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Ethiopia - Economic Growth, Political Repression, and ISIS: Analyzing Recent Events

Ethiopian protesters hold a banner condemning ISIS at a government-supported rally in Addis Ababa. 


Ethiopia - Economic Growth, Political Repression, and ISIS: Analyzing Recent Events


April 27, 2015

Fikrejesus Amahazion*
fikrejesus87@gmail.com


*Fikrejesus Amahazion is a PhD Candidate focusing on Political Economy, Development and Human Rights. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines, newspapers, and books.



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 of unemployment (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, were brutally 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.


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Ethiopia - Economic Growth, Political Repression, and ISIS: Analyzing Recent Events Reviewed by Admin on 12:40 PM Rating: 5

34 comments:

  1. "Government spokesman urged potential migrants not to use dangerous exit routs" Well this sounds like an encouragement to push Ethiopians out of the country.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmmmm I find these pictures posted all over the internet interesting. Look how tall these evil monster arabs are. And then look at the brave Ethiopian Christians. Have you ever seen arabs that tall ? In some pictures they look like giants. In other pictures, they Look like American football players. Tall and so huge. These videos are staged. Anyone who studied camera trick knows that you can manipulate the size.

    This web site is becoming advocate for Ethiopian immigrants. I thank you for that. I hope you will continue reporting about Ethiopian immigrants. As we Ethiopians, we want to honor each and every one. We want their story to be told over and over again. And this web site is doing a good job. But since you don't seem to be the voice of Eritrean refugees. You don't seem to care about your own people suffering all over Europe. I find it odd. In case you don't know how to search I am willing to contribute to your web site. Please read the article below.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/eritrea/11562998/Eritrea-Escape-from-modern-day-Sparta.html

    Thank you again and please continue reporting about Ethiopian refugees. Much appreciated !!

    ReplyDelete
  3. DID THE GASHAS,HIDROMS,THE FORTOS AND THE ADALS READ THE ABOVE ARTICLE ON THE GUARDIAN? HOPE THEY DID....WILL WAIT FOR THEIR COMMENTS.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No, you choose to travel but choose carefully.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I read it. It is a good article. Gives some perspective what is going on in Eritrea. It is not rosy as claimed to be by supporters of the Eritrean regime. Hard core supporter don't seem to see what is wrong on everything they believe in until the last day before they die. That is why dictators never leave an office until they are removed by power, they are possessed with power and control.

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  6. All the ruling party does is making their bank account fat,instead they should train the population and put them to work.

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  7. I think what you said is important but Ethiopian and Eritrean people migrating to Europe and North America is becoming trend that the younger generation chooses to do than working. In addition to lack of jobs, it is more of a cultural shift for these young people migrating to other countries. Some countries are getting better than before economically, according to World Bank. I am not saying this to defend any government policy but knowing exactly what is going on in terms of social, cultural, and economic frame of these countries would help o curve
    the problem. We the diaspora community also has a lot to do with the problem too. We have to remember also African government can do so much to solve this problem since most of these countries have very limited resources. Looking at thing in different angle does not
    hurt, I hope.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wait, this is an Eritrean website?? I'm confused, with all the articles on Ethiopia, Ethiopians and all problems related to Ethiopia, I could have sworn this was an Ethiopia based website.


    Are you sure this website has anything to do with Eritrea????

    ReplyDelete
  9. HAHAHAHAHA..... Good one

    ReplyDelete
  10. Who cares about Ethiopian migration, last I checked Eritrea has her own problems with migrants leaving the country and using dangerous routes. Why aren't we talking about that?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you dr. Fikrejesus Amahazion for the analysis, hopefully this will reach our ethiopian friends every corner of the world so that they get awareness and be united to challenge the minor circle and remove it from the whole region. As we follow the last 2 decades many ethiopians were not aware about the source of the problem, getting this is solving half of the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The minor circle you are talking about is bigger than your whole Eritrea. Ethiopian knew the source of the problem in the region. It is a dictator, terrorist sponsor and trainer, it is the Eritrean regime. If you doubt me ask anyone who left the country to flee away from a country that he/her fought for its dependence for thirty years

    ReplyDelete
  13. ኣሌክ - Alec youApril 28, 2015 at 2:34 AM

    So what ur saying about Eritrea--------in Tigray-Agame sites is it justfide. its u that started to dfame our beloved Eritrea and look at u now LA'ARSKIN FERKESSHKESH K'TBLA GEMIRKN ZELEKN. LOL....1st try to stop ur people(Agame) commenting bad things about Our Beloved Eritrea.


    Ab'aynka Zelo-Gundi-Zey'ra'akas-Ab'endamatka-Zelo-Gundi-Ktri'ei-Aytfetn, woyane-boy. Gudamt'eba N'skatkum. Theritha's-Tethankely-Bele-Sebay.

