May 28 - Downfall of the Derg in Ethiopia

Posted on May 28, 2018

Humans as a species probably first evolved in what is now known as Ethiopia, and the oldest fossil remains of modern humans have been found there.
For centuries, Ethiopia functioned as a kingdom or empire, ruled by a monarch, and even when European powers were scrambling all over the African continent, gobbling up swaths of land to add to their growing empires, Ethiopia remained independent and self-ruling.

Because of this proud tradition, the green, yellow, and red of the Ethiopian flag were often copied in other flags as African peoples fought or negotiated their way out of colonial status and into independent-nation status.

Ethiopia was the first independent nation from Africa in the League of Nations and the United Nations.

In 1930, the immensely important, controversial, even revered Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie was crowned...

...and in the 1970s the emperor allowed a committee to be formed to deal with corruption in the military...

...but then in 1974 that committee (backed by the Soviet Union) turned against Emperor Selassie, arrested and imprisoned him, and took over Ethiopia.

The coup occurred against a backdrop of problems and unrest. There was an oil crisis, soaring oil prices, some crop failures, and a famine caused by those crop failures and by the high prices for imported food (mostly because of the high oil prices).
The Amharic word for "committee" is derg, and the Derg that ruled Ethiopia for more than a decade was a communist military government. The Derg was overthrown on this date in 1991.

Under Emperor Selassie and under the Derg, Ethiopia had a less-than-wonderful record on human rights. Now that the nation is post-Derg?

Unfortunately, same-old same-old... Freedom of the press is not well established, and the government often harasses and threatens and intimidates and sometimes arrests journalists and reporters. International observers have said that elections are not free and fair, and police sometimes massacre peaceful protesters!

But here are some beautiful aspects of life in Ethiopia:

The beauties of plants and water:

The unusual - well, actually, weird! - beauties of the Great Rift Valley:

Cool ruins:


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