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OTNAA Executive Global Leaders are organizing a special teleconference in this coming Friday 23 March 2018 Globally.

What do the people of Tigray expect from Tigrayan scholars?
Before we pinpoint the expectations let’s somehow define what a scholar means. Urban dictionary defines scholars as “People who are amazingly intelligent, tricky, hilarious, random, and lovable, in most cases they wield a wide variety of characteristic traits and personalities, and are willing to PROcrastinate when the time calls; they are truly the scholars of the 21st century.” And according to Merriam-Webster, a scholar is “a person who knows a great deal about one or more subjects: a learned person.” Again for the free dictionary, scholar is “a learned or erudite person, esp. one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject.”

These are the dictionary meanings of a scholar. For this topic, we can describe scholars as people who know a great deal of the political, social and economic conditions of their society and the means to enhance or transform them. Well, scholars are supposed to think critically and independently. Sometimes, it’s common to use the words scholar and intellectual interchangeably. These of course are academicians. So, for the sake of this topic let’s extend the meaning of scholar/intellectual to include Tigrayan elites in general.

Hence the title can be reframed as what do the people of Tigray expect from Tigrayan elites?

In short the people expect them to be problem solvers. They should be able to solve the pressing political, economic and social problems of the region as well as the country. To do so, they must be “the Cheetah Generation” that stands against “the Hippo Generation”, to loan the terminologies of Ghanaian-American professor, George Ayittey.

In a fascinating, TED talk George Ayittey said, “The Cheetah Generation is a new breed of Africans who brook no nonsense about corruption. They understand what accountability and democracy is. They're not going to wait for government to do things for them. That's the Cheetah Generation, and Africa's salvation rests on the backs of these Cheetahs.” I think the Tigray people expect the Tigrayan elites to be “the Cheetah Generation”.

“In contrast, of course,” Ayittey continued, “we have the Hippo Generation. The Hippo Generation are the ruling elites. They are stuck in their intellectual patch. Complaining about colonialism and imperialism, they wouldn't move one foot. If you ask them to reform the economies, they're not going to reform it because they benefit from the rotten status quo. Now, there are a lot of Africans who are very angry, angry at the condition of Africa.” In our specific case, TPLF, the Hippo Generation, repeatedly curses neoliberalism, narrow nationalism, chauvinism, rent seekers and so on. Frankly speaking, though, they’re the worst problem we have had for half a century now.

The ruling elite, befittingly called “the Hippo Generation” don’t totally care about the country and its people. As a result, instead of “government of the people by the people for the people” that serves the best interests of the people, we have leeches, horrific and monstrous dictators, embezzlers and corrupt. Therefore, we don’t have a government. Ayittey quoted a Lesotho chief that said, "Here in Lesotho, we've got two problems: rats and the government." The same is true in Tigray and Ethiopia in general.

Ayittey reasserted that “government doesn't exist in many African countries. In fact, what we call our governments are vampire states. Vampires because they suck the economic vitality out of their people. Government is the problem in Africa. A vampire state is the government which has been hijacked by a phalanx of bandits and crooks who use the instruments of state power to enrich themselves, their cronies, and tribesmen and exclude everybody else.” No scholar has described African governments better than George Ayittey. This is the sheer quandary we’re really in.

Ayittey didn’t stop there. He goes on “The vast majority of the African leaders failed their people. And if you look at them, the slate of the post-colonial leaders -- an assortment of military fufu heads, Swiss-bank socialists, crocodile liberators, vampire elites, quack revolutionaries.” The “crocodile liberators”, indeed have failed our people. They’ve embezzled, ransacked and corrupted everything the people owned. Political corruption is the root of all evils since it surely leads to economic and social corruption ditching the whole nation into a vicious circle.

Corruption Has Killed More People than Civil Wars in Africa “Kenyan law professor PLO Lumumba said, “Perhaps more than the holocaust!” He concluded that “corruption should be considered as a crime against humanity”. Tigrayan scholars are expected to fight against any sort of corruption. We must unchain our people from the shackles of tyranny.

