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  • Yasmin Aliya Khan

Ethiopia




Hello, and welcome to the Global Thread Podcast. I’m your host, Yasmin Aliya Khan, and today, we’re talking about Ethiopia.


Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for being here, and happy February 1st! I took a little break in January, but man… what a crazy month that was. Lots of personal developments for me, all of which I’m very excited about, and some of which you’ll probably be hearing about soon, especially if you follow me on Instagram or TikTok (@yazzzzzk, by the way).


Other than that, today’s my one-year Global Thread anniversary, so it’s a pretty special day. It’s weird… time really doesn’t feel like it moves the same way as it used to anymore. I know that’s not the first time you’ve heard someone say that in the past two years, but I really can’t believe how much I’ve done and learned since conceptualizing this thing. Recent events in my life have sort of forced me to take stock of my progress since 2021, which isn’t really something I enjoy doing, but I’m very grateful for the year I had. And honestly, I love this podcast. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done and I’ve enjoyed every painstaking moment of it.


Of course, you’re all a part of that, so really - I mean it when I say thank you so, so much for being here. I like to think it gets a tiny bit better with each episode, so thanks for bearing with me, too.


Anyway, today we’re talking about the situation in Ethiopia. As a border nation of Sudan, Ethiopia’s troubles might lead to further destabilization of the Horn of Africa. It’s rebels versus the government. Let’s get into it.


[GEOGRAPHY]


Ethiopia is located in East Africa on what’s known as the Horn of Africa… because it looks like a horn. Starting on its west side and going clockwise, Ethiopia is bordered by South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya. Ethiopia is a landlocked nation, but it wasn’t always. Eritrea used to be a part of Ethiopia, but when the nation split in two, Ethiopia lost its coastline. Today, it’s the most populous landlocked nation in the world, with a population of nearly 111 million.


I remember learning about Ethiopia back in 9th grade world geography. Back then, the Great Rift Valley was a hot topic, so we spent quite a bit of time on it. The Great Rift Valley, as it was once referred, is a huge series of trenches running along eastern Africa up into the Middle East. The Ethiopian rift valley is a part of that series. Ethiopia has a central plateau that reaches an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet above sea level in some parts, but the rift splits the plateau straight down the middle. Pretty impressive visual… plate tectonics and such.


The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa. The nation’s biggest industry is agriculture, and its major exports are food products, specifically coffee, oilseeds, and pulses. I’m sure you’ve had Ethiopian coffee at some point. They have it at Starbucks.


With agriculture playing such a key role in the Ethiopian economy, climate issues are a significant cause for concern. Ethiopia suffers from deforestation and water shortages that lead to desertification, as well as polluted water, soil, and air supplies. On top of that, due to overgrazing, the soil is eroding, making it more and more difficult to plant crops where they once grew.


[DEMOGRAPHICS]


Ethiopia is made up of several different ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Oromo and the Amhara. Another less populous but significant group is the Tigray who live in the northernmost part of the country where Ethiopia meets Eritrea.


The majority of Ethiopians are either Muslim or Ethiopian Orthodox, but there is also a good amount of Protestant Christians in the country.


[HISTORY]


Ethiopia, along with Eritrea, is old… about as old as it gets. With mentions in the Old and New Testaments and the Quran, Ethiopia’s importance in today’s modern world, both culturally and politically, shouldn’t be overlooked.


For instance, you’ve heard of the Queen of Sheba, right? She’s often referred to in pop culture, usually in regards to someone who’s very high-maintenance, opulent, or expects to be waited upon. In the 90s animated movie, “Anastasia,” the head of an orphanage tell the girl who would eventually find out that she’s a lost Russian princess that she acts like, “the Queen of Sheba, instead of the nameless no-account [she is.]”


But where was Sheba? Back in ancient times, the D’mt kingdom emerged along the coast of the Red Sea, with Nubia and Ancient Egypt to the north of it. The Kingdom of Saba was just across a narrow strait separating the Horn of Africa from the Arabian Peninsula in what is modern-day Yemen. Saba is sometimes referred to as “Sheba.” However, some say there was overlap between the Saba and D’mt kingdoms, so the Queen of Sheba is claimed by both Yemen and Ethiopia.


