Rethinking the notion of “self-determination” by Dimetros Birku

March 9th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

The notion of “self-determination” was projected as an important manifestation of political consciousness in Ethiopian politics immediately before or following the Ethiopian revolution of 1974. Yet, a closer critical look of the principle reveals a different picture. The notion of “self-determination” as it relates to the Ethiopian politics is rather a manifestation of political unconsciousness and adoption of a reductionist view of “self.” In a collectivist society- identity – in this case “self” is a social construction as much as it is a political one. The failure to demystify “self-determination” in light of the Ethiopian situation is also indicative of over-receptiveness of concepts from the outside world –apparently the western world – without questioning their relevance in a collective society like Ethiopia and the rest of African peoples.

This short article represents neither an exhaustive nor definitive view of the notion of “self-determination” as it relates to Ethiopian politics. It does, however, represent a call to fellow Ethiopians –especially those bought the idea as a sacred political creed – to question its relevance. I argue that the notion of “self-determination” is over-politicized at the expense of social and cultural interaction that shaped collective identity. Yet, identity, to a great extent, is supposed to be a social construction, in my view, –not an offshoot of politicization of inapplicable exotic political concepts. The conception of “self” is taken in its absolutist and reductionist form. Embedded in the notion of “self-determination” is exclusive justice. And that is neither desirable nor possible.

Why I am questioning the notion of “Self- determination”:

In one of my undergraduate courses, “Global South”, the professor questioned “ Is international law is an instrument of domination?” The question was so interesting to me so much so that I asked the professor if I can write one of my research papers for the course on that same question –not that I had good understanding and previous reading on the topic. It was out of mere curiosity to challenge my speculative “yes” answer and have a closer look, and to understand the intuitive critical and negative attitude I developed towards the “international community” on grounds of the way the “international community” handles and behaves on different matters. For some reason I believed that “international law” is as mediocre as the “international community” and this was informed by the political experience of my people. Then, I approached the professor’s question with my own question: “what was the origin of international law?”

The preliminary readings which I did for the paper were not that useful and most of the materials I consulted were of Eurocentric origin. Consequently most of the literatures tend to have a deferential view of “international law.” They sounded to me apologetic in nature and not explanatory enough of the question I was interested in. You will know why shortly.
I discovered crucial clue related to my question in the work of Karl Polanyi’s – “Great Transformation.” At one point his writing seems to suggest that the origin of “international law” was the international system. The International system was entirely a European enterprise and it was meant to maintain a balance of power between European powers by way of averting and handling possible conflicts. Even North America was not part of the system.

Of course, my next question was whether the international law was relevant vis-à-vis defending the rights of nations and peoples at the time they were subject to colonial wars of occupation and treaties of treachery. From the outset, I happened to learn that the contribution of African and other third world scholars to international law was nil in its formative stage. Contribution from TWAIL scholars is a post-colonial phenomenon. On the other hand, I am aware that a body of law is supposed to reflect the moral codes, norms and views of the society for which it is intended. In that sense international law was not international enough. Far from providing legal protection to peoples in Africa and elsewhere, international law provided legitimacy and justification for colonial powers in their occupations territories in Africa. The existence of legal principles in “international law” that sound like tools of domination and oppression seen from the trajectory of African countries is another reason to doubt “international law”. Concepts like “Terra nullius,” and the notion of “positivism and positivist interpretation” could be cited as an example. Although I did not conduct a research – I assume that the partition of Africa by European powers under the motive of “civilizing mission” was endorsed by “International law” at least by omission.

All is not history though. There is a subtle continuity. Although it is difficult to make categorical assertion on that, even neo-positivism is not immune from bias of the powerful countries. Neo-liberalism is composing a song that “sovereignty” – which was once a cardinal concept in relation to the independence of peoples and nations in international law–is a thing of the past. Obviously, the intention is to facilitate mobility and expansion of capital and exploitation in a more subtle way- unlike the era of colonization which was through wars of conquest. My point is not about neo-liberalism. I am trying to substantiate the point that international law simply served a interpretive frame work to justify domination in colonial era and the world is not immune from new forms exploitation and domination that could appear under the guise of “international law.” The notion of “self-determination” which is now part of the international law could serve that purpose.