Our region, our country and the continent in general are in a blinding darkness. Political corruption leads towards social corruption. We still live under biblical poverty. These all is darkness. We all know that darkness is the absence of light. Tigrayan scholars are expected to be a light, if not the source of light. They must be the harbingers of prosperity and civilization. They must shine like the sun and be the center of the region if not the country, the African continent and the world as a whole.

If we cannot be a sun, let’s at least be a moon. Let’s absorb light from the sun and try to enlighten others in return. If we cannot be the moon, let’s be the electric bulbs that light the house. If we cannot be any of the above, then how can we fail to serve like a candle? By any means let’s remove as much darkness as possible. Let’s enlighten the nation, the generation and all generations to come. I think this what our people expect us. Just to mention a few points:

  1. Let’s the most important brand everyone is looking for

Be the most useful brand there can ever be; a brand that solves economic, political and social problems. A life changing brand that everyone craves to have. Then, be visible, available, affordable and accessible to your people. In our presence, the people Tigray should not stoop due to the heavy loads of poverty, hunger, thirsty and backwardness. We must empower them so that they can stand upright and move elegantly with their heads high.

  1. Never serve as intellectual prostitutes!

Some scholars are currently serving as pushing and pulling factors of brain-drain.

  1. Pushing factors: serving as agents of dictators, despots, corrupt individuals and institutions of the regime. Or to take George Ayittey’s terms, "sharing beds with dictators".

Everything of them loudly shouts "Unless you serve as mercenaries of dictators, corrupt and despotic individuals and their manipulative institutions; unless you betray your people and your country; unless you push around everyone and shove your way, then you won't achieve your dreams! You won’t lead a heaven on earth kind of life." As a result, the most outstanding scholars lose hope and leave their country.

They displace the poor from their land without a penny or with a negligible amount of money and build multiple sate of the art villas and live luxuriously and extravagantly while the poor they displaced live in biblical misery. They drive extremely fashionable vehicles such as V8 and Prado while mothers are dying during delivery due to luck of ambulances that take them to health centers.

  1. Pulling factors: Expressing covertly or overtly that the other side of the world is evergreen, a bed of roses and shines brightly for whoever lands and lives there.

Everything of them shouts "Unless you leave your people and your country, you won't achieve your dreams!" So, the youth crosses the Sahara desert and, of course, the infamous Mediterranean and Red seas to reach Europe. And the “lucky” ones leave their emaciated nation in the name of scholarships and div-lottery.

Those of you who won div-lottery and scholarship awards, I congratulate you unreservedly. However, I would like to remind you to think critically on why the countries award scholarships. Are they doing it for charity? Then, why do they pick the most talented and outstanding ones? Just recently, President of the USA, Donald Trump, said “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He was referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. That’s how they treat us wherever we go, unless we change our country for good.

 

On quora.com a user asked,” Why do countries give scholarships to foreign students?” I found the answer enlightening.It’s an investment that developed countries make to attract talent. It’s just like an investment which later generates results with compounded interests.” It obviously is a strategic investment.

When a country invests on talented individuals, it is earning their loyalty. The country is assimilating (domesticating) to adopt every system in that country. They clearly know that those who are quick to learn are quick to adapt, too. That is how they are amassing the most talented man power to advance their country.

Anyway, let’s settle it as follows: Win scholarships and get educated but comeback to your country after you finished your study. Your country needs you more than any other country.

  1. Don’t get overwhelmed by the immense reach of the developed world. Instead, always ask yourself how did the rest of the world transformed? How can I contribute to transform my country likewise?

Unless the whole nation is transformed, your riches won’t spare you from the discomforts in your country. May I remind you that life is either a mutual agony or a mutual opulence? Even if you’re supremely rich, uncivil ones can rob you, or an agitated and infuriated mob may destroy everything you have, an undisciplined driver can run over you or your relative, a communicable disease in the next shanty or on the street can outspread anytime and kill you or at least make you suffer until you go abroad to find a fully hi-tech hospital (digital hospital).

At least, some corrupt officials may force you to give them a bribe. Otherwise, you won’t invest in your country. It is for the sake of our health, wealth and safety that we must keep the environment healthy, wealthy and safe.