Either way, the story goes that the Queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem to learn from the renowned King Solomon. Solomon, of course, is the same one in the Bible, the son of David, of David and Goliath fame. Allegedly, Solomon conceived a child with the Queen, and she returned to Ethiopia to give birth to King Menelik I. Menelik would go on to be the first Solomonic Emperor of the region, with each subsequent emperor claiming Biblical lineage. Ethiopia also claims to be in possession of the Ark of the Covenant, which was given to them as a gift from Solomon himself.


Following the decline of the Kingdom of D’mt, the Kingdom of Aksum emerged in modern-day Eritrea and the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia. As the kingdom expanded, Aksum became a major international player in its day, utilizing sea routes to trade with Rome, Jerusalem, and India.


[CHRISTIANITY]


By the 4th century, the kingdom had officially adopted Christianity. In the 6th century, the Arab Empire took over what is now the Arabian Peninsula, including modern-day Yemen which may or may not have still been closely tied to Aksum. With this takeover, Aksum was essentially cut off from Rome, which hurt the kingdom financially.


A few centuries later, a female pagan warlord from the south invaded the weakened Aksum and took over. Known as Yodit or Gudit or even Judith, she burned religious buildings and systematically took down the empire. It’s assumed she did this because she was trying to stop the spread of Judeo-Christianity before it got to her and her people. She ruled for about 40 years, at which point the Zagwe Dynasty took over. Unlike before, the Zagwe’s didn’t claim biblical lineage, but by 1270, the Solomonic Dynasty took back power.


[ABYSSINIA]


At some point around here, the region came to be known as Abyssinia, which basically means a “mixture” of people. The name referred to the various tribes that lived there. It would eventually come to be known as Ethiopia, which is derived from Greek and means “burnt faces,” or faces that have been darkened by the sun. It’s probably not the most politically correct name for our modern sensibilities, but today, both names are commonly used to refer to the country.


The Solomonic Dynasty, still claiming its biblical roots, was back in power. They set out to expand their empire through warfare and diplomacy, spreading Christianity to neighboring villages while the Muslim world closed in on them. Still hurting economically from isolation, the empire fell apart into smaller principalities. It was barely hanging on as parts of a whole when Tewodros II came to power in 1855.


Tewodros set out to reunite the principalities and relaunch the Ethiopian Empire with himself at the head of it. It wasn’t easy, though. Apart from how daunting his mission was, he wasn’t popular. He was constantly battling with opposition forces - local leaders and warlords who wanted to maintain the relative autonomy they enjoyed during the Age of Princes. Still, he made attempts to create a centralized government and a united nation. He was critical of the feudal system and codified a tax code. He abolished slavery and polygamy, created libraries, and established a national army. He was decently popular amongst the peasants, but he made fierce enemies with the clergy when he attempted to tax church lands. Even as he was insistent on protecting Christianity against Muslim encroachment, the clergy did not support him.


Tewodros’ temper was also a huge problem. He had always had it, but when his beloved wife died, he snapped. He became increasingly erratic, destructive, and volatile. He would take prisoners and order mass murders at the slightest provocation, actions that would eventually lead to his downfall.


By the 1860s, Tewodros was losing whatever control he had over Ethiopia and its people. He sought help from the Queen of England, hoping that she would help him repel the Muslims in an act of Christian solidarity. The Queen had no such interests.


In fact, the Queen’s interests were better served by not attacking the Byzantines or the Arabs, for various reasons. It took her a few years to respond, and in the meantime, partially in retaliation for making him wait and partially to get the Queen’s attention, Tewodros kept taking British hostages. He even took hostage the people who were sent to negotiate the release of the other hostages.


So…remember in the movie “300” when Gerard Butler kicks the messenger guy into the pit? Before he gets kicked, the guy says, “This is madness!” to which Gerard Butler famously responds, “This. Is. Sparta!”


The “madness” the messenger was referring to was the breach of diplomatic immunity. You’re not supposed to kill or imprison messengers.


[THE ABYSSINIAN EXPEDITION]


Naturally, all of this upset the Queen. Thus commenced the Anglo-Abyssinian War of 1868, also known as the Abyssinian Expedition. Designed as a rescue mission, it was an expensive campaign that required a lot of forethought and engineering. Accessing the country, alone, was a major feat, considering the hazardous terrain and lack of infrastructure. The British also had to contend with local militias, although many were cooperative with the British as they weren’t fans of Tewodros.


