Op-Ed

Byaiga

Jan 6, 2022

Tigray News

  • Success factors for post war recovery efforts in Tigray

    Yayneshet Tesfay

    Post war recovery processes are very expensive and often complex involving multiple actors of different interests, and requiring a deeper understanding of the social and economic support systems that existed before and after the war. The recovery processes need to be seen as long-term social rehabilitation within the context of development without being overly technical and segmented. This calls for coordinated and participatory planning processes across key phases of recovery (emergency, transitional and reconstruction). The case of Tigray is not an exception, and requires in-depth and complete analysis of the nature and scale of problems faced by Tigrayan communities, and identifying key determinants for successful restoration efforts. I will try to reflect on success factors for post war restoration efforts in Tigray by highlighting key areas of concern outlined in three sections. The first section highlights some of the diversity of problems inflicted by orchestrators of the multifaceted chaos; the second section points on the role of our own actors and the international community in exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe; section three suggests how the recovery processes should proceed to achieve success. Mine is only to stimulate further thorough discussion on the topic that will guide the entire recovery processes in Tigray.

    Diversity of problems inflicted by orchestrators of the war

    During the two years of heavily financed bloody war in Tigray, individuals, families, communities and society have sustained all sorts of losses and damages. Tigray witnessed extremely incomprehensible human induced disasters that span from loss of lives and properties to psychological demoralization.

    1. An estimated 300,000-600,000 innocent civilians indiscriminately massacred in the most inhumane way;[1] [2] 
    2. Tens of thousands of women and underaged girls gang-raped and sexually tortured  before their loved ones;
    3. Millions of children deliberately malnourished (one out of three children facing acute malnutrition) and alienated from life saving vaccines (rates plummeted from more than 90% to barely less than 10%);
    4. Millions of homeowners forcefully displaced from their properties and slept in makeshifts and public schools without food aid;
    5. Savage soldiers robbed and burned the crops and livestock of smallholder farmers;
    6. The salaries of more than 200,000 civil servants (more than 29,000 working for federal institutes) and pensioners irresponsibly suspended for over 18 months and millions of their dependants exposed to severe food insecurity never recorded in modern history;
    7. Significant number of patients unmistakably confirmed their death due to lack of medical supplies;
    8. Innocent school children developed fears due to disturbing sounds of fighter jets and military drones freely roaming in the skies and mercilessly dropping toxic explosives on them.
    9. Large number of residential, business and public buildings bombarded and shelled from the air and ground and literally converted to rubble that made removal of injured and dead bodies difficult;
    10. Massive private and public properties looted and critical infrastructure reduced to ash.

    Role of accomplices within and outside Tigray

    Undeniably, our own weak system has contributed to the manifestation of the above crises at larger scales. For instance, it could have been possible to save lives and reduce damage to properties by applying proven early warning tools and deploying a rapid response taskforce before and during the war. Notably, a nonfunctional law enforcement system has encouraged and muscled war profiteers to add fuel to climax level miseries.

    1. Greedy traders took no time in inflating commodity prices by many folds and were persistently reluctant to deposit millions of their daily cash sales at banks (indeed, partly discouraged by ill-conceived financial regulations);
    2. Loan sharks/unlicensed hawaladars acted quickly in grabbing up to 50% illegal interest on cash transfers to vulnerable borrowers;
    3. Commercial banks essentially breached their fiduciary duty and betrayed customers as they deny depositors accessing their savings and seen starved to death; Some bankers took the law at their fingertips and prescribed withdrawal as it pleased them;
    4. Some banks promoted financial malfeasance by tacitly approving the engagement of unethical employees in covert and overt  acts of unlawful enrichment;
    5. The global response to food aid demands is generally appalling and not according to the massive demands of a typical imminent and large scale emergency situation. Within this limitation, the meager food aid supplies already at hand have been abused and misused by corrupt administrators who lacked any sense of accountability and capacity in properly targeting and timing of food aid;

    The magnitude of Tigrayan suffering is further aggravated by the silence of Western powers that undermined the plight of seven million encircled people.

    By and large, these unspeakable agonies are undoubtedly the outcome of a carefully worked out wicked master plan that jeopardized Tigrayan resilience capacity and invariably compromised the entire livelihood system in the course of two years of highly incentivized and closely supervised brutal siege and blockade.

