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Is Ethiopia still a Rwanda in slow motion?

by Teshome M. Borago

In 2004, the former Chairman of CUD party, Hailu Shawul, held one of his conferences in Addis Ababa before the election. In his speech, Hailu told the crowd that he is not worried about the TPLF ruling party imprisoning him and the opposition. “I am most concerned about the slow and sporadic mass killings due to the false hope of unrealistic tribal borders,” he said.

Oromo
Thousands of internally displaced Oromos from the recent conflict in eastern Ethiopia remain in temporary shelters

 

13 years later, the deadly consequences of ethnic-federalism might not be in slow motion anymore. In the last few days, dozens of Sidamas have been killed and over 50,000 Sidamas have been cleansed out of BALE by Oromo extremists, a region the two communities shared for centuries. And last month, nearly a thousand Oromos and Somalis have perished due to another tribal border conflict in the southeast, a region that can never be ethnically demarcated due to the nomadic lifestyle of each side. Many of those who died there were women and children, with tens of thousands more becoming refugees in their own country.

 

This is the ugly face of Ethiopia’s ethnic-federalism, an apartheid style separation of land to divide people based on tribe. It is a dangerous experiment created and institutionalized by former TPLF Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
For many years, the WEST disregarded the warning signs but as the body count keeps growing, it will get harder to ignore. This week, The ECONOMIST, one of the major newspapers in the world, went to the warzone to cover the ongoing ethnic conflict in southern Ethiopia. With narrow “ethnic agendas” closing porous boundaries, competing nationalism fueling violence and mixed-Ethiopians forced to choose one identity, the ECONOMIST media admitted that the whole ethnic-federalism concept makes almost no sense. Unfortunately, such factual and informed observation by the Economist writers will not save a single human life, as the killing will continue.

Read Aloud:   Zehabesha Daily Ethiopian News January 17 2019

 

It will get worse as more ethnic elites rise up and become impatient with the harsh reality that ethnic-federalism on paper is unrealistic and impractical on the ground. Just like Rwanda’s tribal warlords, the Ethiopian “activists” & intellectuals representing various tribes have stirred up the country like never before. But unlike in Rwanda, most tribal elites with “ethnic agendas” are often western-based and educated: and they use internet and social media; not radio or walkie-talkies. For example, tribal elites like Tekle Yeshaw, Jawar Mohammed, Tsegaye Ararrsa and others have become outspoken about the failures of TPLF’s ethnic based administration. The big problem is these tribal elites don’t want liberal democracy, and they don’t oppose tribalism; they actually want more of it. For example, Tekle Yeshaw wrongly claims towns in northern Gondar belong only to his Amhara tribe; and Tsegaye Ararssa has spread the genocidal propaganda that non-Oromos are “alien” “settlers” in Addis Ababa; while Jawar Mohamed is famous for chanting “Ethiopia out of Oromia.” Oblivious of the fact that Oromos themselves migrated to this area and that the former Gondar province was never synonymous with “Amhara,” such misinformed tribal elites have instigated the so-called #Oromoprotests and #Amharaprotests. All these tribal elites share one thing in common with former dictator Meles Zenawi: the disturbingly wrong concept that every piece of land in Ethiopia is exclusively owned by one ethnicity.

Read Aloud:   How TPLF Tried to Create Tigrayan Hegemony but Ended Up Leaving Ethiopia Hostage to OLF and Erasing the Sovereign Existence of Ethiopia as a Nation

 

This dangerous concept is one of the reasons some Oromo students rose up against the natural expansion of a diverse metropolitan city like Addis Ababa. After all, diversity, globalization, urbanization and multiculturalism are a threat to the narrow ethnocentric worldviews of tribal elites. (A worldview imposed nationwide since 1991 by the TPLF Ministry of education, where ethnic-politics is valued more than the Math & Sciences.) Therefore, many analysts are not surprised that the new drivers of the new opposition are actually former students, soldiers and ex-cadres of the OPDO and ANDM branches of the ruling party. And with dreams of rewriting the multiethnic history of Addis Ababa and the larger Shewa region; Tribal nationalists have even demanded renaming the various districts of Addis Ababa in another language. Now, the only thing stopping genocidal tribalists from repeating what they did in Bale, again in Addis Ababa, is the capital city’s status as the political center of Africa and international consulates.

