In Search of Peace: Ethiopia’s Ethnic Conflicts and Resolution (for discussion purpose only) – Messay Kebede

June 9th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Whether opposition parties opt for armed struggle or peaceful methods in their attempt to overthrow the existing regime in Ethiopia, they must all come up with a vision and a political solution that can heal decades of ingrained conflicts and reconstitute national unity. (more…)

Whether opposition parties opt for armed struggle or peaceful methods in their attempt to overthrow the existing regime in Ethiopia, they must all come up with a vision and a political solution that can heal decades of ingrained conflicts and reconstitute national unity. Since the ethnic conflict is by far the most divisive and pernicious issue of present day Ethiopia, the endeavor both to defeat the regime and establish a post-TPLF political system presupposes an approach dealing with ethnicity. It is illusory to assume that ethnicity will simply go away if the TPLF is defeated. What follows is an attempt to show how a correct theory of ethnicity and lessons from the past history of Ethiopia can help us frame a political arrangement that favors the establishment of peace and democratic governance in our country.

Theory of Ethnicity

For one school of thought called primordialism, ethnicity is about self-determination; it is a primordial and emotional attachment to fixed social characteristics, such as blood ties, race, language, region, and custom. Such an attachment naturally longs for political sovereignty as a necessary means to protect and develop the treasured characteristics. The best way to resolve ethnic conflicts, so primordialists conclude, is to allow peoples the right to live in the state of their choice, even by seceding from existing states.

Opposed to this line of thinking is the school of instrumentalism, which argues that the solution of redrawing political borders on the basis of self-determination often advances neither democracy nor achieves the peaceful resolution of ethnic conflicts (India-Pakistan, Ethiopia-Eritrea, the former Yugoslavia, etc). It maintains that ethnic conflict is less about attachment to primary identity and more about competition for the control of state power. Ethnicity is how elites vying for state power mobilize people in the name of ethnic identity. Since ethnic conflict is primarily about politics rather than about culture, a political arrangement allowing decentralization and power-sharing can promote a peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Instrumentalism comes up against a major objection, which is that it views ethnicity as a product of elite manipulation. Such an understanding is unable to account for the emotional mood and violent methods that are often characteristic of ethnic conflicts. It is difficult to see why the masses follow with great fervor the discourse of elites unless it awakens their own deep affective longings.

In an attempt to correct instrumentalism, the school known as constructivism underlines that, rather than reviving already existing primary attachments, the ethnic discourse invents new identities. It argues that mistreatments and the need of liberation drive marginalized elites to imagine communities embellished with thrilling characteristics, thereby successfully mobilizing the people with whom they identify. The promise of deliverance activates affective components that impart an emotional dimension to what is but an invented identity.

Sustained reflections on Ethiopia’s ethnic conflicts lead me to believe that the constructivist correction of instrumentalism does not fully answer the question of knowing why the invented discourse of elites moves the masses to the point of violent confrontations. True, the element of imagination is liable to arouse emotional forces, but there is also no denying that the ethnic discourse works with past materials associated with common descent and cultural legacy to which people are naturally attached. What is achieved is thus the creation of ascriptive rights with exclusionary intent, which largely involve sentiments derived from nature rather than merely from human imaginative capacity. I also question the idea that constructivism constitutes a distinct school, all the more so as it loses much of its explanatory force if a great dose of instrumentalism does not support it.

Instead of setting apart, I propose to fuse instrumentalism with constructivism if only because such an attempt seems to recover whatever is valid in primordialism. Indeed, what is the most effective way of promoting interests if not through the mobilization of affective and cultural forces, especially when said interests are challenged or denied? Accordingly, ethnic mobilizations are better understood if cultural construction is itself an instrument whose purpose is to optimize a political claim. Such an approach retains the powerful role of culture without, however, losing sight of the material component of ethnicity. While I admit that the emotional force of ethnicity cannot be explained without appealing to primordial impulses, I argue that the impulses do not provide the inspiration; rather, they are used to maximize definite interests.

