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Understanding Neoliberalism: A Marxist Analysis May 13, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Consumersim, Development & Change, Development Studies, Economics, Free development vs authoritarian model, Globalization, Growth and Inequqlity, Neoliberalism.
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Neoliberalism, Harvey writes, is “a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms…within an institutional framework [of] strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade” [8]. He goes on to write that neoliberalism “seeks to bring all human action into the domain of the market” [9]. In short, neoliberalism offers a set of market-based solutions to social ills. It supposes that problems experienced collectively can be conquered by individuals. An important aspect of this an antipathy to state intervention. The state, in the neoliberal understanding, only gets in the way of individual entrepreneurs who want to alleviate problems. Hence, deregulation is a prime aspect of neoliberal practice. To quote Steger and Roy in Neoliberalism: A Very Short Introduction, “the state is to refrain from interfering with the economic activities of self-interested citizens” [10]. Neoliberalism presents a profound hatred of collective action in favor of individual motivation. This does not mean, however, that the state under neoliberalism is impotent, ineffectual, or meaningless. On the contrary. Although the regulatory and public service components of the state will be stripped bare under neoliberalism (we will examine this in more detail later), the military and police-the repressive state apparatus-will be inflated to new heights. Harvey writes that the state must “secure private property rights and…guarantee, by force if need by, the proper functioning of markets. Furthermore, if markets do not exist [in water, healthcare, and education, for example] then they must be created, by state action if necessary” [11]. Neoliberalism, then, is not against the state. It is against the state when it interferes with market mechanisms, but is perfectly happy to lean on the state when the neoliberal order is resisted or challenged. Under neoliberalism, the state must protect the interests of the aforementioned entrepreneurial individuals (the capitalists). It will not hesitate to use violence to do this.

It should be noted that this process of violent state intervention has been common, literally, since the very beginning of capitalism. An important part of the development of capitalism in England, for instance, was the land enclosure.  rich landowners used their control of state processes to appropriate public land for their private benefit. This created a landless working class that provided the labor required in the new industries developing in the north of England. EP Thompson writes, “in agriculture the years between 1760 and 1820 are the years of wholesale enclosure in which, in village after village, common rights are lost” [12]. He goes on to say,  “Enclosure (when all the sophistications are allowed for) was a plain enough case of class robbery” [13].

Click here to read more at  Write To Rebel: Understanding Neoliberalism: A Marxist Analysis

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Ethiopia is one of the 19 poorest, unhappiest, unhealthiest, and most dangerous countries in the world November 8, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development, Development & Change, Development Studies, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model.
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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistEthiopia's regime crimes in OgadenMore reinforcement of Ethiopia's regime fascist ( Agazi) soldiers arrived in Begi, West Walaga, Oromia, 29 July  2016. p2Grand #OromoProtests, Grand ‪#‎OromoProtests‬ full scale Military massacre  has been conducted by Ethiopia's fascsit regimei n Naqamte, East Walaga. 6 August 2016 pctureSuruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by  fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) forces because  they protested their land being taken for Sugar  plantationEthiopia's scores in freedom in the world  2016, freedom House World Report, January 2016.Agazi, fascist TPLF Ethiopia's forces attacking unarmed and peaceful #OromoProtests in Baabichaa town central Oromia (w. Shawa) , December 10, 2015to-have-facebook-is-illegal-in-ethiopia


The Independent: The 19 poorest, unhappiest, unhealthiest, and most dangerous nations in the world

(Comoros, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Libya, Niger, Guinea, Pakistan, Burundi, Angola, Mauritania, Iraq,  Chad, DR Congo,  Sudan, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Yemen).


Many of the countries that feature toward the bottom end of the index have been hit hard by wars and outbreaks of disease.

The countries are generally lacking in strong economies, governments, and education systems.


The Legatum Institute, a London based research institute released its 10th annual global Prosperity Index, a huge survey that ranks the most prosperous countries in the world, on Thursday 3rd November 2016.

Prosperity may mostly be used to talk about money, but the Legatum Institute thinks there is more to it than that.

The organisation compared 104 separate variables to come up with its list. These variables include traditional indicators like per-capita gross domestic product and the number of people in full-time work, but also more interesting areas such as social tolerance and how good a nation’s internet is.

The variables are then split into nine subindexes: economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital, and natural environment.

We’ve already shown you the 25 countries that the Prosperity Index rated as the most prosperous, or in other words, the happiest, wealthiest, and most crime-free places on earth. Now it’s time to look at the countries at the other end of the list.

Many of the countries that feature toward the bottom end of the index have been hit hard by wars and outbreaks of disease. They are generally lacking in strong economies, governments, and education systems.

We’ve taken the bottom 19 countries from the Legatum Institute’s index and ranked them in reverse order, where No. 1 represents the “least prosperous” country.

The index looked at the 149 countries in the world that have the most available data. As a result, it should be noted that certain prominent countries, including Syria and North Korea, do not feature because of a lack of available data.

19. Comoros — The tiny island nation of the Comoros is pretty safe in the grand scheme of things, ranking 69th out of 149 countries. However, it ranks as one of the least prosperous nations thanks to bottom 20 scores in five of nine subindexes, including being 135th in the entrepreneurship subindex.

18. Ethiopia — Ethiopia scored pretty well in some subindexes, but low levels of entrepreneurship and opportunity, and a bad score in the education subindex mean that the Legatum Institute ranks it as one of the 20 least prosperous countries on Earth.

ethiopia-getty.jpg
(Getty Images)

17. Liberia — It was hit badly by 2014’s Ebola virus epidemic, and almost 5,000 people were killed in the country. As a result Liberia’s score in the health subindex was in the bottom five, its worst individual subindex score.

16. Mali — While it scored in the top 100 nations for personal freedom and social capital, Mali was pushed down the Prosperity Index by having a bottom five education score.

15. Nigeria — Nigeria may have one of Africa’s most powerful economies, but it scored pretty poorly in all nine subindexes, with its lowest rank being in safety and security, reflecting the presence of militant groups like Boko Haram and the Niger Delta Avengers.

nigeria-crisis.jpg

14. Libya — After the ousting of brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi, it was hoped that Libya would prosper, but a power vacuum and years of fighting have ravaged the country. The Legatum Institute puts it in the bottom 10 for personal freedom, governance, and entrepreneurship.

13. Niger — Niger faces similar problems to Nigeria when it comes to terrorist groups like Boko Haram, although it scores relatively highly (87th) for safety and security. Its worst individual subindex score came in education, where it was 3rd last.

12. Guinea — Despite a natural environment ranking in the top 60 globally, terrible scores for health and education keep Guinea’s overall ranking incredibly low, making it the 12th least prosperous nation surveyed.

11. Pakistan — Despite having fairly good scores for both economy and governance, Pakistan was ranked as one of the seven most unsafe countries on Earth. It has the worst natural environment of any nation, according to the Legatum Institute.

pakistan-sectarian-killings2.jpg

10. Burundi — Improving its position from the 5th least prosperous nation in 2015, Burundi’s top score came for personal freedom (101 out of 149). It was dead last when it comes to social capital.

9. Angola — Angola, on Africa’s south west coast, is oil rich, but not at all prosperous, according to the Legatum Institute. It is in the bottom 20 countries in all nine subindexes.

8. Mauritania — The North African country has a pretty good score for social capital (it’s 82nd out of 142 countries) but is in the bottom 15 for six of the 15 sub-indexes, meaning that it comfortably makes our list as one of the least prosperous countries on Earth.

7. Iraq — As one of the areas occupied by ISIS, it is not hugely surprising to see Iraq rank in the bottom three of the safety and security subindex. Despite ranking in the top 100 in one subindex — social capital — Iraq ranks 143rd out of the 149 countries surveyed.

iraq-smoke.jpg

6. Chad — In 2014, only the Central African Republic was less prosperous than Chad. Last year it was the 4th least prosperous, but it has improved its position again this year. It’s highest subindex score came for natural environment.

5. Democratic Republic of Congo — Citizens in the Democratic Republic of Congo have to contend with the country being ranked as the second most unsafe country in the whole Prosperity Index. Its top subindex score was 131st in social capital.

4. Sudan — Sudan has fallen from 134th last year to 145th now. The country’s citizens are the second-least free of any in the Prosperity Index, and it ranks in the bottom ten for all but two subindexes.

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3. Central African Republic — As its name suggests, the country is located in the heart of Africa. The nation has improved its standing from least prosperous in 2015 to 3rd least this year, despite ranking in the bottom 10 in all but one subindex.

2. Afghanistan — Ravaged by war for decades, it is perhaps unsurprising that Afghanistan ranked as having the worst personal freedom of all countries surveyed, and the third-worst for governance. These factors, combined with poor scores across the board make it second-least prosperous of any country surveyed, the same position as 2015.

1. Yemen — Devastated by civil war, Yemen is dead last in the economy, entrepreneurship, and governance subindexes, second last in social capital, and in the bottom three for personal freedom.


Click here to read on the 25 richest, healthiest, happiest, and most advanced countries in the world

Tyranny of Experts, illustrated August 17, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

An Africanist Perspective

More on this here, here, and here.

H/T Khadija Mohamud.

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UMD News: From Duluth to Oromia: Helping Those in Need April 29, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Oromia, Oromo, Oromummaa, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoo

Amane explains how water will be distributed

Aspiring to Assist
Amane Wako, a UMD junior double majoring in accounting and international studies, is one of those students who has the desire to help others.

Lessons in Duluth
Amane has volunteered at the Damiano Center, a social services organization in Duluth, for years. She tutors children in math and reading at their Kid’s Café and she helps out homeless and low income people by serving meals in their kitchen.

She was impressed by the organization’s philosophy, and she wants to start her own non-profit organization, so she can help those in need someday.

That day came sooner than she ever imagined. This past winter, Amane helped 47 households in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

Amane is originally from Oromia. She moved to United States with her mother and attended Cooper High School in Minneapolis. However, most of her relatives are still in Oromia, and she visits them regularly.

In December 2015, Amane watched television news and saw a protest by Oromo farmers and residents who wanted the government to stop taking their land. Security forces killed at least 40 people, hundreds were wounded, and thousands were detained during the three weeks of uprisings in Oromia.

Amane was upset and worried about the Oromo people. “I wanted to do something to help families back in my home region.”

Immediately she looked for ways to help get food and water to the people in Oromia. Amane talked with her professors and asked for a few minutes of class time to give presentations. UMD students donated hundreds of dollars to the cause.

When Amane went back to Minneapolis on weekends, she gave a presentation at a church and talked to friends to raise even more money.

By the time she went back to Oromia during the winter break, she had gathered over $1000. Amane was joined by her friends in Oromia to make deliveries. In spite of the dangers, she and her friends bought food and water to those most in need. They listened to the stories of the families affected by the violence.

“People in my home region suffered. Many were hungry, thirsty and homeless,” she said. “I want to do more to help them, but as a student, the only thing I can do now is to study harder.”

Amane has a plan though. “In the future, I want to build a place to serve free food, just like the Damiano Center does in Duluth,” she says.

Women wait UMD students from Oromia
Amane listened to stories of people affected by violence. UMD students from Oromia

http://www.d.umn.edu/external-affairs/homepage/16/helping-oromia.html

 

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) 2015: The Oromo National And Cultural Holiday, Oromians Celebrated the Blessing Festival in Oromia and all over the Globe. Over 6 Million Celebrated At Hora Harsadi. Lammiin Oromoo Milyoona Jaha Ol Ta’an Hora Harsaditti Waliin Irreeffatan. November 18, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Culture, Development & Change, Humanity and Social Civilization, Irreecha, Irreessa, Khemetic Africa's culture, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo Culture, Oromummaa, Thanksgiving.
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An Amusing Historical picture Captured in 1903 showing Irreechaa celebration at Lake Hora, Bishoftu town of Oromia

Ayyaanni Irreecha Malkaa  Bara 6409 (ALO) kan Hora Harsadi (Bishoftuu) baka Oromoon miliyoona 6 ool irratti argamanii irreeffatanitti Onkoloolessa 4  kabajamee oole. Itti dabaleesi  irreeffannaa Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsa, Magaalaa Buraayyuu gaafa Onkoloolessa 11 bara 2015 haala o’aan bakka Oromoo milyoona hedduun argamanitti ayyaaneffatame. Haaluma wal fakkatuun Odaa Bulluqii fi Malkaa sabbataatti umman Oromoo irreeffatanii oolani.  Malkaa Awaas fi Onkoloollessa 18 baraa 2015   Malkaa Booyyee (Jimmatti) haala o’aa fi bareedan irreefftame. Naqamte, Haroo Adiiyaatttis Sadaasa 8 bara 2015 haala gaariin irreeffatame.

Akka sadarkaa biyyoolessatti kan kabajame Irreecha Malkaa Hora Arsadii booda Oromiyaa godina adda addaa keessatti ayyaan Irreechaa (Irreessaa) kabajamaa ture, isaan keessaa Malkaa Ateetee, Bokkuu Cittuu, Malkaa Hawaas, Hora Haadhoo, Karrayyuu, Naqamte, Odaa Bisli, Jimma, Haroo Maayaa fi Goonde yoo ta’u Sadaasa 15 bara 2015 immoo Aanaa Midaaqeny keessatti Wiirtuu Aadaa fi dhuggeeffata Oromo kan Galma Calalaqiitti  bakka irreeffattoonni milyoona tokko ol irreeffatanitti sirna ho’aan kabajamee ooleera.  https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/oromia-midaaqanyi-irreecha-birraa-2015-aanaa-midaaqanyiitti-ayyaanni-irreechaatiifi-sirna-gadaa-oromoo-jabeessu-kabajamee-ooleera/

Jilli UNesco Ayyaana irreecha Malkaa Hora Harsadii kan Bara 2015 irratti argamee odeeffannasi godhe.

Millions of Oromians, and visitors from around the world, converged in Bishoftu, Oromia, by Hora Arsadi (Lake Arsadi) on 4th October 2015, to celebrate this year’s Irreecha Birraa (‘Oromo Thanksgiving’) Festival, which is the largest such public event in Africa. Millions celebrated at Malkaa ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, at Odaa Bulluq (Horroo Guduruu) and Malkaa Sabbataa,  Oromia on 11th October 2015. The celebrations of Irreecha Birraa at Malkaa Hawaas (Awash valley, in the cradle of  humanity) and  0n 18th October 2015 at Malkaa Boyyee in Jimma (Western Oromia, the birth place of Coffee (Buna) was joyful and colorful with massive attendance.  In similar situation Irreecha Malkaa celebrated in Naqamtee city at Haroo Adiiyaa on 8th November 2015.

Irreecha Birraa( Malkaa) Oromo celebrated in Midaaqanyi (Central Oromia) on 15 November 2015. Over one million people in attendance.

UNesco representative  attended the festival at Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu, Oromia.

Irreecha Birraa 2015, the Oromo National And Cultural Holiday, Oromians Celebratied the Blessing Festival in Oromia and all over the Globe

Hora

Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu, Oromia, Africa. Onkoloolessa 4, 2015 (6409 ALO)Oromia and the continuitity its Nile Valley Civilization, Irreecha Malkaa 2015 ( 6409 years since started on upper Nile (Mormore) Valley)Oromia and the continuity its Nile Valley Civilization, Irreecha Malkaa 2015 ( 6409 years since started on upper Nile (Mormore) Valley)Oromo, Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo 2015 @Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu, OromiaIrreecha Malkaa 2015 @Hora Harsadii, Oromians from Finfinnee attendingIrreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu, Oromia, Africa. Onkoloolessa 4, 2015 (6409 ALO)1Millions of Oromos, and visitors from around the world, converged in Bishoftu, Oromia, by Hora Arsadi (Lake Arsadi), to celebrate this year Irreecha Birraa Oromo Festival, which is the largest such public event in Africa.

Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture1 Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture2Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture4Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture5Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 picture3 Irreecha Birraa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia, 11 October 2015 Irreecha Malkaa (Birraa) 2015 Kan Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia. Onkoloolessa (October 2015)3Irreecha Malkaa (Birraa) 2015 Kan Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia. Onkoloolessa (October 2015)Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture1Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture2Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture3Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture3

Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture4Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture5Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture6Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture7Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture9

Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture10Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture11Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture12Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture13Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture14Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture15Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture16Irreecha Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu Oromia, October 11, 2015 picture 1Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture17Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture18Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Ateetee, Gafarsaa, Buraayyuu, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture19

Irreecha Malkaa Sabbataa, 11 October 2015

Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Sabbataa, Oromia. 11 October 2015 picture 2

Irreecha Malkaa Sabbataa, 11 October 2015

Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Booyyee, Jimmaa, Oromia, 18th October 2015 picture5Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Booyyee, Jimmaa, Oromia, 18th October 2015 picture2Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Booyyee, Jimmaa, Oromia, 18th October 2015 picture3Irreecha Malkaa 2015 @Malkaa Booyyee, Jimmaa, Oromia, 18th October 2015 picture4

Irreecha Malkaa Booyyee, Jimma (Oromia),  18 October 2015

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture10

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015

//static.doubleclick.net/instream/ad_status.js//www.google.com/js/bg/94YIzvPPuszyD69ykV0p0Ajqm3AR4EudClm7EM2etWI.jsOBSTV – YouTube// //

Waaqeffattoota galma naqamtee irreessa birraa yoo irreeffatan, Sadaasa 8 bara 2015Waaqeffattoota galma naqamtee irreessa birraa yoo irreeffatan, Sadaasa 8 bara 2015, pcture1Waaqeffattoota galma naqamtee irreessa birraa yoo irreeffatan, Sadaasa 8 bara 2015, pcture2

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture9Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture8Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture6Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture5Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture4Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture3Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture2Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015 picture1

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) Oromoo kan bara 2015, Haroo Adiiyaa, magaalaa Naqamtee sadaasa 8, 2015

 

//static.doubleclick.net/instream/ad_status.js//www.google.com/js/bg/94YIzvPPuszyD69ykV0p0Ajqm3AR4EudClm7EM2etWI.jsIRREESSA MALKAA QOFFEE, MEKI – YouTube// //

Colors of Oromummaa @ Irreecha Through Raayyaa Studio’s Lens | 20 Stunning Photos from the ‘Oromo Thanksgiving’ Festival at Bishoftu, Oromia.

http://finfinnetribune.com/Gadaa/2015/10/colors-of-oromummaa-irreecha-through-raayyaa-studios-lens-20-stunning-photos-from-the-oromo-thanksgiving-festival-at-bishoftu-oromia/

http://https://vimeo.com/141545022

http://https://vimeo.com/141459147

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/omn-london-oduu-onkololeessa-4-2015/

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/ayyaanni-irreechaa-malkaa-ateeteetti-haala-hoaan-kabajame/

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/ayyaanni-irreechaa-malkaa-ateeteetti-haala-hoaan-kabajame/

http://qeerroo.org/2015/10/05/onkolooleessa-42015-ayyaanni-irreechaa-bara-2015-hora-arsadeetti-uummataa-oromoo-miliyoonotaan-irratti-argamuun-kabajate-diddaa-sirna-abbaa-irree-wayyaaneef-qabu-dhageesisuun-dirree-qabsoo-bilisumma/

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/omn-london-oduu-onkololeessa-11-2015/

http://qeerroo.org/2015/10/12/abo-nuu-wayyaa-nuufoo-irreecha-buraayyuu-malkaa-ateetee-part-2-onk-112015-diddaa-qeerroo-bilisummaa/

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/aadeeffannaa-maalummaa-irreechaa-fi-sirna-kabaja-ayyaana-irreechaa-melborneawustiraaliyaa/

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Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, Hora Harsadi. picture2Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4Irreecha Birraa Oromo Hora Harsadii, Onkoloolessa 4, Bara 2015Irreecha Birraa Oromo Hora Harsadii, Onkoloolessa 4, Bara 2015 picture2Irreecha Birraa Oromo Hora Harsadii, Onkoloolessa 4, Bara 2015 picture3IrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving4

Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu Oromia, Africa on 4th October 2015 (6409 in Oromo calendar)Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa Hora Harsadi, Bishoftuu Oromia, Africa on 4th October 2015 (6409 in Oromo calendar)1Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, WaaqeffatootaIrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving2

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Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, Hora Harsadi. picture3IrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving15

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Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, Hora Harsadi. picture1Irreecha Malkaa Oromoo kan Bara 2015 (6409 ALO) Onkoloolessa 4, Hora Harsadi.IrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving6

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IrreechaBirraa2015OromoThanksgiving16

Irreecha: Waltajjii miliyoononni akka tokkotti itti mul’atan

Torban darbe keessa Magaalaan Bishooftuu akka nama guyyaan cidha isaa/ishee itti ga’ee ko’amattee turte. Sababni isaas guyyaan addaa Oromoon hawwii guddaan eeggatuufi bakka guddaa kennuuf Irreechi Malkaa waan kabajamuufi. Irreechi Malkaa, Horaa Harsadeetti bifa miidhagaa ta’een kabajamu kun yeroo maraa Masqalli ba’ee Dilbata itti aanuu bakka Oromoon bakka addaddaa irraa dhufee walitti qabame kan kabajatudha. Bishooftuunis ayyaan guddaa kana kabachuuf egaa jala bultii irraa kaastee kan ko’ammatte. Egzibishiniifi baazaariin, konsariiwwan muuziqaa, agarsiifni aadaa, mariin paanaaliifi wantoonni ayyaanicha miidhagsan addaddaa kan gaggeeffamaa turanis torbanuma darbe keessa ture.

Magaalattiinis poostariiwwaniifi barreeffamoota garagaraa waa’ee ayyaanichaa ibsaniin iftee jirti. Akkasuma, hoteeliinnii, manneen ciisichaafi bakkeewwan ummataaf tajaajila kennan sirboota Afaan Oromoo sagalee guddaadhaan banuun keessummoota isaanii “anaa haa dhufu” jechuun simataniiru. Qophiin haala kanaan miidhagee adeemsifame kunis xumura isaa kan argatu Dilbata ture. Gaafsis ilmaan Oromoo bakka addaddaadhaa dhufan aadaafi faayaa Oromootiin miidhaganii, harkatti marga jidhaafi keelloo qabatanii, sirba aadaa sirbaa ture kan gara Hora Arsadeetti imalan. Ilmaan Oromoo malees namoonni biyya keessaafi alaa ayyaana miidhagaa kana ilaaluuf dhufaniiru. Irreecha baranaa kan adda godhu wayita ayyaanicha UNESCOtti galmeesisuuf hojiin % 80 xumurametti kan kabajamu ta’uu isaati. Kanaaf ture waamicha Biiroon Aadaafi Turizimii Oromiyaa namoonni ayyaanicha kabajan bifa nagaan akkasumas, aadaafi eenyummaa isaanii ibsuun akka kabajaniif taasise fudhachuun eenyuuyyu caalaa ilmaan Oromoo haala bareedaa ta’een kabajatanii kan dabarsan. Ayyaanichaan dura namoonni miliyoona afur ta’an Irreecharratti ni argamu jedhamee kan tilmaame yoo ta’u, tilmaamani ayyaanichaa boodaa garuu lakkoofsi sirrii eeramuu baatuus isa jedhameen ol ta’uun isaa dubbatameera. Irreeffattoonni haala irranatti eeramaeen gara Hora Arsadee bu’an, rakoo nageenyaafi tasagabbii tokko malee guyyaa hawwiidhaan eeggataa turan kana miira tokkoon kabajuun ayyaaneeffataniiru.

Ani ayyaana Irreechaa irratti waggoota walitti aanan sagaliif kaniin hirmaadhe yoo ta’u, haalli kabaja isaa yeroodhaa gara yeootti miidhagaa, lakkoofsi hirmaattootaa dabalaafi waltajjii agarsiisa aadaa akkasumas, eenyummaa ta’uu isaadha kaniin taajjabe. Dargaggoonniifi shamarran uffata aadaa godinaalee Oromiyaa hundaa bifa ammayyaafi aadaatiin uffatanii, faayaawwaniin miidhaganii, marga jidhaa qabatanii laga bu’anii erga irreeffataniin booda sirba aadaadhaan dhiichisaa, nyaata aadaa nyaatafi wantoota bashannanaa garagaraatiin rakkoo tokko malee kabajatanii yommuu galanis argeera. Keessumaa barana, baayyachuu namaatiin waldhiibboofi ho’a uumamuu dandamachuun miliyoonoonni akka tokkotti yommuu Irreecha kabajatan arguu caalaa waan nama gammachiisu hinjiru. Inni biraan ayyaanicha adda godhu misiroonni 25 abbootii Gadaatiin eebbifamanii cidha isaanii raawwatachuu isaaniiti. Waliigala taateewwan irreecharratti mul’ataniifi tokkummaan ummatichaa  Irreechi UNESCO irratti akka galmaa’uuf kan gumaachuu ta’uu isaatiin kan dinqisafamudha.  Ayyaanicharratti argamuun haasawaa kan taasisan Hogganaan BATO Obbo Geetuu Wayyeessaa akka jedhanitti, Irreechi galmee addunyaarratti akka galma’uuf haayyoota biyya keessaafi alaa affeerun qorannoon galmee kanaaf gargaaru taasifamaa jira.

Ministeerri Aadaafi Turiziimii Ayyaanni Irreechaa galmee addunyaarratti akka galma’uuf Barreessaa Ol’aanaa UNESCO, Hora Aarsadeefi magaalaa Bishooftuu daawwachisaani jiraachuu Ministirri ministeerichaa duraanii Obbo Amin Abdulqaadir dubbataniiru.  Af-yaa’iin Mana marii Bakka bu’oota uummata Obbo Abbaa dulaa Gammada ummanni hojii irratti boba’ee jiru hundarratti kutannoon hojjechuu akka qaban dhaamaniiru.  Waliigala ayyaanni Irreecha baranaa haala yaadameen kabajamuun isaa naamusa ummanni Oromoo qabu kan agarsiisu ta’uurra darbee jaalalaafi kabajaa inni aadaa isaf qabu kan calaqqisuu ta’uu isaatiin jajjabeeffamuu qaba jenna.

Saamraawiit Girmaatiin,

http://www.ethpress.gov.et/bariisaa/index.php/art-culture/item/672-irreecha-waltajjii-miliyoononni-akka-tokkotti-itti-mul-atan

Baga Booqaa Birraa Ittiin Isin Gahe! Happy Irreecha Birraa, the blessing Oromo Thanksgiving Season 2015 (6409 in Oromo Calendar).

