Thursday, July 18, 2024
HomeOpinionThe Tigray Socio-Political Psychology of Today is Different from the Recent Past

The Tigray Socio-Political Psychology of Today is Different from the Recent Past

Image : SM

Yonas Biru, PhD

The purpose of this blog is to answer question raised about my earlier article titled “An Amhara-Tigray Coalition is the Answer to the Oromummaa Mass Social Psychosis.”  The questions were raised both online and offline. I will address them in the order of their importance from my perspective.

The online issues are raised on X (formerly known as Twitter) and Facebook (formerly known as a public soapbox where people make an impromptu speech). The Ethiopian Global Discussion Forum (formerly known የእከደከድየ ዳንኪራ ቤት where hermitized intellectuals do their deeds) is in radio silence.

Question One: The first offline question was from a professor of economics with whom I shared the article offline. He flagged two areas of inquiry.

“Yonas. You made an interesting and bold, perhaps counter-intuitive, proposal with regard to the Amhara-Tigray coalition. Seemingly, you intentionally or otherwise avoided the Agency issue in your piece, is it right? What is your thought in terms of identifying plausible agencies in the two camps that can start the policy level discussion or at least intentions without allowing TPLF or the criminal gangs in TDF evading accountability or hijacking it before it bears fruits?” 

Economists use the term Agent or Agency to describe an entity that represents a defined constituent or principal in economic or political transactions. For our purpose, the question is who will lead the coalition formation representing Amhara and Tigray tribal homelands.

My Response: Avoiding the Agency issue is intentional. In my view, trying to predetermine the Agency is not important. The effort should be getting the conversation going and let the Agency issue be sorted out organically.

From the Tigryan side, there are increasing voices of status-quo-fatigue both in the intellectual and activist circles. Let me summon two prominent voices. 

Alemayehu Fentaw (constitutional lawyer) and in the past one of the ardent defenders of the tribe-based constitution now believes differentlyHis current view is: “Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism was meant to be a political experiment at accommodating ethnic diversity and managing ethnic conflicts. The experience so far shows that the system has failed. Ethiopia is at a moment of great constitutional crisis. Nothing short of a comprehensive constitutional reform can resolve the conflicts and halt the ongoing ethnic pogroms.”

In a recent interview with Tewodros Tsegaye of Reyot, Alula Solomon (President & Founder at Tigrai Media House) called for Amhara and Tigray leaders to put the Wolkait issue on hold and focus on bigger national issues of interest for both societies.

Having lived through hell in the past three years and seeing no hope or future in TPLF’s political past and Amhara extremism, people in the two tribal lands want change. The situation is ripe to turn the murmurs of discontent to a unified protest for a transformative change.

Regarding the fear that the TPLF may hijack the coalition before it bears fruit, my belief is that the TPLF’s delusion about Tigryan exceptionalism and sense of supremacy that used to drive TPLF’s political agenda is long dead. 

Remember this. The two things that helped TPLF to assert Tigrayan hegemony in 1991 do not exist in the current political and military environments. In 1991, the people of Ethiopia wanted change and embraced TPLF, believing nothing would be worse than Mengistu. Further, there was no armed group in the nation outside of Mengistu’s army and TPLF’s ragtag militia. After Mengistu’s army collapsed, TPLF consolidated the military power and secured the state’s monopoly on violence. There was no one else to challenge its hegemonic military power.

Today, the reality is different. Amhara, Oromo, and Tigray have significant armed forces. The government’s monopoly on instruments of violence is long gone. The TPLF has zero chance of taking over and consolidating military power, let alone sustaining itself in power. 

The dream of making Tigray an alpha-tribe is dead. The reality is that the current constitutional order has reduced Tigray to a periphery tribe (አጋር ብሄር). As I highlighted in my earlier article, Tigray accounts for only 5 to 6 percent of the population. It is also a resource barren land. Tigray has no future in the current constitutional order.

During the Tigray civil war, I was advocating for a negotiated settlement, stressing it is peace not war that will destroy the TPLF. Since the Pretoria agreement, the TPLF exists in name only. Its powerbase is eroded. Its activist and intellectual landscape is deserted. Its own best interest compels it to change path. The environment is fertile for a Northern coalition.

This is not to say some in the TPLF circle are not clinging to their illusion. But such remnant forces are driven by a dying inertia not by a political strategy. The people of Tigray have no shoulder to carry such a community of fools. 

Remember before the war, half the people of Mekele did not leave their houses without at least one garment sporting the red and yellow flag. Today, they will not wear it even if it is handed for free. They see it as the source of their misery.  

Question-Two: How would the Amhara-Tigray Coalition differ from the Oro-Mara coalition?

