Self-Reliant, Proud And Confident
By Solomon Mengsteab
Prosperity of a nation and the pride and self-confidence of its citizens has always been affecting each other in an endless cycle. Their relationship is plain; proud and self-confident citizens are enabled to build a prosperous nation and a prosperous nation makes its citizens proud and confident.
It is obvious that pride and confidence by themselves cannot attain affluence. They are only just part of the characteristics needed in a nation’s human resource along with many a great other qualities. Moreover, development is the summation of factors like geographical location, natural resources, peace, human resources and most importantly the efficient systemic organization and utilization of these altogether. Yet still, human resource is the most crucial of all, for it is responsible for organization and use of all the resources a nation possesses. Here, beyond the mere existence or large number of population, the quality of the human resource is the most important factor. It is not to say that the size of population doesn’t have any significance but the effect of the quality is by far greater. Quality in this sense refers to the educational compatibility, health, age, social political and economic values, etc. of the population.
Amid the values, the pride of the people of who they are and what they have; and their self-confidence in what they can and will do are among the most essential merits. Confident and proud citizens possess the potential to enhance the existing, and cultivate new useful cultural values, knowledge and skills, and healthy habits. For this reason, in the prospect of building steady sustainable and long term development, the strengthening of self-confidence and pride of citizens is vital.
There is nothing more significant than independence of the people and the nation in boosting pride and self-confidence. Nevertheless, here we mean an actual independence, not as in the case of most African countries where the nations are essentially run by foreign powers through small local interest groups or individual dictators. In such countries sovereignty is but titular and freedom, just nominal. Rather independence is a context where there is a state that always prioritizes and serves the national interests of its citizens and citizens that are free to think, act, and live abiding and protected by the law.
In securing such independence the most important component is self-reliance. The term self-reliance has been hackneyed and misused to the point where it seemed to lose its well-founded meaning and impact. However, the dignified idea of self-reliance can never be more significant than in the context of independence and freedom. It wouldn’t be an over-statement if it is said that self-reliance is the principal element for the independent choice and power that the prosperous courtiers enjoy and demonstrate and the poor countries are deprived of.
Throughout history cultural, political and economic self-reliance has been the core constituent in determining a nation’s fate. People have to rely on their own knowledge, skills, resources, values, beliefs and inspirations that are naturally best suited to their own realities in shaping their future. This ought not to be misunderstood with remaining wedged to the indigenous cultural elements giving no heed to the changes in their surroundings. Remaining wedged is detrimental and is even against the dynamic nature of culture. However, any sort of change or adjustment on any of the indigenous cultural elements should be deliberately and meticulously filtrated. It should first be verified with the genuine realities and needs of the people in question before it is encouraged or even given ground to begin with. Only a culture well conserved and developed in such comportment is reliable and actually useful, for it matches the peoples’ reality.
Moreover a well-preserved cultivated culture provides an ample ground to the establishment of an independent political culture. A political culture that is established on the de-facto of the nation’s culture, history, and economy is the only independent political culture and system. Should a political system be serving the national interests of its people, it needs to have an original ideological foundation initiated from and cultivated by the historical cultural and economic realities of the nation. Furthermore, it should also take regional and global realities in to account both through time and space. Only a political system created in such context can have clear prospect in the immediate and long term needs and goals of the nation.
The adaptation of Marxism by the Chinese into Maoism is a superb example for this argument. Marxism as an ideology generated from an observation of class divided society. The economic system within which the ideology is derived from and is supposed to operate is an industrial economic system. Therefore, given Marxism was formulated within the industrialized western cultural, economic and political arena, its direct adoption into an entirely different agrarian society would have been naive Consequently, Marxism was deliberated upon and adjusted to fit into the realities of China and became Maoism. Certain details of the ideology that could not be incorporate into the Chinese context were altered and or omitted; keeping the basic ideas such as abolishing oppression through revolution and fair distribution of wealth.
What’s more, a nation should also build a self-sufficient economic system that takes a realistic consideration of its resources. In order to be independent, basic principles of the economic system have to be embedded in the cultural and political values and realities of the nation. What’s more, the major benefactors to its establishment and development; and beneficiaries of its rewards have to be the people. Self-reliance therefore goes beyond banal cliché and becomes factual if and only if such cultural, political and economic dependence on oneself is patent.
The question of self-reliance in its comprehensive nature is especially crucial to the developing countries such as Eritrea. This is because the developed countries persistently try to muscle and or allure their influence that would only serve their interests at the cost of the needs of the people of the developing countries. It is clear that we cannot escape the influence of globalization altogether nonetheless, we should stay conscious in order to notice and guide those changes into the positive direction. The final outcome of an independent and free culture, economy, and politics is a paved path to prosperity and peace. Prosperity and peace makes citizens proud and confident which in return secures an ample ground for bright future. For this reason a critical and watchful eye should be attributed to the dynamics of culture, politics and economics we face in this era of globalization.