Yerga Abebe Deep Analysis About TPLF Though Ethiopia doesn’t have any strong tradition of football, as of recent it has become almost a national passion. One grim consequence of the tragic 2005 national election which claimed the lives of as many as 200 civilians was to drastically change the attitudes and lifestyles of a significant number of Ethiopian youth. Given the draconian laws and measures (following the election turmoil), the democratic space in the country has substantively been curtailed; and it comes as no surprise to see afterwards many youth being politically apathetic.
By way of escaping the bloody politics, many youngsters have since then resorted to an acquisitive and self-absorbed lifestyle where the burgeoning popular culture such as the European football loomed large. Meanwhile, the life and stories of football players in the Premier League, Bundesliga, and La Liga have become the only agenda that the youth in Ethiopia can freely and safely discuss about.
This move on the part of the youth appeared to be a welcome measure tacitly facilitated by the government as it distracts them from engagement in opposition politics and grass-root civil movement – a respite for a government which no longer has the stomach for any dissenting views
the enthusiastic and near-hysteria support of the Ethiopian fans to their national team. Is it out of mere passion for football? Does it emanate from the long-tradition of football as a national sport? Or, is it because of a track record of past successes by the national team in continental or world football cups, in the likes of Brazil?
To be sure, none of these can help to explain the issue at hand. As suggested earlier, there will be no doubt about the close interplay between sports (more particularly football) and politics. Especially, in hard and trying moments, football transcends sport and takes on a wide-reaching political or symbolic relevance.
In the contemporary Ethiopian case, I suppose, the issue might be comprehended better when examined within the context of contrasting dimensions of football-politics nexus as unfolded in the post-2005 election period – football serving, paradoxically enough, both as a means of disengagement from as well as engagement in politics concurrently