  1. Get organized and build institutions that serve the nation for generations to come.

We all know that life is a struggle. We live in an ocean where the big fish eat the small ones. I propose that either we all get organized and fight in unison or perish. Organizing the TPLF way is lame though. Our people need vocal and enabling organizations or institutions. The institutions can be financial, commercial, media, educational and lobbying agencies.

We shall establish vibrant and influential media houses that include radio and TV online streaming. We shall establish internationally acclaimed lobbying agencies with their respective financial institutions. That’s how the Jews society is running the world. We shall think beyond party agendas. Unless we think beyond party interests, we won't accomplish anything worthy. If we are determined enough, I believe that we’re unstoppable.

We all know that, whoever we are, wherever we live and how... in the end we'll die. Death is our destiny. However, if we build institutions that solve social problems, hence serve society, equally, justly and indefinitely, we may live forever! Let's look around and see how gallant individuals outlive life.

Wherever we live and whoever we're, let's be the best ambassadors of ourselves and our society. Let's firmly stand for our interests and the interests of our society. At any time, any place and any situation we must strike a balance between private and public interests of our nation.

Lastly, let's "fined our voice and help others to find theirs!” to take Stephen Covey’s axiom. Our voice is how we impact the world and how we influence others. The unique marks we leave in the world are our voices.

(Asfaw Gedamu, 13 January 2018)

 

07
Jan - 2018







No free society in a country without independent civil society organizations!!



In most dictatorial and autocratic governance systems and countries with no civil society organizations, the power of states and corporations goes unchallenged and power abusers become insignificantly accountable even for those who totally prohibit the fundamental interests and will of citizens into a win-win progress and sustainable development capitalizing public services and own worldwide talent and market competent institutions.

Here in this summary, I strongly desired to emphasize the generational need to recognize the fundamental role that civil society plays in building confidence, promoting good governance and enhancing long-term stability in Tigray-Ethiopia.

First of all, lets try to see what is civil society and what are its roles and functions? By civil society I mean the entire range of organized groups and institutions that are independent of the state, voluntary, and at least to some extent self-generating and self-reliant which includes non-governmental organizations, foundations, institutions, independent mass media, think tanks, universities, social and religious based organizations, labor unions, organized and unorganized online social movements and activities including social media communities, Social entrepreneurs employing innovative and/or market-oriented approaches for social and environmental outcomes, Grassroots associations and activities at local level, Cooperatives owned and democratically controlled by their members etc.

In fact, civil society is tremendously dynamic sector evolving impactful strategies and attempts to solve societal challenges and support local, national and global governance in a vibrant and influential manner, demonstrating their value as facilitators, conveners and innovators as well as service providers and advocates with diverse and evolving space, increasingly innovative and renewed interest in the role of identifying powerful sources of social capital in a shifting external and internal contexts.

Not only Tigray-Ethiopia but also the world as one will always need independent civil society organizations and individuals to act as watchdogs, ethical guardians and advocates of the marginalized or under-represented. In the currently hyper-connected and multi-stakeholder world, civil society in all its forms has an important role in holding all stakeholders, including itself, to the highest levels of accountability. It can play a particularly powerful role in this process as an enabler and constructive challenger, creating the political and social space for collaborations that are based on the core values of trust, service and the collective good. Furthermore, civil society, like business and government, plays a hugely important role in shaping our daily lives, from how we interact, to the policies that guide laws and regulations, and the market forces that allocate resources. It fosters and booms huge community based opportunities for leadership, innovations and competences on how to utilize those opportunities to effectively build resilience and address the many societal challenges that continue to confront us in all sectors of life.

