Tag Archives: Abiy Ahmed’s onslaught against educated Ethiopians

Abiy’s Apology and Ethiopian Political Culture

29 Mar

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Prof. Messay Kebede

Reacting to PM Abiy’s recent harsh and indiscriminate detraction of African and, specifically, of Ethiopian intellectuals, comments were quick to flow that, not only contested the criticisms, but more seriously exposed their dangerous implications, the most glaring of them being that the debasement of intellectuals is usually the mark of a dictatorial regime. The comments were not saying that intellectuals should not be criticized, but that the criticisms were expressed in such a way that they seemed to demonize free critical thinking, the outcome of which can only be its suppression. Indeed, the attempt was not so much to argue against the discourse of intellectuals as to ridicule and devalue their social standing. In short, the aim was not to provide counter criticisms; rather, it was to score political points through sheer denigration. While I approved the association of the disparagement of intellectuals with dictatorial practice, I could not, at the same time, discard the flagrant disparity between the message of the speech and what we know of the Prime Minster. Is he not himself a member of the intellectual elite, as testified by his side of life as a writer? Moreover, is not the speech contrary to what he has promised to the country and endeavored to implement since his rise to premiership?

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