Ethiopian fascination with the Arab Spring (Part I) By Aklog Birara (Ph.D.)

July 30th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

I tend to think that, in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopian fascination with the Tunisian and Egyptian popular revolutions exceeds any other. This admiration emanates from wishes and aspirations among Ethiopia’s youth and small Ethiopia middle class to see similar changes in their homeland.

While it is too early to draw parallels between the “ the Jasmine Revolution,” Tahrir Square and the popular “Arab Spring” middle class and youth led revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and the rest of North Africa and the Middle East on the one hand and the situation in Ethiopia on the other, the social, economic and political triggers are identical. These are repressive governance, income inequality, endemic corruption, illicit outflow of resources, bulge in size and unemployment among youth, poverty, endemic corruption, dependency on external funding, food inflation and shortages and a government that is completely out of touch from the needs of the population.

Most Ethiopians in the Diaspora appreciate the huge differences between Ethiopia on the one hand and Tunisia and Egypt on the other. At the same time, they feel that there are similarities. The Egyptian popular uprising has been in the making for at least three decades; Ethiopia’s for 20 years. Ethiopian intellectuals say that popular revolts in Egypt and Tunisia benefitted hugely from unique internal conditions that are different from Ethiopia. They identify at least six important attributes as instrumental in both countries that differ from Ethiopia.

Homogeneity and ethnic divide

Fist is the common thread of homogeneity of their populations. Ethiopia’s population estimated today at 90 million is composed of 80 different ethnic groups. Second is the national character of their defense establishments. The Ethiopian defense establishment is led entirely by representatives of a minority ethnic group that dominates the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Most Ethiopians feel that the country’s predominantly minority ethnic command weakens its national character. Ethiopians appreciate the fact that the defense establishment in Egypt represents the country as a unified nation and is not bedeviled by ethnicity or ideology. Ethiopians admire the fact that Egyptians and Tunisians fight as nationals of their respective countries. Ethiopians are divided by ethnicity. They hope that this artificial division does not spread to religion. Muslims and Christians co-existed side by side peacefully for centuries, a tradition that is rare in the world. Third, populations in Egypt and Tunisia have enormous respect for their national institutions. Many are not sure if Ethiopians are uniformly patriotic and bound by the same national spirit and respect for their institutions and cultures.

Fourth, Egypt and Tunisia have larger middle and educated classes that are cohesive than Ethiopia’s. In terms of popular revolutions this distinction is among the most important. Petty jealousies and hatreds are minimal in these countries compared to Ethiopia. Fifth, Tunisians and Egyptians enjoy more access to information technology than Ethiopians; is another critical difference. Ethiopia is one of the least technology friendly countries in the world today; not by choice but buy government restrictions. The technological tools they needed–Internet, Mobile phones, Face Book, You Tube, Twitter and newspapers are more readily available to them than to Ethiopians. Sixth, the banners they use such as flags and songs are national. “We are Tunisians and Egyptians.” These themes resonate with Ethiopians who feel that the governing party uses ethnic divide and rule to govern the country. The general sentiment is that when people unite as one, no power can stop them. These are attributes Ethiopians admire about Egypt and Tunisia.

Egypt has a special appeal for Ethiopians because of the Nile and because Muslims and Christians live side by side in the two countries and relations goes back thousands of years. Ethiopians were glued to various media on February 1, 2011 when close to two million Egyptians from diverse backgrounds gathered and prayed and protested together for the same cause. Ethiopians with access to the media admired the civility, national pride and unity among Egyptians. The message that came across was Egyptians were not beset by ideological, political, religious, gender, demographic and social differences. They subordinated them to the greater quest of freedom, the rule of law and political pluralism. The Egyptian flag served as a symbol of national unity and identity. The vast majority of protestors showed levels of discipline and camaraderie unparalleled anywhere. In particular, Ethiopians admired the Egyptian defense establishment that refused to “kill” its own citizens. This contrasted with Ethiopia where hundreds were killed and close to 40,000 people jailed by security and police in the aftermath of the 2005 elections. The parallel that seems similar with Egypt is the grassroots popular revolution in Ethiopia that brought down the Imperial regime in the 1970s; and the huge protests in support of democratization in 2005. In both instances, Ethiopians struggled and protested as one people. Differences and similarities aside, Ethiopians continue to feel that Egypt and Tunisia offer them tantalizing lessons in peaceful change. As recently as June 12, forums were held by the Ethiopian Diaspora on what is called “Ethiopian Awakening and the Arab Spring,” at which prominent Egyptians shared lessons of experience with people-led and grassroots revolutions.

