The Quest for an Ethiopian Peaceful Uprising is an Existential and Political Right BY Teodros Kiros

May 16th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

In a recent article,” I cry for my Country,” (Ethiopian review, Ecadforum, Ethiosun, I observed:

“My people, what are we waiting for? Why can’t we use our existential rights and protest against the unbearable lives our condemned brothers and sisters rotting in tin shacks, and our world recognized Ethiopian women selling their bodies, in order to live.

I say to my brothers and sisters, read my unfolding novel, seeking to document Ethiopian lives, since I cannot even see them any more, because the Tyrannical regime is now eagerly waiting to imprison me and charge me of declaring war against its moribund policies. I live to write.” I return to this theme now, as I am simultaneously working on a novel, exposing
the gruesome Ethiopian reality. I am attempting to contribute as a philosopher and a novelist, and these two tasks are complementary, although some of my readers may suspect that I am betraying my revolutionary project.

I assure my readers that my cause will be pursued until after a genuine radical democracy is planted in Ethiopia, as Dr.Berhanu Nega put it in a recent interview with Ethiotube. I salute him for an eloquent and courageous interview, from which I learned considerably.

The winds of radical democracy are spreading on the Northern tip of Africa and deep into the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Ethiopia must also witness this gentle wind of true change for the Ethiopian people. The Ethiopian people deserve change, want change, and are waiting for change, but it us in the Diaspora and within Ethiopian who must assure them that we do not seek change to revenge against the regime but rather we want change because we are muzzled like dogs. We want to be free and serve our beloved country from the depth of our veins.

Our existential rights of willing change, bringing change peacefully and by democratic means are our inherent and inalienable rights, and we are determined to plant them as foundations of democracy for generations to come, and contribute towards an Ethiopian renaissance of radical democracy for all nationalities and language groups of modern Ethiopian. Some of us may be poor to march on the streets, some of us may be economically comfortable to will
change, some of us may have been frustrated by the aborted revolution of 2005.

Our material conditions may blind us now; but if millions of Ethiopians continue to live in tin shacks, without water and without sanitation, the deprivation of their dignity will lead them to an Ethiopian spring and resort to the people’s peaceful uprising.

That time is fast coming and we must be ready to lead it. My work as a novelist and a philosopher is a modest contribution towards this goal.

Teodros Kiros
Professor of Philosophy and English (Liberal Arts)
Berklee College of Music

  1. Oda Tulu
    | #1

    Thank you Professor. But Dr. Birhanu is the architect of all-inclusive struggle.

