Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution
Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution
The uniquely African Empire of Ethiopia has seen itself launched into
a peaceful revolution that promises to transform one of the planets
poorest countries into a modern peoples democracy.
Being that I have spent my entire life living by the principle of
“political power grows from the barrel of a gun”, or as Marx said,
“Force is the midwife of change” to see a peaceful revolution next
door in Ethiopia is almost to much to grasp hold of. I first thought
this was a “soft coup” by the Americans, but this is much more than
that. American aquiesence was necessary, but the new government lead
by Dr. Abiy Ahmed has started what can only be called a revolution.
Prime Minister Abiy, elected such by a parliament 100% appointed by
the former regime is young, charismatic and has put forward a program
of change that is remarkably similar to what Eritrea’s President
Issias Aferworki has been saying for the past 25 years and more.
Calling on all Ethiopians the good Doctor, past soldier, intelligence
officer and for the past 8 years a politician, is urging his country
men and women to learn from socialist Eritrea next door.
He has suggested the Ethiopian diaspora emulate the Eritreans and
start donating $1 a day to their homeland. National service and
national education training centers such as Eritrea’s Sawa are being
discussed. And of course, if Ethiopia is really to begin to break with
its history of debt bondage and beggary, the Ethiopian diaspora, like
the Eritreans, will have to start paying an income tax on their
foreign earnings of 2%. Eritrea, 4 million population, gathers $300
million a year or more from its diaspora so Ethiopia should be able to
make a serious dent in its budget deficit by introducing the 2% income
P.M. Abiy’s task is a giant one, for Ethiopia is a big country with
many different ethnic groups and like Eritrea next door roughly half
muslim and half christian. A divide and rule policy of instigating
ethnic based conflict by the previous regime has left the country
burnt and bleeding, with almost a million people internally displaced.
On top of this almost perennial droughts and famines have wracked the
land, brought on by western industrialization induced climate change.
Ethiopia should be a thriving country with a well off citizenry for it
has rich lands, lots of water, minerals and even energy. The problem
has been its leaders this past century starting with Haile Sellasie,
“Emperor”. His claim to power was based on his grandfathers use of
Italian supplied firearms to conquer and loot their neighbors, mostly
the Oromo, of whom the new PM derives from. Once in power having
completely subjugated the Oromo, amongst others, Haile Sellasie turned
his eyes toward the coast and the dream of having his own port on the
Red Sea. This meant annexing the Italian colony of Eritrea with its
much more advanced economy and of course, the ports of Assab in the
south and Massawa in the north.
The violent subjugation of Eritrea is central to the modern history of
Ethiopia and todays Ethiopians see the recent development of peaceful
relations as god’s blessing.
The Eritreans fought a 30 year independence war which helped trigger
the overthrow of Haile Sellasie, and eventually would see the Eritrean
rebel army defeat Haile Sellasie’s replacement Colonel Haile Mengistu
Mariam’s army and drive him into exile in ZImbabwe.
The Eritreans left their erstwhile allies the Tigrayan rebel army in
control of Ethiopia and returned to their main task of establishing
their newly independent country. When two years later the Eritreans
formerly declared their independence and joined the UN the Tigrayan
dominated government did its best to sabotage international
recognition for with independence came loss of control of its main
port of Assab. Never mind Eritrea gave Ethiopia rent free use of
Assab, the prestige lost in losing Eritrea to independence drove the
new Ethiopian government controlled by the ethnic minority Tigrayan
regime to reignite Ethiopian national chauvinism and eventually, just
seven years after Eritrean independence, a new war of conquest was
launched in 1998.
After three years of particularly bloody warfare, probably the last
major land war in history, and 123,000 Ethiopian dead alongside 19,000
Eritrean martyrs (these are the official government figures) with 1.4
million Eritreans internally displaced by the Ethiopian invasion (40%
of Eritrea’s population) has left both countries peoples indelibly
scarred. Following the defeat of the Ethiopian invasion the Tigrayan
regime began what came to be known as No War No Peace on Eritrea’s
border, every few years sending division strength military incursions
into Eritrea forcing Eritrea to maintain a large army of national
service military on active duty in its trenches along the border.
The main player in all of this, and something almost entirely excluded
from mention by the MSM, has been Pax Americana, with the Clintonites
and their kissing cousin Barack Obama dominating the list of criminals
who instigated and supported these past 25 years of conflict in the
Horn of Africa.
Today’s revolution in Ethiopia has ended all this and with a young,
dynamic leader, only 42 years old and sounding like a younger version
of Eritrea’s Issias Aferworki, speaking the language of peace and
love, communal and national harmony and cooperation, is still having
to deal with violent outbreaks ie attacks on former regime leaders
businesses and properties, communal violence in the south, and
continued resistance by former regime supporters still occupying
administrative post in Oromia and Afar.
Dr. Abiy is promising a future, and outlining inspiring plans on how
to achieve it beginning with peace with his neighbors and the end to
communal strife in Ethiopia. He speaks directly to the hearts and
minds of all Ethiopians in a way almost religious, addressing the
importance of loving oneself and ones neighbors instead of relying on
the gun to define society. Now I am not a romantic or religious but
his words strike a cord with all people of good heart and gives one
hope that here in one of the most strife torn, famine wracked places
on the planet there is hope.
Of course it takes unity and hard work, something Dr. Abiy uses
Eritrea and Eritreans as role models for the Ethiopian people, going
so far as to only half jokingly declare himself Eritrea’s unofficial
foreign minister the better to fight the lies being spread about our
Eritrean President Issias Aferworki has visited Ethiopia’s capital
Addis Ababa and sealed the deal so to speak, demonstrating to the
Ethiopian people his and our entire country’s sincere desire for peace
and friendship between both of us, all to similar and all too
As Dr. Abiy continues his path of independence and close relations
with Eritrea expect to see a growing wave of criticism, maybe even
demonization, once his “honeymoon” period with the western media goes
stale and the anti socialist zealots in the west raise a hue and cry
alleging “lack of democratic process” and alleged “human rights
Towards the end of his speech at the unity music concert in Addis
Ababa on Sunday, July 15, Dr. Abiy, in addressing the problems facing
the country told his listeners, almost entirely under 30, not to
worry, “Issias is leading us” as in Eritrean President Issias
It hasn’t taken long for the cat to get out of the bag so to speak
and the influence of “wedi Afom” as Dr. Abiy calls Issias, is now a
matter of public record. Maybe we should be calling Ethiopia’s
peaceful revolution a “Soft Coup” by Eritrea.
Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist in Eritrea, living and
reporting from here since 2006. See thomascmountain on Facebook or
best contact him at thomascmountain at g mail dot com