By Fikrejesus Amahazion

Comparison between invaders and subject peoples

(Eurasia Review) –Nestled in the turbulent Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent modern nation-state and second most populous. Discourse on Ethiopia has traditionally revolved around poverty, conflict, disease, and famine, yet in recent years it has experienced considerable economic growth, making it amongst “Africa’s top performing economies,” and the country has also made significant progress on several of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Furthermore, regional political maneuvers and ambitions have seen Ethiopia touted as “Africa’s Next Hegemon.” Although these developments are widely heralded within the new Ethiopian narrative, other critical issues have often been overlooked.

For example, while Ethiopia’s economic “miracle” has been much celebrated, it remains the second poorest country in the world according to the United Nations Development Programme and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’s Multidimensional Poverty Index, the country continues to rank extremely low upon various socio-economic, governance, and development indicators, it still receives significant amounts of military, economic, and food aid, is plagued by considerable regional and ethnolinguistic-based inequalities (many arising through government cronyism), and it is also burdened by significantly high levels ofunemployment (partly fueling mass migration).

Problematically, Ethiopia’s state-led development strategy is riddled with pervasive, systematic human rights abuses. Since the beginning of work on Ethiopia’s Gibe III Dam project in 2006, international human rights groups have repeatedly accused the regime in Addis Ababa of forcibly driving indigenous minority ethnic groups out of the Lower Omo Valley and endangering the indigenous Turkana community. Survival International, a UK-based rights group, has warned that the “Kwegu people of southwest Ethiopia are facing a food crisis, severe hunger, and the loss of their water and fish supplies due to the destruction of surrounding forests and the drying up of the river on which their livelihoods depend.”

The brutality characterizing the Gibe III Dam project is mirrored by the violence and repression accompanying Ethiopia’s “villagization” program, a vital component of the state’s agricultural development strategy. Dating back to the days of the murderous Dergue regime, and condemned by a spate of international rights groups, villagization entails the forcible relocation of indigenous communities from locations reserved for large foreign-owned plantations. Reports by rights groups list a plethora of human rights violations including beatings, killings, rapes, imprisonment, intimidation, and political coercion by the government and authorities. The program has also led to greater food insecurity, a destruction of livelihoods, and the loss of cultural heritage of ethnic groups. The deleterious effects of villagization are displayed in a report(based on first-person testimony) recently released by the Oakland Institute (OI), an international rights, advocacy, and environmental group. OI’s report vividly describes how, via “strongarm tactics reminiscent of apartheid South Africa, the Ethiopian regime has moved tens of thousands of people against their will to purpose-built communes that have inadequate food and lack health and education facilities to make way for large, foreign-owned commercial agriculture projects.”

In essence, Ethiopia’s socio-political climate is characterized by torture, oppression, and crackdowns on any perceived signs of dissent. Reports “detailing the arbitrary detention, beatings, and torture of journalists, bloggers, youth, and governmental opponents are widespread, including Ethiopia’s use of surveillance equipment to monitor the speech and interactions of the Ethiopian diaspora.”

Last year, documents released by renowned international journalist Glenn Greenwald also revealed that Ethiopia’s state surveillance activities were partly underwritten by the NSA.

However, there are signs that long-simmering grievances and tensions may boil over.Disenchantment and disillusionment, marked by claims of “repression, inequality and unemployment” have inspired large, frequent protests against the regime over the last few years. Last year, mass protests by Oromo civilians, especially students, werebrutally crushed by Ethiopian authorities, while last week, a government organized rally, arranged in the aftermath of ISIS’ brutal murder of Ethiopian migrants in Libya, witnessed numerous arrests, injuries, and widespread clashes between security forces and protesters. During the rally, the government trumpeted political slogans, with an eye on upcoming elections, while government spokespersons urged potential migrants not to risk their lives by using dangerous exit routes. Demonstrators erupted in anger, denouncing the government as “thieves” and condemning the fact that Ethiopian migrants were only in Libya due to the deplorable conditions in Ethiopia.

With national “elections” on the near horizon, periods historically marked by boycotts, corruption and vote-rigging, violence, and repression, Ethiopia’s internal socio-political dynamics merit attention and should not be overlooked, particularly due to potential domestic and regional humanitarian and security implications. The migrant tragedy in Libya and the regime’s ongoing crackdowns display clearly that the “African Lion” is unwell. Moreover, they could augur that additional instability, upheaval, uprisings, and even a long-sought socio-political change are to come.

11 thoughts on “Ethiopia: Economic Growth, Political Repression and ISIS: Analyzing Recent Events

  1. Senayt

    is it your picture with gold chain on your kundala????

    WOW

    no wonder you preach us about ETHIOPIAN I mean (TIGRY) economic growth???
    how much is your GOLD weigh???
    is your coffee maker made out of gold too???? what else in your home made out of GOLD?

  2. Growth of GDP alone does not create equal opportunities that improve the livelihood of the majority of the people. GDP of a country can grow but the majority of the people don’t benefit from the GDP growth. Ethiopia’s GDP under the TPLF/EPRDF regime is not aligned with changing the livelihood of the majority by focusing on opportunity creations. It’s more aligned with the addiction of the ruling elites to control the economy. The ruling elites control the supply and demand chains in key areas. Cronyism, rent seeking, corruption, etc. is rampant in Ethiopia. Under such thinking, few connected people get rich beyond imagination whereas the majority of people don’t benefit from the GDP growth rate.