Once the British found Tewodros, he killed himself, choosing to die rather than lose his dignity. Following his death, the British wasted no time looting the country. In fact, it was only a few years ago that England finally committed to returning the looted items to Ethiopia.


[UNCOLONIZED]


Keep in mind the timeline, here. This puts us in 1868, meaning we’re not far off from the Scramble for Africa. To this day, Ethiopia maintains that it’s only one of two African nations that have never been colonized by Europeans. The other nation to make that claim is Liberia, which has its own insane history. Putting aside the fact that nearly an entire continent was carved up by foreigners, you have to ask why Ethiopia was able to successfully resist subjugation when everyone around them fell.


The timing matters. At the completion of the Abyssinian Expedition, the British left Abyssinia with their loot and rescued hostages in tow. They’d done what they’d gone to do. In the next few years, the Ethiopian Empire was back with a new emperor, Yohannes IV, and when the British needed help with another nearby military campaign, Ethiopia was able to assist.


Around this time, Europeans were all over Africa, and the Suez Canal made the Horn of Africa even more of a valuable strategic location than it already was. You had the British in Egypt, with Anglo-Egyptians in Sudan and Eritrea, the French were trying to make their way clear across the continent, and Italy was trying to establish their own stronghold.


As the Anglo-Egyptians pulled out of their military campaigns in Sudan and Eritrea, the British gave away some of their Eritrean holdings to Italy rather than to Emperor Yohannes. The British and Italians didn’t agree on much back then, but neither of them wanted the French around. By backing Italy’s occupation of Eritrea, Britain would be keeping France out.


In the 1889 Treaty of Wuchale, the Kingdoms of Ethiopia and Italy laid out the terms of Eritrean occupation. Ethiopia gave up any claims to Eritrean lands in exchange for support and generally friendly relations from the Italians. This was pretty huge, considering this move would essentially landlock Ethiopia, cutting it off from the sea and eastern trade routes.


However, Emperor Menelik II would pull out of the treaty just a few years after it was signed when it became clear that some things had been lost in translation. According to the Ethiopian version of the treaty, Ethiopia had the option to consult Italy regarding any foreign affairs. According to the Italian version, Ethiopia was required to consult Italy regarding any foreign affairs. The Italian version essentially made Ethiopia a protectorate of Italy rather than the independent state that Menelik had negotiated for.


[FIRST ITALO-ABYSSINIAN WAR]


So, the First Italo-Abyssinian War commenced, with Italy attempting to take Ethiopia as a colony.


Long story short, Italy lost the war in a stunning and embarrassing defeat, and as a result, Ethiopia was established as an independent nation. Ethiopia’s victory is primarily attributed to sheer numbers, an obvious advantage the Italians thought they could maneuver and strategize their way around. They couldn’t. The French and Russians had also donated military equipment in support of the Ethiopians.


[SECOND ITALO-ETHIOPIAN WAR]


Jump ahead to 1935, Italy’s at it again, but this time, Mussolini’s in charge.


Just prior to World War II, Italy’s new prime minister was eager to reclaim the former glory of the Kingdom of Italy. Feeling expansive, Mussolini looked for land that would be easily accessible and strategically advantageous. As it was at the time, Italy already controlled lands along the coast of the Horn of Africa, as well as some lands on the opposite side of Ethiopia. Ethiopia sat defiantly in the middle of Italy’s territories.


On top of making geographical sense, Italy still wasn’t over their first war with Ethiopia. Frankly, they wanted revenge on the Ethiopians for beating them and for making them the only major European power to lose a war in Africa. In a surprise attack, the Italians invaded Ethiopia from Eritrea, entering Ethiopia through the Tigray region in the north.


[HAILE SELASSIE / RAS TAFARI MAKONNEN]


His Royal Majesty Haile Selassie was now the emperor of Ethiopia, and this guy was a big deal, not to mention a highly polarizing and controversial figure.


Raised by Emperor Menelik II, Selassie adopted his new name once he was made emperor. The name he was born with was Tafari Makonnen. His title, then, was Ras Tafari Makonnen, with “Ras” serving as a title meaning “head” or “lord.”


Ras Tafari Makonnen. Rastafari.