The search for freedom, justice, the rule of law and people-anchored governance is the same in all three and in many Sub-Saharan African countries governed by authoritarian and dictatorial governments. At the same time, the differences between Ethiopia on the one hand and Tunisia and Egypt on the other are substantial. Tunisia has an expanding and highly educated youth; and a rising and urbanized middle class. This is the same for Egypt. Both countries more urbanized and integrated with developed economies than Ethiopia. Repression, oppression, concentration of wealth in a few hands, corruption, youth unemployment, food price inflation and income inequality are deep in all three countries. unmet expectations in employment and incomes, corruption and repression are deep. The outside world portrays all three countries as generally stable and growing. For example, “The IMF last Country Report on Egypt, published in April 2010” reported that “Sustained and wide-ranging reforms since 2004 had reduced fiscal, monetary and external vulnerabilities, and improved the investment climate.” The IMF Representative said practically the same thing about Ethiopia. Ethiopia is home to “one of the hungriest and unhealthiest populations” in the world. Sixty to seventy percent of Ethiopian youth is unemployed. There are 5 million orphans. Despite this, the IMF commends Ethiopia’s outstanding economic performance and improvements in standard of living. It seems that the script from outside is the same for all three countries. Ethiopian academics say that the IMF finds nothing wrong with chronic inflation and youth unemployment, endemic corruption and illicit outflow of billions of dollars from one the least developed and poorest countries to rich nations. In its previous report on Egypt, the IMF had said that “economic performance was better than expected, although headline inflation remains elevated.” Most Ethiopian elites feel that multilateral agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank do injustice to the poor and youth by presenting rosy pictures on countries in social crisis. “There were imminent, overwhelming problems that either evaded the IMF’s attention or it chose not to report…The risk of a social explosion would have been obvious to observers, right? Not to the IMF.”2/

The youth bulge and social crisis

High youth unemployment in all three countries is a common thread as are the sizes of their youth populations. Almost 40 million Ethiopians were born after 1991. They have experiences only with one ruling party and one leader in their life time. The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, rules with an iron-fist and has been in power since 1991. The same is true for millions of Egyptian and Tunisian youth. Bloomberg estimates that Tunisia must create 1 million jobs per year to keep up with those entering the labor market each year. Ethiopia seems to have given up on the prospect of creating jobs for millions. Thousands of youth immigrate to all corners of the world each month because they don’t see prospects at home. The social and economic situations for youth are almost the same in Ethiopia, Egypt and Tunisia. “The worsening economy, combined with repression and resentment of corruption around President Ben Ali, set Tunisia up for a fall. The protests started when a 26year old fruit and vegetable seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, set fire to himself on December 17, 2010.” Ethiopians were awed and moved by this death that led to the “Jasmine Revolution.” Many Ethiopians say that the level or oppression and repression by the one party state in Ethiopia are much worse. This Tunisian incident and what followed is implanted in a growingly restive and youthful generation in Ethiopia. The country’s double digit growth masks structural and policy distortions and imbalances in Ethiopia the same way as they do in Tunisian and Egypt. These structural imbalances and inequities caused are felt daily by millions of people, especially youth in all three countries. Similar to Ethiopia–a non-oil producing country–growth in Tunisia disguised high unemployment, price escalation and gaping differences in incomes and life styles between rich and poor.

What motivates youth to change systems?

Ethiopia is poorer and less developed than Egypt and Tunisia. At the end of 2010 Bloomberg estimated that per capita income in Tunisia reached $9,500 compared to Ethiopia’s at $370. Sixty-seven percent of the Tunisian population is urbanized; 80 percent of Ethiopians are rural. Tunisia has one of the highest literacy rates in the Arab world; Ethiopia one of the lowest in the world. High levels of literacy, a rising middle class, social networking strengthened by radio, television, the Internet, mobile phones, You-tube, twitter and newspapers boosted communications in Tunisia. This is still a prerequisite in Ethiopia. Repression and fear did not deter Tunisia’s highly integrated population from organizing and sharing information quickly and effectively. In contrast, Ethiopia is one of the least networked and urbanized countries in Africa. It has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. It suffers from ethnic-based divide and rule. The country’s young adults defined as those aged between 15 to 29 years is estimated at 50.3 percent and is almost similar to Tunisia. This is why demographers call this age group a “bulge” that might explode any time anywhere. This is the group that demands unrestricted political rights and civil liberties and equitable programs in education, health care, housing, information technology and employment. Similar to Tunisia, the Ethiopian government relies on continued exodus of this age group to foreign countries as a permanent solution to poor governance and lack of opportunities at home. Like Tunisians and Egyptians, Ethiopians say that the government must open opportunities and allow unrestricted freedoms to harness information technology and to create small and medium size enterprises that would employ millions. 3/