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/09/omn-london-oduu-fulbaana-26-2015/

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/09/omn-london-oduu-fulbaana-27-2015/

 

Irreecha Naannawa Waashingten DCtti

Irecha

http://www.voaafaanoromoo.com/content/article/2984465.html

Irreechi Ayyaana Galfannaa Oromoo waggaa waggaatti, xumura gannaa fi itti gala Birraatti ayyaaneffafu. Ayyaanni kun, yeroo ammaa, Oromoo biyyoota alaa jiraatan dabalatee  Uummata Oromoo keessatti bakka adda addaatti kan ayyaaneffamu yoo tahu ayyaaneffannaan inni guddaan Dilbata dhufu kana, magaalaa Bishooftuu ka jiru Hara Arsadii irratti ayyaaneffamu. Biyyoota alaa tii garuu, torban dabre kana jalqabe. Dilbata dabre, gaafa Fuulbaana 27 Oromoonni Waashington DC fi naannawa ishee jiraatan kan handaara Waashington, kutaa Maryland keessa jiru Hara Artimesia jedhamutti  ayyaaneffatan.

Irreechaa, Hara Artemesia irratti ayyaaneffame irratti, ijoollee xixiqqoo dhaa jalqabee haga maanguddootaatti Oromoota hedduu tu argame. Marti isaanii jechuun ni danda’ama, uffataa fi faayaa aadaa Oromootiin of kuulanii, abaaboo fakkaatanii turan. Yeroo gara malkaatti yaa’an, wallee ani dura isin dhageessise sana faa wallisaa turan. Eega malkaa irra ga’anii booda, maanguddoonni akka aadaatti  “as keessaa namni walitti gadde yokaan mufate yoo jiraate, otuu hin irreeffatiin dura waliif dhiisaa” jedhanii gaafatan.  Achii booda, dhiiraa fi dubartiin wal-harkaa fuudhaan, galataa fi kadhannaan, abaaboo bishaanitti cuubanii  irreefftaa turan.

Guutummaa isaa dhaggeeffadhaa

http://www.voaafaanoromoo.com/content/article/2984465.html

Report: Irreecha in Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Hora Gaasperplas | ‘Oromo Thanksgiving’ | Onk./Oct. 3, 2015

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/10/aadeeffannaa-irreechaa-hora-gaasperplasdamamsterdam-kan-bara-2015-kutaa-2ffaa/

 Onkoloolessa/October 5, 2015 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com

Irreecha_Gaasperplas_Netherlands20153

Irreecha_Gaasperplas_Netherlands20152

Irreessi IrreedhaCredit: Girma GemedaCredited: Girma Gemeda

Celebration of Irreecha Oromoo 2014 (6408 according to Oromo Calendar). 5th October 2014, Horaa Harsadii, Bishoftu, Oromia. Suura1Irreechaa Arfaasaa 2015 (17)Irreecha Oromo 2014 Hora Harsadii, Oromia 4Irreecha Oromo 2014 Malkaa Ateetee, Buraayyuu, Oromia

Tumsa ykn Yaadannoo Irreecha (Irreessa) Bara 2015 Cinaa (Bukkee) Hora Arsadiitti Geggeessamu

Tumsa ykn Yaadannoo Irreecha (Irreessa) Bara 2015 Cinaa (Bukkee) Hora Arsadiitti Geggeessamu1

Irreecha birraa 2015 ilaalchisee ibsa Gumii Waaqeffannaa irraa kenname: Baga Ayyaana Irreecha Birraa Bara 2015 Isin Gahe

Gumii Waaqeffannaa

Baga Ayyaana Irreecha Birraa Bara 2015 Isin Gahe

Irreecha birraa 2015 ilaalchisee ibsa Gumii Waaqeffannaa irraa kenname

Waaqa
Akka amantii Waaqeffannaatti, Waaqni uumaa waa maraati. Uumama qoollo kana keessa jiraatu kanneen lubbu qabeeyyii fi maleeyyii ta’an hunda kan uumee fi tiksee kan jiraachisu Waaqa dha.

Waaqni fulla’aa beelii-belel. Hin dhalu, hin dhalchu, kan hin dulloomnee fi hin duune jiraataa bara baraati. Hiriyaa fi morkataa kan hin qabne ta’uutti amanna. Waaqeffannaan amantii Waaqa tokkichatti buluu fi amanuudha. Akka amantii kanaatti Waaqni waan hunda kan uumee fi madda jireenyaa ta’uu dhugeeffanna. Waaqeffannaan amantii waggoota 6000 oli turee fi osoo amantiiwwan kanneen akka Kiristaanaa fi Isilaamaa gara gaanfa Afrikaa hin seeniin dura kan ture, amantii ummata Kuush isa duraa fi hundee amantiiwwan maraati.

Waaqeffatoonni seera uumaa fi uumman qajeelfamuu. Kabaja Waaqaf, jaalala uumamaf qabaachuu, dubbii hamaa fi cubbuu irraa fagaachuu fi lagachuun hundee amantichaati. Kana bu’uura godhachuun kaayyoon amantii Waaqeffannaa Safuu, Laguu, Hooda, Seeda, Aadaa fi Duudhaa Oromoo fi warra Kuush eeguu , kunuunsuu fi guddisuu irratti hojjechuudha. Gama biraan hordoftoonni Waaqeffannaa amantii fi aadaa saba biraaf kabajaa qabaachuu, elaa fi elaameen waliin hojjechuu qaban. Sirna Waaqeffannaa keesssatti, sabni Oromoo uuumaa isaatif Irreessa galchuun iddoo guddaa kennaaf. Kanaafu aadaa ummata Oromoo keessaa inni mul’ataa fi guddaan kabaja ayyaana Irreesaati. Amantii fi Aadaan waan hedduun walkeessa jira ykn walitti hidhataadha. Sabni ykn biyyi hundi amantii hordofuu fi aadaa jabeeffatu qaba. Kanneen lamaan akkaataa wal hin faallesiineen ittiin jiraatan. ” Sabni aadaa hin qabne garbicha” jedha, hayyuun argaa-dhageettii obbo Dabbasaa Guyyoo. Akkas jechuun sabni akka sabaatti bilisa ta’ee jiraatu aadaa saba biraa irraa waan adda isa godhu qaba. Yoo bilisa hin taane garuu, kan ofii gatuun aadaa warra isa gabroofateen liqimfama jechuudha.

Egaa ayyaanni irreechaa, kaleessa ykn waggoota digdamman darban keessa kan uumame osoo hin taane, amantii Waaqeffannaa waliin kan ture, aadaa Oromoon Waaqaa fi Uumaa isaa kan ittiin galateeffatuu fi isa fuulduraaf immoo kan itti kadhatudha. Ayyaanni Irreessaa akka duudhaa ganamaatti, ilmaan Oromoo naannoo jiraatan hundatti haalaa fi yeroo adda addaatti raawwatu. Haa ta’u malee dhiibbaa sirnooti darbanii fi amantiin biroon irraan gahaa turanin bakka hedduutti dhorkame ykn akka hin mul’anne golgame Ayyaanni irreecha birraa magaalaa Bishooftuu, Hora Arsadeetti kabajamaa jiru hambaawwan bakka bakkatti hafanii kabajamaa jiran yoo ta’u, baroota dhihoo keessa tattaaffii jaalatoonni aadaa Oromoo godhaniin beekamaa fi guddataa dhufee yeroo ammaa ummata kumaatamaan hedamu kan hirmaachisu, Afrikaa keessatti isa guddaa ta’ee kan mul’atuu fi ummata alagaa hedduu kan hawwataa dhufe dha. Ummati Oromoo, amantii, kutaa fi siyaasaan osoo walhin qoodiin tokkummaan eenyummaa isaa akka mul’isu kan godhe aadaa guddaa ta’uu isaa argina.

Yeroo ammaatti Irreechi aadaa moo amantiidha? kan jedhu gaaffiin ka’aa akka jiru hubanna. Akkuma olitti ibsame aadaa fi amantiin waan hedduun walitti hidhata. Akka aadaa Oromootti ammoo sirna raawwatu hunda keessatti osoo maqaa Waaqaa hin dhahiin waanti raawwatu hin jiru. Sirna gumaa, gaa’ela, araara ykn jaarsummaa fi waan kana fakkaatu irratti Coqorsa ykn marga jiidhaa qabachuun wal eebbisa ykn Waaqa kadhata. Coqorsi ykn margi mallattoo nagaa fi araaraati. Coqorsi ykn lataan qabatan irreecha jedhama. Haala kanaan irreechi aadaadha, amantiidhas. Yeroo irreeffannaaf Malkaa bu’an ykn Tulluu bahan Waaqeffatootaaf aadaa fi amantii yoo ta’u, warra amantii biraa keessa jiraniif ammoo aadaadha. Yeroo irreechaatti siiqqeen, caaccuu fi kaallachi, bokkuu fi meeshaaleen dhalaa fi dhiirri qabatu, uffati aadaa uffatamuu fi walleen achitti mul’atu marti aadaa fi seenaa Oromoo calaqqisa. Kanaaf ummati miliyoonaan lakkaa’amu, Isilaama, Kiristaanaa fi Waaqeffataan gamtaan walcina hiriiree Irreeffataa kan jiru. Haaluma kanaan jabaatee akka itti fufuu fi irreechi kan Oromoo qofa osoo hin taane, ummati Afrikaa marti kan ittiin boonuu fi waliin kabaju ta’uuf akka jiraatu abdii qabna. Kun akka ta’uuf Waaqni nu haa gargaaru, nutis ciminaa fi gamtaan waliin haa jabeeffannu.

Yeroo irreeffannaaf deeman tartiibni raawwii isaa akka armaan gadii ta’a.
1. Yeroo Malkaa bu’an ykn Tulluu bahan, dubartoonni uffata aadaa uffachuun siiqqee fi irreecha qabatanii Mareehoo jechaa dura deemu,
2. Abbootii fi dargaggoonni duubarra dhiichisaa ykn jeekkaraa hordofu,
3. Bakka irreechaa yeroo gahan, Abbaan Malkaa, malkaan saaqamuu ibsa.
4. Faatii waliif baafatu, kunis nagaa fi araara waliif buusanii , garaa nagaa fi qulqullummaan waliin irreeffachuuf,
5. Jaarsoliin akka angafaa quxisuutti walduraa duuba eebbisu. Eebba kana keessa waan argataniif Waaqa galateeffachuun, nagaa, jaalala, tokkummaa fi badhaadhina kadhatu
6. Sirni irreeffannaa ni raawwata. Yeroo kanatti warri irreessa qabate hundi irreessa isaanii bishaan cuuphuun Waaqa kanaan isaan gahe galateeffachuun, bara dhufus akkasuma nagaan akka isaan gahu gaafatu
7. Dhibaayyuu fi daddarbaan ni raawwata. Dachee sanyii biqilchiteef, waan irratti horanii fi argatan irraa matadeebii kennuu jechuudha.
8. Maatiin daa’ima ammachiisan yoo jiraatan, abbaan malkaa akka sirna ammachiisaatti raawwata
9. Sirbaa fi wallisaan duubatti garagalu, dhangaa qabatanii dhaqan waliin dhamdhamu ykn bakka qophii addaatti walgahanii nyaatanii dhuguun sirbanii gammadu. Bara dhufu nagaan akka walitti deebi’aniif eebbaan raawwatu.

Waamicha
Ayyaanni irreechaa mallattoo, nagaa, araaraa fi tokkummaa ta’uu irrayyuu aadaa Oromoo fi Oromummaa guddisu, akkasumas Oromiyaa addunyaatti kan mul’isu waan ta’eef,

– Ayyaanni irreechaa, akka ayyaana biyyoolessa Oromiyaatti akka kabajamuuf kalandera keessa galee fi guyyaa ayyana biyyooleessaa ta’ee beekamtiin akka kennamuuf,

– Dirreen ayyaana irreechaa itti kabajan, Malkaan Arsadee giddugaleessa ayyaana irreecha Oromiyaa waan ta’eef ummata ayyaana kana irratti hirmachuuf dhufan, akkasumas dawwatootaa fi tursitoota addunyaaf mijuu akka ta’u, bakki bashannanaa fi aara galfannaa naannoo kanatti akka ijaaramu qaamni Mootummaa Oromiyaa dhimmi kun ilaalu akka irrtti hojjetu kabajaan gaafanna. Nutis waan dandeenyun deeggarsa nurraa barbaadamu akka goonu waadaa galla.

Irreecha bara 2015, kan tokkummaa fi jaalalaan waliin haa kabajnu, kan hawwinuu fi barbaadnu Waaqayyo itti nuuf haa guutu!

Leeel!

Koree GWA

Ayyaana Irreechaa Bara 2015 Ilaalchisisee Ibsa Gabaabaa Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo Irraa Kenname.

cropped-qeerroo-edit.jpg

Ayyaana Irreechaa Bara 2015 Ilaalchisisee Ibsa Gabaabaa Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo Irraa Kenname.

Fulbaana 24,2015, Finfinnee

Qeerroon Bilisummaa Oromoo Ayyaana Irreechaa Birraa kan baranaa 2015 Hora Arsadiitti kabajamuuf jiru, Onkololessaa 3/2015 ykn A.L.Habashaatti Fulbaana 23/01/2008 kan kabajamu ta’uu hubachiisuun , Uummata Oromoo hundaan baga jalbultii ayyaana Irreecha bara kanaa nagaan geessan, Barri kun Bara milkii,bara, kan hidhamee kan itti hiikamuu, gammachuu,bara qe’ee ofii irraa buqqa’uun dhaabatu,bara irreen Oromoo itti jabaatu, Bara gaaffiin mirga abbaa biyyummaa deebii itti argatu, Bara ‘’Master Plan Finfinnee’’ guutummatti haqamuu ,Bara Injifannoo fi Bilisummaa nuuf haa ta’u !!

Ayaanni Irreecha guyyaa Oromoon Malkaa/Tulluutti ba’ee Waaqa isa uume waan argateef kan galateeffatuu fi waan fulduratti barbaaduu fi hawwuuf itti kadhatudha. Irreechi Ayyaana Oromoon ittin beekamu,mallattoo Oromummaa fi Eenyummaa isaa ibsu, calaqqee Aadaa fi duudhaa keenyaa qofa utuu hin ta’iin dhaalmayaa hambaa seenaa uummata keenyaa kan qabsoo wareegama qaaliin as qaqqabedha. Goototni Oromoo uummatni Oromoo eenyummaan, aadaan, duudhaan,Afaanii fi biyyi Oromiyaa akka hin sarbameef  jechuun dhiigaa isaanii itti cophsuun, lafee isaanii itti cabsuun ayyaanni seena qabeessii kun akka uummatichaaf jiraatu taasisan bara baraan ni yaadatamu,

Ayyaanni irreecha barana 2015 sadarkaa Idil-Addunyaa UNESCO’tti galmaa’aa jiru kun bu’aa gootota ilmaan Oromoo;  Oromoo fi Oromiyaa akkasumas leecelloo Oromiyaa saamicha, faca’insaa fi gita bittaa gabrummaa jalaa baasuuf jedhanii wareegamaa qaalii kanfalaa turanii fi hardha illee Oromiyaa bilisoomsuuf wareegama wal irraa hin citne kanfalaa jiraniti. Ayaana Irreecha 2015 Ilaalchisee Ibsa Qeerroo Bilisummaa

http://advocacy4oromia.org/2015/10/05/message-from-the-hon-bill-shorten-mp-oromo-thanksgiving-day/

Short Documentary on Irreechaa by OBS TV

Oromia’s Irreecha Festival – A Revival of an Ancient African Culture – An Attempt to Understand and Explain

By Mekuria Bulcha, Ph. D.

Irreecha (also spellled Irreessa), the Oromo equivalent of Thanksgiving, was traditionally celebrated bi-annually in different parts of the Oromo country. The Irreecha Birra festival is celebrated in the month of September and Irreecha Arfaasaa in the month of April. Although it was a non-political festival, the irreecha was suppressed by Ethiopian regimes. Brought back to life by a struggle for cultural revival which the Oromo have waged during the last fifty, the festival is now playing a significant role in the manifestation and preservation of Oromo national identity. The festival in its traditional form is celebrated in different localities across Oromia. At the national level, it is an event that brings millions of Oromos from all over the Oromo country and non-Oromo visitors from other parts of the world to the shores of Hora (Lake) Arsadi in the city of Bishoftu in central Oromia. As such, it has no parallel in Africa. The festival is celebrated not only in Oromia, but has become an event which is observed transnationally by tens of thousands of Oromos settled in many countries around the world.

This paper aims to shed light on the role of the irreecha festival in the expression of Oromo unity and national identity. It is said that a collective identity is constructed not only in and of its present life, but also in reconstructing the collectivity’s earlier life. I will describe the role of numerous pan-Oromo socio-cultural and historical symbols and artefacts which the festival has brought to light, in awakening the Oromo sense of belonging to a community. The pan-Oromo democratic tradition is reflected in the artefacts displayed in the irreecha parade, in the blessings of elders who officiate it, in the environmental ethics articulated and in the performances of artist who entertain the celebrants.

Elements of a reviving culture packed up in a festival

In the pre-colonial past, the IrreechaBirra marked the end of the rainy season and the beginning of harvest season. It is an Oromo custom to gather on the river banks and the shores of lakes and give thanks to Waaqa (God) for all his bounty and pray for Nagaa (peace) and Araara (reconciliation) among humans and with God. Today, the festival has come to mark the end of the rainy season, and more. It marks the end of the cultural trauma which had affected the Oromo for about a century. It heralds and confirms that the time when the Oromo culture was seen as “pagan and primitive” is gone for good. It denotes victory over a history of cultural denigration.

The elders of the nation, their counsel and benediction

Like in the past, the haayyuu (elders, wisemen, the learned – both singular and plural) thank God and bless the nation as their ancestors did. They bless the nation; they remind their audience to uphold the Oromo ethics of safuu and nagaa (respect and peace), reconcile among themselves and pray to God to reconcile with them.  Although many of the Oromo concepts, vocabulary and semantics thehaayyuu use are archaic, the meanings of their blessing and sagacious counsel are comprehensible to their audience. The following is a rough translation of an excerpt from the counsel and blessing of a haayyuu who officiated an irreecha festival outside the city of Naqamtee in 2013.

Shall evil have no place amongst you?
Shall hate have no place amongst you?
Shall truth find you?
Is this your testimony before God?
Let peace be among all!
Let peace be among adults!
Let peace be among the youth!
Let peace be with the livestock!

He reminded the participants the connection that the occasion has with the Oromo heritage and counsels and commands them to confirm the authenticity of the occasion. He asked them whether spirit of the celebration is aligned with the spirit of Oromo traditions as reflected in the laws of the five major Odaas: Odaa Nabee (in central Oromia), Odaa Bisil (in western Oromia), Odaa Bulluq (in north-western Oromia), Odaa Roobaa (in south-eastern Oromia) and Odaa Bultum (in eastern Oromia). He asked them whether the traditions of Madda Walaabuu are respected. The five Odaaswere centers of the ancient gadaa republics where the Oromo met and elected their leaders and reviewed their laws and made new ones every eight years according to the constitution of the nation, and Madda Walaabuu was the seat of Abba Muuda, the high priest of traditional Oromo religion Waaqefannaa. The response of the celebrants is in the affirmative. This was followed by another moment of blessing which, roughly translated, said the following

You shall not conspire against one another
You shall not betray one another
Let God be at peace with you
Let the Earth be at peace with you

The significance of this ritual is not that the counsel of the haayyuu is translated into action, but the historical and cultural knowledge it conveys and the consciousness it raises in the minds of the audience. The past is memorized and communicated not only by the haayyuu but is also stored and reflected in the array of artefacts and costumes that decorate the irreecha parade. Combined with sagacious words of the haayyuu, the rich symbols of the Oromo gadaa culture – that attire the multitude who march in total harmony – reveal the dignity and pride with which the Oromo nation is re-asserting its culture and identity.

The poetic interpretations of artists

The collective memories of the nation, preserved in the ritual and symbols, then expressed in the words of the haayyuu, are supplemented by young artists who herald the revival of their heritage with songs and dances. Some of songs such as Galaanee Bulbulaa’s “Kottaa ni hirreefannaa, aadaa bade deeffannaa” which means (“Come let us celebrate Thanksgiving; Let us revive our banned culture”, Giftii Dhadhii’s Oromoon seera qabaa (“The Oromo have laws”), Abdoo Badhaasoo’s Irreecha irreeffanna (“We will celebrate Thanksgiving”), Gaaddisee Shamsadin’s Beenu Oromia, irreechi irree keenya (“Go on Oromia, irreecha is our power”) and Amartii Waarii’s Kottaa ni kabajna kuni aadaa keenyaa (“Come, let us celebrate our culture”), which were performed at the irreecha festivals and elsewhere, connect the Oromo present with the past. They herald the recovery, revival and survival of the Oromo culture from the destruction to which it was doomed by conquest and colonization. In short, they reflect the feelings which underpin the ongoing Oromo recovery from a century of cultural trauma. The “green” leitmotif of luxuriant vegetation and abundant water against which the artists perform, provides a symbolic connection with God and nature that suggest that the Oromo are and will be at peace, with God, and also with nature. Their lyrics imply that the earth, the forests, rivers, lakes, animals and all the other living things are both natural and divine. Their implicit message is that what hurts the eco-system hurts humans also.

The dynamics that are at work during the irreecha festivals and what the participants experience is more than what the eye can see or the ear can hear. It is a joy and sense of belonging and experience of being part of a community that cannot be expressed fully in words. It is more. What the participants experience is a resurrection of a nation and a reconstruction of collective memory through the festival and the array of artefacts it displays. The occasion creates a collective “reality” and history. This collective reality connotes a state of being of the same mind, sharing a collective memory about a shared past and, just as importantly, an aspiration for a common future. This is more than a product of individual perception or understanding. When asked by a journalist fromChina Central TV Africa (CCTV) what he was thinking about the irreecha celebration at the 2014 festival in Bishoftu, a young celebrants replied

I have don’t have a word to express what I see or feel. I believe that this is my culture and religion at the same time. This is what was forwarded to us by our ancestors; and it is what I will forward to my children.

This individual is not alone in having that “feeling” about the festival.  His feeling is shared by other Oromo participants around him and those who watch the process on TV.  They may or may not express what they see and feel with words, but most of them, share with him the experience that what they see is their culture symbolized in the festival. When human communities attach symbols to words, concepts and artefacts that signify their collective experience, they share a vision. A society cannot exist without a degree of this sort of vision shared by a majority of its members. The young respondent cited above says that what he sees is his culture and religion which was passed to him by his ancestors and which he will pass over to his children. In other words, what he sees reflects his identity and that of others around him. My point is that the irreecha festival is one of the ways in which the Oromo society “recognizes itself”, that is to say imagines, feels, experiences or knows about its own existence. As an occasion and venue for the symbolic expression of Oromo history and culture, the irreecha festival connects the Oromo to a common past through the tangible artefacts on displays in the massive parades.

It important to note here that the Oromo celebrate the irreecha irrespective of their religious backgrounds. Whether they are Waaqeffataa, Christians or Muslims they participate in the festival. The moral counsel and ideals officiated by the haayyuu do not contradict the essence of any of the three religions. In fact the haayyuu who officiate it are from all the three religions on most occasions. The festival unites the Oromo and harmonizes their thoughts and voices. It creates a “mental state” shared by the entire Oromo nation. Whether one interprets the occasion culturally or politically, the significance of the prayer, counsel and blessing of the haayyuu and the songs of the artists in raising Oromo consciousness and unifying the nation cannot be overlooked. It is important to stress, however, the fact that the aim of the counsel of the haayyuu and the songs of the artists is not to “mobilize” the participants for collective political action on the spot. The occasion is to celebrate a tradition and its revival. The traditional Oromo ethics of safuu and nagaa, or respect for and peace with God, humans and the natural world pervade the atmosphere in which the festival is conducted. As I will explain in more detail below, the tranquillity which the occasion demands is respected.

Tranquility underpinned by tension and ethically controlled anger

It is important to note here that the tranquillity that has characterized the Bishoftu irreecha parade of millions of men, women and children during the last few years is not a sign that the participants are satisfied with their situation or the status quo. The tranquility reflected in the massive annual parades should not give us the impression that Oromia is a peaceful territory and that Ethiopia is a stable polity.  In fact, the benedictions of the haayyuu who officiate the festival are often underpinned by restrained feelings of dissatisfaction. The songs of the artists who entertain the participants contain anger felt against the prevailing political conditions. During the 2014 irreechafestival, for example, the prayers of the elders were marked by a feeling of grief for the Oromo students who had been cruelly killed by the agents of the regime because they were opposing the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan. The “crime” for which students were killed, as we all know, was participation in a peaceful protest against the eviction of the Oromo people from their land en masse. The haayyuu were not calling their audience to make war, but praying for the restoration of justice and for Oromo victory over all those who are harming or will harm them.  Concern about human rights’ violations committed by the TPLF regime was also reflected through slogans which called for “Respect to Oromo humanity and sovereignty” and “Respect Oromo Rights to their Territory” from the crowd. In short, the bright colors, the melodious songs and entertaining dances we observe in the irreecha parades do not signify Oromo satisfaction with their present situation in Ethiopia. We cannot expect a people whose youth are killed cruelly by a dictatorial regime, or, a people who are evicted from their homes and land, or, a people who are rounded up routinely and are thrown into jail en masse without the rule of law, to be satisfied. The celebrants of the irreechafestival were immensely dissatisfied with the Tigrayan regime. But, as Asmarom Legesse has remarked, “among the Oromo, war is war and peace is immensely tranquil” (see Gadaa Democracy, 2000, p. 77). The irreecha festival is an occasion that requires such tranquility. To feel anger about the injustice is normal and expected, but to express it would violate the spirit of a sacred occasion that Oromos greatly value. As a journalist from CCTV Africa who visited the festival in 2014 described it “the irreecha is a sort of family gathering.” Indeed, the festival is a sacred come-together for the different branches of the Oromo nation.  It would be considered immoral to disturb it.  However, given that the ruling Tigrayan elite are nervous about every Oromo gathering and that they have shown unprecedented impunity against the Oromo people, the possibility of interference by its security forces that can turn the tranquil “family gathering” into a bloody scene cannot be disregarded. During the last ten years the peace was disturbed by measures taken against participants of the festival: visitors were beaten, and many were imprisoned. Some of them were wounded by bullets fired by the police. During the 2010 festival 120 young participants were imprisoned accused of being “terrorists”; the gadaa cultural costume they wore was interpreted as a symbol of the Oromo Liberation Front (personal communication).  Yet the Oromo have continued to come to Lake Arsadi in an ever increasing numbers to continue with the revival of their ancient culture.

Artefacts that symbolize the “staying power of Oromo institutions”

After decades of suppression, the spontaneity with which irreecha, and other Oromo traditions, have come back to life during the last two decades has proved the resilience of Oromo culture. This shows that the majority of the Oromo people have successfully maintained a collective identity different from an identity which the Ethiopian ruling elites have been trying to impose on them in an effort to create a people with “one culture (Abyssinian), one religion (Orthodox Christianity), one language (Amharic) and one nation (Ethiopia)” out of a colonial empire.

