By Kebour Ghenna
In Ethiopia people are no longer afraid to talk. To be precise, they talk in their homes and cars, or in the back rooms of their offices. Few speak freely with the media. They usually talk about Amharas, Oromos, Somalis, Tigrayans etc. never about content or policy, but about incidents, clashes, things.
It seems that the geniuses that lead politics (past and present) in Ethiopia – people like Jawar and Meles – have helped us to discover the real zombie virus in us. Instead of filling our cupboards with honey and wax, we have previously chosen to fill with dirt and poison. We finally realized that we Ethiopians do not hate each other with passion. This hatred is not aimed at a specific person. It is an abstract aversion to identity. The Oromo & # 39; s "do not like" the Amharas and vice versa. A large number of Ethiopian ethnic groups do not like & # 39; the Tigrayans & # 39 ;. But when this aversion is concretized and individualized, the sender realizes that he or she is not allowed to use the specific Wolayta, Afar, Oromo or Amhara person. In fact, all Ethiopians have ethnic friends with each other. Millions of Ethiopians are married, or older, across the ethnic dividing line. We should, and should question this attitude.
With that background nothing sensible will happen to change the current ethnically based discourse, or to put a brake on the shift to ethnically centered nationalism. We already know that the ethnic attachment in Ethiopia does not become deeper, but that the efforts to preserve the nation state also remain.
PM. ABYE AHMED
The arrival of PM Abye Ahmed may have given people a breather, but on the ground the situation has not really changed. For now, everyone remains optimistic. Few people complain, most do not, but there are no concrete proposals to advance the country.
Do we prefer political rather than ethnic origin? We do not know.
ETHNICITY AROUND THE WORLD
When talking about ethnicity, if we agree that there are different ethnic groups in a society, we already agree that there will be disunity in certain contexts. To understand why ethnicity has become stronger as the basis of group mobilization, it is necessary to change the bare claim that ethnicity is a means of promoting group interests – what it does – by insisting that it is not ONLY a means of advancing interests. One of the reasons why ethnicity has become so effective in promoting interests is that it involves more than just interests. Nowadays, ethnicity is more eye-catching [than class] because it can combine an interest with an affective bond, while on the other hand, in the case of class, what was once an ideology, has now become almost exclusively an interest
Now that I think about it, why on earth would you want to be an Amhara if you could be an Ethiopian or a liberal? One reason we suggest is that being an Amhara – or an Oromo, or a Somali – often involves a distinctive advantage or disadvantage, and that staying an Amhara, or Tigreyan, or an Oromo, or Harari just as often a highly effective way to defend the advantage or to overcome the disadvantage.
Nowadays, there is a growing phenomenon worldwide that the return of attributed, rather than achieved, characteristics are determinants of social stratification. It may be that ethnicity is only part of this larger development.
The way to save the republic is to go back to basics: to convene a constitutional participatory convention to conduct constitutional negotiations with regional states and citizens, to redistribute power-sharing with the federal state or even to redesign a new constitution.
Discussions about what kind of state Ethiopia wants, what its policy goals should be and whether they should be compatible with a federation of states with a republican form of government should be opened.
Exactly what, PM Abye and his party (if it is still there) are still in dispute. But we hope to see more big ideas than big personalities.
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