Messay Kebede’s book receives critical acclaim
A new book by the renowned Ethiopian professor and author Messay Kebede dissecting the Ethiopian revolution has been met with great acclaim, University of Dayton’s website wrote.
Ideology and Elite Conflicts: Autopsy of the Ethiopian Revolution is the best and most thorough analysis of the causes and implications of the Ethiopian Revolution to date, Theodore M. Vestal, professor emeritus of political science at Oklahoma State University, is quoted as saying on the website.
“Messay Kebede has written an enormously important book. He definitively places the Ethiopian revolution as one of the 20th century’s ‘great revolutions,’ on par with the Russian or Chinese in terms of scope of transformation,” said Terrence Lyons, co-director of the Center for Global Studies at George Mason University. “Everyone interested in contemporary Ethiopia or comparative revolutions will benefit from this book,” read the bulletin.
“There are books, and then there are Books. Messay Kebede has written a Book,” said Donald Dunham, a University of California-Davis anthropology professor and editor of American Ethnologist. “With sustained analytical brilliance, he demonstrates how understanding Ethiopia contributes to the understanding of the world. Ideology and Elite Conflicts represents a major achievement in combining comparative history with political and cultural analysis, all set within a philosophical frame.”
The notes on the back cover explains, Ideology and Elite Conflicts provides a theoretical explanation of the major outcomes of Ethiopia’s social revolution, namely the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974 and the implementation of a far-reaching Marxist-Leninist revolution by a military committee (the Deg) and its collapse in 1991. “Messay Kebede extensively discusses the question of whether existing theories of revolution shed light on the eruption of a radical revolution in Ethiopia and, most of all, whether they can accommodate the major anomaly of a socialist revolution being executed by a military committee that radicalized after the removal of the imperial regime,” it reads. Hence the central theses of the book: both the overthrow monarchial order and the radicalization of the Derg must be tied to social conditions that exacerbated elite conflicts for scarce resources, with the consequence that the espousal of radical ideologies (socialism and ethnonationalism) became the soul avenue for the exclusive control of state power, it was stated.
In 2009, Ethiopia’s largest newspaper, Addis Neger, named Messay among the 25 most-influential living Ethiopians for his studies and writing on the nation’s sociopolitical and cultural issues.
Messay taught at Addis Ababa University for 15 years before political turmoil landed him in jail for five months. He left the country in 1994 and joined the University of Dayton’s philosophy department in 1998, wrote the webpage.