Rethinking the notion of “self-determination”

The principle of “self-determination” was introduced to international law during decolonization era. It appears the case that the genesis of concept has a root from leftist political thinking. Probably the principle initially came to be part of international law partly due to the ideological war between the East and the west blocs, and partly due to the appeal of concept for colonized peoples. Whatever the case is, in light of the struggle against colonialism, and in light of the fact that the struggle was between powerful colonizing countries of Europe on the one hand, and the colonized people of Africa who were subjected to exploitation and inhuman treatment* in their own country on the other – I would say the notion of “self-determination” was relevant back then. In this case the concept “self” is not suffering from absolutist and reductionist view. Because in concept “self” the embedded “other” is clear. And the other is entirely different from “self.”

The principle tends to take an absolutist turn when it is applied within a country- especially in Africa. Unfortunately, the principle got strong political currency in Ethiopia immediately before and after the 1974 revolution. The political movement of the 70’s in Ethiopia was influenced not only by leftist thinking but also the anti-colonial struggles in Africa in the 60’s and 70’s. Scholarship students from African countries at AAU are said to have their own role in shaping the political conscious of Ethiopian students, a political force which was to emerge as a modern political activist.** however, the formed consciousness is only apparent, not real. Clearly, there was some unconsciousness within the new political consciousness. The notion of “self-determination” is a good example to demonstrate that. Yet, it was not political unconsciousness per se that made the notion of “self-determination” a strong political currency in the politics of the 70’s. Even a fairly little exposure to the political writings of the 70’s in Ethiopia seems to suggest that the youth was highly politicized – and political mobilization was highly competitive. Based on circumstantial evidence, I tend to think that the notion of “self-determination” provided mobilization convenience for young political activists. Apparently, the mobilization convenience provided by the “notion of self-determination” made political activists forget the fact that oppression and exploitation was not exclusive in feudal Ethiopia. It was rather a shared experience.

In addition to political unconsciousness and the political convenience, the notion of “self-determination” proved to have ideological and political value in the eyes of external forces- forces which have the aspiration to destabilize and weaken Ethiopia for Ideological reason and/or historical reasons. Some Arab nations which envisaged interest in a destabilized Ethiopia provided diplomatic, financial and military support for the “liberation fronts” which were waging a guerrilla war against the provisional military government. Western countries in their own right have a feud with the military government due to its ideological orientation and opted for supporting “liberation fronts.” Technically that was like recognizing the principle of “self-determination” in the Ethiopian situations. Some “scholars” like David Basilson went to the extent of openly portraying Ethiopia as a colonial power. Apparently, the liberation front’s endorsement of colonial thesis was informed by readings from the writings and commentaries of David Basilson. So apart from mobilization convenience at home, the politics of “self-determination” helped gain acceptance and legitimacy by foreign powers.

But the colonial thesis was utterly nonsense. In connection with this, the problem related to “self-determination” in Ethiopia primarily emanated from mistaking power struggle between local feudal lords with colonial wars of conquest. There was, so to speak, no such thing as election campaign and election in feudal Ethiopia. The way to assume power –like any feudal societies in Europe and the rest of pre-colonial Africa– was through feudal war. On top of that Ethiopia itself survived a colonial war of conquest –and that was achieved with the participation of all the contending feudal lords and their armies. On the contrary, the colonial wars of conquest were essentially capitalistic enterprises. The wars were about expanding capital by way of creating a resource market. There was imperialistic tendency too. Resources were looted from Africa and transferred to the metropolitan. Africans lost dignity- in their own country. The economic, social and cultural policies that colonial powers pursued in colonized African countries were devastating to the Africans. So the champions of “self-determination” in Ethiopia clearly mistook the latter for the former. This is one of the unconsciousness.

