On silencing the next generation: Legacies of the 1974 Ethiopian revolution on youth political engagement

Eyob Balcha Gebremariam, Linda Herrera

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This article argues that the Ethiopian revolution was a generational achievement. Hence, its legacy and lasting social effects can be best examined through a sociological lens that highlights the intergenerational relations between the "revolutionary generation" of 1974 and today's "restrained generation." One of the significant legacies of the Ethiopian revolution is that it continues to instill fear in young people who are inclined to engage in politics. This culture of fear has grown out of the atrocious "Red Terror" period of the late 1970s, and continues in different forms to the present as political youth, including social media activists, are vulnerable to persecution. Even as the young generation attempts to create new platforms for political engagement, it remains under the heavy hand of the revolutionary generation. After nearly four decades, the methods of crushing youth political activism remain almost the same. This article seeks to offer insights into how Ethiopian youth pursue various strategies to deal with the structural impediments to their active political engagement. It is also an attempt to unveil certain practices by the older generation that are designed to keep the youth in a political impasse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-166
Number of pages26
JournalNortheast African Studies
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History

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