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HomeOpinionGuzow : ‘Pray tell me, whence are we destined to, my love?’ 

Guzow : ‘Pray tell me, whence are we destined to, my love?’ 

Ethiopia _ Guzow
Image source : The New York Times ( resized)

By Samuel Estefanous

Though I beg to differ, a sizable number of folks I know feel like there is something awkward about the nascent Ahmara ethno-nationalism. 

Something that makes one involuntarily avoid the eyes of his audience (self-consciously) after delivering an emotionally charged narrowly defined racy speech in the service of the Cause. Chiefly on account of the solid fact that the Amhara Nation has long grown out of the ethnic capsule and it takes generations to fit it back to the hole.

It isn’t impossible but it takes generations to achieve that feat. Of course there is the historical dialecticism discourse about the inability of going in reverse gear back to the roots through a country lane after basking in the glitz of the broadways- in terms of theories of social development.

All Brits Aren’t English 

The ENP (English National Party) is a good example. It is founded on the valid assumption that all Brits aren’t English. What is good for the Brits doesn’t necessarily mean it is equally good for the English. The simple fact that the English didn’t just thoroughly Anglicize the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh and the Cornish but have given the world a global lingua franca doesn’t refute per se the existence of the English as a unit of politically organized society having a distinct, localized narrow and small representation in that stretch of the isle of the UK inhabited by them. 

Sadly there is one conspicuous glitch- the ENP has always been a nominal, populist and marginal Party hardly taken seriously by the mainstream.       

But here there is this exceptionally fertile enabling legal positivism that readily welcomes the ethno-nationalistic basis of political power. In other words, unlike the ENP, Amhara nationalism functions in an enabling constitutionally sanctioned environment. With insightful wise guidance bereft of debilitating emotional hyperbole and shallow sentimentalism, it is capable of mobilizing support across the width and breadth of the country.


A political organization that is looking for a rallying cause and manifesto after it has come into being is liable to disintegrate. Studying the genesis of National organizations beginning from the TPLF and OLF here at home would help a great deal. Intellectual quest shouldn’t be inhibited by pride and vanity.        

Case in point is the alleged Manifesto of the Cause- Our Origin is Amhara and Our Destiny is Ethiopia. The banality of it makes one cringe. It calls to mind the closing paragraph of a novella I had read in an anthology of old Amharic short stories published by Kuraz. It was written during the Dergue era with an eye on the prize money or the accolades reserved to the winning story.

The lovebirds are holding hands; the setting sun has given the horizon a mesmerizing orange hue. Everything looks surreal and the woman leans on the shoulder of her beau and inquires;

‘Pray tell me, whence are we destined to, my love?’

And he? He narrows his eyes (as all leading male characters invariably do in any given beginner’s book) in an effort to look beyond the horizon and exclaims,

‘Of course to Communism, through Socialism we are destined to Communism, Comrade.’  Hence, the title of the book- ጉዞዉ፡፡ 

A political group should avoid such ‘opportunism’ and picking a cause as it goes.   At the very least it needs to have the will to contemplate the horizon and avoid the lures of insipid shallow emotional rewards.

Who Stands to Benefit? 

Incumbents do everything short of openly propping up a nearsighted populist party. If there is none they might hatch a couple. Particularly when they are failing every index of good governance; when the economy is sliding to the domain of hyperinflation and the alarms of social unrest are beginning to sound; when their development agenda fails to feature in the priority lists of the multitude, they need a scapegoat that lacks emotional wisdom.

They sit arms akimbo, and dare the public to pick the better alternative. They no longer dwell on their spectacular achievements employing one of these lame expressions like ‘a miracle that makes one press his hand to the lips’. Instead they keep ‘unmasking’ the opposition and spend a humongous amount of money to show us the true colors of the ‘killing machines’ at their worst. 

‘Democracy is a choice, if you want to, you can vote into office folks that call your fellow Ethiopians the G word.’ And we would be like ‘I would rather be on some kind of genealogical quest venture to hook with the Jals, seven generations back if need be.’ 

Having one’s cake and eat it ,too

TPLF and OLF activists have always insisted that the vitriol pan Ethiopianist parties are actually Amhara first extremists and they should organize under a cause that genuinely reflects their true interests. Now that their wishes are granted, they need to revise and rephrase their respective rhetoric. But their procrastination to do so is understandable as ditching Ethiopia first is hard to swallow among folks in the opposite camp. They kinda straddle the fence and effortlessly slide to the other side.   

Recently I read an article by one of the ‘intellectual underwriters’ of the movement bemoaning the tendency of the nation and nationalities to consider themselves as Sovereign entities. He actually singled out this tendency as the antithesis to the Amhara Cause he is advancing and I was like-you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. 

I mean this is a Nation of Nationalities and the latter and not the former are vested with the original Sovereign power.  Now that the last bastion of the hitherto established counter force is dissipating, increasingly it looks like the Constitutional Clause is getting traction among the multitude.           

God Bless           

The writer can be reached at : 

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


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