BY A CONCERNED. ETHIOPIAN ….
It’s a cliché, but I will repeat it. Despotic leaders are incapable of sensing their own demise until the last moment. Some African leadersi, failing to listen to the figurative heartbeat of their people, have died, at the hands of their own people, all the while, shouting “my people love me!” Current Ethiopian leadership, and particularly the TPLF elites, are no exception to this cliché. However, I believe there is something peculiar about TPLF’s leadership. Even by known despotic leaders’ standards, who believe leadership is a lifetime entitlement, TPLF’s leadership seems to stand alone. TPLF does not only display all the characteristics we commonly attribute to autocratic leadership, but it embodies, perhaps, one of the few leadership styles in the world that blends supra-narcissism and dictatorship without a leader — leadership by the collective.
The feats this leadership was able to stage for the last twenty some years as “world class economic performer” or “champion of homegrown democratic system” or even “the vanguard of oppressed and marginalized people,” all the while, silencing democratic, dissenting, and critical voices by human rights groups, political activists, journalists, religious leaders and intellectuals is astounding. In addition to squandering the nation’s wealth, the methodical eliminations, incarcerations, and indiscriminate killings of those opposing its tyrannical administration are deeds that can be matched by exceptionally few regimes in the world.
The magnitude of unrest that is currently plugging the country (it has been going on for a few years now) would normally require any leadership to at least acknowledge, display an effort to address the causes and institute some changes. TPLF seems to choose playing a game of musical chairs. To project similitude of change and hoodwink, as usual, the Ethiopian people and the international community, it has become TPLF’s customary drama to replace leader X by Y or shuffling tyrant A’s, B’s and C’s portfolio from one position to another1. Al Mariam’sii style of addressing the leadership as T-TPLF Thugtatorship, perhaps, has a more profound meaning than we recognize because it may point to this peculiar anomaly inherent to this organization. TPLF is inept to change or respond to demands of the people. This inability to change is the quintessence of TPLF. It is impossible for TPLF to institute any change, within its own organization or in the country, even if awareness of the need becomes apparent to its own individual members.
Genesis of TPLF
TPLF’s imperviousness to any form of change is connected to its extraordinary leadership. This peculiar nature of TPLF’s leadership explains why TPLF is successful in meticulously balancing the greedy and egoistic needs of its leaders/cronies without endangering the stability of its collective leadership so far. The recent game of musical chairs, the changes in administrative figures and party leaders in Mekele or the unceremonious dismissal of the former first lady from the central committee, and eventually from EFFORT, are all superficial internal adjustments that will not have any effect on TPLF’s core existence.
1 We have to be careful not to confuse the sporadic internal conflicts we have seen in the entire history of TPLF as a sign of deviation from its collective system. It should be understood simply as internal adjustments.
In fact, during the much-talked about marathon central committee meeting held in Mekele, I would not be surprised if the central agenda was “the re-structuring of EFFORT” rather than addressing the crisis TPLF and the country are facing. The anomaly in TPLF’s leadership is perplexing because there is no pretention to hide, on TPLF’s part, the fact that every political, economic and social program ever enacted under its rule is designed to benefit itself and its cronies. TPLF does not shy from revealing that it is made up of a select group of individuals, joined at the hip, by a collective code of conduct, that have ridiculous sense of entitlements over Ethiopia and Ethiopians. TPLF’s disregard to demands of the people, the nation, and the rule of law, be it in the context of local or international jurisprudence, is the result of its arrogant sense of entitlements.
To explain this disposition of TPLF, one has to trace the inception of the anomaly back to the genesis of TPLF. Berhe’s,iii account on the genesis of TPLF shows a rather complex process with loosely described multiple actors. It requires a closer reading to really understand the nitty gritty relationship of all the actors. However, the gist of the chronicle depicts TPLF was incepted by individuals who do have varied understanding of Ethiopia’s political landscape of the time and diverse visions on how to shape their struggle.
