Anti-establishment sentiment in Ethiopia is somehow echoed by the way the rule book of people to people relations is being torn up. The vast majority of Oromo people have concluded that EPRDF is a danger to their people, that it’s irremediably unjust or inept and therefore a threat to their region. The ‘Keros’ are mobilizing to end EPRDF rule as a viable political option. In Amhara people who perceive themselves as controlling nothing are besieging the people they perceive as controlling everything. We are in the midst of a perception insurrection.
2018 looks like “The Year of Adversity.”
For a long time we endured a system which promoted the dictatorship of the few instead of the initiative of the millions. It’s remarkable how easily most of us adapted to living in such a regimented system. I suppose our life wasn’t that intrinsically different on a day-to-day basis than life in a democracy. We still have TVs and work and school and shopping and parties and massage parlors. The difference is the steady disappearance of dissent from the public sphere. Anti-regime journalists are chased away, dissident political parties are declared “terrorist”, people first look around before gossiping.
How does a society go from a hot country to disintegration?
Gradually and then suddenly!
No longer satisfied with passive dissent, protesters venture to confrontation, resistance, and violence. At the later stage the citizenry may be hoodwinked by agitators who can turn protests into violent mobs, to protest the economic and political arrangements benefiting connected individuals and businesses. Such protests can easily turn to mob frenzy becoming so high, irrational and uncontrollable, that they can unleash a violence that will be incapable of changing our lives and lead to bitterness and evilness.
Needless to say potential catalysts for a meltdown, including the collapse of EPRDF, the breakdown of the state, and even a civil war are plain to see, unless the parties within EPRDF agree on a sweeping political, social and administrative reform, and meet the people’s expectations for a peaceful transition.
I would argue the odds are 50/50. Actually, I put the odds of a peaceful transition at about 55%. I hope there’s certainly enough common sense here to be sensible.
Still, for a while we recommend you avoid spots where the crowd is thick.