Turing angers into useful outcomes requires having well thought-out strategies, and effective planning By Assegid Habtewold

August 9th, 2016 Print Print Email Email

It has been more than ten days since my article entitled “The Necessity of Cultural Reform: Working with time, not against” has been posted on some Ethiopian websites. Some readers reached out to me via email and expressed their appreciation for taking the bold move to talk about a well-known challenge of our community. They’re right. It’s a known issue and, at the same time, a taboo where we don’t complain about it, let alone do something to change it. However, a couple of them suggested for me to continue educate our people about the necessity of time management. I didn’t promise them a lot except to indicate my willingness to continue talking about it. This is mainly because I planned to write one article per month on different themes, and I really wanted to move on to my next topic.

However, after a couple of days later, I thought they were right. This long-standing challenge of ours doesn’t go away with just one article. My initial thought, however, was that I’ll keep posting blogs about time on the Facebook page that I created a couple of months ago called Standing for Ethiopia. It has over two hundred fifty people as fans, and on average, more than 150 people read each post. I thought that isn’t so bad until I shared this idea to one of my colleagues who encouraged me to open this page. He was disappointed. He argued, “You’re undermining our people. There are many Ethiopians who could lend their hands and take this and other important messages that are aimed at empowering our community leaders, professionals, and business owners. Don’t limit your ideas just on a fan page. Share your challenges. You’ve great contents. There’re others who have platforms and resources to compliment your efforts.”

Well, he was persuasive. That is why I’m talking about it here and decided to become vulnerable. Normally, I don’t want to sound in my writings as desperate or preachy or needy. But, it’s not about my ego, right? Here is what happened when I made that decision: My mind opened up and I could see some possibilities. The first thing I told my colleague was that I work with world class training companies and I’ve trainer colleagues so if I get some financial supports, I could bring many trainings to our community. And, we could empower our leaders and transform our people, and turn around our destiny. Again, he found me shortsighted. He intervened and said, “Why don’t you start first with our own resources and people.” He was right, again. For that matter, it occurred to me that I’ve great partnering human resources development companies owned by Ethiopians, and I’ve also some well skilled Ethiopian trainer friends. My friend added that I could also approach our community organizations, which have conference rooms, training infrastructures, and some funding. Well, if you read this article and think that you could be helpful in this endeavor, you may please contact me and let’s do something about it. For now, I would like to share with you my recent conversation with a friend, and a follow up blog that I posted on Standing for Ethiopia Facebook page. Please note that I made some editing to the original post.

Yesterday (this was a couple of days ago), a good friend of mine asked me why I’m not talking about the ongoing uprisings in the different parts of our country, and the brutality of the regime in killing civilians. He wondered why I rather talk about time management in the midst of this challenging TIME. Some of you my friends here on FB (now the readers of my articles around the world) may ask the same question. Therefore, let me spend some time and talk about it. Yes, I admit that our people, mainly out of despair are fighting with their bare hands (recently, we start to see some with guns) against a well-armed brutal state. It’s sad and shame at the same time to witness the irresponsible acts of a government while the international community is watching from a distance.

When are we going to sit down and talk like civilized people, and work together without resorting to violence? I know the current regime takes the lion share of the blame and responsible for where we are right now. It could have facilitated a smooth and non-violent transition to democracy. Understandably, the people of Ethiopia around the country are forced to resort to uprisings and violence. We all know where this road leads, don’t we? Isn’t it a deja vu? I don’t want to go in detail and analyze the situation and predict what is going to happen. TIME will soon tell how this recent movement ends.