The initial meeting of the TNO (Tigrayan National Organization) that took place in Piazza in 1974, (that included Berhe), does not mention secession. The program, rather, states three goals: “first, to reach a common understanding of the nature and disposition of the Derg’s regime with respect to the self- determination of Tigray and the future of democracy in Ethiopia; second, to reflect upon what form of struggle to pursue and how to tackle the main challenges that would hence forth arise; and third, to outline how to work and co-ordinate activities with the Ethiopian left which hitherto had operated according to much broader revolutionary ideals.”iv Surprisingly, the program does not mention session, although the code-word for secession (self-setermination) is clearly stated in the program.
According to Berhe’s account, TUSA (Tigrayan University Students’ Association) was formed in early1970’s (it is unclear whether it was formed before or after TNO), and it seems that the members of TNO are also members of TUSA. TUSA’s program seems to emerge as strictly regional organization and started operating in all districts of Tigray, sometimes with the blessing of Tigrayan authorities including the then Governor of Tigray, Ras Mengesha Seyoum. Soon, Berhe notes, in 1974, MAGEBT (Mahber Gesgesti Bihere Tigray) was formed basically out of TUSA with yet a new inclination towards Marxist ideology and a clandestine program meant to agitate the people of Tigray at large.
TPLF’s mantra that Tigray and the people of Tigray are victims of targeted repression because of their ethnicity emerged as a doctrine during the formation of TUSA and the emergence of MAGEBT by “politically conscious” group. The support the movement of MAGEBT initially received, by members of parliament and intellectuals, seem to be based on this belief that they “saw themselves as victims of ethnic repression and political persecution.”v
The arrival of TPLF, as we know it today, is described by Berhe as follows:
Within TUSA, a politically conscious group by the name of Mahber Gesgesti Bihere Tigray (MAGEBT), aimed at creating a higher form of organization, evolved at the beginning of 1974. Literally translated, the name means the Association of Progressives from the Tigray Nation, but for convenience it was called the Tigrayan National Organization (TNO). The TNO was later to become the mother organization of the TPLF. While these TNO-led activities were under way, another group called the Political Association of Tigrayans (PAT), led by Yohannes
Teklehaimanot and GebreKidan, was involved underground in a purely political mobilization of Tigrayans against the Ethiopian regime. This association advocated the outright independence of Tigray and later emerged as an armed organization known as the Tigray Liberation Front (TLF). It was the TNO that was to evolve into the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and, after sixteen years of guerrilla war, was to become the government of Ethiopia.vi
Berhe does not comment on TLF’s historical role in the general history of TPLF or in the context of the struggle of the people of Tigray. He does not also address when and how the TLF started and ended, or if it had been assimilated into TPLF (I hope, one day we will be able to read the history of TLF). Yet, an interesting observation Berhe makes is that demand for the total session of Tigray was TLF’s program. It seems Berhe’s purpose of mentioning TLF was to only make this point. In the absence of any account of the relationship TLF had to the people of Tigray and TPLF itself, it is difficult to ascertain if the question of session was limited to TLF. However, to summarize Berhe’s genesis of TPLF, it starts with TUSA that also morphs into TNO. TNO, at some point creates MAGEBT, and MAGBET gives birth to TPLF which eventually ends up as EPDRF, the current governing body in Ethiopia.
As this may be the case for the story of TPLF, what I would like to draw attention to is the complexity and sheer number of fractured and diverse actors that potentially contributed to the creation of TPLF. In the ‘expanded’ version of its history, TPLF’s creation was supported, directly or indirectly, by actors that included students, intellectuals, members of parliament in the Haile Selassie regime, rebels (or shiftas), local administrators, businesspeople, and even the Governor of Tigray, who, by any account, was defender of the Imperial administration of Haile Selassie.2
What united those actors who ended up as TPLF? What unified all these diverse individuals and organizations who eventually established TPLF, were two miss-perceptions: 1) a misconstrued ethno- nationalism that perceived Tigray as being intentionally excluded from participating in Ethiopian political and economic landscape, particularly by Showan-Amhara administration. 3 2) a narcissistic sense of self-grandiose that Tigray is special and superior from the rest of ethnic Ethiopians; and that its greatness was intentionally impeded by every successive regime. This second miss-perception is accompanied by a sense of inferiority complex, which is one of the inevitable features of narcissism.
These two perceptions, boosted by half-baked Marxist ideology that promises self-determination (here we should read secession) were the ingredients that formulated TPLF’s collective narcissistic leadership.
