“We must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools. As nationals and individuals we are interdependent. It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality…” – Martin Luther King, 1967, “Christmas Sermon.”
Authors Note: In Part I of my commentary (Fighting T-TPLF Internal Colonialism Through EthiopiaWINet (Ethiopian-ness)) last week, I examined the political situation in Ethiopia over the past 26 years as a problem of internal colonialism driven by the voracious and insatiable appetite of the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) for land– urban land, rural land, any kind of land. I also examined the outcome of the T-TPLF’s system of internal colonialism in terms of the oppression, subordination and exploitation of majority ethnic groups in a comparative perspective with South Africa.
I expect to expound on EthiopiaWINet from a variety of perspectives in many forthcoming commentaries.
For me, EthiopiaWINet signifies a lot of things.
For me, EthiopiaWINet is a Weltanschauung, a world view, a philosophy, a way of life, a form of consciousness, a way of doing (and not) things and a methodology for understanding and transforming the Ethiopian reality and the world.
For me, EthiopiaWINet is a lens through which I see and perceive reality, the past, present and future and reflect critically upon the problems, issues and needs in Ethiopia to gain a deeper understanding and follow up with action to bring about change.
For me, EthiopiaWINet is “praxis” (“action-oriented towards changing society”, unity of theory and practice).
For me, EthiopiaWINet is the ultimate failsafe antitoxin to the poison of T-TPLF’s internal colonial rule.
I believe in the power of education and follow in the tradition of Paulo Freire and Antonio Gramsci in my notions of “EthiopiaWINet praxis.” I am always mindful of Freire’s admonition: “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” Gramsci understood dominant groups in society achieve “hegemony” by imposing political and ideological consensus to obtain the “spontaneous consent” of subordinate and oppressed groups. The T-TPLF has partially succeeded in manufacturing consent through its bogus ideology of “ethnic federalism”. For 26 years, the T-TPLF has exercised hegemony in Ethiopia by infecting the society’s system of values, attitudes, beliefs with bogus revisionist history, hate-mongering and institutionalizing the creed of ethnic supremacism.
While I do not aim to engage in a full discourse on “praxis”, suffice it to say that I regard EthiopiaEINet as an educational or “consceintization” process to liberate our minds from T-TPLF apartheid mental slavery, and most importantly, serve as a pathway to not only regaining our sense of “Ethiopianity” or “Africanity”, but also humanity.
Gramsci said, “Without a sense of identity, there can be no real struggle.” To that end, Gramsci prescribed, “The first step in emancipating oneself from political and social slavery is that of freeing the mind.” Of course, the great Bob Marley said it more poetically in his Redemption Song: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;/ None but ourselves can free our minds.”
For me, EthiopiaWINet is a complete process of “unbrainwashing” from the T-TPLF ideology of ethnic division and hate. EthiopiaWINet is the means by which Ethiopians can emancipate themselves from the political, economic, social and mental slavery of T-TPLF rule. It is the ultimate means of freeing our minds from ethnic hate, sectarianism and regionalism.
For the past 26 years, the T-TPLF has fed the Ethiopian people a smorgasbord of hate, division, distrust, corruption, cruelty, lies, damned lies and statislies, bitterness, shame, injustice…
EthiopiaWINet replaces hate with love, division with unity, distrust with trust, corruption with integrity, ugliness, cruelty with compassion, despair with hope, cowardice with courage, self-doubt with self-confidence, might with right, ethnicity with humanity, dishonor with dignity, immorality with ethical rectitude, doubt with faith of our ancestors, bitterness with forgiveness and reconciliation, shame with honor, cynicism with idealism, stupidity with creativity, injustice with fairness, pessimism with optimism, war with peace, narrow-mindedness with tolerance, deceitfulness with truthfulness, and despair with hope.
