The non-existence of Ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia By Teodros Kiros

February 21st, 2011 Print Print Email Email

According to Eskinder Nega, our esteemed journalist.

Once the genie was out of the bottle, neither the Derg’s revolutionary land to the tiller proclamation, which uprooted the economic foundation for identity politics, nor the rise to power of the EPRDF, one of its multitude of militant champions, has been enough to diminish its emotional appeal to a large number of people. It still thrives in Ethiopia’s politics both as a powerful force and a favored means of divide and rule.

Does this pose a threat of ethnic strife in the event of Egypt-like protests? Would people really go as far as engaging in ethnic conflict, particularly in relatively sophisticated Addis Ababa, home to the nation’s greatest diversity?

Even in these times of heightened ethnic consciousness, the melting pot standing of the nation’s capital has persisted virtually unchallenged. An established ethos encourages tolerance and co-existence for first generation settlers from the regions, who have always constituted a majority, and assimilation in to a hybrid culture for succeeding generations. Even the Amharic spoken in Addis, which, like American English, has developed a distinctive accent, is evolving as it continues to assimilate increasing number of words from other languages.

Addis is uniquely one of those rare African cities with no ethnic ghettos. The few neighborhoods that started out, as ethnic enclaves—Wello sefer, Gimira sefer, Wellega sefer etc— have all been overwhelmed. Amidst this diversity, all school instructions are by consensus in the lingua-franca, Amharic. There are no private or public ethnic schools in Addis. The protection and upkeep of ethnic identities, which is held dear by most Ethiopians, is understood to be the preserve of either their home regions or a private matter.

Naturally, with ethnically diverse neighborhoods the norm, the extent of inter-marriages is exceptionally high. An ethnically homogeneous extended family is virtually non-existent. The process of assimilation in this realm is as vibrant as ever.
This is the Addis Ababan reality, which had enabled the CUD to score a sweeping electoral victory in 2005. For the entirety of the city’s residents, heightened ethnicity, let alone conflict, militates against day-to-day life. A neighbor is rarely an ethnic kin. A family member is usually married to someone from a different ethnic group. A co-worker almost always comes from a different ethnicity. The same goes for a fellow worshiper. Unlike the US or parts of Africa, the concept of an ethnically exclusive church simply does not exist. The ties that bind Addis Ababans are extensive and deep. ( Ethiomedia, Feb 17, 2011)

This is good news for our dream of staging a national uprising in our homeland. The Woyannes have been craftily misadjusting the historic people of Tigray to fight against their Ethiopianity- the heart felt impulse for which they gallantly fought in Tigray. Tigreans have always been devoted Ethiopians. Their emperors have testified their Ethiopianity on the behalf of mother Ethiopia. This great Ethiopian history was distorted and rewritten by the Tyrannical/ oligarchic regime. Tigreans have now woken up to this distorted history. They are saying no in so many words and at so many places to this hegemonic miseducation. Other Ethiopians should also wake up and embrace this new reality.

I am much impressed by Eskinder’s subtle reading of this impending unity of all Ethiopians, a fact that was always there on the streets of Addis, its ethnic neighborhoods, its work places, its hospitals and churches.

The journalist’s pen has documented this hidden reality of the cosmopolitanism of Addis Abbebans and others. Let us collectively wrap ourselves with this radical cosmopolitanism and set the impending stage of a peaceful uprising aiming at embracing our Ethiopianity and rejecting pseudo ethnicity against our interests.

  1. tati
    | #1

    the paper tigers living in us or europe. if they want to bring a change by any means 1st they have to go to ethiopia with all their family and lead the so colled strugle for democracy.

  2. rezene kadissaba
    | #2

    So now all the oppositions believe there is no ethnic tension among Addis or even in major cities of Eth. What if it was never there. What if the gov have never tried to build that tension in the first place. As a resident of Addis & travel extensively in the regions – I never witnessed such act or propaganda by gov to make one ethnic feel better than the other. That’s what ethnic tension comes from – superiority or inferiority complex. What is so funny – its been 20 years since blaming the gov and now you agree on no ethnic tension – but the credit goes to the people ; not the gov. If your claim of ethnic division existed the last 20 years – there is no society which is propaganda proof – we would have seen this ethnicity issue by now. Habesha siterit ” Jiraf Erassu choho erassu alekesse” yilal. Hope to see more of these true revelations

  3. Haileyesus
    | #3

    God bless Dr. Tewodros Kiros who can see light in an air filled with dust. he who give hope to the hopeless is a healer. he who identifies with the downtrodden, the inconsequential and the repressed has God’s heart in him. He who says i will revolt not be cause i hate some one but because i hate suffering for too long is a balanced human. He who advocates unity through humanity and not ethnicity is human to the bottom line. In all of these,I see Dr. Tewodros Kiros.

