The Wounded Ethiopian Nationalism and Its Insecurity Dilemma
By Leggese A. Gurmu
Ethiopian Nationalism is a wounded nationalism. The bloody war it has been fighting with its foes since the 1960s has left it severely wounded. It has been fighting both with its internal and external enemies which were created, harbored and brought up by Narrow Ethiopian Nationalism itself. It has been decisively defeated both in the battles of armed struggles and in the realm of ideas. Due to these bitter defeats Eritrea has gone forever. “Ethno”-Nationalists (even though I do not like this name, I could not get better one) have got State power and launched bloody wars against Ethiopian Nationalism. In fact, Ethno-Nationalists have scored so many successive “victories” that has far deepened the wound of Ethiopian Nationalism. Due to these defeats, Ethiopian Nationalists have started to doubt the validity and viability of their political commitments and values. They have lost self values and have become trapped into the vicious cycle that could be analogized to theory of “insecurity dilemma” of the given regime.
In this regard, Messay Kebede, the best mind Ethiopian nationalism can offer, wrote these statements in his recently published article titled Ethiopia’s Fragmented Elites: Origins and Syndromes. He writes, “The dreams of the generation of the 60s and early 70s have been squashed by the victory of the Derg whose dictatorial rule decimated its morale and that of their offspring. Both were offered nothing but the humiliation of a massive exodus. Whether they stayed in the country or left, all experienced another cycle of humiliating events when they witnessed, powerless, the defeat of the Ethiopian army, the invasion of the country by an ethnic army, and the secession of Eritrea. It is hard not to infer from these events a severe damage to Ethiopian nationalism and an erosion of self-confidence such that the generation’s belief in its ability to accomplish great things has received a deadly blow. Without self-confidence, the readiness to unite for a great cause is also likely to suffer gravely.”
For me the real problem is not only the humiliating defeat the Ethiopian Nationalists faced but also how they understand and appreciate their humiliations and defeats. Read more