    Ways to successful post-war recovery

    Any attempt to reverse such planned humanitarian crises in the most efficient and speedy way will require thoughtfully developed plans across all recognisable phases of recovery. Demands are expected to be high and hierarchical, making rebuilding (of livelihoods, economies, infrastructure, properties, social services and networks, religious/cultural/heritage sites, environments, etc) efforts complex and may follow trajectories different from what is commonly known as straightforward and directly reversible. The need for adequate planning along major phases of recovery is clearly reflected in the recently released emergency and recovery document by the Tigray Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    Successful reconstruction captures existing best practices and experiences, identifies innovative approaches to chronic problems and above all recognizes long-term development needs of the victims.  In the context of Tigray, effective and sustained post war recovery success will depend, among others, on

    1. Understanding trends of the fundamental factors that precipitated the war as similar forces are expected to operate in the post recovery period;
    2. Scrutinizing and developing short and long term conceptual recovery models/frameworks that guide the entire recovery process;
    3. Defining the level of integration and balance among internal and external actors working along the recovery phases;
    4. Empowering local economy and capacity—creating enabling environment for competent post war recovery professionals across diverse areas of life;
    5. Identifying effective crowdsourcing strategies and establishing clear lines of accountability for its use.

    The presence of a dedicated and transparent leadership at top and bottom tier is one of the basic prerequisites of success in recovering from the trauma of war. It is dubious that the leadership in its current form and capacity can spearhead a complex recovery process effectively. A reformed and restructured leadership that promotes law and order, and able to comprehend evolving threats is a prerequisite to success. The recovery works demand huge finance that is also liable to misappropriation and embezzlement, and the leadership should be told in no uncertain words to severe its ties with  inept and corrupt individuals and groups.


    What is the source for this claim?

    https://www.usatoday.com/staff/ 2646475001/stephen-j-beard/

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Tigray_War

World News

  • The role of Intellectuals in the Future Tigray
    The role of Intellectuals in the Future Tigray

    By Teodros Kiros  ( Ph.D.)

    This piece continues ideas which I introduced in Tigray and Vision and also my recent interview in African Ascent International.

     I appeal to the existing leaders of the government of Tigray to open the public sphere to those who have invested years of their life journey to specialize in their fields of study,. This flaw will have devastating consequences for the development of Tigray, now that Tigray’s infrastructure has been destroyed.  Restoring this infrastructure will need thinkers and strategists  from the masses and specialists more than ever before.

    The remaking of Tigray requires a new vision.  Gone is the time when Tigrean leaders were chosen on the ground that they have fought in the battle  field.  Of course, I admire that service.  That however is only one criteria.  There are other criteria which must be seriously considered.  I will mention a few.

    The first is ideas.

    Military service should also be based on the appropriate military knowledge which supplements knowledge born out of the practice of fighting.  One learns to be a General by practice and theoretical knowledge, which in turn is passed  on to the militia, as is being done, which I applaud, so that Tigreans could defend themselves.  I thank the Generals for doing this important work, but even the Generals, I am sure,  will agree with me, will benefit from the wisdom of thinkers, to supplement what they know.  The great Machiavelli was an advisor to leaders.  We too must nurture this new vision.  We need to develop able advisors, based on a demonstrated ability and record to advise.

    Ideas about the human sciences and natural sciences require experts.  This knowledge cannot be carried out by loyalists only. That old model has destroyed  Tigray.  What we need now is mature thinkers who should be encouraged to speak truthfully and challenge the administrators. 

    We must revise our educational curriculum and train our children to think freely and allow them  to challenge us, so that they grow to become the fierce and mature  thinkers for whom I am advocating. 

    Let a million ideas blossom.   Let all those who think deeply among the masses flourish.  Let them speak and be a source of data and natural insights inside their rational hearts, the dwelling place of the Transcendent.

    It is not enough to design committees, where original ideas do not germinate, but becomes a site of circulating old ideas, which go nowhere.

    The leaders of Tigray should not feel threatened  by the critically educated not because they have degrees, but because they think deeply and courageously, and love their   Let them think freely.  Invite them to contribute. Assign them to positions where they can serve effectively.

    Ignoring them as we are thinking to create a New Tigray will have dire consequences.  The possibility of  making the Joint agreement  successful, and it can be, requires the participation of the learned, the wise, the decent, compassionate, empathetic and above all those who are in love with wisdom and the Good. The previous regime has tried  this and it failed after twenty seven years of notable success. It could have succeeded  even more, if the party was not manned by careerists.   

    We have to put an end to this and let new parties guided by new ideas flourish, or else, Tigray will fail again and I hate to see this and I am appealing to Tigrean leaders to take this idea seriously.  Let us work together for the Good of Tigray, the victim of genocide.   

    There cannot be growth without intellectual battle in the form of differences communicated through the best argument, free of domination.  Let the argument win and invite able intellectuals  and the naturally wise among the Tigrean people, who could articulate these arguments to the public sphere in town hall meetings and conferences, or else, we will remain backward and eventually perish

    I will  humbly develop this  thought further in future reflections.

By aiga