Isolation and fear: a common phenomenon

In contrast to Tunisia, isolation is a way of life in Ethiopia. It is predominantly rural and practically shutout of the information revolution that has swept the rest of the world. There is minimum mobility and social networking. Access to news and information is among the lowest in the world. This is compounded by fear and regime reinforcement of ethnic and religious differences. Ethiopia’s poor has minimal or no education. Representation of females in schools and public positions is among the lowest in Africa. Unlike Tunisia and Egypt, Ethiopia’s poor have no time to reflect and protest. They are largely isolated from one another and fragmented along ethnic lines; and they can’t share information with one another. This condition allows the regime and ethnic elites to manipulate, divide, entice and keep the poor and unconnected under control. Lack of education and access to information and almost total isolation from one another make them weak and vulnerable. The regime’s draconian measures against the population in 2005 are still fresh in the minds of people. Its political organization that places a premium on ethnic loyalty compounds the problem. Ethiopians say that the regime uses ethnic fear to bolster divisions, mutual suspicion and disempowerment and to create a sense of permanent suspense. The regime bribes the poor and educated and forces them to its side. Ethiopia is more aid dependent than either Tunisia or Egypt. It is the largest aid recipient in Africa and the third largest in the world after Afghanistan and Iraq. The government uses aid as instrument of punishment and control. Unlike youth in Tunisia, Ethiopians do not enjoy unrestricted access to modern information technology. Fear permeates the society. It seems to breed more fear instead of bold and daring response to repression, oppression and poverty. Accepting this fear culture has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Unlike Tunisia and Egypt, most talented Ethiopian intellectuals hide behind the mask of anonymity. They want freedom for the Ethiopian people; but think that someone should offer it to them. Egyptians and Tunisians show the world that no power in the world can stop an outraged and angry population. Most highly educated Ethiopians say that these two societies teach us the cardinal lesson that those who wish to establish a people-centered society of freedom–political liberties and human rights–must set aside minor differences and struggle in unison. Ethiopians remind one anther that the country’s youth are not novices to uprisings. They are among pace-setters of change in Africa. In the 1970s, they closed ranks; and brought down the Imperial regime. Repression and brutality by the Socialist Military regime from 1974 to 1991prompted all segments of society and especially youth to come together as Ethiopians. Popular opinion is that in the aftermath of the 2005 elections, the Ethiopian people showed the whole world commitment to political liberties, human rights and the rule of law. This is generally true. Many say that this remarkable history of popular struggle against oppression and brutality for which thousands of innocent Ethiopians sacrificed their lives may serve as a gentle reminder of the potential that exists.

Well informed international and domestic experts agree with the Ethiopian public sentiment that that the Ethiopian economy must respond to five major social and economic problems: a) rising food inflation and shortages in urban areas; b) persistent hunger in rural areas that requires recurring international food aid; c) high unemployment among youth; d) growing income inequality, corruption and illicit outflow of resources estimated at between US$8.345 to US$11 billion over the past 20 years; and e) closure of political, social and economic space for the majority of the population. These, they argue, constitute the objective social and economic conditions for a peaceful revolution similar to Egypt and Tunisia.

The above is generally true. However, there are substantial disagreements among Ethiopians on the method, organization and leadership of the democratization process. Recent experience shows that the governing party will react mercilessly and cruelly against any popular uprising. While those who want change draw hope and inspiration from the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, realists say that these two countries and Ethiopia are very different. They contend that the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDF) headed by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is more like Libya, Syria and Yemen than Egypt or Tunisia. The differences between these two and Ethiopia dwarf the similarities. In Part two of this series, I will examine other cases in the Arab world that may be closer to the Ethiopian reality than either Egypt or Tunisia.

To read Part II, click here.


* Aklog Birara, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Trinity University, Washington D.C; and previously Senior Advisor with the World Bank (retired). The author, Aklog Birara can be reached at Biraraa@yahoo.com

References

1. “Tunisia’s Troubles: no end in sight.” The Economist. January 15, 2011.
2. Dizard, J. “Lessons from IMF’s Egypt Blunder.” The Financial Times, February 7, 2011.
3. “Youth unemployment shakes the Arab World.” Bloomberg.

  1. Yigermal
    | #1

    This is a very good political essay which fully grasps the essence of what seems to be a true reflection of the political reality out there.
    I thank the author – Dr. Aklog Birara, for writing such a rich political thesis comparing and contrasting Ethiopian reality to that of the so-called Jasmine and Middle Eastern Revolution. I urge all to read and debate on this essay for I, for one, think that it has a lot to offer in terms of clearing the cloud and debunking the myth out there and may even serve as a bridge connecting the disconnected and/or the least connected opposition groups who have effectively put themselves in their own thinking boxes that are far and out from the truth – as we see it! I also encourage Dr. Aklog or anyone else willing to help (by acknowledging the original author), to translate this 16-page essay into Amharic and a few other Ethiopian languages, and post the same on the internet so that many more people who don’t speak or understand the English language very well may benefit from it. Thank you so much for such a great work!

  2. wonde
    | #2

    abugida,

    click part II is nowhere?

  3. Gadda
    | #3

    The question is about power. Who is going to make dictions? Is it going to be Oromo? Amara? TPLF? etc…

    The answer is simple, as the Oromo are the majority, we should be the once who should make all the dictions. Period! There is no neutralisation on this.

    Oromoia shall me free!

  4. Sheger
    | #4

    Well from my understanding it was AKA LIdetu that massed up the Ethiopian spring or freedom movement when he said ‘ let’s
    Just tell them to come out for a rally’ with out any plan or back up plan, second plan and so on. if infect if he was working honestly for his party or if infect any of them new what to do or capable of their fight against the, who, you know……./………. What ever we say about the unsaid, call it the impossible at this point.