In order to stratify these miss-perceptions as raison d’etre for TPLF’s existence, TPLF had to introduce a process where members had to abandon individuality and individual identity and start to identify themselves through TPLF’s group identity. The Marxist ideology that was employed as the ideological program within TPLF also reinforces surrendering individuality and the assumption of new group identity. It is not coincidence that one of the requirements for all members of TPLF to assume nom de guerre when they join the group. This is a ritual that symbolically represent the process of surrendering individual identity and assuming a collective one; a collective identity that is meaningful only within TPLF’s organizational paradigm. As Meles Zenawi admitted, “Politics here (meaning Ethiopia) is not personality based. It is ideologically driven and organization based. That’s part of its strength. In our case with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democracy Front (E.P.R.D.F.) it’s a movement with
2 For detailed history of TPLF read Aregawi Berhe’s article from page 575 to 580.
3 The Term Showan-Amhara has been used in so many different contexts by historians. However, TPLF’s usage is derogatory that has two-fold purposes: first, creating division among the Amhara and between those ethnics who live in the region, such as Oromo, Gurage etc. against Amhara; second, justification of its mantra that Tigray’s enemy is Amhara.
very well-articulated positions. And these things do not change because of personalities. I have been in the minority position when issues of war and peace were at stake. And I have found myself implementing a majority position that I completely and utterly disagree with.”vii
The other aspect of relinquishing individuality is ensuring that followers lose their ability to critically think and question TPLF’s leadership. This doctrine of transforming members’ identity from individual to group, if I have to guess a time frame, commenced on February 1975 when TPLF is formally organized as an armed organization. Berhe acknowledges that even the radical elements in Tigray did not resist to undergo this transformation as he writes “the TNO had contacts with many radical Tigrayans, and later it was not difficult to assemble them in the TPLF. The TNO’s immediate goal was achieved when it transformed itself into an armed organization, the TPLF, in February 1975.”viii
It requires a separate, careful, engagement to provide a discussion on the marriage between collective narcissism and TPLF between 1975 and 1991. For the current discussion, I will focus how collective narcissism solidified TPLF’s doctrine for sixteen or so years and how it spread its appendages to the entire nation after it transformed itself as EPDRF. Indeed, Ethiopia’s darkest hour, in its entire history, is the day TPLF succeeded in consolidating the country’s political power. It cannot be emphasized enough the dangers this collective narcissistic group poses to the country. In comparison to the inhuman atrocities TPLF committed against all Ethiopians thus far, I would say, we still have to wait and see what TPLF has in store for us. I would guess it will be far more calamitous unless all Ethiopians work together to overcome TPLF with the utmost shrewdness that matches TPLF’S. Because under TPLF’s collective, all political, economic, social and military power are concentrated with the group. At the same time, the group members are dispersed all over the nation, seemingly operating independent from one another. In reality, all are operating in unison under their group identity, TPLF, without exposing the narcissistic network. This network poses additional challenges for the people of Ethiopia who are struggling to overcome this regime because strategizing their struggle to defeat TPLF’s national/international network requires extraordinary prudence.
TPLF as collective narcissist group
Often, narcissism is usually associated to individual behavioural patterns. However, when one designates TPLF as a collective and try to understand how the collective leadership displays narcissistic patterns with meticulous, but almost invisible synchronicity, one finds that TPLF is a totally bizarre monster. Although there is plenty literature on narcissism; collective narcissism and organizational narcissism are relatively new areas of research. Literature on collective narcissism and organizational narcissism often overlap and the bulk of literature on organization narcissism pertain to corporations and institutions. Some of the literature on collective narcissism slightly differ from organizational narcissism; as there are some works that focus on group behavioural patterns and how group members display similar behavioural patterns based on their in-group affiliation.4
Narcissism is not simply about self-love. It is a complex disorder connected to greed, inferiority complex, shame, self-grandeur, paranoia, and egotism among others. Jerrold Post, in his book Narcissism and politics: dreams of glory, launches his analysis of world-renown narcissistic political and business leaders with Narcissistic Personality Disorder with the following premise:
4 Please read Agnieszka Golec de Zavala et al., “Collective Narcissism and Its Social Consequences,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 97 (December 1, 2009): 1074–96, doi:10.1037/a0016904.