Call me skeptic, however, that we’ve had almost similar protests in our recent past. Our Muslim and Oromo brothers and sisters have been protesting for a couple of years now. What has changed? Don’t get me wrong. I admire their courage and also honor the sacrifices they’re paying. As I indicated in one of my recent articles, lack of leadership was the main reason why the commitment of these great people hasn’t been able to produce any meaningful fruit yet. If we had strong leadership that strategizes, plans, executes, and evaluates its progress and make amends and continues to lead toward the GRAND goal- which is establishing democracy, the rule of law, and freedom, and making the country a free and equitable land for all its people, by now, we would have been talking something else :-) lol

Our leaders should stop FOLLOWING (and watching from the sidelines as the youth is trying its best regardless of the lack of well coordinated, strategic, proactive, and smart leadership) and begin LEADING. Otherwise, we end up having the same old results: Tyranny continues. Even if this tyrant regime goes away by failing to sustain the continual assaults from our youth, another one substitutes it and we don’t have any clue whether the latter would be any better than the current. As you all know, many hoped the Mengistu regime would be better than Haileselassie. In the late 60’s and early 70′s, the then youth and students continually demonstrated and opposed the regime, and finally played a major role in overthrowing the regime. What were the end results? The outcomes were big disappointments and disenchantments when a more brutal killing machine took power. Again, we didn’t learn, we thought the current regime would be better than the military junta. Many fought against the regime while others watched its demise from the sidelines.

Again, after more than a quarter of a century, we remained stunned and found ourselves disappointed badly as the rebels who fought for freedom and democracy turned killers, jailers, and tortures. Let me ask those of us, who keep raising our hope and expect better outcomes than what we’ve had in the past, every time we hear rumors of war and revolts. What makes you think, unless we work with TIME and learn from our past, and change course by being proactive and SMARTER, we get a better government this time or in the future? I may be cynical here but when are we going to learn from past TIME? Why we keep on doing the same things and expect a different result? That was why I recently wrote an article on the theme ‘Our Insanity: Doing the same thing again and again expecting different outcomes.’ Are we mastering insanity? :-)

Maybe I am tired or missed something here. What do we expect from chaos, spontaneity, and any movement that doesn’t have clear strategies, contingencies, plan, and outline of the future? We don’t have any control of such a future. Therefore, are we just hoping to have a bright future somehow and in some ways from this and future uprisings and protests? We can only have a future that we DESERVE. The ways things have been going on thus far, we don’t seem deserve a better future. We need to earn it. That is why I’ve been calling for a reform in our culture- that is the root cause. We need the right environment to develop the right mindset so as to achieve different results than what we’ve accomplished so far. As a society, when it comes to establishing a government that is accountable to its people, we failed miserably, and more than once. We couldn’t be able to form a government that is elected democratically- a government that serves as far as it earns the confidence of Ethiopians. We have been restless, anxious, and doing everything we could for decades now regardless of disappointing results. We should stop acting like fire extinguishing brigades :-) chasing flames, as they break loose. It’s great we care, we cry for our people, and it’s also admirable for some of us doing what we could to help. Please note, nonetheless, that this approach doesn’t change the underlining situation. We’re just reacting! We’re not being proactive. Understand that this takes to work with TIME and become proactive… That is why my recent appeal was let’s work with time to strategize, prioritize, and plan, not against it.

Let’s stop talking, talking, and arranging events to rebroadcast the same things we already know. We know the regime is bad. We know we need to come together. We know things must change. We know this and that. What we need isn’t news, talk, and complaining alone. Good to be informed but we need to go beyond that and this is the responsibility of our leaders. But wait, our leaders are the products of our CULTURE. I’m ready to be corrected, many of our leaders too are talking, complaining, and hoping- like the general public – things may change for good this time without playing their unique parts. They forgot their critical role. Of course, I’m well aware of the sacrifices some leaders have been already paying, especially those that are back home who have already died, and those who are currently fighting on the ground, and those that are in prison. My hat is off to these heroic and heroine leaders. The question is when are we going to harvest their sacrifices? Should we just keep feeding our leaders to death row, prisons, and also watch our innocent youth who have a great future ahead of them die and get injured just because our leaders couldn’t come together to strategize and plan, and put in place contingencies if the former don’t work as expected? This CULTURE must change if our desire is to see true and lasting change. We cannot just gamble with people’s lives and future. We should clearly see our future ahead, identify smart strategies that are pathways to lead us to our future, and come up with short and long term plans that would help us tap into TIME and other resources wisely, monitor our progress, and if necessary, make changes as things on the ground change.