  5. Sheger
    | #5

    If the government was honest any ways, no means NO any ways. But as we all know that is not what we are dealing with.

  6. beyu
    | #6

    ‘Popular opinion is that in the aftermath of the 2005 elections, the Ethiopian people showed the whole world commitment to political liberties, human rights and the rule of law. This is generally true. Many say that this remarkable history of popular struggle against oppression and brutality for which thousands of innocent Ethiopians sacrificed their lives may serve as a gentle reminder of the potential that exists’

    The woyane has deliberately and systematically put divide and rule as a way to govern and exploit Ethiopia. The woyane politics of ethnicity heavily mixed with hatered for Ethiopia and Ethiopiawinet has reduced the country into a hotbed . The woyane have created a policy where one part of Ethiopia should hate other part of Ethiopia. the woyane have sustainly attacked the Ethiopian core value , the identity of the Ethiopian and have tried to fragment the society into small chunks inorder to make control easier. Thus they have established, even with in the so called nation defence unit , the army, ethnically based units, amhara army units, oromo army units, tigre army units which has a special militia , the Agazee , benasingul units etc. All these units have tigrean commanders. 99% of the army heads, generals and senior officers are former ‘tegadaly’ of the Tigre people liberation front, TPLF

    The segregation policy of the TPLF IS NOT LIMITED TO THE ARMY ONLY BUT IT RUNS THROUGH ALL THE MAJOR STATE CONTROLLED INSTITUTIONS – there is oromo university, amhara university, University for tigres etc. jobs are allocated to Tplf cadres and their kiths and kin first and foremost in vital positions without any merit, and non supporter of TPLF has no chance of getting work.

    THE DIVIDE AND RULE POLICY OF the TPLF also is backed by ethnocentric policies whch keeps people apart. The TPLF if people come together in unity, they have no chance to rule 80m people. the incite ethnic and relegious violence , they propagate hate politics and marginalise those who do not support their policies.

    In rural areas for example,
    this is a deliberate policy of the ethno-fascsit woyane to keep each farmer in check by using seeds and fertilisers as a tool. support woyane you get seeds/fertizers. Food aid coming from donor countries is even being used as a weapon to make the population submit to TPLF and their cadres in EPRDF.

    Despite their sustained campaign to fragment Ethiopia, the woyane policy has been in tatters, has faced many oppositions and the people have stood together knowing full well what the woyane stands for. The full effect of the damage the woyane have done is yet to be tested.

    Ethiopian style revolt is defenitely on the way. Whether this will be similar to the arab revolt , we have to wait and see

  7. Sheger
    | #7

    Correction on the the first comment.

    I meant to say ‘ infact’

  8. Ordofaa
    | #8

    This is an excellent article for Abyssinian. It does not concern my beloved Oromia because it is already liberated by our heroic Oromo freedom fighters. Almost 80% of the countryside is in the hands of my precious Oromo people by the sacrifice of their tenacious and gallant children. And within the next 3 years, there will be a new and freshly minted Oromia seated at the United Nations. You Abyssinian should prepare yourself for this inevitable reality. As usual, some of you may choose to remain stubborn stuck on this stale notion of one Abyssinia but that will be a waste of time. You better go back and work on developing your old and worn out Gondar and Gojjam. There will be no Shewa as you know it now and t will be all incorporated into the new and beautiful Oromia. Once 100% of Oromia is in the hands of our glorious Oromo people, all this so-called and man-made famine will be eradicated from Oromia in less than a week. It will be gone for good. Oromia is coming!!!! Oromia is coming free at last!!!! God Almighty!!! Free At Last My Home, Sweet Home Oromia!!!!

  9. DRAMA
    | #9

    -JUST BECAUSE THERE ARE 80 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES IN ETHIOPIA DOES NOT MEAN THE PEOPLE ARE DIVIDED.
    -JUST BECAUSE THE GOV. IS USING A DIVIDE AND RULE STRATEGY DOES NOT MEAN THE PEOPLE ARE DIVEDED AMONG ETHNIC LINES.
    -WHO SAID THAT HOMOGENIOUS POPULATION HAS A BETTER CHANCE OF UNITING ANYWAY? WHAT STUDIES ARE YOU USING TO SUPPORT YOUR BIAS STATEMENT????
    I FIND NO SENSE WHY THERE IS A BETTER CHANCE FOR A REVOLUTION TO WIN IN EGYPT & TUNISIA THAN ETHIOPIA IN ANY OF THE REASON’S STATED ABOVE. I MEAN NONE.

