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Introduction: Ethiopia - Promise and Peril

In 1974 the "3,000" year-old reign of the descendants of Solomon and Sheba, personified in the "Lion of Judah" Emperor Haile Selassie I, was replaced by a national committee of military men, junior and noncommissioned officers known as the Dergue. In 1991, after a mere seventeen years in control, the Dergue - led since 1977 by Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam - was replaced by a revolutionary coalition still holding power as a transitional government, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The EPRDF, pledged to holding national elections in 1994, has already seen two major coalition members break away: the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), representing Ethiopia's largest tribe, and the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), seceding the province of Eritrea from Ethiopia. In 1992 Ethiopia was ranked "85" on the World Misery Scale - in the bottom fifteen percent, on a par with Haiti, Somalia, Angola and Laos.

This thumbnail sketch of contemporary Ethiopia points to both the tragedy - and the challenge - of the region. The Horn of Africa nations, of which Ethiopia is prominent, have been in the eyes of the world for over a decade now as the homelands of drought, famine and civil war. Eastern neighbor Somalia is currently occupied by United Nations peacekeeping troops attempting to keep the lines of humanitarian aid from being attacked by pillaging warlords. Western neighbor Sudan is witnessing an Iranian-backed Muslim government's program of annihilation visited upon its own population's Christian and animist minorities living along the border areas. Yet within Ethiopia, for all the tensions inherent in its transitional state of government, there is relative peace and potential for recovery. The EPRDF government is pledged to conciliation with the breakaway Oromo and Eritrean groups; in stark contrast to the Dergue, it has so far prevented large-scale repr...

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Ethiopia. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:54, October 01, 2020, from