Wednesday, April 19


If we go, we shall slam the door on an empty house.
Lenin's vision of a Russia without him in absolute control.
Ethiopia will have to be ruled through Revolutionary Democracy. Otherwise because of the extraordinary circumstance relating to nationalities, it will face disintegration in no time.
The prediction of Meles of an Ethiopia without him in absolute control.

The open and implied apocalyptic threats of the assumptions above is not coincidental. In Ethiopia the threat of ethnic bloodletting is an immediate one because tribal divide and rule has been the main instrument of Politburo will to power as expressed through manipulated tribal enmity and a system of feudal bantustans.

Both predictions above are threats.

Convenient accusations and natural assumptions of universal corruption are just convenient and natural excuses for ongoing brutality to remain in power at all costs.

The government generally doesn't care what Ethiopians think but it does care what they say and do. The main audiences for the threats above are Tigrayans who are being told their only hope is Meles Inc. which hopes to buy their loyalty with fear of the government's own policies. It hasn't worked on Tigrayans and their fellow Ethiopians and it never will.

The other intended audience is ferenjis whose low expectations of Ethiopia are cherished and fertilized by Meles. The only one who can keep that lot in anything resembling order is him alone you see. That bit has worked, primarily in London and Washington, resulting in nose holding embraces of Ethiopia's politburo.

That is the root of Ethiopia's current fake federation and tribal bantustans. The purpose is to present any critic or opponent with a Sword of Damocles dilemma over the heads of Ethiopians and the world. Never mind that Meles himself tried to put it there himself.

He has attempted to set up a nation that can't survive without the extra-legal manipulations of his cronies and party. Because, left alone the structure set up by his constitution will spin apart in chaos.

That is the plan and the scare anyway ... why don't we take a look at its roots ...

Lenin, Stalin & Meles. Mengistu's picture would be included here but he lost the battle to see who would rule Ethiopia: military junta communism or vanguard party tribal communism.
"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it." is about as cliched as wisdom gets. But ... that does not mean it is not wisdom. In Ethiopia official tribal government under a false banner of ethnic federalism is everyday used to divide and rule. The roots of Ethiopia's brand of official tribalism are rooted in history and in Marxist-Leninist-Stalinism.

The more dictators go on about how much love they have for 'the people' the more likely they are to treat them all very badly. In the very same vein, the more dictators go on about 'self determination & ethnicity' the more likely they are to treat them all very badly as well.

Like everything this type of dictator says it is all about power in the end. It is far less but also about self justification to those who manage to listen to those excuses over all the resultant screaming and crying of the beloved people.

There are no coincidences in the words of the men below being presented in the same place. Each had some variety of parliament, press, courts and democracy that simulated those of civilized governments everywhere but only covered up raw power.

Only because his team ended up on the rubbish heap of history, Ethiopia's PM has had to pretend to be something else - but it is clear what Revolutionary Democracy is even if its current priesthood is too careful to talk about it in English anymore.

The only difference is that while Lenin and Stalin could finance their despotism largely from internal sources, Revolutionary Democracy is so efficient at creating mass poverty and suffering that finance had to come from abroad. All who had and were willing to finance Ethiopia's dictatorship insisted on some minimal level of decency in human rights that this government never met but few abroad acknowledged until now.

Lenin and Stalin would certainly understand the predicament their heir Meles is in and somewhere in the deepest circles of hell they are certainly glad that when they reigned the times were friendlier to their ilk.

Ethiopia today is what happens when dictators repeat the very worst bits of history on purpose. All of the concern for 'the people' was and is to justify eternal rule and all of the concern for 'nationalities' was and is to justify eternal rule as well.

The purpose was to weaken any force in society, traditional or otherwise, that could threaten their rule. Thus, everything before them was illegitimate until they brought the light of their ideology to mankind. From all three of these goodfellas that light was more of a blowtorch.

Meles Zenawi's Ethiopian Constitution's Article 39 - Rights of Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples
Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession.
Lenin on The Right of Nations to Self-Determination
the proletariat, of Russia is faced with a twofold or, rather, a two-sided task: to combat nationalism of every kind, above all, Great-Russian nationalism; to recognise, not only fully equal rights, for all nations in general, but also equality of rights as regards polity, i.e., the right of nations to self-determination, to secession.
Stalin's "only significant contribution to the development of the Marxist theory at this time was a treatise, written while he was briefly in exile in Vienna, Marxism and the National Question. It presents an orthodox Marxist position on this important debate. This treatise may have contributed to his appointment as People's Commissar for Nationalities Affairs after the revolution"
The right of self-determination means that a nation may arrange its life in the way it wishes. It has the right to arrange its life on the basis of autonomy. It has the right to enter into federal relations with other nations. It has the right to complete secession. Nations are sovereign, and all nations have equal rights.
Such atavistic ties to ethnicity and ideology serve only the cause of power. The Ethiopian Constitution reflects that atavism as does the whole of a decade and a half of Ethiopian governance of the country.

ethiopundit is not denying the importance of ethnicity. It is a profound and necessarily respected aspect of every person. However, that aspect of identity is more often than not manipulated for selfish ends with the classic aim of divide and rule.

By falsely wrapping themselves in a tribal mantle ethnic politicians seek to protect themselves from legitimate opposition. Thus involuntary enmities and artificial loyalties against self interest are manufactured. Ethnic politics does serve the interests of a very few whose security in power trumps all other considerations.

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson - for the Ethiopian rulers
ethnicity is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
One thing for Ethiopians and foreigners to be constantly aware of when considering ethnicity in the recent past and present is the minefield set by ethnic opportunists. When ethnic politicians say that their party speaks for a whole people, it is always without the consent of those people.

It is clear that all three not only dealt with any dream of actual secession with brutality but also dealt with any lack of absolute submission with brutality as well. The only difference in Ethiopia is that the government's foreign constituents care more for Ethiopians than their own government does.


Other posts on ethnic divide and rule:

On the Pitfalls of Ethnic Politics
New Jack Country
On the Origins Of The TPLF
Blood, Oil and Ethnic Rule in Gambella
Don't Believe The Hype
In Whose Name?

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