Northeast African Studies
My intention is not to defend the right of philosophers to theorize on social movements and changes; nor is it to defend the value of my work against Bahru’s attacks. Rather, I want to show that his criticisms of my book are either contradictory or express an inability to analyze from a level surpassing mere narration. In thus exposing the theoretical poverty of Bahru’s book, as well as the inconsistency of his project of shielding the student movement from criticism, I will explicate how and why Bahru intentionally misreads my book. I add that what Bahru calls “dismissive” is actually my intent to show the tragic nature of the Ethiopian student movement. Doubtless, the students had the good intention of correcting glaring injustices and modernizing their country, but they did it in such a way that it blew up in their faces and they themselves became the first victims. As the saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” To expose this reversal—which Bahru occasionally recognizes in speaking of “tragic consequences”—is not dismissive.5 What needs to be explained is why Bahru is dead set on criticizing me even when I agree with his own views.
Copyright © 2015 Michigan State University. All rights reserved.
Michigan State University Press
Kebede, Messay, "The Ethiopian Student Movement: A Rejoinder to Bahru Zewde’s The Quest for Socialist Utopia" (2015). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 44.