The symbols that the irreecha festival has brought together are ancient and pan-Oromo reflecting what Asmarom Legesse has famously referred to as the “staying power” of the gadaa cultural heritage (ibid. p. 103). They symbolize justice, peace, and sovereignty which the Oromo of the gadaarepublics enjoyed in the past. In fact, the bokkuu which are carried by men and siqqee carried by women, as well as a range of other pre-colonial pan-Oromo gadaa symbols which are lined-up prominently by participants in the irreecha parade, reinforce the memories and values shared by the multitude gathered at the festival sites as well as those who are following the event in the media from afar, whether in Oromia or in the diaspora. The bokkuu and siiqqee are the symbols of the democratic ethos of the gadaa system. The bokkuu, a scepter which is carried by elderly men, is the symbol of the gadaa system, signifying both power and justice. As a symbol of gadaa democracy thesiiqqee stood for the inalienable rights of Oromo women and the inviolability of their human dignity. It is a symbol for an institution within the gadaa system. A woman is “accepted” into such an institution on her marriage day and thenceforth she is protected by it against any violation of her rights or human dignity, be it by her husband or other men.  The siiqqee entitles Oromo women to prticipate in many instances of decision making, in conflict resolution and other important matters that concern their society. The authenticity of the irreecha festival is reflected not only in the artefacts displayed in the parade or the blessings conducted by the hayyuu and songs sung by the artists, but is also in the amazing harmony which pervades the gathering of millions of people: the festival is serene; it proceeds peacefully and ends without incidents.

To go back to symbols, nations need symbols to frame their self-identification: that is symbols which help them to recognize themselves as collectivities, or that they exist as a “We”. Those who claim belongingness to such a collectivity share a culture, the elements of which are given significance in ritual practice. Thus, the array of symbols, such as the ones displayed in in the irreecha parades, constructs a narrative which holds together the imagination of a people and provides bases of harmonious thought and collective action. Nations around the world organize parades for different reasons. Some organize them to commemorate historical events such as their victories in battles or day of national independence. Others use parades to exhibit their cultural achievements or display technological progress. The irreecha festival, in the form it takes in Bishoftu today is, by and large, a national parade organized to celebrate the revival of Oromo culture. It heralds Oromo victory over ethnocide, or the attempted destruction of their culture by Ethiopian regimes. The costumes which the majority in the parade wear and the artefacts they carry reflect the culture and history which the different branches of the Oromo nation had shared and preserved. It is a history and culture which they rejoice with pride and will revive and defend.  For the Oromo people, the consequences of the Abyssinian conquest was prolonged cultural trauma. The irreecha festival heralds that the Oromo are now leaving behind that trauma.

The irreecha is taking the place of the ancient muudaa pilgrimage

What is very significant about the festival is that the multitude of men and women who converge on Bishoftu city from all over the Oromo country celebrate a culture that was denigrated, despised and suppressed for about a century. Such a massive gathering is reminiscent of another aspect of Oromo culture.  The spontaneous pan-Oromo participation in the festival suggests the manner in which the ancient pilgrimage to Abbaa Muuda was undertaken by thousands of jila (pilgrims) from the different gadaa federations. The pilgrimage to the holy muuda shrines attracted every eighth year tens of thousands of men who represented every Oromo clan from every corner of the Oromo country. Today, the irreecha festival celebrated on the shores of Lake Arsadi is playing a similar role.

The jila pilgrimage was both a religious and a political undertaking. Those who traveled on foot for months every eight years to the muuda shrines from regions which are far apart, were drawn together by a myth of origin from one ancestor, Orma. This was reinforced by a common language, a common religion through a strong attachment to their spiritual leader Abba Muuda, a common system of law, a shared attitude toward the natural world as well as their democratic character – all gave the Oromo who lived in different gadaa republics a sense of a single nation.  The muudainstitution maintained the moral unity of the Oromo nation until it was banned in 1900 by Emperor Menelik. The ban exacerbated the traumatic disruption of Oromo culture which I have mentioned above. The revival of the irreecha festival is a major step in dispelling the distortion of Oromo self-perception as a nation that was created by the disruption of conquest and colonization.

It is important to recollect here that it was the Macca Tuulama Association (MTA) that paved the way to take the Oromo nation into the present phase of their history. It is a well known fact that the activities of the MTA launched the recovery of the Oromo nation from the cultural and political traumas of conquest and colonization. It became the first forum to gather members of the Oromo branches from different parts of their country for a common purpose decades after the jilapilgrimages were banned by the imperial Ethiopian government. The MTA itself was banned by a successor of Menelik in 1968; but its work was resumed by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) beginning in the mid-1970s. It was also by the initiative of the MTA members that the Lake Arsadiirreecha festival was revived in the mid-1990s overcoming the restrictive surveillance of the present Ethiopian regime. The MTA was banned and its leaders were imprisoned for the second time in 2004, but the irreversible work of Oromo cultural revival that had started fifty years ago has continued on a large scale as reflected in the Irreecha festival.

Although the aim of the journey taken by Oromo masses to Lake Arsadi today is not exactly the same as those which stimulated the pilgrimage to the muuda shrines in the past, the effects are similar. It brings people from every corner of the Oromo country to one place. The irreecha festivals have re-established the sense of belonging to a single nation by the different branches of the Oromo nation in the way that the jila pilgrimage did in the past.  The national consciousness created by the irreecha festival may be even deeper than the awareness that was created by the muudapilgrimages and kept the Oromo nation intact in the past. Covered by mass media which takes the festival home to millions of Oromos at home and transnationally, the annual event makes Oromo imagination of their national community more vivid, immediate and real than it had ever been in the past.

For the Oromo their land is holy to all religions

As a cultural and religious site Lake Arsadi is located in a district which, de facto, was a holy land for the Oromo. Odaa Nabee, one of the oldest and most historic and ritually significant sites of thegadaa assemblies, is located about 15 km north of the lake. Tulluu (Mount) Cuqqaalaa (Ziquala in Amharic), Tulluu Erer, Tulluu Bosati, Tulluu Furii, Tulluu Eegduu, Tuluu Foyataa, Tullu Galaan and TulluWaatoo Daalachaa which were called Saddetan Tulluu Waaqayoo (the eight mountains of God) in Oromo tradition are also located in the district within less than 30 km distance from the lake. Scholars of Oromo studies have argued that mountains were seen as ceremonial grounds in the past and that the tops of the mountains mentioned here were used for that purpose.  In fact, the shores of a crater lake on Mt. Cuqqaalaa was a site for the irreecha festival for centuries. In short, the proliferation of ritual sites indicates the importance which the region has in the religious and political lives of the Oromo.

It is well known that Abyssinian kings and Orthodox clergy built churches in the lands they conquered to serve their soldiers and settlers, and in some cases also to Christianize the conquerd peoples. It seems that the Oromo region of Ada’a in which Bishoftu city is located was given more attention in this respect than normal. The conquerors did not stop with building churches and converting the indigenous population; the intention seems to have been  Christianizing the land and changing its Oromo identity as well. Biblical names such as Debre Zeit to Bishfotu and Nazret (Nazreth) to Adama. Farther south, two islands in Lake Zway were also called Galila Daseet (Galilee Island) and Debre Sina. The change of these place names in a region which is seen as sacred by the Oromo to Semitic Biblical names is perhaps to “Semiticize and Abyssinize” the region, deny its idigenous Oromo identity and claim it as a “holy” land proclaiming that it belonged to their Christian empire since ancient times. However, the policy did not succeed; the place names were reversed back to Oromo names in the 1970s, and now the irreecha festival is reviving the cultural identity of the district. Waqeffannaa, the traditional Oromo religion, with which the irreecha is culturally aligned, is also reviving. This does not meant there is no opposition to the re-instution of the Oromo heritage.  According interviews given by Abba Abdiisaa Dhaabaa, Hunddataa Waqwayyaa and Kaasaa Balchaa to a journalist from the Oromia Media Network recently (OMN TV, September 13, 2015), the opposition of the Orthodox clergy against the Bishoftu irreecha festival is still persistent. The denigration of the Oromo religious festival has not stopped.

The opposition of the Orthodox clergy seems to be even more marked against the celebration of the Spring irreecha on the shores of the crater lake on Mount Cuqqalaa. As mentioned above, the shores of that crater lake is an ancient site where the Oromo festival was celebrated for centuries. A monastery run by Orthodox Christians had also existed since the twelvth century on the same mountain. Its clergy had co-existed with the Oromo who follow their own religious tradition and celebrated irreecha festival on the shores of the crater lake. On the part of the Oromo, who do not see the co-existence of the different religions as a problem, this is not surprising. What is remarkable is the decision of the Orthodox clergy to share the shores of a small lake for ritual purposes with a people their church considers as heathen.  According to oral tradition the remarkable co-existence was a result of an agreement made with the Oromo by a bishop who founded the monastery. The condition which forced the bishop to accept the coexistence of the two religion is not clear. Ironically, the tolerance which the Orthodox clergy have shown over the centuries has changed into irrational opposition in recent years and the co-existance between the two religious communities is distrubed. According to my informant, the Oromo have been forbidden to celebrate the irreecha festival on Mount Cuqqaalaa since 2010. It is reported that a stelae calledsida Nabee (Nabee’s statue) which stood for centuries and was associated with Oromo traditions was also destroyed recently. According to the same source, the resistance of the clergy is against the revival of the Oromo religious culture. However, given the number of people of Oromo “pilgrims” who visit the irreecha celebrations, it is plausible to suggest that the revival of Oromo religious and cultural traditions is unstoppable. Above all, based on the religious backgrounds of the millions of people who participate in the irreecha festival and the haayyyuu who officiate it, one can say that today Bishoftu is a sacred place not only for Waaqeffataa (followers of the traditional Oromo religion), but also for Christians and Muslims. That shows that in Oromia people from all religious background are welcome. But, religious fanaticism is not. It is detested.

Refutation of Oromo misrepresentations and misconceptions  

The festival refutes many of the misconceptions which are created by Ethiopianist narratives. As I have pointed out my recent book The Contours of the Ancient and Emergent Oromo Nation (see Bulcha, 2011, Chapter 8), there are Ethiopianist writers who posit that the Oromo “have never had a sense of collective identity based on popular memory,” that the Oromo have no common historical symbols that are emotionally appealing to them or which could serve as primary symbols of their national identity and that they do not have a collective consciousness “rooted in myths and symbols.” The range of pan-Oromo symbols and artefacts, which are mentioned above, refute these propositions. They contradict the argument, which says the Oromo “do not possess a sense of belonging to a single societal community who shared important past experience and a common historic destiny.” The enthusiasm with which the Oromo are reviving the irreecha shows not only the resilience of this element of their traditional culture but also the revival of Oromummaa (being Oromo) in contradiction to the imposed culture of Ethiopiyawinet (Ethiopian-ness) with unexpected speed and vibrancy. Contradicting the picture of a “chaotic” people depicted in the Ethiopianist discourse, the festival also proves that the Oromo are a people who have a culture capable of bringing together millions of men, women and children from different religious backgrounds in one place to celebrate their ancient traditions with utmost harmony and peace. The revival of theirreecha festival in such a manner and on such a scale confirms, among others, that time when the Oromo were made to feel shame about their history, culture and identity; and the time when they strived to behave like or speak the language of their conquerors in order to be taken as Ethiopians is gone.

It is also interesting to note here the profound refutation the festival offers to the Ethiopianistmisconception of Oromo history, culture and identity. It refutes the misconception that the Oromo are a mixed bag of different tribes who do not share a common past or have a collective identity. As I have discussed at length elsewhere (see above), literature on Ethiopia – still in use – asserts the ‘fragility’ of Oromo socio-cultural features in contrast to the ‘tenacity’ of Abyssinian traditions. It has been argued by Ethiopianist historians that the Oromo lack a sense of community and solidarity and possess no collective memory or corporate history. For those who will understand Oromo culture and history it suffices to watch the irreecha festival. It narrates a cultural history shared by an entire nation. It does not narrate stories about kings and emperors who conquered and subjugated other people; it mirrors a heritage that is different from the Abyssinian heritage which the Ethiopianist historiographers have in mind when they talk about peoples “who lack history”.

Conclusion

Given what is said about the irreecha in this article, the following can be concluded. From the historical point of view, a recent and clear manifestation of the resilience of Oromo cultural heritage is that the Oromo have, in the face of a vicious colonial repression, preserved the irreecha.  This achievement shall be added to the preservation of important aspects of the Oromo gadaa system and the traditional Oromo religion, Waaqefannaa.  Indeed, this confirms that time when the Oromo were made to feel shame about their culture is gone for good, and the time has arrived when the Oromo culture assumes the place it deserves as a noteworthy cultural heritage of Africa and a significant contribution to global culture.

Taking into account the colorful costumes of its celebrants, it is clear that the festival has brought out expressions, colors, and art forms that are uniquely Oromo but which were hidden from public sight in the past.  It is incumbent on Oromo artists, designers, scholars and organizers of festivals and Oromo events to polish and create quality out of the treasure of Oromo arts, artefacts and narratives that have been preserved by their people and are now manifested in abundance in Oromo oral literature and cultural traditions, including in the irreecha festival. In short, the festival is an occasion that can be used by the Oromo to introduce themselves and their unique African culture to the world community.

As a parting word, I would like to point out that as an event which attracts millions of participants from near and far, the Bishoftu irreecha festival is becoming a major income generating event. Unfortunately, most of the beneficiaries are not Oromo. Frantz Fanon has reminded us that the poverty of a colonized people, national oppression and the inhibition of their culture are one and the same thing (see his Wretched of the Earth). This has been the fate of the Oromo. Because of the policy of the previous Ethiopian regimes, the majority of property owners in and around the city of Bishoftu are no longer Oromo. The present regime’s land policy which is encroaching on the district and displacing the Oromo from the area and is worsening their predicament. The income generated by the lease or sale of their land to local and international contractors along with the value generated by their cultural significance is not benefiting the Oromo. For the irreecha festival to benefit them, the displacement of the Oromo should cease, and the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan (AAMP), which is encroaching on the district from the north, should be stopped. If the Plan continues, the irreecha festival will soon end up celebrated in a territory bereft of its Oromo inhabitants and culture.

———————-

Mekuria Bulcha, PhD and Professor of Sociology, is an author of widely read books and articles. His most recent book, Contours of the Emergent and Ancient Oromo Nation, was published by CASAS (Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society), Cape Town, South Africa, in 2011. He was also the founder and publisher of The Oromo Commentary (1990-1999). He is an active member of the OLF and has served in the different branches of the national movement since the 1970s.

QOPHII AYYAANA IRREECHAA MALKAA KAN BARA 2015 (Events Planning):-

We continue update this page since the celebration of the blessing event takes the month

(A4O, 3 September 2015) It is with great pleasure that to invite you to the annual Irreecha Birraa festival, Oromo National Thanksgiving day, of the year on Sunday 4 October 2015.

Irreechaa 2014

Irreechaa Birraa is a celebration that repeats once in a year-in birraa and involves special activities or amusements as it has a lot of importance in our lives. It symbolizes the arrival of spring and brighten season with their vibrant green and daisy flowers.

It’s a day all Oromian’s celebrate and cherish due to our ties to our root: Oromo Identity and country. It’s a time for reflection, celebration and a good connection with our best heritage, Oromummaa.

Theme: Moving Forward: A Year of Networking 

This year’s Oromian Irreechaa Festival is going to be bigger and better than ever, with a whole theme park devoted to diverse Oromian cultural Identity. The theme of this national Thanksgiving Day is “Moving Forward: A Year of Networking ” in which it aims to celebrate Irreechaa festivals as a medium for bringing all Oromias together to follow and promote our tradition and religion in society, to create public awareness where Oromo cultural and religious issues will be discussed, to provide a better understanding of Oromo culture and history, to pave the way for promotion of the Oromo culture, history and lifestyle and to celebrate  Oromo Irreechaa, a national Thanksgiving Day.

We celebrate Irreechaa to thank Waaqaa for the blessings and mercies we have received throughout the past year at the sacred grounds of Hora Harsadi (Lake Harsadi), Bishoftu, Oromia. The Irreechaa festival is celebrated every year at the beginning of Birraa (the sunny new season after the dark, rainy winter season) throughout Oromia and around the world where Diaspora Oromos live.

We celebrate Irreechaa not only to thank Waaqaa (God) also to welcome the new season of plentiful harvests after the dark and rainy winter season associated with nature and creature. On Irreechaa festivals, friends, family, and relatives gather together and celebrate with joy and happiness. Irreechaa Festivals bring people closer to each other and make social bonds.

OromiyaaIrreecha2014_8Moreover, we are celebrating this auspicious event to mark the end of rainy season[1], known as Birraa, was established by Oromo forefathers, in the time of Gadaa Melbaa[2] in Mormor, Oromia. The auspicious day on which this last Mormor[3] Day of Gadaa Belbaa[4]-the Dark Time of starvation and hunger- was established on the 1st Sunday of last week of September or the 1stSunday of the 1st week of October according to the Gadaa lunar calendar ‐‐ has been designated as our National Thanksgiving Day by modern‐day Oromo people.    Oromo communities both at home and abroad celebrate this National Thanksgiving Day every year.

Irreechaa as a medium for bringing all Oromias together

The Oromian Irreechaa Festival will not only serve as a medium for bringing all Oromias together, from all its diasporas, as one voice, but will also focus on promoting and enhancing Oromummaa in freedom struggle, tourism, arts and crafts, business, restaurants and hospitality, and entertainment. Moreover as a moving and flourishing heritage, Irreechaa also connects our Oromo identity with the global civilization in which the industrial and manufacturing sectors of heavy and light machinery of natural resources and raw materials.

During the event, we will be serving with Oromo foods and featuring with traditional dances by Oromo children, youth and dance troupes. Irreechaa is about a lot more than just putting on shows, it encourages engagement and participation from everyone in the greater community across our great city, country and the globe.

Please join and experience  Oromo culture.

[1] Rainy season symbolized as a dark, disunity and challenging time in Oromia.

[2] Gadaa Melbaa was established before 6400 years ago at Odaa Mormor, North-west Oromia.

[3] Mormor in Oromo means division, disunity, chaos.

[4] Gadaa Belbaa is the end time of starvation.

http://advocacy4oromia.org/2015/09/03/2015-annual-irreechaa-birraa-is-coming/

Irreecha Birraa 2015,   Oromo Thankisgiving, Toronto,   September 6, 2015

September 6, 2015

Canada Irreecha,

4745 Country Lane
Whitby, Ontario Canada

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Irreecha_2015_Toronto
Irreecha Birraa 2015, Oromo Thankisgiving, FrankFurt,  19 September 2015

– Waamicha Qophii Ayyaana Irreechaa Malkaa Kan Bara 2015: Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA)/ Oromo Community Association In Europe (OCAE) e.V. (Inc.)

September 19, 2015

Rebstockpark,

Am Römerhof 15, 60486
Frankfurt, Hesse Germ
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Irreecha Birraa (Malkaa) 2015 | Oromo Thanksgiving | Oslo/Norway | Sept. 26, 2015 – Qophii Ayyaan Irreechaa Osloo/Noorwee, Fulbaana 26 bara 2015

September 26, 2015

Simia-venner,

Kristoffer Robins Vei 2 (Smedstua)
Oslo, Oslo Norway

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Irreecha_2015_Oslo_2.jpg

Ayyaan irreechaa kan baranaa Fulbaana (September) 26 bara 2015 biyya Norway, magaalaa Oslo, bakka hora Sognsvann jedhamutti waaree dura sa’ati 11:30 irraa eegalee kabajama. Ilmaan oromoo kannen dhihoo fi fagoo jiraattan hundi jila dudhaa ganamaa kana irratti uffata aadaatiin of miidhagsitanii akka ayyaana kana irratti hirmaattan kabajaa guddaa wajjiin sin afeerra. Malkaa jilaa dhufuudhaaf, baabura lafa jalaa (Metro) laakkofsa3 (Sognsvann) gara kallattii lixaa deemu(west bound) yaabbadhaa; buufatni isaa kan maayyii Sognsvann suduudaan isin fida. Erga qophiin irreechaa raawwatee booda qophii…

Erga qophiin irreechaa raawwatee booda qophii bashannanaa sa’aa 18:00 irraa eegalee qabna. Halkan guutuu waliin taphataa bulla.

Bakki qophiin bohaarsaa itti dhihaatu:
Simia-venner
Kristoffer Robins Vei 2 (Smedstua)
0978 Oslo

Bakka kana dhufuuf, magaala /Oslo S irraa baabura gara Lillestrøm deemuu qabattanii bakka Haugenstuastasjon jedhutti irraa bu’uun bakka Smedstua jedhu yoo iyyaafattani salphaatti achi geessu. Ykn Stovner Senter irraa bus 65 yoo qabattanii bakka Smedstua jedhutti irraa buutani, bakki qophichaa cinaadhuma sanatti argama.

Odeessii dabalataa yoo barbaaddan yookiin gaaffii yoo qabaattan bilbila harkaa laakkofsa
+47 951 88 081 / + 47 911 85 127 / irreechaa@gmail.com nuu qunnamaa.

Ana haadhufu!

Gadaan roobaa fi gabbina!

Koree Qindeessituu

Irreecha Birraa 2015 | Oromo Thanksgiving | Calgary/AB | Sept. 26, 2015
Edworthy Park,
5050 Spruce Dr SW
Calgary, AB Canada

+ Google Map

Irreecha_2015_Calgray2.jpg

Also: After Irreecha Concert at 8pm

Irreecha Birraa 2015 | Oromo Thanksgiving | DC-Maryland-Virginia | Sept. 26 2015 – Kabajaa Ayyaana Gubaa fi Irreecha

September 26, 2015September 27, 2015

Gubaa + Irreecha,

4903 Sheridan Street
Riverdale, MD United States

+ Google Map

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London: Oromo Community in UK: Baga jalbultii guyyaa Ayyaana Irreessaa nagaan geessan!! Ayyaanni Irreessaa Fulbaana (Sep) 26, 2015 London keessatti sirna ho’aan kabajamuuf: Irreecha – London, England – Sept. 26, 2015

https://oromocommunityinuk.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/london-oromo-community-in-uk-baga-jalbultii-guyyaa-ayyaana-irreessaa-nagaan-geessan-ayyaanni-irreessaa-fulbaana-sep-26-2015-london-keessatti-sirna-hoaan-kabajamuuf-irreecha-london-engla/

http://gadaa.net/FinfinneTribune/2015/09/londonuk-sept-26-2015-irreecha-birraa-oromo-thanksgiving/

Lausanne/Switzerland | Sept. 26, 2015 | Irreecha Birraa | Oromo Thanksgiving – WAAMICHA KABAJA IRREECHA 2015 SWITZERLAND

http://finfinnetribune.com/Gadaa/2015/09/lausanneswitzerland-sept-26-2015-irreecha-birraa-oromo-thanksgiving-waamicha-kabaja-irreecha-2015-switzerland/

Gumiin Abbootii Gadaa Oromoo guyyaa Irreecha Malkaa kan Bara 6409 (ALO) ifa taasisee jira. Irreechi (Irreessi) Bishooftuu, Hora Hrasadiitti waggaa waggaan kabajamu, Onkolooleessa 4 Bara 2015 (Fuulbaana 23 Bara 2008 A.L.H tti) akka kabajamu Uummataaf ibsi kennameera.

Why Namibia doesn’t want to be called an upper middle income country July 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Development, Development & Change, Namibia, Theory of Development.
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???????????

Grand developmentalism: MDGs and SDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa June 3, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Development & Change, Development Studies, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Poverty, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals.
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???????????Poverty

 

 

“Development should be all about satisfying the needs of the people and improving their livelihood patterns. Development should be what the people actually want or need, and not what national governments or global institutions think that the people need or want. The MDGs – as aresult of modernization and neo-liberal ideologies – were articulated and presented by the international agencies as “real development’’ or as legitimate solutions to the development problems of people in the respective countries of the Global South. But in reality, they did not capture the priorities and problems facing the people in those contexts. The issue of sustainability is embedded in what people actually want and people are at the centre of sustainable development. The authors of the MDGs do not find out what the people really want – instead, they designed and formulated the goals on different assumptions, thus reinforcing the existing power relations in the global structure of power.”

“The argument that the Global South is facing problems of development may be generally true, but the problems are not actually defined and understood within the context of situations and everyday realities in the respective countries. It is thus important not to make general statements of development, but to concretise them in relation to the contexts and settings where they are to be applied. Both the MDGs and the SDGs, as general or universal frameworks for global development practice, fail to acknowledge how this general problem finds its expression in the concerned countries.”

 

“…An independent development commission should be inaugurated by the United Nations General Assembly in each country that is signatory to the post-2015 development agenda. The commission should be allowed to perform its responsibilities independently without undue interference from national governments and international institutions. The composition of the commission should include: local activists and NGOs, a national government official, local academics, development experts, a UNDP official and a representative of global financial institutions. The commission should be saddled with matter relating with global development financing, fund disbursement, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of development projects. The commission must also ensure that funds are channelled to approved projects, projects are executed according to approved standards and reflect the real costs of the projects. In evaluating the projects, the commission should develop its own yardstick for measuring whether targets and indicators outlined to actualise (a) particular goal(s) are achieved or not. This will help to checkmate the griming reality of weak state institutions, corruption and mismanagement that undermined the performance of the MDGs especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.” – A. Bayo Ogunrotifa, Pambazuka  News,    Issue 728

 

Grand developmentalism: MDGs and SDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa

A. Bayo Ogunrotifa*, Pambazuka  News, Issue 728

INTRODUCTION

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, international development efforts have been coalesced around the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are a set of ambitious goals and national targets put forward and ratified by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – however, a significant progress towards reaching the targets has been notably achieved or deemed successful in some countries but in others, especially in sub-Sahara Africa, the progress has been marginal or deemed unsuccessful. A variety of factors has been attributed to this failure: over-ambitious goals themselves and unrealistic expectations (Clemens & Moss 2005); aid dependence over growth and self-reliance (Manning 2010); lack of ownership and commitment (Amin 2006; Ogunrotifa 2012); limited state capacities and governance incapabilities (Mishra 2004; Oya 2011); non-emphasis on sustainable development (Sachs 2012); evaluation and implementation problems (Fukuda-Parr & Greenstein); and the failure to take into account different national realities, capacities and development levels (Rippin 2013).

The outlined factors are just symptoms and not the real issue that undermine the achievement of the MDGs in Africa. The fundamental trouble associated with the MDGs is the way in which goals, targets and indicators articulated in the programme of the MDGs are conceived, defined and formulated, which are in sharp contrast to the real world situation and do not reflect the true picture of what is on ground in Africa. This is regarded as ‘’grand developmentalism’’—the general and narrow way in which development issues are defined and problematized takes priority over questions posed by the empirical world.