This approach insists that ethnicization is more than a mere protest against mistreatment. Indeed, had ethnicity been about the equal recognition of rights, mobilization around individual rights, as prescribed by liberal democracy, would have been the appropriate response. On the other hand, if the fight is over the control of the state, then the strategy is to mobilize group rights so as to use ascriptive characteristics (common descent, language, culture, etc.) to exclude political rivals as aliens. The use of ethnic criteria thus maps out constituencies that function as a reserved power base for vying elites.

Identity politics is all the more mobilizing when ruling elites are made responsible for economic plights of ordinary people. What is common in ethnic discourses is the framing of culprits with the consequence that it unleashes anger. The revival of traditional identities, in addition to portraying elites as saviors of their community, thereby upgrading their authority, frames social relations in terms of culprits and victims. Just as the Marxist concept of class exploitation politicized poverty, so too the ethnic discourse politicizes identities by portraying the possession of some characteristics (language, descent, religious beliefs) as reasons for mistreatment. In so doing, it stirs up anger that it directs against those who hold power.

On top of deriving the emotional component from the construction of imagined communities, my approach thus adds the important factor of the vilification of ruling elites, which often results in the them/us dichotomy with high normative overtones. The use of moral qualifications turns the confrontation between ethnic groups into a struggle between the good and the bad, the virtuous and the vicious. This moral classification is then used to justify the resort to violent means.

To understand the wide impact of ethnic discourse, one must go beyond the negative role of inciting anger by adding its restorative function. Discriminatory treatment as a result of the hegemony of one ethnic group has a deep impact on the self-representation of dominated or marginalized groups, since it activates feelings associated with humiliation. This explains why ethnicity is so violent when compared to class conflict, which is mostly about justice and fair distribution, and not about human pride. Not only does the ethnic construction highlight humiliation, but it also proposes a curative solution in the form of self-determination or self-rule. While the solution supports the political ambition of elite groups, it is also largely accepted as a necessary step toward the removal of humiliation. According to the logic of ethnicization, pride is restored only when governments by non-kindred people, however democratic they may claim to be, are replaced by governments of kindred-people.

The significance of my hypothesis transpires as soon as one asks what specific ideas it contributes to the paramount issue of the peaceful resolution of conflicts. The importance of having the correct approach is that it enables us to find relevant solutions: if we know what causes ethnic conflicts, then we can devise institutional mechanisms that remove the causes and, therefore, ease ethnic tensions.

The primordialist approach has no other option than the secessionist solution, since it reduces ethnic conflicts to cultural incompatibilities. The instrumentalist approach has the merit of deriving ethnic conflicts from elite rivalries for the ownership of the state. In agreement with instrumentalism, my approach suggests that the main solution to ethnic conflicts is to open up the power game by devising institutions that decentralize power, as in the case of federal arrangement with large autonomy. Nevertheless, my analysis of the cultural dimension as a maximizing factor argues that autonomy should go to the extent of allowing the implementation of group rights and self-rule. I thus take into consideration the powerful emotional forces unleashed by the ethnic discourse. Unless these forces are appeased, a mere decentralization will not be enough.

In addition, my view, which can be termed “maximism,” suggests the possibility of displacement (in the Freudian sense of the word). One way of reducing tensions would thus be to shift the emotional forces to trans-ethnic or multiethnic institutions and symbols. My assumption is that multiethnic institutions can supersede ethnic exclusiveness if access to higher levels of national government represents, not the surrender of ethnic identity, but its graduation from local to national statures. Such institutions together with the celebration of diversity will help cultural conversion to multiethnicism as an imagined community.

Ethnicization of Ethiopia

My thesis, namely, ethnicity as a maximizing factor in elites’ struggle for the control of power, finds a perfect confirmation in both the origin of ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia and Ethiopia’s experiment with ethnic federalism. A strong argument for this would be the fact that the Ethiopian system, besides being imposed, is deliberately established to encourage ethnicization. Whereas other countries, such as Nigeria, India, etc., used federalism as a devise to dilute ethnicity so as to safeguard national unity, all the practices and constitutional provisions in Ethiopia tend to strengthen ethnic identity to the detriment of national integration.