My Response:  The Oro-Mara coalition started on a good footing. Moderate forces in Amhara and Oromo were in power. Unfortunately, they failed to control extremist forces within their landscapes. In both regions extremist forces emerged and grew feeding each other oxygen.

The murder of Dr. Ambachew was the result of run-away Amhara extremism in the አብን camp. In the Oromo tribal land, Oromo-Shene emerged as a powerbase for extremists. The center of gravity of the Oro-Mara coalition gave way to a new center of gravity with a new power dynamic that brought extremist forces to the fore. The Oro-Mara coalition collapsed.

The current political environment is different. Tigrayan extremists are all but dead. Amhara extremists are fast losing ground. The recent rejection of Shaleka Dawit and Eskinder Nega by Fano forces is a flashing signal. The diaspora Amhara extremist colony that is led by Ethio-360 has lost steam as the epicenter of Amhara useful idiots. 

In general, what Ethiopians of all tribe, creed, hue, and shade need is a peaceful coexistence. Such voices are nowhere louder than in Amhara and Tigray, the two primary targets of Oromummaa.

The issue now is forming an Amhara-Tigray coalition and focusing on how such a coalition can be expanded to include others who are in the anti-Oromummaa camp. The anti-Oromo coalition must start with the Amhara-Tigray coalition and broaden its base.

In Conclusion: In 2018 or early 2019, I wrote an article titled “አብን, Shut Up, Sit Down, Listen and Listen Good!” It may be time for a sequel with the following title: “Hermitized Amharas and Tribalized Tigryans, Shut Up, Sit Down, Listen and Listen Good!” 

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

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Yonas Biru’s recent articles in Borkena present a one-sided view of the complex issues plaguing Ethiopia. Let’s examine the problematic aspects of his arguments:

    Ignoring Historical Tensions: The proposal for an Amhara-Tigray alliance ignores the historical tensions between the two groups including during the genocidal war. Building trust requires acknowledging this past.

    The Current Crisis Demands Accountability: The brutal genocidal war in Tigray and the ongoing forceful and illegal occupation of Tigray have caused immense suffering. Yonas Biru’s narrative of a simple “law enforcement operation” whitewashes the genocide documented against Tigrayans and the ongoing forceful and illegal occupation. There can be no trust without accountability for these atrocities.

    TPLF’s Role and Missed Opportunities: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) time in power had its shortcomings. However, their efforts to establish a federal system that recognized ethnic identities were a step towards addressing ethnic grievances.

    Enduring Tigrayan Identity: Yonas Biru downplays the enduring strength of Tigrayan identity and resilience. Throughout history, Tigrayans have fiercely resisted domination. To suggest this identity has vanished disregards our historical struggles.

    Trivializing Oromo Grievances: Biru’s dismissive term “mass psychosis” for the Oromo people’s grievances erases their legitimate struggles for self-determination and equal rights. Ignoring their historical marginalization hinders any chance of lasting peace.

  2. Dr. Yonas Biru is a narcissist who lost his moral campass, and he is obsessed with harvesting more energy, admiration, and recognition from his anti-Oromo-Tigray flock. He is an intellectually dishonest person, selectively presenting information that he believes works for his political standing. He is a pseudo-intellectual who uses complex language and jargon, be it from economics or any article he reads, to give the impression of deep understanding, when in reality his arguments are shallow, lack substance, and, in most cases, lean one-sided, which doesn’t reflect and take the whole picture into account.

    Zehabesha website published waves of articles, most of which are laced with technical scientific jargon and written in formal, professional styles. However, beneath the surface, these papers reveal the dishonesty of pseudo-intellectuals who have lost their moral compass.  Like Dr. Yonas Biru, they are waging war against their own people. Yonas Biru and Prof. AlMariam were ardent supporters of Abiy Ahmed, and they always came up with so-called scholarly articles that seemed plausible but were laced with jargons, one-sided, prejudiced arguments, and rhetorics. It is always possible to come up with defensive arguments in favor of evil and murderous act like Yonas Biru and his circles no matter how it looks plausible due to the loads of jargons, act of diversion,  and scientific  theories.When an amhara elite feels disgraced, he orders violence as if his entire flock has been placed in danger. Narcistic and muderous Amhara elites are causing massacres of Oromos and Tigrayans hiding in wealthy countries, including the massacre of Amhara civilians.Innocent Amhara people became victims of their own elites just as weapons from the UK killed British people while attempting to kill innocent Palestinians. “”The UK is “urgently seeking further information” on the death of a British aid worker killed in Gaza, its foreign office said on Tuesday.””Cnn

    The Zehabesha website is full of toxic rhetoric that leads to tragedies in Ethiopia. 

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