    ReplyDelete
  14. ኣሌክ - Alec youApril 28, 2015 at 3:00 AM

    The thing is woyane-tigray sold Ethiopia to highest bidder to the West-Arabs-Indians- etc..etc...just so they can benefit for them-selves in the End, Ethiopia is now sinking with debt. while the woyane-tigray brake free. look at the other Ethnics, the woyane-tigray treat them like some kind-of animals. If u ask any Oromo, Gambela, Ogaden-so on... they will say, they want their Independence b/c of woyane-tigray massacring their pple. can't blame the Oromo, Gambella, Ogaden wen they wage war against the woyane-tigray.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Now all the media once sided unjustly with weyane, now is clearly are turning their face..just follow, the machine already starts..what you're saying is out-dated.

    ReplyDelete
  16. As usual the west writes about Ethiopia or about Africa when they find it necessary for their student the topic fits their thesis. Most of the time students are sent to Africa for a research for their graduation paper and write about Africa with out spending enough time in the region and in their job or just by googling. Unfortunately, most medias in Africa quote their job as a final researched document with out understanding the validity of their work. I have seen a lot of papers posted or quoted in the media as academically accepted source, that is very unfortunate. When I saw the profile of this individual who wrote this article I couldn't resist to point out that the profile posted to build up the writers credential actually undermines his work. It looks impressive from an Eritrean point of view, but in the academic circle the guy is just trying to make the dotes connected and experimenting to start his career, Africa seems to be the right spot to do that kind of stuff, no one cares, no one challenges.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Woradaw !


    You and your woyane dogs need to learn to read between the lines:)
    Go back and read the reason why Eritrea/Eritreans are exposed to the situation.


    "As with many of the world’s current conflicts, the story has its roots in borders drafted by Europeans a century ago, when Italy annexed Eritrea from the rest of Ethiopia during the colonial “Scramble for Africa”. The move deprived landlocked Ethiopia of its only port on the Red Sea, and when Addis Ababa sought to regain it in the post-war era, the ensuing conflict claimed around 200,000 lives."



    Thanks and no Thanks for your silly comments over here. Just get the hell out of Eritrean territories (if you are smart enough) and you give some dignified identity and human rights to your own people, who beg to call themselves ERITREANS allover !


    200,000 during the war and more than 500,000 Ethio crops drawned in the sea calling themselves ERITREANS without any shame, moral or dignity. I told you the reason as to why Eritreans runout of the country. They are sick and tired to stand on guard the savages on our south. Tell me why an Ethiopian runout in masses your rosey Ethiopia ? Why call themselves Eritreans? Why?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Who asked you to advocate for Eritrea or Africa over here?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good question, why a proud person from "civilised" and rich Ethiopia let his body been shot by ISIS, in Yemen, Libya, Sinai...etc. Why is an Ethiopian humiliated wherever he goes and been forced to identify himself/herself as Kenyan, Eritrean, Somali or from Djibouti ?

    ReplyDelete
  20. You are confused for reals LOL

    ReplyDelete
  21. Alec - this is based on your wet dream from last night. Talk about Eritrea. You're an Eritrean so be concerned and discuss Eritrea. Let the Ethiopians deal with their own problems. That's what the bloody 30 years war for independence was for, right?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Confused - I'm confused as well. This web site eats, drinks, sleeps and walks, "Ethiopia". Eritrea or Eritreans are rarely mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am not but Shabby are confused

    ReplyDelete
  24. Weyane baeleqen ab menqeraqer atyqen..ab zeytewetso ò mà at..gehanem zeàynetu, tetahahizken nabza tselmateken..

    ReplyDelete
  25. No Ethiopian claims to be Eritrean...moron.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Are you denying the fact finding that all Ethiopians apply as Eritrean,when it comes to wining refugee status? Any Ethiopian arrested or apply in Libya as an Ethiopian,you rest a sure you will be deported back to Ethiopia.

    ReplyDelete
  27. ኣሌክ - Alec youApril 28, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    Well u see Dogali----- that was the whole point--that's what we Eritreans always said to u pple. but u pple--Agame--- u can't leave us alone, u keep sticking ur nose where it don't belong, in-oreder to protect/hide ur ethno-centric woyane regime from the world. u even spread like---cancer all over the NET--- to defame our beloved Eritrea. At 1st we watched and get on with our business. and then u keep commenting trash all over the NET again & again-- all this in-order to destroy the image of Eritrea & its pple. So we have the right to retaliate ..so now when we come to defend our Eri---u trying to twist it like oh u have ur independence, that's what the bloody 30 yrs war for...blah..blah... don't twist it. go to ur Agame-site--to spit ur propaganda but the good thing is we Eritreans this time ***Shelel-Ay'knblekumn- Ena***. we know u very-well---and this time we will never back-dawn.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You honestly can't be this dumb. "foreign sponsored human trafficking system to undervalue the govt". Are you being serious here, you truly can't believe this?
    Let me ask you, when you left Eritrea, what foreign sponsored human trafficking system pushed you out?