I hope to employ EthiopiaWINet as a “dialogical” and dialectical process in which social and political ideas can be examined, critiqued and refined. But the dialogue on EthiopiaWINet must not remain only in the realm of reflection and abstraction. It must provide an outlet for people to come together and transform ideas into action in an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and love. Without action, it is not possible to change reality.
That is what I mean by EthiopiaWINet praxis.
In this (Part II), I shall discuss “EthiopiawiNOT” to be followed next week by “EthiopiaWINet”.
First, why is EthiopiaWINet such a big thing for me?
A couple of weeks ago, the T-TPLF regime made a public statement expressing “doubt” about my Ethiopiawinet (Ethiopian-ness.) For twelve years and over 800 uninterrupted weekly commentaries, they expressed no doubt. If they did, they kept it secret. But they decided to challenge me for the first time in twelve years by questioning and doubting my EthiopiaWINet in public, on the radio waves.
That was an “Aha!” moment for me.
When the T-TPLF publicly proclaimed they have “doubts” about my Ethiopian-ness, I knew instantly what strategy they were to follow in setting the terms of engagement. They believed my EthiopiaWINet was my Achilles heel, my weakest point because I had been away for so long from the motherland. They thought they could dismiss me by de-Ethiopianizing me just like they have de-Ethiopianzed 100 million Ethiopians over the past 26 years.
At that moment, I vowed to defend and spread EthiopiaWINet not only in Ethiopia but the world over with every fiber in my body and every particle of intellectual energy God has blessed me with. I replied swiftly to the T-TPLF and let them know I AM ONE PROUD ETHIOPIAN. I let them know that I am ready, willing and able to defend my EthiopiaWINet in any place and at any time.
Doubting my EthiopiaWINet is the equivalent of fighting words for me. Who are the “real” Ethiopians doubting the “false” Ethiopians?
People who live in glass houses should not throw rocks at people who live in rock solid houses. The rocks will bounce back and hit them.
I must confess that I was angry to hear my Ethiopian-ness doubted by the very people who gave away the port of Assab to Eritrea in 1991, and to add insult to injury, gave away the border town of Badme to the Eritreans in 2000 in the Algiers Agreement after 80 thousand Ethiopian soldiers gave their lives up to defend and secure it. The same people who secretly handed over a 725 km strip of Ethiopian land covering 250 square kilometers with about 600,000 acres of fertile lands to the Sudan in the name of “border demarcation” are doubting my EthiopiaWINet? The same people who said Ethiopia’s flag is a piece of rag and Ethiopian history a “fairy tale” are questioning my EthiopiaWINet?
To paraphrase Shakespeare, these audaciously shameless hypocrites attacked my EthiopiaWINet “clothing their naked villainy with odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ of true Ethiopian patriotism when mostly they play the devil”. In other words, turncoats dressed as patriots doubting my EthiopiaWINet?
History teaches us what happens when “doubt” is raised about one’s defining identity. There was time in the United States when a congressional committee was formed to track down and brand private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties as “Un-American” and persecute and prosecute them for alleged disloyalty and subversive activities against the U.S. It was a time of “red-baiting” (communist). Personally, I regard “red-baiting”, “race-baiting”, “religion- baiting” and “ethnic baiting” as dangerous practices that must be avoided. Identity-doubting leads to identity-baiting. Those who doubt my EthiopiaWINet can debate me.
I am championing EthiopiaWINet because that is what is in me, who I am.
The T-TPLF can doubt my Ethiopiawinet from here to eternity. I don’t care. It is like the old saying, “You can take a boy out of the country But you can’t take the country out of the boy.” (Or as I like to say, “You can take the thug out of the bush and dress him up in designer clothes but you can’t take the thug out of him.) I say you can take the boy out of Ethiopia but you cannot take the EthiopiaWINet out of the boy.
I can’t help my Ethiopiawinet. I was born that way. My father was born Ethiopian. My mother was born Ethiopian. My grandparents, great, great, great… grandparents who came from every nook and cranny of Ethiopia were born Ethiopian. EthiopiaWINet is in my DNA as are my ancestors who came from every part of Ethiopia are in my DNA. I am proud of my rich Ethiopian heritage, which embraces every ethnic and religious group in Ethiopia.