The notion of “self” was taken in its reductionist sense. And the notion of “self” runs a linguistic line more than anything else. But clearly “self” is more than language. “Self” is a product of cultural and social interactions too. Cultural assertions are problematic for the simple reason that there have been multi-directional cultural assimilations. These assimilations and intermarriages could not be discounted in when defining “self.” All the “cultures” in Ethiopia are collective in nature. Something had been given and something had been taken. This is indicative of the fact that “the notion of “self-determination” is a social construction as much as it is a political one, if not more. However, this reality was not given a room.

Political activists who picked up the notion of “self-determination” for mobilization convenience purpose simply mined a justification for the absolutist, reductionist and exclusive notion of “self” in the politics of feudal Ethiopia. They failed to see that the colonial type of social and cultural interaction was entirely different. The Zimbabweans were segregated in their own country- and there was a legal and institutional frame work to undertake segregation by the white minority rule from Europe- the “other”. South Africans have a similar, perhaps worse by any measure, experience. Although a little off topic, the experiences of blacks in North America – in an allegedly liberal and free society- could offer another comparative framework. Yes, the North American case was not a purely colonial enterprise. Yet, the experiences of blacks are comparable to the experiences of Africans under the rule of the “other” – colonial powers. Bob’s “Stolen from Africa” song comes to mind here. “Slaves” from Africa were made to entirely forget their cultural values- and they were made to live under institutionalized racial segregation. The dream of Martin Luther king was-literally-the end of racial segregation. I am not sure if Martin Luther King envisaged of more.

In light of these experiences what happened in feudal Ethiopia represent nothing other than the low political stage of development of the feudalism. And all parts of Ethiopia experienced feudal rule under their respective feudal lords. I am of the view that the feudal experience should not be an excuse to entrench an absolutist view of “self.” It is also logically wrong to entrench exclusivity in a collective society. The notion of “self-determination” , as advocated by Ethiopian politicians, is about excluding perceived “other” rather than bringing about justice that serves a collective purpose.

Besides, no society lived harmoniously and without conflict throughout history. Because conflict is an integral part of human life and it exists at different levels. In that case, even the politics of “self-determination” is not a guarantee for a just and harmonious society. The guarantee for a relatively just society is the creation of a strong and inclusive notion of justice by way of transcending an incomplete and wrong conception of “self.” All the components of “self” matter. Language is just one component. I strongly believe that the notion of “self-determination” is neither desirable nor possible. It just represents unnecessary challenge. It’s a challenge not just for Ethiopia– but for Africa as well.

The irony is that while political activists in a country like Ethiopia –and all over Africa- take an absolutist view of “self” and a component of “self” as the “other”, the real “other” – the historical “other” unveiled itself in a more sophisticated form and is working in multifarious ways to demolish collectivist cultures in Africa so as to create a consumer and a resource market. And the contemporary ruling class in Africa is connecting with them and introducing their values. Globalization is a manifestation of that project. It represent a clear threat to the real “self.” It is not the component of “self” that represents danger to “self.” It is the “other.” It is high time to give the notion of “self-determination” a second thought.

********************** The End *****************


*To get a sense of human rights violation in Africa, see Makau Mutua’s,Harvard scholar from kenaya, interesting article the “ Savage, victim and Saviour: methphors of human rights.” Through this article, I was able to see “self” and “other.” Also it can help to see anachronism by champions of absolutist “self” who mistook feudalism with capitalism.
** Among others, Literatures like Andargachew Asegid’s “ Bachir Yetekeche Rezim Guzo” and “ Yidres le bale Tariku” are essential to analyze the politics of the 70’s in Ethiopia

  1. Sheger
    | #1

    That is a very important article thanks.