This has important implications on international discussions on the post-2015 development agenda that emphasises the incorporation of visionary indigenous and independent development paths and ideas on the successor agenda to the expiring MDGs (the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs) that is currently in discussion.

WHAT IS ‘GRAND DEVELOPMENTALISM?’

The term ‘grand developmentalism’ was coined from the notion of conceptual fetishism articulated by C. Wright Mills in his treatise on sociological imagination (1959). Mills argues that abstracted empiricism loses its grip on social reality by prioritising methods rather than the problems of the empirical world. Mills posits that grand theory engages in a fetishization of abstract concepts in place of genuine and substantive problems of the empirical world.

In other words, it is the concepts rather than the actual problems that are of paramount importance to grand theorists. However, grand theory is particularly relevant to this paper because of its engagement with development discourse. Grand developmentalism is the dialectical engagement of grand theory but goes beyond the remit of the later. In grand developmentalism, development issues are problematized on the basis of narrow or general definition without adequate empirical grounding, such that the conceptual frames and schemes are created on the basis of a narrow problem definition. If the problem definition is flawed, the conceptual schemes, variables and methodology to interrogate the issue and arrive at workable solutions, will also be flawed, while the evaluation and implementation process will be problematic.

Development I define in this paper as solving the social problems of the people (citizens) in socio-culturally appropriate and locally sustainable ways, as they [problems] are experienced, perceived and understood by the people. This definition is in sharp contrast to the western-centric development paradigm that conceived the global north as ‘’developed’’ and the Global South as “underdeveloped’’ and that the latter needs to be more modern and develop by catching up with the former. International agencies (as appendages of the western imperialistic establishment) reinforce this development paradigm by ensuring that they control the aspirations of the Global South, and redefine their problems, priorities and realities in a way that has nothing to do with the actual situations.

Grand developmentalism lost all contact with the social, cultural and historical dimension of development of the societies it purports to offer solutions because it works at a high level of generality and superficiality. Given the degree of generality in its problem definition, grand developmentalism creates concepts that are suitable to the narrowly defined problem, whereas concepts should have been derived from the empirical world. This therefore negates the contextual and specific problem of development it seeks to analyse and proffer solutions.

MDGS: A FORM OF GRAND DEVELOPMENTALISM

The Millennium Development Goals are an outcome of the United Nations Millennium summit held in the year 2000. The origin of the MDGs goes back much further in time, and some of the most important components will be discussed in this paper. In fact, it is important to strip the MDGs naked in order to flesh out their basis, compositions and essentials. The MDGs comprise of 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators. The goals and targets have been set (mostly) for 2015, using 1990 as a benchmark or baseline. They evolve out of the ‘resolutions of 23 international conferences and summits held between 1990 and 2005’ (Rippin 2013). They are clearly worked out by an ‘’Inter-agency and Expert Group on the Millennium Development Goal Indicators (IAEG), consisting of experts from the DAC, World Bank, IMF and UNDP’’ (Manning 2009; c.f. Hulme 2009; Hulme 2010). The development as understood in the MDGs is a reflection of neo-liberalism and a modernisation approach that seeks to reinforce the hegemony of the Western economic model in the Global South, and strengthen their mainstream development discourse. The 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators articulated in the MDGs programme are quantitative in nature, design and outlook. They are designed to be evaluated and measured in a statistical format[1] .

The most obvious shortcomings associated with the quantitative approach are that they do not reveal the real life situations or subjective dimension of the life world of the people, context and settings under study. These goals, targets and indicators are the perfect example and reflections of grand developmentalism as they imply that development “research starts with a concern for numbers or measurement, which it elevates over the specific qualities of the empirical world it is attempting to analyse’’ (Gane 2012: 154). Technocrats of the respective agencies are unduly rigid towards the use of quantitative methodology and techniques – which is not wrong in itself, but in this case implies the impositions of quantitative techniques on all aspects and dimensions of development issues and problems regardless of the specific contexts and demands of the empirical world. The sort of difficulties inherent in the MDGs stemmed from the philosophical and methodological foundations that underpin the conception of the programme itself. The MDGs as a form of grand developmentalism can be expressed exemplary in the following ways:

POVERTY REDUCTION AND HUNGER

The targets and indicators used to define, measure and tackle poverty and hunger obscure the nature of reality or real life experience of poverty in developing countries. Questions that need to be asked instead are: what are the natures of poverty in different countries of the Global South (but also Global North)? Is the poverty situation in Nigeria the same as the nature and level of poverty in Bangladesh and Vietnam? How is poverty seen and defined by the people in developing countries? What are policies that generate and engender poverty? Does the poverty situation transcend the global yardstick of US$1 per day [1993 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)], or rather, what are the cultural, social, historical and moral dimensions of poverty? The established targets of reducing by half the proportion of people whose income is less than US$1 a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger is a one-size-fit-all yardstick that cannot adequately measure poverty and hunger. This is a danger of grand developmentalism.

GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN

The issue of gender and women empowerment features prominently in the third goal of the MDGs, and this intersects with primary education with respect to equality between boys and girls in terms of primary school enrolment. However, it is unclear what forms and shape gender takes in developing countries as far as the MDGs are concerned. Inability to understand how gender is entrenched and shapes the everyday lives of people in different places will affect efforts being made to address gender inequality in access to education and women empowerment. The MDGs failed to adequately capture the social, cultural and historical contexts that underpinned and shaped gender in developing countries; and the sorts of cultural beliefs and practices that promote gender inequality in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In fact, without delving into the questions of what sorts of cultural practices inhibit girls’ education and what forms of national policies promote gender inequality in education enrolment and attainment, achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment will remain unrealistic and vague.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

The most important targets to achieve environmental sustainability—which is the seventh goal of the MDGs—is to integrate the principles of sustainable development into national and global policies; reduce-by-half the proportion of people who have no access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation; and to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers. The indicators to achieve these targets seemed unrealistic and unworkable. This stems from the fact that the MDGs did not take into consideration the low level of industrialisation, the contribution of carbon emission to global carbon emission, and the policies and programmes that undermine the sustainable provision of clean drinking water in the Global South. The complexities inherent in the local realities of environmental sustainability make the targets and indicators impracticable. Furthermore, it is problematic that the western world, which is entirely responsible for the environmental problems the Global South is facing, is not mentioned in this goal and, even more remarkable, is not even asked to reduce their emissions or to make drinking water available by not letting firms like Nestlé etc. privatise the drinking water of the world! As a form of grand developmentalism, the issue posed by environmental sustainability in the MDGs did not address the nature of capitalistic policies that promote environmental problems in the Global South. This indicates that the important targets responsible for environmental problems in the Global South as far as the MDGs are concerned are neglected while unrealistic targets are put forward.

UNRELIABLE SOURCE OF FINANCING

The implementation of programmes and projects required a guaranteed financial war chest to achieve its overall targets and objectives. Yet, as far as the MDGs are concerned, there is no guaranteed financial outlay or specialised savings and international gold reserve for their attainment. The means to finance MDG measures are based on financial pledges and commitments from the Global North. The financial commitment from developed countries is premised on the condition that recipient countries must operate openly and non-discriminatory towards the global trading and financial system. This is meant by the “global partnership for development’’. Basically, it determines that poorer countries must be part of a neo-liberal system that requires recipient countries to open their markets for all goods from the North before they can receive Official Development Assistance (ODA), aid and grants, and debt relief from the latter. This is not only problematic because donor countries may experience financial crises and economic recession and may not be able to fulfil their financial commitment and pledges. It may render aid dependent relationships futile and put the attainment of the MDGs into serious challenges. As the source of financing is not based on the size of the economies and the GDP of the respective LDCs but depends on foreign aid as the main source of financing, there is no independent financial pathway for developing countries to achieve the MDGs other than ODA, debt relief, aid and grants articulated in the eighth goal.

EVALUATION, IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF MDGS

The millennium declaration that paves way for the endorsement of the MDGs in the global space was made in 2000 while the benchmark of its implementation was backdated to 1990. Technically, there was a period of 15 years to implement the MDGs across different societies in the LDCs. But it is unclear how the MDGs would be implemented in the Global South within the said period. Are the MDGs producing the intended effect? Are there targets set for each year? How are the targets going to be achieved? How much does it cost to achieve the targets? Whose agencies or institutions are saddled with the responsibility of monitoring, evaluating and implementing the MDGs? Do beneficiaries of development projects talk back about the effects of the projects? When they do, are their voices reflected as ‘’native’’ point of view or disciplined and translated to institutional points of view?

While in some settings in the Global South, measurement, evaluation and implementation are being taken seriously inability to take these questions in some settings into consideration constitutes a problem for measuring the progress and performance of the MDGs’ progress such that “even in the case of countries with a perceptible acceleration of progress consideration doubt has been raised whether this acceleration is the result of real national commitment or rather an effort of ‘speaking the language’ in order to secure donors’ support’’ (Rippin 2013: 19). This problem of evaluation and implementation makes the MDGs a form of grand developmentalism.

SUSTAINABILITY DEFICIT

The third critique is the huge sustainability deficit inherent in the MDGs. Development should be all about satisfying the needs of the people and improving their livelihood patterns. Development should be what the people actually want or need, and not what national governments or global institutions think that the people need or want. The MDGs – as aresult of modernization and neo-liberal ideologies – were articulated and presented by the international agencies as “real development’’ or as legitimate solutions to the development problems of people in the respective countries of the Global South. But in reality, they did not capture the priorities and problems facing the people in those contexts. The issue of sustainability is embedded in what people actually want and people are at the centre of sustainable development. The authors of the MDGs do not find out what the people really want – instead, they designed and formulated the goals on different assumptions, thus reinforcing the existing power relations in the global structure of power. Sustainability here is linked significantly to ownership, participation and power-relations. The centrality of sustainable development indicates that people’s ownership and participation in the development conception and design will promote the sustainability of such project. I believe that people protect and sustain development projects that emanate from them and address their needs and wishes. The MDGs are suffering from sustainable deficits because there is no provision for how the projects would be sustained by the people who are the end-users.

A NOTE ON THE PROPOSED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGS)

The UN and other international (development) agencies are currently working on post-2015 development agenda. Following the UN conference in Rio de Janeiro (2012), an Open Working Group was established to develop a set of sustainable development goals that will be part ofthe UN development agenda beyond 2015.[2]

From the outline of the SDG proposal, it is already clear that the basic premise underlying development is still unchanged. The development paradigm is still a top-down approach; implying that the Global South is incapable of facilitating its own development without external assistance and seeks to foster aid-dependent relationships. The SDG proposal implies the notion that the respective countries of the Global South are incapable of driving and engendering their own developmental initiatives. The SDG proposal as a development programme is founded on the basis of modernisation and neo-liberal approaches whose rendition serves as the prism that shapes the orientation and mandate of international agencies towards acting as a sole repository of ‘legitimate’ development solutions that will ensure that development in the Global South is fast-tracked to the pace of development in the global north without having to undergo latter’s historical circumstances and processes. This imposition of development strategies and ideas on the Global South is the basis of grand developmentalism as people in the Global South are not allowed to control their development destiny and define their problems and priorities in relations to their respective local realities. This inhibits the ability of the Global South to develop according to their own pace, capacities and realities.

What is questionable in the proposal is how different national priorities and realities are taken into consideration. The SDGs set global targets for measuring development, with the authors of the SDGs assuming that those goals and targets are the legitimate solutions to development problems faced by the respective countries in the Global South, which they will not object to. What will be problematic in the proposed SDGs is that the definition of development problems and priorities will be put together in some capital city of the Global South where “policy is thus bureaucratised and depoliticised through ‘commonsense’’ practices such as planning and strategies” (Escobar 1991: 667) which are exogenous to social and political situations or been derived vis-à-vis grassroots movements.

Third, the SDGs are the rehash of the MDGs in terms of financing. Huge development projects and programmes implicit in the SDGs require guaranteed levels of financing for them to be executed and implemented. So far, it is not clear at all how guaranteed financial outlay or specialised savings and international gold reserve for the attainment of the SDGs are spelt out – and whether the third conference on financing for development in July 2015[3] will see an end to this.

Finally, the notion of ‘’sustainability’’ in the SDGs document is vague. What sorts of social relations to the grassroots are involved in the design, planning and implementation of development projects? What forms of power do the SDGs foster or undermine? The fundamental crux of the proposed SDGs is that international agencies’ notion of development articulated in the document prioritised and privileged bureaucratic and institutional definition of the problem rather than the actual problems obtained in local contexts. Sustainability in the SDG case is non-existent because people in the Global South are not the driver nor are they at the centre of such sustainable development initiatives, and as such, they are incapable of sustaining development projects that are not of their own making.

CONCLUSION: TOWARDS A POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

The argument that the Global South is facing problems of development may be generally true, but the problems are not actually defined and understood within the context of situations and everyday realities in the respective countries. It is thus important not to make general statements of development, but to concretise them in relation to the contexts and settings where they are to be applied. Both the MDGs and the SDGs, as general or universal frameworks for global development practice, fail to acknowledge how this general problem finds its expression in the concerned countries.

As far as the discussion on the post-2015 development agenda is concerned, a participatory process must urgently be facilitated. It must start from grassroots development research where local activists, anthropologists, sociologists and NGOs are engaged with a view to mapping out the real development problems faced by the people and identify sustainable solutions to them. The participatory process should proceed towards national consultations where policy makers, economists, and development experts are engaged in debates, deliberations and discussions about the findings of grassroots development research. Through this participatory medium, national capacity, the characteristics of the economy (i.e. GDP), and a country’s financial state would have to be taken into consideration and formulated into national priorities, targets and indicators for achieving national development goals. Thereafter, a thematic consultation between the national governments and global institutions should be facilitated. This would ensure that important national development issues with differentiated targets that reflect a universal goal framework are derived in a participatory process.

Secondly, an independent development commission should be inaugurated by the United Nations General Assembly in each country that is signatory to the post-2015 development agenda. The commission should be allowed to perform its responsibilities independently without undue interference from national governments and international institutions. The composition of the commission should include: local activists and NGOs, a national government official, local academics, development experts, a UNDP official and a representative of global financial institutions. The commission should be saddled with matter relating with global development financing, fund disbursement, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of development projects. The commission must also ensure that funds are channelled to approved projects, projects are executed according to approved standards and reflect the real costs of the projects. In evaluating the projects, the commission should develop its own yardstick for measuring whether targets and indicators outlined to actualise (a) particular goal(s) are achieved or not. This will help to checkmate the griming reality of weak state institutions, corruption and mismanagement that undermined the performance of the MDGs especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Finally, a fundamental re-examination of global development financing from aid dependent relationship (over-reliance on ODA as enshrined in the MDGs) to available domestic fiscal affordability is needed. This will help to create independent financial pathways for LDCs to achieve the development goals at their own pace and level of development. Rather than relying on donor’s agencies and international institutions in implementing all development goals and targets, the financial gap between country’s fiscal capabilities and national priorities has to be plugged through debt relief, ODA and financial aid from international institutions.

Conclusively, the ideas and practices of global sustainable development that would come after 2015 should be developed in relation to the complexities of development issues in the LDCs and not on abstract agendas and strategies that are constituted in a universalistic frame. This will incorporate the perspectives of the North and the Global South in the participatory process of drawing up a new agenda that will reflect a win-win situation where strategic ‘’engagement of local mobilization with global discourses, and of local discourses with the global structure of power’’ as Cooper (1997: 85) brilliantly captured, are entrenched.
* A. Bayo Ogunrotifa teaches at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

REFERENCES

1. Amin, S. (2006): “The Millennium Development Goals: A Critique from the South.” Monthly Review, March 2006, accessed January 6, 2015,http://monthlyreview.org/2006/03/01/the-millennium-development-goals-a-critique-from-the-south
2. Clemens, M. & Moss, T. (2005): What’s Wrong with the Millennium Development Goals? CGD Working Paper. Accessible at http://tinyurl.com/orrpjgk
3. Clemens, M.A., Kenny, C.J & Moss, T.J. (2007): ‘The Trouble with the MDGs: Confronting Expectations of Aid and Development Success’.World Development, 35 (5): 735–751,
4. Cooper, F. (1997): Modernizing Bureaucrats, Backwards Africans, and the Development Concept in Cooper, F. & Packard, R. (eds) International development and the Social Sciences: Essays on the History and Politics of Knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press.
5. Escobar, A. (1991): Anthropology and the Development Encounter.The Making and Marketing of Development Anthropology. American Ethnologist, Vol. 18 (4): 658-682.
6. Fukuda-Parr, S. & Greenstein, J. (2010): How should MDG implementation be measured: faster progress or meeting targets? Centre for inclusive growth working paper 63. Accessible at http://tinyurl.com/ortwhn6
7. Gane, N. (2012) ‘Measure, value and the current crisis of sociology’. The Sociological Review, 59(S2) 151-173.
8. Hulme, D. (2009): The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): a short history of the world’s biggest promise, BWPI Working Paper 100, 2009
9. Hulme, D. (2010): Lessons from the making of the MDGs: human development meets results-based management in an unfair world, IDS Bulletin 41(1), 15-25
10. Manning, R. (2009): Using indicators to encourage development: lessons from the Millennium Development Goals, DIIS Report
11. Mills, C.W. (1959): The Sociological Imagination. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
12. Mishra, U. (2004): Millennium development goals: whose goals and for whom? BMJ. Sep 25, 2004; 329(7468): 742
13. Ogunrotifa A.B. (2012): ‘Millennium Development Goals in sub-Saharan Africa: A critical assessment’. Radix International Journal of Research in Social Science, 1(10): 1-22
14. Ojogwu, C.N (2009): The challenges of Attaining Millennium Development Goals In Education in Africa, College Student Journal.
15. Oya, C. (2011): Africa and the millennium development goals (MDGs): What’s right, what’s wrong and what’s missing. Revista De Economia Mundial, 27, 19–33. Retrieved from http://www.semwes.or
16. Rippin, N. (2013): Progress, Prospects and Lessons from the MDGs. Background research paper submitted to High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Accessible at www.post2015hlp.org/…/Rippin_Progress-Prospects-and-Lessons-from-t..
17. Sachs, J. D. (2012): From millennium development goals to sustainable development goals.Lancet, 379, 2206–2211.
18. Sahn, D.E and Stifel, D.C. (2003): Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. World Development, 31 (1): 23-52.
19. Sumner, A., Lawo, T. (2010): The MDGs and beyond: pro-poor policy in a changing world, EADI Policy Paper
20. UNDP (2003): Indicators for monitoring the MDGs. Accessible atwww.undp.org/content/dam/aplawas/publications

* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR/S AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

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http://www.pambazuka.net/en/category.php/features/94817

Ethiopia among the 10 poorest performers in the World Economic Forum Report for Human Capital May 18, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Developed country, Development & Change, Economics, Ethiopia the least competitive in the Global Competitiveness Index.
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???????????Ethiopia is the one of the lowest in social Progress 2015

Ethiopia Ranks 115 out of 124 countries in Human Capital Index 2015 Rank

Ethiopia  ranks at 115 out of 124 countries in the ‘Human Capital Index’ because of its poor performance on educational outcomes, says the Human Capital Report 2015 issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The index is dominated by European countries with two countries from the Asia and Pacific region and one from the North America region also making it into the top 10.

Finland topped the ranking of the Human Capital Index in 2015, scoring 86% of its human capital, followed by Norway, Switzerland, Canada and Japan.

Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Belgium also seized the places in the top 10 list. Ethiopia scored 50.25 out of 100.

The leaders of the index are high-income economies that have placed importance on high educational attainment and a correspondingly large share of high-skilled employment.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released the Human Capital Report 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday 14 May 2015.

The WEF prepared the report in collaboration with Mercer, an American global human resource and related financial services consulting firm.

The report elaborates the status of different countries across the world on the Human Capital Index and provides key inputs for policy makers to augment capacities of human capital in 124 countries it has surveyed.

In the index, WEF highlighted Ethiopia’s scarcity of skilled employees, poor ability to nurture talent through educating, training and employing its people.

“Talent, not capital, will be the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth in the 21st century,” said WEF Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab releasing the report at a news conference in Cologny, near Geneva, Switzerland.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius (72) holds the highest position in the region. While another six countries rank between 80 and 100, another 17 countries from Africa rank below 100 in the index. South Africa is in 92nd place and Kenya at 101. The region’s most populous country, Nigeria (120) is among the bottom three in the region, while the second most populous country, Ethiopia, is in 115th place. With the exception of the top-ranked country, the region is characterized by chronically low investment in education and learning.

Human Capital Index 2015 regional Ranks

Except Yemen (40.7) all the 10 poorest performers are African Countries: Ethiopia (50.25),  Burkina Faso (49.22),  Ivory Coast ( 49.02),  Mali (48.51), Guinea (48.25),  Nigeria (48.43),  Burundi (46.76),  Mauritania (42.29) and  Chad (41.1).

The countries are ranked on the basis of 46 indicators that track “how well countries are developing and deploying their human capital focusing on education, skills and employment”.

 The index takes a life-course approach to human capital, evaluating the levels of education, skills and employment available to people in five distinct age groups, starting from under 15 years to over 65 years. The aim is to assess the outcome of past and present investments in human capital and offer insight into what a country’s talent base will look like in the future.

http://reports.weforum.org/human-capital-report-2015/press-releases/

Human decision making and development policy: “Mind, Society, and Behavior” as explored in World Development Report 2015 December 9, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Economics, World Bank, World Development Report 2015.
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For the purpose of  development policy, the report explores  three principles of human decision making: thinking automatically, thinking socially, and thinking with mental models.

World Development Report 2015 explores “Mind, Society, and Behavior”

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/12/02/world-development-report-2015-explores-mind-society-and-behavior

  • The WDR 2015 holds new insights on how people make decisions; it provides a framework to help development practitioners and governments apply these insights to development policy.
  • Research in the WDR suggests that poverty constitutes a cognitive tax that makes it hard for poor people to think deliberatively, especially in times of hardship or stress.
  • When used with existing policy approaches, new tools ranging from simple, low-cost changes such as better framing of messages and changing the timing of aid, can significantly improve outcomes.
 Real people are rarely as coherent, forward-looking, strategic or selfish as typically assumed in standard economic models—they sometimes do not pursue their own interests, and can be unexpectedly generous. Such dynamics should be factored more carefully into development policies, a point made in the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior.
The newly launched report argues that development policies based on new insights into how people actually think and make decisions will help governments and civil society more readily tackle such challenges as increasing productivity, breaking the cycle of poverty from one generation to the next, and acting on climate change. Drawing from a wealth of research that suggests ways of diagnosing and solving the psychological and social constraints to development, the WDR identifies new policy tools that complement standard economic instruments. For instance, an experiment in Colombia modified a cash transfer program by automatically saving a part of the funds on behalf of beneficiaries, and then disbursing them as lump a sum at the time when decisions about school enrollment for the next year were being made. This tweak in timing resulted in increased enrollments for the following year. “Marketers and politicians have long understood the role of psychology and social preferences in driving individual choice,” said Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, “This Report distills new and growing scientific evidence on this broader understanding of human behavior so that it can be used to promote development. Standard economic policies are effective only after the right cognitive propensities and social norms are in place. As such, this WDR can play a major role in enhancing the power of economic policymaking, including standard fiscal and monetary policies. My only worry is that it will be read more diligently by private marketers selling wares and politicians running for office than by people designing development interventions.” To inspire a fresh look at how development work is done, the Report outlines three principles of human decision making: thinking automatically, thinking socially, and thinking with mental models. Much of human thinking is automatic and depends on whatever comes to mind most effortlessly. People are deeply social and are influenced by social networks and norms. Finally, most people do not invent new concepts; rather they use mental models drawn from their societies and shared histories to interpret their experiences. Because the factors affecting decisions are local and contextual, it is hard to predict in advance which aspects of program design and implementation will drive the choices people will make. Interventions therefore need to take account of the insights found in the report and be designed through a ‘learning by doing’ approach. The Report applies the three principles to multiple areas, including early childhood development, productivity, household finance, health and health care, and climate change.
Open Quotes
This Report distills new and growing scientific evidence on this broader understanding of human behavior so that it can be used to promote development. Standard economic policies are effective only after the right cognitive propensities and social norms are in place. Close Quotes
Kaushik Basu Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank

When it comes to assisting poor people, a key message from WDR 2015 is that poverty is more than a deprivation in material resources. It is also a “cognitive tax.” Take the case of sugar cane farmers in India, who were asked to participate in a series of cognitive tests before and after receiving their harvest income.  Their performance was the equivalent of 10 IQ points higher after the harvest, when resources were less scarce. Policy can be designed to reduce some of the impact of poverty on the ability to make choices and plan for the future. Policy makers should try to move crucial decisions out of periods when cognitive resources are scarce. This may mean shifting school enrollment decisions to periods when poor farmers’ seasonal income is higher. There may also be ways of simplifying typically complex decisions such as applying to a higher education program. These ideas apply to any initiative in which good decision making is a challenge. Poverty in childhood, which is often accompanied by high stress and neglect from parents, can impair cognitive development, according to the report, so public programs that provide early childhood stimulation are critical. A 20-year study in Jamaica found that a program aimed at altering the way mothers interacted with their infants led to an increase in earnings by 25 percent once those children became adults, as compared to others who did not participate in the program. All major developing regions are featured in the Report, including the following examples:

  • In Malawi, a small performance incentive to encourage farmers to work with their peers increased the take-up of productivity-enhancing agricultural technologies (Ben Yishay and Mobarak 2014).  This intervention used social networks to amplify the effects of information programs.  
  • In the Philippines where encouraging saving was a challenge, one effective fix was to create products that allow individuals to commit to certain savings goals and not allow them to easily renege. When savings accounts were offered in the country without the option of withdrawal for six months, nearly 30 percent of those offered the accounts accepted them (Ashraf, Karlan, and Yin 2006). After one year, individuals who had been offered and had used the accounts increased savings by 82 percent more than a control group.
  • In Asia, a new approach, focused on establishing new norms that holds promise is Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). In CLTS, leaders work with community members to make maps of dwellings and the locations where individuals defecate in the open. The facilitator uses a repertoire of exercises to help people recognize the implications of what they have seen for the spread of infections and to develop new norms to protect against the damaging effects of open defecation. A set of these programs in Indian villages lowered open defecation by 11 percent from very high levels. (Patil and others 2014).

