Lead or be led, ur call!
I met this guy I knew back in 2005 yesterday evening. I was getting off a taxi, and he was getting on. After exchanging the usual greetings, he asked what that book I had in my hand was. I obliged, by showing it to him. One look at it, and he went “ich!!” – disgustedly.
“What’s up?” I asked, amused.
“It’s so fake!”, he said
“Oh yeah?” I continued in my amusement “Have you read it?”
“I’ve seen it”, he muttered “and I know it’s all fake”.
“Because it’s fake!” he repeated “both ‘Addis Admass’ and ‘Addis Neger’ have been saying as much” (or words to that effect)
If I didn’t have so much respect for this guy, and his book knowledge, I would have dismissed his reply as the typical [Ethiopian] response people give on issues they know nothing about, but would like to appear well informed on. Unless, that is, the response/reply is believed to be a public knowledge (or, more importantly, opinion) you aren’t supposed to question unless you want every AddisAbebe in their circle to treat you with the careful detachment it reserves to either “YeMenGist Degafiwoch” (which translates as sell out or “banda”) or “yeTigray tewelaj” (which means you are a supporter by default and political discussions over coffee are off limits to you, even if the coffee isn’t). Questions like: “Why do you hate Meles Zenawi so much?”, “How can Ex-Minister of Education Genet Zewdie do everything you are claiming she did?” and/or “What made you think Solomon Shumye’s weekly ‘Shai Buna’ has an EPRDF agenda?”.
Still, I didn’t want to believe this guy wasn’t any different. He’s smart, young, and well-read. Even got a column all for himself on an up-and-coming weekly newspaper & rolls with those, I am convinced, encourage you to be a man of your own (intelligence wise). The last person, so to say, you’d think as being born to play second fiddle to people with big names. Granted that appearances can be deceiving!.
But … like I said .. he’s quite young. Will probably grow out of it and learn to make an opinion all by himself some day. And may even realize “I don’t know” isn’t nearly as bad as looking ridiculous wearing an ill-fitting idea tailored by/for somebody else. (*abesheet pleads guilty to all the charges* ;))
The book I had in my hand was “Sebhat GebreEgziabher: Hiwotina Kihlot” (Mahlet Publishers/2000 E.C.) by Alemayehu Gelagay. A man who proclaimed at the outset what made him decide to write the book is the neglect with which Sebhat’s works has been treated in the past and the various attacks the writer has been getting from individuals and orgs.
Or, in his own words:
In it, there are claims, evidences and proclamations. Some of them shocking, others annoying in their blind devotion to the point of ridiculous and still others pretty convincing – by the sound of them. Like I told a friend a few days ago, I am the last person you’d find party to the “Sebhat Teketayoch” Gora. Won’t be caught dead in it, as they say. Still, there is no denying Alemayehu Gelagay’s wonderfully written attempt at “Qitir mafress” – as the folks at “Addis Neger” called it – claiming, among others, that Beaalu Girma has stolen story lines/character “qeRetsa”s/expressions and even “terets” from the Aboy without acknowledgement, won’t sound so ridiculous by the time you finish reading the book.
Which is why I invite you to read it. So you can form an opinion of your own on it!