Ethiopians will be Ethiopians!

May 21, 2008 at 7:50 am 16 comments

It’s official, folks! Our life is in danger!!

There was another car bombing in Addis yesterday evening that killed three and wounded four. The government has, ofcourse, blamed OLF, ONLF & Eritrea for it. It ain’t the Somalis! It can never be the Somalis! Because the Somalis know we are there to liberate them! Just like the Iraqis knew the Americans were there to liberate them!!

Oh .. the dirty game people play!!

Anywho, what i found amusing (yes, life must go on! We gotta be able to be amused if, for no other reason, our faces don’t look too sour for our “genaZjoch”) was the way the news was discussed among my colleagues. Who kept using the term “bilGina new!” to describe the act. A term almost as comic and heart-breakingly naive as that guy who wept, on Police Program, “I can’t believe a man who calls himself ‘Ethiopian’ would do this”  after either being robbed or mugged by somebody he trusted. Somebody, according to him, should be written-off as “tsegure Liwit” due to his un-“Ethiopian” act. The kind of childish innocense and a naïveté that not only makes you want to give these folks a hug (and a shoulder to cry bewildered frustrations on) but confirms a long held belief among my countrymen that all Ethiopians go to heaven! Has not Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven was for “of such”?! A belief, I’m sorry to say, we may need to hold onto more tightly now than ever not only because Earthly Kingdoms have always been in somebody else’s hand in our country’s case, but since we are likely to meet our maker any time now!!

Pray for us! Will ya?!

On the same token, Journalist/Writer Abreham Retta Alemu has died, according to Sheger FM, sometime yesterday morning. If you are an Addis Admass regular, you have come across his columns. Especially one that went by the title: “ALn, TeBaLn, AsBaLn”. Which, consequently, got turned into a book. It seems he’s been arrested for some article he wrote against someone/s important and even served time a few years back. Upon hearing from my colleague he may have still been in prison, I googled him. All I could come up with is this paragraph from INTERNATIONAL PEN, Writers in Prison Committee regarding his arrest. You’ll also find yahoo’s link to the bombing news herebelow!

Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!

Boy, did those Angels knew what they were talking about!!

Yahoo! News: Three killed in Addis Ababa bomb blast: Police

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Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

Booooooo! The 2nd Coming, friend or foe?!

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. habeshaviews  |  May 21, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I am not even getting shocked with bombings any more. I think I am getting used to it or sth.

    Really touched to hear Abreham´s death. OMG, I was a big fan of his column on housing rentals in Addis went by the title
    ´´ tekeray ,Akeray,alem erasua yekiray bet nat´´

    Check it out,I am sure Admas must have it on their archives.
    May He RIP

  • 2. abesheet  |  May 21, 2008 at 10:35 am

    So I heard, spacefog! Wasn’t even aware he did columns except the “ALn, TeBaLn, asBaLn” I mentioned above, whose book i readily bought. Must have been sometime after Mircha 97. That’s when i lost faith on everything printed, as may have been the case with most Ethios with a brain more functional than a cuckoo clock. Have always liked him though. Him, Alazar K and Yohannes S’e (before the latered started considering himself a “Netsa Awchi”, or so i felt, and his articles started making him sound like somebody “going around, looking for whom to devour!”). I certainly liked him better than Adam Retta, whose name I always confused with his, whose first novel I hated and heard was/is an imposing fellow who tries to beat his critiques to dust. Literally!

    Checked Addis Admass.com for something to help me write the article earlier. No use! Their last online issue was back in 2006. The year, I believe, he was in prison for!

  • 3. habeshaviews  |  May 21, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Okey I can agree with some of the columinists. Alaazar ,sometimes lacks depth but good. But Yohannes S´e,I think,is a thrid rate version of Ayn Rand.
    Adam retta is one of my favorite writers. I liked his first book Mahlet. I don´t know wht happned with his critics though. Check out his latest book ,Gracha Kachiloch . I think It´s one of the greatest books written in contemporary Amharic Literature.

  • 4. abesheet  |  May 21, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Lol spacefog. I’m afraid you aren’t going to like what i’m going to say but that’s the book i was talking about, “GiraCha Qachiloch”. That’s what I meant by “his first novel”, since “Mahlet” (which i loved also, although quite young when i read it) is a collection of short stories.

    My guess is “Giracha Kachiloch” is either a memoire by an unknown Russian writer Adam Retta adopted and tried to pass of as his own, or Gondar is a completely un-Ethiopian city. Because I can’t begin to explain all it’s problems! But the problem with well known writers, you see, is either they paint their cheap work such a marvellous color that you won’t be able to see the real “it” on the inside, or have to many tiFoZos that make you feel “maybe there was something you didn’t understand”.

    I understood Giracha Qachiloch perfectly, for the worthless piece of shit it is! There wasn’t even a plot in it. Neither a relatable character. Nor even something that can pass-off as a stream of conciousness piece. Dude has a whole chapter under the title: “BeMejemeria Tinchel Nebere”. What the “f” is that?!

