When a jigsaw has a missing piece, it is not a jigsaw.
Ethiopia, unlike its contemporary European empires were exclusively built on the crude straight line of conquest, subjugation, and forced assimilation.
Granted, in any empire European or otherwise, there are always elements of conquest and assimilation, but they are rarely similar to that of Ethiopian experience pound for pound.
Perhaps one of the enduring flaws in the Ethiopian state building has its roots in this missing piece in the jigsaw.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the Ethiopian empire entirely manned by Amhara ethnic group conquered its surrounding nations and nationalities.
The conquest were followed by subjugation and forced assimilation( culture, language and religious conversions).
Fast forward to the late 20th century, while the European Empires were retreating from the continent( willing or unwillingly), Ethiopia had never revisited its original blue print of conquest, subjugation and forced assimilation.
The result is the picture we have today in Ethiopia, a jigsaw puzzle with a missing pieces.
What is the solution? here is what I think can be a solution: Despite the precarious state of affairs that Ethiopia finds itself, there is a cure if the progenies of the founders of the empire are willing to accept- this is big IF.
1. The original blue print of conquest, subjugation and forced assimilation, and pretending nothing has happened should be discarded for good.
In its place
2. Ethiopia must adjust to what other successful empires did to survive, I.e. conquest, subjugation, assimilation and devolution.
Note, the first three stages can not be undone, history only travels forward not backwards, but to cure the illness that went before, one needs to inject a healthy piece in the missing jigsaw.
For me the missing piece in the jigsaw that Ethiopia desperately needs is a ‘ devolution’ devolving the political power from the centre of the empire to the conquered regions.
A good case study is my adopted country-Britain.
The UK consists of four nations, England( the biggest and the wealthiest), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The English, which is England conquered, assimilated( to some extents) Wales and Northern Ireland. However, England did not stop there, it added another piece to its empire building Jigsaw, that is devolution of power from London to the capitals of these nations.
Scotland had a slightly different experience as it was a union rather than pure conquest, yet it has the same trajectory, assimilation and then devolution.
Ethiopia can learn from this case study.
– Dr Nur Hassan