My EthiopiaWINet reminds me of a question asked in Scripture, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?”
Just like the leopard cannot change his spots no matter how much it tries to scratch it off, I, too, am also unable to scratch off my EthiopiaWINnet. Nor can anyone else scratch it off of me.
I must affirm and defend my EthiopiaWINet because I can no more disown my parents and grand and great-grandparents who have ethnic roots in every part of Ethiopia and shed their blood to keep Ethiopia as ONE nation. Benito Mussolini invaded Ethiopia to subjugate “a barbaric people”. He said, “Our cause in Ethiopia is a just one. In a few days it will be laid before the League’s counsel. It will be laid before the whole world—proof that the Ethiopians are a barbaric people, sunk in the practice of slavery.”
My ancestors did not stand aside as Oromo, Amhara, Tigre, Gurage… when Mussolini sprayed them with mustard gas from the air and rained artillery rounds on them to colonize Ethiopia. They stepped out carrying spears, bows and arrows and muskets to keep Ethiopia free from colonial rule. My Oromo, Amhara, Tigray, Gurage… ancestors fought as ONE people, struggled as ONE people, prayed as ONE people, cried as ONE people and celebrated victory as ONE people and died as one people in the face of ruthless colonial aggressors and all others who had cast their evil eyes on Ethiopia. That spirit of EthiopiaWINet of my ancestors is in me and was not buried with them.
I am also a part of those Ethiopians of all ethnic and religious stripes who contributed making Ethiopia exceptional in all of Africa. Because of their heroic efforts, Ethiopia sat on equal terms with the great powers of the world and became an original signatory to the Covenant of the League of Nations in 1922, the U.N. Charter in 1945, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Geneva Conventions in 1948. Ethiopia was the principal architect of the Organization of African Union in 1963 which established its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
I have no choice but to wear my black EthiopiaWINet spots proudly for the whole world to see.
There is the old saying, “As the father is [grandparents are], so is the son [children].”
So, let no one ever doubt the Ethiopiawinet of this black leopard Son of Ethiopia who proudly wears his EthiopiaWINet spots!
In this commentary, I shall discuss EthiopiawiNOT.
In my last commentary, I demonstrated how the T-TPLF managed to become the black apartheid masters in Ethiopia by employing a modified version of the white minority South African apartheid system over the past 26 years. The T-TPLF established total economic and political dominance in Ethiopia by creating a system of internal ethnic colonies (kilils or kililistans) in much the same way as the minority white apartheid regime created artificial enclaves (Bantustans, black homelands) in South Africa. Using a vast security, police and military force, the T-TPLF entrenched and reinforced the political subjugation of majority groups in a process of minoritization of the majority population.
The aim of the apartheid systems in Ethiopia and South Africa is the same: Maintenance of minority rule over majority ethnic groups riven by internal divisions and engineered political turmoil, conflict and strife. The T-TPLF achieved control and exploitation of the majority populations by a gradual process of geographic dismemberment of Ethiopia and systematic alienation of the people along racial, ethnic, regional, religious lines using the politics of ethnic grievances, ethnic demonization and ethnic fear and smear. For 26 years, the T-TPLF employed systematic campaigns of deconstruction of Ethiopian identity (de-Ethiopianization) and denationalization and sought to replace it with an ideology of T-TPLF ethno-supremacy called “ethnic federalism”.
The essence of EthiopiawiNOT is de-Ethiopianization of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.
I have discussed the T-TPLF’s de-Ethiopianization program at length in my November 2014 commentary. For over four decades, the TPLF has clung to power by force in Ethiopia by planning and waging a sustained and relentless political, social and cultural war to “de-Ethiopianize” Ethiopia. The TPLF’s de-Ethiopianization program and ideology are built around a set of specific strategies, policies, actions and practices intended to 1) strip Ethiopians of any meaningful consciousness of their national identity and expurgate from their collective social experience any sense of commonly shared values, beliefs and customs, and 2) balkanize, merchandize and dismember the country employing a variety of tactics and schemes.
