In his recent book, Ethiopia: The Last Two Frontiers, Prof. John Markakis presents an overarching historical profile and a major hurdle that need to be addressed in Ethiopia to reach the desired goal of this turbulent nation guarded ever since by a ruling class of Abyssinian origin. Analytical evidences show that the strongest obstacle for the stability of the horn of Africa has great connection with the unsolved Ogaden issue, the womb of resistance and the torrent challenge ever Ethiopia encountered since the region’s subjugation. Until this frontier is crossed, Ethiopian colonial power will not have secure borders that a mature nation requires.

Ogaden has a long history of colonial combat. From Portuguese’s support of Abyssinia in 1529 to modern Italy and British aggression and unfolding Ethiopia’s colonial ambition, Somalis in the Ogaden has however bravely stood up firmly against all kinds of colonial power interests. But noticeably colonialism has left remarkable and gruesome incidents in the hearts of all spectrums of the Somalis in the Ogaden. The geo-political importance of the Ogaden and its strategic location influenced colonial powers to deploy their troubles in the region.

As colonialism is a current problem in the Ogaden, most of African countries have suffered colonial aggression too. For the people of these countries and outsiders it might be seem that the age of colonialism is over and the whole world is postcolonial. However, scars of colonialism have not fully stopped bleeding in Africa yet. Unarguably the term post-colonial neither has got a room nor does it apply to Ogaden people context. This region is the womb center of Africa’s longest and sordid colonial ideology. Unlike African countries, colonialism in the Ogaden is architected by a black man in the continent which adds the wound into salt and creates a dark cloud that overshadows Africa’s brave history against the white European colonial invasion.

Common Culture

There may be different opinions on what society is about. However, everyone knows that the culture plays a central role to denote a society and its consistency. Culture is also man-made act. In the case of Somalis in the Ogaden and Ethiopia highlanders, we talk about two distant and alien cultures against each other that a powerful authoritarian state powers mending divergent people to together.

You cannot force a culture to become one with another culture which is namely the occupation power where the natives consider them as a enemy, and struggle against, that is precisely why the Ethiopian Ethnic Federalism did not work in the Ogaden, because it kills the linguistic identity of Somali Ogaden identify with.

Perspectives on ethnicity

Ethnic Federalism in Ethiopia and its false facade contrasts the reality on the ground. Ethiopia consists of various groups that diverge not only cultures and way of life, but also the policies adopted by the federal government shows clearly deviation low of rule which serve a particular ethnic groups in both locally and national level.

The Organizational structure of the EPRDF show also that the highest number of ethnic groups lives under oppressive and ruthless. The stigmatization culture of a particular group was more or less a part of the main political strategic ideology to ensure political survival over time.

Abyssinian groups (Amhara and Tigre) especially Amharas have a lot to blame on the current political chaos the country has inherited. The TPLF in turn has exploited one sore point with Ethiopia, the country was led two long periods, Haileselasse and Derg regimes both clean Amhara administration, this created a cluster of the ad community from local residents to senior political and economic figures.

TPLF which took up arms to free people from oppression created again same trend and make the same historical errors. Many believed that EPRDF declaration about the country as ethnic federalism is fatal error and all risk factors are fulfilled and only the future will show the consequences but we are already in the future and we are witnessing that the central power cracked from top to toe. To elucidate more on ethnicity, let me collect some technical and past research on ethnicity.

Though complementary in anthropology ethnicity has been treated mainly from two different perspectives. According to instrumentalist theory, ethnicity revolves primarily on a particular type of political organization where competition for scarce resources get kind of competition between ethnic groups. While, Primordialism emphasizing the ethnic group’s mythos and allege historical continuity as a crucial factor for personal identity and affiliation. None of these theories alone is entirely satisfactory, but it indicates that ethnicity as whole at the same time have a strong emotional appeal and a strong political mobilization potential. In conflict, the combination can naturally be explosive.

The most striking common denominator of virtually all ethnic minority situations in the world today is thus the modern nation-state as all minorities must deal with. Faced with the state’s requirements for formal equality, it sometimes discriminatory practices require ethnic minorities and proto-nations worldwide varying degrees of autonomy from the right to practice their religion to full political independence in the UN Declaration of Human Rights states that all people have a right to a Nationality seen from a liberators point of view, this can be reformulated to all people nowadays are forced to be citizens of their own formed country.

A nation is an ethnic group whose leaders whether gained or striving to achieve a state where this group is politically hegemonic. Nations that is normally obtains its legitimacy from ethnicity, and plants this ethnic identity of the nation-state symbolism and organization. Weak nations, some African nations like Ethiopia, failed to convince its members that they have a national community very often they can possible be based on existing ethnic communities, but instead tries to create a new one. The national identity they are trying to create lacks credibility because it is rooted in an ethnic community that populations refuse to participate in as a nation.

But on the other way, each group appears increasingly as distinct ethnic groups. To argue this is also such multiple ethnic states to develop national community, as strong nations, they have a certain degree managed to succeed in convincing the majority of its members that they are a people and that citizens truly constitute a nation. Normally this comes to the point that a linguistic, religious or other historic communities as the basis for the nation, in other words, that they succeed in arguing that the nation is an old community, these values do not exist between Ogaden and Ethiopia.

Like the modern ethnic groups use nations metaphorical kinship ideologies to legitimize itself and to demonstrate that they exist. These are ideologies which, like kinship ideologies emphasize horizontal solidarity between its members, which is based on the common origin it limits the scope of solidarity to the team members.

Mohamed Dheeg

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1 Comment

  1. Mohamoud says:

    Who really roles Ethiopia?

    Is the dead man really rules now?


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