    For example the deal that ase Minilick mad with the Firench (100) year contrate has ended and do we have Jibuty?
    No of cours not. There you have “self determination” agenda, what is that for 80 million people who are land locked
    All around the clock? And what good is that for Jibutians or Eritirians or who ever? The next thing you know if you
    Stretch that though or what might be you will be asked to stay at you house. And imagine what Ethiopia would be
    In the future with all of this land grubbing business. We are not saying no to every one, including this 100 year deal
    What ever wrong we decided to do we are still paying for it besides what ever problems we have as nation. Can we at least live together? You know there are a lot of us that lives all over the world, that is not the question, the question is who profits
    From distiroing a nation when whether “silf” the “other” what ever you call it can’t be determined for sure? And speaking

    Of determination, well we can all go alone about it and clam what ever we want if we choose to. And we are witnessing
    That in our country.

  2. Samuel
    | #2

    Aren’t you guys tired of polemics. Here comes some one who is trying his best to refute the universal declaration of the right of self determination just to satisfy his corner of Ethiopian history. He is even trying to tell us that all people treated equally (North, South, East and West) during the feudal era when we knew that essentially there were 2 constitutions with regard to land holding- the back bone of any society. At this stage of the struggle of the Ethioipian people to get rid of a mafia thugs, coming up new, and yet old tactics, is not serving any cause. You might feel you have contributed something, but it is a hollow message.

  3. Sheger
    | #3

    It ain’t like Eritirians are not leading our country. When it comes to ethnic agenda. Or it ain’t like we are not all mixed up
    Any ways speaking of the majority. And majority MATTERS.

  4. Sheger
    | #4

    Well, they might not even be Eritirians any ways including Issayas him self. Talyan endanilachwu Ferengoch adeloo,
    Ethiopian Endanilachewu Ethiopian YITELALU. mehegachewun Basayelin.

  5. Sheger
    | #5

    It is an old tactic honey and it is called “divid and concur”. And where do you think that whole term comes from? Is it
    From splitting a person in to two with a hachet? Come on honey and Ethiopia is not the only country with a divers
    Ethnic group of people and nations at least most Africa is and they went though all od this and some are steal dealing with it just like us. You cant fool us Samuel by telling people there is a nation called Ethiopia or whether a divided nation
    It is very funny that as an Ethiopian you can’t go live or work where ever you want on the controry the government
    Owns every thing and does what ever it wants and the basic wrights of citizens are taken away you see others alawd
    To come and invest where ever they want. And we are talking about a country with a very little job resources, let’s say
    You are a teacher and you don’t have a job and there is a chance to go teach in Oromia or in Tigray, but can you? May
    Be but my understanding of it, 1 you have to speak the languej to that it if they let you come and work, some say no. That is the fact and that whole thing that whole thing is the rieality about every one soon when less and less Ameharic
    Speaking people comes, can they work in the Amehara stat? And they are producing them by the day.

    Min yenekachewu sewoch endehonu?

    Befeudalu gezay Oromowu tebedilual? Bibedilewum yebedelewu Erasu Oromowu, Gudayu yezer guday Ayidelem. Amarawu bedelotim, litekimewu newu yebedelwu at this point.

  6. Sheger
    | #6

    And look at what the musilims are doing in southern Ethiopia, killing Christians and burning churches, because some body did some thing to the Quran book, of course not there own books out of their homes but some body’s book and they are acting like some body put them on fire or some thing. There is no end to some peoples foolishness and stupidity. Any thing can happen to a book any ways have they ever forgotten the it book some where or lost there book?

    Or may be they are not stupid at all, they are using it as a reason because they couldn’t come up with any thing els to make truble. Balebet yelelwu bet yedureye medelekia newu, bemecheresham yegoolibetegnawu yihonal, kesu yeteneker estemimeta.

    Dinditim yien semita, alesemahum alech. Esua minchenekat, befelegechwu washha befelegechu medda menor tichile
    Yele, sewu ayarigegn, sewu kemehon awutan adinen bila metaseb newu engee.
    Long live Ethiopia

  7. Sheger
    | #7


    I meant to say, dinbitem, yihen semita alesemahum alech…….

  8. Sheger
    | #8

    Esua min chenekat befelegechu Medea befelegechwu washha befelegechu menor tichil yele, sewu kemehon awutan
    Adinen bila metazeb newu engee.

