The desire to allow open access to a large number of Ethiopian readers explains the reason why this manuscript was not submitted to a normal academic publisher. At first, an academic institute in Addis Ababa agreed to meet the condition by publishing a limited number of hard copies while also posting an open access electronic version on its website. Unfortunately, the agreement fell apart following my resolution to include a chapter critical of Abiy Ahmed’s policy, the current prime minister of Ethiopia. In light of the drastic political shift that carried Abiy from the promise of democratic changes to the too-familiar resort to dictatorial methods, a scholarly investigation could not leave out this turn of events without compromising its standing. All the more reason for including the shift is that it provides a decisive argument to the main thesis of the manuscript, namely, the active presence of a faulty dynamics within the Ethiopian state structure derailing the implementation of positive reforms since Ethiopia’s encounter with the modern world. Aware of the closure of any possibility for open access posting in Ethiopia so long as the present government is in place, I decided to send out the manuscript to some of the websites stationed outside Ethiopia and regularly visited by Ethiopian intellectuals and a wide Ethiopian readership. I hereby extend my gratitude to the editors and webmasters of the websites I contacted for agreeing to post the manuscript in its entirety.
This book examines and theoretically articulates the various facets and crucial phases of Ethiopia’s encounter with the modern world and the challenges its efforts to modernize faced during the course of three consecutive yet highly divergent political regimes.1 These phases roughly correspond to Haile Selassie’s and post-Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia, with the post-period spreading over two milestones, namely, the revolutionary shift of the Provisional Military Administrative Council (the Derg) and the no less critical reshaping of the Ethiopian political system by an ethnonationalist agenda subsequent to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) seizure of state power. Despite their drastic differences, a main theme deriving from a shared feature unites these three regimes: using different ideological frameworks, they all promised modernization and social progress under the directive of a strong and centralized state. Not only did the promise never materialize, but it was also overshadowed by social conflicts and even civil wars, the severity of which has created doubt in the minds of many observers as to the viability of Ethiopia as a united country. The book exerts a major effort to analyze the cause and the different manifestations of the common feature tying the three regimes, with the view of laying out its detrimental impact and identifying the direction liable to remove it. To this end, the book extends its inquiry into post- TPLF Ethiopia to see whether the current Abiy Ahmed’s government is putting in place the reforms needed to deal with the chronic problems of the country.
Open Access Book Chapters
THEORIES OF MODERNIZATION
SURVEY OF ETHIOPIA’S SURVIVAL
ETHIOPIAN FORCES OF SURVIVAL
EUROCENTRI VERSUS ETHIO-CENTRIC APPROACH
THE IMPERIAL PHASE
RADICALIZATION OF ETHIOPIAN STUDENTS
OVERTHROW OF THE IMPERIAL REGIME
DERAILED MODERNIZATION THE DERG’S PHASE
DERAILED MODERNIZATION THE ETHNONATIONALIST PHASE
WHERE TO, ETHIOPIA
RECAPITULATION AND THERAPEUTIC ROADMAP
Ethiopian Modernization: Opportunities and Derailments
The most beautiful constitutions and codes of law are empty words unless they are enforced. People do not have rights because their rights are natural, written somewhere, or flowing from group solidarity, or pledged by confidence-inspiring leaders. People have only those rights that they can effectively defend.