The explanation springs to mind: both to mobilize the Tigrean people so as to overthrow the dominance of the Amhara elite and to establish a federal system that favors it, the TPLF had to fracture Ethiopia along ethnic lines, thereby speaking of the country as an ensemble of nations and nationalities. So fractured, the political struggle becomes focused on self-rule and the control of regional states, leaving the federal government to the TPLF. Such a system develops local elite groups that have common interests with the ruling power without, however, making them competitors.

Scholars who study the Ethiopian case marvel about the radical nature of ethnic federalism, but they also observe shortcomings. They thus underline a disparity between theory and practice, especially when it comes to the autonomy of ethnic regions. This disparity proves that the wrong understanding of ethnicity actually inspires those who speak of shortcomings. A consistent and comprehensive view of the discrepancy is achieved only when it is admitted that ethnicity is less about democracy than it is about the control of state by elite groups.

The primordialist position is completely unable to explain the disparity between practice and theory. If primordial sentiments exclusively motivate ethnicity, then the victory of the TPLF should have led to the secession of Tigray or the implementation of a real system of decentralization and self-rule. What is more, the TPLF wholeheartedly supported the Eritrean independence on the basis of primordialist criteria, but refuses to recognize the claim of secessionist movements in the regions of Oromia and Somalia. These apparent contradictions vanish if it is shown that calculations of interests condition the TPLF’s decisions.

The involvement of interests becomes manifest when we remark that, though the Ethiopian system encourages ethnicization, it remains very centralized. The centralization is realized through a party system, the EPRDF (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front), which is a coalition of ethnic parties in which the TPLF is the dominant partner. Thanks to the democratic centralism governing the coalition, the TPLF thus controls the whole federal system and intervenes extensively in the administration of regional and sub-regional governments. What comes to mind is the Soviet model of federalism based on the tight control of the communist party.

What this means is that regional autonomy is not how a region is allowed to decide and control its affairs; rather, the system creates client parties that allow the center to maintain its controls through dependent local elites. That is why, as I wrote in a previously published article titled “The Underside of the Eritrean Issue,” it is perfectly sound to state that the TPLF politely but firmly expelled Eritrea from Ethiopia because it understood that the EPLF will never agree to become a dependent partner. The system and the way it works make sense only if we assume that it is purposely designed to maintain the hegemony of an elite group claiming to defend the interests of a minority ethnic group.

The presence of interests in ethnic claims is also attested by the fact that there is no shortage of elite-groups seeking to become clients. To the imposition of ethnicity as a primary criterion of federal arrangement, local elites responded by creating political movements that endorsed the criterion. So that, ethnic identities that used to be weak are restructured as primary for the simple reason that the TPLF-dominated federal government rewards ethnicization.

Be it noted that instrumentalism cannot explain the ethnicization of Tigray without interpreting ethnicity as an imaginative reinvention of identity. Though Tigray has been part of Ethiopia (Abyssinia) for at least 3000 years and Tigreans and Amhara–– the dominant ethnic group during Haile Selassie’s long reign–– share the same culture and political system, the TPLF constructed Tigray as a nation by emphasizing language difference. While this reinvention supports constructivism, a complete view is achieved only if it is inserted into my interpretation of identity politics as a maximizing factor.

The use of ethnic criteria to reinforce a political goal is what explains the deep contradiction of ethnic movements in Ethiopia. Whether we take the Eritrean, Oromo, Tigrean, or other ethnic movements, all trace their emergence back to the imperial regime, which they defined as the imposition of Amhara culture and interests in a tightly centralized political system. The democratic solution would have been decentralization together with the recognition of Ethiopia as a multiethnic country. Ethnic movements did not opt for such a solution; instead, they brandished self-rule and group rights. The definition of ethnic groups as nations and nationalities means that they revert back to the nation-state model that they had previously rejected in the name of multiethnicism. Only the goal of capturing state power by amplifying cultural incompatibilities can explain the reversal.

