Ethiopia: Time for frontal attack on TPLF’s founding mythology




By Ahmed Ugas

Most Ethiopians bemoan the political behavior of TPLF and the irresponsibility and myopia of its leadership. Analyzing the behavior and actions of a political unit without understanding or paying attention to its founding mythology is useless.

TPLF’s staring postulate is that the people of Tigray are special. They have been the cradle of Abyssinian civilization which they lost not because of the ineluctable global and regional socio-economic and geopolitical dynamics but because of the mischief of Amhara. They ascribe their misery under successive oppressive regimes to an identity not to abusive systems. So the whole founding mythology of TPLF is hate, nostalgia for wrongly lost glory and grandeur, and the sense of entitlement that comes with martyrdom syndrome.

That is why they justify the racist hegemony of one ethnic group in Ethiopian politics and the brazen looting of public money. It is this foundational myth and messianic ideology that needs a frontal attack not TPLF’s daily or yearly actions and utterances.

People should also understand the bulk of TPLF’s political, intelligence and military leadership are from the rural areas and therefore cannot converse with civilized and broad people from other ethnic groups.

Malice and an urge to control is a motive for choosing social rejects and weak personalities from other ethnic groups but deep down it is also about relational compatibility. “Rural idiocy” bonds these forces. People like Abay Tsehaye and Debretsion are ideologues not intellectuals. So, it is impossible to engage in a discussion. They only know dictation. That is why their system started to unravel when their equals in other ethnic groups started to go down to their level and play the identity card.

No amount of logic or modern political dialogue works with them. Those who want to take them on therefore must first shake themselves free from the encrustations and pre-possessions of civilized culture and politics.

But, while doing that, care must be taken so the bigger prize of an inclusive and democratic Ethiopia is not sacrificed through a pyrrhic victory! A serious engagement with civilized and broad Tigrayan intellectuals who are opposed to the regime will be a good start.

Making a clear distinction between the crazy ideology of a messianic liberation front and the people it purports to represent is also critical. The people of Tigray are not the enemy. This must be understood and not for political correctness or expediency. They are and should be an ally in this struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

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