 

But away from the eyes of the international community, ethnic conflicts are heating up again in every rural area. Even the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa announced its concern with “troubling reports of ethnic violence and the large-scale displacement of people.” This is a big deal, because it takes a lot for Western governments to admit problems facing their darling ally in Addis Ababa. A few dozen Ethiopians dead is usually not a big deal for the West. It is not that they don’t value human life, but their expectation of Africa is not much. We may call it their “soft bigotry of low expectations” or a by-product of geopolitics. Since the end of the Cold War, the West barely cares about the Horn of Africa, and even well-informed observers admit that the bar is set very low for TPLF. How low? A British journalist recently gave me his pessimistic assessment of TPLF’s great job approval in western eyes. “There hasn’t been a resumption of civil war (in Ethiopia)– which is an achievement,” he concluded.

Read Aloud:   British (In)Justice: The Persecution by Proxy Prosecution of Ethiopian Dissident Tadesse B. Kersmo

 

This is a blunt reminder that the world has no plans to end this Rwanda in slow motion. Ethiopians are alone, all on their own.

 

Ironically, a big factor that has prevented Ethiopia from collapsing altogether is the primary trademark of TPLF’s tyrannical rule: its homogenous Tigrayan federal security. Unlike the previous DERG regime which had a multiethnic diverse federal army that defected under pressure; the TPLF federal army is immune from desertion and enjoys a strong ethnic cohesion. But whether an overstretched single tribal army can contain so many crisis in a country of 100 million remains to be seen. One thing is for sure; once tribal killings get started, they can quickly get out of control. As we saw it in Somalia, even warlords became powerless to stop the cycle of wars. And Ethiopia’s Facebook warriors and instigators will have even less power to stop future conflicts. The endless cycle of revenge violence has a tendency to take on a life of its own.

 

Teshomeborago@gmail.com

12 Comments

  1. The author does not know the meaning of mass killing, the article exaggerated to suit this propaganda article.

  2. Why do have to create a non-existent story of Sidama Vs oromo narrative? you just wanted to create a story line that fits into your world view of Ethiopia. You add nothing positive to the current situation in Ethiopia rather than lamenting. Ethiopia is not a constract of your own liking. It is passing through a difficult time as a result of exclusionary political arrangements. People are demanding for their right. The government is using some vagabonds to create an atmosphere of uncertainity. Your intentional omission of calculated dispalcement of 150,000 Oromos from Ethiopian Somalia shows your wicked intentions.

  3. Mr. Borago;
    Is it the concept of federalism or the kleptocratic TPLF that is killing people??
    It seems that you don’t know current Ethiopian politics let alone the peoples of the country. You remained fixed in time, and still wallow in the era of H/S & Dergue. You try to defend that the debunked one people, one language one culture policy of past Ethiopian tyrants should have remained as the saviour principle of Ethiopian “unity”. But that is exactly what led Ethiopia in the path of destruction and disintegration we see today.

    Ethnic federalism is the only alternative political arrangement that could keep that country as a singlestate. Your harranging against Ethnic federalism is based on the wrong understanding of TPLF’s brutal ethnic dictatorship as federal viz. democratic. Secondly, it brings to the fore your strict opposition to the emancipation of the hitherto subjugated peoples in the Ethiopian empire and their gaining of minimal autonomy possible under TPLF’s tyranny.
    Your empty cry is neither for the unity of Ethiopia (that would be possible only through the empowerment of the people) nor for freeing the people from perpetual subjugation, destitution and famine. You are braying loud for the power lost by the few Habesha elites they used to monopolize.
    “Warabessi guyyaa argan nama hin nyaatu!”