According to the Report, because the decisions of development professionals often can have large effects on other people’s lives, it is vital that development actors and organizations put mechanisms in place to check and correct for their own biases and blind spots. Ultimately, behavior change matters for all actors in the development process. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/12/02/world-development-report-2015-explores-mind-society-and-behavior http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/Publications/WDR/WDR%202015/WDR-2015-Full-Report.pdf

Oromo: The call for social and economic self empowerment: Hawaasoma fi dinagdeen wal aangessuun dirqama December 8, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Because I am Oromo, Development & Change, Meroetic Oromo, Muscians and the Performance Of Oromo Nationalism, National Self- Determination, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo and the call for justice and freedom, Oromo First, Oromo Nation, Oromo Protests, Oromo students protests, Oromo University students and their national demands, Oromummaa, Seera Yaayyaa Shananii.
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“Oromo Empowerment” by Dr Birhanamaskel Sanyi

A failing project: International development aid November 24, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Development & Change, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, UK Aid Should Respect Rights, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals, Youth Unemployment.
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They tell us that poverty has been cut in half in the last fifteen years or so, but independent watchdogs have repeatedly shown that this claim rests on statistical sleight-of-hand. Moreover, it relies on a poverty line of $1.25 a day, which no longer has any credibility. A more realistic line of $2.50 – the absolute minimum for achieving normal human life expectancy – shows that 3.1bn people remain in poverty today, which is 352m more people than in 1981, according to a 2008 study. And all the while, the wealth ratio between the richest and poorest countries has grown from 44:1 in 1973 to nearly 80:1 today (according to my estimation). The richest 85 people in the world (Mr Gates being one of them) now have more wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion, or half the world’s population. The aid project is failing because it misses the point about poverty. It assumes that poverty is a natural phenomenon, disconnected from the rich world, and that poor people and countries just need a little bit of charity to help them out. People are smarter than that. They know that poverty is a feature of the global economic system that it is very often caused by people, including some of the people who run or profit from the aid agenda. People have become increasingly aware – particularly since the 2008 crash – that poverty is created by rules that rig the economy in the interests of the rich. –  http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/11/death-international-developmen-2014111991426652285.html

 

 

 

The death of international development

The development industry needs an overhaul of strategy, not a change of language.

By Jason Hickel*

International development is dying; people just don’t buy it anymore. The West has been engaged in the project for more than six decades now, but the number of poor people in the world is growing, not shrinking, and inequality between rich and poor continues to widen instead of narrow. People know this, and they are abandoning the official story of development in droves. They no longer believe that foreign aid is some kind of silver bullet, that donating to charities will solve anything, or that Bono and Bill Gates can save the world.

This crisis of confidence has become so acute that the development community is scrambling to respond. The Gates Foundation recently spearheaded a process called the Narrative Project with some of the world’s biggest NGOs – Oxfam, Save the Children, One, etc. – in a last-ditch attempt to turn the tide of defection. They commissioned research to figure out what people thought about development, and their findings revealed a sea change in public attitudes. People are no longer moved by depictions of the poor as pitiable, voiceless “others” who need to be rescued by heroic white people – a racist narrative that has lost all its former currency; rather, they have come to see poverty as a matter of injustice.

These findings clearly demonstrate that people are beginning to reject the aid-centric approach to development. But instead of taking this as an opportunity to face up to their failures and change the way the industry works, the Gates Foundation and its partner NGOs have decided to stick with business as usual – but to cloak it with fresh language.

Leaked internal documents make it clear that the Narrative Project is nothing more than a PR campaign – a bid to “change public attitudes” by rolling out fresh language that will be more effective at securing public support and donations. The strategy goes like this: Talk about the poor as “equals” who share our values; emphasise that development is a “partnership”; stop casting rich people and celebrities as saviours of the poor; and above all, play up the idea of “self-reliance” and “independence”, with special attention to empowering women and girls. Progressive Westerners love this stuff.

This new framing amounts to little more than a propaganda strategy. Instead of changing their actual approach to development, the Narrative Project just wants to make people think they’re changing it. In the end, the existing aid paradigm remains intact, and the real problems remain unaddressed.

A failing project

Why do people no longer believe in the charity and aid-centric model of development? According to the Narrative Project, it’s because they’re all a bit stupid. They let their personal beliefs override the “facts”. They’re “old” and “conservative”. And they’re too calloused to care about social causes. It doesn’t occur to the development industry that people might have good reasons for their scepticism. And there are many.

For one, the aid project is in fact failing. There have been some achievements, to be sure, but the Gates Foundation and official sources like the UN want the public to believe that these piecemeal gains are tantamount to overall success. They tell us that poverty has been cut in half in the last fifteen years or so, but independent watchdogs have repeatedly shown that this claim rests on statistical sleight-of-hand. Moreover, it relies on a poverty line of $1.25 a day, which no longer has any credibility. A more realistic line of $2.50 – the absolute minimum for achieving normal human life expectancy – shows that 3.1bn people remain in poverty today, which is 352m more people than in 1981, according to a 2008 study.

And all the while, the wealth ratio between the richest and poorest countries has grown from 44:1 in 1973 to nearly 80:1 today (according to my estimation). The richest 85 people in the world (Mr Gates being one of them) now have more wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion, or half the world’s population.

The aid project is failing because it misses the point about poverty. It assumes that poverty is a natural phenomenon, disconnected from the rich world, and that poor people and countries just need a little bit of charity to help them out. People are smarter than that. They know that poverty is a feature of the global economic system that it is very often caused by people, including some of the people who run or profit from the aid agenda. People have become increasingly aware – particularly since the 2008 crash – that poverty is created by rules that rig the economy in the interests of the rich.

A system of plunder

We can trace this rigging process through history. The programmes that global South countries used successfully to build their economies and reduce poverty after the end of colonialism – trade tariffs, subsidies, social spending on healthcare and education – were in many cases actively destroyed by Western intervention in the name of “development”.  Western-backed coups in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Congo in 1961, Brazil in 1964, Indonesia in 1965, Chile in 1973 – to name just a few – deposed democratically elected leaders with pro-poor platforms to install dictators friendly to multinational corporations. Most of these dictators received billions of dollars in “aid” from Western governments.

When coups fell out of favour with the voting public, the World Bank and the IMF stepped in instead. They leveraged debts to impose crushing “structural adjustment” programmes on poor countries, forcing them to privatise public assets, open their markets to Western goods, cut social spending and reduce wages, and give foreign companies access to extra cheap labour and raw materials. Structural adjustment was one of the greatest single causes of poverty in the global South in the 20th century, and it continues to this day under the guise of “austerity” .

These destructive policies only persist because voting power in the World Bank and the IMF is controlled by rich countries. High-income countries control more than 60 percent of the voting power at the World Bank, but are home to less than 15 percent of the world’s population.

Right now, developing countries lose as much as $900bn each year to tax evasion by multinational companies through trade mispricing, and almost the same sum again through transfer pricing. They lose another $600bn each year in debt service to mostly firslt world banks. These losses alone amount to nearly 20 times more than the total flow of aid, which is a paltry $135bn – and that’s not counting land grabs and other forms of resource theft.

All of this makes it clear that poverty is not a natural condition. It is a state of plunder. It is delusional to believe that charity and aid are meaningful solutions to this kind of problem.

Some people in the NGO community know this all too well, and they are calling for genuine political change: The democratisation of the World Bank and the IMF, fairer trade rules, and an end to tax evasion. But because the leadership at the Gates Foundation and some NGOs find these issues inconvenient  such alternative voices are being side-lined in favour of a disingenuous attempt to “fix” public attitudes by pushing ever harder on the same old charity and aid story.

If the Gates Foundation and NGO leadership want to get serious about tackling poverty, they might start by talking to the public about the importance of releasing developing countries from the siphons of rich countries and their corporations. They might help put the final nails in the coffin of the paternalistic story of charity and aid, white saviours and poor brown victims, and tell the real story about how the rich get richer off the backs of the poor. That would be a true starting point for development in the 21st century.

*Dr Jason Hickel lectures at the London School of Economics and serves as an adviser to /The Rules.

Martin Kirk, Global Campaigns Director of /The Rules, contributed to the analysis for this article.

 

Read more @ http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/11/death-international-developmen-2014111991426652285.html

African presidents ‘use China aid for patronage politics’

Most of the $80bn of development funds sent to Africa went to areas where national leaders were born rather than the most needy, says AidData report

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/nov/19/african-presidents-china-aid-patronage-politics

African leaders are almost three times more likely to spend Chinese development aid in areas where they have ethnic ties, casting doubt on the humanitarian effectiveness of Beijing’s strict “hands-off” policy in the continent.

China says it spends more than half of its foreign aid in 51 African countries, and AidData, an open-source data centre, says Beijing sent more than $80bn in “pledged, initiated, and completed projects” between 2000 and 2012. Most of that aid went to areas where national leaders were born, indicating a strong political bias, AidData said.

“As soon as [a region] becomes the birthplace of an African president this region gets 270% more development assistance (from China) than it would get if it were not the birth region of the president,” said Roland Hodler, professor of economics at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland and co-author of a report, Aid on Demand: African Leaders and the Geography of China’s Foreign Assistance, published in conjunction with the database.

Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia received the most Chinese development assistance over the reporting period, the study showed.

China is sending development funds to African governments with the aim of buying long-term political alliances, Hodler said. Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, recently used Chinese aid to build a school in Yoni, his hometown, according to the report.

“To us, this suggests that the Chinese principle of non-interference in domestic affairs allows African presidents to use Chinese aid for patronage politics. I am sure the Chinese are aware of this, and I would argue that they accept it because they care more about having a president who is sympathetic to them than about the poor,” said Hodler.

But the study also noted that, contrary to popular belief, Chinese aid to Africa is not strongly tied to countries that host Beijing’s oil and mining operations. “We do not find a strong pattern that Chinese aid only goes to regions where there’s a lot of natural resources. The picture that they only go after natural resources is not really confirmed by our sub-national level analysis,” Hodler said.

Deborah Brautigam, director of the China Africa Research Initiative at John Hopkins University, said: “Most Chinese finance in Africa is not official aid, but business-related export credits borrowed by governments to finance infrastructure projects of various kinds. If these governments want to channel projects to their home town, Chinese banks would have no objection.

“For official aid, which is heavily diplomatic, the Chinese government looks beyond any sitting African leader to all the leaders to come, and to public opinion more generally. This is why they use their official aid for big, visible projects like stadiums, ministry buildings, and airports that can be seen and used by many people – in the capital city – and not tucked away in a rural hamlet.”

Researchers took data that China published on its foreign assistance and mapped where development projects were located. “The Chinese tend to send more aid to countries that are somewhat poorer but within these countries they go for the relatively rich regions,” said Hodler.

China maintains that it sends aid to African governments with the aim of furthering their development agendas.

The Chinese government said in July: “When providing foreign assistance, China adheres to the principles of not imposing any political conditions, not interfering in the internal affairs of the recipient countries and fully respecting their right to independently choosing their own paths and models of development. The basic principles China upholds in providing foreign assistance are mutual respect, equality, keeping promise[s], mutual benefits and win-win.”

• This article was amended on 21 November 2014 to clarify that the $80bn figure for aid to Africa between 2000 and 2012 was an estimate by AidData, not an official Chinese government figure, and that the estimate includes “pledged, initiated, and completed projects”.

Read more @ http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/nov/19/african-presidents-china-aid-patronage-politics

Self-Rule: How Decentralized Power, Not Democracy, Will Shape the 21st Century. #Oromia September 30, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, National Self- Determination, Oromians Protests, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromummaa, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia.
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People wave flags symbolizing Catalonia's independence during a demonstration in Catalonia, Spain, on September 11, 2014.

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. People can no longer be cheated (for long) out of their legitimate aspirations for self-rule.

With all the world’s terrain claimed, one’s gain (of independence) must equal another’s loss (of territorial integrity). Borders can therefore either change violently, or can be softened through devolution.

The map of the world is in perpetual flux, with territories splintering and combining in various configurations. North and South Yemen merged in 1990; Czechoslovakia divorced in 1993. South Sudan seceded in 2011; now there’s talk of North and South Korea reunifying along the model of East and West Germany. The fundamental search for more coherent political entities can bring turbulence, but not always violence.

The Scottish precedent is a harbinger of neither global chaos nor the end of multi-national harmony. In fact, devolution’s dialectical opposite is aggregation. The world may splinter, but it also comes together in new combinations such as the European Union, which ultimately absorbs all the continent’s micro-states into a truly multinational federation. Witness the Balkans, where two decades on from the bloody wars of Yugoslavia’s dissolution, all its former republics have become or are candidates for EU membership. If the world wants to see global solidarity of nations, the tribes may need to win first.

http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/09/how-decentralized-power-not-democracy-will-shape-21st-century/95255/

How Decentralized Power, Not Democracy, Will Shape the 21st Century

By Parag Khanna @ The Atlantic, 26 September 2014

 

Last week, the world’s most globe-spanning empire until the mid-20th century let its fate be decided by 3.6 million voters in Scotland. While Great Britain narrowly salvaged its nominal unity, the episode offered an important reminder: The 21st century’s strongest political force is not democracy but devolution.

Before the vote was cast, British Prime Minister David Cameron and his team were so worried by voter sentiment swinging toward Scottish independence that they promised a raft of additional powers to Edinburgh (and Wales and Northern Ireland) such as the right to set its own tax rates—granting even more concessions than Scotland’s own parliament had demanded. Scotland won before it lost. Furthermore, what it won it will never give back, and what it lost it can try to win again later. England, meanwhile, feels ever more like the center of a Devolved Kingdom rather than a united one.

Devolution—meaning the decentralization of power—is the geopolitical equivalent of the second law of thermodynamics: inexorable, universal entropy. Today’s nationalism and tribalism across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East represent the continued push for either greater autonomy within states or total independence from what some view as legacy colonial structures. Whether these movements are for devolution, federalism, or secession, they all to varying degrees advocate the same thing: greater self-rule.

In addition to the traditional forces of anti-colonialism and ethnic grievance, the newer realities of weak and over-populated states, struggles to control natural resources, accelerated economic competition, and even the rise of big data and climate change all point to more devolution in the future rather than less. Surprisingly, this could be a good thing, both for America and the world.

* * *

Woodrow Wilson brought his fierce anti-colonialism to the Paris Peace Conference after World War I, insisting on national self-determination as one of his famous “Fourteen Points.” But stubborn Western Europeans held on to their imperial possessions until World War II bankrupted them. The dismantling of the British and French empires over the course of the 20th century gave birth to more than 75 new countries within four decades. Decolonization was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which created 15 independent states. All told, the jackhammer of devolution has more than tripled the number of countries around the world, from the 51 original member states of the United Nations to its 193 members today.

Strangely, international law as enshrined in the UN Charter appears to work against these trends, strongly privileging state borders as they are as if to freeze the world map in time. But to paraphrase Victor Hugo, there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. People can no longer be cheated (for long) out of their legitimate aspirations for self-rule.

Devolution helps to sensibly reorganize large and unwieldy post-colonial states. Take the example of India, where more than 60 years of independence have brought little development to peripheral and rural states in the east and northeast of the country. Rather than fostering economic growth outside the capital, New Delhi’s priority instead has been imposing either the Hindi (Mahatma Gandhi’s preference) or English languages across the country. But such malign neglect has only stoked devolutionary pressures. Since 1947, the number of states in the Indian federation has doubled, with the 29th (Telangana) created earlier this year. As state boundaries better conform to ethnic and linguistic boundaries, provincial units can focus more on their internal growth, rather than on having to defend themselves against the center. Notice how the second-largest contributor to Indian GDP besides Mumbai’s Maharashtra state is Tamil Nadu, the state that is geographically farthest from notoriously corrupt New Delhi.

Another accelerant of devolution is ubiquitous data. Much as modern nation-states seem to have lost their monopoly on armed forces, so too has evaporated their dominance of information flows and narratives. Call it the triumph of transparency: Whether through free media, leaks, hacks, democracy, or legal pressure, people increasingly know how their countries are run—and crucially how their money is spent. This March, participants in a nonbinding online referendum in Venice overwhelmingly supported an unofficial “declaration of independence” from Italy. The reason? Venice pays 70 billion euros in taxes per year, but receives only a fraction back in fiscal transfers, meaning support from the capital.

Catalonia, with its unique language and centuries of cultural traditions, made similar calculations with respect to Madrid and is set to vote on independence in November. Spain and Italy’s constitutions forbid secession, but to avoid severe internal unrest beyond that which has already beset them since the financial crisis, both governments will likely grant more autonomy to these important provinces. Ultimately, these upstart—or start-up—regions want the “devo-max” deal the Basques of northern Spain have: complete fiscal autonomy with no taxes paid to the capital.

Even global warming can drive devolution: As Greenland’s ice sheet melts, its 60,000 Inuit have greater access to abundant and valuable reserves of resources such as uranium and natural gas. This creates an incentive for Greenlanders to hoard the potential windfall rather than send it to Copenhagen, which has retained some governing authority over the island since Denmark seized and colonized Greenland nearly three centuries ago. The 2021 date proposed for a Greenland independence vote provides an eerie parallel to Scotland’s referendum, which took place roughly 300 years after that country joined the United Kingdom. Unlike Scotland, however, Greenland’s vote for independence wouldn’t even be close. Make way for another seat at the UN.

* * *

Shrill warnings against devolution ignore the evidence that it is also a logical consequence of connectivity. In the days before Scotland’s independence referendum, Gordon Brown, the Scotland-born former British prime minister, made a passionate appeal to his countrymen to choose unity over independence. Scotland’s “quarrel should be with globalization, rather than England,” he said. But on whose terms should that tug-of-war for jobs be waged? Smaller states and smaller economies have less of a margin for error when it comes to their own survival. Would Scotland have outsourced its manufacturing base to Asia in the way that far-off London capitalists so enthusiastically did? Would Scotland, as politicians in London warned, really have been unable to establish its own currency within 18 months? As even the anti-independence Economist noted, 28 new central banks have been created in the past 25 years; Estonia set up its own central bank and currency in a week. A connected world—the result of Brown’s bogeyman of ‘globalization’—has turned such bureaucratic hurdles into commoditized tasks.

The more cities and provinces attain quality infrastructure—courtesy of investment from their own governments and foreigners—the more they can leverage these new capacities. In America, fiscal federalism is a crucial driver of economic dynamism. For example, Texas has made itself the most business-friendly state in the country by minimizing regulations and keeping taxes low; it now boastsan $8.8 billion surplus. California also experiments at the state level with immigration and greenhouse-gas emissions reduction policies that are best suited to its own needs and goals. Oil-rich British Columbia and gas-and-mineral-rich Western Australia have their own resource wealth funds that have propelled infrastructure investment and growth in cities such as Vancouver and Perth first, before a share of the profits is sent to the distant capitals Ottawa and Canberra.

In Europe, devolution has become a healthy form of competitive arbitrage—a perpetual negotiation to get maximum freedoms from under-performing national governments so that over-performing provinces can get on with their own priorities. An independence movement is brewing in Sardinia, for instance, that would see the already autonomous Italian island sell itself to landlocked (and far better governed) Switzerland as a maritime canton.

Can all devolution be handled so peacefully? With all the world’s terrain claimed, one’s gain (of independence) must equal another’s loss (of territorial integrity). Borders can therefore either change violently, or can be softened through devolution. Devolution is why the Basques and Quebecois are at peace today. To attempt to stem the pro-Russian rebel tide in Ukraine, the parliament in Kiev last week granted self-rule to the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk as a gesture to keep them within the Ukrainian orbit. Devolution today is thus not just a force of tribalism but a tool of peacemaking.

This kind of thinking will be necessary for remapping the Middle East as the century-old Sykes-Picot map of the region crumbles. The near-total dissolution of the Arab political cartography embodies the most severe entropy, fragmentation, and disorder. Today only the oil-rich micro-states of the Persian Gulf such as Qatar and the UAE have purchased long-term security. But we do not yet know what will replace the current Syria and Iraq—to say nothing of the Islamic State’s plans for Jordan, Lebanon, and beyond.

Yet if one rule of counterinsurgency is to find, protect, and build stable enclaves, that is also a bottom-up approach to replacing Arab colonial cartography with a more legitimate order based on smaller and more coherent islands of stability. Rather than artificial nations, the future Middle East order will likely consist of robust tribal states like Israel and Kurdistan, and urban commercial centers with mixed populations that will protect themselves and their trade routes.

Perhaps a world of smaller states would bring globalization more into balance, with each state maintaining the necessary production and jobs essential for social stability, even if not optimizing global comparative advantage. A world of smaller states might also be a more peaceful one as well, with none able to survive without importing food and goods from others. Such a world would embody the principle of anti-fragility that the author Nassim Taleb advocates: too small to fail.

The map of the world is in perpetual flux, with territories splintering and combining in various configurations. North and South Yemen merged in 1990; Czechoslovakia divorced in 1993. South Sudan seceded in 2011; now there’s talk of North and South Korea reunifying along the model of East and West Germany. The fundamental search for more coherent political entities can bring turbulence, but not always violence.

Thus, the Scottish precedent is a harbinger of neither global chaos nor the end of multi-national harmony. In fact, devolution’s dialectical opposite is aggregation. The world may splinter, but it also comes together in new combinations such as the European Union, which ultimately absorbs all the continent’s micro-states into a truly multinational federation. Witness the Balkans, where two decades on from the bloody wars of Yugoslavia’s dissolution, all its former republics have become or are candidates for EU membership. If the world wants to see global solidarity of nations, the tribes may need to win first. Read @http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/09/how-decentralized-power-not-democracy-will-shape-21st-century/95255/

Oromia: New voices, New narratives, New futures Imagined at New World Summit September 23, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Colonizing Structure, Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, National Self- Determination, Oromia, Oromia at The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), Oromian Voices, Oromo Nation, State of Oromia.
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Dr. Shigut Geleta speaks atmThe New World Summit-Brussels Stateless Stateshigut1shigut3

 

“Once power is seen as a circle and not a pyramid, individuals can reimagine the possible. Once individuals and communities realize that “no one will give us our rights”, new opportunities for cooperation, solidarity and consent can be envisioned, for there is “no freedom in isolation”.”

http://unpo.org/article/17541

 

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) took part in the 4th New World Summit (NWS), entitled “Stateless State”, which was organised in the Royal Flemish Theatre of Brussels between 19 and 21 September 2014. The NWS was conceptualized as an attempt to combine art, performance and politics hosting organizations that currently find themselves unrepresented, unacknowledged or excluded from democratic processes due to various, but interconnected geopolitical, economic and political interests. The NWS provided an emancipatory space of innovative aspirations. The central question addressed by the speakers, respondants and the audience was whether the current concept of the ‘State’ is still capable of protecting the people’s right to self-determination in the 21st century.  

During the summit, numerous stateless political organizations gathered to discuss the meaning, potential and obstacles that the concept of the ‘State’ carries, starting from their own unique experiences and perspectives and applying this view to the world in general.

Impassioned speakers spoke about aggressive nationalism and how it feeds exclusion and inequality, and together they found solidarity across the structurally different forms of oppressions they all face and continually resist. They questioned, examined and reimagined ‘self-determination’ and ‘independence’ in the free and expressive space of the NWS. They recognized that artistic thought is crucial for changing systems of oppression, boundaries and power.

Notable political representatives and activists considered how to reinstate the power back to the people, or rather, to include the marginalized and unrepresented ‘Stateless States’. Through dialogue and discussions, the NWS participants shared their experiences of transgressing man-made boundaries and recreating spaces of freedom. Times of crisis were seen as opportunities for change and the audience was urged to co-create new communities by using “a collective vision”, as well as employing the power and rights already protected by international and domestic law (although so rarely used in practice).

The first panel, “Oppressive State“, aimed to explore the ‘State’ as an oppressive construct that relies on processes of exclusion and artificial creation of a homogenous community of people, through the denial of historical and cultural elements that could contest it. Speakers of the first panel, Ms Rebiya Kadeer (President of the World Uyghur Congress), Mr Karim Abdian (Ahwazi-Arab Alliance) and Martin Gustav Dentlinger (Captain of the Rehoboth Baster Community) looked at how this happens concretely through the repression of the peoples or communities that do not identify themselves as part of the national community and seek recognition of their civil rights, self-governance and in some cases even independence.

The second panel, “Progressive State”, with contributions from Mr Josu Juaristi (Basque journalist and Member of the European Parliament), Ms Coni Ledesma (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) and Ms Rebecca Gomperts (founder and director of Women on Waves and Women on Web) explored the dynamics of the internationalist progressive struggles for individual self-determination, by developing movements across ‘borders’ as a step towards the articulation of a progressive internationalist commons, for example, though the creation of a parallel State, which includes women, gay and transgender communities as fighters and equals.

The third panel entitled “Global State”, Mr Nasser Boladai (Baluchistan People’s Party), Ms Ayda Karimli (Southern Azerbaijan Alliance) and Mr Adem Uzum (Kurdistan National Congress) tried to analyse the relationship between the State and globalisation, building solidarity beyond the State and a network of parallel States, and how the dialectic between the struggle for self-determination and common survival shapes regional movements.

The fourth panel looked at “New States” to understand which elements really characterize the concept in the 21st century and to what extent a ‘State’ can exist and function without formal international recognition. Mr Moussa Ag Assarid (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), Mr Simon P. Sapioper(Minister of Foreign Affairs of the National Government of the Republic of West Papua) and Mr Mohamoud Abdi Daar (Republic of Somaliland in Brussels), and a representative from the Women for Independence took the floor and introduced their claims to independence and liberation, coupled with the consequences of widespread unrecognition.

The last panel, entitled “Stateless State”, Ms Jonsdottir (Icelandic Pirate Party, spokesperson of Wikileaks) addressed the role of digital democratisation in developing post-statist models of democracy and the effects of the digital revolution on stateless internationalism. Ms Dilar Dirik, an activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement, was the event’s last speaker. She explained how her movement fights for the liberation of the Kurds from State oppression, but also for the liberation of women from patriarchal shackles. For her movement, and for Democratic Confederalism (as an alternative to a nation-State solution), self-sustainability holds the key via 3 pillars: gender equality, radical grassroots democracy and ecology. For any sceptics in the room, she presented how this is not just a utopia, but a reality already implemented by Kurds; crossing borders to protect each other from common threats (such as IS), establishing autonomous organizations etc. She sees the concept of the ‘State’ as a replication of patriarchy, which must challanged with a strong commitment to gender equality as a prerequisite to freedom and democracy.

Once power is seen as a circle and not a pyramid, individuals can reimagine the possible. Once individuals and communities realize that “no one will give us our rights“, new opportunities for cooperation, solidarity and consent can be envisioned, for there is “no freedom in isolation“.