    -WHO SAYS A REVOLUTION OF A TYPE IN EGYPT & TUNISIA IS SUCCESSFUL ANYWAY?????????? WHO CALLED IT A REVOLUTION ANYWAY? WHAT IS A REVOLUTION? WE STILL HAVE NOT SEEN THE SUCCESS OUT OF THE TWO SO CALLED REVOLUTIONS. THE PEOPLE OF TUNISIA & EGYPT HAVE NOT VOTED FOR THE PEOPLE THEY WANT TO SEE IN POWER. THEY STILL DON’T OWN THEIR ARMY. AND EVERYTHING IS STILL ON HOLD, BECAUSE THE WEST HAS THEIR FINGERS IN THE DIRTY BUSINESS. THEY WANT TO DECIDE WHO & WHO SHALL NOT RULE. WHY??????? ECONOMIC INTEREST.
    - THE WEST ALREADY HAVE THEIR INVESTMENTS IN THESE TWO COUNTRIES AND THEY DON’T WANT TO LOSE IT. WHAT THEY HAVE INVESTED ON BY USING THEIR SLAVE DICTATORS (BEN ALI & MUBARAK) IS NOW AT RISK.
    SO LET US NOT BLA BLA HOOPLA HERE. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.
    IN ETHIOPIA’S CASE THERE IS NO MAJOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT YET. THEY ARE ABOUT TO ENTER IF THE PEOPLE ARE QUITE AND ALLOW IT. MAYBE FOREIGN SPECIAL INTERESTS MIGHT HAVE SUCKED OUT SOME RESOURCES TILL DATE, HOWEVER THERE HASN’T BEEN NO HUGE FOREIGN SOLID INVESTMENTS. THIS MEANS THAT IF YOU RUN AN EGYPT OR TUNISIAN STYLE REVOLUTION IT WILL MEAN 0000000000. NADA. THE 2005 ELECTIONS IS NOT THAT DIFFERENT FROM TAHRIR SQUARE EXCEPT THAT IT IS MORE PEACEFUL AND W/O LOOTING. IF THERE IS NO FOREIGN CORPORATIONS MILKING ETHIOPIANS, THERE WILL BE NO FOREIGN MEDIA INTEREST OR ATTENTION, NEOCOLONIZERS INTEREST; SO YOU WILL HANG DRY AND ROTE LIKE SUDAN AND YEMEN PROFESOR. THIS IS THE HARD REALITY APART FROM ACACEMICS.

  10. Muhe
    | #10

    Thank you Dr Aklog for writing a good article. I enjoyed reading your book too. While I like this article on Arab Spring, I think you made a collosal mistake in implying that Egyptians Ethiopians are divided. At least DRAMA was able able to catch this mistake. I was in Egypt and I saw division by ethnicity and religion – blacks and others who are discriminated. In Ethiopia you say there was no division in the 1970′s, which was true. The current division is I think momentary and instigated by a ruthless dictator that wants to remain in power forever. Your article decries of 80 ethnic divisions as there are no other countries with even larger number of ethnicities that are not divided. I think the count of ethnic groups in Ethiopia is as artifial as the government that is driving the division. At least you need to acknowlege that fact instead of giving the impression that we are eternally divided.

  11. aha!
    | #11

    No matter whether one speaks, writes to express an opinion, one writes from the vantage point of the party he/she supports. However, the litmus test/the criterea by which itshould be evaluated for being in favor of the silent, silenced but not silent majority of Ethiopians become: first, if the opinion is inclined to show: that Ethiopian nationalism and its national interests are attained by achieveing the goals for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

    Second,whether one’s own political outlook is Ethiopiawinet before ethnicity, with due respect to one’s citizenship to Ethiopia.

    Third, whether ones own perception of the current regime as a multifaceted: autocratic, ethnocratic/ethnicdictatorship (minority or majority ethnic rule) with underlying totaliarism or simply autoritarian/dictatorship defined with multi-layer, hierarchical political model in order to make to make comparison with other countries.

    Fourth, whether ones focus on the non-violent uprising needs to be for freedom of the individuals (economic and political freedom and God given liberty,to supercede ethnic and secessionist rights, not democracy or advancing the democritization processes over the status quo, to make ones own stand distinct from TPLF/eprdf regime and/or its mirror images, based on ethnic agenda as their basic platform, but focusing the freedom of of the individuals from autocratic rule, ethnocraticrule/ethnic dictorship with the underlying totaliarinism. Democracy and justice will be by products of a democratic government and society. Democracy as defined a rule by the people of the people and for the people will not be facilitated under the constitution as stipulated in Articles 46, 39 (1), 8, etc. as well as the implementation of Articles 12 (1), and 29 (2?), to bring about a government with indepenent branches.

    In addition to divide and rule policy, the constitutional frame of ethnic and secessionist policies and/politics with underlying totalianism, on property ownersip curtails human development, economic development and infrastuctural developments in the democratic countries of western Europe and North America. Never the less the current frame work of the constituition has given an upper hand for exploitation, political and economic strangle hold of the country’s resources by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and foreign countries and corporations, to the extent there capitalism for the few at the expense of the silent majority of Ethiopians living under abject poverty and famine.

