A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy

A rally in Bahir Dar to support the reform measures that are currently being implemented in Ethiopia by the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on July 1st, 2018. (Photo via Facebook)

Tadias Magazine

Updated: July 10th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — “Diaspora, here is a call to you. A dollar a day to help children get an education, our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers get health service, and above all, consider this as ‘paying back’ to your people who gave you future while they had no one,” said PM Abiy Ahmed in a recent comment while defending Ethiopia’s 346.9 billion Ethiopian birr ($12.71 billion) budget and inviting fellow Ethiopians who reside overseas to become part of the solution.

As we prepare to welcome Dr Abiy here in the United States in a couple of weeks we encourage our readers not only to heed his call to establish a “Diaspora Trust Fund” to support the ongoing reform initiatives to take root and to assist in other development projects, but also to think outside the box and offer fresh and innovative ideas in all fields to help the country accelerate its mission of becoming a more peaceful, democratic, united and free society with a prosperous economy that respects the natural human rights of all its citizens.

It’s remarkable that so much has changed in Ethiopia in such a short time that it almost feels like we are living through one of those rare moments that take place once in a blue moon in Ethiopia’s ancient and mystical history, such as the building of Lalibela in the 13th century; the founding of the cities of Harar in 1216 and Gondar in 1635. Or for that matter the victory at the Battle of Adwa in 1896 and the triumphant return of Emperor Haile Selassie to Addis Ababa in 1941 from exile to reclaim Ethiopia’s throne after the defeat of the occupying fascist Italian forces during World War II. And we can’t be more happier than to be part of this incredible time in 2018.

Just barely five month ago — during a desperate period in Ethiopia amid relentless unrest, a deafening chorus of skepticism, talk of civil war and gloomy predictions of an imminent collapse of the Ethiopian state — we wrote a brief and hopeful editorial titled Seize the Moment Ethiopia in hopes of encouraging our generation to rise to the occasion and “assure the continuity of Ethiopia’s long history as well as our shared and sovereign culture” and noting that “building a true democracy requires transparency, a responsible and free press, and the maturity to think about the common good, beyond our own selves and group interests, both at the grassroots and leadership levels.”

Today, thanks to Dr. Abiy and his team, events of the past three months have exceeded our wildest imagination. As President Obama would say: “We are the generation we have been waiting for!”

We are delighted that Ethiopia has a confident, good-hearted and educated leader who fully understands that he serves at the will of the people and for the people. More importantly Dr. Abiy is open to new ideas, open dialogue, free press, constructive criticism and debate, which are all the basic foundations of a working democracy. Now we are optimistic that “Ethiopia is on the right track to a more democratic society.”

Below is a media round up of the latest developments from Ethiopia including the historic peace deal with Eritrea and the announcement that Ethiopian Airlines is preparing to resume flights to Asmara next week.

Ethiopia and Eritrea Declare End of War (BBC)
The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a declaration saying that the state of war between the two countries is over. A peace deal ending the 1998-2000 border conflict has never been fully implemented and there has been tension between the neighbours ever since. The countries have also agreed to re-establish trade and diplomatic ties. The declaration came at a landmark meeting between the two countries’ leaders in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara. The summit between Eritrea’s President Isaias Afewerki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed marked the first time the neighbours’ heads of state had met for nearly two decades. Read more »

Ethiopian to Resume Flights to Asmara Next Week (FANA)
Ethiopian Airlines will resume flights to Eritrean capital Asmara next week. Ethiopian will also purchase a 20 percent stake in Eritrean Airlines, Dr Workneh Gebeyeu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, told journalists today, following Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Eritrea. During the visit the two countries have signed a number of agreements to resume diplomatic relations. According to the Foreign Minister, the two countries have established a technical committee tasked to follow up on the implementation of the agreements reached between them, including use of ports and air links. Flights to Asmara are scheduled to resume next week. Read more »

Ethiopia Fires Prison Officials Over Human Rights Abuses Amid Torture Report (The Washington Post)
Ethiopia’s attorney general announced the dismissal of five top prison officials for alleged human rights violations, hours before the Thursday release of a Human Rights Watch report on torture in one regional prison. Berhanu Tsegaye said the top prison officials “were relieved of their post for failing to discharge the responsibilities and respect prisoners’ human rights,” according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting late Wednesday. The announcement came hours before the release of a harrowing report by Human Rights Watch describing systematic torture in Jail Ogaden, a prison in Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region. Read more »

PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Dr. Abiy Ahmed, will be traveling to Washington D.C. on July 28th and Los Angeles, California on July 29th, 2018 to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States. “The objective of his trip is to hold face-to-face meetings with Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S., according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia,” reports Fana Broadcasting Corp. “It is also aimed at boosting the involvement of all Ethiopian Diaspora living in the U.S. in the ongoing reforms, development, and democratization in their country of birth.” According to the announcement all Ethiopians are “invited to participate in the meeting, regardless of their political ideology, religion, and ethnic background.” Read more »

Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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