What is politics?


What is politics? This is the question that has been twirling in the minds of many people. Let’s say this same question is posed to you. What will you do? Probably you try to say something based on your knowledge on the subject. Or you may open your dictionary and humbly read out some of the definitions listed there. “Politics is the art or science of government… the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government.”
What impressed me most regarding the definition of politics goes like this. “Politics is the art or science of influencing other people on a civic or individual level. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance-organized control over a human community, particularly a state. A variety of methods is employed in politics, which include promoting its own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to international level…”
I hope you readers like this definition for the very reason that the term politics is somewhat elaborated in a much better way than the other definitions we have just read above. Whatever it is, I am not satisfied with all these above given definitions of politics. I don’t mean it is incorrect. I just want to say that these definitions have nothing to do with the politics being exercised in my own country. Therefore, what if I come up with my own free definition? But first let’s read some more strange definitions by others.
I don’t remember right now about the guy who said it, but I know a funny definition given to the term politics. It says that the word politics comes from Greek. It is a combination of two words; ‘poly’ and ‘ticks’. ‘poly’ means ‘many’ while ‘ticks’ is a word with the meaning of blood-sucking parasites. This is very funny and interesting; isn’t it? Ernest Benn says, “God has no role to play in politics except to make sure politicians go where they belong. To hell”. This same individual also said that “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy”.
My friend, our politics is quite different. It is not the kind of politics that can be explained as ‘art or science’. It is rather the art or science of cruelty and hatred shrouded by ethnicity and segregation. Politics in my country is a multi-faceted art of cruelty. The politicians use it to consolidate their mass base through ethnicity and racism. But why these politicians are interested in ‘their’ people? Someone said that “politicians are interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs”. These politicians do their art of cruelty by fabricating wrong history and disseminating lies among the innocent people. In the current Ethiopia, politics is a hot cake for those crooked individuals who get together under their umbrella of ethnicity. They kill innocent people for their destructive cause. They play ethnic politics to wipe away innocent civilians of other ethnic group from their localities. Politics for these individuals is the art of instilling hate in the minds of the young people. It is the art of doing business. These politicians who call themselves intellectuals cause displacements of civilians so that they can get financial gain. They get the land and other illegally looted properties from displaced people…
Our politics is a devilish art in which you will get affected irrationally by those who have the power. You get killed, displaced and incarcerated illegally. You will be hanged with your head down by irresponsible individuals who have been let free across the country. You will be deprived of your right to reside and possess property in any part of this country. What you call liberty, democracy, individual rights do not have place here in your own country.
My fellow country man, so long as you have no power, you can never get acceptance by those who seized the power. Might is power. Who said that? I am of the opinion that whomever said this, it is a very correct maxim. Those who have the power are the most respected ones. (The power acquired illegally.) What is surprising is that the government has not shown any effort to take legal measures against these trespassers. As they have been let free, they can do whatever they like… they kill people, robe government resources like banks, arm themselves illegally… but the government does not raise its fingers to pinch them. They come out on local media to disseminate hate speech, call other ethnic groups names. The entire nations have witnessed that no legal measures have been taken against the individuals who are believed to be major causes of this chaos. This is the real politics we see being practiced openly.
In our country when we are talking about politics, it doesn’t mean the way one and one is equal to two. It is quite the opposite. The so called intellectuals create their own fake history and corrupt the minds of the posterity. So long as it is the simplest way that can help them to attain their goal, there is no need for them to have civil discussions and arguments with other people. What they say and demand must always be taken for granted.
Our present-day politicians do not solve political problems through round table discussions or civil arguments or debates. They rather try to impose their political agendas on others. Violence and terrorism are their favorite ways to achieve their goals, which are not the common agendas of others.
To date many unfortunate people have been forced to watch local television programs that are accustomed to presenting individuals who call themselves intellectuals. These shameless liars are seen wallowing in political corruption. They are busy misleading the people. They use their power for illegitimate gains. There are certain television channels that deliberately arrange the fora for these individuals so that they can disseminate their venomous propaganda and divisive political agendas. These guys declare themselves the enemy of unity. What they are always thinking of is ethnicity.
This is politics our leaders are exercising in this country of ours. They don’t give a damn whether or not the rule of law prevails across the country. The crooked politicians use the opportunity to promote corruption, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft and embezzlement. The parliament or the house of representatives which is responsible to echo the cry of the downtrodden nation doesn’t say a word regarding this political corruption. Still we have not yet been fortunate to enjoy our legal rights. Still we have not yet been blessed with genuine legal personnel who judge citizens equally and in due process of law. How unfortunate we are!

The writer can be reached through gizaw.haile@yahoo.com