Ethnicity and Ethnic Politics in Ethiopia


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16 Responses

  1. Joffe says:

    Our forefathers were much more sophisticated in analyzing coexistence between Ethiopians and have proven that for centuries through mutual respect and sacrifice unlike the so called “elites” of our time who studied all the philosophies of revolution without the reality of our diverse society and history. When all the colonial masterminds were thinking how to separate each other and their home grown cronies in this day and age are still trying to fulfill their wishes the collective will of Ethiopians to avert hatred and live in harmony is evident. This critical time in Ethiopian history cannot be a destruction to educated and reasonable Ethiopians when we witness whoever comes to power by any means necessary trying to set an agenda to serve its own purpose and hold on to power by confusing politics/economy/tribes such as ethnic this ethnic that as a means to hold corrupt power.

  2. Ethnicandfairness says:

    Thank for raising issues.

    Please let us not abuse, misuse and confuse ethnicity issues.

    Issue is about right to access services, right about being treated without prejudices with respect.

    For example, members of one ethnic group benefit if their language is widely spoken, if reading books and documents are published in their language, if they do not need translator when they go to court or being served in business places.

    My point is:
    There is deliberate attempt by some political activists or groups, purposely using the issues for hate mongering or misinterpreting issues for their own selfish goals.

    We should refrain from misinterpreting it.

  3. Ethnicandfairness says:

    Other relevant issues, for example, let us take large government projects and government policies.

    Ethiopia is not developed nation. People live where they ancestors lived for centuries.

    And Majority of population are farmers. There is no product which comes from south and sold in north or vice versa.

    There was no deep rooted animosity between one ethnic group against the other, except some border clashes which are naturally expected. Such disputes are resolved by elders. Such incidents do not involved media or government forces.

    Problem is: If large government projects or government policies are systematically are favouring one region or on ethnic group then it raises ethnic based political questions and issues.

    So let us not forget the problem is with government policies and projects, not with rural people because of their ethnicities.

    Thank you again

    • Yohannes says:

      “There is no product which comes from south and sold in north or vice versa.”…

      I don’t know if you knew the country. Coffee doesn’t grow in Tigrai nor in Gondar (or Eritrea for that matter), but the coffee culture is as solid as any other part of Ethiopia. The country is more integrated than some of us want to believe. This is not though to say that people should not use the language they choose to or identify themselves the way they choose. Let us not fanatacise that we leave in a country where one part has nothing with the other….

  4. Aba Mela says:

    The mixed Teff is not red but “Sergegna”. Our problem is lack of appropriate educational curriculum. The educational system was/is based on western civilization. In our English classrooms at elementary level, our prime readers were imposed by the British and as a result we know about the Kikyu and others. At the high school we know better about the French revolution, the American revolution ,the Russian revolution etc. It was imposed on us because Ethiopia did not have manpower to base education on the history and culture of its people. It is time to revise the educational system to reflect the mosaic culture of the country.

  5. Mast says:

    That is really impressive story. The same story is there in many ethiopian families. Egziabhier a’nd yaderegewun man yileyewal

  6. Joffe says:

    I will like to express my view which is slightly different, though the educational curriculum within the education system in ethiopia was designed mainly by English professionals with little input from Ethiopians because there was no strong foundation and basis for “western” kind of education. The main education system was mainly based on the church’s standard therfore it was a different set up based on historical and tradition elements. There were several books about governance from centuries back then but not necessarily a lot to choosemfrom because of the lack of development of printing press. However even though @ school settings we were exposed to other revolutions , systems of governments, or ideology and etc. we should take to heart this are just idealism and probably self guidance manuals for the writer. Please note I donot condone or have the moral or the intellectual caliber to criticize volume of works but when you try to study an ideology and interpret it to fit only your sick mind based on innuendo there you have problem. The main focus now should be on the issue and how to educate the new and coming generation. I think we have witnessed how a 13 year old teenager or a 19 year college dropout can be manipulated to read marxism and form an opion about a country 3000 years old based on the mesafent’ s power struggle and return back the favour. Again and again you wonder how one time so called revolutionaries when they get to power the only song they sing is different from the original choir. Hope we will see a better future for Ethiopia.

