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Triumph of Chauvinism and the Disintegration of Ethiopia

Triumph of Chauvinism and the Disintegration of Ethiopia

Aynalem Sebhatu


The nations and nationalities of Ethiopia are on the horns of a horrible dilemma. On one extreme stands Abiy Ahmed (with helping hand of Isaias Afewerki) who would lead the country to its disintegration sooner than have it fall into a new leader as his successor, while on the other hand, stands Abiy and his party (Prosperity Party) who is crippling the opposition parties to death and further narrowing the political space to win the next elections. With all these daunting problems the country is facing, the consequences of uncertainties are likely to be disintegration of the country or are going to lead to probably a consolidation of Abiy’s dictatorship with the active sponsorship and support of Isaias and the Gulf states.  In short, any road the country takes leads to unchartered economic, social and political nightmares.  

The conditions which lead Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afewerki to declare war on Tigray are many and varied. In the great bulk of these conditions, this savage war is an outgrowth of Amhara chauvinism and political vengeance which defy rational explanations.  It would take a master of the political vengeance theory of history to assign meaning and to find a plausible explanation to the savage war in Tigray.  By and large the killings, bombing, raping and the looting of Tigrayans are accompanied by a conspiracy of silence, when confronted with the question, all that a majority of the Amhara elites could bring themselves to respond that war is war, and tough on everyone.

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The license of Isaias Afewerki to invade the sovereignty of the country, I submit, is a consequence of a delusional leader of Ethiopia who is totally blinded by insatiable personal power.  Abiy is also supported and surrounded by Amhara political and intellectual elites who are blinded by hate and vindictive mind set. Even though it is not comparable to the Amhara political groupies, to a certain extent Abiy’s support comes from the Oromo’s political elites too.  Hatred and political vengeance are the driving forces behind the uprooting of the people of Tigray upside down. Otherwise, no sane political and intellectual elite would permit the blood sucking dictator of Eritrea to literally act as an enforcer of the “law and order” as well as act as the “helping hand” of the security apparatus of Ethiopia. That is absurdly insane.   

It is admittedly and increasingly more difficult to unmask Isaias Afewerki’s intention when it is draped in Abiy’s peace deal with Isaias (Nobel Peace Prize winning deal) as well as draped in Amhara chauvinism disguise than when the Eritrean dictator is a clear and present danger to the national security of Ethiopia. However, whatever guise it may appear, the difficult task for well-meaning Ethiopians must undertake is to immediately stop the war in Tigray and Oromia and come to the realization of the value of national dialogue.  If Ethiopians could not stop these wars that are raging in the country, the second-best solution is to find ways on how to minimize the costs of the disintegration of the county.  But management of the disintegration of a country with 115 million people is not going to be a cakewalk either. Once the floodgate of disintegration opens, no one knows the bottom of the cesspool of social disorder the country is going to face.

The Amhara political elites have been called upon to clear away the fog that conceals the location of that chauvinist mind-set by separating a healthy dose of Amhara nationalism from the Amhara chauvinistic extremism. But to no avail so far.  In part the enthusiasm of the Amhara extremists is directed against the very existence and structure of federalism thereby against the constitution of the country.  This created a heavy dosage of anarchy, political megalomanias and in part the message itself demands extreme political evangelism propagated by the Amhara Mass Media and its affiliated national media outlets. The propaganda is usually orchestrated by social media outlets serving as tentacles of disinformation and creation of lies at an industrial scale. Thus, the chauvinists must carry the fight into the immediately perceived enemy fortress and demand unconditional surrender. Rarely will the Amhara extremists settle for political tolerance, rational political discourse and resolve their grievances using law and order prescribed by the constitution of the country. Granting the danger of argument by analogy, I would urge that the current Ethiopian situation is roughly parallel to that of the politics of the supporters of Trump, the Republican Party, Fox news and their social media empire.

While it is popular and convenient to blame the TPLF for the war crimes committed in Tigray, the Amhara chauvinists are providing political scapegoats and argue that responsibility cannot be laid on their doorsteps. This argument, while doubtlessly appealing to those with categorical hatred towards TPLF, strikes me as merely irrelevant and wanders off down a dead-end street. Because it fails to distinguish between the people of Tigray and the TPLF.  Here one asks, for example, Did Abiy’s “law enforcement operation” justify the killings, bombing, raping and looting of civilians?  In fact, the fundamental responsibility for the war crimes in Tigray must be placed on the Amhara chauvinists and their political leaders, Abiy Ahmed and his military rank and files, Isaias army and those who incited and are encouraging the war crimes in Tigray.

However, I am not trying to establish a monistic theory of political action here.  Political action, like that of individuals, is motivated by many factors, some often contradictory, and my point is to illuminate what seems to be one plausible motivation for this war.  Ethiopians can, of course, ignore this savage war because it is not happening in Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Asmara or Gondor, but it will not go away. Sooner or later, the horrors of the war will continue to haunt well-meaning Ethiopians and Eritreans’ conscience for a very long time to come.  Where we go from here is anybody’s educated or uneducated guess.

Tigray will prevail!

Eternal glory to our martyrs!

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