    Against this background, the aligment of members and their supporters fall under three political models and a conglomerate of liberation movements in separate camps, acting idependentely to attain secessionism upto self-determination. The first political model is TPLF/eprdf, a multi-layer, hierarchical political model.

    The second is Medrek/fdd/fdre, which is a mirror image of TPLF/eprdf regime in its basic platform of ethnic agenda, which formed a coalition with UDJP with objectives for democracy, human rights, and justice, as a subset of the national agenda, with the mantra of “no change but durable democracy”, with the loyalist opposition parties with ethnic agenda, whose obectives are respect ethnic rights, respect human rights and democracy.

    The third political model includes parties with the national agenda such as KAEUP, EDP and others, which participated in the election and EPRP and others which are campaigning in terms of the national agenda.

    The forth political model in terms of armed struggle of the liberation movements have the objective for secession upto self-determination have forged an alliance rather merger with Ginbot 7, whose objectives are armed struggle for freedom and democracy to all Ethiopians.

    Having laid out the above viewpoints as being distictive to Ethiopia, and having redefined your description of repressive regime as autotitarian, ethnocratic/ethnic dictatorship with underlying totaliarinism from the Derg regime and itsown marxist and lennist inclination, as part of the variables set for making comparisons between the regime of Tunisia and Egypt on the one hand and Ethiopia on the other. While, I commend your comparative analysis of distingushing yourself about the diferences btween the two and the Ethiopian “repressive regime”, these variables stipulated are not elaborated to show distictive differences among the regimes.

    Instead you proceeded with a comparatiive analysis of the popular revolt/uprising in terms of “six important attributes”, which is bungled up with the factors for comparative analysis for the “repressive regimes”, with clearly indicating there is correlation or correlation on both counts: the repessive regimes” and the popular revolt substantiated with survey research results. You went on to say, the Ethiopian repressive regime is similar to the regime in Libya, Yemen and the Middle Eastern regimes, than the regime in Tunisia and Egypt, without any explanations. Would you rather have made a comparative analysis of the Africans for African nationalism and freedom of movements of of South Africans against the Apartheid system by the Afrikaners of self-rule and separate development,for the most of its attributes, minus the totalitarian element on the part of the Afrikaners, since the silent majority of Ethiopians are engaged in non-violent struggle for Ethiopian Nationalism and freedom.

    You also put more emphasis on ethnic dominance from the standpoint of the Military establishment in relation the military establishement of Egypt, without due concern of that sort ethnic dominance has permeated in the society as a whole, which nevertheless would prevail as minority or majority ethnic rule under the current set up of the constitution, which divides the land mass into nine major ethnic regions, rather than the original 14-to 15 provinces. What that implies to me you have qualm of ethnic federalism and secessionism, but you do not want a minority ethnic to dominate/dictate over a majority ethnic group(s). In a democratic government and/ or egalitarian society neither have the right to dictate one over the other.

    Therefore, in terms of “popular revolt”/non-violent-uprising different from tha of Tunisia and Egypt “on the one hand and Ethiopia on the other hand”, is not for the variables you stipulated, but the non-violen uprising in Ethiopia is for freedom (economic and political freedom and God given liberty, from autocratic rule, ethnocratic rule/ethnic dictatorship with underlying totaliarism while in those countries it is for democracy. the absence of freedom, curtails human, economic and infrastructural development along with the inability to mitigate droughts and famine occurences, as practiced in western democratic countries.

    It has been apparent to me, since after the 2005 election, that freedom and true democracy for the silent majority of Ethiopians, is in the hands of the “teletafi and loyalist opposition parties, explicetely and impicitely supporting the TPLF/eprdf regime on its ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies with underlying totaliarinism, by not merging with those parties with national agenda and the liberation movements by not merging rather than and alliance with secessionist agenda with Ginbot 7 or EPPF.

  12. Abanefso
    | #12

    @Ordofaa
    What are you talking Ordofaa? Still you are in the dream of raiding our people like what has been done during the Gada system? We know what Gada is all about? Please read your history which I got it at World Wide Website! Gada is a system which have six distinctive classes, according to Oromo language six lubas. These are: The first class, the second class, the third class, the fourth class, the fifth luba (which is called luba Mesle), and the sixth class. Now, the rule is, a son won’t come to the first class until his father had finished all the fifth classes and retired in the sixth class. Once a son starts the first class there is promotion to next class every eight years. Now, what are these classes are? According to the Gada system, each class has its own specific tasks to complete with. As the first class is new for the class system, it was not expected to do any thing than taking the usual training, brain washing. However, the second class in addition to more training was also expected to make raid as a support of the third class. To be initiated to the next class, he has to raid on an area which had not yet been previously attacked. The third luba was completely dedicated to raid on new areas and bring these new areas under its clan control and move forward till all its 8 years of raid on is completed and transformed to the fourth luba with more experienced and savage system of raid on. The war leader of the third luba/class is called Abba Dula and Abba Buko was the spiritual and political leader of each clan. The sixth class is those retried men looking after kids and cattle left behind at the newly subjugated lands and territories while the other lubas members were always rushing forward to kill and vacate others from their land; they weren’t caring who left behind. The Gada system’s attributes mentioned in one clan above works to every different clans.

