Afar Pastoralists in Transition and the Ethiopian Revolution

For some of Ethiopia’s constituent communities the revolution has not been the beginning of profound socioeconomic upheaval. For the pastoralists of northeastern Ethiopia, political struggles with the central Ethiopian government long predate the Ethiopian nation as it is presently defined. The Present revolution has, for the Afar semi-nomadic pastoralists, changed the complexion and the character of their fundamental political struggles of socioeconomic change rather than initiated them. The nearly three-year-old Ethiopian revolution has not changed the basic circumstances of the pastoral Afar. It has simply rendered their future prospects less predictable. While promising increased tolerance for Afar autonomy the derg has also acted to reduce that autonomy by imposing new leadership upon them and has signaled new requirements for their participation in a planned socialist Ethioplan society and economy. The Afar have been left largely to their own devices in coping with revolutionary changes in the circumstances that were imposed upon them by the policies of the old regime. Notes.

Title: Afar Pastoralists in Transition and the Ethiopian Revolution
Authors: Beshah, Teferra-Worq
Harbeson, John W.
Year: 1978
Periodical: Journal of African Studies (UCLA)
Volume: 5
Issue: 3
Period: Fall
Pages: 249-267
Language: English
Geographic term: Ethiopia
Abstract: For some of Ethiopia’s constituent communities the revolution has not been the beginning of profound socioeconomic upheaval. For the pastoralists of northeastern Ethiopia, political struggles with the central Ethiopian government long predate the Ethiopian nation as it is presently defined. The Present revolution has, for the Afar semi-nomadic pastoralists, changed the complexion and the character of their fundamental political struggles of socioeconomic change rather than initiated them. The nearly three-year-old Ethiopian revolution has not changed the basic circumstances of the pastoral Afar. It has simply rendered their future prospects less predictable. While promising increased tolerance for Afar autonomy the derg has also acted to reduce that autonomy by imposing new leadership upon them and has signaled new requirements for their participation in a planned socialist Ethioplan society and economy. The Afar have been left largely to their own devices in coping with revolutionary changes in the circumstances that were imposed upon them by the policies of the old regime. Notes.