Dictatorship, state of emergency, self-deception and the end: TPLF plays its last card


By Alem Mamo

Authoritarian regimes are very skilled in elevating the concept of denial to a whole different level. Their standard play book is almost identical regardless of geography, political orientation or culture. First, they begin with their over-inflated self-worth, that is followed by their exaggerated accomplishments, and when the end is near they view themselves as messianic saviors with the mission to save the country and its people. This is the natural growth process of authoritarian regimes. Among many one particular trait is the most common in their mind set, which is denial and self-deception.

In 2011, during the Libyan uprising, Muammar Gaddafi was asked about the rebellion engulfing the country to get rid of his regime. Gaddafi’s response was pure self-deception. He said “I am loved by all my people, and there are no protests in Tripoli.” He also said true Libyans had not demonstrated but those who had come on to the streets were under the influence of drugs supplied by al-Qaeda and they are thugs and mercenaries.

At a news conference on Monday, October 10, 2016, the TPLF regime’s spokesperson, Getachew Reda, denied there was a locally organized uprising in the country. Instead, he singled out Eritrea and Egypt as sources of backing for “armed gangs”. He further elaborated stating, “we know for a fact that the terrorist group OLF has been receiving all kinds of support from Egypt.”  “Armed gangs”? Those young and aspiring university students, pregnant women, fathers, mothers, professionals murdered by Agazi are now being labeled as “armed thugs”? This is sad – the dead, as well as the living, don’t have respect in Ethiopia.

This kind of response to a popular uprising that is demanding nothing less than fundamental change could only be defined as self-deception. According to Stanley Cohen, this kind of pattern of   behaviour can be observed in an organizational or government structure when “people, organizations, governments or whole societies are presented with information that is too disturbing, threatening or anomalous to be fully absorbed or openly acknowledged. The information is therefore somehow repressed, disavowed, pushed aside or reinterpreted. Or else the information ‘registers’ well enough, but its implications – cognitive, emotional or moral – are evaded, neutralized or rationalized away.”

The blaming of ‘foreign enemies’ or ‘thugs’ is language we are accustomed to hear from authoritarian regimes time and again. As part of their self -deception and delusion, their minds continuously manufacture parallel stories completely opposite to the reality.

Susan Rice, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said “When he can laugh in talking to… journalists while he is slaughtering his own people, it only underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected he is from reality.” She added that Col. Gaddafi was “frankly delusional”. Sadly, the same Susan Rice also gave a glowing eulogy to another tyrant and one of the architects of the current mess in Ethiopia. Speaking at the funeral of Meles Zenawi, she said, “He was uncommonly wise – able to see the big picture and the long game, even when others would allow immediate pressures to overwhelm sound judgment. Those rare traits were the foundation of his greatest contributions.” Well, I wonder if Ms. Rice would stand by her words after seeing where Ethiopia is today.

The declaration of the so-called ‘state of emergency’ is nothing more than a comical show. There is nothing the regime was not doing before the declaration of the state of emergency that it is going to do now. It is well documented by credible human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, that the regime arbitrarily arrests, search homes with out a warrant, exercises extrajudicial killings, torture and a whole host of human rights violations. So, what is left? What different authority or power would be given to the security forces? The declaration of the ‘state of emergency’ is a comedy, except we can’t laugh!

TPLF is a regime that has overstayed a welcome that it didn’t have in the first place. Twenty-five years of repression, polarization and institutional terror is the only mechanism that kept it in power. Now, the people of Ethiopia from all corners, age, religion, and identity have spoken in one chorus: Enough! The declaration of a state of emergency is the last card all authoritarian regimes play while they are being shown they way out. In essence, the state of the emergency is the last gasp of a dying regime to feed their own self-deception and denial.

In the end, neither the self-deception nor the glowing words of their external supports can save authoritarian regimes from their demise. Any government can only govern with the consent and mandate of the people. A regime that absurdly claims that have won 100% of the vote has neither the consent nor the mandate to govern.  In Ethiopia we are witnessing the last sequence of a brutal authoritarian regime, state of emergency and the end!