    Mubarak’s friends and relatives were billionaires in Egypt. Bin Ali’s friends and relatives were billionaires in Tunisia. GDP was growing for over two decades in both Egypt and Tunisia. Yet, the unemployment rates were also growing parallel with the growth rate of the GDP of the countries. The same holds true in Ethiopia. Youth unemployment rate is growing parallel with few enriching GDP growth rate.

  3. Usually, development growth is a policy of shaping the country’s/people’s lives or future. But, in order for that picture of development, as the policy of shaping the lives or future to emerge clearly, we must first need to eradicate some of the old pictures and old attitudes. If we want to have a prosprous future, we have to approach development responsibly. We have to think ahead to the future and ensure that others are able to do so as well. Otherwise, the dangers are obvious. Such as intentionally land grabbing from millions of poor people and deforstation disasters, which combined with economic and political inequality, pose a threat to the people’s security and country’s existance.

    We are seeing more threats and systemic crisises are emerging: such as a clash of politics, food crisises, unemployment, drought through deforstation, climate changes through some careless and greedy companies and financial crisis among the millions of ordinary peoples, that is threatening to escalate from economic crisises into political and ethnic confilicts. So, development growth is, at base, about recognising threats and opportunities and taking actions. In terms of human history, the concept of development, -in other words the moral obligation to change things for the better. But, as we have seeing it today in our country, such moral obligation is being done only for the hundful group of people, while millions of families are suffering by not getting a single meal on a day.

    Another devastating thing for the country is “Aid”. It is a word which many people, including myself do not like to hear, because it implies weakness and lazyness. On the other side, it divides people into the aiders, with superiority and high moral, and aided, with inferiority and low moral. Always depending on ” Aid ” ( Historically, Ethiopia is known for its depending on foreign aid ) cannot be an ultimate solution for the deveopment. Development starts from the within and expands to the outward. The recent exodus of Ethiopians as the refugees is the results of the inequality of economic distrubution in that country. The handful ethnic/elites are getting richer and richer, while millions of others are evicted off their land and getting poorer and poorer to the extent of becoming beggars, thieves, gangsters, prostitutes, refugees and then be killed by Arabs ISIS.

  4. What kind of growth and dvelopment talking about When Mafia gangs manupulated the economic system and choked the normal life of the people. Corrupted and selfish gangs built towers and toweres again,some one worn stolen and cheated diamonds and golds is that growth?,Foreigners and multi national corporations exploit and ammass untold profits with out any resposblity and care for the nation and the people,making one group povershed and the other enriched systematically, is that development of a nation? constructing and building ones own region in the name of govern ment is that responsblity of good governace?the people, the wealth of the nation, when maltreated by every corner of well to do nations of the world and Mafia gangs in power under the dog status, is that the pride of the nation with growth and development? The country so called Ethiopia is the most despised and hated around the world,because of its Mafia gang power abuse,because of its corrupted people who cannot defend its right but only flow in exodus, claim rights some where else. we are in untold crises because of egoist and irresponsble Abbyssinians in power one after the other.Go hell with Abyssinians lie about empty talk growth and development.Go hell with empty Ethiopian unity.Go hell with those who play political Game at the sacrifice of innocent poor people.

  5. The pictures in the right looks like it’s taken in Jimma. Poor oromo barefooted farmers!
    May be the exiled Internet warior oromoo should start to think helping the poor people to rise from the dirt. Bunch on no action talkative g***a**laa**s!!
    Long leave TPLF!0

    1. funny

      ALEMNEH MEKONNEN SAID,

      AMHARA BEBADO EGRU EYEHEDE
      LEHACHUN EYANTEBATEBE
      LELAWUN HIZB YINKAL!!!

      YES WE ARE FARMERS & PROWD,
      WE ARE NOT BAGGERS ONTHE STREET, OR OUR MOTHERS ARE NOT PROSTITUTE
      LIKE YOURS. ITS TABOO IN ORMO CULTURE TO SLEEP WITH DIFFRENT MAN FOR MONEY. WE WORK VERY AHRD FOR LEAVING.

      ITS YOUR CULTURE TO CURSE ONE ONOTHER CZ YOU GROW UP ON THE STREET
      DISRESPECTING EACH OTHER AND SELLING YOUR……

      1. Yes I agree with you! Hopless amehru, and smelly barefooted ga**l*as and uneducated Internet warior such are you are an insects and useless while ethiopia is growing faster under EPDRF!

        1. when is last time you & your mom shower in Tekeze river ?
          what is your people do for leaving beside prostitution & begging? you always curs & insult hard working farmers, tef farmers, lamigna, first time you see teff & farm animals is after you left your village?

          funnnnnnnnnnnnnny

  6. senayt, beggarman, funnyman, axumyt, mekele……

    here comes well trained street boy/girl senayt , cursing & insulting
    when is last time you change your dads hand made BEREBASO?
    majority OROMOs are farmers, and how many of your people are beggars?

    meles send your mom with thousand of birr to her village, the next day after his burial, she is back to bole road with her well trained (majirat mechi) kids. your lazy mom seats out side the coffee shop collecting (kimal) from her hair & cloth while her kids beg and harass customers.
    that’s economy growth & your civilization.

  7. Agame tegebe
    qomato aleqese
    gizew gesegese
    Sirate Habesha besebese
    ke siru tegenedese
    ga**l*a, ga**l*a iyale
    Milasu teqenetese.
    Irkus weradama
    beetun siyagmama
    yihew alemun agama.
    Funny iyale ,
    hager mache lemma

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