I presume, some people may counter my argument above by saying that they already know the importance of this approach and also they may claim that they already have strategies and plans in place. They may think that the problem is somewhere and someone except their inability to outsmart the regime in power by coming up with better strategies than the regime already has that helped the latter withstand the constant revolt and opposition from our people. As I indicated in one of my previous articles, the regime had, for that matter well before they came to power more than two decades ago, a 40-year strategic document. Can you imagine what they could do now while they have state power, tones of money, and western allies in their disposal? The regime hires strategists, planners, and advisors (and of course on top of lobbying).

Unlike the oppositions who have good intentions, the regime’s leadership doesn’t depend on their own competency alone, they seek help from experts including from outside of the country and invest on things that give them advantages. They’re proactive, and that is why they’ve been surviving. Please wakeup. Don’t assume that the regime’s leadership depends only on their guns and money. They depend on time, use latest technologies, process, and work with time very well, of course, to do bad things that don’t contribute toward our long term national interests, and of course, to harm innocent people. Even if I don’t like the outcomes, unfortunately, we cannot do anything about it; they tapped into a principle that works.

Any ways, for those who think the problem isn’t being proactive and the lack of using time ahead to strategize, and those who may think that they have covered this part and the problem isn’t a lack of PROACTIVENESS and STRATEGIC leadership, well, the true test of any strategy is: Is it working? What are the results you could show to us?

Leaders of political parties, community organizations, youth associations, journalists, academicians, and other stakeholders should understand that they need to be a little ORGANIZED (this takes change in mindset that has been nurtured by our culture not to be friendly with time) to make sure they tap into the enthusiasm, zeal, and commitment of their followers. Turing our people’s anger into useful outcomes requires having well thought-out strategies, contingencies, and effective planning. Please work with time, use latest approaches, tools, methods, and CREATE circumstances that change the destiny of our country and its people. It’s possible! It doesn’t cost that much except humility to admit that what we have tried so far didn’t work and the boldness to try a new approach, and creativity! Admitting something doesn’t work and adopting new approaches isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s rather wisdom, and humility.
Remember this: When we fail to make TIME our friend, CHANCE rules us and the latter is a bad master :-)

Here is my short answer to my friend and to you if you are also wondering why I keep writing about cultural reforms (right now about time management, in the future, some more reform suggestions) while there are many burning issues at hand including the current protests and killings. Well, everybody knows about what is going on wrong, and we’ve hundreds of platforms to talk about it. There’re great organizations and media outlets that provide these services. I don’t want to duplicate their efforts. I rather want to focus on addressing the root cause. I’m well aware that I won’t be popular for poking at our culture and its weaknesses. But, that is what we need (a little motivation to change) while doing what we could to redirect the current anger, unhappiness, frustration and determination of our people into something that brings lasting change… Let me stop it here and look forward to hear your perspectives…

  1. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #1

    My mind is trying to tell me to start crying and screaming at the current carnage of the youth but I have no tears left. My tears have dried from crying for friends who were callously slaughtered by the ruthless Mengistu in the 1970′s. I thought that will never happen again. But boy am I proven wrong again!!! All I am screaming from the top of my lung is to see that level heads prevail. I am praying that our longstanding tradition of elders’ intervention would come between the protesters and the government so this bloodshed would stop and stop immediately, like now. Not tomorrow but now. Insha Allah!!!

  2. Mekasha Tafesse Gellaw
    | #2

    Declaration and Pledge of the Founding Members of the Ethiopian Unity Diaspora Forum to fund the struggle in Ethiopia: 2016

    We, the founding Members of the Ethiopian Unity Diaspora Forum, are all Ethiopians who have come together for the purpose of upholding, defending, and promoting Ethiopia’s fundamental interests and nationhood by supporting the freedom fighters in any way possible.
    Now is the time to show our most vulnerable citizens that we are with them all the way through these thick and thin times of desperate actions . It is a matter of a year before USA cuts TPLF off from any financial assistance then the field will be leveled economically. That is why TPLF has started stealing everything it can get it’s hand on including money and gold flying everything by Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa (the capital city where 25% of the total economic power of the country is located ) to Mekele , Tigrai using only Tigrayan pilots everyday since last Sunday. Right now the people are resorting to fighting against TPLF using bows and arrows since there are not enough bullets and guns available. It is upto the non-TPLF rich within the country and the diasporas to fund the bullet and guns right away.

