More than silver, more than gold!

August 18, 2008 at 5:54 am 15 comments

Nothing brings an Ethiopian family together like the Olympics. It makes comrades of the most unlikely people: me & my mom for example.

It was a typical family gathering at my parents’ last night. There was the undersigned, who stayed around until the late hours of the afternoon to watch ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ on Dubai One TV. My father, whose disappointed look made us switch the channel to Al-Jazeera Sports. My mother, a hardcore fan of anything that involves Ethiopia, who hasn’t even changed into her ‘dirriaa’ & ‘gogera’ when she joined us in the living room. Martha, an ex-aunt-in-law, who didn’t explain to what we owe the privilege of the visit. Worke, a family member for almost 21 years, making coffee. And my two siblings, who didn’t inherit the patriotic fervor from neither their parents nor their elder sister, wearing the long face. And, ofcourse, the center of attention – a non-flat screen TV of about 21 inches wide.

Herebelow is the “asselalef” of this Beijing Olympics’ Men 10,000 metres final spectators:

  • Worke handing out & rounding up coffee cups along with ‘erBo’ full of ‘fendisha’.
  • My mother shaking her fist at the TV in an attempt to make it produce good result, it seems, and prophesizing gold, silver & bronze to Ethiopia.
  • My father, dozing in and out of a nap, a result of the evening-before marathon where somebody or other won a gold medal to the dear mother land.
  • Martha declaring how scared she was of the Kenyans with long legs, one of whom she confused with Paul Tergat, “that guy who out run Haile ‘under the influence’ some years back.”
  • Blen watching the TV with the odd fascination of a tourist, as if she’s trying to understand how it relates to her life.
  • And babi, the youngest, busy with the “Setting” section of some poor blighter’s mobile he got his hands on. (“You are advised not to give Babi your mobile if you plan to use it after today” is one of the warnings guests never seem to take seriously when entering my parent’s humble abode.)
  • After about 20 minutes, ofcourse, things hitted up. My dad, woken up by my mother’s screaming “Anbesa! Kenenisa!”, very suspicious for a Protestant Christian who “abhors” secular songs indiscriminately, started grumbling how he’s worried “that tenquay” athlete from Algeria may have had some ‘digimt’ on his feet, to help him win. Martha’s prayers to “YeEthiopia Amlak” become more audible and intense. Blen started watching my mom with the amusement she reserved for adults who sometimes exhibit what they might have looked like as a youngster. While Worke simply repeated what everybody else was saying and Babi continued fiddling with the mobile in his discretion.

    When the result finally came, and our screamings were shared and echoed by the victorious screamings of the neighbors, and Babi has complimented Kenenisa for being ‘a fast dude” (or, in his words, “dude is fast!”) we each confessed hopes, anxieties and doubts. I told everyone how I cared less about whose flag waved in the stadium as long as that Eritrean guy lost. ‘Anyone but him!’ I said bitterly. Blen observed how tough life must be for Seleshi, whom she observed as being ‘always the bridesmaid and never the bride’. But, like I said, my mother was the super star of the night. The victory added to her animation. “See?!” she kept saying, to no one in particular, “I told you he’d “meFeTLek” from their middle when they least expected it. His enemies were saying so many things against him, that his marriage was on the rocks, that his wife has divorced him and was sueing him him. See…?!”

    Before I had an opportunity to chip in that I didn’t see how that has to do with this, the faithful noise came from outside. The guys who watch sport events at the restaurant next door were out in the street inviting like hearts to join them with a resonant ‘HO!’. We all run to the door and started watching the growing crowd of hooligans jumping and clapping to the victorious noise, accompanied by the cheerful honking sounds from the various vehicles whose way they were blocking.

    What a wonderful thing it is to belong, thought I. It’s good to be Ethiopian. And just go with the flow. From time to time!

    Beijing 2008 – Superstars: Kenenisa Bekele

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    Unlikely Casanovas Thank God for aunts!