No one has explained the T-TPLF’s de-Ethiopianization program better than the patriot Gebremedhin Araya, a former treasurer and top leader of the TPLF.
In an extraordinary video interview (in Amharic), Gebremedhin explained the TPLF’s four ideological pillars of de-Ethiopianizing Ethiopia based on the systematic cleansing of Ethiopian national identity, history and consciousness:
1) Eritrea is an Ethiopian colony. Eritrea is a developed country. Eritrea existed before Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a country created by (Emperor) Menelik. The name Ethiopia is not known. Ethiopia has no history, nothing.
2) Tigray is an independent sovereign country which was invaded by (Emperor) Atse Menelik and became an Amhara colony. Tigray is a colonial territory of Amhara. That is what is stated in the woyane (TPLF) Manifesto which is the policy guideline. Therefore, we must liberate Tigray from Amhara colonialism and create a Tigray republic.
3) Amhara are the enemy of the Tigray people. Amhara are not only enemies but also double enemies. Therefore, we must crush Amhara. We have to destroy them. Unless Amhara are destroyed, beaten down, cleansed from the land, Tigray cannot live in freedom. For the government we intend to create, Amhara will be the main obstacle.
4) Since Ethiopia is a country created by Menelik, created by Menelik’s invasion and since there are many nations and nationalities invaded by Menelik, these groups (hold and exhibits Manifesto in the video) must gain their freedom from what is now called Ethiopia and establish their own country. The country known as Ethiopia is new and not even 100 years old. This country must be destroyed, zeroes out. Nations and nationalities and we must create our own governments. Eritrea gets her independence; that is the basis of our struggle.
It is important to note that neither the TPLF as an organization nor its leaders in power, marginalized from power or retired from power have ever jointly or severally disavowed the document known as the “TPLF Manifesto” nor repudiated any of its contents. The “Manifesto” remains to this day the guidepost and ideological underpinning of the T-TPLF.
The TPLF’s “de-Ethiopianization” effort has been waged on multifaceted strategic fronts using multipronged approaches which combine political warfare with cultural, social and psychological warfare: 1) trivialization of Ethiopian history and demonization of historical Ethiopian leaders, 2) demonization of “Amhara” and “Amhara” people, and 3) Balkanization, dismemberment and merchandizing of Ethiopia and decomposition of Ethiopian territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The first weapon in the TPLF’s arsenal of de-Ethiopianization of Ethiopia is the flagrant denial of the existence of a historical Ethiopia. For the TPLF and its late thugmaster Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopia known as the land of the “Habasha people” (or the “Abyssinian people”) for millennia has little to do with the contemporary inhabitants of the land known as Ethiopia or the juridical land mass known as Ethiopia. For the T-TPLF, Ethiopia is a recent political invention, barely a century old. According to the TPLF mythos, Ethiopia is a geopolitical entity cobbled together by Atse (Emperor) Menelik towards the end of the Nineteenth Century.
The second weapon of the TPLF’s arsenal of de-Ethiopianization is its trivialization of Ethiopian history and demonization of past Ethiopian imperial leaders. Atse (Emperor) Menelik II, (popularly known as “Emiye (Mother) Menelik” because of his forgiving nature and concern for the poor) the Nineteenth Century Ethiopian emperor who defeated the Italians at the Battle of Adwa is a perennial target of TPLF vilification. The TPLF narrative depicts Menelik as a ruthless warmonger hell-bent on creating an “Amhara” empire. He purportedly slashed and burned everything in his path to conquer and subjugate neighboring “nations and nationalities”. Atse Menelik is depicted by the TPLF as a genocidal maniac and mass murderer. As I argued in my January 2014, commentary “Demonizing Ethiopian History”, the TPLF has periodically undertaken massive propaganda campaigns to caricature, demean and demonize that great Ethiopian king.
