A tenured US professor is leading an Ethiopian rebel group


In the summer of 2015, Berhanu Nega’s life took a very unusual turn. The gregarious economics professor took an indefinite leave of absence from his tenured post as professor of economics at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, left his family, and took off for Africa to lead an armed rebellion.

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Nega is an exile from Ethiopia, and the goal of his guerrilla group, Ginbot 7, is nothing less than the complete overthrow of the regime.

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The New York Times Magazine has a new profile of Nega.

He left a lot behind.

“He had developed a very American lifestyle,” says Josh Hammer, who wrote the story. “[He] had a very nice suburban house, rooted for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Eagles — barbecues in the backyard, summers on the beach in Maryland, sending his kids to good American schools. So a very American existence.”

Nega now lives a very spartan lifestyle in Eritrea, a neighbor of Ethiopia and its mortal enemy.

You can access Hammer’s full story in the magazine here.

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