  2. wedi samre
    | #2

    Dear Ato Teodros,
    Last time I said it remained to be seen if you would continue to consistently promote the cause of mother Ethiopia. You promised you would defend the rights of the Ethiopian people till the end of your life. In your present article, you talk about radical democracy for what you call “my people”, “my brothers and sisters”. Is that evidence that you are defending the Ethiopian people? What do you mean by “my people” and by defending them? Do you consider the Tigray people as your people? I doubt it very much. However, if your answer is in the affirmative, you are contradicting your self. Because you cannot consider the Tigray people as your people and describe the Shabia (EPLF/TPLF) invaders of Ethiopia as “ethnocratic”, or “exclusivists” . Your description of the occupation force as ethnocratic implies wrongly that Ethiopia is under the domination of one “ethnic group”. If this were true, it would mean that Ethiopia is an agglomeration of tribes with no common bond and interest holding them together. It would mean also that there is no such thing as Ethiopian people. In this case, the phrase “my people” coming from your lips rings hypocritical. In a nutshell, you deny the nationhood of Ethiopia, that is, the oneness of the Ethiopian people. If we were to go by your line of reasoning, Ethiopia would not be a nation (hager) but an empire comprising different peoples held together by force. This is also the discourse of the enemies of the Ethiopian nation: Shabia (TPLF/EPLF), OLF, Gunbet 7, Medrek, ONLF, etc.
    Given your long-standing anti-Ethiopia position, the foregoing fact leads me to wonder if you have re-Ethiopianized your self in earnest. Adopting the language of some irresponsible and intellectually challenged Amhara tribalists does not mean that one is defending mother Ethiopia. Because, if we follow your reasoning, the problem of Ethiopia is tribal inequality. The term “ethnocracy” implies that one “ethnic group” is monopolizing power at the expense of other “ethnic groups”. The fact however is that there is no such thing as ethnocratic rule in post-cold war Ethiopia. We have been hearing such kind of discourse for two decades; but it is unmitigated lie, a pure enemy propaganda. No one has come up with verifiable evidence showing that Ethiopia is under “ethnocratic” rule. If they ruled Ethiopia, the Tigray people would fight to the last man to protect their country from dismemberment. The 1998-2000 invasion, wanton destruction and occupation of Tigray by the Hamasin would have been unimaginable if natives of Tigray took over the reins of the country.
    That being said, even if Ethiopia were ruled entirely (from national to Kebele levels) by natives of Tigray, it would be an-Ethiopian and anti-Ethiopian to speak of ethnocratic rule or exclusivist policies. You say that Shabia is awaiting to jail you because you condemn it’s “exclusivist policies”. On the contrary, I believe that Shabia is happy with what you having being doing against Tigray although it feigns to be angry with your discourse. Because the very idea of ethnocratic/exclusivist rule is an enemy discourse intended to counter the nationhood of Ethiopia through divide and conquer. That is why I think that by describing Shabia (EPLF/TPLF) as “ethnocrats” or “exclusivists”, you have broken your promise that you would defend the Ethiopian people. You should know that your futile attempt to Tigrayanize Shabia (EPLF/TPLF) is a gratuitous attack against the Tigray people. Don’t forget the Tigray people have the means to defend themselves against you or against a certain Ghelawdewos Araya (who try unabashedly to make believe Ethiopians that they are governed by a neo-patrimonialistic pan-Ethiopian organization). By mimicking some Shabia-friendly Amhara intellectual tribalists, you try to make believe that the Tigray people consider as Ethiopians (Tigrayans) those who dismembered Ethiopia and stole her territories in Tigray region. You should have known that he who is not absolutely loyal to the spirit of Ethiopian nationalism as embodied by Yohanes and Alula is not a Tigrayan and still less Ethiopian. People should bear always in mind that a Tigrayan is an Ethiopian nationalist par excellence. That is why neither Arena of Gebru Asrat nor Siyye Abraha can be considered as Tigrayans, because not only did they work for the dismemberment and landlockedness of Ethiopia, but they continue to harbor a Shabia-friendly anti-Ethiopia agenda. Yet Gebru and Siyye would like to be seen as “Tigrayan nationalists”. However, the expression “Tigrayan nationalist” is a contradiction in terms since it implies that one can be a Tigray regional patriot while promoting ideas against the Ethiopian nation. Siyye Abraha is anti-Ethiopian since he divides the Ethiopian people into “nations” and “nationalities”. If he made sincere amends, he would accept the truth that there are no nations or nationalities in Ethiopia; there is only the Ethiopian nation. There is only one people and one nation in Ethiopia. He who says otherwise is a Shabia hireling .
    In this regard, your use of the word “ethnocracy” is not accidental all the more so as you had written previously that the objective of the “TPLF” was the creation of greater Tigray. Before you, Berhanu Nega had already said that silly stuff. Now you try to befriend with the friend of secessionists and of other enemies of Ethiopia. For your information, I don’t like either Gunbet 7 or it’s leaders because they are pro-Shabia (EPLF/TPLF) and anti-Tigray. An anti-Tigrayan is necessarily anti-Ethiopian. Anyone who believes they can be patriotic Ethiopians and anti-Tigrayans at the same time are in reality accomplices of Shabia and enemies of the Ethiopian nation. What about you Ato Teodros? Do you really think that you can defend the cause of mother Ethiopia by misleading Ethiopians into believing that Shabia invaders are tyrannical?
    Unlike you and Alemayehu Gebremariam who would have us believe that the problem of Ethiopia is the violation of human rights by a “tyrannical regime”, I don’t know of any tyrannical regime in the world which steals the territory of the country which it controls and cedes it to enemy countries. How come none of you have realized that not only your position is intellectually untenable, but it is the greatest intellectual obstacle to the liberation of the mother land from barbaric foreign rule? Your big problem is that you try to be human-rightists without being Ethiopian nationalists. But Ethiopia does not need human-rightists. That job can be done by Amnesty International, Human rights watch, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, etc. What Ethiopia sorely needs is nationalists who work hard to consolidate the unity of eighty six million Ethiopians by combating relentlessly against Shabia divide and conquer and anti-Tigray Amhara intellectual tribalism. Democratism, human-rightism and Amhara intellectual tribalism have certainly enabled Shabia (TPLF/EPLF) to elongate its military occupation of Ethiopia. Only Ethiopian nationalism can enable us to put an end to the agony of mother Ethiopia. That is why Ethiopian nationalists should combat intellectually relentlessly against democratism, human-rightism and anti-Tigray Amhara intellectual tribalism.
    In the struggle for national liberation, Ethiopian nationalists have the full support our Church fathers, priests, defteras, imams, peasants, workers, civil servants. Our objective is to defend our holy land, our religion, our national dignity and our status of God’s chosen people. In the struggle for the liberation of the mother land, Ethiopian nationalists should not lose sight of the fact that the “TPLF “ rank and file army is not an enemy army. It can return it’s guns against Shabia leaders at any time. It has never betrayed the Ethiopian nation knowingly and willingly. It is up to Ethiopian nationalists to find ways and means of rallying the “TPLF” army around the defense and the liberation of the mother land.
    Ethiopian nationalists should always bear in mind that all our intellectual and political efforts, our struggle for national liberation can be crowned with success only if they are informed by an Ethio-centric approach. We should adopt a political language which our people can understand easily. If we conduct ourselves like democratists and human-rightists such as Teodros Kiros, Alemayehu Gebremariam, Mesfin Woldemariam and others of their ilk, we will never be able to put an end to the agony of our nation. I would like to add that our self-styled democratists and human-rightists are mentally colonized ones. They have been unable to look at Ethiopia from within Ethiopia (i.e. according to the Ethiopian world-view); they look at our country’s problems as if they were Westerners. Democratists and human-rightists don’t seem to have learned any lesson from the devastating damages wreaked by Marxism-Leninism on Ethiopian nationalism. It weakened Ethiopian nationalism exposing thereby our country to a humiliating defeat by Arab and American sponsored bandits. So we should say to democratists and human-rightists: “be good nationalists before being democratists and human-rightists! Rest assured that we will talk about democracy and human-rights after the national liberation of Ethiopia from foreign rule” . However, if democratists and human-rightists insist to pull the cart before the horse, Ethiopian nationalists should stop them. I would like to take this opportunity to call upon Alemayehu Gebremariam and his admirers to drop their human-rightism altogether and to espouse Ethiopian nationalism. I defy you to prove that your absolute loyalty is to the Ethiopian nation and not to Western political and ideological values.
    Ato Teodros, if you were an Ethiopian nationalist, you would adopt an Ethio-centric approach. But like some anti-Tigray Amhara intellectual tribalists you have decided to espouse “enemy-centric” (“shabia-centric”) discourse. You would like to have us believe that Ethiopia is under ethnocracy. What a pity that you as a philosopher don’t even know that the Tigray people are not an “ethnic group”, much less a nation or a nationality! Those individuals who say that Tigray is an ethnic group, a nation or a nationality are crassly ignorant of Ethiopian history and of the conception of Ethiopiawinet forged by our ancestors. They resort to Marxist or Liberal (that is Western) theories to reportedly grasp Ethiopia’s sociological reality. The fact is that their approach does not grasp at all Ethiopia’s reality. Quite on the contrary, their exogenous approach distorts it. We cannot expect such mentally colonized people who cannot liberate themselves to contribute toward the liberation of Ethiopia.