    ReplyDelete
  29. So you are defending Eritrea by obsessing about Ethiopia? Where is your logic here? You claim that Dogali is an Agame by asking you to be concerned with and discuss Eritrea. I guess the first mistake Dogali made was in assuming you are Eritrean, and if you are please explain why and how obsessing about Ethiopia in an Eritrean website at the expensive of Eritrea is defending Eritrea?

    Your hatred for Ethiopia is clear for everyone to see, that only thing that is asked is to discuss Eritrea on an ERitrean website. What part of that is Agame. And if you have a problem with Agame, why do you support a government who's head is an Agame?

    ReplyDelete
  30. What you are saying is driven by political assumptions. I believe the problem has a lot to do with the young generation mentality. The simply fact is, if you do research on these immigrants most of them are very young to understand politics and social problem and to impact by theses factors. If we think it is only and purely politics only, we are misdiagnosing the problem to suggest remedy.

    ReplyDelete
  31. ኣሌክ - Alec youApril 29, 2015 at 12:50 AM

    "You claim that Dogali is an Agame" u say--- Yes--someone with half brain can see tha Dogali is qomal-Agame.

    He is an Agame-a snake one too-->just like his forefather. he was always writing about Eritrea/pple...his comments all over **MADOTE** speaks for it self. thats clear no need to cover-up about his Agamenism. haha...

    And second--- did u just say obsessing about Ethiopia. hahahaha... oh man thats laughble...

    Its u people(Agame)->our eternal enemise, that are obsessed with us---u are the one that defaming Eritrean image on ur Tigray-site. And disguising as Eritreans- in Eri-sites to sabotage Eritrea. Its u who--waged media war against us Eri. its u that started the cyber-war in-order to destroy Eritrea's image. have u ever heard us Eritreans... talking about u pple be4. we don't even give a shit about u Agame. but u, u pple are out there to destroy Eritrea, at every corner of the NET-- So, who are u to say that, we don't have the obligation to attack u back.

    "that only thing that is asked is to discuss Eritrea on an
    ERitrean website.." u say----

    Well ma dear question..tell that to ur Agame people--that talking trash all over Agame sites. u can't tell the victim to stop talking about his aggressor meaning , while u are the aggressor . okay moving on...& i love it wen u try to make what ur doing in Agamino-sites is justified. U remind me the saying.....---"The pot calling the kettle black" ----LOL.....how is it that u want to make pple take u seriously, when u are spitting venom to defame someon's image. we know u now, this time ***Shelel-Ay'knblekumn- Ena***. we know u very-well---and this time we will never back-dawn..

    "Your hatred for Ethiopia is clear for everyone to see." u
    say.----

    Well i don't hate Ethiopia..i only hate our eternal enemy the--Agame. So, We don't hate Ethiopia-- because hating
    Ethiopia means hating the Oromo, the Ogaden, Gambella, Sidamo..and so on... so nope. :)

    Maybe even now, am commenting u Dogali disguised us in "Question". i gotta hand it to ya,... u pple are The Master of Disguise. LOL...hahaha, oh man what a joke u are. byeeee.....

    ReplyDelete
  32. You begin by responding that someone's fore father is an Agame, therefore he is an Agame. That's interesting because when I checked your Dear Leader is Agame through and through. My question to you would be whether you are ignoring the fact that his father walked directly from Tigray to Eritrea or you just didn't know that your dear leader was Agame.

    Second you go on a huge rant about Eritrea being blackballed on Agame sites. If they are Agame sites, and you are not Agame why are you going on them. Why do you care what is being said and wouldn't it be better to respond to them on the site that you are claiming that they are attacking you on. But the funny thing is, you are implying that you are not going to talk about Eritrea on an Eritrean website because Ethiopians are talking about it somewhere else. It seems like you are making up for the fact that Ethiopia isn't being talked about enough, spoken just like a patriotic Ethiopian.

    And your final point, if you read both the comments written by myself and Donglai, it is clear we have two completely different writing styles. But judging from the way you write, I think that would be asking for to much

    But seriously, you do know that Your Dear Leader(Isasias) is an Agame right?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Jaber MohamadnurMay 1, 2015 at 5:02 AM

    Are you aware that Obama had confessed that he has hands in driving Eritreans out of their country?

    ReplyDelete
  34. No one is obsessed with Eritrea. But everyone is watching Eritrea... like some bad accident that has been pulled over to the road side and is causing a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam because everyone wants to see the blood bath that is Eritrea. As for me. God I WISH I was an Agame. To be honest, I'm not even sure what an "Agame" is? What is it? Is it a people? Is it a social class? I really don't know and apparently it is a favored insult used by Eritreans to describe I'm not sure who... Can someone please tell me what an Agame is? Why is the word an insult?

    ReplyDelete

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