Civil society organizations like OTNAA could specifically:

  • Lead grass-roots mobilization and advocate that vital building blocks of community services and sustainable institutions such as: (i) service delivery, (ii) competent and skillful workforce, (iii) information systems, (iv) access to essential services and fundamental needs (v) fair and equitable financing, and (vi) better leadership/governance should be placed on the public agenda;
  • Support the wide dissemination of information on the prevention of social hazards, conflict crisis, structural inequality, poverty and other risks
  • Form networks and action groups to promote the availability of responsible and accountable citizens, state and non-state actors.
  • Advocate and support health-promoting programs and quality education campaigns and sustainable development activities/projects
  • Monitor and work with other stakeholders such as private sector entities;
  • Contribute to putting knowledge and evidence into practice via establishing new platforms needed, along with new rules of engagement, which can bring together leading stakeholders to serve the common good.
  • Look to unusual sources for inspiration and relevance as it adapts to a shifting, and increasingly challenging, global contextual environment such as exploring new opportunities for engagement and action through technology; new sources of inspiration and activity driven by younger generations and players in emerging economies; and new methods for measuring and demonstrating impact
  • Harness the opportunity and ability to underpin the resilient dynamism the world urgently needs, by engaging with business and government in ways that enable it to effectively inspire, support and shape an innovative change agenda at all necessary global and local levels.
  • Capitalize and maintain democratic process and free speeches: To be part of civil society, groups must meet some other conditions as well. In a democracy, civil society groups have respect for the law, for the rights of individuals, and for the rights of other groups to express their interests and opinions. Part of what the word “civil” implies is tolerance and the accommodation of pluralism and diversity.
  • Empower overall community independence: Civil society groups may establish ties to political parties and the state, but they must retain their independence, and they do not seek political power for themselves. Often in transitions, groups arise that seek to monopolize the lives and thinking of their members. These groups do not tolerate the right of their members to dissent, and they do not respect other groups that disagree with them. Some of these groups may merely be fronts for political parties or movements that seek to win control of the state. These groups are not part of civil society and they do not contribute to building a democracy.
  • Promote political participation. NGOs can do this by educating people about their rights and obligations as democratic citizens, and encouraging them to listen to election campaigns and vote in elections. NGOs can also help develop citizens’ skills to work with one another to solve common problems, to debate public issues, and express their views.
  • Evaluate and monitor power balance of State: The first and most basic role of civil society is to limit and control the power of the state. Of course, any democracy needs a well-functioning and authoritative state. But when a country is emerging from decades of dictatorship, it also needs to find ways to check, monitor, and restrain the power of political leaders and state officials. Civil society actors should watch how state officials use their powers. They should raise public concern about any abuse of power. They should lobby for access to information, including freedom of information laws, and rules and institutions to control corruption. This constitutes a second important function of civil society: to expose the corrupt conduct of public officials and lobby for good governance reforms. Even where anti-corruption laws and bodies exist, they cannot function effectively without the active support and participation of civil society.
  • Help to develop the other values of democratic life: tolerance, moderation, compromise, and respect for opposing points of view. Without this deeper culture of accommodation, democracy cannot be stable. These values cannot simply be taught; they must also be experienced through practice. We have outstanding examples from other countries of NGOs especially women’s groups that have cultivated these values in young people and adults through various programs that practice participation and debate.
  • Help to develop programs for democratic civic education in the schools as well. After dictatorship, comprehensive reforms are needed to revise the curricula, rewrite the textbooks, and retrain teachers in order to educate young people about the crimes of the past and teach them the principles and values of democracy. This is too important a task to leave only to officials in the education ministry. Civil society must be involved as a constructive partner and advocate for democracy and human rights training.
  • Act as an arena for the expression of diverse interests, and one role for civil society organizations is to lobby for the needs and concerns of their members, as women, students, farmers, environmentalists, trade unionists, lawyers, doctors, and so on. NGOs and interest groups can present their views to parliament and provincial councils, by contacting individual members and testifying before parliamentary committees. They can also establish a dialogue with relevant government ministries and agencies to lobby for their interests and concerns. And it is not only the resourceful and well organized that can have their voices heard. Over time, groups that have historically been oppressed and confined to the margins of society can organize to assert their rights and defend their interests as well.
  • Strengthen democracy is to provide new forms of interest and solidarity that cut across old forms of tribal, linguistic, religious, and other identity ties. Democracy cannot be stable if people only associate with others of the same religion or identity. When people of different religions and ethnic identities come together on the basis of their common interests as women, artists, doctors, students, workers, farmers, lawyers, human rights activists, environmentalists, and so on, civic life becomes richer, more complex, and more tolerant.
  • Provide a training ground for future political leaders. NGOs and other groups can help to identify and train new types of leaders who have dealt with important public issues and can be recruited to run for political office at all levels and to serve in provincial and national cabinets. Experience from other countries shows that civil society is a particularly important arena from which to recruit and train future women leaders.
  • Help to inform the public about important public issues. This is not only the role of the mass media, but of NGOs which can provide forums for debating public policies and disseminating information about issues before parliament that affect the interests of different groups, or of society at large.
  • Play an important role in mediating and helping to resolve conflict. In other countries, NGOs have developed formal programs and training of trainers to relieve political and ethnic conflict and teach groups to solve their disputes through bargaining and accommodation.
  • Have a vital role to play in monitoring the conduct of elections. This requires a broad coalition of organizations, unconnected to political parties or candidates, that deploys neutral monitors at all the different polling stations to ensure that the voting and vote counting is entirely free, fair, peaceful, and transparent. It is very hard to have credible and fair elections in a new democracy unless civil society groups play this role.
  • Empower and strengthen state functions and services sustainability and accountability. I want to stress that civil society is not simply in tension with the state. Because civil society is independent of the state doesn’t mean that it must always criticize and oppose the state. In fact, by making the state at all levels more accountable, responsive, inclusive, effective and hence more legitimate a vigorous civil society strengthens citizens’ respect for the state and promotes their positive engagement with it. A democratic state cannot be stable unless it is effective and legitimate, with the respect and support of its citizens. Civil society is a check, a monitor, but also a vital partner in the quest for this kind of positive relationship between the democratic state and its citizens etc.

