What’s Goin On?
“Have I even been living in this country?”
That’s the question which hits me everytime I come across a news piece that everybody seems to have known, and worked with, for weeks before I do! 9/11 was such a surprise! No kidding! It was “EnQutatash” and I was on leave: busy watching movies and flipping through books I would be unable to process more than 5 lines of. It must have been on the 4th day! Our minibus was parked under the traffic light infront of St. Joseph School when the voice of the newscaster on Ethiopia Radio became all too vivid. He was talking about how the recent American death toll has hit an all time high of 5,000 (or something like that..can’t remember the exact words or don’t know the English expression for them!).
I almost laughed out at the sheer incredulity of the news. Imagine America losing more than 50 of its citizens to a man-made disaster and not bombing the rest of the world!! In the un-reasonability of being fogged, I must have thought it was one of those fake-newses they used to make those days: regarding, for example, how “duQetina wuha tetaltew wenz endeworedu..”, in poor taste. Until, that is, grave look came to the faces of my fellow travelers and a silence, only broken by a “mTs” flying hither and tither, filled the minibus!
Needless to say, I was astounded! Beyond limit, if you like! Could simply not process it! In my panic, I turned to the person sitting next to me and asked what the radio was on about. The man looked confused, then shocked; told me all about 9/11, his “giMit”s and suspicions; and concluded his admonishing by explaining how a friend of his lost 200 birr during the “birr” change and how I should pay more attention to what goes on outside my window.
I ofcourse sent SOS to my ex-boyfriend who, along with his expert-on-American-affairs MD friend, gave me the dirty work [at a “kitfo bet” around Wollo Sefer; with the sister paying!!] on:
- the love affair between Osama & C.I.A.
- the war between Russia and Afghanistan
- how poor Yugoslavia played the part of the grass between two NATO and WARSOW super powers unwillingly
- about Gadaffi and the 1986 Libya bombing
- regarding Castro and how he and his buds came to power
- Americans’ ignorance of World Politics and their blind trust on their government
- and, finally, how their government used & abused that trust & has been lording it over the world [with no referee or “abett baay”] since the young nation’s birth
Stuff, in short, that made me realize how I need to pay more attention to world events if, for nothing else, sew fit siQerbu laLemafer! So.. wherever me and my friends infest either Ethiopia Hotel or some such place, I drag my chair close to where the “tenagari satin” is located and try to catch up with as much news item as my mind could dicipher, and friend allowed. A tendency, I’m glad to add, that proved helpful when it came to the 2005 election!
After the dirty work there, ofcourse, I (along with every other Ethiopian household I knoww, including those who threw their ballots infavor of the rulling party – like the sister!) gave politics up and went back to ‘dish mastekel’ and ‘film mekerayet’. But I still have huge respect for the news (not much improvement when it comes to Sports, though! Wasn’t even aware Ethiopia was staging it’s first major international athletics event until our minibus found itself in the middle of thousands of spectators who, while leaving the Stadium & demanding for the release of Teddy Afro in hushed tones, gave our respective windows an “enka Qimes” or two) and try to atleast have my “alem endet senebetech” question answered by scanning the news column pages of either Addis Admass or Addis Neger every weekend!
Which is why I found the latest name changes to some of our well-known cities rather weird. I mean, I was, ofcourse, aware that “Nazareth” has become “Adama” & “Debre Zeit” was promoted to “Bishoftu” for more than a decade now. And that “Ambo” has refused to become “Hagere Hiwot”, and how “Assebe Teferi” was considering going back to the old name it used to go by before somebody loyal to his majesty decided to change it (“Aman Teferri”? “Asebe Aman”? “Chiso”??) . Good, if it suits them!! With my blessing, even!. However, don’t you think somebody should have bothered to tell us when name changes occur with, atleast, major cities like “Awassa” and “Alemaya” (“Hawassa” and “Haromaya” respectively, btw)?! And explain, while they are at it, why the letter ‘h’ in particular?! For, although I am no expert when it comes to world affairs, I know it takes two to tango!!
Or, [when it comes to Politics] does it?!
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