Freedom of Movement, or Walking Empire?

Freedom of Movement, or Walking Empire?

Tsegaye Ararssa

In Ethiopia, freedom of movement seems to be recast as, above all, the right of the Amhara to go anywhere and to be above all the local laws and regulations (eg. the language policies, the investment and lease laws, environmental laws, laws for the management of land and other natural resources, etc) of the areas they go to.

The freedom of movement has, in effect, become a special treatment, sort of an exemption, of the Amhara person anywhere in the country.

And it doesn’t occur to them that, speaking constitutionally–for whatever worth it is–freedom of movement is the right of every citizen to go to, to live, to work, to own property, and to do business anywhere in the country including in the Amhara region.

But from what we see, freedom of movement (even THROUGH Amhara region, not INTO) has been blatantly limited in the region. Movement through to Tigray has been disallowed for quite a while now. Movement within the region, especially to and out of minority peoples’ zones in the region, is heavily impaired.

Consequently, freedom of movement of only the privileged has come to be the walk of empire, literally walking empire in all its breadth and depth.

Given the fact that it is being done almost exclusively Southward, it has become obvious that this walk is tracing imperial routes of conquest, (land) dispossession, (enserfment and labor) exploitation, and cultural degradation


1 Comment

  1. Have the “Amhara” got more laughs for other Ethiopians? “Free movements”, “free expressions”, “rights to association/”organisation” and even free to abuse, massacre innocent civilians in Wollo, North Shoa, Gumuz, Qimant, etc. Unlimited freedom, all being enjoyed by Amhara extremists? Paradoxically, the Amhara region is exclusively for them since they do not tolerate any other ethnic groups to be able to freely move and make lives for themselves there.

    As seen recently by the massacres Amhara militia carried out, it is clear that they freely kill those they consider others and boast about their heroic acts. It seems that they have a motto, “reject others, claim everything you see; shoot at anyone you think is Oromo, Gumuz, Tigre, Qimant, etc., and showcase your civility”. They do not grasp that there are certain criteria for exercising democratic rights and democracy comes with responsibilities. They do not allow differences;they do not entertain other peoples’ sides of the narratives about mutual benefits.

    ‘So Two Cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three (E.M. Forster). As observed by Forster, democracy allows variety and criticism, however, does not let people loose on others. For Amhara extremists (lunatic fringes) roaming the country and causing havoc equates to exercising democratic rights. They do not have the capacity to see that they are infringing other peoples’ democratic rights as they act without inhibition.

    Is there any government in the country which can enforce law and order so as to stop the killings and nuisances caused by those trading in the name of the Amhara? Particularly can the government bring the National Amhara Movement (NaMA) and their militia operating from Amhara region to justice before their extremism engulf the country in endless civil war and state collapse?


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