The factor of maximization becomes fully manifest when we notice the rise of dissident ethnic parties accusing the TPLF of not being consistent. Such movements are often secessionist and they become so by stretching cultural disparity, that is, by adopting an even more primordialist language. Dissident ethnic parties cannot hope to compete successfully against client elites working with the TPLF unless they change identity into a primordial commitment overriding everything. In particular, the works of intellectuals of Oromo origin clearly show how they combine vilification and utopia to create the “Oromo” nation. The vilification inherent in the thesis of Abyssinia’s colonization of Oromia and the myth of democratic Oromia before the colonization both testify to the invention of Oromia as an imagined community.

From Theory to Practice

Since democratic rules guaranteeing the proper application of federalism are not followed in Ethiopia, ethnic federalism, as it is now implemented, only succeeds in radicalizing and multiplying dissident ethnic groups. As a result, there is a growing danger of disintegration that will lead to violent confrontations, not only inside Ethiopia, but also in the entire Horn of Africa, unless a reverse process toward reintegration is put in place. In other words, what puts the country in danger is less ethnicity than the lack of democratic governance, itself originating from an eccentric group’s shortsighted and vain goal of preserving indefinitely the control of power.

The theory of maximization and its attendant, namely, the possibility of displacement, suggest a way out through the creation of national symbols and institutions encouraging ethnic cooperation. In other words, the crystallization of ethnic identity could be diluted if national offices are made dependent on moderation. The lure of higher political rewards through moderation could thus produce a displacement mitigating the exclusionary practice of identity politics.

This means, of course, that the main solution to ethnic conflicts is the democratization of the state through decentralization and large local autonomy. However, I emphasize that the autonomy must go to the extent of allowing the implementation of group rights and self-rule, the only way by which the affective element can be dealt with. Since in denouncing alien rule, the ethnic discourse has awakened the feeling of humiliation, only the provision of a local or regional administration controlled by culturally kindred elites can satisfy both the masses and the competing elites.

My thesis also predicts that, as soon as grudge is removed through the granting of self-rule, ethnic groups will lose their original compactness and give way to diversity and the appearance of sub-group elites vying for the control of local power. In due course, this will reintroduce issues of individual rights that will be useful both to democratize the local community and to rebuild the national unity.

My solution is then to open up the power game in conjunction with the creation of institutional mechanisms that work toward unity. The tendency to unity should grow from the political dispersion, that is, from the implementation of group rights, itself leading to intra-ethnic rivalries. From this diffused power game must rise national ambition forcing elite groups to moderate their views if they want to extend their power and influence beyond their ethnic groups. Moderation as a prerequisite to national leadership can also be used to prevail over local rivals.

Appropriate institutional mechanisms can further fortify the appeal of moderation. So that, the peaceful and lasting solution to ethnic conflicts seems to be the device of a political system in which centripetal forces (national institutions and symbols) counter centrifugal forces (ethnicity). While federalism with large autonomy and self-rule should satisfy ethnicity, political institutions making national positions dependent on moderation should encourage unity. As much as I support the political recognition of ethnicity, unlike primordialism, I think that the reconstruction of unity is also necessary for a lasting peace.

One way of balancing centripetal and centrifugal forces is the creation of a presidential figure with large political and symbolic meanings. If the election of the president depends on majority vote of the people, in addition to encouraging the expression of individual rights in conjunction with group rights, candidates for the presidential office will have to become attractive to voters outside their ethnic groups. This arrangement encourages moderation, but also creates national figures.

History Lessons

My theory of ethnic management finds a validating argument in the proposal that it is but a modernized version of the political system of traditional Ethiopia. Seeing the long duration of the political system, which even resisted repeated colonial assaults, it is sound to contend that the provision of an open power game based on the interplay of centrifugal and centripetal forces was the secret of the long survival of Ethiopia (for detailed explanation of the traditional system, see my book, Survival and Modernization).

