The Ethiopian Diaspora’s Clashing Viewpoints on the Mounting Economic and Political Agonies of Ethiopia

By Maru Gubena

Many of us – particularly the political activists of the Ethiopian Diaspora – are firmly convinced that the basis for Ethiopia’s everlasting, multiple and mounting economic problems and the political repression by successive regimes lies exclusively with bad leadership and bad policy/governance. Other Ethiopians, however, attribute the prolonged agonies facing Ethiopians, including their longstanding dependence upon foreign handouts, to a collective conspiracy of outside powers, working through the provision of immeasurable financial and military assistance to our repressive and divisive regimes. This is thought to be a direct retaliation for the gallant resistance to European colonial powers and their defeat by the early Ethiopian nationalists during the scramble for Africa in the closing years of the 19th century, when Ethiopia was the only African country to maintain its political and territorial independence. A similar account has also been provided by a few members of the Ethiopian Diaspora community in response to questions about why Ethiopian Diaspora political activists have remained unable to effectively expose and weaken, perhaps even to defeat, the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi, despite having the necessary tools, including economic resources, educational backgrounds, political vision and extensive work and life experience. They see their inability to weaken, if not defeat, the Meles regime in the political and money powers of the regime itself: that is, the regime as the primary, undisputed role player in their divisions and the source of the eventual failure of the entire resistance, achieved by using its money power and political agents, mixed among the Diaspora’s political community members of the opposition.


Understandably, one might wonder which among these three categories of thought I support. The answer is that though I tend to agree somewhat with the first, I believe in none of them: in fact we Ethiopians both are the causes and are, or can be, the solutions. The reason Ethiopia is still unable to free herself from the entangled chains of economic poverty and from the yoke of political repression is that from time to time we Ethiopians often lend support to a given regime or political group, however cruel and ugly it may be, if it has the required political and economic power – so long as the regime or a political group belongs to us and we can share in and enjoy the fruits of its inhumanity and corruption.

Maru Gubena

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