ETHIOPIA: The War Between Two Diverging Visions
Ibrahim Hassan Gagale, August 27, 2021[The civil war in Ethiopia today is a war between the past and the present, between colonial kingdoms and freedom seeking nations, between revisionist forces and progressive forces, between indignity and dignity, between domination and liberty].
In 1991 Ethiopia established an ethnic federal system that granted full recognition to ethnic autonomy and its new constitution created a federal system largely consisting of ethnic-based territorial units. This was the best option of coexistence for a multiethnic nation like Ethiopia with historical animosity and hatred extending that far as only democratic federal system with fair and free elections can restore trust to keep it together. No people or ethnic group will accept black colonial domination based on false superiority and racism in the 21st century. People want to protect their rights, dignity and prestige to live in peace, freedom, justice and social equality on their land. The ethnic-based federal system in Ethiopia was intended to end Abyssinian racist, brutal colonial occupation against Cushitic peoples and their lands for over 135 years regarding it vestige of the past. Ethiopia should not have been practicing anymore the ugly colonialism that African continent rejected and defeated over 60 years ago.
For the history of Ethiopian empire, Cushitic peoples were not allowed to rule Ethiopia but they were treated as owned subjects including their lands. Amhara treated Cushitic peoples much worse than European colonizers did to Africans and regarded them as owned humans without dignity and honour. Thus, Abyssinian colonial occupation against Cushitic peoples and their lands was much worse than European colonialism in Africa in nature, particularly the way Amhara repressive, brutal governments and kingdoms treated Cushitic peoples by committing unabated serfdom, denying them of opportunities for better life that forced many to live in ghettos, killings, atrocities, massacres, injustices, repressions, oppressions, destructions and displacements against Cushitic peoples.
Amhara people believe that they are not Africans but came over to the Horn of Africa from the Middle East in ancient times. They also believe that they own Ethiopia and Ethiopians claiming that they inherited them from their forefathers even if they contend that they came from the Middle East. When Amhara people claim that they own Ethiopia and Ethiopians and that they inherited them from their forefathers they just mean that their son, atrocious King Menelik II, seized Cushitic peoples and their lands for Amhara through violent invasions and annexations in 1889. Because of that racist colonial mentality and arrogance, Amhara becomes the most disliked ethnic group in Ethiopia.
Amhara needs to understand that today is not yesterday and that they are particularly blamed for most of Abyssinian colonial destructive consequences on human life as it was yolk of Ethiopia colonialism.
Current Ethiopian Federalism is based on autonomous ethnic regional administrations where the leaders are independently elected by their people so that no ethnic group can dominate, influence or rule another ethnic group or even trespass to the land of another ethnic group. With this system, an ethnic group can not invade the region of another ethnic group or dictate on them. Abolishing ethnic identity in Ethiopia and dividing the country into what is called “Zones” promoted by Abiy Ahmed and Amhara erases cultural identity, religion, language and native land ownership of ethnic groups and restores the dominant, colonial system of Abyssinians. Only democratic federal system with fair and free elections can keep Ethiopia together to heal, coexist and trust one another and to become prosperous and friendly nation in the Horn of Africa.
Because PM Abiy Ahmed tried to abolish the autonomous ethnic-based federalism and democratic elections in order to restore Abyssinian repressive, brutal, colonial kingdoms on behalf of Amhara, Ethiopia is currently burning and engulfed by devastating civil wars. It is under total disintegration. Civil wars become more violent and wider. Economy and regular military collapsed. Foreign diplomacy in shambles. Abiye lost control of the country and each ethnic group is armed to the teeth taking matters in their own hands for their own existential survival as hope for coexistence is bleak. PM Abiy Ahmed tries to slow down the defeat of his genocidal regime by turning ethnic groups against one another but the federalist armed coalition of the awakened revolutionary popular forces are unstoppable with guaranteed victory. The civil war in Ethiopia today is a war between the past and the present, between colonial kingdoms and freedom seeking nations, between revisionist forces and progressive forces, between indignity and dignity, between domination and liberty.
There are two diverging visions competing in Ethiopia today that are responsible for the catastrophic situation. PM Abiy Ahmed, Isaias Afwerki and Amhara leaders espouse colonial vision of abolishing current autonomous ethnic-based democratic federal system and reinstating racist, repressive unitary government dominated by Amhara that finally leads to imperial kingdom led by Abiy Ahmed with one language, one religion and one flag subjugating and humiliating the rest of Ethiopia with restored colonial occupation as before. The rest of Ethiopia espouses the federalist vision of keeping the current autonomous ethnic-based democratic federal system where all ethnic groups have equal rights with fair and free democratic elections from local to federal and without interference of an ethnic group by an another in land ownership, regional administration, regional elections, native security forces and with fair participation in federal parliament and federal government in civil sector, military, police and secret services.
The Cushitic peoples, who are the majority of Ethiopia, adamantly reject the restoration of the humiliating savage, atrocious black Abyssinian colonialism imposed on them since the conquests and annexations of King Menelik ll in 1889, and Haile Selassie till his demise in 1974. If PM Abiy Ahmed and Amhara continue pursuing the revisionist, colonial, reactionary policy, Ethiopia will unravel and disintegrate into small, independent republics like Yugoslavia because Cushites will never accept the return of the dark colonial past.
If coexistence among Ethiopian ethnic groups becomes difficult and interethnic civil wars become rampant, frequent and persistent with no hope of accepting one another, then it is reasonable to support ethnic states go on their separate ways for self-determination to have independent republics taking article 39 of Ethiopian federal constitution in order to have peace and stability instead of having perpetual bloodshed, gun violence, massacres, ethnic cleansing, genocide, displacement, fleeing, influx of refugees, instability etc in the Horn of Africa. The Abyssinia colonial occupation in Ethiopia began mainly in 1850 and ending in 2021-2022 through restoring democratic federal system of Ethiopia or through becoming independent republics.
Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
August 27, 2021
SOME IMPORTANT REFERENCES
– Mekuria Bulcha, “Genocidal Violence in the Making of Nation and State in Ethiopia”, African Sociological Review Vol. 9(2), 2005.
– Bulatovich visited much of the Oromo territory between 1896 and 1898 and witnessed and acknowledged the damage done by the Abyssinian conquest.