Read more @http://unpo.org/article/17541

 

A Criminal State: The Blacklisting of the Oromo Liberation Struggle for Freedom and Democracy

By Dr. Shigut Geleta*, Oromia’s Representatives at the 4th New World  Summit

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) is a political and militant organization that fights for the self-determination of the Oromo people against Ethiopian rule. As a result of the struggle that began after the Ethiopian colonization of Oromia in the late 19th century, the OLF was formed as a secular, military organization that ousted Emperor Haile Selassie during the Marxist-Leninist revolution in 1974. The OLF has also fought the subsequent Derg military regime (1974-1991) in coalition with other military nationalist organizations, such as the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). When the thirty-year civil war finally led to the toppling of the Derg regime in 1991 and the independence of Eritrea, the OLF participated in the mainly TPLF’s dominated Transitional Government of Ethiopia. As the TPLF consolidated its grip on power and continued to negate the political autonomy of the Oromo, the OLF left the Transitional Government in June 1992, which leads to a violent backlash against the Oromo population. Currently, despite being a democracy in theory, both the military regime as well as the political and economical sphere is dominated by the Tigrayan minority. As a consequence, other oppressed ethnicities such as the Ogaden and the Oromo continue their military and political struggle for self-determination. Following Ethiopia’s adoption of the restrictive Anti-Terrorism Proclamation in 2009, the OLF was blacklisted as a terrorist organization along with the ONLF and the Ginbot 7 movement, which lead to large-scale arrests and prosecution of prominent members of these groups, including parliament members and candidates.

This lecture addressed the manner in which blacklisting a political movement as ‘terrorist’ functions as an ideological cover-up of the enforced administrative construct of the Ethiopian state. Apart from the Oromo, who represent the largest ethnic group in the country, many other peoples struggle for independence from the contested state. At what level can we argue that the state of Ethiopia even exists, when its main legitimacy seems to be based on its capacity to suppress the very political majorities that constitute it? The blacklisting of a people’s history thus becomes a way of evading confrontation with the criminal dimensions of the state itself.

*Dr. Shigut Geleta is Head of the Oromo Liberation Front’s (OLF) Diplomatic Division.

Source: Extracted from Brochure of the summit

http://qeerroo.org/2014/09/22/views-and-news-from-the-4th-new-world-summit-of-stateless-states/

The statement ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa’ carries no real meaning. To utter it is merely stating that you subscribe to the hype August 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Land Grabs in Africa, Poverty, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals, Undemocratic governance in Africa, Youth Unemployment.
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‘Most of the time we simply do not know enough to assert accurate growth rates. There are also known biases and manipulations. Ethiopia, for example, is notable for having long-standing disagreements with the IMF regarding their growth rates. Whereas the official numbers have been quoted in double digits for the past decade, a thorough analysis suggested the actual growth rates were around 5 to 6 percent per annum. More generally, one study used satellite imaging of nighttime lights to calculate alternative growth rates, and found that authoritarian regimes overstate reported rates of growth by about 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points. Another recent study argues that inflation is systematically understated in African countries – which in turn means that growth and poverty reduction is overstated.’
http://africanarguments.org/2014/08/26/why-saying-seven-out-of-ten-fastest-growing-economies-are-in-africa-carries-no-real-meaning-by-morten-jerven/

Why saying ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa’ carries no real meaning

By Morten Jerven @ AfricanArguments
Before, during and after the US Africa summit one of the most frequently repeated factoids supporting the Africa Rising meme was that ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa.’ In reality this is both a far less accurate and much less impressive statistic than it sounds. More generally, narratives on African economic development tend to be loosely connected to facts, and instead are driven more by hype.

***

The ‘seven out of ten’ meme derives from a data exercise done in 2011 by The Economist. The exercise excluded countries with a population of less than 10 million and also the post-conflict booming Iraq and Afghanistan. This left 81 countries, 28 of them in Africa (more than 3 out of 10) and, if you take out the OECD countries from the sample, (which are unlikely to grow at more than 7 percent per annum), you find that every second economy in the sample is in Africa. It might not give the same rhetorical effect to say: ‘on average some African economies are expected to grow slightly faster than other non-OECD countries,’ but that would be more accurate.

And before we literally get ahead of ourselves (The Economist was reporting forecasts made for 2011 to 2015) there is a difference between forecasted and actually measured growth. According to John Kenneth Galbraith, the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. So how good is the IMF at forecasting growth in Low Income Countries?

According to their own evaluation, IMF forecasts “over-predicted GDP growth and under-predicted inflation.” Another study looked at the difference between the forecasts and the subsequent growth revisions in low income countries, and found that “output data revisions in low-income countries are, on average, larger than in other countries, and that they are much more optimistic.” Forecasts are systematically optimistic all over the world, but in Low Income Countries even more so.

***

Among those on the list of the fastest growers were countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia. The news that both Nigerian and Ghanaian GDP doubled following the introduction of new benchmark years for estimating GDP in 2010 and 2014 should remind us that the pinpoint accuracy of these growth estimates is lacking. How confident should you be about a 7 percent growth rate when 50 percent of the economy is missing in the official baseline? Recent growth in countries with outdated base years is also overstated.

While Ghana has reportedly had the highest growth rates in the world over the past years, a peer review of the Ghana national accounts noted that “neither a national census of agriculture nor other surveys, such as a crop and live-stock survey, have been conducted…there is no survey to provide benchmark data for construction, domestic trade and services.” It was recently reported that an economic census is being planned for next year. What we do know is that Ghana (together with Zambia, another of the projected ‘top ten growers’) has returned to the IMF to seek assistance following their entry into international lending markets.

Most of the time we simply do not know enough to assert accurate growth rates. There are also known biases and manipulations. Ethiopia, for example, is notable for having long-standing disagreements with the IMF regarding their growth rates. Whereas the official numbers have been quoted in double digits for the past decade, a thorough analysis suggested the actual growth rates were around 5 to 6 percent per annum. More generally, one study used satellite imaging of nighttime lights to calculate alternative growth rates, and found that authoritarian regimes overstate reported rates of growth by about 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points. Another recent study argues that inflation is systematically understated in African countries – which in turn means that growth and poverty reduction is overstated.

***

Data bias is carried across from economic growth to other metrics. The pressure on scholars, journalists and other commentators to say something general about ‘Africa’ is relentless, and so the general rule is to oblige willingly. When talking about average trends in African politics and opinion, analysis is influence by the availability of survey data, such as Afrobarometer, and the data availability is biased. According to Kim Yi Donne, on The Washington Post’s ‘Monkey Cage’ blog, of the 15 African countries with the lowest Polity IV rankings, only seven have ever been included in the Afrobarometer, whereas all but one African country rated as a democracy by the same index is included.

Any quantitative study which says something about the relationship between growth and trends in inequality and poverty, relies on the availability of household survey data. One paper boldly stated that African Poverty is Falling…Much Faster than You Think! The data basis was very sparse and unevenly distributed. There were no data points for Angola, Congo, Comoros, Cape Verde, D.R. Congo, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Seychelles, Togo, Sao Tome and Principe, Chad, Liberia, and Sudan. In addition, six countries only have one survey. The database included no observations since 2004 – so the trend in poverty was based entirely on conjecture. Famously you need at least two data points to draw a line. Yet the study included a graph of poverty lines in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1970 to 2006 – based on zero data points.

A result of doubts about the accuracy of the official evidence, and a dearth of evidence on income distributions, scholars have turned to other measurements. Data on access to education and ownership of goods such as television sets from Demographic and Health Surveys were used to compile new asset indices. In turn, these data were used to proxy economic growth and in place of having a measure of the middle class. In both cases the data may paint a misleadingly positive picture. While claiming to describe all of Africa over the past two decades, these surveys are only available for some countries sometimes.

***

The statement ‘seven out of ten fastest growing economies are in Africa’ carries no real meaning. To utter it is merely stating that you subscribe to the hype. It is particularly frustrating, and it surely stands in way of objective evaluation, that the narratives in African Economic Development switches from one extreme to the other so swiftly. The truth lies somewhere between the ‘miracles’ and ‘tragedies’. It is nothing short of stunning that in a matter of 3-4 years the most famous phrase relating to African economies has turned from ‘Bottom Billion’ to ‘Africa Rising’.

Because of a lack of awareness on historical data on economic growth it was long claimed that Africa was suffering “a chronic failure of growth”, but growth is not new to the African economies, growth has been recurring. There is no doubt that there are more goods leaving and entering the African continent today than fifteen years ago. More roads and hotels are being built and more capital is flowing in and out of the African continent than before. But what is the real pace of economic growth? Does the increase in the volume of transaction result in a sustained increase in living standards? The evidence does not yet readily provide us with an answer. It is the job of scholars to give tempered assessments that navigate between what is make-believe and what passes as plausible evidence.

Morten Jerven is Associate Professor at the Simon Fraser University, School for International Studies. His book Poor Numbers: how we are misled by African development statistics and what to do about it is published by Cornell University Press. @MJerven

http://africanarguments.org/2014/08/26/why-saying-seven-out-of-ten-fastest-growing-economies-are-in-africa-carries-no-real-meaning-by-morten-jerven/

Related References:

 

Why Africa needs a data revolution

 

Since the term “data revolution” was introduced, there has been a flurry of activity to define, develop, and implement an agenda to transform the collection, use, and distribution of development statistics. That makes sense. Assessing the international community’s next development agenda, regardless of its details, will be impossible without accurate data.

Yet, in Sub-Saharan Africa – the region with the most potential for progress under the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals – accurate data are severely lacking. From 1990 to 2009, only one Sub-Saharan country had data on all 12 indicators established in 2000 by the Millennium Development Goals. Indeed, of the 60 countries with complete vital statistics, not one is in Africa. While most African countries have likely experienced economic growth during the last decade, the accuracy of the data on which growth estimates are based – not to mention data on inflation, food production, education, and vaccination rates – remains far from adequate.

Inaccurate data can have serious consequences. Consider Nigeria’s experience earlier this year, when GDP rebasing showed that the economy was nearly 90% larger than previously thought. The distorted picture of Nigeria’s economy provided by the previous statistics likely led to misguided decisions regarding private investment, credit ratings, and taxation. Moreover, it meant that Nigeria was allocated more international aid than it merited – aid that could have gone to needier countries.

Contrary to popular belief, the constraints on the production and use of basic data stem not from a shortage of technical capacity and knowhow, but from underlying political and systemic challenges. For starters, national statistical offices often lack the institutional autonomy needed to protect the integrity of data, production of which thus tends to be influenced by political forces and special interest groups.

Poorly designed policies also undermine the accuracy of data. For example, governments and donors sometimes tie funding to self-reported measures, which creates incentives for recipients to over-report key data like vaccination or school-enrollment rates. Without effective oversight, these well-intentioned efforts to reward progress can go awry.

Despite these failings, national governments and international donors continue to devote far too few resources to ensuring the collection of adequate data. Only 2% of official development aid is earmarked for improving the quality of statistics – an amount wholly insufficient to assess accurately the impact of the other 98% of aid. And governments’ dependency on donors to fund and gather their core statistics is unsustainable.

In fact, stronger national statistical systems are the first step toward improving the accuracy, timeliness, and availability of the data that are essential to calculating almost any major economic or social-welfare indicator. These include statistics on births and deaths; growth and poverty; tax and trade; health, education, and safety; and land and the environment.

Developing such systems is an ambitious but achievable goal. All that is needed is a willingness to experiment with new approaches to collecting, using, and sharing data.

This is where the public comes in. If private firms, media, and civil-society organizations identify specific problems and call publicly for change, their governments will feel pressure to take the steps needed to produce accurate, unbiased data – for example, by enhancing the autonomy of national statistical offices or providing sufficient funds to hire more qualified personnel. While it may be tempting to bypass government and hope for an easy technology-based solution, sustainable, credible progress will be difficult without public-sector involvement.

The recognition by governments and external donors of the need for more – and more efficient – funding, particularly to national statistical systems, will be integral to such a shift. Establishing stronger incentives for agencies to produce good data – that is, data that are accurate, timely, relevant, and readily available – would also help, with clearly delineated metrics defining what qualifies as “good.” In fact, tying progress on those metrics to funding via pay-for-performance agreements could improve development outcomes considerably.

One concrete strategy to achieve these goals would be to create a country-donor compact for better data.

Read more @ http://forumblog.org/2014/08/africas-necessary-data-revolution/?utm_content=buffer4f4fd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Attention to Donor Agencies: No democracy means no development August 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Development & Change, Free development vs authoritarian model, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Youth Unemployment.
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Development First, Democracy Later?

By Anna Lekvall, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs; formerly Senior Programme Manager for Democracy and Development at International IDEA.

http://naiforum.org/2014/08/development-first-democracy-later/

Across all continents, cultures and religions, 80 per cent of men and women worldwide believe that democracy is the best available form of governance. But there is a raging democracy deficit across the world.

There is wide support for democracy in international agreements and development policy. Yet, only 2 per cent of official development aid goes to democracy support, indicating a low priority in practice.

The much larger aid flows delivered to reduce poverty also affect democratic processes and power dynamics – sometimes negatively.

The binding constraint on development is not always money or knowledge. It is also about political processes. Citizens across the world therefore call for democratic and accountable politics.

There is a raging democracy deficit across the world. Across all continents, cultures and religions, by gender, age, education or income level, 80 per cent of men and women worldwide believe that democracy is the best available form of governance.[1]

Only 30 per cent, however, are satisfied with the democracy that they are experiencing, and 85 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries where media freedom is obstructed. Democratic transitions that were promising 20 years ago have in many cases regressed.

There is wide support for democracy in international agreements and development policy. Key donor countries and international organizations have goals to support democracy within official development assistance. The UN Charter is clear that the authority of governments shall be based on the will of the people. The UN Millennium Declaration promises that no effort shall be spared to promote democracy.

Yet when it comes to the practical implementation of official development aid, supporting democracy is a low priority.  The newly published book Development First, Democracy Later? (International IDEA, 2014) takes a critical look at traditional aid forms from a democracy perspective. It finds that despite donor countries’ often explicit ambitions to strengthen democracy, the picture emerging is not encouraging. In practice, democracy seems to be a low priority within official development assistance.

Supporting key democratic processes and institutions – elections, parliamentary strengthening, civil society – is a niche area of aid. But it only accounts for about 2 per cent of all development assistance. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the much larger aid flows delivered to reduce poverty, also affect democratic processes and power dynamics – sometimes in a negative way.

Many aid-recipient countries are ruled by either authoritarian or hybrid regimes. Among the ten countries that received most aid in 2010, all but one were ruled by authoritarian or hybrid regimes. Channelling money in such an environment requires careful consideration of the effects on the domestic political situation as it risks sustaining a dysfunctional system and reinforcing the powers that be.

Yet, the connections between development aid resources and the space for democracy are seldom explicitly discussed, the analysis in the book finds. Despite the use of political economy analysis, donors keep focusing on the executive branch of government and a limited type of civil society organisations, largely avoiding key political and social actors.

The primary focus is still establishing partnerships with governments of which some obstruct political representation, impede free speech, manipulate elections and compromise the rule of law. Despite the increased focus on accountability, development resources risk sustaining the hold on power of already overpowered executive heads of government.

Despite the rhetoric of country ownership, donors continue to prescribe policy priorities in budget reviews and to move policy formulation from domestic political processes to development aid negotiations. National actors become almost redundant in the process.

When donors eventually speak up for democracy and cleaner politics, it is often because things have got so badly wrong that they have to react. So-called ‘political crises’, are often situations which could have been foreseen and addressed in the choice of aid modalities.

Thus, not only has democracy not been a key goal on the aid agenda, but the way in which aid is organized has had challenging consequences for democracy. The development community acknowledges many of these concerns.

The Accra Agenda for Action recognized the need for inclusive ownership and the importance of involving actors such as parliaments, local government and civil society in development. In Busan, the private sector was added as a stakeholder and the term ‘democratic ownership’ was used. These are positive steps at the level of international policy deliberations, but translating the new policies into practice is a challenge.

There are many reasons for democracy being a low priority in the aid agenda. Other foreign policy goals are prioritized. It is difficult. There are disbursement pressures and practical issues in the way aid is organized. But there may also be a more ideological or theoretical reason.

The success stories in Asia, and of China in particular, have reinforced an old view that development comes first, and (hopefully) democracy later, even to the extent of seeing democracy as an obstacle that must be overcome by insulating the state from public concerns.

This is a dangerous path, however, as there is a tendency for absolute power to lead to absolute corruption – and absolute repression. Even if it is possible to find a ‘good autocrat’, he or she usually does not stay that way. Democracy is a fundamental requirement for replacing leaders peacefully. This must not be forgotten.

Moreover, despite some authoritarian successes, there is substantive empirical evidence that democracy delivers on development, even in poor countries. Among the top 50 countries that achieved the highest levels of human development in 2011, only four had either authoritarian or hybrid regimes. The rest were democracies.

One study compares the experience only across poor countries and finds that people in poor democracies live nine years longer than people in poor autocracies, have a 40 per cent greater chance of attending secondary school and benefit from agricultural yields that are 25 per cent higher. Poor democracies suffer 20 per cent fewer infant deaths than poor autocracies. Democracies fare better at avoiding political conflict and dealing with natural disasters.

But there are even more reasons why the development agenda should not ignore democracy. Over the past decade, the role of politics has come increasingly to the fore in explaining development failures. In Africa, success in terms of economic growth does not match its poor record in reducing poverty. There is little doubt that the vast majority of Africans do not get a fair share of the yields from the continent’s huge natural resource wealth.

Africa has 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land. It produces less agricultural output per person today than fifty years ago. Farmers lack access to capital for fertilizer and irrigation. They lack the roads and storage needed to get harvests to market. These are public goods that their governments should be facilitating. The economic resources exist and the solutions are known.

The binding constraint on development is not always money or knowledge. It is also about political processes. Citizens across the world know this, and therefore call for democratic and accountable politics. In a United Nations study in the post 2015-process, it was made clear that ‘honest and responsive government’ was among the top five priorities when people in 194 countries were asked.

Development experts too are finding that dysfunctional political institutions and processes are hindering development. Donor agencies are realizing the same, shown by the interest in political economy analysis. What remains, however, is making the move from analysis to considering aid modalities from the perspective of both democracy and development.


[1] All facts, definitions and references may be found in Development First, Democracy Later?, International IDEA, 2014. Free to download here.

http://naiforum.org/2014/08/development-first-democracy-later/

Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! TEdTalk from Italian aid worker Ernesto Sirolli August 24, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Development & Change.
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This is a fantastic and humorous TedTalk from Italian aid worker Ernesto Sirolli.

When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.

All 17 minutes are worth watching, but the first 3 or so are especially recommended. Enjoy!

http://www.ted.com/talks/ernesto_sirolli_want_to_help_someone_shut_up_and_listen#t-1053556

http://www.ted.com/speakers/ernesto_sirolli

Government media in Ethiopia vs Scholars view of development: A stand-off paradox August 22, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Colonizing Structure, Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Land Grabs in Oromia, Youth Unemployment.
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Government  media in Ethiopia vs Scholars view of development: A stand-off paradox

Ameyu Etana*

 

 

 

 

 

It has been more than a decade since DEVELOPMENT became a buzzword in Ethiopian Radio  and Television Agency. As ERTA is a pro-government media and  sponsored by the state, there is a strong probability to be under the guise of social responsibility theory when addressing issues. As it is common of using development journalism as an instrument in developmental states, likewise, the Ethiopian government is using media as a big power to making the public participating in development.  Television Agency (ERTA) and other media that are pro-government but run under the auspices of private media. Regrettably, probably, it is the most abused and corrupted word beyond what one could imagine. A name developmentalist came to develop a negative connotation for a journalist in Ethiopia. Quite number of academic researches has been done on the single nationwide media in Ethiopia, however; very little of them adduced and proved the professional nature of political power house of Ethiopian government, ERTA.

Ethiopia, a nation came to be a laboratory of political economy is a dish for choose and pick philosophy of politics. The political economy of Ethiopia is democratic developmental state. By their nature such states are repressive. And there has never been a country both democratic and developmental at a time except Ethiopia. Nevertheless, it seems, what we are seeing is not in accord with the political economy.

The Ethiopian government adopted United Nations General Assembly Resolution 41/128:1986. Alike, the right to development is one of the bill rights that had been included in the federal constitution of Ethiopia. Article 43 of FDRE constitution could depict this. To the contrary, mostly, what has been written and what has been practiced seems contradict each other.

As we know, what Ethiopian Television, Ethiopian Radio, Ethiopian Herald, Addis Zemen, Bariisaa, Ethiopian News Agency, Walta Information Center and other government driven media and/or news agency in Ethiopia and other whose names called under the guise of private but pro-government media view development as econometric (statistics use to view development e.g. economic development) view of development. As a result, any report that put Ethiopian development in number presumed to have high political benefit and get the major attention as it makes a headline. Infrastructure, number of investors, their capital, the KM of a road built, export and import quantities, number of graduates, number of higher institutions, and others are mostly at the desk of those media institution. Hence, what is seen is not the human side but the growth side as it uses to be.

Since the philosophy of state media in Ethiopia is development journalism, though wrongly interpreted, the issue of development vastly and exhaustively reported in a form of news, program, documentary, and other types of reports. However, most news are just a report as they lack interpretation while the journalist acts as a conduit than the one who produce it. I.e. Ethiopia is amongst the fastest growing economy in the world though third of its population lives in absolute poverty. In addition, there is been a big unequal economic distribution in the country and unemployment is getting higher albeit it is repeatedly told it is non-oil economy. If so, what is the benefit of jobless growth? Moreover, indigenous knowledge is ignored at the same time modern technology is also getting little attention by farmers, which is discrepancy right now in the country. As the journalism model, those media were supposed to critically examine and meticulously analyze issue that matters most to the people than merely reporting it.

The people of the country have long experienced the use of development for propaganda. Owing to this, it is difficult to identify the real concept of development in the mind of citizens. This resembles the sedative nature of the media in the country. Recently, journalists of Oromia Radio and Television Journalists (ORTO) did a deliberation on the controversial master plan of Addis Ababa, however, regrettably, they got an axe for the mere fact they did speak their mind. Hence, we can say that development is like politics in Ethiopia as it is untouched area to be opened for deliberation.

After all what is development? What scholars say about development? 

Several scholars held a debate for decades on what development is until they came to, probably; seems agree as it is all about human development. Lamentably, as Rita Abrahamsen puts it in her book called Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and Good Governance in Africa the issue of development became politicized, which is unfortunate as the world came to see help poor countries based on their political ideology they might have than favoring solely for being human.

The leading professor Amartya Sen in his book Development as Freedom which was published in 1999 argues development should be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. He contrasts the view of development with the widely prevalent concentration on the expansion of real income and on economic growth as the characteristics of successful development. Poverty, the flip side of development, means capability deprivation that inhibits citizen’s freedom to live, the reason they value most. As a result, development means an expansion of freedom.

For Amartya Sen Poverty is lack of choice, socioeconomic and political deprivation while development is a freedom or emancipation from poverty, empowerment of the people. Therefore, we simply understand us development is all about a people than merely numbers.

Similarly Michael Todaro in his book Economic Development argues that development must be seen as multidimensional process involving major changes in social structure, popular attitudes, and national institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of absolute poverty. And several scholars including Thomas Alan and others believed development is about empowering and emancipating people from the agony that make them suffer most than ignoring their existence.

Having looked at this, inopportunely we see the paradox in Ethiopia. In the name of development people has been ignored freedom; few are benefiting but millions are joining poverty if not struggling to survive. Rather than sensitizing them the media is pursuing sedative under the auspices of development as submissive people at large are being produced in the country seeing that the issue of development became not open for discussion and untouchable. Regrettably, in the name of investment and several projects, millions are being displaced from the land they presumes their only property they got from their forefathers but, are treated like ignorant who could serve nothing for the development. I.e. it is the residents of Addis Ababa that were deliberating over the contentious master plan for days on the lands of farmers surrounding Addis Ababa. How could this be the right way? By no means it is democratic or developmental? It is highly nonsense and absurd but not surprise as it uses to be in the country.

If development is for the people why do ignore them or why to treating them as against development? By its nature development is not merely road or building, it is about mind development. If the big asset for human, which is mind is not well set, how to manage the entire infrastructure? It seems everything is messed up in Ethiopia. Due to this, the wider public is feeling ignorant to the plans and strategies the government drafts each time.

Consequently, here in Ethiopia, under the guise of development thousands get prisoned, displaced, ignored, dehumanized, unnerved, denied capability, bottled in poverty, whereas, few get rich, empowered, emancipate in such a way to fasten andwiden the gap of living standards of citizens, which is shockingly inhuman. Inconveniently, for the development gained it is not the people but a party or officials get recognition as personal cult is common so far.

The other vital issue we should pay attention to is making the people the participant when the plan is drafted which mean making the people the source of development. If doing so, those who decide by themselves become responsible for the accomplishment, which is a big benefit for the ruled and for the ruler. However, this was not happening rather the people are assumed as ignorant mass that could have no role prior to drafting of the plan but after. http://mohiboni.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/government-herd-media-in-ethiopia-and.html

*Ameyu Etana is a journalist in Ethiopia and by now he is a graduate student at Addis Ababa University. Can be reached at: ameyuetana@gmail.com  You can follow and comment on his articles on mohiboni.blogspot.com and mohiboni.wordpress.com. All are encouraged to challenge. Any idea is welcomed as far as it has adduced. 

 

False accounting & the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie August 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Development & Change, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Free development vs authoritarian model, Oromia, Poverty, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals, Youth Unemployment.
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Poverty

Exposing the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie

Jason Hickel* @ Aljazeera Opinion

 

The UN claims that its Millennium Development Campaign has reduced poverty globally, an assertion that is far from true.

 

 

The received wisdom comes to us from all directions: Poverty rates are declining and extreme poverty will soon be eradicated. The World Bank, the governments of wealthy countries, and – most importantly – the United Nations Millennium Campaign all agree on this narrative. Relax, they tell us. The world is getting better, thanks to the spread of free market capitalism and western aid. Development is working, and soon, one day in the very near future, poverty will be no more.

It is a comforting story, but unfortunately it is just not true. Poverty is not disappearing as quickly as they say. In fact, according to some measures, poverty has been getting significantly worse. If we are to be serious about eradicating poverty, we need to cut through the sugarcoating and face up to some hard facts.

False accounting

The most powerful expression of the poverty reduction narrative comes from the UN’s Millennium Campaign. Building on the Millennium Declaration of 2000, the Campaign’s main goal has been to reduce global poverty by half by 2015 – an objective that it proudly claims to have achieved ahead of schedule. But if we look beyond the celebratory rhetoric, it becomes clear that this assertion is deeply misleading.

The world’s governments first pledged to end extreme poverty during the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996. They committed to reducing the number of undernourished people by half before 2015, which, given the population at the time, meant slashing the poverty headcount by 836 million. Many critics claimed that this goal was inadequate given that, with the right redistributive policies, extreme poverty could be ended much more quickly.