Indeed, while the nobility with often ethnic definitions controlled regional power, the imperial throne and the Orthodox Church represented centripetal forces. Another crucial centripetal force was the active role of the national intelligentsia (debtera), which was the product of a common system of education whose pillars were use of the Geez language, the centering of Ethiopia, and the propagation of its divine mission (the Kibre Negast).The system defined the emperor as king of kings: the recognition of regional leaders as kings meant nothing less than the acceptance of large autonomy and self-rule. That Tigray preserved its language and ruling elites for centuries even though the Amhara were numerically superior and often in control of the imperial throne proves how extensive was the autonomy that regions enjoyed.

What is more, regional lords could freely compete for the imperial throne, since the system did not institute any exclusive definition of the heir to the throne, except for the vague and inclusive concept of Solomonic descent. Decentralization and competition for the imperial throne encouraged intra-ethnic competitions resulting in the emergence of rival sub-regions in Amhara and Tigray. These conditions never allowed the crystallization of ethnic identity; instead, they enabled the emperor to emerge as a divine-elected protector of Orthodox Christianity and unifier of a multiethnic community. In other words, political dispersion or regional autonomy was coined as a source of rivalry setting the stage for the intervention of God’s express choice of the emperor. Often based on military prowess, God’s choice became formal the moment the Church anointed the elect.

The working principle required not only the respect of large local autonomy with self-rule, but also that the various regions of Gondar, Gojjam, Wollo, Shoa, and Tigray had comparable powers. Witness: when the central system collapsed during the Era of the Princes, no one was really able to prevail until the rise of Tewodros, who also failed partially. Menelik was able to triumph because the southern expansion of Showa created an imbalance that favored the Shown nobility. The loss of balance changed the political game: the political dispersion necessary to set God’s choice in motion was replaced by entitlement derived from the Shoan hegemony.

The unrivalled power of Show cleared the way for the establishment of Haile Selassie’s autocratic rule and his hereditary monarchy. In the name of modern nation-building, Haile Selassie put an end to the decentered power game through a tight political centralization and Amharization that naturally favored the Amhara nobility. Its outcome was the slow but steady exasperation of ethnic conflicts through the instigation of elites from marginalized ethnic groups.

The traditional system teaches us that wisdom lies in creating regional units that are balanced, but also open to intra-group competitions. The latter together with centripetal institutions and symbols prevent the crystallization of ethnic identity to the benefit of multiethnicism. The shift results from the open power game that defines national positions as graduations of ethnic identities to trans-ethnic representations.
The present policy of the TPLF prevents the emergence of national ambitions and intra-ethnic group competitions by the method of democratic centralism, which protects client parties from competition. Moreover, the principle of balanced power does not command the establishment of federal units. In particular, the two big regions of Amhara and Oromia create a serious imbalance endangering national unity. Wisdom advises the fracturing of these two regions into smaller units as a necessary condition of promoting ethnic cooperation.
What we learn from the traditional system is thus the recapture of the culture tolerating diversity, which culture was sidelined by the uprooting imitation of Europe’s model of the nation-state. The expression “Amhara or Tigrean hegemony” would be incomprehensible to the people of traditional Ethiopia who understood ethnicity in terms of rivalry, and not as a system of hegemonic government. The other important lesson is the need to couple ethnicity with centripetal institutions and visions, whose outcome is the promotion of multiethnicism. A strong presidential figure who would be elected on the basis of majority vote among all ethnic groups would be to the modern system what the emperor was to the traditional polity.

  1. Hailu
    | #1

    you say eritrean and tigre but “eritrea” is a country name, not an ethnicity name.

    anyway, there is a positive development in ethiopia to solve the problems of politics and ethnicity. the OFDM, OPC, ARENA, UDJ/CUD and many other opposition parties have united under a new opposition group called FDD-MEDREK and all of the problems you mentioned will be solved in that way.

  2. Fayyis
    | #2

    Dear Prof.,
    I do really appreciate your insight. But why do you prefer to use a word “ethnic” instead of nation or nationality? Aren’t you parroting what your western teachers just thought you?

