A very interesting analysis of the Independence Day celebrations, some highlights:
"This article examines how the state
manipulates the public to participate in 24 May Independence Day as a national holiday, and how and why the public
participates in the state-organized celebrations. The writer argues that the 24 May celebration serves multiple ideological
functions for the state and society. These include providing the state with a sense of broad popular support for its rule,
thus allowing the government to believe in the ideological illusion that state and society live in seamless harmony,
while at the same time providing the people (the hafash, or “masses”) with psychological release from the dire
economic and political plight that characterizes contemporary life in Eritrea. This project of the state, however, will be
“ultimately undermined and defeated by what Achille Mbembe aptly terms the ‘the historical capacity for indiscipline
of society’” In the case of Eritrea, the unruliness of the “masses” has taken different forms, from
internal self-criticism within the ruling party, to open disapproval of, and resistance to, the regime by Eritreans both at
home and in the diaspora. "....
"However, behind the festivities and celebrations, we have to look at how the ruling party operates using different technologies of
power. The government’s celebrations are planned to manipulate the public to participate in the ceremonies and
experience the madness and temporary euphoria that the festivities induce."
" One can think of the guerrilla movement as a prison or cage—a
cage of the Goffmanesque type, one that forms a “total institution.” Erving Goffman stated that the total institution
“may be defined as a place of residence and work where a large number of like-situated individuals, cut off from the
wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life”. It is an institution where all the aspects of the life of individuals under the institution are controlled and regulated
by the authorities of the organization. The concept of total institution has been applied to prisons, mental hospitals,
boarding schools, concentration camps, and boot camps (Goffman 1961) and may also be applied to the EPLF, a
According to the author, "In 1997, at a meeting of the TPLF Central Committee that was convened at the Economic Commission
for Africa Hall in Addis Ababa, the Prime Minister dropped a bombshell. He told the members who were
hitherto in control of every policy decision not only in Tigray, but also in the rest of Ethiopia that the Mandate
of the TPLF was over.
Ethiopia, TPLF and Roots of the 2001 Political Tremor - P.Milkias 3
Meles explained that the TPLF as a front had, starting from the beginning, two basic contradictions to
contend with. The primary contradiction was, he explained, to neutralize the forces that militated against their
avowed aim, to achieve self-determination for their homeland of Tigray. This, he explained, has already been
accomplished. Their organization had defeated their earliest rivals, the EDU, the TLF and the EPRP. Then, it
defeated another rival, the ELF by coordinating its forces with the EPLF, at that time their ally against the Derg.
The TPLF had continued its struggle until it defeated the Derg and liberated the entire province of Tigray. It
then continued to follow the Derg to its seat of power in Addis Ababa until it crushed its military forces and
took over the whole of Ethiopia."
"People present at the meeting report that the Tigray nationalists led by the Tewolde-Siye group were
astounded by this bold suggestion and argued against Meles vehemently. The dissidents’ fear was that if Meles
continued in the same direction, the TPLF might loose its grip on Ethiopian economics and politics. It is not
surprising therefore that since the rift appeared, they have attacked Meles for undermining Tigray and Tigrayan
nationality for which many of their comrades gave their lives"