The making of a ‘beggar nation’: The case of Ethiopia (GIRMA BERHANU, Professor )

The making of a ‘beggar nation’:

The case of Ethiopia

Part 1


Department of Education and Special Education
Västra Hamngatan 25, A-hus room 168
Mail address: Box 300, 405 30 Göteborg
office: +46-(0)31-786 2325
mobile: +46 704731818


For the past four or five years, I have been mostly writing about the dangers faced by Ethiopia –a nation in which war serves as a means to resolve political disagreements, massacres are planned in order to boost tribal identities and mass-population displacement is enforced a means of reminding citizens who wields real power in the country.

I began to miss my sociological, educational, and psychological analysis of the Ethiopian matters. In my early 20s, I used to hang out with a German aid worker who once told me ‘Girma, Ethiopians have become ungrateful takers’. I argued with him passionately, defending Ethiopia or Ethiopians. He thought I should research or write something about it. It took me 30 years to understand him. He worked as an aid worker for 25 years and consequently knew Ethiopia’s three regimes well (monarchy, military regime and the EPRDF era). I have been thinking of him and his ideas about how gentle, polite, and descent Ethiopians turned into passive and ungrateful takers.

My paper is based on reflective thinking and autoethnography. Reflective thinking involves “consideration of the larger context, the meaning, and the implications of an experience or action. Reflective thinking is the ability to look at the past, that is our past as a nation, and develop an understanding and insights about what happened in that proud and historical country and use this information to develop a deeper understanding or to choose a course of action. Autoethnography is an autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural (Ellis and Bochner, 2000). Under this broad rubric of autoethnography, a number of similar approaches (methods) e.g., ethnographic short stories, personal narratives, complete-member-researcher, auto-observation, reflexive ethnography, ethnographic memoir, and opportunistic research are included. Although various methodological strategies have been developed in connection with autoethnographic projects, they may be applied to other forms of qualitative research as well. 

As a teacher of research methodology, I am well acquainted with the concept of generalizations both in quantitative and qualitative research. I should also mention that I teach subjects on Ethnicity, Race and Education, and while this limits my willingness to use stereotypes regarding population, race, or cultural groups, I am also keenly aware that stereotypes often hide a kernel of truth. In social psychology, a stereotype is a fixed condition, an over-generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.


To raed the full article clikk her ⇓

The making of a beggar nation REVISED

Filed in: Articles & Opinions