But instead of making the goals more robust, global leaders surreptitiously diluted it. Yale professor and development watchdog Thomas Pogge points out that when the Millennium Declaration was signed, the goal was rewritten as “Millennium Developmental Goal 1” (MDG-1) and was altered to halve the proportion (as opposed to the absolute number) of the world’s people living on less than a dollar a day. By shifting the focus to income levels and switching from absolute numbers to proportional ones, the target became much easier to achieve. Given the rate of population growth, the new goal was effectively reduced by 167 million. And that was just the beginning.

After the UN General Assembly adopted MDG-1, the goal was diluted two more times. First, they changed it from halving the proportion of impoverished people in the world to halving the proportion of impoverished people in developing countries, thus taking advantage of an even faster-growing demographic denominator. Second, they moved the baseline of analysis from 2000 back to 1990, thus retroactively including all poverty reduction accomplished by China throughout the 1990s, due in no part whatsoever to the Millennium Campaign.

This statistical sleight-of-hand narrowed the target by a further 324 million. So what started as a goal to reduce the poverty headcount by 836 million has magically become only 345 million – less than half the original number. Having dramatically redefined the goal, the Millennium Campaign can claim that poverty has been halved when in fact it has not. The triumphalist narrative hailing the death of poverty rests on an illusion of deceitful accounting.

Poor numbers

But there’s more. Not only have the goalposts been moved, the definition of poverty itself has been massaged in a way that serves the poverty reduction narrative. What is considered the threshold for poverty – the “poverty line” – is normally calculated by each nation for itself, and is supposed to reflect what an average human adult needs to subsist. In 1990, Martin Ravallion, an Australian economist at the World Bank, noticed that the poverty lines of a group of the world’s poorest countries clustered around $1 per day. On Ravallion’s recommendation, the World Bank adopted this as the first-ever International Poverty Line (IPL).

But the IPL proved to be somewhat troublesome. Using this threshold, the World Bank announced in its 2000 annual report that “the absolute number of those living on $1 per day or less continues to increase. The worldwide total rose from 1.2 billion in 1987 to 1.5 billion today and, if recent trends persist, will reach 1.9 billion by 2015.” This was alarming news, especially because it suggested that the free-market reforms imposed by the World Bank and the IMF on Global South countries during the 1980s and 1990s in the name of “development” were actually making things worse.

This amounted to a PR nightmare for the World Bank. Not long after the report was released, however, their story changed dramatically and they announced the exact opposite news: While poverty had been increasing steadily for some two centuries, they said, the introduction of free-market policies had actually reduced the number of impoverished people by 400 million between 1981 and 2001.

This new story was possible because the Bank shifted the IPL from the original $1.02 (at 1985 PPP) to $1.08 (at 1993 PPP), which, given inflation, was lower in real terms. With this tiny change – a flick of an economist’s wrist – the world was magically getting better, and the Bank’s PR problem was instantly averted. This new IPL is the one that the Millennium Campaign chose to adopt.

The IPL was changed a second time in 2008, to $1.25 (at 2005 PPP). And once again the story improved overnight. The $1.08 IPL made it seem as though the poverty headcount had been reduced by 316 million people between 1990 and 2005. But the new IPL – even lower than the last, in real terms – inflated the number to 437 million, creating the illusion that an additional 121 million souls had been “saved” from the jaws of debilitating poverty. Not surprisingly, the Millennium Campaign adopted the new IPL, which allowed it to claim yet further chimerical gains.

A more honest view of poverty

We need to seriously rethink these poverty metrics. The dollar-a-day IPL is based on the national poverty lines of the 15 poorest countries, but these lines provide a poor foundation given that many are set by bureaucrats with very little data. More importantly, they tell us nothing about what poverty is like in wealthier countries. A 1990 survey in Sri Lanka found that 35 percent of the population fell under the national poverty line. But the World Bank, using the IPL, reported only 4 percent in the same year. In other words, the IPL makes poverty seem much less serious than it actually is.

The present IPL theoretically reflects what $1.25 could buy in the United States in 2005. But people who live in the US know it is impossible to survive on this amount. The prospect is laughable. In fact, the US government itself calculated that in 2005 the average person needed at least $4.50 per day simply to meet minimum nutritional requirements. The same story can be told in many other countries, where a dollar a day is inadequate for human existence. In India, for example, children living just above the IPL still have a 60 percent chance of being malnourished.

According to Peter Edwards of Newcastle University, if people are to achieve normal life expectancy, they need roughly double the current IPL, or a minimum of $2.50 per day. But adopting this higher standard would seriously undermine the poverty reduction narrative. An IPL of $2.50 shows a poverty headcount of around 3.1 billion, almost triple what the World Bank and the Millennium Campaign would have us believe. It also shows that poverty is getting worse, not better, with nearly 353 million more people impoverished today than in 1981. With China taken out of the equation, that number shoots up to 852 million.

Some economists go further and advocate for an IPL of $5 or even $10 – the upper boundary suggested by the World Bank. At this standard, we see that some 5.1 billion people – nearly 80 percent of the world’s population – are living in poverty today. And the number is rising.

These more accurate parameters suggest that the story of global poverty is much worse than the spin doctored versions we are accustomed to hearing. The $1.25 threshold is absurdly low, but it remains in favour because it is the only baseline that shows any progress in the fight against poverty, and therefore justifies the present economic order. Every other line tells the opposite story. In fact, even the $1.25 line shows that, without factoring China, the poverty headcount is worsening, with 108 million people added to the ranks of the poor since 1981. All of this calls the triumphalist narrative into question.

A call for change

This is a pressing concern; the UN is currently negotiating the new Sustainable Development Goals that will replace the Millennium Campaign in 2015, and they are set to use the same dishonest poverty metrics as before. They will leverage the “poverty reduction” story to argue for business as usual: stick with the status quo and things will keep getting better. We need to demand more. If the Sustainable Development Goals are to have any real value, they need to begin with a more honest poverty line – at least $2.50 per day – and instate rules to preclude the kind of deceit that the World Bank and the Millennium Campaign have practised to date.

Eradicating poverty in this more meaningful sense will require more than just using aid to tinker around the edges of the problem. It will require changing the rules of the global economy to make it fairer for the world’s majority. Rich country governments will resist such changes with all their might. But epic problems require courageous solutions, and, with 2015 fast approaching, the moment to act is now. Read more @original source http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/exposing-great-poverty-reductio-201481211590729809.html

*Dr Jason Hickel lectures at the London School of Economics and serves as an adviser to /The Rules. 

Africa’s Jobless Growth: Economic success just for a few cannot be a replacement for human rights or participation, or democracy August 18, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Development & Change, Dictatorship, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Youth Unemployment.
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Africa is Rising! At Least Its 1% Is

Africa’s economy may be booming, but this will do little to help unemployment and poverty if growth is jobless and its spoils are limited to the few.

What we need in Africa is balanced development. Economic success cannot be a replacement for human rights or participation, or democracy … it doesn’t work…it worries us a lot when we don’t see the trickle-through factor, when gain goes to the top 1% or 2%, leaving the rest behind.” – Mo Ibrahim October 15, 2012

It did not come as a surprise to many when, on October 15, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced that there was no winner for its annual $5 million African leadership award – for the third time since its inception in 2006. What was surprising, however, was that the foundation’s chair, British-Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim, alsoadmonished the much-celebrated recent economic ‘success’ of the African continent for largely failing to translate into better human rights and social development, and for essentially creating a few elitist winners at the top whilst the rest were left struggling at the very bottom.

Recent reports, forecasts and editorials of influential financial magazines are incredibly optimisticabout Africa – its booming economic growth, its investment opportunities and its growing middle-class. Sub-Saharan African countries are reportedly among the fastest growing in the world with six out of ten world’s fastest growing economies, and recording growth rates averaging 4.9%, higher than the developing country average and much higher than the developed country average.

The Economist’s December 2011 print issue was boldly titled ‘Africa Rises’ and in August 2012, it again boldly proclaimed that ‘A Continent Goes Shopping’, underscoring the voracious purchasing power of the African middle-class to buy consumer and even luxury goods. The current received wisdom in these sleek reports, glossy magazine pages and glass-panelled conference rooms is that sub-Saharan Africa really is the place to be and to invest in, with all its abundant opportunities.

Jobless growth

This much-trumpeted economic success is mostly true, until one looks at the other side. Then questions arise over to what extent growth is spread across sectors of the economy, and whether such economic growth is translating into corresponding improvements in human and social development.

It is common knowledge that this new dawn of booming economic growth is largely the consequence of the recent rise in the global commodity prices of natural resources, chiefly oil, while the vibrancy of other sectors of the economy such as banking, telecommunications and construction trail behind in terms of growth. Many African countries primarily depend on the exportation of natural resources – and industry which is highly capital- (and technology-) intensive, providing few jobs. Only five of Africa’s fifty-four countries are currently not “either producing or looking for oil”.

It is therefore no surprise that many African countries, especially the economic powerhouses of the continent, are bedevilled by high unemployment, particularly amongst young people – hovering at25% in Egypt, 48% in South Africa and 42% in Nigeria. Thus, growth in capital-intensive sectors – such as resource exports, banking, and telecommunications – is barely trickling down to create jobs and economic opportunities for the vast majority of the people – a phenomenon commonly known as ‘jobless growth’.

Many sub-Saharan African countries experiencing record-level economic growth still have low rankings in human development indices, despite marginal improvements in education enrolment and, with countrywide variations, maternal health. This contradiction is further reinforced by the growing inequality that characterises many of such African ‘powerhouses’. Luanda in Angola (thanks to flowing petro-dollars) and N’Djamena in Chad were, respectively, the second and eighth most expensive cities to live as an expatriate in 2012 – ahead of Sydney, London and New York according to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey. Juba in the newly independent South Sudan is also gaining notoriety for its high cost of living, while the price of select real estate in Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria reportedly rivals that of some Western cities. These expensive cities are in countries grouped within the ‘Low Human Development’ category of the United Nation’s Human Development Index based on indicators such as health, income and education.

A tale of two cities

There has certainly been some improvement – for one, there is now an identifiable middle-class in Africa with money to splash around in the cinemas of Abuja and pricey hotels of Accra, the malls and retail outlets of Johannesburg and the exclusive residential estates of Lagos and Nairobi. However, once you step out of these glitzy inner cities and look to the outskirts, the glaring contrast between the shiny modernity and the urban deprivation in the slums hits you like the searing tropical sun.

 

The task thus remains for governments to devise sustainable development strategies that are tailored specifically to suit the African context. Such strategies must sustain the momentum of economic growth while ensuring that growth spreads to and strengthens sectors such as mechanised agriculture, light manufacturing and small-scale enterprises, which have a direct impact on the lives and incomes of citizens.

Such transformational policies should ensure that revenue windfalls are utilised wisely towards social and welfare policies, which will empower millions of Africans out of poverty, thereby creating a robust middle-class rather than just enriching an already existing sliver. It also means that such funds can be saved to help with later needs, as with the Sovereign Wealth Fund embarked on by countries such as Angola and the new oil-producer Ghana.

Importantly, the African youth bulge needs to be transformed into a demographic dividend by providing employment and economic opportunities to an increasingly educated African youth and by providing critically needed infrastructure so that abundant innovative ideas, which are capable of transforming lives and societies, can materialise into reality.

Ultimately, these are still governance challenges that Africa has a long way go to overcome, but the marginal improvements in some aspects of governance, especially women’s rights, as the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Index has shown, gives room for some cautious optimism. Mo Ibrahim’s admonishment could not have come at a better time.

Read @ it original source:http://thinkafricapress.com/development/mo-ibrahim-issues-timely-caution-afro-optimists?utm_content=buffer46624&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

*Zainab Usman is a Nigerian freelance writer. She is currently a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford in Governance and Political Economy of Economic Diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has a BSc in International Studies from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and a Masters in International Political Economy and Development from the University of Birmingham. Zainab is an advocate of good governance, poverty reduction and women and youth empowerment. She regularly blogs atzainabusman.wordpress.com.

Oromia Against the Tyranny of Ethiopia: A Generation, Fearless of Death and Detention, Will Crumble Mountains August 17, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Amane Badhaso, Ambo, Ayantu Tibeso, Colonizing Structure, Development & Change, Dictatorship, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Finfinne is Oromia's land, Finfinnee, Finfinnee is the Capital City of Oromia, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Oromia Support Group Australia, Oromians Protests, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo and the call for justice and freedom, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, UK Aid Should Respect Rights.
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A Generation, Fearless of Death and Detention, Will Crumble Mountains

By Firehiwot Guluma Tezera*

There is an Ethiopian saying, “one would lose what one has in the hand while reaching for more from the upper shelf.” While this selfish individual tries to get hold of more, what one has already have will be scattered all over the place. Lately, in the Habesha camp, fear has spread, and uneasiness has increased likewise.

Soothing, warnings, rebuking, and many others had been tried. Unfortunately, they try to tell us that the source of their problem is the national struggle of the Oromo people. In reality, the aim and goal of the struggle of the Oromo people is to get rid of authoritarian rulers, and thus, to achieve the right to self-determination for the Oromo people – based on international regulations and laws. The importance of the struggle is not only for the Oromo people, but for all peoples of the empire who are suffering under the colonial rule. So, the Oromo people trust in the united struggle of the oppressed peoples. The Oromo national movement will wedge, and has been wedging, joint struggles with forces of similar aims. In other ways, the Oromo people demonstrate peace in their cultural and administrative structures, and support fair unity. Fair unity helps the weak and stands for the oppressed. A good demonstration is the exemplary unity of the different ethnic groups living in today’s Oromiyaa – despite the numerous attempts by anti-Oromo groups to create rifts between the Oromo people and the other ethnic groups.

As the Oromo people – in their social lives and national struggle – respect the rules of human rights, by any measure, they are not threats to neighboring and same-region peoples; the information, which has been disseminated by groups wanting to re-instate the old system and TPLF jointly and independently, has turned out to be fake and false time and again.

The truth has been illustrated at various times by different individuals. But as long as those Oromo-phobic individuals who could not understand it give in, we must show and teach them theoretically and by action how the Oromo struggle has matured. Accordingly, the Oromo struggle has come a long way and has reached a stage where it cannot be averted; even though they are not going to like it, I would like to demonstrate through credible facts:

• By the sacrifices paid by its dear children, the Oromo Nation has been able to show to the whole world its country’s boundaries and its true history. By blood and bones of her children, our country Oromiyaa will be respected till eternity. This is the reality.

• The language and culture of Oromo people has been developing on solid foundation. Today Afan oromo has its own alphabets. Millions study, teach and do research by it. Medias with International audience broadcast by it. It has become language of literature. As this indicates that the struggle is nearing the end, we must take note.

• The Oromo people’s struggle has arrived at the generation which does not fear death, and which is ready to sacrifice for its dignity and for the sovereignty of Oromiyaa. This confirms all. As this reality has already been seen on the ground, there is no need for further explanations.

• The international community has not only understood, but forced to look for solutions about the arbitrary killings of the Oromo people. This is the fruit of the relentless struggle. Even if you don’t like it, you know the exact gist.

• Today, we have arrived at a historical chapter where the Oromo people have demonstrated that they will not crack by propaganda of anti-Oromo elements, and that they have stood together in unison for a common goal. This cooperation among all segments of the Oromo people has started to shake your power base – giving you high blood pressure as demonstrated by the recent uprising.

• As the Oromo national struggle consists of all options, Oromiyaan mountains, valleys and forests are witnessing strong military preparations. Accordingly, in May 2014 the Oromo Liberation Army has attacked enemy soldiers, and more than 200 soldiers have been put out of action. It has also confiscated a number of military equipment.

Overall, the Oromo people have scored important victories, and are mobilizing their human and material resources to claim the rest of their rights. So, are you trying to stop this visionary generation by imprisonment? Or trying to fool them through rebuke and fake words? To tell you the truth, that era has passed. Let me help you realize the truth. You can’t stop them. This is because you can’t stop a generation with a cause. The better way is to drop the old eyeglasses, which has twisted the truth, and straighten your views and live together. May God help you.

* Firehiwot Guluma Tezera: keetimdhufeera@yahoo.com

Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromoo):The traditional faith system of the Oromo people August 10, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ancient Egyptian, Ateetee (Siiqqee Institution), Black History, Chiekh Anta Diop, Culture, Development & Change, Finfinnee, Gadaa System, Irreecha, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Language and Development, Macha & Tulama Association, Meroe, Meroetic Oromo, Nubia, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Social System, Oromummaa, Prof. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Safuu: the Oromo moral value and doctrine, State of Oromia, The Oldest Living Person Known to Mankind, The Oromo Democratic system, The Oromo Library, Wisdom.
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Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromoo), the traditional faith system of the Oromo people, is one version of the monotheistic African Traditional Religion (ATR), where the followers of this faith system do believe in only one Supreme Being. African traditional religion is a term referring to a variety of religious practices of the only ONE African religion, which Oromo believers call Waaqeffannaa (believe in Waaqa, the supreme Being), an indigenous faith system to the continent of Africa. Even though there are different ways of practicing this religion with varieties of rituals, in truth, the different versions of the African religion have got the following commonalities:

 

– Believe in and celebrate a Supreme Being, or a Creator, which is referred to by a myriad of names in various languages as Waaqeffataa Oromo do often say: Waaqa maqaa dhibbaa = God with hundreds of names and Waaqa Afaan dhibbaa = God with hundreds of languages; thus in Afaan Oromoo (in Oromo language) the name of God is Waaqa/Rabbii or Waaqa tokkicha (one god) or Waaqa guraachaa (black God, where black is the symbol for holiness and for the unknown) = the holy God = the black universe (the unknown), whom we should celebrate and love with all our concentration and energy

 

– No written scripture (ATR’s holy texts are mostly oral), but now some people are trying to compose the written scripture based on the Africans’ oral literature.

 

– Living according to the will of the Supreme Being and love also those who do have their own way of surviving by following other belief systems, which are different from that of the Waaqeffannaa. It includes keeping both safuu (virtues) and laguu (vices); i.e. to love safuu as well as to hate and abhor cubbuu (sin).

 

– Correspondence with the Supreme Being in times of a great need (i.e. in times of natural calamities, unexplained deaths) and try to walk always on the karaa nagaa (on the way of peace = on the way of righteousness, on the road of truth).

 

– Having a devout connection with ancestors; in case of Oromo, the ancestors are all ways blessed and celebrated for the good inheritance we got from them, but not worshiped as some people want to mis understand.

 

The word “culture” is most commonly defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group; different cultures are the distinct ways that classified people living in different parts of the world, that represented their experiences and acted creatively. African peoples have got our own culture, which distinguish us from other parts of the world, of course also having our own sub-cultures among ourselves. Aadaa Oromoo (Oromo culture) being one part of the Cush culture is one of the sub-cultures within the common African culture, which consists also the faith system of Waaqeffannaa as part and parcel of the Oromo/African culture.

 

Waaqeffannaa’s interaction with other religions

According to the expert opinions written up to now, the concept of monotheism is the whole mark of African Traditional Religion including the faith system of the Cush nations. It seems that this concept of monotheism have moved from Cushitic black Africans (including the Oromo) first to ancient Egypt, secondly, further to Israel of the Bible and lastly to the Arab world of Koran. The experts tell us that Moses was not the first monotheist, but Akhenaten was the first revolutionary monotheist; they even claim that Moses might have been black. It is also argued that Moses was an Egyptian Pharaoh known as Akhenaten before the exodus. Additionally, they do argue that Akhenaten’s monotheism revolution in Egypt was not inspired from inside, but induced from outside by the Cushites, i.e. Akhenaten might have derived his monotheism concept from Africa’s/Oromo’s concept of Waaqa tokkicha in a form of “Waaq humna malee bifa hin qabu (God has no physical form, but power).” This concept may have been misinterpreted so that the other religions later started to talk about God with a physical form.

 

It is also interesting to observe many similarities between some old Egyptian words and Afaan Oromo words; for instance, the similarities of the ancient Egyptian words “Anii and Matii” with the Oromo words of “Ana (Ani) and Maatii.” Anii of Egyptians, which means I (I am who I am), that is equivalent to God is similar to the Oromo word Ani, which also means I and refers to the first person singular (the actor = the main character of GOD). Matii being the designation of God’s congregation and the Oromo word Maatii for the family which is the “congregation” of ani (first person = God) are surprisingly the same. This is only one of many similarities between Oromo and Egypt registered by experts till now. It is not my intention to talk about this historical relationship here, but just to show the relation between Oromo’s traditional religion and the three Abraham religions, even though Judaism is not part of the current religions practiced by the Oromo. It means the new acceptance of both Christianity and Islam by Africans is the coming back of the same belief in Waaqa tokkicha to Africa in different forms.

 

This historical relation between Amantii Oromoo and the two big religions of the world suggests that Waaqeffannaa is the older version of monotheism and humanism. Waaqeffannaa as a faith system and Irreechaa as a major national celebration were part and parcel of Oromo public life. Now, some Oromo nationals prefer the name Amantii Oromo/Amantii Africa to Waaqeffannaa. It is important if we all can agree to call the Oromo traditional religion as Amantii Oromo/Amantii Africa, just like we agreed on calling our language Afaan Oromo and our country Biyya Oromo. So in short, we can say: Our land is Biyya Oromo, our language is Afaan Oromo and our religion is Amantii Oromo. It is known that some people may argue by saying “how can we call it Amantii Oromo, when we do see that more than half of the Oromo nowadays have Christianity and Islam as their religion?” Are Oromo with other first language rather than Afaan Oromo not Oromo, despite their lost Afaan Oromo? Should we say just because of these Oromo, who nowadays speak only English, German, Amharic, etc., that Oromo language is not Afaan Oromo? The same way, it is not logical not to call Oromo religion as Amantii Oromo because of the Oromo who overtook other religions. Actually, the designation Waaqqeffannaa (believing in and living with Waaqa) can also be applied to Christian Oromo and Islam Oromo even though most of the Islam Oromo prefer the name Rabbii to the name Waaqa. They all are believers in Waaqa = God = Allah = Rabbii. Amantii Oromo differs only because of its specificity for it is the older Oromo faith embedded in only Oromo/African culture without any influence from alien culture.

 

The fact to be accepted here is that God is universal even though we call HIM Waaqa, Rabbii or Allah. But, Amantii Oromo is the way how our forefathers believed in this universal Waaqa of humankind. We don’t have God or Waaqa, who is specific only to Oromo/Africa and doesn’t care for other nations. Waaqa is the God of nations. But, we Oromo do have a specific way and culture regarding how we do practice our belief in Waaqa. This way of practicing our faith is what we call Amantii Oromo. Amantii Oromo is simply the Oromo way of practicing the faith in the universal Waaqa. It is part of the Oromo way of dealing with the problems of life (it is part of Aadaa Oromo). Accordingly, aadaa (culture) can also be defined as the way, in which a certain collective or group of people deals with its own life problem.

 

The difference between this Amantii Oromo and the other two big religions practiced by Oromo is that the other two got not only the faith in one God, but also the elements of cultures from the people in which they first emerged. We can see here the Arabs accepted the concept of Waaqa tokkicha while still keeping pre-Mohammad Arab culture in Islam, which is far different from Oromo/from African culture, but Islam practiced by Oromo in Oromia is colored by Arab culture for it is adopted from there. Interestingly, this is the difference between Islam Arab and Islam Oromo; Islam Arabs adopted only the concept of Waaqa tokkicha from Cush of Africa/Egypt/Israel, but don’t seem to exercise alien culture from these areas, whereas Islam Oromo tend to adopt both the faith and the culture from Arabs. Egyptians and Israelis, who accepted the concept of the same Waaqa tokkicha, also do practice their faith being colored by their own previous culture; they don’t seem to practice Cush culture; but again Christianity practiced in Oromia is mostly colored by the culture of the Israelis, the Habeshas as well as by that of the Western world for Christian Oromo tend to adopt not only the faith, but also the alien culture.

 

That is why it is not actually bad that some Oromo nationals accept and believe in the two monotheist religions (Christianity and Islam) per se, but not good is giving more value to the culture of the nations from which the religions come to us, at the cost of the very valuable Aadaa Oromo. Of course, good elements of foreign cultures can be accommodated without damaging the good elements of our own. For instance, the similarity between dibbee Qaallu (Qaallu’s drum) and the beat of Tigrinya music shows how Tegarus have inherited and kept some elements of Oromo’s culture. This can verify that the suggestion of Donald Levine, who in his book called Greater Ethiopia wrote that “Tegarus are part of the Cushites of the Old Testament who denied their identity”, may be true. After all, why do they call their mother Aadde? Where does the name Barentu in Eritrea come from? Are they only inheritance of names or were they part of the lost Oromo/Cush? Anyways, it is good to follow the advice given once by Luba Shamsadin. He said (paraphrased here), when we try to accept religions from other nations, we have to identify and separate “the bone of the fish from the meat”; i.e. we need to identify and leave the unnecessary cultural elements of other nations, which are usually mixed with their religions we Oromo do tend to accept and adopt.

 

So as it is put here in short,

Waaqeffannaa (believe in one Waaqa of the universe) is practiced not only among the Cush nations, but also among almost all African nations. This faith system of Africans including Waaqeffannaa has been devalued as something “paganism, barbarism, religionlessness, uncivilization, Godlessness, animism, primitivism, etc”. The black color, which is the symbol of holiness in Waaqeffannaa was/is demonized as a symbol for Satan. All the blessing ceremonies of Waaqeffannaa and the utensil used for the blessings are condemned as a service, an instrument and worshiping of demons/Satan. Despite this denigration, the current revival of Waaqeffannaa and the celebration of Irreechaa in Oromia can be a good example-setting for the other African nations to revive their hitherto devalued and almost lost culture and religion.

 

To serve this purpose of revival, the right way of Waaqeffannaa (believing in, celebrating of and living with Waaqa) must be cleaned from alien non-constructive elements as well as from non-productive practices and rituals like that of “qaalichaa” (infiltrating idolatry), which are not serving the purpose of Waaqa in our personal or national life. That means, we have to differentiate Waaqeffachuu (realizing God’s purpose in our life) from waaqessuu (serving alien gods). Waaqeffachuu is applying Waaqa’s goodwill in our practical life, whereas waaqessuu is making someone or something be our Waaqa, i.e. practicing idolatry. The Oromo people in general have never had an idol to worship, but always had only one Waaqa to believe in and to celebrate. Of course, there are very few Oromo individuals nowadays tending to practice waaqessuu. Such purification of the African faith system from unimportant and useless elements must be done in all versions of the practices and rituals among all African nations.

