Professor Abye Tasse's Public Lecture
"They have lost everything that makes them human. They do not deserve to live. That is why we must kill every single one of them. Think of it as destroying a great evil."
Ishmael Beah, The true Story of a Child Soldier: A Long Way Gone,
(Harper Perennial, London, 2007, pp. 108)
This time these armed struggles were waged not against European colonial powers, but against repressive governments led by African leaders: Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Ruanda are such examples. Much has been written about the leaders of these governments and, on the "illusion or disillusion" of western countries or the hope for Africa. But, when it comes to the understanding of significance of the armed struggle movements, apart from the official histories - which are often derived from the political movements themselves - very few scholars have paid attention to this subject. As a result literature analysing the wide area of armed struggle in Africa and people lives thereafter, have often focused primarily on two areas: child soldiers and demobilization of combatants. Because these studies have not been rooted in an African perspective, they tend to generalise and present a singular vision of all forms of armed struggle and erroneously depict those involved in armed struggles as inhuman. This is the thesis Professor Tasse wishes to challenge.
Focusing on the example of Ethiopia and studying the life trajectory of former guerrilla fighters (before engagement in guerrilla life, life in guerrilla and after), Professor Tasse will attempt to present and discuss: the process of engagement in the armed struggle movement as a commitment for Social Justice; life in the guerrilla as highly disciplined and civil; and multiple modalities of transformation of former guerrilla fighters in civilian life.
- Professor Abye Tasse: IAS Public Lecture (last modified: 9 October 2009) - MP3 file