  9. Mekuria
    | #9

    Too much philosophy with very little substance.

  10. Sheger
    | #10

    And of course not every thing that is going on in southern Ethiopia has some thing to do with this musilims killing
    Christians. I think what is going on in Started in gomegofa might be a real start of our our freedom. (BEKA) enough
    Bass, Yakele, Gaye.

    Long live Ethiopia. I love Ethiopia.

  11. Mezmur
    | #11

    Hi Dimetros,

    Thanks for your probing article about the notion of ‘self determination’

    I think it is a murky concept with huge practical consequences which needs to be put repeatedly under the spot light as it is one of the cardinal dogmas that the current regime ostensibly professes in its so called revolutionary drive to reconfigure the relations of the ‘nations and nationalities’ of Ethiopia.

    Intellectuals must always be sceptical about all kinds of ‘dogmas and orthodoxies’
    They should question them recalling the great havoc and horror caused by these fatal, fanatic narratives in history.

    The dogma of the so called ‘self determination up to…’zealously held by the Meles regime and imposed upon the organic and historic relationship of our people seems to have served cynical purpose of ruling a divided majority by an identity crazed minority and it is,if not effectively challenged, a recipe for disaster resulting in a possible implosion of a nation when and if that cynical purpose of a minority does not enable TPLF to continue to rule.

    I therefore applaud your theoretical attempt to question it through and through although I believe that this should be a much more developed enterprise than it is presented here and a much more extensive reflection, research and writing would do it full justice.

    I think that borrowed and tired concepts like ‘nation and nationality and ‘Feudal’, as applied to the Ethiopian situation, for instance, should be revisited by way of a more subtle deconstructionist understanding of the social anthropological, historical and economic organization of our ancient nation.
    Thanks for the contribution.

  12. true
    | #12

    It is time an Ethiopians or Liberation Fronts really think about this Western and Eastern borrowed word called “Self determniation” from what from your own similar neighbor? It is ridiculous. I can understand if Italians still occupied Ethiopia then self determnation is relevant here because Italians crossed borders, or they have their own country and travelled miles to colonize Ethiopia. Then notion that our group of people in Ethioopia in the form of fedualism created inequality is equality and justice issue that needs to be solved in true democratic era not self determnation.

    Those liberation fronts fighting will not have a country even to fight while dividing our people, they are making it very easy for neoliberalism a form of Western Colonization to take control of resources and exploitation. Yes, liberation fronts, make it easy for the Wester or East to exploit us further. Wow we Africans never learn from the past and we keep falling for us to be exploited. What a shame. Indeed Liberation Fronts have unconsious mind. Still, they are not learning a lesson. Eritrea’s case is different than other liberation fronts because they have been colonized by Italy and makes sense to have their own country. They have to realize that by dividing and conquering they may have learned a lesson they are weak. But they are in a fake way trying to prove Eritrea can stand on her own. Baloney, Eritrea had realized that without Ethiopia’s economy it is not going to grow. For now it has become agents of the West and Arabs, that is how they feed themselves.

    In terms of other liberation fronts. Just take a look at what TPLF did to Ethiopia. By now, Tigray should have been free and they rule their own country. They realized it is not realistic. You can’t apply this sick and distorted ideology that is on paper and impose on society. It is people that they are going to be killing displacing, etc, not to metnion it will be a blessing in disguise for West, Arabs and now East.

    It is time people write about this things. Thank you Dimetros for bringing this up.

  13. Haq
    | #13

    This is by far the best article by an Ethiopian on self determination that I have read.

    I have always been amazed that some Ethiopian youth in the last few decades insisted in equating Ethiopia to the capitalist imperialist powers. This from people who thought themselves as somehow Marxist. A simple reading of Lenin, ‘Imperialism the highest stage of Capitalism’ or Trotsky’s ‘letter from the heights of Oslo’ that specifically mention Ethiopia would have been enough. Lenin mentions Abyssinia as the last of uncolonized Africa, Trotsky writes in defense of Emperor Haile Selassie’s struggle against the Italian fascists. The reason they did this is because as principled Marxists they saw the contest as one between countries in different stages of development, the Capitalist Imperialist powers in search of markets and colonies and the rest. As such they felt it their duty to support the latter against the former.