The overall description of NPD in the fourth edition of the DSM (DSM-IV, currently undergoing revision) is of “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- believes that he or she is ‘special’ and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- requires excessive admiration
- has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- is interpersonally exploitative, i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- lacks empathy, is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- is often envious of others, or believes that others are envious of him or her
- shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.” (American Psychiatric Association, DSM IV, 1994,
The above description of narcissism relates to individuals. Yet, I have no doubt all nine patterns are fitting to TPLF’s overall behaviour we witnessed in the past twenty-six years. It is important to note here that TPLF is a collective, and as such, each member of TPLF defines the self not as an individual but as a member of the collective. I believe this might be one of the reasons why opposition political groups find it extremely challenging to make a breakthrough in bringing about change to the country by overcoming TPLF. In addition, TPLF’s inculcation campaign waged in the last thirty years; a formula that states, TPLF = the people of Tigray, causes additional challenges to the voices that call for the end of TPLF rule. Because pointing at TPLF’s narcissism becomes ascribing the same label to the people of Tigray. TPLF has been using this formula for quite some time to hide its collective narcissistic nature.
To understand TPLF as collective narcissistic group, the following description might help.
It is expected that intergroup hostility and aggression are a means of protecting the group’s image. Thus, collective narcissists are expected to be particularly prone to interpret the actions of others as signs of disrespect, criticism or disapproval of an in-group and react aggressively. They are also expected to react aggressively to actual criticism and other situations that threaten a positive image of an in-group. They are expected to often feel unfairly and unjustly treated in an intergroup context since no treatment or recognition is seen as good enough for the deserving in-group. Moreover, it is expected that collective narcissists are not willing to forgive and forget previous insults or unfairness to an in-group experienced from other groups. Thus, they are likely to hold prejudice towards out-groups with whom they share a history of mutual grievances and wrongdoings. Collective narcissism is also expected to predict a preference for violent and coercive actions towards out-groups in intergroup conflicts and a likelihood of perceiving intergroup situations as conflictual even before they turn into open conflicts.x 5
One should simply read TPLF’s propaganda outlets to correlate these patterns.6 Within collective narcissism, paranoia is a prominent feature, and it is also a trait that is readily identifiable in TPLF’s
5 Emphasis in the above quotation does not belong to the original authors.
6 For unreasonable sense of entitlement and unrealistic sense of persecution read Betray Not Tigrai Again!6. To see how TPLF is prone to dismissing every voice of opposition and act aggressively against out-groups, read After twenty-six years what did the anti EPRDF forces accomplish6. To understand how TPLF is perpetually immersed in self-admiration and constantly demands from others to worship it, read Tigrai’s donation has no parallel in our history.6 To correlate the madness of narcissism sprinkled with paranoia, read What happened to the Tegaru in 2016 should be used as a wakeup call6 I believe these are enough samples to corroborate that TPLF is indeed an entity that suffers from narcissism. If the few
pattern of behaviours because “paranoid feelings of narcissistic grandiosity and persecution are intended to overcome an inner sense of inferiority, unworthiness, and unlovability.”xi It is no secret, for those who closely follow TPLF and its activities, that self-aggrandizing and constant inferiority complex are the two primary characteristics that defines it. For Example, the recent paranoid speech by the TPLF old guard, Seyoum Mesfin, where he claims that people of Tigray are in dire danger is sufficient to confirm TPLF’S perpetual paranoia.
Al Mariam, in his recent article, in response to Seyoum’s speech, asks the following questions.