  3. teodros kiros
    | #3

    Thanks Ato Wedi Samre;

    I am very lucky to have teachers of your caliber from whom I have much to learn. I have absorbed your ideas and will use them in future columns.

  4. Sahle
    | #4

    Well said Wedi Samre? The Prophessor is playing his TPLF gamr to fool the public. How could he deny his Ethiopianism for twent years when he was knowingly serving Ethiopian enemies and now tell us he is a born again Ethiopian patriot? And moreover too, how could some website editors play into his hands? We live in an ugly world of Ethiopian politics. Sad!

  5. rezene kadissaba
    | #5

    Dear writer eventhough I posted this question before I will re-post it until answered
    We voted for the opposition to work for us in 1997. They refused. They were looking for a power to terminate the existance of EPRDF. No body asked them revenge on EPRDF but to work on behalf of the mass. To the contrary EPRDF did well knowing it was not voted by the mass. EPRDF could have turned into an absolute dictator ( eg. Eritrea after G 15) but they opted to work hard. Why do you think people would go out on the street, risking their lives, knowing the opposition do not want to work as a public servant? That’s what change is all about right? Changing the weak gov by the new hard working one. The people needs some group worth fighting or voting for. Let me know if you see one.

  6. Gonderew
    | #6


    I am ashemed by your calling of Professor Tewodros Kiros as “ATO” since he was not a graduate of the Civil Service College where Meles Zenawi’s cadres are taking their training. As Professor Tewodros commented, however, your article is worth of comment for futur time and I also thank you for your critic against his article and the service you rendered tirelessly to the Ethocentric, anti-Amhara, anti-unity, tribalist Tigri based regime of Legese Zenawi.

  7. kentu
    | #7

    Goshu weldia was right 20 years ago. The people are not ready for change or freedom it takes century first we need to make cultural revolution then change . WE need to raise our kids with love, respect dignity the generation now leaves to eat not eat to leave so it is not our fault to be weak it is our cycling bad culture look like birtukan, lidetu hailushawel siye abreha what we need to learn from this ugly histry so leave alone weyane we need to leave like slave bye bye.

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