    As far as I am concerned the common ground/purpose for the future Ethiopian/African UNITY must be based on an attempt of forging Independent Oromia, Independent Tigrai, Independent Amhara…etc in an Integrated Africa. That meanse we need to forge Independent Oromia in an Integrated Africa with Finfinne being the capital of both Oromia and Africa. Oromia being at the center, all languages (nations) in Africa can forge their mononational or multinational states. Africa will be the Language based Federation (Union) of these states with national freedom.

    We nations in Africa suffer from conflicts based on colonial borders and because of disregarding national rights as some thing “ethnic”. This desigantion “ethnic” instead of nation/nationality/people is used by both European colonizers and their puppet African colonizers aka Abyssinians. In reality Africa was borderless, all being called as Ethiopia (meanse black faced in Greek) or Sudan (also meanse black faced in Arab), both refer to land of blacks. It is true all of Africa is land of blacks. If at all there should be a border between states, then not colonial borders. We need to get rid of the sham colonial borders which created artificial states like Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya. By dismantling these colonial bordres which devided true natural states like Tigrai (in to two), Afar (to three), Oromia (to two) and Somalia (to five), have have to strive to forge INDEPENDENT natural states to be integrated in to United States of Africa.

    To tackle the problems of nations in Africa and to deal with the present global challenge, Africans are trying to come together and forge an AUG (African Union Government). We are looking at USA or EU as an example. But both can not be good examples. USA is the melting pot for all nations around the world migrating to America and learning english. EU is the Union of well developed and independent mono-national-states, all with their own respective languages good developed and used.

    Africa can be neither a melting pot nor a union of well developed only mono-national-states. The nations in Africa are diverse in development and size. What is good for Africa is to build a union (federation) with autonomous national areas for all nations aka “ethnies”.

    Based on their size and development, some nations can forge mono-national-state like Oromia. The others, which are too small to have their own state can forge multi-national-state like SNNP of Ethiopia, with all nations having their own Province/Zone, District/Wereda or Community/Qebele as autonomous natonal areas based on their size. Relatively bigger nations like Sidama can have their own autonomous Province, nations smaller than this like Alaba can have autonomous District and the smallest nations like Dorze can have their own Community. Based on their geographical position, certain small nations like Agew and Harari can join the bigger neighbour nations like Amhara or Oromia, but have their own autonomy, be it as province, district or community. Such 5 tier organization (African Federation — Mono-/Multinational States — Mono-/Multinational Provinces — Mono-/Multionational Districts and Mono-/Multinational Communities) is the best way of adiministrative Organization for Africa.

    In Short Ethiopian model can be used as that of African, just changing its fake status under Weyane to a very genuine one, for which OLF and the likes are struggling!! Then we will have not only an Integrated region named Ethiopia/HoAfrica, but also an Integrated continent Africa build on the center called Oromia with Finfinne as a capital. The only question we people need to ask our selves is that, at which level are we thinking, talking and walking when we try to deal with politics?? Language Based Federalism (LBF), rather than Geography Based Federalism (GBF), is the panacea for regional integration of Ethiopia/HoAfrica and continental integration of Africa.

  3. Ogina
    | #3

    The good Prof. is trying to save the empire from disintegration by using philosophy and psychoanalysis. Fact on the ground is that Africa’s nations are denigerated as “tribes” by colonizers. Now the African dictators like Isayas and Meles are doing the work of the colonizers in proxy. It is necessitiy for these leaders to be a dictator, for it is only by building coersive governments that they can keep the amalgameted countries of Africa based on colonial borders. This is what European colonialists deliberately did to Africa: forcing many nations to be in one country or deviding one nation in to many countries. Lrt’s look at the discrepance of policy they do follow regarding Europe and Africa. In Europe any nation has a right to self-determination and build its own sovereign state. This is the policy they followed since the 1st world war. Accordingly even the very smallest nations like Kosovo got independence. In Africa, they try to keep the colonial borders they formed and the African dictators and African “scholars” like our good Prof. Mesay are there to keep the borders. It is almost impossible to democratize empires like Ethiopia and the other multinational countries kept together by dictatorial force.

