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The Ethiopian RevolutionWar in the Horn of Africa$
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Gebru Tareke

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300141634

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300141634.001.0001

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The Victorious Ethnonationalists: Insurgent Tigray

The Victorious Ethnonationalists: Insurgent Tigray

(p.76) 3 The Victorious Ethnonationalists: Insurgent Tigray
The Ethiopian Revolution

Gebru Tareke

Yale University Press

Ethiopian ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam demonized his Eritrean opponents as foreign agents or mercenaries and accused Tigrayan dissidents of being unpatriotic. He argued that the historical interregional, interfeudal, interdynastic, interclass struggles for power and for control of the peasantry's labor and meager surplus were all anti-Ethiopianism. Mengistu made these claims despite Gabre Hiwet Baykedagn's affirmation of Tigrayan patriotism and pronouncement that no other people cared more for Ethiopia's welfare and safety than the Tigrayans. Tigray had been an economic backwater in the empire-state since 1890, when Eritrea was colonized by Italy, to the outbreak of the Ethiopian Revolution in 1974. This chapter examines the emergence of Tigrayan ethnonationalism and insurgency as well as the rise of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front.

Keywords:   ethnonationalism, insurgency, Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Eritrea, peasantry, Gabre Hiwet Baykedagn, patriotism, Tigray, Tigrayan People's Liberation Front

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