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Revolution and Ethiopian youth

By Teodros Kiros

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has accused a little known Muslim extremist group of staging a wave of church burnings to provoke communal tensions in the Horn of Africa country. Meles expressed concern about regional instability, but dismissed the possibility of a North African-style popular uprising in Ethiopia. Meles says he is aware of attempts to end the ruling party’s nearly 20 years in power, both from within and without. But in a meeting with reporters, he rejected suggestions of a people’s revolution similar to those confronting entrenched authoritarian governments in North Africa and the Middle East. “It’s simply not possible. The circumstances for it do not exist. That does not mean some people will not try.’ “ – Peter Heinlein (VOA)

The Prime Minister is indeed blind to the lives of most Ethiopians who are swimming in the murky waters of poverty, political darkness and civil boredom. The Ethiopian youth are marred in a vicious cycle of poverty, which the “revolutionary democracy” of EPRDF twenty years ago promised to eradicate; and ten years ago revolutionary democracy devolved in to the living nightmare of tyranny/oligarchy framed by ethnocracy. The promise of eradicating poverty is now replaced by acceptable levels of unemployment of Ethiopian youth.

The naked reality, which glares to the Prime Minister’s palace in, clearly summarized below:

Over half of Ethiopia’s population consists of young people between the ages of 15-24 years. Many of the youth face diverse problems and live with constant life challenges. Especially in urban centers of the country, the number of delinquent juveniles is increasing. In Addis Ababa alone it is believed that there are over 100,000 people living on the streets, and more than half of these are young people. This number is increasing every day due to poverty and migration of people from the rural to urban areas in search of a better life. It is also due to children losing parents to AIDS and other causes. These young people are often involved in socially undesirable practices, such as frequenting brothels and drug and alcohol abuse. Many youth commit crimes such as robbery and other offenses. According to police reports, more than half of all the arrested criminals are young people. Other available evidence also indicates that young people commit most criminal offenses including drug abuse and other harmful practices in Ethiopia.

Alcohol and drug abuse among teens is on the rise, underscoring the need for more teen rehabilitation programs and centers to deal with this growing problem.

The mushrooming of foreign videocassettes and films in the country is also believed to negatively affect the personality of today’s youth in particular. Being left with low or no access to recreational centers or to leisure time activities, a number of youths are flooding to video shows most of which are full of violent, immoral and pornographic acts. What is still worse is that these films make the youths develop negative attitude towards their own culture, country and people. These young people seem to know nothing good about their homeland except that they despise it by comparing it with that of affluent societies. As a result it is not uncommon to observe immoral acts they often emulate from the film-shows. Since they spend much of their time watching films and practicing other socially undesirable activities, they fail to regularly attend their classes and acquire proper knowledge, which determines their future.

One of the major factors that seriously aggravate the problems of the youth is the absence of sufficient employment opportunities. A lot of school dropouts and those who complete high school education but with no opportunity to join higher learning institutes could not but remain dependent on their parents or guardians’ meager resources. Unfortunately, a considerable number of them spend almost half of their time in such a state. As a result, those youths who particularly come from low income parents often become hopeless and involved in prostitution and end up contracting HIV/AIDS. Frustrated by the challenges of getting reliable means of subsistence, some young people seem to have lost faith and a vision of tomorrow’s world. The situation calls for an immediate attention to assist in curbing the present trend of the young in Ethiopia. It is with this understanding and a sense of responsibility to serve God and people that Youth Impact came to existence.” – Youth Impact Ethiopia

This is the reality in the ground, which will soon wake up the Prime Minister from the slumbers of his deep sleep. The time bomb is ticking. Is the regime is still sleeping long hours, thinking that the intimidated Ethiopian poor are going to resign to their deplorable condition?

5 thoughts on “Revolution and Ethiopian youth

  1. Thanks Toedros for your important articels and in now day Ethiopia politic is all and everythingis is darknees and we must have same light now.”Yibkan”

  2. I whole heartedly agree with what you have said about the Ethiopian youth. The negative effect of games, chat among the young people of Ethiopia is in calculable. They have been exposed for too long to the filth of foreign uncensored games the damage noticeble.As you have pointed out the youth has no choice; Unemployment among college educated is above 40%. There is no thriving privately owned economy in the country, the lack of opportunity for a job brought with it disillusionment. They see the future gloom, and in order to survive they spent much time in video watching. The Melese regime is careless about the rising figure of unemployment let alone about the effect of video games upon the youth. When Melese says he is not concerned about any kind of popular uprising he seems to suggest his confidence on his army. When I went home a while back, I was shocked to see residents of some cities being patrolled by machine gun mounted military trucks. It has been a good while since the government lost public trust; it is heavily dependant upon its army.
    All this is well known by Ethiopians; if we fail to act this time, it is not for lack of knowledge but for our attitude of complacency and self-centeredness. The question now is not whether we must protest, but rather when? Currently the disaster in Japan has taken the Libyan news out of the radar screen. Once this event is under control we must rise and demand the removal of Melese.A provisional government made up of all the co-alition of Ethiopian political parties and civil organization is far better than Melese’s rule. We have, already, learned from news sources that one of the likely hood strategies he has ,in store in the moment of uprising, is to invest full power on his army generals. To this challenge the Ethiopian coalition must work twenty four seven to cement a coalition of representative government, if need be in absentia,well ahead of the the date of the uprising. That an elected body representing the opposition out side the country can check the illegitimacy of any military take over. After all the role of the military is to safe guard the security of the country. Political leadership must rest on the shoulder of the people. Until such time a representative government is freely elected a representative coalition government is the safe way to guarantee power in to the hands of the people.

  3. In order to gain political advantage MELES will say or do anything. He lied so
    much no one is listing to him anymore and things are getting harder everyday.The Ethiopian people are tired of the same Ethnic policy and one party show and now his puppet so called fake oppositions are getting tired of him also and when he see the recent north Africa revolution he fell that soon it’s going to be in his door step with out any doubt the only choice he has left he has to make threats or intimidation but he also knows that if once a revolution starts no one can stop this politically angry people he also knows his time is about to end and finally there will be a change in Ethiopia by the people .what meles should know
    is people suffer so much economically they can’t afford to feed their children
    any more this is with out adding any other problems and ethiopians tried this
    regime for twenty years but they are saying enough is enough and who is going
    to stop this . I think no one

  4. Meles and his cronies will use anything to stay in power. We (the Tigrayans) have been used to support Meles and his henchmen. We are now realised the evil mind of Meles and so called TPLF.

    Please stop talking and start the deadly action to remove Meles!!!

  5. Melese or EPDRF colonized our people and land for the last 20 years enough is enough please let us be organized and remove this government as soon as possible. Talking about this government is not the time at this time talking how to take him away from power is the time to talk about.

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