    *abesheet feels strongly about liars, especially when good money is involved, and hopes spacefog would forgive her and keep visiting* 🙂

  • 5. abyssinia  |  May 21, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I’m terribly sadden by this news. It doesn’t matter who is responsible really…it’s a cowardly act. We don’t deserve this, nobody deserves this!

    I don’t know Abreham Retta Alemu or his work. But truly his death is a tragic loss to many Ethiopians.

    May he R.I.P. and those who lost their lives.

  • 6. spacefog  |  May 21, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Chica,Chill out ..its just a book.

    Here is what I think
    1. I don’t think its right to assume that he might have copied the bookd from somewhere. I like his style and I don’t think he needs a plot to write a story. In fact his writing is very similar to Garcia Marquez’s book ”One hundred years of solitude”
    2. Sorry but I don’t think he needs to draw any picture of Gondar. After all,its a book not a tourism brochure. The focus for me is the perception of the character towards the society he lived in at diffrent points in his life.

    Enjoyed reading it and I would rather have more of his kind of books than the mainstream same old plot ,story ..etc…

    I haven’t got your mail may be you should send it with this new mail.

  • 7. abesheet  |  May 22, 2008 at 6:00 am

    Hmm… so it wasn’t a russian writer after all… 🙂

    Lol Space. I love the way you see things. What Zadie Smith would call a “woteva..u know..woteva” mood. However, if we really got down to it, there is a bit of problem with your reasoning (and loads with Giracha Qachiloch).

    You said he doesn’t need a plot to write a novel. But he does darling! That’s what makes a book a “novel” instead of a memoir, a biography or a non-fiction. He doesn’t have to frame his plot in an orthodox way. But a plot is something a novel can’t do without. Even Mrs. Dalloway, the leading stream of consciousness book, has got a plot!

    True, Gracha Qachiloch isn’t a brochure. So the writer doesn’t need to give us a picturesque presentation of “Enat alem Gondar”. But if the story is taking place at around the “Ihappa” times in an Ethiopian city called Gondar; it shouldn’t resemble a town called something or other in Russia at the time of the Tsar (or whoever i feel he’s gotten the idea from). I know you don’t need me telling you what bad setting does to a story, and a novel. It makes it unbelievable, un-relatable, dishonest and consequently unacceptable. Believability! That’s what classics are made of. “FiQir Eske MeQabir”, “KeAdmas Bashager”, “Adefris” and even “Sememen”! They captured the era, they told the stories of characters who feel ‘real’ in those eras, never lacking the human element (and not just a bunch of disconnected colorful & unreal smarties that are meant to convince you by confusing and intimidating you) and we didn’t need to live in those times, or go through what those people feel, to relate to them. When I was in my early teens, I used to think the bigger the word, the bigger the book. Which is why I felt guilty for HATING “Annd LeAmist”. Coz there was nothing about that book that wasn’t Big! But I know now that the easier the book sounds, the bigger the writer. It could be as simple and can appear as easy as Animal Farm. But imagine…….!

    I too am bored with the same mainstream books with same old plot, story, etc. But don’t you think the problem has to do with the way they ‘tell’ this story and describe this plot, instead of the plots & stories themselves?! Even “yeSeba Sebat DirQ enkuwa” was made beautiful when Wegayehu Nigatu played a father refusing to be relocated off a land his “etbtu yeteQeberebet” in the TV drama “Enatnesh”. We don’t have to come up with untold stories (and plots). And we can never!. Not just because King Solomon said “keTsehay betach addis neger yelem”. But because when we write, we write about people. And there is nothing people haven’t gone through in time past we can come up with (wherever the setting takes us, and whatever our characters look like). It’s the way they are told that makes stories and plots bad. So maybe that’s what people should concentrate on, instead of trying to “sound” different and brand new. More importantly, they should try to sound like themselves. That’s the only ‘new’ thing they can bring to the table………………………..I think :-).

    P.S. I’ve never for once thought a book as “just a book”! I wonder why …

  • 8. Winta  |  May 22, 2008 at 10:30 am

    lol @ the Russian stuff.

    My serious face again. Three quick points ,

    1. I still don´t get why you feel every writer must need a plot to write a story. I know you won´t talk about literature 101 here. There are diffrent ways of telling a story and this is how he chose doing it. The focus of the story is on how the character relates to the setting rather than the setting itself.I really enjoyed the critics he has on societyand I think we need those kind of books. I like Fiqir eske Meqabir for the classic it is.But I would never re-read that book because the way the story is told like a teret teret.

    2. For me a book is just a book. Its like me and you discussing this issue. You can write it as a novel if you like.I am concerned more about what the writer have to say. If I enjoy the way he said it (style) good . if not bad for him and try again please in the mean time I am moving to the next writer. I myself write some stuff .I don´t care if ppl like it or not. I just want to say what I want the way I want it. I really wouldn´t care what ppl think about after wards,Honest.

    3.I like the list of books except for Sememen and Ande le Amist. Sememen, is a good book but I wouldn´t take it as a classic. It is definitly the best book Sisay has so far come up with. His latest book sounded like a brochures ,literally. Ande le Amist discusses great points but ,come on, that book is boring and unforgivably long.I felt the same way when I read Maxim Gorkey´s -Enat . I would add Oromay ,Amist sidist Sebat , All Jarso Kirubel works, to the list though the last two are compiled short stories.