Therefore, it seems highly crucial and tremendously advancing scenario to provide all these civil society functions and responsibilities in our context.

The critical public question is could the current government recognize the fundamental role that civil society plays in building confidence, promoting good governance and enhancing long-term stability, investing in capacity-building, and building integrated consultation processes to crowd-source the expertise, innovation and energy of civil society and leading businesses in developing policy and designing social services diligently allow OTNAA to be mandated and act up on the following in accordance with the above mentioned advantages of a civil society organization?

  1. A Watchdog: holding institutions to account, promoting transparency and accountability
  2. An Advocate: raising awareness of societal issues and challenges and advocating for change
  3. A Service provider: delivering services to meet societal needs such as education, health, food and security; implementing disaster management, preparedness and emergency response
  4. An Expert: bringing unique knowledge and experience to shape policy and strategy, and identifying and building solutions
  5. A Capacity builder: providing education, training and other capacity building
  6. An Incubator: developing solutions that may require a long gestation or payback period
  7. A Representative: giving power to the voice of the marginalized or under-represented
  8. A Citizenship champion: encouraging citizen engagement and supporting the rights of citizens
  9. A Solidarity supporter: promoting fundamental and universal values
  10. A Definer of standards: creating norms that shape market and state activity

I’m still hopeful that the duty barriers and decision makers could provide OTNAA an authority to deliver its civil society based services to the deriving and in needy community. If not our community would be obliged to live in an oppressive and abusive one ideology one party communist approach and for it would cost us a lot as community if we are not taking the necessary measures to mitigate such barriers and state failures.

Tigray-Ethiopia belongs to all Tigrean-Ethiopians not only to those who are currently in power for decades!! Nothing for us without us and united we stand, we become strong, divided we fail and become weak!!

Together we make a real & visible difference!!

