BBN Radio Amharic

Tuesday 07, 2015

Whither Ethiopia? The Lessons of History (Continued)

 Whither Ethiopia?  (Continued)

The current Ethiopian Vanguard, identified by the magic acronym EPRDF, (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front) or sometimes by those who know, TPLF (Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front), assures us that they are performing economic miracles under the rubric of the developmental state, and will soon have metamorphosed the nation from a tired and shoddy Lion into an African Tiger, to take its place beside its Asian predecessors.   History will be the judge of that proposition.  Tygre, let it be noted, comprises five percent of the population of Ethiopia, cloistered until recently in a small enclave on the Eritrean border.

In the meantime, this Vanguard, like all the others, continues to have trouble with religion.   Somehow, religion doesn't want to go along with certain aspects of the program.  Oppression against Muslims and callous, contemptuous behavior with regard to the Orthodox Church, continues unabated.

King Negus, when the Sahabi came from Makkah   nearly 1,500 years ago, welcomed the Muslim strangers into Abyssinia, and offered them relief from persecution and fear. Hailemariam Desalegn, current leader of the Vanguard after taking over from the late Melas Zenawi, the great Marxist Leninist theoretician whose unfinished Master's Thesis is the founding document of the great experiment, seems to revile Muslims.  Desalegn is perhaps only restrained by the Tigrayan "old fighters" who are propping him up. 

When Muslims protested the disregard and abuse of their religious freedom, Desalegn engineered a crackdown, accusing 29 protesters of terrorism and attempting to establish an Islamic State.  Incidences of imprisonment, torture and disappearance are on the rise.  Going back to the days of Selassie, before the Revolution of 1974, the rule of law has been tenuous.  The constitution of 1991 has never been implemented. The judiciary is completely under the thumb of the Vanguard.

Whither Ethiopia? The Lessons of History


Vanguard parties in Stalinist and Fascist states of the last century used the persecution of religious groups as a staple of their hold on power.  Any group which was grounded in justice and human rights was anathema to regimes which perceived threats to their hegemony under every rock.

Vanguard parties owed their legitimacy to the acceptance of their claim that they had superior qualities of leadership and experience.  Once given complete control, they could make the right decisions and impose their wisdom for the good of everyone.  They had a higher consciousness of what needed to be done than everyone else. They knew more.  They had a plan.    They had all the answers. 

But in order to work their magic they had to be given carte blanche.    They could brook no interference from a bumbling opposition.  Other parties, all of them, had to be eliminated so that the vanguard could do its work.   The vanguard was beyond scrutiny and criticism.  When they had a grand plan, like the dictatorship of the proletariat, or the supremacy of the developmental state, they had no time or space for fault finders, the kind found in a free press or in ivory towers.   Left alone, and given free reign, they could perform miracles.

They were the answer.   Perhaps their superiority was based upon ethnic purity.   They may have been a small minority from a remote part of the country, but they bore the imprimatur of greatness.   They were the gold within the wax.

 Vanguards are nothing if not clever.  They may pretend to protect the rights of others, but that is always subterfuge, window-dressing for the outside world.  They protect their own, unless they fall out among themselves, which happens on occasion.   They may create a dress maker's dummy of a state, bandying terms like Federalism, Confederation, Union of Republics, allowing others to participate in sham councils and parliaments.  It is a bad joke. All the important decisions are made by their inner circle.  Their central committee, their board of directors.  They collect rent which they create, invent and impose, and rule by political violence.  Nothing is done without payment to them.  They do not suffer fools lightly.   They fill prisons with their opponents and their critics.  They torture them into bogus confessions, and ultimately execute them in large numbers.   As V.I. Lenin said, you must break eggs etc.


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