  • 9. spacefog  |  May 22, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Hey that was one of my user name ..you can read it either way you want …Winta or spacefog…

  • 10. abesheet  |  May 22, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    No problemo, sis. Like you said, it’s the idea that matters.

    You got a good point there, btw!. Character and setting matter more than a plot does. Because plot can be as lousy and ridiculous as the writer wished to make it and can still make a great book. Because relatability (of character & setting) is what makes a book good or bad, just the way you saw “FiQir Eske Mekabir”. However, what do you call a book without a plot? How do you advance it? Can you even call a plot-less novel, a novel? I asked because, my attempt to read on the subject proved fruitless. Neither google, nor Wikipedia have much to say on it. As if everybody has agreed a plot-less novel is an absurd idea. But that maybe seeing what i want to see, huh ;-)? So.. if you can give me one example where plot-less-ness worked effectively on a novel, i’d appologize for calling Adam Retta names. Regarding his novel’s plot-less-ness, atleast. You know what i think is happening though? I think you are just too tired of badly written novels who always seem to model their plot, and sometimes theme, on the few classics we have. I feel you, completely! But that doesn’t mean I should take every garbage (again, I appologize for the term) that came along just because it looked different and call it a “good book”, let alone all those adjectives you showered “Giracha Qachiloch” with :-)!

    I mentioned “Annd LeAmist” as a big book, with big words, that i felt I should love in my teens but end up hating. And learned a good lesson from (that appearances can be tricky!)

    Can’t still see a book, as just a book :-). Should really think about getting those goofy eye-glasses that Orthodentist guy recommended.

  • 11. sewit  |  May 22, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    A bit late here but, can I say that I really enjoyed , um, am enjoying reading Giracha Qachiloch (started it almost a year ago)

    I love the stream of conciousness thing…

    maybe that makes me hoplessly low-brow…but it is what it is.

  • 12. Winta  |  May 22, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Hey,

    I have relentlessy tried to put this up on the blog but I couldn´t. Apparently ,it kept rejec
    ting the comment.I.e I sent it to your mail too

    I am going to give two examples with similar plotting with Gircha kachiloch.
    1. is Garcia Marquez´s (Nobel Prize winner for literature) One Hundred years of solitude which was best year of book for diffrent years.Once I remember on Oprah too .If I am not mistaken in 2006.
    Here is a Wikipedia reviews Check out the plot part
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Hundred_Years_of_Solitude
    2. Another book with a diffrent sort of plotting is A.K . Armah´s ´´the Beautiful ones are not yet born´´ ,One of the greatest works in African literature.
    This story takes place in a bus basically.
    I am sure you will find millions of links for it.

    Thx and I promise this would be the last thing I would say on this topic

  • 13. abesheet  |  May 23, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    So sorry you gotta go through all that trouble Winta! I checked my aksimet spam blocker just now and found your other 6 other comments. I think it panicked when seeing the the word ‘s´´t’, thinking you were going to diss the sister :-). Thank Goodness the last one got away somehow though.

    I am taking “African Literature” at AAU and “The Beautiful Ones are not yet Born” is one of the books highly recommended, almost a pre-requisite. I’m only on page 19 so this isn’t an official comment. But i’m afraid the only thing I liked so far is the title & the writer’s photo at the back. I can see Armah has *it* in him, his description of feelings and places is awesome, but why so gross?! Yeah yeah.. I know he’s trying to make a point and that there is such thing as shocking people into opening their eyes, etc., but painting your first 15 pages with poop & mucus, it just isn’t the way to do it. Atleast if you are aiming for your readers to finish your book without running to the toilet every other minute.

    Just saying :-).

    Will check out “One hundred years of solitude” as soon as i can.

  • 14. Bogale  |  August 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Folks,
    I know Adam Retta. His potential is indisputable. Where can I get a copy of his book?. I live in Amsterdam.
    Best,
    Bogale

  • 15. Hanna  |  July 4, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Adam Retta is a really astonishing writer I like all his books starting from Mahlet and the new one “Kesemay yeworede Firfer” and looking forward for more

  • 16. sssss  |  January 24, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I didnt take courses on literature. so this is completely from a naive reader’s point of view. I love Adam. he is actually the only contemporary ethiopian novelist I can read.
    I love his stories because I can totaly relate with the setting and the characters. because they are all very human. they are ‘people next door’. I might be a bit young for the era of his stories. but I totaly get them as the stories of my parents,my uncles and teachers. and those aren’t ancient people like ‘seble and bezabih’ of ‘fikir eske mekabir’ whose pyches I don’t relate to.
    the other great thing about Adam is his ability to critisize individuals and the culture rather than organizations as most ethiopian authors do.
    for me Adam is very succesful in what he intends to do with his writings. I don’t beleive he intends to pass a message or force a reader finish his book with some sophisticated plot. I think he just wants to put hearts and lives out there for the reader to watch and expose our prejudices and hipocrasies as a society.

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