The writer can be reached at [email protected]



  1. I liked your Libya and Gadafi analogy. You can add Iraq and Sadam Hussein to that as well. Look where Libya and Iraq are now. The people of these countries must love and enjoy the fruits of their revolutions now. Ethiopians should soon join those happy people unless their horrible military or government come and take away their dream of freedom like the Egyptians. Please do not tell us that Ethiopians are different, because they are not.

  2. After I read the details of the measures that woyane wants to take under a state of emergency, I realized that Ethiopia has been ruled under state of emergency for the past 25 years.
    Is there any measure under this emergency rule that woyane has not implemented in the past 25 year?

  3. Last card, last gasp, on death bed, 11th hour, etc….. we heard this for the last 25 years about EPRDF but we rather observed the rise and fall of several opposition parties. I don’t think the author understands the objective reality of Ethiopia and the ruling party.
    Comparing the situation with that of Libya and Iraq is too simplistic. First of if it wasn’t the direct involvement of the west those regims couldn’t have fallen in to the hands of the opposition that easily whereas the situation in our country is completely different.

  4. Right now Ethiopia needs pure dictatorial regime like North Korea, China, Russia. No need for anarchy in the name of fake democracy. We have to use Gada system or Bioto system made in Ethiopia, not this fake democracy or anarchcy from USA, and no need fake American democracy.

    • come on Gezaee, is that the racist Tigre in you speaking? All this years you were kidding yourself acting like a reasonable man because you thought your friends in power are having a smooth ride. The moment there is a bump in the ride, BAM the narrow minded racist, tribal baboon Gezaee out from them jungle and start throwing shit. Didn’t once you said you are in mental institution, may be the crazy gezaee is commenting these days? You had different names and personalities through the years, we don’t know who is commenting but we know all of your personalities have an elementary education level intelligence, so I encourage you to express yourself since expressing oneself is one way of learning 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • @Abay Rebel

      It’s seems you keep going back and forth, your like a little fox whos lost its way, one time you hate the TPLF but other times your pro, dude make up your mind, you remind me of those two guys in Tigrayonline who each call themselves the man but one of them is an Eritrean.

  5. Even hurricane Mathiew starts in Ethiopia high land. Just to remind you all some secret document of NASA . Most hurricane that affects USA originates from Ethiopian high land where most Amhara Christians live.
    Year 2030 , we the true Ethiopian can controll the weather in USA by reverting the wind from ethiopian high land and that couse more hurricane to USA than ever and also by 2018 we can controll the Blue Nile and command Egypte to beg us for drop of water.

  6. if you are to blame the past 25 years for it was saddest for you and others like you I thought you must be from the Derg family that was slaughtering human beings. You are just good for nothing as far as your articulation is concerned. To blame others you ought to behave as human and act as human, too. You may be one of the protesters I presume, but you don’t the analytical thinking that guides you to the civilized path. Again I can tell you how nonsense you, when you hot you shouldn’t destroy properties for these are not the governments ownership, rather they were individuals. We saw what you did at Gondar, Oromia, Bahirda, you did the act of crock. How stupid are you! Think again.

  7. It is rather amazing how some commentators judge the ongoing destruction emotionally without substantiating with logical reasoning. How can any reasonable Ethiopian supports the destruction of his/her country in a day-light? People can have the right to protest but without destroying precious factories, farms, vehicles, and essential social infrastructures. The type and scale of destruction we are witnessing today is beyond imagination and has to stop. Let any grievance shall be presented in a peaceful manner substantiated with reason and logic even if it takes more time to find/get the required solution. Let us be wise enough by being more rational and refrain from destroying the hard-earned costly economic and social infrastructure of our country. Let wisdom and logical reasoning prevail in transforming the current gloomy reality with the concerted efforts of all peace-loving sons and daughters of our motherland.
    Tfat Lemin ????????????????????????????

  8. Embooooooooa

    The hornless bulging neck TENGARA El matador bull. Time is around the corner for this hodam banda and the rest of Getatas to be obliterated. He may have less than 6-months to live, not 6-months of state of emergency to declare. U don’t have a chance! the angry Ethiopians re ready to chew ur AZZ. It is unthinking proclamation against this inclination after u been combating for evil of TPLF and caused all these massacre . u are one of the reason the barbarian TPLF to precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare and murder innocent Ethiopians. Please shut da Fka up! until we pronounced u R.I.P.