Haile Selassie’s ascent to the Ethiopian emperorship was said to have been prophesied. The prophecy goes that a Black king will be crowned in Africa, at which point, the African diaspora will be free from their oppression. These ideas took off in Jamaica, a then-British colony that was primarily populated by Africans who had been displaced from their homeland. The fulfillment of this prophecy was supported by Bible passages asserting that God is Black, along with the purported divine, Solomonic lineage of the Ethiopian emperors. The land of modern-day Ethiopia is often referred to in the Bible, and Rastafarians believe that their Zion is there.


But back to the war…


Selassie leaned into the war with Italy hard, but his efforts weren’t quite enough to defeat Mussolini’s army. Eventually, the Italians set up a solid occupation of Ethiopia, though Ethiopia maintains that it was never technically colonized by Italy. Either way, Selassie had to flee. He ended up in exile in Bath, England until the beginning of World War II when the British pushed the Italians out of Ethiopia.


By 1941, Selassie was re-instated as emperor of Ethiopia. After all the land had just been through, he had his work cut out for him. Ethiopia needed to be united and brought into the 20th century.


He got to work on enacting social reforms and modernizing Ethiopian culture. He was against slavery and worked for its abolition, and he was against colonization and fought for the independence of African nations from European powers. He also prioritized education for the younger generations, hoping to inject the future of Ethiopia with a solid competitive advantage. He cracked down on usury and exorbitant interest rates; he updated the national infrastructure and electric grid; he introduced a bank, a printing press, and a university; he formalized a national constitution and established a modern judiciary; and more!


But he wasn’t perfect.


For instance, he was against colonization, but he also annexed Eritrea into Ethiopia against the Eritrean’s collective will. He was a complicated guy.


He was making moves to modernize the nation, but he was also reluctant to relinquish any of his own power. As Ethiopia was still functioning as a monarchy, it was behind the times of its contemporaries as it was still upholding feudal systems. Feudal systems, as we know, don’t offer much in terms of upward mobility. Along those lines, most Ethiopians relied on subsistence farming and were therefore vulnerable to low crop yields. Subsistence farming doesn’t do a whole lot for a nation’s economy, let alone individuals’ savings.


This would hurt him, especially once the now educated youth started to see their homeland and its government as too conservative, or even regressive when compared to other modernizing nations. Their impatience and disappointment with Selassie were significant hurdles for him during his reign.


Perhaps most notably, though, he was blamed for killing over 100,000 people from the northern province of Tigray by abandoning them during the famine of 1973.


[CONFLICT WITH ERITREA]


During Selassie’s reign, specifically after the war, the question of Eritrea was one that never really went away.


Once the Italians were out of the area, the UN decided to create a federation between Eritrea and Ethiopia rather than allowing Eritrea to become its own independent nation. So, in 1952, Ethiopia absorbed Eritrea, much to Eritrea’s dismay. When the Eritreans began demanding better treatment from Selassie’s government, Selassie broke the federation and just annexed them in 1962.


As a result of the annexation, a militia group called the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, or the EPLF, formed. The next several decades would see a continued struggle between the two countries as Eritrea pursued its independence.


By 1974, Emperor Selassie was overthrown by a military junta known as the Derg. A new Marxist-Leninist government was put in place, and by 1977, Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu established himself as the new head of state.


The late 70s were a busy time for Ethiopia and its neighbors. Internally, a major revolution had taken place. By overturning Selassie’s regime, the ancient, 13 centuries-old Ethiopian Empire was no more. Think about that for a minute. This thing had been around in some form since before the days of Jesus Christ, and in many ways, that’s exactly what brought about its downfall. For all that the empire had accomplished, it had come into conflict with the modern world, finding itself an ancient bastion of divinity and perhaps delusion. Selassie’s regime was no match for the contemporary ideals of its people.


By the way, Selassie died the year after his deposition in 1975. It was said that he died of natural causes, but he may or may not have been strangled to death.


With the fall of the empire and its new military rule, Ethiopia found itself fighting several battles. The first was an internal struggle between Mengistu and his political opponents, of which he had many. In 1977, he launched what was known as the Red Terror, where he purged Ethiopia of his political opponents and their supporters. Estimated hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians were either killed, detained, or missing within these two years.


Meanwhile, the Somalians decided to take advantage of Ethiopian instability by launching the Ogaden War. Somalia would eventually lose the war, but only after Mengistu enlisted and accepted the help of both Russia and Cuba.