  4. Ethiopia is no more a slow Rwanda in motion. It is a fast Rwanda in motion and in a short period of time will have more casualties and destruction than what happened in Rwanda in early 1990’s unless ETHNIC FEDERALISM IS COMPLETELY DESTROYED ASAP.
    The very smart people from one to the best newspaper/media in the world, THE ECONOMIST, after visiting the war zone in Oromo-Somali region concluded that ETHIOPIAN ETHNIC FEDERALISM CONCEPT MAKES ALMOST NO SENSE. They are correct 100% and right on the money. Therefore, ethinic based regions must be destroyed ASAP and replaced with non-ethic based region. Addis Abeba is a good example of the success on a non ethnic based region. Addis Abeba is composed of all ethnic groups in Ethiopia living in harmony and speaking the same language. The aim should be to duplicate Addis Abeba like region all over ethiopia. Ever region ought to have comparable economic advantage such as rivers/natural resources and boarders with neighboring countries when possible and should be almost equal in size. 8 to 10 regions may suffice. I prefer names similar to Addis Abeba but I will leave it to the creativity of ethiopian people. My choice for the eight non ethnic based regions will be Addis pride, Addis love, Addis power, Addis imagination, Addis invention, Addis fun, Addis patriot, and Addis industry.

  5. 39% of Oromos land still occupied by Neftegna Showa Amharas. How do we expect peace and harmony while Oromos land occupied by Nefetegna ? ?

  6. “truth”;
    A country is not a piece of bread! Yours is politics from the view of a “genna daabbo”.

    If you don’t have a clue about politics (a complex politics of a multi-ethnic state as Ethiopia at that) you better leave the commenting to some better educated Habeshas. Pathetic!

  7. “”Unlike the previous DERG regime which had a multiethnic diverse federal army that defected under pressure; the TPLF federal army is immune from desertion and enjoys a strong ethnic cohesion. “”

    ILL INFORMED WRITER . DERGUE NEVER HAD FEDERAL ARMY . FEDERALISM IS A NEW CONCEPT HERE . DERGUE HAD POOR SONS OF PEASANTS + FORCEFULLY CONSCRIPTED (YE AFESA YOUTH )

    ARMY WITH PURPOSE AND VISION VS ARMY BY FORCE

  8. it takes wise , foresighted , visionary , tolerant , proactive
    leadership .ONCE WE CROSS THIS NATURAL CYCLE OF FEDERALSM , WE WILL ENJOY ITS FRUITS . IT TAKES CARFULL WALK BBY ALL SIDES THOUGH .

    ANY ONE WHO THINKS TPLF IS THE ONLY ONE TO SUFFER IN TIMES OF NATION FAILURE IS A SUPER FOOL .

    THERE ONCE WAS A FOOL WHO WANTED TO ATTACK HIS FOE .HIS FOE WAS WINING AND DINING IN HIS OWN HOUSE .HIS CHILDREN ARE PALYING INSIDE . HIS WIFE SERVING ALL . THIS SUPERFOOL LIT THE HOUSE IN FIRE JUST TO GET HIS FOE .

    WHO EVER BURNS HIS HOUSE WHILE HIS CHILDREN ARE INSIDE IS A FOOL .