  9. The Ethiopian peaceful revolution is being emulated in various places. Demonstrations in China and South Africa? Yes, China where one party rules and always wins 100%. Does that sound familiar? South Africa fake freedom where whites and Indians control power/ Economy. By the way doctors in India just removed surgically a tail that had grown on a male Indian. The Doctors explained that the tail grew because of ancient primordial DNA that had suddenly activated. So Indians, next time before you discriminate blacks in India or rob land in Ethiopia from Ethiopians ‘Remember your Tail’.
    The peaceful demonstration has surfaced again to fight Dictators. It could happen everywhere where people are not satisfied. It could happen in Eritrea, Egypt, Venezuela, Cuba, US, Russia and many more.
    One Ethiopia unified against TPLF Dictatorship.

  10. C’est moi senait

    The Plato apology and red rose for gallant senait . My comments last week was a bit out of proportional. I am sorry for that and U still are in good side of my doma ras. Dear senait…. is there any chance we tell for the gods of hurricane to twist around to the left side of Ras Dashen by a couple hundreds of kilometers for one time only?

  11. Unfortunately all people focus on is the removal of Gov. No one talks about who will replace them. Hope not the doma ras torching businesses, schools and churches.

  12. The regime will not back down as long as it continue to hear demonizing a single group in its united front, I can tell you that for sure you will not be able to create a rift with your unabated insults to a front embraced by overwhelming majority of our Tigrayan brothers and sisters. No matter how bitter it may seem, we have to accept the fact that except for the very few TPLF is supported by the people of Tigray region. It is a minority that is in firm control of the regime in one of the most clever ways of the worst of governance. It has created a nature of the beast similar to that in Syria where a minority of Alawite Shias has been ruling since 1971. The Shias are a minority group but in firm control of the government. The Wahhabis have been dreaming to put their hands on every breathing Shias since they began in that joint called Arabian Peninsula. Assad and every Shite feels legitimately threatened will fight to death until nothing is left standing. The way I see it now, TPLF means Tigray with its people. Woyane is not Meles’ creation but rather it was the people of Tigray’s creation in the 1940’s. Right? Meles just picked it up from the archives and latched himself to it. And he did a brilliant job with it. He brought the entire people of Tigray in and around it. To me just cursing at TPLF and Woyane will not cut the mustard. It has delivered to and for them. And goons like Sebhat and the rest of deacons have been showing the people of that region what has been said and written about them and their party. Some of what was written and said make anyone cringe. “We will wipe out TPLF’, ‘We will dump every living and breathing Woyane into the Red Sea’ on and on. Who wouldn’t be nervous, angered and leery when threatened with extinction? Whether the so fragmented opposition admitted it or not, whether it grabs this reality or not, with such fundamentally wrong strategy, the regime back home is not going anywhere. During the last 25 years it has craftily created clones in all 9 or 10 regions. In Oromia which from the raw information I get from relatives is such that Meles was able to clone himself in droves. Each region has its own murderous security force whose members were carefully picked from the region itself. Such security forces are not in the days of the Emperor or Mengistu. They are well cared for and generously compensated. So it is not a dock work for almost nothing like it used to be. So I strongly believe that genuine people in the opposition camp should start the conversation on and with this reality on the ground. Otherwise no matter how many young people are killed, that Promised Land of the rights of the individual will continue to move farther and farther beyond reach. It will remain a mirage nobody will be able to grab on and 25 years from now we will be talking about the same thing. By that time, I will be all gone. If I am still alive and alert by then I will be almost 100 which may not possible.

  13. I think the government measure didn’t go too far. Howabout starting forced conscription of the bozenes? How about no mobile phones? How about no exit visa? How about 2% TAX on all diaspora afeworki style? How about no entry VISA to all ex-Ethiopian diasporas? How about seizure of all properties of diaspora exterimists in Addis and other cities? Since there was no democracy under Woyne and since Derg was already doing this, it is okay and the people won’t feel it.

    How about splitting Amhara and Oromia to 6-7 provinces as it was in Derg time since they so hate the current arrangement? Sounds like people are all up for that.

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