On top of all of that, the fight against the EPLF still raged on in the northern part of the country. Around this time, another militia group had formed in the Tigray region just south of Eritrea - the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or the TPLF. The EPLF and TPLF joined forces against Mengistu’s military, successfully keeping him at bay. However, in 1983, another famine swept through the northern part of the country, this one more deadly than the last.


Mengistu not only didn’t help the famine-afflicted region, but he went one step further by blocking aid from reaching them. His military’s actions even helped to facilitate and exacerbate the famine, as they burned fields of crops and marketplaces and displaced farmers. Over a million people died, most of them from Tigray.


In 1991, the EPLF and TPLF worked concertedly with smaller militia groups around Ethiopia to overtake and topple the Mengistu government. After the victory, Eritrea wasted no time in declaring its independence.


With the war over, the EPLF retreated back to the north, leaving the TPLF in charge in Ethiopia.


[TPLF]


You know, whenever I do these podcast episodes, I always get to the 90s and think I’m done. Then I have to remind myself that we’re currently in the 2020s and I’m old.


Anyway, the TPLF.


Meles Zenawi came up as Ethiopia’s first Prime Minister in 1991. At this time, Ethiopia was more or less organized into small militias, so Zenawi basically made those militias into political parties. Tigrayans comprised about 5% of the Ethiopian population at the time, but since the TPLF was in charge, they were able to rig the election process so that Tigrayans would always be in control.


Then, the TPLF went to war with Eritrea over a border dispute. Their former allies were now made enemies as confusion over where the real border was supposed to be had become muddled over decades of colonialism, occupation, and tribalism. Also, there were some issues with transitional governments, more foreign intervention, and members of the TPLF who never wanted to grant Eritrea its independence in the first place.


Over the course of the next couple of decades, the war would continue off and on, even after international powers intervened and peace deals were made.


In 2012, Zenawi died, leaving the nation in a bit of leadership flux. In 2015, the country held elections that were widely contested, resulting in a landslide victory for the TPLF and subsequent protests across the country. By 2018, a new Prime Minister was finally appointed, Abiy Ahmed.


Ahmed was an Oromo, a populous group in Ethiopia that had been generally underrepresented and marginalized in Ethiopian politics. He was also outspoken against governmental injustice, leading people to hope for better, calmer, and more peaceful days ahead.


And it sure seemed like they were well on their way, at least initially. Ahmed set out releasing political prisoners and restoring freedom of press in the country. He also revamped his cabinet, ousting corrupt officials and including more women in government. Most significantly, though, Ahmed relinquished Ethiopia’s land claims at the Eritrean border, effectively ending the war and repairing relations between the two nations. This was considered such an incredible accomplishment that it actually earned Ahmed a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. Additionally, he consolidated political power into a single party called the Prosperity Party which served to alienate the TPLF after nearly 30 years of being in power. They weren’t happy about that.


The TPLF looked to the 2020 election as an opportunity to reclaim their position, but an unprecedented global pandemic would derail their plans.


I mean, it derailed everyone’s plans, but they were extra salty about it.


Citing the pandemic as justification, Ahmed decided to postpone the 2020 election, upsetting the TPLF who argued that Ahmed was just afraid of losing to them. In rebellion, they held their own elections in Tigray. Ahmed’s government responded by blocking aid to the region. Eritrea also got involved, seemingly to prevent the war from spreading into their own territory, but also possibly to assert themselves as an independent nation on the global stage. An unstable Ethiopia wouldn’t benefit Eritrea, either, especially after the two countries are technically friends again.


Amidst all of this, Ahmed’s global standing has suffered, to put it lightly. Once hailed by the Ethiopian people and the international community as a liberator of sorts, Ahmed has become a huge disappointment, more so than his predecessors. While his actions are not completely unlike those leaders who came before him, he was supposed to be different. He said he would be. He was charismatic, he had a history of speaking out against injustice, he had a diverse personal background, he was young, he was hot - he was like when Obama first came on the scene.


“Yes, we can” - am I right?


To make matters worse, communication lines are down throughout Ethiopia and Eritrea so status updates on the situation are spotty. For his part, Ahmed is largely slow to comment or make public appearances regarding the matter. However, he doesn’t seem to be remorseful of the situation, viewing his criticisms as inevitable in the face of great change and reform.


[WHAT’S NEXT]


It’s hard to talk about what comes next in a conflict that’s been ongoing for so long. It’s naive to think that we’re somehow at the end of it all when you look at the big picture. It’s especially naive when that picture consists of sporadic years of something resembling peace amidst and despite general unrest, inequality, famine, displacement, border disputes, conflict between ethnic groups, religious tensions, and more.


