected governments! How ironic!

      I hate communists because I was their victim! However, the Feudal Monarchy in Ethiopia made Ethiopia synonymous with “World’s Poster Child of Famine.” That set off a chain reaction and made these two ‘songs’ the ‘World’s National Anthem for Ethiopia’:

      1). Tilahun Gessesse’s: “ዋይ! ዋይ! ዋይ!” – ሲሉ – “የረሃብን ጉንፋን ሲስሉ ….” [Circa 1975]
      2). American Artists’ Fundraiser for Ethiopia’: “We are the World!” ……, [Circa 1985]

      WSW*: White Supremacist West

  5. The end or whatever of Ethiopia depends much on such a degree as this writer’s repulsive projection of the Oromo Nation and chauvinisric grasp of the Imperial Ethiopia!

    Fight to sustain such ugliness, fight to ur own detrements!

  6. Q: How can Abiy unify Ethiopia if most of us are hell-bent on antagonizing Ethiopians?

    Abiy – The One-Man Army: Abiy is of Amara/Christian mom & Oromo/Muslim dad. To Extremists, he is NOT: Amara enough; Oromo enough; Christian enough; Muslim enough; ad nauseam! So, by default, “Abiy is NOT Ethiopian enough!” – follows – right?

    Inform Ethiopians: Most Ethiopians don’t have radios, TVs, computers, Internet, smart phones, etc. So, Community Centers equipped with TVs, Radios, Internet, Newspapers, etc. can counter misinformation, disinformation, media blackout, etc.

    Misinformation/Disinformation/Hate-Mongering (MDHM): ≥15 million Amaras live in Oromo Zone! No Oromo lives in Amara Zone. Most Web/YouTube Amara Media spew MDHM 24/7. Won’t that subject those ≥15 million Amaras to mistrust/hatred/animosity?

    Dishonest Amara Media Outlets: Why do they hide facts from Amaras? Hasn’t ኦነግ ሸኔ looted Oromos, displaced millions, and killed thousand of them? Hasn’t the Eskinder-Zemene ‘Fanno’ looted Oromos, killed hundreds, and displaced thousands of them?

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