  9. Gamta,

    I never said a country is a piece of bread. You must be delusional psychotic freak AKA insane.
    Regarding politics, my only interest is to hold politicians accountable and call them out when they are not serving the interest of all Ethiopian people. All politicians are supposed to be public servants. However, the opposite is true in Ethiopia. THE PEOPLE ARE SLAVES/SERVANTS OF POLITICIANS. I have no desire what so ever to be a politician.
    I believe in the principle of KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. THIS PRINCIPLE RULES ANY TIME ANY PLACE AND IN EVERY SITUATION. If as you claim that politics in multi ethnic Ethiopia is complex, then the MORE REASON TO COMPLETELY DESTROY IT AND BUILD A POLITICAL SYSTEM THAT IS SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND BY ALL ETHIOPIANS FROM THE VERY YOUNG TO THE VERY OLD FROM THE ILLITERATE TO THE WELL EDUCATED.
    Ethnic based countries of the world who do not have an one or two utmost official languages spoken in education, government and economy by vast majority of its population are the poorest and non ethnic based countries whose entire population use one or two official languages in education, government and economy are the richest. The only exception is India. However, india has two official languages, English and Hindi that are used by the vast majority of Indian people. WHAT ETHIOPIA NEEDS TO BE A GREAT NATION IS TO LOOK AT HOW THE GREAT NATIONS OF THE WORLD OPERATE. ALMOST ALL OF THEM HAVE ONE LANGUAGE SPOKE BY ALL PEOPLE. EDUCATION IS GIVEN IN THAT LANGUAGE AND TRADE AND GOVERNMENT OPERATES IN THAT LANGUAGE. My proposal is to have two official languages in ethiopia, AMHARIC AND ENGLISH. All education throughout ethiopia will be given in amharic and english. All government documents and businesses will operate in either Amharic or English. PERIOD
    World’s riches countries
    1. USA ENGLISH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    2. CHINA MANDARIN AND CANTONESE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    3. JAPAN JAPANESE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    4. GERMANY GERMAN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    5. UK ENGLISH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    6. INDIA HINDI AND ENGLISH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    7. FRANCE FRENCH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    8. BRAZIL PORTUGUESE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    9. ITALY ITALIAN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    10. CANADA ENGLISH AND FRENCH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    11. KOREA KOREAN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    12. RUSSIA RUSSIAN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    13. AUSTRALIA ENGLISH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    14. SPAIN SPANISH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    15. MEXICO SPANISH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
    WORLD’S POOREST COUNTRIES
    1. CENTRAL AFRICA REPUBLIC: COLONIAL FRENCH AND DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    2. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: COLONIAL FRENCH AND DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    3. MALAWI: DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    4. LIBERIA: ENGLISH AND DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    5. BURUNDI: ONE LOCAL, COLONIAL FRENCH AND SWAHILI
    6. NIGER: COLONIAL FRENCH AND DOZEN OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    7. MOZAMBIQUE: COLONIAL PORTUGUESE AND DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    8. ERITREA: MANY LOCAL LANGUAGES
    9. GUINEA: COLONIAL FRENCH AND DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    10. MADAGASCAR: ONE LOCAL LANGUAGE AND COLONIAL FRENCH
    11. GUINEA-BISSAU: COLONIAL PORTUGUESE AND DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    12. TOGO:COLONIAL FRENCH AND DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    13. MALI: COLONIAL FRENCH AND DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES
    14. KIRIBATI: COLONIAL ENGLISH AND ONE LOCAL LANGUAGE
    15. ETHIOPIA: DOZENS OF LOCAL LANGUAGES

  10. Sorry folks, I have a correction. I said the world’s richest and poorest countries. That is wrong. I meant the world’s biggest and smallest economies. In other wards USA is the biggest economy in the world and Ethiopia is the 15th smallest economies in the world. Richness of a country is determined by gross national product per capita which is the average yearly income of an average individual in a given country. Based on GDP per capita china ranks 98th, ethiopia 169th and india 138th out of 181 countries.

  11. Gamta,

    You said,
    “You(THE BRILLIANT MR. BORAGO) try to defend that the debunked one people, one language one culture policy of past Ethiopian tyrants should have remained as the saviour principle of Ethiopian “unity”. But that is exactly what led Ethiopia in the path of destruction and disintegration we see today.”