Dr. Aregawi Mebrahtu, OTNAA Global Executive Coordination Director

 

 

GIVE A HAND

ሓቀኛ ድልየት ህዝቢ ትግራይ ሒዙ ዝቃለስ ውዳበ ምፍጣር


ትግራይና ሎሚ ንጉጅለ ስድራቤት ዘይሰግድ መንእሰይ ትውልዲ( ሓየት) የድልያ አሎ። ሓየት ትግራይ ፅባሕ ዘይኮነ ሎሚ ነቲ ዘለናዮ ህልዊ ኩነታት ዝምጥን ስሙር ውዳበ ክፈጥር ይግበኦ። ዘይተወደበ ህዝብን ንጉስ ዘይብሉ ንህብን መወዳእታኡ ምብትታን እዩ። ስለዝኾነ ዝኸፍአ ሓደጋ እንተይመፀ ክንፅግድሞም ዘለውና ዕማማት ኣብ ቅድመና ኣለው። ቀፃሊ መደባት ሓየት (መንእሰይ ትግራይ) ክኾን ዘለዎ፦

1. መንእሰይ ትግራይ ካብ ህወሓት ፅግዕተኛነት ክወፅእ ኣብነት ብምኹዋን መሪሕ ግደ ምፅዋት።

2. ቀንዲ ፀገም ህዝቢ ትግራይ ካብ ህወሓትን መራሕቱን ከም ዝፍልፍል ህዝቢ ኣእሚንካ ንህወሓት ዘይፃወር ማሕበረሰብ ንምፍጣር ህዝባዊ ምልዕዓልን ናይ ምንቃሕ ስራሕትን ምክያድ።

3. ተጋሩ ንናይ ሓሶት ፀብፃብ ድምፂ ወያነን ፕሮፖጋንዳ መራሕቲ ህወሓትን ንምቅላዕ፤ ኣንፃር ህዝቢ ትግራይ ንዝመፅእ ዝኾነ ዓይነት መጥቃዕቲ ንምምካትን ናይ ተጋሩ አተሓሳስባታት ንምቅላሕን ንምስራፅን "ዓለም ለኸ ሚድያ ተጋሩ" ምጥያሽ።

4. አብ ኢትዮጵያ ስትራተጂካዊ ረብሓ ተጋሩ ንምሕላው ወይ ድማ ድሕንነትን ጥቕምን ተጋሩ ኣብ መሉእ ኢትዮጵያ ንምኽባር፤ ከምኡ እውን ኣብ ኢትዮጵያ ተጋሩ ተፀቀጥቲ/minority/ተደፋእቲ ደቂ ወሰን ከይኾኑ ንምክልኻልን ትግራዋይ እንታይ ዓይነት ፖለቲካ እንተአሰጎመ ከምዝሕሽ መስመር ምሕንፃፅ።

5. ህዝቢ ትግራይ ኣብ ሓንቲ ዓርቢ ዝተረፈታ ዝአረገት ውድብ ተንጠልጢሉ ከይተርፍ፤ ህወሓት ክትወድቕ እንተላ ህዝብና እውን ሓቢሩ ከይወድቕ፤ ሓጥያትን ገበንን ህወሓትን መራሕታን ሓጥያት ህዝቢ ትግራይ ከም ዘይኮነ ዝምክትን ሓቀኛ ድልየት ህዝቢ ትግራይ ሒዙ ዝቃለስ ውዳበ ምፍጣርን ካብቶም ቀንዲ ዕማማት ሓየት እዮም።

መምህር ሙሉጌታ (Europe) OTNAA Executive Global Leadership

Africa children need more food, education and health services.

The lives of most Africans are marred by poverty, hunger, poor education, ill health, and violence. Help us to contribute our role in mitigating and preventing some of these sufferings and miseries.

Our Goal

to contribute our share in saving lives, alleviating suffering and maintain human dignity during and in the aftermath of man-made crises and natural disasters, as well as to prevent and strengthen preparedness for the occurrence of such situations in the world.

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Africa children need more food

Life in Africa is a struggle for anyone, more significantly the life of a child is even harder. Imagine, growing up in a world where you lack the very basics in life, food, clean water, medicine, shelter, safety, a bed of your own. Beyond that, there are no toys, no dolls, no soccer balls, no sweets and treats, at best, a bed of reeds to sleep on. School would be wonderful to attend, the path out of poverty, but there is no money for school fees, so you stay home and wait for a miracle, but for most there is none, life is simply survival, staying alive. Teenage pregnancies and school dropouts are alarming. Illegal abortion is being practiced by many girls which sometime lead to premature death..etc

Raised: $100,000       Goal: $200,000
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