Interestingly, the vilification of Atse Menelik was the means the T-TPLF used to glorify their thugmaster Meles Zenawi, the late criminal against humanity who perpetrated genocide in the Oromo, Amhara, Gambella, the Ogaden and other regions. By scandalizing Atse Menelik, the T-TPLF sought to excuse and conceal its own crimes against humanity and resurrect Meles as the savior of Ethiopia and defender of oppressed nationalities. The TPLF continues its futile effort to rewrite history by depicting Menelik as an enemy of the Oromo people. The fact of the matter is that there is a mountain of evidence to prosecute every T-TPLF leader for the untold and unspeakable crimes against humanity they committed against the Oromo people as well as others.
Meles Zenawi made every effort to deny the monumental contributions of Atse (H.I.M) Haile Selassie to the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor to the African Union. Meles fought tooth and nail to make sure H.I.M. Haile Selassie’s statute was not erected on the African Union grounds because he was not as “pan-Africanist” as Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president! The historical facts tell a much different story. Nkrumah himself repeatedly said there would have been no Organization of African Unity but for the relentless efforts of H.I.M. Haile Selassie. It was H.I.M Haile Selassie who was elected “Father of African Unity” by his peers at the 1972 Ninth Heads of States and Governments meeting of the Organization of African Unity. H.I.M Haile Selassie was elected the first chairman of the OAU in 1963 and elected again in 1966 to serve in the same position, making him the only African leader to have held that position twice. Yet, the T-TPLF continues its campaign of vilification against H.I.M. Haile Selassie.
The T-TPLF’s trivialization of Ethiopian history and demonization of its historical leaders is intended to achieve one thing, unwind the historical clock to Year 1: The beginning of Ethiopian history with Meles Zenawi as the “parens patriae” literally (father of the nation) and the TPLF as midwives to the birth of a nation. The ludicrous distortion of the historical record by the TPLF and its leaders is a futile attempt to re-write, miswrite, overwrite and un-write Ethiopian history with the hagiography (tale of sainthood) of Meles Zenawi. They want to unwrite Menelik’s history and write up Meles’ history as the greatest African leader of modern times. They want to demonize Menelik and mythologize Meles as the “new breed of African leader”, the “bringer of developmental state democracy”, the “African leader on Global Warming and Climate change”, the “destroyer of Somali jihadists and terrorists” and so on.
The TPLFs anti-“Amhara” ideology and “Amhara” demonization campaign is totally incomprehensible and irrational. The TPLF Manifesto declares “Amhara” are the enemies of Tigreans. As Gebremedhin, the former TPLF treasurer explained, the cornerstone of TPLF ideology is that “Amhara are the enemy of the Tigray people. Amhara are not only enemies but also double enemies. Therefore, we must crush Amhara. We have to destroy them. Unless Amhara are destroyed, beaten down, cleansed from the land, Tigray cannot live in freedom. For the government we intend to create, Amhara will be the main obstacle.” Once in power the late Meles and his TPLF fully implemented their hateful ideology against “Amhara” and “Amhara people” and did everything to crush them. But…
Who are the “Amhara” and “Amhara people” the TPLF has declared an enemy deserving of genocide?
In as much as the TPLF has propagandized and depicted the “Amhara people” to be demonic monsters, the fact of the matter is that the “Amhara people ” are actually the POOREST PEOPLE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. That was the conclusion Al Jazeerain its May 2014 report: “Amhara is one of the poorest region not only in Ethiopia but in Africa.”
Persecution and destruction of “Amhara people” has been and continues to be the driving ideology and force of the TPLF. The late Meles had such deep-rooted hatred for “Amhara people” that it could be said without exaggeration that anti- ”Amharism” defined his entire cosmology. Meles’ raison d’etre was hatred of Amhara! There is no rhyme or reason for the TPLF’s and its leaders’ antipathy towards “Amhara people”. One is left wondering trying to fathom the TPLF leaders’ deep and inexorable hatred of the “Amhara people”.