    If we look at the problem in Somalia, it is not clan problem as many try to present it, but the problem of colonial borders and the problem created by Ethiopian empire. Somalia is devided in to six by colonialists and these six territories do lack a solidarity to one an other because of that devision. additionaly Weyane regime is working day and night since 1991 to devide Somalis on clan basis. United and sovereign Somalia meanse a support base for ONLF and OLF, which Weyane wants to hinder. For e.g the main purpose of the invasion in 2006 was to tackle and hinder these liberation fronts, who could have a base in somalia and challenge Weyane.

    Regarding the fear of border wars if Africa attempts to abolish colonial borders, people like our good Prof. paint the negative sceranio deliberately. Actually there can be peacefull solutions in disputed areas like the one between Oromia and Ogaden; Amhara and Oromia; Tigrai and Amhara…etc. Europeans solved such conflict based on referendum. For e.g the region called Saar-Brücke (now in Germany) decided through referendum not to join France, but Germany. Each disputable community or district can decide per referendum to join for instance either Oromia or Ogadenia.

    So the subtle cry of Prof. Mesay for the unity of the dying IMIYE can serve no purpose! Specially no Abyssinian philosophy or psychoanalysis can hinder Oromos from pushing for our right to self-determination!!

  4. Obssan
    | #4

    Psychologists say: “one can never be able not to behave”. That meanse what ever you be and do, you do behave. There is no characterless person. Same is true concerning nationality. You can never be nationality-neutral in such multinational society like Ethiopia. Prof Mesay trying to behave as a neutral is manifesting your support for Amhara nationality. This is a prototype of you all Amharas. You pretend to be free from “ethnicity”, but you do behave as Amharas of course being camouflaged as Ethiopian. You hide your selves behind the name “Ethiopia”, just for you do still have a previlage of having your language as “federal language”.

    The only thing I ask to change in order to accept your Geography Based Federalism (which you Prof. Mesay support), which is a pretext for deviding Oromia, is LET’S USE AFAAN OROMO instead of Amharinya as a federal language and then dismantle Oromia. Mind you I am not saying, let’s use both languages as federal labguage, but I do say let’s demote Amharinya to only local language nad promote Afaan Oromo to federal language. Then I am sure Oromos will be ready to dismantle Oromia. Can you agree dear Professor Mesay????

  5. Tesfu
    | #5

    If your articles start with defeating your considered enemy, you will not find a reader let alone a supporter. Brother, we are fed up with those false victory announcers. We need real peace seekers with whom to work. Which Ethiopian has to be killed so that you enjoy victory. Stop, speak words of peace and wisdom.
    Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called sons of God

  6. Anonymous
    | #6

    The same “little brain” man in 21st century is writing the above comments.

  7. BB
    | #7

    Thank you, Professor Messay, for your remarkable ideas.

    I read your article with great interest. I have also looked at some of the comments posted.

    I agree with most of your analysis and recommendations. The big question that have not been answered for some is why should Ethiopian unity be maintained? ( Your article focuses on how)

    Is it just to continue historical traditions or the difficulty of delinating borders? Can we make an objective evidence based and strong argument for continuing to maintain for the ‘not-so-perfect’ union.

    By the same token, will sessation solve the problems the movements are trying to remedy?

    I look forward to hearing from every one

  8. Anonymous
    | #8

    If true good news. That is their worst fear tplf and olf

  9. Peace
    | #9

    The ignorant here is preaching their extreme, missionary, muslim, tribal influenced rhetoric. Under the pretext of past oppression they want to push their agenda through extremism to be in power instead to bring chaos to the people of Ethiopia. Here is where you have flaws, Ethiopia has never, never, never been tribalism. The people have coexisted for centuries we want it that way the rest of the Ethiopian people want it that way. You can blame past and present leaders for that but leave alone the Ethiopian people. You are no different that past or present leaders. The promised leader will be the one who will be standing for all Ethiopia under one flag and one nation that is all that is needed. Apply your lower self esteem on constructive things such as pushing for democracy, human right, equality for Ethiopia instead of putting division among the people of Ethiopia and causing hatred from one another. In the end you will be the loser!