“But what exactly is the “glaring danger of extreme concern” the people of Tigray are “facing” today? Why must the people of Tigray “run very fast before sundown and prepare a defense”? From whom are they running away? Who is chasing them and against whom are they supposed to be defending? Is Mesfin suggesting that Tigreans will be “run out” of the rest of Ethiopia into the sunset simply because they are Tigreans? I am totally mystified and puzzled by his cryptic message of “glaring danger and extreme, extreme concern.”xii
To repeat Al Mariam’s inquiries, we may ask again, do the people of Tigray have to run? No. Does TPLF need to run, and run fast to the oblivion? Yes. Do the people of Tigray face “a glaring danger of extreme concern? No. Does TPLF face a danger that threatens the core of its existence? Yes, it is the demand of the people, and I mean, the demand of all Ethiopians. Is Mesfin and his group paranoid? Yes. Is Mesfin and his group sense hatred instead of love from the people of Tigray and beyond? Yes! Does this jolt TPLF? Yes, because TPLF cannot stop from demanding love and admiration from the people of Tigray and beyond; a demand central to TPLF’s collective narcissistic constitution. In the end, Mesfin’s call for arms, can only be understood as nothing more than a delusional, narcissistic despot, that can only see the world through the lens of his in-group identity, and who still believes “his people love him.”
TPLF’s political program also registers all the signs of paranoia and inferiority complex. It is important to remember that TPLF’s early attempt to organize and mobilize the people of Tigray, is also based on this half-baked program — promises of ending Amhara rule and independence/secession of Tigray from the rest of Ethiopia.
As I have mentioned earlier, one of the things TPLF had to execute painstakingly, in order to mobilize the people of Tigray, was to invent a “history” of Tigray and its relationship to Ethiopia; thereby forging a lasting impression on its followers that Tigray was the sole recipient of persecution, atrocities and neglect by previous regimes. For example, in 1983, Ethiopia was under the rule of a brutal military junta. By some estimates, the Derg was responsible for killing between five-hundred-thousand and seven-hundred-fifty-thousand Ethiopians. Ethiopians, from coast to coast, paid a hefty price under the Derg. Yet, TPLF’s doctrine amount to declaring that all atrocities committed by Derg was mainly directed towards Tigrayans and it single-handedly defeated Derg, and therefore, entitled to the lion’s share of the political domination, national wealth, and most importantly national and international praises. In order to sustain the mobilization of the people of Tigray, TPLF had to rely on this “new history” of Tigray. In Ethiopia’s entire history, there were no significant political, civic, or economic and business leaders who dominated the people of Tigray. There were no Amhara or Oromo landlords who subjected the people of Tigray into serfdom. The narcissistic delusion of TPLF is readily available in its 1983 thirteen-page TPLF program where it mentions the word “Amhara” eleven times and Derg
examples I cited here are not enough, I invite all Ethiopians to browse the archives of Walta, Tigray Online, or Weyin for more examples.
only three times. Readers can guess who the defective program considers a threat to TPLF and the people of Tigray. This is what Zavala et al. note that collective narcissists often feel unfairly and unjustly treated in an intergroup context since no treatment or recognition is seen as good enough for the deserving in-group.
The tendency of portraying Tigray as an exceptional region within Ethiopia is also present in the historical and political analysis Berhe offers in his 2004 article. xiii Some of the half-truths contained in his article has several eerie similarities with the document TPLF produced after the Second Organizational Congress of the TPLF in May 1983; especially, the historical analysis presented in the 1983 document and Berhe’s historical analysis of Ethiopia in his article are almost identical. Berhe presents a historical account that Tigray had been deliberately denied access to education and was purposely neglected by both Haile Selassie’s and Mengistu’s regime. He writes, “Tigray had no university or college until the mid-1990s. Indeed, as recently as the1950s, it had only four high schools, without adequate teachers or facilities, for a population of about 3.5 million people.”xiv
Let us slowly go over this claim. In the 1950’s, Tigray had 4 high schools (I am not sure if this is an accurate data on Berhe’s side) and this is supposed to be a sign of deliberate neglect of Tigray by the successive regimes. When we read another account on the history of education in the entire country, it offers a different sketch.