    This is 110% false statement. The Haile Selassie regime did not lead to the current path of destruction and disintegration in ethiopia. What led to the current destruction and disintegration of ethiopia is the fact that the country is run by terrorist, criminals, looters, mafia people under the umbrella of tyrannicall TPLF/EPRDF and ethnic federalism which was designed to enrich the elite members of terrorist TPLF/EPRDF is BLOWING and EXPLODING on their face. As the saying goes, YOU REAP WHAT YOU SAW. TyrannicaL TPLF/EPRDF saw the DIVISIVE CANCER OF ETHNIC FEDERALISM NOW THEY ARE CONSUMED BY THE INCURABLE CANCER AND DYING SLOWLY.
    Ethiopia under Haile selassie was much better than ETHIOPIA under TPLF/EPRDF dictatorship. Feudal system under Haile Selassie was not a good government. However, when compared to the fake democracy, mass killing, genocide, mass looting of the current government it is much better. Haile Selassie government is the LESSER OF TWO EVILS.
    Under Haile Selassie
    1. A lot more unity among different ethnic groups and no ethnic based conflicts, killing, looting and displacement. A lot more patriotism. One unifying language, AMHARIC.
    Under tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF
    1. The total opposite
    Under Haile selassie
    2. Cost of living was much lower than it is today. An individual was able to feed oneself for a day with only 25 cent. Less than 10-20% of the average ethiopian income was spent for cost of living, such as rent, food, clothing, transportation, expenses.
    Under tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF
    2. It costs an individual $25 birr or more to feed him/herself for a day. Cost of living is over 100% of an average ethiopian’s income.
    Under Haile Selassie
    3. Ethiopian currency was very strong. 2 Ethiopian birr was equivalent to 1 US dollar for about 50 years.
    Under tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF
    3. Ethiopian currency is very very weak. 27 ethiopian birr is equivalent to 1 US dollar
    Under Haile Selassie
    4. Almost 100% of Ethiopians wanted to stay and stayed in ethiopia. There was no reason for ethiopians to live their beloved country in search of milk and honey in the western world. Almost 100% of ethiopians sent to foreign countries for education returned to ethiopia and used their newly acquired knowledge to develop ethiopian economy and the living standard of ethiopians.
    Under tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF
    4. Over 95% of ethiopians want to leave ethiopia given the opportunity and Millions have already left the country. The saddest thing is 100x more ethiopian have left the country under current regime that under the brutal and murderous drug regime. OUR BELOVED ETHIOPIA IS GOING BACKWARD AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT. Ethiopia is losing its educated population to other countries at an astronomical rate. Ethiopia is experiencing a BRAIN DRAIN of a huge magnitude. Since people are the #1 wealth of a country, ethiopia by losing its finest is sure to remain poor for centuries to come. 100% of ethiopians sent for education to western/democratic world will not return to ethiopia.
    Under Haile Selassie
    5. As a panafricanist he was able to secure one of the most impressive diplomatic achievement of all time, the formation of African Unity. He was the founding father of African Unity. In order to reward his contribution to african unity, it was decided to make african union headquarter in ethiopia. Having a african union headquarter in ethiopia, has been a cash cow and helped the tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF a great deal. However, they never thanked the great king. Moreover, another great accomplishment of haile selassie was the formation of ethiopian airlines. Thank to him, the current regime is using it as cash cow and to make a good name for them self without giving thanks to the founder.
    Under tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF
    5. Let alone panafricanism, pan ethiopianism is loathed and hated. They are 110% against the unity of ethiopians and africans. Compared to the visionary and big picture haile selassie, tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF are blind, narrow minded and miss the FOREST FOR THE TREE ALL THE TIME.
    In conclusion, feudalism form of government is terrible but fake democracy is worse. Ethiopians need true democracy and unity. Ethnic based ethiopia is DEAD. Non ethnic based ethiopia is BORN. TRUE DEMOCRACY IS LIKE THE TIDE THAT LIFTS ALL BOATS. EVERY ETHIOPIAN LIFE, INCOME AND LIVING STANDARD WILL IMPROVE BY 100X IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME WHEN A TRUE DEMOCRACY IS THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT IN ETHIOPIA.

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