    The Marxist view of self determination was therefore different from the Wilsonian (as in President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points). The Wilsonian self determination was instrumental and used to balkanize and dismember the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. It had everything to do with pragmatic politics and little to do with democracy, as the United States itself did not allow the South to secede in 1860 but fought a bloody civil war to maintain the Union. There is little doubt that if there had been a referendum, the South would have voted to secede. (as in fact the state legislatures did).

    In the Ethiopian and African context is not unusual for narrow minded ethno-centrists to masquerade as exponents of self determination.

    Some have gone to the extent of falsely accusing Emperor Menilik II of being a signatory of the Berlin Conference that carved up Africa.

    The infamous EPLF claim that Eritrea was a colony of Ethiopia is another example of such claims. This has been thoroughly debunked by some Eritrean writers recently. But, like all gross lies shamelessly repeated it will only die a slow lingering death.

  14. Hilina Berhanu
    | #14

    A New “Fire” on SELF- determination
    This “Fire” on SELF- determination has only left positive marks in my re-perception of the big Ethiopian political point: SELF-Determination. – Specially the fact of the critique from the new perspective, i.e. the Capitalized “SELF”. One can see that it is not the “usual” counterproductive cry and tirade in favor of “unity”, which mostly fail to promote the real conscious unity of purpose among those struggling and claiming their rights of self-determination in Ethiopia. I.e.The PURPOSE of living and developing together in the given historical-geopolitical proximity, in a diversity of cultures to achieve peace and prosperity, within the Ethiopian State. A DEMOCRATIC STATE!
    To read more :

  15. Wegonoche
    | #15

    Dear Dimetros Biruk

    I enjoy reading it and agree with most of what you said, your analysis and issues you raised because they are relevant, timely and useful. But I have concerns, questions or dilemma.

    My first question is how do we build democracy without addressing language issues in Ethiopia.

    You have not suggested any alternatives but criticism.

    You said: ‘…The notion of “self” was taken in its reductionist sense. And the notion of “self” runs a linguistic line more than anything else…’

    I always believe issues related to languages and cultures are misrepresented, misunderstood, misused by Ethiopian politicians knowingly or unknowingly.

    I am not expert in the politics of languages and identity. I speak from my own experience and others who live in Europe. By living in Europe, I experienced and benefited from their multiculturalism policies, Freedom information act and so on.

    I can give you two examples.

    a. One of benefit of multiculturalism as citizen of Europe, when it is our new year/Xmas/Easter I do not need to take my annual leave.

    b. Other benefit of multiculturalism is citizen get access to information in the language they speak and understand. For example, I saw many documents developed into Amharic and Tigrigna.

    I understand documents better if they are written in Amharic than those written in English. I can express better myself in Amharic than in English.

    So my question to you:
    Why is not natural and legitimate right for people in Ethiopia to have access to information, news and government legislation, policies, programs in their languages.

    My second concern:
    If Amharic is not working language in Ethiopia then French, English or Arabic will take its place some time in the future. From what I heard and read Arabic is used in one of Harar Uni as medium of teaching.

    I believe this would make situation worse. In the long term Ethiopians start to see Arab speaking people or European as superiors because with accepting these language as working language comes domination of these cultures over Ethiopians.

    My question is how do we get balance between
    blind support for more division based on languages and
    dismissal of issue language as narrow minded ethnocentric agenda.

    My answer is information and communication technologies are cheaper these days as compared to 20 years ago.
    So I believe we can address issue of language without ignoring it or hating each others.