Following the Italian defeat, the country started to build up the sector, but the system faced shortages of teachers, textbooks, and facilities. The government recruited foreign teachers for primary and secondary schools to offset the teacher shortage. By 1952 a total of 60,000 students were enrolled in 400 primary schools, eleven secondary schools, and three institutions offering college-level courses. In the 1960s, 310 mission and privately operated schools with an enrollment of 52,000 supplemented the country’s public school system. While reforms have been made in the aims of education, the actual structure of the Ethiopian school system has remained unchanged from that established in the 1950s.7xv
The Ethiopian population in 1950 was about 16 million and it did not pass 20 million until 1960. The number of students nationwide in 1952 was about 60,000, a meagre 0.375% of the population. That also included all college, high school and primary school students in 400 primary and 11 high schools and 3 colleges. Now, in the 1950’s, as Berhe asserts, if four of the high schools are in Tigray, it means the rest of Ethiopians shared 7 high schools. This translates to Tigray enjoying a whooping 36.36% of all the high schools the country had. Could this be an illustration of deliberate neglect of Tigray by any regime? This ‘victim’ narrative can be explained only by what I outlined as a pattern of TPLF. If there was neglect, it was shared by all Ethiopians; claiming ‘special” persecution where there is none, and justifying the claim for special entitlement, as TPLF elites often do till the present time, is characteristic of collective narcissism. It is apparent to Ethiopians that TPLF, for the last 30 or so years, has repeatedly registered a all of the following patterns:
- egotism, self-importance, and
- using anyone and anybody to get what it wants; and when they are no more useful discarding them in the most inhuman
- playing the ‘victim’ card to justify special
- playing the “hero” card to justify
7 The excerpt is from Damtew Teferra and Philip G. Altbach, eds., African Higher Education: An International Reference Handbook (Indiana University Press, 2003), pp. 316-325
- Reciting made up “history” for various ends (to create rifts between people, to promote self-grandiose).
- Self-doubt and paranoia (there is always a plot against TPLF by x or y).
- Constant inferiority complex (usually displayed by unreasonable projection of TPLF as a uniquely superior organization and always seeking this recognition from others).
- Total disregard to human life as long as TPLF’s purpose is served (think about Hawzien, Oromo/Somalia conflict or Oromo/Amhara conflict, and so on).
- Violence as the only response to any criticism of TPLF (incarceration and killings).
It is too arduous to exhaustively list all the CN behavioural patterns TPLF registers. Even after being under pressure by the international community and its donor countries to release political prisoners, TPLF is always displaying its nature by requiring its prisoners to sign false confessions as a condition for their release; why? because its sense of inferiority kicks in and perceive releasing prisoners as defeat or insult to its status. Thus, I believe, the answers for Al Mariam’s questions can partially be found somewhere between TPLF’s empty sense of grandiose, its constant sense of inferiority, and TPLF’s never-quenching-thirst for being adored and loved, because TPLF defines its existence through perpetual narcissism.
What all these mean to current political conditions in Ethiopia
Collective narcissism has no cure! Why, because for collective narcissists, the securest place, and perhaps the most suitable place that guarantees their existence, is to remain narcissist. TPLF, as I have mentioned earlier, is an entity incapable of conceptualizing the meaning of “change,” let alone give in to demands of change; being susceptible to change contradicts its quintessential nature. At the same time, as all narcissists, TPLF is highly skilled in, and superbly capable of, using everyone and everything in the country to ensure its survival. Recent rants we see form TPLF; threatening the very existence of the Ethiopian Federation established by itself, predicting doomsday in post-TPLF Ethiopia, instigating ethnic hostilities, encouraging and prompting ethnocentrism and secessionism, and finally warning Ethiopians that Tigray may leave the federation are all driven by its irredeemable narcissism.
The little hope Ethiopians and Ethiopian opposition bodies currently see, in finding a platform to negotiate for political change, is in the political leaders of the so called “sister parties” within EPDRF. An extreme caution needs to be applied in considering those leaders as capable of listening to the demands of the people. Recent news of fissures within TPLF/EPDRF, and the glimmers of hope that some Ethiopians think they see in these cracks has to be tamed with our understanding of TPLF’s nature. Although there are possibilities that the political leaders from TPLF’s “sister parties” may stand with the people, as much as we would like to believe that such scenarios are genuine possible, there is an equally possible, and perhaps more plausible explanation, for crafting such hope among Ethiopians who would like to see change. The perceived distance from TPLF (by the “sister parties,” mainly the Oromo and Amhara parties that make up the pseudo front of TPLF/EPDRF) could also be TPLF’s latest concoction designed to achieve far more sinister goals.