One may find compelling parallels between Meles’ and the TPLF’s irrational and demented hatred of “Amharas” and Hitler’s and the Nazi’s irrational and demented hatred of Jews. Hitler blamed the Jews for all of the ills of German society. Meles blamed all of the ills of Ethiopian society, past and present (and future) on the “Amharas”. (“The Amharas are coming! The Amharas are coming!).
Hitler and the Nazis believed in racial division of people; they also believed there will always be an ongoing struggle between these different races. They believed the “Aryan race” was the best and strongest race destined to rule. Jews and other non-Arayans were of the inferior race (“Untermenschen” or subhuman creatures).
For Meles and the TPLF, “Tigreans” are the Ubermenschen, the “supermen” since they as a guerrilla force defeated and routed a mighty Derg army with tanks, planes and artillery. They are convinced that their military conquest and seizure of power grants them a birthright to rule perpetually. The TPLF and its leaders consider themselves to be the ethnic equivalent of the “Aryan race”. The rest including “Amharas” are Untermenschen, “subethnic kreatur” (subethnic creatures).
Thus, the political leadership, the bureaucracy, the police, security and military institutions in Ethiopia today are totally and completely dominated by the TPLF. The TPLF regime and its supporters today have total and complete control of all economic sectors in Ethiopia including banking, construction and cement production, mining, transportation, insurance and the import-export sectors.
The Nazis practiced mass deportation and forced removal of Jews and other “Untermensch” from their homes in Nazi-occupied countries. As I documented in my April 2012 commentary, “Green Justice or Ethnic Injustice”, the late Meles Zenawi personally ordered the removal and deportation of tens of thousands of “Amhara” from Southern Ethiopia. In justifying his actions, Meles called the North Gojam “Amhara” “sefaris” (criminals squatters or marauding land grabbers):
… By coincidence of history, over the past ten years numerous people — some 30,000 sefaris (squatters) from North Gojam – have settled in Benji Maji (BM) zone [in Southern Ethiopia]. In Gura Ferda, there are some 24,000 sefaris. Because the area is forested, not too many people live there. For all intents and purposes, Gura Ferda is little North Gojam complete with squatters’ local administration… Settlers cannot move into the area and destroy the forest for settlement. It is illegal and must stop… Those who allege persecution and displacement of Amharas are engaged in irresponsible agitation which is not useful to anyone…
Former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Herman Cohen, who mediated the transfer of power to the TPLF from the military junta in 1991 in an interview in January 2012 revealed: “And I questioned him [Meles] about land ownership. I was promoting allowing the farmers to have ownership of the land. He said that was not good because the Amharas would come and take over and buy all the land; and these people [the farmers] would return to be serfs like they were under the Emperor.”
The Nazis demonized the Jews by calling them loathsome and names and using derogatory epithets against them. The TPLF demonizes “Amhara” by using loathsome stereotypes to inflame underlying ethnic hatreds and tensions. The “Amhara” are not just the “enemy”, they are the “double enemy”. The “Amhara” are “colonizers”, “arrogant oppressors”, “criminal squatters”, “conquerors” , “neftegna” (gun-toting, land grabbing settlers), “enslavers”, etc. The incessant “Amhara” demonization propaganda is created not only to dehumanize the “Amhara” but also to make the “Amhara” the target of persecution, mistreatment, abuse, ridicule and official neglect and indifference.
Just as it is difficult to establish Hitler’s hatred of the Jews to a specific event in his life growing up in Vienna, it is similarly difficult to explain Meles’ hatred of “Amharas” having grown up in Addis Ababa, the capital. Meles attended one of the more exclusive high schools there and even had the prized opportunity to attend university.