  16. Samuel
    | #16

    I am not a sociologist and will not try to be one. But I remember reading a subject regrading the effect of language in the national setting of nation states. In almost all situations those countries who adopted a language among its own sevral languages end up with a dominant culture of that tribe, ethnic group or whatever you call it. It is also true that the elites of that group tend to adopt the universal right of individuals in that society, now that they have attained a higher class among the many as a result of the preceding advantage bestowed unto them by the system. If we look into Ethiopia, Amharic was declared as an official language in the amended constitution of Haile Sellasie back in the 1940′s where the noblity and the feudal lords were making fun of parliamentary procedures. They did not care much about the large population whose language was not Amharic. Remember that during those days schools were also limited. That to the present day descendants of subject people is a hole that needs to be fixed. TPLF has garnered some support based on its proclmation and manifest expression of some part of that proclamtaion. In other words it attempted to excercise the right for determination to a degree that it allows it to divide and rule. In variably the ones that are against the right of self detrmination happen to be those Amharic speakers who had benefited immensely from the skewed governerance of Ethiopia. Whether we like it or not that has to change before we attempt to bring our societies together. I have gone through 3 governments and seen it all. From my experinece of those 3 regimes, it appears that the question of self detrmination is real and kicking far more seriously than it has ever been.

  17. StupidPeople
    | #17

    “self-determination” like “equality” “freedom” “democracy” “happiness” is an idea or concept that may have nothing to do with nature and reality.But as the Ethiopian case shows those irreal concepts could be used by people with sinister agendas to mislead stupid people like those who belong to “that generation” and destroy whole nations.

    Rather than worrying much about those abstract and irreal foreign concepts we should humble ourselves and concentrate on more real objectives like how to feed,cloth,house,educate,heal and defend our people.

  18. aha!
    | #18

    This the only article I have read in the last five years that went into one one of the two prong ideological changes: ethnic federalism and secessionism upto self-determination, next to Marxism imposed on the silent majority of Ethiopians. Both of the concepts although spearheded by TPLF and EPLF during the marxist revolution of the student against the opression of nations and nationalities have the hands of foreign governments in them as a form of their own strategy to weaken Ethiopia as a powerfull nation, by disturbing the natural settings of the ethnic populations, large and small much like and organic entity as in a tree or like the metaphor for species populations of animals and plants in a forest ecosystem following the natural laws and man-made laws for the available resources each in its own niche.

    In retrospect, the Marxist and Maosist student revolution had two groups: the way look at it: one for class struggle and another spearheaded by TPLF and EPLF to secede from Ethiopia as a coloniser, while the other factions were engaed in a revolution for land reform, and wrkers rights, including the Dergue, which did not yield power to a civilian government. It will be hard to speculate what will happen between the two factions had the Military retreated to the barrack, after having deposed His Imperial Majesty Haileselassie and imprisoned high officials connected to old regime. This phenomena was unfolding while the Military was continuing fighting the EPLF and latter the TPLF and both of them combined to maintain the Unity and Territorial integrity of Ethiopia. If the Dergue went to the barrack, without adopting the constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, form which factions is the Dergue going to follow orders to continue fighting TPLF and EPLF to maintain Ethiopian Unity and Territorial Inegrity.

    Nevertheless, the factions of the student movement of the opperession of the nations and nationalities by the regimes as colonisers spearhed by TPLF won, not maintain the claim for secession upto self-determination from the central, reconstituted government based on Ethiopian Nationalism and its national interests, but usurped to impose its ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies as stipulated in the Charter and later in the constitution, where the boundries were demarcated into nine? major ethnic regions, instead of maintainig the the original provinces, adopting the classical strategy of the colonialists and the the governance and/or admistration style of the Apartheid system of South Africa of self-rule and separate development. Add to that the right right to secession upto self determination that has been a perpetual war skirmihes between the liberation movements and the TPLF/eprdf regime in their attempt to gain self-determination like Eritra.