    . We hail from different social, religious, regional, and professional backgrounds. We are economists, educators, engineers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, physicians, military officers, enlisted men, and so on. We stand for peace, democracy, and development. We champion the unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ethiopia, and therefore, we uphold the principle of one Ethiopian nation, and a single Ethiopian nationality with no second , third and so on class of citizens..

    We are deeply concerned about the abject poverty of our people, and of Ethiopia’s inability to feed itself. As members of the Ethiopian Unity Diaspora Forum, we have committed ourselves to bring about sustained economic growth with social development. We are also convinced of the need to establish a new educational system for the country. Indeed, we consider providing quality education at all levels to all eligible Ethiopians as a sacred duty of all Ethiopians. Likewise, we are mindful of the acute need for the eradication of common diseases, and provisions for adequate health services for all Ethiopians.

    We are alarmed by the policy of the current regime in power in Ethiopia, which deliberately and consistently undermines Ethiopia’s national interest. the ongoing protest rallies in the Oromo and Amhara regions and the show of solidarity between the two have trampled ethnic boundaries set by the regime and would clear the way for the march to freedom.
    In a statement we gave in connection with the ongoing uprising in the Amhara and Oromo regions against the regime the unity of the people in renouncing tyranny and the solidarity shown between the people of the two major ethnic groups was a big blow to the TPLF.
    The unrelenting uprising in the Oromo and the expression of solidarity by the Amhara and vice versa have shown the true meaning of being Ethiopian both to the TPLF and its Western masters.
    The people have taken down the flags of the TPLF and its proxy parties and hoisted the Ethiopian flag to unequivocally demonstrate their refusal to the tyrannical rule.
    No amount of force would stop the indignant people who rise up at such scale against the regime.
    We call on the people to spread the struggle and strengthen the organizational capacity of their movement. The people should abolish the administrative structures of the regime and replace them by a transitional administration elected by the people everywhere possible.
    We call to the army and said the soldiers should not shoot at the people but they should rather turn the muzzle towards the rulers who live lavishly at the expense and sacrifice of the defense forces.
    We particularly call up on the Tigrayan educated elites to unambiguously denounce the TPLF and the killings perpetrated by the Front against other ethnic groups. The Tigrayan elites should impartially show their concern when other ethnic groups are massacred by the TPLF. This is vital for the future of Ethiopia and even more essential for the security of the people of Tigray.
    We question all diasporas patriotic commitment to Ethiopia. As a result, we reject TPLF’s social orientation and its political philosophy of governance. The current Ethiopian Government is undemocratic, dictatorial, and self-serving. Likewise, we repudiate the ethnic based structure of the Ethiopian State that has been imposed on the country by the regime in power in an attempt to “bantustanize” the Ethiopian society. Such a structure is aimed at destroying Ethiopian patriotism and nationalism, by replacing it with meaningless and divisive ethnicity, which will ultimately destroy the country. Consequently, we vigorously and energetically oppose this Machiavellian system of governance, and would like to inform fellow Ethiopians of the grave danger of disintegration that Ethiopia is faced with at this crucial time of its history.

    We are committed to the abolishment of all ethnic based government and state structures and all reserved ethnic enclaves. We support the re-institution of the provincial administrative system of the country that existed prior to the coming to power of the Military Regime and the current Government of Meles Zenawi and its associates. We will promote the establishment of democratically elected administrative structures for the provinces. We are committed to bring about constructive and meaningful changes in government accountability, democratic governance, and the observance and safeguarding of human rights of all Ethiopians. We condemn the persistent and gross violation of human rights of Ethiopians by the current regime in Ethiopia. Therefore, we will carry out sustained struggle in order to establish a democratic system of government for Ethiopia based on the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a system of checks and balances, and full accountability and transparency. We uphold the freedom of the press and the free and truthful dissemination of information on the workings of the Ethiopian Government and its officials.

