Sunday, July 2
The Butcher's Bill for the Closing of the Ethiopian Mind
The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism.
Karl Marx on peace in a future heaven of his design
The scientific concept, dictatorship, means neither more nor less than unlimited power resting directly on force, not limited by anything, not restrained by any laws or any absolute rules.
Vladimir Ilich Lenin on the path to heaven and the dictatorship of the proletariat to guide us all
Ethiomedia has posted a fascinating article, Tigrai vs Kinijit, A dialogue with Prof. Donald Levine. It is based on a heretofore unpublished interview of the editor of Ethiomedia.
The editor does us all the welcome favor of presenting it fully and lays bare the bloody opportunism and apocalyptic tribalism at the core of Ethiopia's brutal and greedy aristocracy, Meles Inc. (Formerly known as the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray.)
A companion piece of sorts and one whose next installments will hopefully consider the interview above, is in the Ethiopian Review by Professor Levine, Tigrayawinet wonders if
[i]t is possible that accusations of genocide against Mesfin Wolde Mariam and other defendants by the TPLF may reflect something else. They may represent a wish to disavow the crimes against Tigrayans which the TPLF in its days of struggle felt it had to commitThe butcher's bill for shares in Meles Inc. was first paid by the Tigrayans three decades ago ... and in their own good name. Worldwide, tribal divide and rule had its deepest roots in elites angling for any advantage and finding some in a vile hatred whose purpose is to make 'their own' group serve as captive wardens of a prison nation.
Normal Marxist-Leninist (International Socialism), practice with regard to 'nations, nationalities and peoples' has become the highest expression of tribalism, which along with class hatred serves to create a hated alien other to excuse inhumanity.
In this Communism is unmistakably bound in unholy kinship to National Socialism. The unifying purpose of both is of course absolute power with every other competing human, religious, historical or unifying power physically eliminated or cowed beyond any measure but eternal rule.
Levine says of the 1970s ideological and real battles to see who would enslave Tigrayans most firmly that was fought between various groups (including the Dergue) that
the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray ... conjoined the principle of class struggle with that of self-determination of nationalities. Like other radicals of the day, they appropriated the myth that Ethiopia was the invention of Minelik in order to legitimate the independence of Eritrea, and the principle of self-determination within Ethiopia.Convenient ideology, no religion is the better word, that could neatly replace morality and a fearsome will to power
This ethno-Marxist sentiment drove the most ambitious elements of the TPLF movement. It led those who took political control of the TPLF to turn against Tigrayan political elements who did not support Eritrean independence. Before long that led, evidence suggests, to a policy of liquidating those elements.
Tigray became, survivors of those horrific years aver, a "killing field." According to many reports, which must be investigated further by future historians, Tigrayan civilians were slaughtered right and left–in many cases following gruesome torture, according to eye witnesses.
became a heady brew that induced the committed TPLF ethno-Marxists to murder great numbers of civilians and to perpetrate slanders against Amharas and Ethiopian patriots.The word religion was more appropriate for this vile spirit because that is what it was.
One veteran of those killings confesses that when he told another, early in the fighting "the number of people we have killed thus far has reached 10,000," his comrade replied: "So what, Red China had to kill a million people in order to become victorious."
Attitudes of that sort, be it noted, were shared by other Ethiopian revolutionaries of the time.
When the 19th and 20th Centuries challenged many of the traditional certainties of life for Ethiopians, many thought to adapt the best of the modern world to the country's own reality and interests. Others thought the modern would go away if they pretended it wasn't there.
However, as it turned out most influential was a pitiful and selfish core of her allegedly 'modern and educated' children. They stumbled about in a childish, self-loathing fit in search of new improved certainties and found them in the morally and intellectually unchallenging catechism of Marx and Lenin.
Aside from the struggle to gain and keep absolute power there is nothing to ever think about there - all is answered forever. Basically, anything the winner does is right because he is doing it for the sake of the 'people'.
In Guilt And Atonement: the Genesis of Revolutionary Spirit in Ethiopia, Messay Kebede makes his point clearly
In what sense was Marxism-Leninism a substitute for the loss of religious feeling? First of all, as the theory denounces all the religions of the world as the opium of the people, it prohibits the switch to Western religious views.There is vanishingly little that is admirable but much that is tragic about the politics of Ethiopia's lost generation of radicals. They took their first steps to 'heaven' hand in hand with their barely literate surrogate Mengistu.
In thus throwing all religions, including Western ones, in the garbage of history, the theory greatly reduced the sense of betrayal by allowing Ethiopians to turn their back on their legacy without becoming proselytes. Again, what the radical generation liked most in Marxism was its defiance of the West: the defiance flattered its nationalism even as it was debunking Ethiopian values.