 

Concept of God in Waaqeffannaa

To make Waaqeffannaa a little bit clear, here is a short narration about this faith system in practice. Oromo nationals practicing this faith do talk about Waaqa tokkicha, which is one of the evidences for the faith to be monotheism, just as the Christianity and Islam are. The concept of God among these believers is summarized by their usual saying: “Waaq humna malee bifa hin qabu.” These believers do not misinterpret Waaqa tokkicha as an expression of physical form for even the whole nature as a physical form is also an expression of his power. The believers and the Qaalluu or Qaallitti (local spiritual leader) are usually very lovely; specially the leaders are simply like a love in person. All their followers are selfless people full of good deeds and love; they do talk about Waaqa, calling him as abbaa koo (my father), and they usually do pray for children saying: “akka ijoollee keenyaa eebbisuuf abba keenya gaafanna (let’s ask our father to bless our children),” they usually don’t say “abba keenya kadhanna (let’s beg our father).”

 

Whenever they are challenged by life problems, they do assert by saying: “Waaq abbaan keenya eessa dhaqeetu (our God is not far away)”, denoting that Waaqa is always ready to help his children. They some times also talk as prophets in a way: “Abbaan keenya akkas jedha, ani sin wajjin jira, ani nan sin gargaara (our father says, I am with you and I will help you)”. According to them, the spiritual father is Waaqa garaa gurraachaa, i.e. Waaqa with holy heart, symbolized with black color, most of whose holiness is unknown to humans. Knowledgeable believers do tell that the concept “Waaqa gurracha garaa garba (black God with heart like ocean)” actually refers to the unknown future. What Waaqa may bring in the future is unknown, and that is signified by black color. Here, garaa garba is also about the unknown. One couldn’t know what is inside the body of water from afar. This point of view seems to be the reason for the color black in the Oromo tricolor to signify the unknown future.

 

In some regions of Oromia, there are a lot of congregations visited by Oromo at some big houses called gimbi (galma) which have got different names: gimbii diloo, maram, abbaa jama, hiike, etc; the spiritual practices done there include the following: dalaguu (dancing), irreenssa kennu (green leaf as a gift), wareeguu (offerings), hammachiisaa (blessing babies), gashaa (delicious food brought to gimbi), etc. Actually, people go to such gimbi regularly carrying green leaves of Irreensaa. In this culture, green grass or green leaf is a powerful symbol for life and prosperity, and it is an element present in all public rituals of Waaqeffataa Oromo, including funerals and prayers of remembrance, during which grass is spread on the ground or grave. The above listed different names of gimbi are Oromo spiritual holy places and palaces, which are equivalent to temple, church and mosque. In all the places mentioned, everyone prays to Waaqa. The practices mentioned above are just variations of spiritual practice to Waaqa.

 

It is also to be observed among the practicing Waaqeffattaa how balanced is their way of discussion and relationship. During sorts of discussions, they often discuss very wisely. For example, when they give comments, here is a sample of how they do: “Ilaa, kanaa fi sana waan gaarii jette. Haa ta’u malee, kunimmoo otoo akkana ta’e wayya (here and there you said good, but it is better if this one be so and so)”. They do not denigrate the opinion of the other side, but tell the better alternative to the opinion they do disagree with. They do tolerate the mistake of others and just tell the consequence of the mistake. As far as they are concerned, there is always cubbuu (sin) in their consciousness, but no concept for hell or condemnation after death. This simply implies that we all do experience the consequence of our trespasses regarding the safuu (virtues) and laguu (vices) expected from us during our life time.

 

Not to suffer such consequences of cubbuu, Waaqeffattaa Oromo have got a lot of very well said prayers in their practical life activities. The following are very few of the impressive prayers in the day to day life of the Oromo, which need to be presented here as examples. They are usually heard from the believers of Amantii Oromo, and they are almost similar to what the believers in Christianity and Islam do pray, let alone the similarity of the greatly formulated prayers we do hear during Irreechaa celebration with what the Christian Qesis and the Islam Sheiks usually do pray:

 

– Yaa Waaq kan dubbatee nu dubbachiisu fi kan hamaa nutti yaadu nurraa qabbi (God keep us from those who speak evil and make us speak the same).

 

– Yaa Waaq mirga nu oolch (help us to walk on the right way); hamaa nurraa qabi (protect us from evil).

 

– Yaa Rabbii, ilmi ga’e haa fuudhu (Oh God, let the young man be married), dubarri geesse haa heerumtu (let the young woman be married), this prayer shows howimportant family building for human blessing is.

 

– Yaa Waaq, ani galee, kan galee hin rafne narraa qabi; ani rafee kan rafee hin bulle narra qabi (I am now at home to sleep, save me from the evil ones who didn’t yet be at their home and didn’t sleep).

 

– Yaa Waaq galgala koo hin balleessiin (let my old age not be cursed), this is related with the conse -quence of cubbuu. The believers are asking Waaqa to help them stay away from cubbuu so that their “galgala (late age)” will not be bad/painful. Here we see something similar with the native American’s culture. They say: “when you came to this world, you cried and everybody else laughed; live your life so that when you leave this world, you laugh and everyone else cries”; i.e. to say live your life free from cubbuu and its conse -quence (suffering), the life style which leads you to the blessing in your old age.

 

This prayers indicate the fact on the ground how Oromo look at Waaqa and at the human-being. Waaqa is conceived as a holy father with whom we can correspond during our day to day life problems or when ever we face calamities or difficulties for his will is always good, whereas human-beings can be with either bad or good intention in relation to each other. Both Gadaa and Qaalluu institutions look at all individuals as human with equal rights in front of Waaqa; that is why there is no a “respect form” of addressing human-being or God in Afaan Oromo, just as there is non in English language. After losing our sovereignty, the Oromo people had to learn how to “respect” authority figures. For there is no such option in Afaan Oromo, we had to use plural verbs to address the authority figures. Even Abbaa Gadaa (chief of the government) and Abbaa Mudaa (the spiritual leader) were addressed as “ati = you in a singular form,” not as “isin = you in a plural form.” Today, we have to address our fellow human being with certain authority as “isin” to show “respect.” It is not bad if such addressing would have been mutual/symmetrical as for instance it is in German language. But such “respect,” which we are now applying is asymmetrical (only the authority figure is addressed with the “respect” form, whereas the authority figure can address the other person without using the “respect” form. Where it is the reality that we don’t use the “respect” form during addressing our Waaqa, as seen in the above prayers, why should we bother to use it in addressing our fellow human being? It would be better if we leave this culture, which we adopted from others with authoritarian culture in contrast to our own egalitarian one. Our concept of Waaqa doesn’t allow us to behave so submissively to any human being, who is equal to us.

 

Virtues and Vices of Waaqeffannaa

Here in short, safuu (virtue) can be defined as the “to do list” in order to serve Waaqa and to achieve his kaayyoo/goal in our personal and national earthly life; whereas laguu (vice) is the “not to do list” or the taboo, so that we can refrain from doing such activities diverting us from the kaayyoo Waaqa for our life. Cubbuu (sin) then in short includes both not doing the safuu and doing the laguu. Just as an example, if we take bilisummaa (national freedom) as Waaqa’s kaayyoo for the Oromo nation, what are the safuu and the laguu to be respected? If the kaayyoo of Waaqeffannaa is individual healing from any sort of illness, what are the safuu and the laguu, which both the healer and the sick person should respect?

 

In order to look at the virtues and vices of the traditional Oromo/African belief system for our earthly life, let us now try to describe Waaqeffannaa as we experienced it and knew it. Note that all the descriptions and notions we try to put here on paper are based on our own argaa-dhageetti (based on our own perception), which may differ from that of the other Oromo nationals. For instance, we could observe that Oromo is a nation filled with celebrations of eebba (blessing), who do have different celebrations for almost everything and everybody related to our life. For instance, taaboree as a blessing ceremony for young boys; ingiccaa for blessing young girls; ayyaana abbaa for blessing the ancestors for the good inheritance we got from them; ateetee for blessing our women; borantichaa for blessing adult men; jaarii looni for blessing our useful animals; jaarii qe’e or jaarii kosii for blessing our residence area; jaarii midhaani to bless our farms; garanfasa mucucoo as a celebration of the rainy season and, of course, gubaa and irreechaa for celebration of the coming birraa (the coming spring season) etc. We hope that Oromo students of anthropology, sociology and theology will make a scientific research on these blessing ceremonies and tell us the constructive and non-constructive elements of the activities in them.

 

But, let us mention few of the virtues (positive aspects) of Waaqeffannaa in our earthly life time. Here the reference point to judge certain elements as negative or positive is the position of the purpose, which Waaqa do have for our personal and national life, i.e. based on the kaayyoo (goal) our Waaqayyoo do have for us. To elaborate this relationship between kaayyoo and Waaqayyoo, we can ask: is Waaq-aayyoo our ka-ayyoo / is our ka-ayyoo the Waaq-ayyoo? It is about knowing what purpose we do serve in our daily life both cognitively and behaviorally, as individuals or as a nation. Be it that we do think and walk at political, religious or private level, we do try to serve certain purpose in life. In order to identify that purpose, we only need to be conscious about it, reflect on it and ask our selves: whom do we privately or collectively serve in our endeavors? Do we serve Waaqa’s purpose for us or that of the others’? Simply put, which purpose should we serve? Fortunately the hitherto cumulative knowledge and wisdom of different societies in general and that of the Oromo society in particular tell us what we ought to serve: i.e. to serve Waaqa’s purpose which is good for us as an individual and as a collective. This good purpose is given a sacred name and it seems to be what people call the will of Waaqa.

 

As a support for this assertion, we can look at an example written in the Bible of Christians, that states : “God is my objective”. Is this to be understood also as: “my objective is God”? Can we say that our good personal or political purpose is the will of Waaqa, whom we ought to serve? To comprehend this, it is no where clearly written other than in Afaan Oromo. Surprisingly the words kaayyoo and Waaqayyoo in our language do indicate to have the same source. As we know, the short word KA is the name given by our Cushitic ancestors to God and the word aayyoo is, of course, the name given to a mother, who does wish all good things for her children and does plan and try to fulfill it. So KA can be defined as the Supreme Being, which has good purpose for ayyoo’s children. This purpose is the “Goodness” for her children. So KA-ayyoo is God’s will (his good objective to her beloved children). The term Waaqayyo is the short form of waan-KA-ayyoo (what is planned from KA for aayyoo and for her children). So we can see that the good end, we have to serve, can be called kaayyoo from Waaqa. So the will of Waaqa is simply to be defined as the good end we should choose to serve as part of the balanced universe created by HIM.

 

To fulfill this service to the good end, fortunately the best thing we do observe among Waaqeffataa Oromo is the work-ethics they do have to achieve the purpose of Waaqa in their earthly life, specially in the life areas of career and family. They do love to be the best in both life areas; they love their family and most of them are very enthusiastic to be successful in their profession. They usually say “Waaq taa’i taa’i namaan hin jedhin (let HE not make us idle);” simply put, diligence is part of safuu and to be idle and lazy is part of laguu. We know that there are certain contamination from other cultures to be practiced as rituals contradicting this virtue and which are not serving the purpose of Waaqa for us. That is why we do recommend not only the revival of this marvelous belief system, which was the creation of our forefathers, but also we do suggest a necessary reformation to make the faith system to be fit, so that it can help us to cope with the 21st century challenge and situation. Waaqa’s creation and his keeping the balance of the universe is still going on, so that HE demands also a dynamic creative work from his creature, from the human being. Another impressive virtue of Waaqeffannaa necessary to be mentioned is its relation with nature and its persuasion to help us keep the environment healthy; it is the faith system which is simply through and through green.

 

Waaqeffannaa’s position on the life after death

According to this belief system, we all will live further after death as ekeraa (in a form of soul/spirit) with our father, with Waaqa, without any possibility of punishment in hell. We recently read Martial De Salviac’s translated book, in which he wrote “Oromo invariably believe that they will go to heaven.” So, the consequence of our cubbuu is not losing eternal life, but suffering in our earthly life. To Waaqeffataa Oromo, Waaqa is the one who wants us not to do a collective cubbuu, but expects us to protect the balanced nature, in which HIS power is manifested. The wisdom that guides Waaqeffataa Oromo in fulfilling this mission seems to be our arga-dhagetti (believe and act on a principle of reality, i.e. based on what we see and hear).

 

According to argaa-dhageetti, the concepts like “cubbuun ni qabdi (sin has got consequence), cubbuun ni sirriqxi (the consequence of sin can be inherited), cubbu abbaatu eeggata or cubbuu irra abbaatu uf eega (everyone should keep him-/herself from committing sin and everybody is responsible for the consequences of the sin he/she commit)” are nice and practical. What we liked most from the principles of Waaqeffannaa is this concept of cubbuu. The consequences of cubbuu are only to be seen here on this earth, not in the coming life after death. There is no hell that Waaqayyoo has prepared to punish the people with cuubbu. This is hilarious and very healing for those who always have to live with the fear of hell or punishment after death.

 

Another interesting aspect of Waaqeffannaa is that we never heard from the practicing believers that they are believing in the presence of an evil spiritual power in the form of Satan, which acts and lives against the almighty power of Waaqa. Accordingly, there is only one sovereign power doing and undoing all things in a universe, that is Waaqa. Unfortunately, the concept Satan is now already spread among the whole Oromo population as a contamination taken from other religions. Waaqeffataa Oromo do believe that the evil things we do experience in life are due to the imbalance of nature as a result of the unwise or wicked deeds of humans as collective, i.e. it is a human cubbuu with its consequences on the earth. That is why they usually ask their Waaqa for wisdom to keep the balance of nature and that HE lead them to only those with good intention and protect them from those with bad intention, for example, in a prayer like: “yaa Waaq tolaa nutti qabi, hamaa irraa nu eegi (God lead who is good to us and keep away who is evil from us). Here it seems that good is someone, who works to keep the balance of nature; and evil is the contrary.

 

According to the faith system of Waaqeffannaa, there is nothing we have to do now to earn eternal life after death; life after death is simply a free gift we got from our father, Waaqayyoo, whom we just need to celebrate and thank as we do daily and during the yearly celebrations like Irreechaa. We also don’t need a savior, who has to suffer and die for us, so that we can get life after death. The only area where we have to work on is trying to live the quality life (the character of the eternal life) according to the will of Waaqa here on earth. To live this quality life, we need to activate our potentials given to us from Waaqa and then walk on the karaa nagaa towards the kaayyoo Waaqa for our life, being free from cubbuu by keeping both safuu and laguu.

 

Further recommendation

The very important aspect of Waaqeffannaa as part of Oromo/African culture is its principle of argaa-dhaggeetti (it is relatively an evidence based faith system, possibly trying to be free from superstition). This principle is about reading the real situations at hand and finding the appropriate solutions for the situations. Waaqeffannaa teaches that only Waaqa is not prone to change for HE is perfect, but all his creature and all the situations are changing with time; that is why his creative action is still going on and that we also need to be in a position to find new solutions for the changed situations. In short, we need to be situation oriented, time oriented and live accordingly. That means, it is good to know the past version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo/Africa; but better is to live and practice the present version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo; of course the best is to create the most beneficial version of aadaa and Amantii Oromo as well as to inherit it to our coming generation. So let’s learn from the past version, live the present version and love to create the future verion of aadaa Oromo in general, and Amantii Oromo in particular.

 

This article is of course coloured by subjective perceptions, so that Oromo nationals are welcome to complement or contradict it. All the sub-titles given in this article need a further meticulous research and study. Through scientific studies, it can be possible to cleanse Waaqeffa -nnaa from certain meaningless rituals adopted from the other sub-cultures, e.g rituals like that of “qaalichaa” (idolatry), xinqolaa (sorcery), etc, where the practitioners are actually making business in the name of the religion. Waaqeffannaa needs not only revival, but also reformation as part and parcel of the ongoing liberation from such sensless practices. Elements, which are against the will of Waaqa for all human-being in general and for African nations in particular must be removed, so that we can say Waaqa bless Oromia/Africa and then live accordingly. Adopting good elements, which serve the will of Waaqa for us, from other cultures and faiths is not bad as it is usually said: “waan gaariin bade hundi kan Oromo ti” (every good thing lost belongs to Oromo). Again, good and bad is defined from the position of the will of Waaqa for our life, i.e. from the position of his kaayyoo in our life, which is always a good purpose.

 

So, only celebrating the holidays and reviving the religion are not enough, if we want to be fit for the present 21st century situation and for the situation in which our future generation will live. Our forefathers created a faith system as part of the solution to their situation; we also need to do the same. So let’s not try to use the same key used by our forefathers in the past to open doors with totally different keyholes at the present and the future or we don’t need to ride a donkey at this age of driving a limousine; in short we need a right solution for the present and the future situations. Our next generation need to inherit from us the latest and modern model/edition/version of our faith system, Waaqeffannaa, which they also can reform, edit and secure for their children and grand children, so that we human-being continue to be as creative as our father, Waaqa.

 

Let’s give a simple suggestion as an example in the required reforming: why can’t we use bundle of flowers for Irreechaa, instead of only grass used by our forefathers? Why don’t we use water or oil, instead of butter to anoint others during the blessing ceremonies just for the sake of hygiene? Why don’t we use candle light or the modern beautifully colored electric light decorations instead of bonfire during wa-maraa (demera)? etc. Now it is a time to have Waaqeffannaa free from non-productive and untimely elements, so that it will be a faith system, which will be accepted and believed by the enlightened and informed Oromo in particular as well as by Africans in general (so that it will be a faith system serving the will of Waaqa for Oromia in particular, and for Africa in general).

 

Last but not least, Waaqeffataa Oromo need to be creative in realizing the will of Waaqa in our life, which is the only way to “evangelize” and convert others to the “karaa nagaa (to the right way) HE wants us to walk. We need to learn from the past (the known part of life, which is symbolized by white color), live the present (the challenging part of life symblized by red color) and love to know the future (the unknown part of life symbolized by black color). The karaa nagaa at this particular era/time includes the virtue of a passinate struggle in life both individually and collectively, not an attitude of the pacifistic stoicism. Waaqeffannaa doesn’t persuade us to do things to secure life after death, but it tells us that our effort and enthusiasm are part of the safuu we have to keep and implement in order to make our life here on earth the excellent success story.

Read the full article from original source @http://gihonpostsite.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/waaqeffannaa-the-african-traditional-faith-system/

 

 

Is Poverty the fault, crime, of the poor? August 7, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Development & Change, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Poverty, UN's New Sustainable Development Goals, Youth Unemployment.
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Odaa OromooPoverty

 

 

 

The truth is that humanity must now confront, not just poverty, but a convergence of mega crises, all of which are deeply interconnected: Government corruption; ecological destabilization; structural debt; and hyper-consumerism established in the west and rapidly expanding worldwide.

Martin Kirk & Joe Brewer

 

 

 

 

Right now, a long and complicated process is underway to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015, with new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These will set the parameters for international development for the next 15 years and every government, UN agency, large corporation and NGO, not to mention billions of citizens on the planet have a stake.

Judging by what’s being produced, though, we have a serious problem. The best way to describe it is with an old joke: There’s a man driving through the countryside, trying to find a nearby town. He’s desperately lost and so when he sees a woman by the side of the road he pulls over and asks for directions. The woman scratches her head and says, “Well, I wouldn’t start from here.”

The best evidence of where the SDGs are starting from is the so-called “Zero Draft” document, first released on 3 June and currently undergoing exhaustive consultation.

First things to note are the big differences with the MDGs. Most strikingly, the SDGs suggest an end to poverty is possible in the next 15 years, whereas the MDGs aimed at halving it. The implication is that we’ve made amazing progress and are now on the home stretch. Secondly, the SDGs get serious about climate change. This is a major paradigm shift and, what’s more, they aim squarely at the heart of the problem: patterns of production and consumption. Impressive. Thirdly, reducing inequality “within and between” countries is included, with a goal of its own. This suggests another paradigm shift, and a controversial one because it opens the door, just a crack, to the idea that the extremely rich might be making an undue amount of their money off the backs of the extremely poor.

Of these three goals, it is fairly certain that two will disappear before the process concludes. There is no way the world’s rich governments and corporations will allow a meaningful challenge to production and consumption patterns, or a focus on reducing inequality. This is a given.

However, there is an even more important problem in the Zero Draft document which is that the very starting point of the issue is profoundly misconceived. How do we know? Because of the language. Language is a code that contains a lot more than its literal meaning, and an analysis of semantic frames in the Zero Draft exposes the logic upon which it is built.

Let’s take the opening paragraph:

“Poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. We are therefore committed to freeing humanity from poverty and hunger as a matter of urgency.”

Poverty can be conceptualised in many ways and in this passage it is presented as both a preventable disease (“to be eradicated”) and as a prison (“to free humanity from”). In both, the framing reveals the framers’ view, conscious or otherwise, on causation. Diseases are just part of the natural world, so if poverty is a disease, it suggest that it is something for which no-one is to blame. The logic of a prison meanwhile is that people are in it for committing a crime. The former denies the idea that human actions may be a cause of inequality and poverty; the latter invokes the idea that poverty is the fault – the crime – of the poor.

Also note the phrase: “the greatest global challenge.” This asserts a logic in which there is a hierarchy of individual issues based on relative importance, with poverty at the top. The truth, however, is that humanity must confront a convergence of mega-crises all of which are deeply interconnected. Government corruption, ecological destabilisation, structural debt, hyper-consumerism established in the West and rapidly expanding in the east and south, for example, are all closely linked. But framing poverty as “the greatest global challenge” conceals the web of interconnected systems and removes them from consideration. The result: No systemic solutions can arise from a logic that denies systemic problems.

There is a good reason for this: it protects the status quo. This logic validates the current system and ordering of power by excusing it of blame and says it can, indeed must, continue business as usual. This is the logic of the corporate capitalist system.

There’s no denying that some excellent progress has been made since 1990 – the year the MDGs measure from – but you don’t need to deny that to know there is something fundamentally wrong with a global economy in which, at a time when wealth grew by 66%, the ratio of average incomes of the richest 5% and the poorest 20% rose from 202:1 to 275:1. Or that the reality masked by the ratios is that one third of all deaths since 1990 (432 million) have been poverty-related. Using UN figures, that’s more than double the combined deaths from the Two World Wars, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, Stalin’s purges, and all military and civilian deaths from the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. What’s more, even though we are now seeing around 400,000 deaths every year from climate change, we are pumping 61% more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere annually than we were in 1990.

The point is that, in light of the logic the language exposes – and we have mentioned just two of many possible examples telling the same story – any glorification of the SDGs we hear over the next year must be seen as reinforcing the logic their language contains.

To really tackle poverty, inequality and climate change, we would need to change that logic to one that is built on an acceptance of how much these problems are the result of human actions. And that the fact of living in poverty makes no inherent comment whatsoever on the person or people concerned, other than that they live in poverty. This in turn would make a wholly different type and scale of change feel like common sense. For example, it would feel obvious to work towards taxing carbon emissions at source and putting in place sanctions against those responsible for hoardingat least $26 trillion in tax havens. We would instinctively reach to introduce laws that give local authorities everywhere the right to revoke corporate charters for serious social or environmental misdeeds anywhere. And the big one: money. Ridiculous though it may sound, right now we allow private banks to control the supply of US dollars, euros and other major currencies that surge through the global economy. These banks charge everyone, including governments, interest on every note, thereby guaranteeing that a constant river of money flows into their coffers, along with immense power. But unfortunately, none of these issues will make it into the SDGs because they contradict the current, dominant logic, and what’s more, because they might actually work and redistribute power and wealth more equitably.

We compound our problems when we allow ourselves to be drawn into processes like the SDG-design are turning out to be. Every ounce of credence given to their frames helps weigh down the center of debate far from where it needs to be. Until the UN can use its powers, resources and privileges to promote policies that grow from the logic of its highest ideals, we may help it, the planet and each other best by divesting our attention from it and finding avenues for change that can.

This article was originally published by Common Dreams.

Read more @ http://commondreams.org/views/2014/08/06/hidden-shallows-global-poverty-eradication-efforts

The Universal Law of Change July 27, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Development & Change, Economics, Ideas, Uncategorized.
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Change is variation, impermanence, acceleration, flux. Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, said: “Change, the state of flux, is a permanent feature of nature”. Greeks philosophers were fond of paradoxes. Another ancient Greek philosopher, Parmenides disagreed: “Change is ephemeral and things truly staid the same”. Greek philosophers were fond of disagreement. The dictionary says it’s the process of becoming different. Men have lamented the constancy of Change and decried the lack of Change. Barack Obama won a presidency promising Change.

The interesting thing about Change is that many, if not all, equations describing change look about the same. Let’s say Change is C, some driving force prompting the change is DF, and resistance to change is R. Then the generic form for most equations describing change is:

C = DF * 1/R

If this Universal Law of Change applies to many different Changes, perhaps it also applies to the economic and social Changes? For example:

Influx of Mexican immigrants to the United States, driven by the difference in hourly wages, and resisted by the high “coyote fees”, border patrol and vast deserts.
A flood of Central American children to the Texas border, driven by fear of death or injury from the local gangsters and resisted by the distance, and other resistances mentioned above.
Implementation of green energy generation driven by the fears of climate change, but resisted by the high cost of the green energy.
Etc., etc.
As mentioned, there are many laws describing change is physical systems that look about the same. For example, here’s Newton’s famous law as it is commonly written:

F = m a

Or force is mass times acceleration. In this case, acceleration, “a”, represents change. Acceleration occurs when something is at rest or traveling at a constant speed, and then it accelerates (positive acceleration) or decelerates (negative acceleration). Rearranging the equation:

a = F * 1/ m

So change, a, is equal to a force F driving for a change, acting on the object with the mass m. A heavy bowling ball has more mass, so it’s harder to make it accelerate than, let’s say a tennis ball. So m is resistance to change. Given the same driving force, the bigger m, the less change there is. Broadly interpreted, Newton’s law is a mathematical representation of change:

Change = (Driving Force) * (1/Resistance to Change)

In fluid dynamics, a science describing fluid flow, there’s a famous equation called the Bernoulli’s equation:

V12/2g + P1/ρg + Z1 = V22/2g + P2/ρg + Z2

Looks complicated, but rearranged into the Change = (Driving Force) * (1/Resistance to Change) it looks like:

(V22 – V12) = (P1 – P2)* (2/ρ) + 2g(Z1 – Z2)

engineerglasses

Change is variation, impermanence, acceleration, flux.  Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, said:  “Change, the state of flux, is a permanent feature of nature”.  Greeks philosophers were fond of paradoxes.  Another ancient Greek philosopher, Parmenides disagreed: “Change is ephemeral and things truly staid the same”.  Greek philosophers were fond of disagreement.  The dictionary says it’s the process of becoming different.  Men have lamented the constancy of Change and decried the lack of Change.  Barack Obama won a presidency promising Change.

The interesting thing about Change is that many, if not all, equations describing change look about the same.    Let’s say Change is C, some driving force prompting the change is DF, and resistance to change is R.  Then the generic form for most equations describing change is:

           C = DF * 1/R

If this Universal Law of Change applies to…

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