    We are seriously concerned with the fracturing of the Ethiopian Diaspora on political, ideological, ethnic, and religious grounds, to the extent of generating atavistic passions. In this regard, we will do our best to bring together all Ethiopians in the Diaspora to be part of a unified and constructive force in building the future of the country. We are extremely concerned also about the deliberate and wide-spread negative imaging of Ethiopia and of Ethiopians to make us lose confidence in ourselves, in our history, and in our values. Hence, we will challenge all negative-imaging of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, including the distorted interpretation of our great history aimed at depriving us of a common culture, history, and civilization by the historic and new enemies of Ethiopia.

    We will also promote meaningful dialogue with all concerned citizens of the countries which neighbor Ethiopia with a view to promote peace, cooperation, and development. However, any secret dealings or agreements carried out by Meles Zenawi and his Government, with any of Ethiopia’s neighbors, to cede to neighboring countries any of the territories under Ethiopian sovereignty and control is illegal. We declare all such secret dealings and agreements conducted in the dark and hidden from the Ethiopian people, and executed without their knowledge and consent as null and void, and therefore, without any legally binding effect on Ethiopia.

    The establishment of this Forum is just one of our humble efforts to empower ourselves as Ethiopians to be in control of our destiny, so We all participate as members of a united front to carry out the objectives of the Ethiopian Unity Diaspora Forum (EUDF).

    We seek your counsel, assistance, and active participation in this all inclusive patriotic crusade to save our country.

  3. Nur
    | #3

    Ato Aseged,
    I read very carefully your previous article as well as this one. As you know Ethiopian people struggle is maturing over time. Your long article is good and well thought but my problem with it as well as others is that instead of working with the group that is trying to make such a change you are talking about and the same time managing daily events that is evolving in Ethiopia that is very difficult to manage due to difficulties creating organizational structures in the ground, you keep criticizing from the outside. My question to you is that, Are you a member of any group that trying to make positive change in Ethiopia? If you are not shame and please I advise you to be part of the struggle and make your great ideas workable with in instead of from outside. Talking is cheap and do not have time right now, show it and do it. Another suggestion please do not try to create another party, group or organization, participate in one of the many we already have.

  4. awellot
    | #4

    the woyane snake is trying to spit its venom in its final struggle for survival. having got hold of its tail , we should strike its head and land a final blow and throw it into the dust.

    those messengers of the devil woyane , the spies, the agents, those who have sold themselves to the satanic woyane for crumbs, those who live to fill their belly must be the first targets of the peoples anger. such people must be hunted down and rooted out from amongst us.

    we must target woyane loot, destroy any source of income for the devil. any means available to us , we must use to cut the head of the woyane snake.

  5. gedion
    | #5

    the fascist woyane ‘gujile’ is desperately trying to disarm the farmers of Gonder using various means. it is sending so called mediators of priests, shieks, deacons etc to talk to the farmers to disarm.
    the fascist ‘gujile’ is also promising to give each farmer who disarmed 60,000 birr.

    the fascist woyane gujile never ceases to surprise us. they despise the people so much that they think they can get what they like.

    then woyane fascists know that they are heading into the abyss. the people of Gonder also know that they have to do the final battle and cut the head off the woyane snake.

    the farmers and every citizen of Gonder must be armed and defend themselves. the tail end of the woyane fascist thugs is in our hands and we cannot let it slip out of our hands before cutting of the head. the people in oromo and other regions must do the same and wipe out the fascist woyane gujile from the land.
    there are enough weapons everywhere, in police stations, army depots etc where the people can get arms from.
    the woyane fascists must be given their own medicine.

  6. aba nefso
    | #6

    the Ethiopian flag is the symbol of our freedom and independence. in the battle of Adwa , when Menelik and his Ethiopian army marched to the front line , they hoisted the Ethiopian flag , declaring to the enemy that we Ethiopians will confront you and we cannot be defeated. they fought united under the flag, they shed their blood to buy our freedom as a free and independent nation under one flag. Amharas, Gurages, Oromos, Afars, Sidamas, Ogadenis fought for Ethiopian freedom against fascist invasion under one flag. their shed blood blended together as a bed rock of our unity under the Ethiopian flag. that is what makes our flag special.

