Ethnic and anti-colonial narratives

By Zerihun

One major task awaiting Ethiopian state builders is the issue of reconciling the post-1991 TPLF-led EPRDF ethnic politics with the Amharic-speaking elites-led anti-colonial narrative that goes beyond the Ethiopian sovereign.

As you can watch in the following clip click here the historical Ethiopia cannot be reduced to a mere empire where its ethnic groups were suppressed by the few elites from a few ethnic groups. What it means Ethiopia includes a historically established, anti-colonial consciousness which was led and narrated by Amharic-speaking Ethiopian elites. This consciousness has been reproduced not only by & within Ethiopia but also by foreigners & outside Ethiopia through various agencies.

The current ethnic politicians seemed to subvert the anti-colonial aspects of the Ethiopian sovereign even though they also in many cases consciously identify themselves with this narrative. For example leader of EPRDF identify themselves with the anti-colonial narrative of Ethiopia while they negotiate with the West (donors who attach conditionality to their support) by asserting themselves as free and independent (non-colonized mind) subjects.

This is a notion that contradicts the very depiction of Ethiopia, by ethnic politicians, as a colonial state and validates the Amharic-speaking elites-led anti-colonial narrative of Ethiopia.

If the TPLF-EPRDF elites share the anti-colonial narrative they must reconcile it with their current ethnic ideology.

But because they tend to undermine such narrative (when it comes to internal politics) while at the same they are in fact claiming a non-colonial subjectivity as a strategy to defend their power from external intervention I can only say that the current Ethiopian ethnic entrepreneurs have an ambiguous position on Ethiopian sovereignty. They neither are willing nor committed to accommodate the anti-colonial narrative of Ethiopia with the discourse of building the ‘new’ Ethiopia in which ethnic narrative can only be one competing discourse rather than the best and the only.


The history/stories of TPLF

By Zerihun

This morning I saw a video or TV-interview from ESAT through YouTube click here to watch and was wondering whether Ethiopian people would consider TPLF as a legitimate political party in Ethiopian politics if they knew the true stories/history of the TPLF and especially if they knew the biography of our current leaders including Meles.  The person in the interview seemed to me genuine and responsible in telling the stories/history of TPLF.

In this post-modern world it should be the basic right of citizens within a state to seek for information regarding the biography of their political leaders or know many things about their leaders. I belief good leaders are made not born. That means their social and political experience or the diverse situations in their social environment or history has direct implication in the nature and quality of their Leadership.

What ever explanation could there be in defence of what the current Ethiopian leaders did in the past, there is no legal or ethical ground to make  what they did and what happened a secret  – Ethiopian people have the right to know what each of them did- both as a person and as a member of their political party especially, in regard to the human right, ethical conduct,  their stand and psotion regarding Ethiopian sovereignty etc.., .

increase in illicit outflows in Ethiopia

According to a report by Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based research and advocacy organization corruption, kickbacks and bribery are on the rise in Ethiopia and  illicit financial flows out of Ethiopia nearly doubled to US$3.26 Billion in 2009 over the previous year. Read the News Here

If this is true it only means that while the majority Ethiopians are in abject poverty there are a few economic elites who are benefiting from the current political order and the absence of open and free media, lack of rule of law only worsening the situation.

Insult versus Freedom of expression


This afternoon I was wondering about the boundary between the right to say or rather express one’s opinion and insulting someone.  Could there be a situation where someone thinks that he or she is expressing his or her opinions but others consider this expression no less than an insult? Will such dispute be considered as an ethical or legal issue? Who decides, on what basis that a specific statement, symbol, utterance, act or generally ‘expression’ is an insult? What is an insult in any case?

The dictionary definition of insult is to speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse. Is there any thing called  cultural or religious respect on the one hand and universal human respect on the other?