  4. Birhanu Demeke
    | #4

    “Rezene kadissaba”

    Don’t you dare keep on saying what if the TPLF never tried to build ethnic tension,what if it was never there,I never witnessed such an act or propaganda by the TPLF to make one ethnic feel better than the other…etc.Before you could say anything you have to be sure about this particular topic,then you should talk truth no fantasy because you are insulting those fallen Ethiopians as a result of TPLF’s ethnic hatred policy.

    First of all as a TPLF supporter you have no moral authority to preach as to what the TPLF is to the Ethiopian people and all the crimes it has and continue committing against every thing which is Ethiopia/n,the Ethiopian people are aware although the are silenced.For your information TPLF’s foundation for being where its today is policy of in-sighting ethnic hatred and violence between and among various ethnics in Ethiopia and that has been the case since its inception as anti-Ethiopia entity.

    So you want us to listen to your crap that the TPLF has caused no ethnic conflict and hatred,you must be a foolish person to be Ethiopian who willingly refuse to accept the damage the TPLF has caused to Ethiopia and the crimes it has committed and continue committing against the Ethiopian people as a result of its anti-Ethiopia nature and its narrow tribalist policy.

    So don’t try to defend TPLF because you are unprofessional advocate who tries to stand in defense of a well known criminal clique since you would be fooling nobody but your self.Do you know what said in the Amharic proverb “Yemillushin bitisemi gebeya balwotash”


  5. Tsadkan
    | #5

    Agreed to a large extent. The people of Ethiopia are a bit special in a sense. Unlike many other African nations who fail under colonial rule Ethiopians have a tremendousness ability to coexistent. We had managed to stay as a nation state for centuries and have gone through periods of might, prosperity, war, hunger, and poverty. We suffer together and we rise together. Ethnic conflict will not go far in Ethiopia. People in Ethiopia are simply uninterested in fighting each other. What they want to do is fight this illegitimate government. As for People in Tigray. We all know Tigray people are patriotic Ethiopians.Like Kiros said, TPLF tried to change this sentiment for a long time starting from its guerrilla days. What they failed to comprehend was that you can’t destroy a thousand year history in 36 years. The people of Tigray are now beginning to understand they have been duped by TPLF elites, who care only about power and money. All one has to do is go to Tigray to see what people feel about the TPLF elites. In fact the admiration has only really be for the dekinas/ Tegadalays. Tegadalays fought for freedom and democracy not one man dictatorship.

  6. rezene kadissaba
    | #6

    Ato Birhanu – I am not a TPLF supporter – if you must know – my arguement is simple. The writer said there is no ethnic tension – eventhough the gov tried for 20 years. So show me a society which avoided ethnic conflict after 20 years of “in-sighting ethnic hatred” – If you want to here the same thing over and over again its your choice, but we as ethiopians wont see political change if we are afraid to rationally challenge the oppositions let alone the government. If you ask me we are suffering from “opposition dictatorship”.

  7. Birhanu Demeke
    | #7

    TO “rezene kadisaba”

    I apologize for labeling you as TPLF supporter since now you said that you are not,and I thank you for not being one.

    Concerning if there is any society which could be inferred as an example for avoiding ethnic hatred after having been ruled for decades by a system which insight ethnic hatred between and among its citizens for the sake of prolonging its hold on power,South Africa is the best model as a country which defeated the apartheid regime and its racist and bantustant policy.

    If you take a look at the social fabric of the Ethiopian people its some short sighted ethnocentric politicians from the oppositions most of all the ruling clique which have always been causing ethnic hatred for their own selfish benefits,otherwise the people have been longing to live freely from the home grown oppressors united in their diversity under of constitutional democracy for that matter the 2005 May 15 election was the best example to know as to how the Ethiopian people want to pursue their future.

    Regarding opposition dictators we all ought to resist any form of dictators from the opposition because I believe the future Ethiopians shall not tolerate to be ruled by dictator.So its up to all of us to remove the TPLF and install democratic institutions in Ethiopia in order to make an end to the era of being ruled by dictators.


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