  7. Feyssa
    | #7

    Assegid, You gave us intensive analysis of our inner problems but You completely disregarded about the external forces or governments those played great role for our misery. We are all the victims of our own making and also the influence of external forces and even our mindset is already conditioned by Their influence. I do not see the solution by splitting the inside from the outside.

  8. Selam Lekulukumu
    | #8

    About Ethiopian Unity Diaspora Forum (EUDF)

    Please remember that politics is local. If you want to contribute why don’t you go and give it a try. Organize and may be pay a price, and if you succeed to bring a new and better system, people will follow you. Armchair revolutionaries never bring change.
    Good luck

    | #9

    YES I DID !
    YES WE DID !

  10. Assegid
    | #10

    Hi Feyssa! Yes, there are external influences. And, we are going to have them in the future too. Every culture and country has the same external influences that we face though the degree and magnitude may vary. But, we don’t have control about the influences that may come from outside. That was why I didn’t want to talk about it. that doesn’t mean I don’t understand external influences though.

    if we deal with the internal problems that are our own creations, the chance to overcome external factors is high. As a society, we should believe in our own strength and the ability to fix our own problems.

    Many developing countries which had been influenced by so many external influences could be able to come out and led their country and people to new heights- to prosperity, stability, and peace. We too can do it! We’re able! That is why I’ve been referencing the cases of Ghana, for instance, and how they transited from dictatorship to democracy by establishing ten people based Alliance for Change. If Ghana could make it and make a transition from tyranny to democracy, we too, we can do better. I also mentioned how South Korea was in equal footing with Ghana in the 1960′s. While Ghana failed to make this transition from developing to developed county since they failed to carryout a complete cultural reform,
    South Koreans did it. They could be able to join the developed nations’ club within a couple of decades. We too could be able to make the transition if we carryout some reforms. That is the whole point….

    Hope, I made myself clear. And this is my hope you could be able to understand why I don’t waste my time to talk about external factors for which we don’t have control. It’s a lame excuse to wait external factors to give us a break and to change our destiny. It’s a lame excuse to blame others for our own demise even if they have some contributions for where we are. As a people, let’s take responsibility and do very little things like changing the way we treat time, organizing ourselves, strategizing and planning to overcome the tremendous challenges we face. Do we lack the intellect? No! Do we lack the determination and willingness? YES.

    It doesn’t take a rocket science to address our problems. What we need is a few attitude, and mindset changes first from our leaders, and then from the general public. It’s possible to accomplish that! What I’m saying is that lasting solution to our chronic problems MUST come from within, and we have what it takes. What we need is humility, to admit that the way we have been doing things MUS CHANGE. Until that happens, the misery continues…

  11. AMAN II
    | #11

    Why are these Awates crying like a child for I didn’t take them
    seriously ? They desperately want to lean or hang on me to carry
    them on all the time. What has one sane person like me to do with
    such open to all social media which entertains and serves its aud-
    -eience with 90% OF MIS-INFORMATION in its daily contents.
    why would I play the role of a student when my role is to be
    a teacher help save and lead lost or un informed people to safety ?

  12. AMAN II
    | #12

    Do they expect me to say all what I need to say on any open to all
    open forum social media when I already know it is a private issue
    and need to be communicated in private ?
    Did they expect me to open e-mail account and disclose all my
    personal information as a result on such an open public media
    just to put my comment or opinion ? I do not think I will do that !
    By the way, would they also trust and accept my plea or me if I said
    the bitter truth directly and openly which I doubt they will because
    it didn’t sound good to their ears ?
    So if they believe in that why did they introduce e-mail account with
    verifiable password to their forum recently ?
    So as these wise words say it,
    THERE ARE SMARTER ALSO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Yilma
    | #13

    I am surprised still the Ethiopian progressive force fighting with ruthless and stupid and animal Ethiopian soldiers with stick.
    *** In old days the TPLF even kissing the Egyptian and the Arabs as* when they fought for their freedom and they provided them with all kinds of guns and bullets and strategical help and yet our people they have no source of help and we are sacrificing our amazing youth like a lamb. Where are the patriotic front Ginbot 7 and if they can not fight now with the people when are they going to fight??

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