    If there is a genuine concern for sel-determination as the normal mode of existence in Ethiopia the elites maintaining ethnic federalism and secessionism should campaing for 80+ ethnic states, not nowing what they would do with other ethnic groups that are in Addis Abeba and other provinces. For peace and stability to prevail in Ethiopia, the politicians and followers of the teletaffi parties and the loyalist opposition parties to abandon their platform of ethnic agenda and base their platform on Ethiopian Nationalism and Ethiopian National Interests in order to attain economic and political freedom and liberty of individuals from autocratic, ethnocratic/ethnic dictatorship and the colonial and /or aprtheid sytem of governance and/or adminstration and liberation movements to abandon thier rights to secession upto self-determination fight along side EPPF to liberate Ethiopians from the current regime. There is nothing that can not be debated and resolved in a truly democratic government, where the individuals elect a party to power the governs by the consent of the governed. To achieve, ethnic and /or secessionist polics and/or policies maintained by the current regime supported by the teletafi parties and implicetely supported by the teletafi paties act as a stumbling block to freedom from ethnic and seccessionist politics and exploitation, coruption by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and Marxist ideology of totalianism of the silent majority of Ethiopians.

  19. Wegonoche
    | #19

    What is happening now in Ethiopia matters more than what we think or believe. Also experiences other countries show that current political setting, situation or state in Ethiopia is favoring foreign language to be Ethiopian working language. For example, government policies or documents are developed in foreign languages but not in the languages of the minorities in the country.

    Schools are being taught in local languages but there are no enough books to teach them. Children prefer to speak or learn foreign languages.

    How many of you know there are several rural schools directly getting financial assistance from foreign NGOs? Which languages do these children prefer to speak foreign or local languages?

    Ethiopia is not going to be the same because of our inability to come up with practical political programs or solutions regard to addressing language issues and problems. We prefer blaming and accusing each other or ignoring the issues as irrelevant and insignificant.

    Best way is to start to respect each other and listen to each other.

    What puzzles me is those Ethiopians that live in Europe get financial assistance to keep their language and culture. For example, I see so many documents developed into Amharic and Tigrigna to inform them (members of Tigrigna and Amharic speaking communities) in matters which affects them.

    I expected from those of you who write in foreign languages and live in the west to learn value of informing citizens in the languages they speak and understand.

    Instead of learning how to give public equal access to information and news you blame each other.

    You do not get support because people do not understand or know what you stand for. Therefore people either trust those people who speak their languages or foreigners who give financial assistance or employ them.

    We Ethiopians are like absent parents who say I love you but do not sacrifice their comforts and time.

    How many radio programs are there in the country side that transmit your programs in the local languages?

    Reach rural people by writing and speaking in local languages. If you do not do it foreigners will do it for you.

  20. Oda Tulu
    | #20

    Ethiopia was not ever an Empirialist country by admission of European colonial powers; she was a victim of colonialism. OLF, ONLF and other separatist elements complicate issues for selfish ends.

  21. Birhanu Demeke
    | #21

    Dear Samuel and likes when ever I read articles and comments on Ethiopian pro-democracy websites you always would like to paint your self/ves as concerned Ethiopian where as you are not and also expose your self/ves as OLF operative/s,you also extend your sentiment to the Ogadens,Gambellas and Sidamas which is anti-Amhara in particular and anti-Ethiopia in general and keep on talking your so called self determination like as if you have a legitimate question which needs to be answered,by the way which feudal ruler did not rule all Ethiopians with iron feast,your claim can’t be found in history,all Ethiopians were subjected for oppression irrespective of their ethnic affiliation that is in-spite of the distorted fabrication of the Ethiopian history by people like you.

    By the time when Ethiopians remove the anti-Ethiopia TPLF they shall not hesitate to do defeat those with similar objective,its just a matter of time.Can you possibly rewrite the Ethiopian history specially that of the one as from the 16 century until today let alone the entire history?I don’t think so because you are not going to defeat all Ethiopians unless you are hoping to plunge the post TPLF Ethiopia in to the two decades old Somalia type of political landscape,even at the end Ethiopia shall prevail and Ethiopians shall be victorious.


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