Bono remembers…

I have been meaning to write about this for days, and just didn’t get to it.

Here you go …

I watched an interview on Charlie Rose with Bono about his activism and a whole bunch of other topics, and 2/3rd into the interview, he, Bono, recalled the late Prime Minister Meles. He said Meles told him once, in one of their conversations, that the smartest people in Ethiopia are the farmers. Meles reasoned, if they weren’t smart, they would be dead.

Interesting take, I thought.

Corollary to that thought is probably: why are most of them are so damn poor if they were so blazin’ smart? (This is not to say all poor people are dumb or all rich folks are smart.)

Smart / not smart debates are often ugly, and stupid, when applied to groups of people. That said though, if he were to be pressed, does that road leads to self recrimination (they were smart and doing what they are suppose to do but the root of all of their problems is management, i.e. government)?

Again, I’m not saying one way or the other. Just wondering …

Ethiopia Technology Park

I read about this scheme – setting aside a place in Addis suburbs purely for technology companies, with all its conveniences like office space, high speed internet and the likes – which sounds good on the face of it, but hard to imagine how it will work in practice.

I don’t know what other countries experiences have been on applying such a model, but, though it is, again, a good thing, I’m pretty sure it requires unrelenting commitment on the part of the government. Fanatical leaders, whose total focus is to create jobs, increase the poor’s prospects, could make it work. China is probably a good example. But my sense is that, when it comes to Ethiopia, they probably expect the approach to work in on of itself, to sit back and count double digit GDP growth without doing much of the work it requires. Do they really know the insane level of effort it requires to get it to fly? Doubt it. It kind of reminds me of shop keepers around downtown Addis, frowning at customers who come to purchase their goods.

Are the chances zero? No. But, though the idea is good, they are going to probably fuck it up on implementation. Good ideas are, mostly, cheap; What counts is implementation; Getting it to work successfully.

Happy Ethiopia Easter, Everyone

Free Calls

To fellow ‘yager lejoche’ out there, here to share the latest on phone and text communication.

Do you still buy phonecards or use for fee online or phone based applications or some other system that charges money to place long distance calls? You should stop – so long as you and your beloved ones, regardless of where they are on the globe, have smartphones.

It is an application you can install on your phone. It is called Viber. You can get it from Appstore for iPhone users and its equivalent – I think it is MarketPlace – if you own a droid phone.

The nice thing about it is all calls made and received from and to phones that have the viber application is totally free. There may be some minimal local charges for people in Ethiopia, for instance, but here in the States, nothing. It can not get better than that.

The call quality is mostly dependent on the network quality the phones are on. Often, it requires multiple tries, usually for overseas calls, for e.g. to Ethiopia to get a clear line. This only affects voice, however; Texting mostly works just fine.

What is the catch, you ask? They download all your contacts in your phone contact list. Part of the configuration after installing the application is asking you access to your contacts. That is a critical path; if you don’t give it access, it won’t work. God knows what they do with that information, though they have ‘privacy policy’ document, which is a legal mambo jumbo, in my opion, probably seem to assure in part, to take away few paragraphs later. Nonetheless, that, for now, seems to be the ticket for free calls when it comes to Viber. If that is unpalatable, try skype.

Gun debate

NRA is legitimizing the assertion that if you have money, as a result some political clout, and perceived influence, you can pretty much make any stupid idea worthy of debate. 

The proposal on table: let’s not allow gun sales to crazy folks and criminals. A no brainer, as any normal person would think. It can’t possibly be hard to have majority of the decision makers to vote for it. Not so these days. The politicians don’t seem to be representing the people, whom over 90% of them support, this, pretty simple, straight forward, logical idea.

What the heck is happening? They, the politicians, seem to be representing their own careers. There are organizations that say: if you go for this, you will be out of a job, 2 years, 6 years down the road. What is a politician to do? Stand in the way of sanity.

The blame doesn’t stop there. We, the people, all should share small part of it. Shouldn’t there be some sort of outrage, saying to this folks, we sent you there; you should stand for my wishes; you’re my representative. It isn’t happening. 

What Obama’s victory means

We all want the better candidate to win. That is not only what happened on November 6th here in the United States, it was also a good day for Integrity.

My thoughts were – prior to the elections – that it just couldn’t be that shamelessly lying about your competitor’s record win approving nodes by the majority; smearing opponents in every which way plausible win applauds; painting a misleading picture, so bluntly and without regard to decency be a path to the presidency. And, Thank God, it didn’t turn out that way.

We all have something to proudly teach our kids now. Misrepresenting facts isn’t a winner; untruthfulness won’t get you where you want to go.

We all should feel proud to tell the youngsters tacking to the center of popular thought isn’t telling one thing to one group, and another to the other. It ought not be a disregard to the truth, and core convections.

There are bigger things in life than prestigious and influential jobs. There is integrity. Nothing should top that, though at times, we all bend the rules a bit to squeeze a little output. None of us look good under a microscope, but we shouldn’t be so obviously free of integrity to the naked eye either. It isn’t a winner.

Besides that huge win for integrity by way of Obama’s victory, we will also get and have gotten/secured a) affordable and quality healthcare b) equal pay for equal work c) less government involvement in what people do with their bodies, and in their bedrooms d) a sense that we are all in the same boat; equal rights; shared responsibility and share prosperity e) honest accounting (not fake initial budgets, with lots of supplementals throughout the year, by way of threats f) appreciation for science; global warming is a reality and we have to adjust to that reality g) more use of renewable energies and investments on promising technologies h) focus on education; race to the top; incentivizing achievement, and much more.

That is what electing able leadership mean.

Nile – Ethiopia vs. Egypt

UPI.com reported Egypt is looking to attack Ethiopia’s proposed Dam planned to be built on the Nile river. 

The basic justification is: you Ethiopia go hungry many times over, and we Egypt will consume 90%+ of the water, even though 80% of it comes from you Ethiopia. Basically saying, drop dead, you can’t have it.

Ethiopians have been screwed for millennia over this. Egypt was able to successfully block any kind of financing from any global organizations, while destabilizing the country by funding and arming insurgencies. 

Here we are, after hundreds of years, Ethiopia is fighting back, asserting its rights and obligations to use its natural resource not only provide basic needs to its people, but also thrive. Egypt, sensing this lopsided sweet deal that it enjoyed for many decades coming to an end, thumping its chest that it might invade Ethiopia.

The late Prime Minister said it best, “I am not worried that the Egyptians will suddenly invade Ethiopia. Nobody who has tried that has lived to tell the story. I don’t think the Egyptians will be any different and I think they know that,”.