TPLF, as a collective narcissist organization, is incapable of thinking beyond its own existence. Time and time again, it has shown us that TPLF believes there will be no Ethiopia unless TPLF is sitting at the throne. Therefore, opposition groups should exercise shrewd cautiousness before jumping on the negotiation bandwagon. There is a legitimate concern that all these commotions of negotiations are designed, at worst, to facilitate the disintegration of Ethiopia (which TPLF has been touting us with for
the last 26 years), or at best, part of TPLF’s effort to extend its own lifeline, a line that is shrinking fast by the minute.
The current maneuvers of TPLF in the country can be interpreted through these sinister motives. Consider the movement in Oromia, the bravery of Oromo youth in exposing the extra-judicial killings and incarcerations of their political leaders and their sustained, bold, demands for change has trembled TPLF to its core. We shall not forget, however, that the incarceration of Oromo political leaders, the killings of innocent Ethiopians celebrating Errecha, or the staged intra-ethnic conflict by TPLF and its mercenaries between Oromo and Somali Ethiopians were all part of TPLF’s design to either help itself stay in power or instigate responses that contribute to TPLF’s wish of dismantling Ethiopia, that is, in the event that the demise of TPLF becomes apparent. The most recent move of TPLF softening its grip towards the incarcerated Oromo political leaders, and the gesture of dropping charges or releasing prisoners, no doubt, is the result of internal and external pressure on the regime. However, TPLF, even as its days are nearing the end, does not stop working hard to supplant the essence of Ethiopian-ness. Having secret meetings with various opposition groupsxvi; holding secret meetings with Tigrayans in the diaspora, creating alarm among its donor partners, and the list goes on, are all part of TPLF’s narcissistic nature of saying “my demise shall be the demise of Ethiopia and all Ethiopians. All Ethiopians shall remember, Collective Narcissism is incurable! TPLF is irredeemable!
May God bless Ethiopia and all Ethiopians! May God help Ethiopians, caged in TPLF prisons camouflaged as Amhara – Afar – Benishangul-Gumuz – Gambela – Harari – Oromo – Somali – Southern Nations and Nationalities – Tigray kililoch, break free!
A concerned Ethiopian
i “Gaddafi: ‘My People Love Me,’” BBC News, accessed February 9, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world- africa-12603086/libya-s-gaddafi-my-people-love-me.
ii “Al Mariam’s Commentaries,” Al Mariam’s Commentaries, accessed February 9, 2018, http://almariam.com/.
iii Aregawi Berhe, “The Origins of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front,” African Affairs 103, no. 413 (October 1, 2004): 569–92, doi:10.1093/afraf/adh024.
iv Ibid. p. 579.
v Ibid. p. 577
vi Ibid. p. 578.
vii ALEX PERRY, “Interview: Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi,” Time, September 6, 2007, http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,1659420-3,00.html.
viii Berhe, 2004. “The origins of the Tigray people’s liberation front.” p. 580.
ix J.M. Post, Narcissism and Politics: Dreams of Glory (Cambridge University Press, 2014). P.12.
x Agnieszka Golec de Zavala et al., “Collective Narcissism and Its Social Consequences,” (p. 6-7). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 97, no. 6 (December 2009): 1074–96, doi:10.1037/a0016904.
xi Post, Narcissism and Politics: Dreams of Glory. p. 10.
xii “A Rejoinder to Seyoum Mesfin’s Call to Arms to the People of Tigray,” Al Mariam’s Commentaries, February 5, 2018, http://almariam.com/2018/02/04/a-rejoinder-to-seyoum-mesfins-call-to-arms-to-the-people-of-tigray/.
xiii Aregawi Berhe, “The origins of the Tigray people’s liberation front,” Royal African Society 103, no. 413 (2004): 569–92, doi:10.1093/afraf/adh024.
xiv Ibid. p. 576.
xv “Education in Ethiopia,” Wikipedia, February 5, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Education_in_Ethiopia&oldid=824208671.
xvi “አሸባሪ ተብሎ የተፈረጀው ኦብነግ ከኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ጋር እየተደራደረ ነው,” BBC News አማርኛ, February 12, 2018, sec. ዜና, https://www.bbc.com/amharic/43031271.