Sunday, September 4, 2016

Berhanu Nega's War in Ethiopia

The New York Times Magazine published on 31 August 2016 an article titled "Once a Bucknell Professor, Now the Commander of an Ethiopian Rebel Army" by Joshua Hammer.

This is the story of Berhanu Nega, a former university professor who is on indefinite leave of absence from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and now spends most of his time in Eritrea leading an effort known as Ginbot 7 to topple the government in neighboring Ethiopia. He left Pennsylvania for Eritrea in July 2015. The author of the story met with Berhanu in both the United States and Eritrea. Berhanu says he overseas several hundred rebel fighters in Eritrea as well as an unknown number of armed members inside Ethiopia who carry out occasional attacks. His family continues to live in the United States to which he travels on an Eritrean passport as he does not have U.S. citizenship.

A couple readers (see comments) criticized my choice of title for this piece. I would note that the title of the article in the published version of The New York Times Magazine was "Professor Nega's War." My title was nothing more than a rewording of this title as some readers do not connect Berhanu Nega with Ethiopia. Most followers of this blog are not Ethiopian.


  1. I do not get the purpose of this piece. I do not believe you describe America's invasion of Iraq, Libya or other countries as Bush's war, Clinton's war, Bush's war, Obama's War. It will be unjust for me to compare Ethiopians' struggle to free themselves from TPLF parasites with the USA war in other countries. But, intentional or not, I see a sinister slant in your choice of word for the title. It is not Berhanu's war. It is a war of all Ethiopians against a dictatorship imposed on them with an active support and direction from your government.

  2. Ambassador David Shinn, with all do respect I find your title "Berhanu Nega's War in Ethiopia" to be highly offensive as it irresponsibly undermines our peoples' struggle to build a free and fair society for all Ethiopians. I am sure you are very well aware of the brutal nature of the ethnically organised apartheid government in Ethiopia and the repression endured by our people for the past 25 years. It is incomprehensible why a highly acclaimed scholar like yourself continues to support injustice in Africa even at such grave times. Don't you see how prejudice is destroying our world?

  3. Ambassador David Shinn, I would like to apologize for the mistake, my comment was based on the online version of the article.

  4. And thank you for posting it on your blog.