Archive for March 27, 2008

On love & “yenuro wudinet”

Chewatan chewata yanesawal newwna, Sistu’s mention of Gigi’s song: “Enen YerAbegn” (otherwise known, to this sister atleast, as the Amharic version of John Lennon‘s “Love is all we need”) reminded me something that’s been bugging me whenever I came across *it* and Tilahun Gessese’s “Migbma Moltoal”.

I don’t have the least interest in debating if love is indeed all we need (however true the statement would feel on lonely, but otherwise “full to the brim”, Saturday evenings when every one of your friends seem to be out and about enjoying themselves)! “Unlike the folks at Hallmark would have you believe” Zadie Smith argues (not her exact words) “Love is not all we need. ‘Clean Water’ is what we need. Electricity! Education”!. All those mundane, unromantic things that would probably not make a cute song!

The following is going to sound unpatriotic, but it’s no mystery to any of us Ethiopians (and the rest of the world, unfortunately) that we’ve never had food surplus since ….. ever! Sure, “Michael dabo” used to be sold for 10 cents a piece two decades ago. But that’s also the time in which my father and mother’s income put together barely comes to 400 birr a month and they had to chip in for the keeping of both their extended families.

That’s why our holidays & festivities have too much food (and “qUntan”) in them. Did you know? I didn’t! until an older colleague from Tigrai told me (when he heard me complaining how our holidays were fun-less and “all about food”) how that was a tradition brought about by necessity. Back when draught was hitting our country over and over again, and people didn’t have “gotera mulu ehil” “to burn” and “meda mulu keBt” to “refrain from slaying” on a fasting day! How they took “difo dabo beTikesha” and “tela beQimchana” as a gift to family and friends’ house since holidays were the only times in which they could afford to partake-of these luxuries! Tebabro mesrat, tebabro meblat! “That’s how it went for centuries”, he said, “nothing to do with having no fun-bone in our bodies or lack of imagination in our soul as you young’uns seem to think nowadays!”

What a lesson that was! And what a surprise! One of those rare moments that reminded me the thing I love & took pride in about being Ethiopian the most!: the fact that we can always spare something from the little we have, and be there for those we don’t even like when they need a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on. (more…)

March 27, 2008 at 9:14 am 3 comments


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The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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