As if Ethiopia is not already being inundated with zeregnenet (tribalism), yet another ethnic based media company was launched recently. The same crowd that used to protest the tribal ways of TPLF decided to join the caravan of ethnonationalism . I caught a glimpse of one of their shows this weekend while I was buying some injera at a local market; I was immediately struck by the slick production that included state of the art graphics, crystal clear audio and the overall quality of the show.
Now before you think this is some endorsement of station that was launched in the name of “defending Amhara people”, let me disabuse you of that thought. The minute I saw the ASRAT being aired on TV, I shook my head in a mix of disbelief and sadness. The politics of apartheid has seeped into every facet of our country; businesses, churches and media are all being overwhelmed by the insidious forces of separatism and factionalism that is shattering the foundation of Ethiopia. A free press that is supposed to seek truth without ideological lenses has been weaponized based on identity and loosened upon Ethiopia in order to ghettoize us behind the Bantustan of ethnicity.
Oromia Media Network, Ethiopian Satellite Television, Tigray Media Network and now Amhara Satellite Radio and Television, all of them truncating their names to acronyms and reporting “news” through the filter of ethnocentrism. They do a marvelous job of pretending to care about justice and tending to the suffering of their demographic, in reality they are leveraging the pains of their base to gain status as they take money from foreign entities and globalist interests who are the root cause of Ethiopia’s plight and our people’s anguish.
OMN, TMN, ASRAT, ESAT and the myriad of ethnic based media outlets in Ethiopia all have one thing in common: they perpetuate the charade of being powered by their constituents. I have been in the media realm for a long time, there is no way that a station can be formed, launched and maintained from GoFundMe campaigns and collection baskets at local markets. When you take into account studio space, equipment, human resource outlays, advertisement and other hidden costs, a GoFundMe campaign would not cover a week let alone sustain operations for a year.
So then who are the mystery financiers that bankroll these ethnic media outlets and keep them a going concern? The answer is found by asking this one simple question: who has an interest in keeping Ethiopia fractured and perpetually destabilized? As much as we say that Ethiopia has never colonized, the reality on the ground is that Ethiopia was penetrated by external powers in 1974 and has been under the influence of global institutions for the past 44 years. Even before 1974, foreign powers were inciting separatism within Ethiopia, but after toppling Haile Selassie, our country became even more entangled in the web of geopolitics as western imperialists and eastern juggernauts fought over regional dominance.
After 17 years of Derg repression enabled by the USSR, the TPLF came to power by way of western imposition. Unlike the Derg, which kept Ethiopia intact by committing a genocide without bias, the TPLF were given a new mandate: fracture Ethiopia by inducing ethnic factionalism. They complied with the commands of subversive technocrats like Herman Cohen and introduced a most lethal form of tribalism by importing apartheid from South Africa. “Ethnic federalism” was always meant to splinter Ethiopia along tribal lines and gradually embed the poisonous politics of sectarianism into the public conscience.
To pull of this feat and turn a nation that was once so united that our forefathers defeated a colonial power required subterfuge and cunning the devil would be impressed by. The playbook of colonization is simple, elevate one tribe to govern but finance the opposition at the same time. Give guns and money to the tribe in power; give lesser arms and finance the tribes out of power. In this paradigm, the status quo and those who wish to overturn it are both owned by their overseas masters. Though it might not seem like it given the fierceness of their loathing for one another, the EPRDF and every ethnic political party that professes to be in opposition are really two wings of the same vulture.
Change doesn’t happen in Ethiopia or in Africa writ large spontaneously; revolutions and incremental changes alike are determined at the whim of outside forces. PM Abiy Ahmed was not heaven sent, he owes his ascension to clandestine operatives who have their tentacles buried deep in almost every institution in Ethiopia. Once Oromo and Amhara protestors made the status quo untenable in 2017, change had to be manufactured by introducing a new face while keeping the governmental apparatus in place. The key is to always elevate a cult of personality that is grounded in ethnicity in order to pacify the citizenry while maintaining ethnic federalism.
The same principals who were behind the TPLF and the rise of Abiy are also the ones who foment strife by empowering demagogues like Jawar Mohammed. Don’t think for a second that Jawar rose to fame simply because of his message. There is a reason why a person who was a nobody and a Facebook hatemonger all the sudden became a kingmaker. He sold his soul to the devil in order to be financed and promoted by globalists. People who preach from the pulpit of anger and stir resentment are always rewarded by a system that prospers through factionalism.
The sad thing is that people who are being mauled by this system of tribalism and ethnic nihilism are the ones who rally behind ethnic zealots. A society that is mired in hopelessness and indignation is easily manipulated by sellouts who are being paid to provoke outrage. Along the way, idealists who once believed in unity and shared progress are co-opted and used by profiteers who have no loyalty to Ethiopia and only care about furthering their hidden motives.
The end result is dissension that eventually turns into warfare. Ethiopia is in a most precarious state at this moment, every day we keep creeping closer and closer to the edge of disintegration. There to ensure this outcome are tribal ministers extolling the virus of prejudice and promoting malice towards other Ethiopians. Oromos battling for Oromos, Amharas fighting for Amharas, Tigrays agitating for Tigrays, few are there to defend Ethiopia from dissolution. Instead of speaking against this slow rolling implosion and expose a plot heinous agenda to shatter our nation, ethnic media outlets are encouraging a national fratricide and profiting from Ethiopia affliction.
My fellow Ethiopians, I implore you to walk away from zeregnenet and to not give your heart to ethnic hatred. All of us are interconnected, even if we have speak different dialects or have divergent viewpoints, we are all have the same hopes and pains. Do not let agents of hate and the spirit of retribution overtake our common heritage. We need to heal as a people, this healing will never arrive through antagonism and insults, we can only mend and be restored if we listen to one another and let compassion be our moral compass.It is time to stop swimming in channels of grievance and instead embrace a spirit of reconciliation or else #Ethiopia will be no more and we will all be made equal through suffering and bloodshed. Click To Tweet
Lij Teodrose Fikremariam is the Chair of Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy. He is the direct descendant of Atse Tewodros II, the once Emperor of Ethiopia who united a fractured nation during Zemene Mesafint (age of princes) and imbued Ethiopia with a sense of togetherness that enabled them to eventually defeat Italy at the battle of Adwa. Lij Teodrose was born in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia but grew up in America. He has a Bachelor of Arts from George Mason University and an Masters of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. Lij Teodrose believes in one Ethiopia and that a nation can only be judged by the wellness of the least among us.