The struggle in Ethiopia is troubling because it has large-scale international implications. With the conflict threatening to seriously destabilize the Horn of Africa (that is, more than it already has), neighboring countries are on edge. There’s also the issue of refugees coming out of Tigray and northern Ethiopia, as well as concerns regarding the disruption of supply lines in and around the area.


But the most egregious of all these things is the human factor. By the end of 2021, over 9 million people in northern Ethiopia were in need of food aid with militia groups blocking it from reaching them. There have also been executions of civilians and accusations of straight-up ethnic cleansing. Buildings, homes, and farmlands have been burned or otherwise destroyed by violence.


Over the centuries of various leaders attempting to fix the country’s numerous problems in their own distinct ways, the incessant warfare that has become commonplace within and just outside of its borders is working against whatever positive progress had been made. Even recently during the pandemic, Ethiopia had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. But if millions of people in the country are starving and malnourished because of government action or inaction (depending on how you look at it), what kind of investment could Ethiopia possibly be making in its future?


[FINAL THOUGHTS]


Do you remember when parents were always telling kids to eat their food because “there are starving children in Africa”?


Pictures from the famines in Ethiopia started to spread around during the 80s and 90s, much to the dismay of the Ethiopian government. We got used to seeing starving children in Africa on the television, with their ribs on full display, their bellies distended, and their lips cracked.


Not only was it not a good look for the Ethiopian government when those images were released, but we here in the western world didn’t really understand what was happening or what we were looking at. In our misguided though probably well-intended attempts at empathy, we just made actually starving people fodder for our own egos. Thank god we were born over here and not there, right? #blessed? People weren’t really making attempts to learn why the children were starving, but to be fair, times were different back then. We didn’t have access to information the way we do now.


On top of that, the saying became “starving children in Africa,” not “starving children in Ethiopia” or “Somalia,” or wherever. I mean, it could have been any country, but we just called it all Africa. We didn’t look for distinctions between countries. We painted the whole continent with a broad brush of starving children, no less. I think it’s fair to say that many Americans struggle to identify cultural distinctions between African nations the way we might be able to with nations of other continents.


The reason I bring all of this up is because we’re over here thinking of them as just “Africans” when within this one African country alone, there are several different ethnic groups, each fighting for representation in their government. You can’t look at these conflicts without acknowledging the diversity that exists within the country.


And it’s baked into the history, too. This region was once made up of tribes or ethnic groups, some sedentary, some nomadic. Sure, they fought each other back then, but when the continent was made to [quote-unquote] “civilize” in such a way that it appeased the Europeans, arbitrary borders, forced lifestyle changes, and a general lack of understanding amongst groups now being made to live with one another essentially erased some of their cultural identities.


It happens whenever borders are drawn, including Europe. Just look at what’s going on in Spain. What happens when nations are built is that all of those groups are made to be just one. In Ethiopia as we know it today, its people are now simply “Ethiopians.” Amongst each other, though, they are the Oromo, the Amhara, the Tigrayan, etc.


And as Americans, we tend to be extra sensitive when this happens to us. One time someone said something about me being from Dallas and I was a little offended. People in east Oregon want to change their state’s border because they align more with the people of Idaho. I mean, the Super Bowl’s coming up - LA versus Cincinnati. What kind of annoying culture clash is that going to be? And those are just super low-level examples of cultural issues we experience in this country. We all know how deeply they actually run and how dangerous they can be. Not only that, but we all see how difficult it is to govern opposing groups of people with the same piece of legislation. Really, when looking at a country like Ethiopia, it’s not that hard to understand where and why these conflicts arise amongst its different groups. We might not know all of the details, but empathy is the first part of any kind of understanding or betterment, at least in my opinion.


[OUTRO]


That’s it for this episode of Global Thread. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you took something good away from it. As always, I’m very grateful to have you here, but I’m definitely feeling it more today than most days. Happy anniversary, y’all.


If you’d like to support this podcast, you can do so at Patreon.com/globalthread. You can also follow me on Instagram and TIkTok at @yazzzzzk (five Zs), and you can read a transcript of this episode on my website, globalthread.org.


Take care, everybody. Next up - Kazakhstan.






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