    Now, the point is that, all these different classes were greed to warfare and raiding others. Moreover, as Gada was set to achieve only a specific objective, i.e., to kill and raid on others society’s areas it was not convenient to model centralized administration structure that enables to govern by bringing these different clans at a specific given space. That is why we found that the Oromo are any where in Ethiopia, you find them in the South, East, West, North as far as Gondar and Wollo, which I here by refute that Gada system is a system that had only used at clan level which neither works more than a clan nor have legislative structure of any kind that governs a region. This implies that, there had never been an Oromo Nation which Ethiopia had conquered or annexed. Therefore, these clans were raid on other different society’s clan specially, in the East, South and West and North sides of Ethiopia.

    On the other hand, all the then Ethiopian warlords, regional kings, and King of Kings were using well structured ruling documents that were well written on their ancient script language and thoroughly devolved as most appropriate. In this regard, Kebra Negast, the constitution of the land, was one of the case in point to be mentioned.

    “… According to Galla ritual, members of the second class of the gada could not be initiated into the next class unless they killed a warrior (or a dangerous animal) and fought an enemy which had not been previously attacked. Such a system gave rises to endemic raids and the constant extension of the radius of Galla penetration. . . . By the middle of the sixteenth century, moreover, the population growth and substantial increase of Galla cattle, accompanied by a few years of drought, undoubtedly influenced the pattern of Galla migration” [Abir, p. 136, 1980]

    We can see how the gada system was devised as means to wage war against the innocent Ethiopians within their homeland.

    “…the Savannah and the semi-desert which they inhabited to the south of Bali could no longer support their growing numbers and their herds and Galla began to move into the southeastern peripheries of the Ethiopian plateau. The struggle between Gran and Christian Ethiopia undoubtedly facilitated the Galla migration into the highlands. But this expansion was later curbed by Gran’s armies and by Gelawdewos…” [Abir, pp. 136-7, 1980]

    Nevertheless, the confrontation between Gelawdewos and Nur Mujahid, [Gran’ armies general], Gelawdewos and the Adal after Gran’s death and the chaos within Adal, gave the chance for the Baraytuma group to migrate deep into Chercher-Harar peripheries and into different other directions.

    “…Thus, exploiting the absences of Nur and the bulk of the Muslim army, the Galla overran most of Harar’s territories and threatened the town proper. It was in this period, during the cycle of luba ‘Mesle’, (1556-1564), that the pattern of the Baraytuma’s expansion changed dramatically and became a full-scale migration.” [Abir, p. 137, 1980]

    “Nur ‘the Just and Pious’ is even more glorified by Harari traditions that Gran ‘the Conquerer’ because he saved Harar from the Galla and dedicated himself to its protection. Nur’s armies continued to hold most of Waj and Fatagar even after 1560, when they were reported to have been defeated by Hamalmal. But rather than carrying on the traditional war against Ethiopia, from 1559 to the time of his death in 1567, Nur gave his undivided attention to the growing pressure of the Galla. Although Nur was unable to dislodge the Galla from the parts of the Chercher-Harar plateau which they had overrun and settled, his tireless campaigning and the wall which, according to tradition, he had built around the town, temporarily curbed the advance of the Baraytuma and saved Harar. ” [Abir, p. 137, 1980].

    The Baraytuma Galla, especially the Ittu, Humbana and Karayu tribes, renewed their advance in the Chercher-Harar plateau [Abir, p. 138, 1980].

    “. . . the Baraytuma swept the area and destroyed many hamlets and villages as fas as the hirterland of Zayla. The town of Harar itself was besieged for a time and had it not been for the timely arrival of reinforcements from the coast it might also have fallen to the Galla. . . .” [Abir, p. 139, 1980].

    “. . . Harar, however, gradually declined because its economy was adversely affected by the occupation of most of its lands by the Galla . . . “the fortunes of Zayla were always closely connected to those of Harar. It was, therefore, badly affected by Harar’s decline and the deterioration of law and order in the whole region”” [Abir, p. 140, 1980].

    “As the Baraytuma began their advance into the Harar-Chercher plateau and along the verges of the eastern escarpments in the 1550s they gradually vacated Bali with its excellent grazing lands and left it to their Borana brethren.” [Abir, p. 150, 1980].