Meles and his TPLF have gone to extraordinary lengths to Balkanize and merchandize Ethiopia and bargain away its sovereignty. In February 2014, I wrote a commentary entitled, “Saving Ethiopia From the Chopping Block” challenging the legal basis for Hailemariam Desalegn’s (puppet-mastered by the TPLF) to transfer sovereign Ethiopian territory to the Sudan. That commentary was a follow up on my 2008 commentary entitled, “All is not quiet on the Western Front” challenging Meles Zenawi’s secret land giveaway to the Sudan.
In “Saving Ethiopia”, I argued that “Meles had no legal authority to hand over Ethiopian land to the Sudan, or for that matter to anyone else. Today, Hailemariam also has no legal right or authority to turn over Ethiopian land to the Sudan. Having said that, there is no question that Meles has “signed” an “agreement” to relinquish a “large chunk of territory in the Amhara region” to the Sudan. Hailemariam and his puppet masters are now trying to make us swallow this illegal land transfer by sweet talk of a “strategic framework agreement”. The fact of the matter is that any transfer of Ethiopian land to the Sudan or any other country by the regime in power today is without any legal basis under the Ethiopian Constitution or international law.”
In March 2011, I wrote a commentary entitled, “Ethiopia: A Country for Sale” lamenting the fact that the country is being sold piecemeal to fly-by-night scammers disguised as “investors”: “Ethiopia is on sale. Everybody is getting a piece of her. For next to nothing. The land vultures have been swooping down on Gambella from all parts of the world. Meles Zenawi proudly claims ‘36 countries including India, China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have leased farm land.’ This month (March 2011) the concessions are being worked at a breakneck pace, with giant tractors and heavy machinery clearing trees, draining swamps and ploughing the land… Karuturi, ‘one of the world’s top 25 agri-businesses’ plans to ‘export palm oil, sugar, rice and other foods from Gambella province to world markets’.”
In my March 2013 commentary, “Land and Ethiopia’s Corruptocracy”, using the World Bank’s 550-page study “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia”, I demonstrated that corruption in the land sector in Ethiopia occurs in several ways. First and foremost, “elite and senior officials” snatch the most desirable lands in the country for themselves. These fat cats manipulate the “weak policy and legal framework and poor systems to implement existing policies and laws” to their advantage. They engage in “fraudulent actions to allocate land to themselves in both urban and rural areas and to housing associations and developers in urban areas.” These “influential and well-connected individuals are able to have land allocated to them often in violation of existing laws and regulations.
Prof. Ted Vestal exposed the false ideology of the T-TPLF’s Ethiopian nationalism in a 1999 article:
Another aspect of the EPRDF’s [the organizational shell used by the TPLF to project an image of pluralism] strategy is to establish a governing system of ethnic federalism emphasizing rights of ‘nations, nationalities, and peoples.’ This high-sounding principle, cribbed from Lenin, is more Machiavellian than Wilsonian however. If the outnumbered Tigrayans who direct the EPRDF/FDRE can keep other ethnic groups divided and roiled against each other in ethno-xenophobias or content to manage affairs in their own limited bailiwicks, then larger matters can be subsumed by the one governing party. Thus, what the EPRDF views as the false ideology of nationalism for a ‘Greater Ethiopia’ can be kept in check and its proponents divided and conquered.” (Emphasis added.)
EthiopiawiNOT is the false ideology of the T-TPLF to perpetually maintain its ethno-supremacist apartheid rule in Ethiopia.
“We must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.”
To be continued, Part III, EthiopiaWINet…
Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino. His teaching areas include American constitutional law, civil rights law, judicial process, American and California state governments, and African politics. He has published two volumes on American constitutional law, including American Constitutional Law: Structures and Process (1994) and American Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (1998). He is the Senior Editor of the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies, a leading scholarly journal on Ethiopia. For the last several years, Prof. Mariam has written weekly web commentaries on Ethiopian human rights and African issues that are widely read online. He blogged on the Huffington post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/ and later on open.salon until that blogsite shut down in March 2015.