But there is more to the matter than this. So distressing is the loss of religious feeling that nothing less than the eruption of revolutionary spirit is liable to assuage it. Who can deny that the best substitute for that loss is a theory that claims to be scientific and modern while preserving the promises of Christian religions?
Such is precisely the case of Marxism with its theory of class struggle and the advent of the just and equal society after the overthrow of exploiting classes. What else was this happy end of history reproducing but the eschatological promises of religion?
He, in his canny thug nature was really far more of an accomplished Marxist-Leninist Player than they were. After all he crowned himself the 'King of Scientific Socialism' and lasted for 17 years or so. 15 years of the new 'King of Revolutionary Democracy' is little different - except for the hardship of having to verbally forsake his own prophets because the imperialists won the Cold War.
You see, dear reader, in the end for such men it is all only about winning - the rest is foolish bourgeoise morality and opiate religion which like the tragic lives and fortunes of tens of millions of victims, is just part of the butcher's bill the 'people' have to pay for the privilege of being ruled by such men.
Back when we started this blog two years ago we had this to say
Lost in a veritable supermarket of Traditional, Western and other ideas much of a generation of educated Ethiopians never found their way past the ideological crap aisle.Ethiopia has had countless Great Generations throughout her history. The generation with the most promise and those heir to countless centuries of bitterly won victories for plain survival as well as for greatness ended up destroying more than Gragn or Mussolini ...
It is tragic and terrifying that a glib catechism, itself the detritus of the West, could make so many otherwise bright people become utterly delusional.
Ultimately, even opposition to the post-1974 Marxist-Leninist military dictatorship was largely an argument over who the 'true communists' were.
... and they haven't stopped yet.
Ever since that moment in 1960 when the Neway brothers decided that massacring their hostages was the way to deal with the defeat of their own Communist fantasies, the hands of too many of Ethiopia's educated sons and daughters have been stained by the continued acceptance of easy ideological dogma and soul destroying corruption that so many readily embraced.
In the Piazza cafe where the TPLF was founded there were probably other radicals at the surrounding tables forming their own groups to join the veritable alphabet soup of Marxist-Leninist fronts and parties - all with equally dedication to a 'glorious' future for the 'people'.
Some chose to advise the Dergue on how to set up a communist state in Ethiopia. All the politically potent forces of that deluded generation shared the basics of ethnic division, absence of private property and the concentration of all power in the hands of a 'vanguard party'.
Also two years ago in the post On the Origins of the TPLF we looked at Aregawi Berhe's great contribution to scholarship and history, 'The Origins of the TPLF.' The author noted that
The experiences of the Bolsheviks’ Russia, Maoist China, Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam and Che Guevera’s internationalism were espoused as guiding precedents to redeem Ethiopia from its predicament.How could those men at that table in piazza in 1974 or any even casual student of history not have known about the genocidal human cost of the Soviet gulag and Stalin's collectivization, of his purges, Mao's mass murder under the guise of the great leap forward that continued under his failed cultural revolution, of Ho Chi Minh's bloody North Vietnamese land reform or even of Che's lonely death in a Bolivian 'people's revolution' that the people wanted no part of?
The revolutionary student generation of that time was, as it later proved, ready to make any sacrifice to undo the grip of imperialism and feudalism in the country.
This revolutionary fervour was part of the international wave of the 1960s. Marxist revolutionary ideals were thought to be impeccable, the only appropriate guiding tenets through which the country was to be transformed from its backwardness.
Why would eternal state feudalism and eternal serfdom be better? At a minimum did they not see the obvious fact that streams of refugees never headed into Communist countries but rather out of them and that their might be some lessons to be learned from that reality? Didn't they notice that Communist countries were always poor and the people miserable?
A short answer is that reality, suffering and history did not matter as much as their collective vision of paradise and the role that they, as the vanguard of the anointed revolutionary class, would have in mankind's march to perfection .
That such a scenario would guarantee absolute power to those who managed to survive the brutal Darwinian jungle of revolutionary politics must have been attractive as well.
Occam's Razor is a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar that said in simple terms that
The simplest answer is usually the correct answerEthiopia's lost generation of pseudo intellectuals and feral leaders gave the 'simple-minded' answer to the question in their time - not the simple one.
The real question is then, why are Ethiopians so poor, oppressed and in the grip of a government whose interests lie in keeping them that way - right now?
Because of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist thought and resulting policies that is why. The horrors that most of humanity managed to escape by this new millenium still haunt Ethiopians.
The nightmare won't end and the final nod from providence to fulfill the dreams of 3,000 years and counting won't happen until all of that lethal nonsense is exorcised.
Ethiopia has finally chosen leaders who have a way out of this trap but they are all in jail charged with crimes they would never commit by a government that cherishes those very crimes as policy.