  13. DEMLASH
    | #13

    dedeb kel ras you dont know about what it means abbysinya thats not proven by human being like those banda eritreans yetarik atela trying to creat problem between ethiopians,their histery began from european began conqer africa,our histery is in mighty gods hand we dont need prove we ethiopians give civilaization to india,pyramid,iran,there is some proverb in iran stil this day when the exagurat things they say how can you label your self with ethiopia,read history you ye white gelgel,
    zekach,medrsha bis,you have been bleeding for independent you stile blam ethiopia segera go and ask your god isayas,fake god they will go when times pass our god always keep an eye on us.ethiopia ejochuan wed fetari tazoralech!!!!!

    what mengestu hailemariam sayed this people eritrean make a fence between us they will jump an come to ethiopia.

    so its not even that far they come in hundereds thousends,look who ever is alive is a wittnes

    oh god i dont f00cken want see them in the street of addis.
    the best country in the whole world a uniqe gods land.
    we are mother of all humans but not dirty shabias.

    one day when the time comes our country become the jerusalem of the world.we are united we will hunt them down every evil.
    ETHIOPIA LEZELALEM TENUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ETHIOPIA IS THE LAND OF THE GOD!!!!!WHEN WE ACT ITS SPLIT SECOND,,,YOU WILL SEE.SHABIA DAYS IN NUMBER,,,YOUR POISEN NEVER CROSS BADEM….IT WILL BE TREATED IN THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Gust
    | #14

    Ordofaa,

    You are on this forum as before to express your opposition top the position taken by the main OLF.You are entitled to your own opinion. In the process, however, you are being a spoiler. Which proves clear that your are cynical. Ethiopians including the Oromos of which you claim to be concerned are in hunger. They are under heavy chain of weyane.You clearly knowing all this, inspite of it; it appears you still enjoy playing divisive politics. You claim at one moment 60% at another 80 % of Oromoia to be independent. If your object is for your people, indefinitely, to remain under subjugation, then this forum might be an ideal place to chat.

    Abanefso,

    You too are out with a mission to lecture us about what you think take place in the past four and five hundred years. The subject of this article is
    “Ethiopians fascination with the popular uprising in the middle east”.
    You said nothing about the topic; instead you chose to create your own topic, there by diverting attention from the issue at hand. Why do you seize this moment to take our attention from the upcoming uprising? You have to be a weyane agent who is trained to deceive, sow discord among Ethiopians in the hope of splitting the unity of all political parties from rising against Legese and his party. We have grown accustomed of the cadres of melese and his weyane cabal. I say you are exposed; you’re dived and rule method won’t stick this time. Just the other day your master made a speech aimed at making disparaging remarks against King Teodros and Menilik.He was hoping solicit some support from the Oromos, in the hope to keep them out of the coming uprising.Similarily,, you labor to solicit some support from non Oromo Ethiopians by making disparaging statements about Gadda based on an article you found on the net. True Ethiopians will not be fooled any more by weyane tricks. The people have spoken!
    We all of us are one! The problem of the nation is poverty, illitracey, hunger, and lack of freedom. Anything any entity is much better than weyane.Based on this conviction we will confront the weyane illegitimate rulers through popular uprisng.Your pseudo history 101 is out of place in here.

  15. Anonymous
    | #15

    Dr Aklog.
    It is a good essay to show the differences in each of these societies. . It is worth remembering that both Egypt and Tunisia too had a lot of differences and unique situations However, when it comes to popular uprising, the fact of the matter is the fundamentals of change are ripe in Ethiopia as was the case in both Tunisia and Egypt.

    One big gap we are sadly witnessing is the absence of courageous, risk taking leadership on the ground.

    I have no doubt that the situation will pave the way for such risk taking, action oriented courageous Ethiopian leaders to emerge from within and soon.

  16. aha!
    | #16

    Addendum: I want to add the following segement before the last concluding paragraph.

    You also concluded by indicating “sustantial disagrements among Ethiopians on the method, organization and leadership of the democritization process”, refering to the prodemocracy movement, I presume, adds up to what Prof. Messay Kebede is advocating “political pluralism and power sharing”, Prof. Tecola Hagos proposing “Constitutional Monarchy as a unifying force”, treated as an end in of itself and Prof. Teodros Kiros suggesting “Partipatory Democracy”, with the TPLF/eprdf regime underethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies with underlying totaliarianism and its own inclination of marxist ideology, with developmentalstate economic theory”,, where economic development preceds democracy in East Asian style; and where TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and foreign governments and corporations have access to the land resources and the former have both access to land and capital resources as a means of production in terms of economic development and having a political and economic strangle hold of the country’s resources at the expense of the silent majority of Ethiopians.

    Having said that, how do you intend your democritization process to fall through upon the existing, autocracy, ethnocracy, and totalitarianism as a reminent of the Derg regime and secessionism.

  17. DEMLASH
    | #17

    The history of our civilization trying to hide tile this days all manscript stole they stil are even in roma vatican one day they will come back but the sad point is the british gov. sold alots of it to the public i have seen it thats how they trying to get rid off it .

    but our history of the pyramid never hidden the only this days source is
    you can find it in the middel of ethiopia stil practice and wearing it the bale and arsi women special hair design exactly matches the egypt pheros those facese and heads the red tali on the front of the hair and at the back it spreads its a facinating to wittnes have a look.

    you can not hide our civilization thats the ethiopians oromo tradition hair will be the key.you can not trying oromo this oromo that.

  18. yebru
    | #18

    yes

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