BY DANIEL ALEMAYEHU
In times of war and state of emergency, a country and the people should focus on ending the war and rebuilding what is destroyed. The same is true for the Ethiopian situation.
It is reported several times that the terrorist TPLF group has committed heinous crimes in Amhara and Afar regions and harmed civilians. During its invasion lasted relatively for a short time in these two regions, the gang group has destroyed public facilities and looted equipments from different facilities even private properties. But for many people even for its citizens, Ethiopia remains enigma as the country has overcome many bone braking challenges by the connected hands of its children.
Both the people and the government of Ethiopia have been in various war fronts that include disinformation. For instance, embassies based in Addis Ababa have warned their citizens many times to leave the country referring to security problems. Such news has affected the wellbeing of citizens and foreigners to feel panic and insecure in their stay in the country. However, Ethiopian Diasporas all over the world have stood in the side of their country and have loudly shouted against the improper pressure from some western powers on their nation. The best way they have shown their support is when responding to the call from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to come and celebrate Statics Christmas (Genna) and Epiphany (Timket) in Ethiopia. This proved wrong the intention of those who were defaming the country as it was dangerous area to stay especially in the capital, Addis Ababa.
A large number of Ethiopian Diasporas and friends of Ethiopia have accepted the great homecoming challenge as a good opportunity to show their will and readiness to stand by the country. Diaspora Ethiopians have given response to the call and come to their homeland in big number. At this moment, thousands of Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopians have arrived in the country. Their arrival will bring various economic and political advantages to the nation.
Due to the world wide pandemic and the current devastative war in the country, many economic sectors have been affected so badly. According to the schedule from Ethiopian Diaspora Agency, the Diaspora community is expected to be showered by various events. For instance, Ethiopian Statics Genna or Christmas will be celebrated in Lalibela, the Rock Hewn Church in Amhara Region and Ethiopian Epiphany will be celebrated in Gondar. These events will open doors mainly for the Diaspora to participate in special occasions and look at the areas viable for investment if they have such intension.
Having a stay with local media, Lalibela residents have forwarded their ideas. Adane Abebe, one of the residents in Lalibela, said that the residents of the town lead their lives by income they earn from tourism. Since the outburst of COVID-19 pandemic and lately its capture by the terrorist group, the people of the town have been suffering a lot. Without the income from the tourism sector, hotels and other service providers will be closed. Everyone in this town leads its life not only by government works but also by tourism. The hotels are destroyed and looted by the terrorist army. Many people in the town suffered of hunger due to the closure of these hotels.
Similarly, another resident, Tsegaye Damte for his part said that the people of Lalibela rely on tourism. It has been two years since the town stopped generating income from tourism due to the pandemic and the current situation.
Commendably at the moment, situations have changed for good. Among the promising activities is the Ethiopian Airlines has resumed its flights to Lalibela and other places that were affected by the war. This makes the entire event go smoothly. The events which will be held in those towns will create rooms for better economic activities and boost the tourism sector.
The Diasporas who came home have been participating according to the schedule set by the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency. Recently, Diasporas have visited mega projects in Addis and discussed and forwarded their ideas on Diaspora and nation building symposium event in Semera. Again, Diasporas have gone to war affected Amhara and Afar regions to witness the existing truth about the atrocities and crimes that the terrorist group committed.
As learned from their stay with local media at Bole International Airport, the Diasporas are here to respond to the homecoming call and support the country in times of emergency. They also mentioned that the welcoming ceremony is beyond their expectations. Besides, they want to help those who are affected by the war and show their assistance in rebuilding the nation. In different occasions, the Diasporas have contributed what they have in terms of finance and items.
By the same token, during his stay with local media, Wondwossen Girma, Communication Director of Ethiopian Diaspora Agency highlighted that the purpose of the great homecoming challenge has three core objectives. These are diplomatic, economic and social affairs. The time when this call has announced, the country was under international pressure including embassies urge their citizens to evacuate from the country. They tried to defame the country. Therefore, the Prime Minister has called Diasporas and friend of Ethiopia to come and celebrate Ethiopian holidays here to bear witness that the country is stabled. Up on hearing this good news, the Diaspora community began to respond with pleasure. By now, an average of more than five thousand Diasporas and friends of Ethiopia have arrived at Bole International Airport. The airplane tickets were booked many days ago and this proved the news wrong.
The Communication director also said that the economic advantages from this great homecoming wave are a lot. Due to the pandemic and the conflict, the service sector has faced challenges. When the Diasporas are coming, they mostly use the Ethiopian Airlines. This has its own economic benefits. In the country, the Diasporas use hotels and other transport services. It is planned that the Diasporas will travel to various war affected areas like Amhara and Afar Regions and show their support. “Therefore, we believe that we achieve our goals,” he said.
The Diasporas have been actively participating in supporting the people. For instance, based on the information from the Ethiopian Airport, many Diasporas have brought plenty of materials in order to help those people in need. They have carried luggage full of supplies. Moreover, the Ethiopian Diaspora agency has introduced a new platform, Eyezon Ethiopia.com. Using this platform, the Agency has planned to collect 5 million Dollars in six months, but with the active participation of the Diaspora, it achieved the goal by collecting around six million Dollars in only two months. This shows the extent of support the Diasporas want to get involved. The Agency has also a plan that involves the Diasporas into different events during their stay including investment sector and share their skills and knowledge to the community, Wondwossen explained.
The government has also taken actions to protect its citizens from economic inflations. A simple illustration in this regard, on top of providing basic commodities with fair price such as edible oil, it is reported that the government has taken actions on actors who have been participating in black market.
To summarize, Alemayehu Gebremariam (PhD), Professor of Political Science at California State University, San Bernardino, has commented that Ethiopian Diasporas should fit themselves to make the country better again. He also put ten points regarding steps to be taken by the homecoming Ethiopian Diasporas in order to achieve Diaspora-sponsored post-conflict projects in Ethiopia. From those points, Alemayehu suggested that the Ethiopian Diaspora should be first/ emergency responders in terrorist impacted Ethiopian communities; Ethiopian Diasporas should take part in temporary, portable, and modular schools and university reconstruction projects in terrorist impacted communities. He also mentioned that Diaspora Ethiopian should be involved in Diaspora Ethiopian Homeland Recovery Investment Project, and participating in Ethiopian Diaspora accelerated remittance project.
The Ethiopian January 7/2022