  10. andelenatu
    | #10

    the opposition right now has the right to call for an election .it should have been done long time a after 2005 election in which the opposition won and the tplf lost

  11. Mikael Tigrai
    | #11

    The moment you start thinking about the people of Ethiopia rather than the country of Ethiopia the better both will be. If you do love the people, what do you love?

    We the People Tigrai will never ever be under anyone but we will work towords the mitual respect all peoples of Ethiopia if that does not happen, well there are other options and no one would stop us.

    I love the Ethiopian people where ever they are, we are special people!

    Long live Ethiopians!!!

  12. Meraraw
    | #12

    It is surprising! Only Weyane cadres being camouflaged as Amharas and very few lunatic Amhara extremists oppose the well accepted and respected Language Based Federation (LBF) aka “ethnic” federalism. Well I do respect all genuine Amharas’ arguements. But that doesn’t mean it is the will of Oromo nation and others’ except Weyane cadres camouflaged as Amharas to advocate for Geography Based Federation (GBF). Few extremist Amharas do it, for they know the advantage they get based on the fact that Amharic being the working language of the federation.

    Just stop and think other wise: let’s say Afaan Oromo is the working language of the federation instead of Amharinya. Do you know who will favour Geography Based Federation? It will be Oromos, not Amharas! What I wanted to tell you here is that every nation favours what is to its advantage. Now Geography Based federation (GBF) is more advantegious for Amharas and probably for the south nations (all being very small nations, they need a protection of the BIGs). I being Oromo now favour Language Based federation (NBF), to protect Oromos from Amharazation process.

    But if these people agree to accept Afaan Oromo instead of Amharinya as a federal language, I will be the best advocator of geography based federation. Mind you I am not talking about making both Afaan Oromo and Amharinya a working language of the federation as G-7 and co try to make us believe. With this maneuver extremist Amharas want that Amharinya be the working language of also Oromia and other regions, the previlage they do not have now! I am telling that, let’s limit Amharinya in only Amhara region and make Afaan Oromo the only NATIONAL (federal) language of Ethiopia. I am sure Amharas will be the supporter of language based federalism or forge ALF (Amhara Liberation Front), while I as Oromo will be the best advocator for geography based federalism!! Of course we don’t forget that now a days only Weyane cadres like Aite Getachew Reda write untiredly this position of extremist Amharas, just in order to sow a discord between Amhara freedom fighters and Oromo freedom fighters to hinder their possible cooperation against fascist Weyane!!!

  13. ayele
    | #13

    When we see the racial problems in the US, we can learn something. It is more than 50 years or more when the blacks had no voting rights, and they were slaves before that. Look which way they are going now. The same thing could happen to our selves. Using what we have and making a difference. I like to see Amara,oromo,sumali,afar tigre etc to lead them selves and no one dominates the other. As the US with all the privilege of economy took them long time to have an African American president. In time it could happen to us if we educate the children of today. Do not worry we will not see much change in our life time but our investment no matter who is in power will have a meaning full effect.

    To prof mesay, i was reading fine then you confuse the hell out of me. I found the comments more meaning full. Try to be understood by many not few.

  14. alem
    | #14

    no ethnic peace in ethiopia, when minority agazz TPLF is ruling ethiopia.
    weyane TPLF will pay the price. soon.
    support our freedom fighters.

    U.S. Congress rejects proposed measure against Eritrea
    The Woyanne tribal junta ate dust in the U.S. Congress on Thursday after paying tens of thousands of dollars for lobbyists to have the Eritrean Government labeled a sponsor of terrorism rejected. The fact is that, according to the U.S. Department’s own report, it is the Woyanne regime that is brutalizing and terrorizing the peoples of ethiopia.

Comments are closed.