  7. Name (required) says:


    Ethiopian politics never changes because people do not change. Year after year we are at one spot, no move. That is very difficult. There are so many things behind the teff story. The message is clear but hard to put it to practice. It is something to do with our culture in general. No matter who ruled in the past nothing is wrong with it. No nation continued without being ruled in the past. No matter who ruled, or opperesed etc.. I do not believe the theory that our ancestors loved each other and no discrimination at all. They used to fight each other like hell. Kidding me?There was discrimination in the past and will be in the future as well. That is why civilized people brought the idea of democracy because they are tired of discrimination and wars among themselves. It is not about grudge is held by some towards the other. It is how we could be fair to each other in the future. That is all. It is about how we get rid of the old culture and move and think better in the new environment in the future. It is all about tolerance and understanding each other. It is all about listening to each other and accepting each other’s views instead of saying my way is the high way. It is about stoping being selfish. It is about knowing or learning about the dynamics of sitting around the table and solve issues concerning our common problems based on win-win situation, not on take all situation. In general, it requires all of us to change our selves inside out etc.

  8. Jara says:

    This will fit good to the guy(Elias kiflom) who incites hate towards ethnic Tigrain and take a lesson from it(which I doubt). He is the Rush Limbaugh of the Ethiopian opposition parties,and alienated a lot of people b/c of his big mouth and lack of knowledge.

  9. Concerned says:

    While Europe has created one currency and the European Union was formed, it is ironic that in Ethiopia has established a government based on ethnicity. Why all this division based on ethnicity, it is only proof of a deep seated problem. History can not be undone, if you need to make the necessary changes, you do not adopt the ways that you so much oppose. This is a sign of weakness and the nation will not move forward but will remain stuck, and real change will never take place.

  10. Ethnicandfairness says:

    Guys you are missing the point.
    Language is a tool for one’s survival. One learns language for economic, social, political reasons.

    So, it is political, economic or social pressures which force one to learn a language.

    Take for example, why your children and yourself need to speak Chinese, Arabic or English languages.

    It is not love at first sight but for your survival.

    1 Do not be emotional, be rational.
    2. Be honest, you prefer to be good in English rather than in Welaitigna, Tigringa, Amharic or Oromifia.
    3. Be realistic. Who gets top jobs because he speaks his local African language?

  11. Ewnetu says:

    Dear Jara-above,

    Do not make a mistake. Two mistakes do not make a right! Avoid becoming a tribalist by accomodating other tribes. The saying goes, ” a whip whips itself and makes noise itself”. Besides a suspicion of being hated,analize what might be behind that hatered. Just in case. There are some who say just one ethnic group is controling the country politically, socially and economically
    by force. Have you noticed that? If that is true then you should have joined the people who cmplain. Otherwise you could be part of the problem. Is there something that triggers peoples passion? Is it true that one person ruled for 21 years? Do you think that is fair? Mind you, you point one of your fingers at others,soon the other three point back to you just like that. Check meles’s on TV. It is not about tribal problems that we should be concerned with. More or less that problem may persist as long as we remain to be diverse. What we should have tried to do is to learn and teach about being fair to each other. We must study the meaning of YILUGNITA by heart
    and never let it go. Thank you.

  12. Ethnicandfairness says:

    New realities also should be taken into consideration. For ambitious African, learning to speak a foreign languages is a must. Otherwise, he cannot sell himself or his work.

    For example, Any African who wish to be a leader, he/she should speak one foreign language. Language could be English/French or maybe chines.

    It is also true for those wishing to be world famous athletes, singers, and so on.

    If an African wish to be world famous they need to speak one foreign language, as long as if he/she wants to sell herself/himself.

    Even the Russian athletes, leaders, university lecturers are learning foreign languages to sell their skills, values, services and products.

    Future is to learn more languages.

    It does not mean forget your language and culture. That is the greatest sin.

  13. Joffe says:

    The saying goes that empty pots are the ones making more noise. I am pretty certain any one with an IQ level equal to a 6th grader can witness who is controlling power, economy , social previlages and the like in Ethiopia today. If you mean the struggle for ethno freedom through Che Guevara style armed struggle and in the process destroying human lives on both sides and after all this ugly upheaval you will be the only one to be previlaged, guess what history will repeat itself and don’t hide with you are attacking me because I am this or that. It all got started by having a tunnel vision of me me me.

  14. soddo-na7a says:

    when ever we talk about ethnic differences in Ethiopia,why are Amharas uniquely present themselves as victims.Is it difficult to accept the difference of others.Being mixed does not mean being one,sharing a country and a flag will make us all Ethiopians.But accept the fact that Ethiopians are diverse even their mixing with one another makes them more diverse than one

  15. one-d says:

    …I liked the example about uncle of Gen.Jagama.After two decades of ethnic propaganda it is difficult to go back to collective unitary political rule.Let us think and develop a new idea that benefits all ethnik memebers of ethiopia.I´m saying genuine federal ethiopia which would be protected by law.The todays EPRDF federalism as we know is not working.

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