    15 Comments Add your own

    • 1. Arefe  |  August 19, 2008 at 2:59 pm

      your ma, a hardcore fan of anything that involves Ethiopia!
      It just makes the two of us, her and me!
      Can’t wait to make use of the description.

    • 2. acherwa  |  August 20, 2008 at 4:39 am

      thank you so much for sharing

      my earliest memories of Ethiopia is watching big sport events late nights, i remember one time our TV didn’t work so our whole family (about 6 kids) went to neighbor’s to watch the event, it must have been world cup. anyhow here I find myself jumping by myself and annoy my neighbor’s who live below my apt.
      It must be great to be in Ethiopia at such moments. Enjoy all the coming events and keep up your fantastic blog.

      cheers

    • 3. daniel  |  August 22, 2008 at 5:17 pm

      i emailed a long response to this post unfortunalty ETC’s line ‘killed’ it twice…took to long to send so everything went blank.

      Anyways, congratulation to Tirunesh’s double gold today!

    • 4. Anonymous  |  August 22, 2008 at 8:44 pm

      Interesting how someone can have some deep emotional hatefulness towards a whole nation.
      I am Eritrean and even though I am entitled to hate all Ethiopians due to the abuse and struggle we had to go through for decades because of your government’s doing, I know better not to hold any grudges.
      I suggest you educate yourself and open your mind instead of having all this anger and hate inside yourself.
      I wonder what it is that Eritrea did to you personally for you to hate the whole nation, to go to the length of wishing its flag should be the only one that shouldn’t be waved.
      All in all I use to think you were a well balanced and educated person form reading your other entries, but reading this article and a comment you made on another blog showed me that you are nothing but an ignorant, closed minded, uneducated soul trying to get a lot of attention.
      Bu then again I reminded myself of this saying we use here in the US: you can take the person out of the ghetto but not the ghetto out of the person. After all you come from some remote gueter place… u didn’t even grow up in the city so what was I expecting…

      On the same note: I am glad ur book didn’t get published on the same token u made about my country…
      Awet ne Hafash!!

    • 5. abesheet  |  August 25, 2008 at 6:24 am

      I’d like to say your admonishment humbled me, Wedi Eritrea. But it really didn’t. You know why?! Inspite of being 99% correct on your analysis of how evil it is to judge a whole nation by one of it’s bad apples (for there are bound to be “good” Eritreans, only i haven’t met them!), you have become what the bible calls “the blind who tried to lead the blind”. You used to think i was “well balanced and educated” person. But one word, and i have become an “ignorant, closed minded uneducated soul trying to get a lot of attention”. If you have stopped there, i would have tried to defend myself. But no, you decided that i came from the country (and that, for you, is a bad thing, right?) and that i was a “remote gueter place” product. True, i was born in Qebena (and anything outside “ginfile” used to be considered a “geTer”, at the time of Menelik!) but your very bias against “geter” folks, or folks from the country, makes you sound really very limited. So.. i guess.. what they say is true: it takes one to know one!

      For the record and with due regards to your person, as long as you guys don’t try to come digging back to us, I have no problem with you. If that happens, though, you’ll be met with resistance, and i’ll like to be at the head of it. Sorry i couldn’t sugar-coat it any better. That’s how every Ethiopian i know feels regarding their ex-Eritrean brothers and sisters. Anybody telling you otherwise is selling something.

      On the same note: I am glad ur book didn’t get published on the same token u made about my country…

      Lol. That got me. It really did. Ouch! 😉 Seriously though, i’d be lying if i said i’m glad my “diKam” of 4 years hasn’t bear any fruit. But it’s helped me make the toughest decision that may actually help me get my writing straight (leaving my country) so there is a silver lining to it. BTW, i won’t tell you where but i have an article published in one of the biggest online magazines, getting paid for it real soon, too. So.. i’m pretty ok in the “being pumped up about my writing” department.

      Thanks for visiting!

    • 6. Anonymous  |  August 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm

      Coming from the “Gueter” is not a bad thing but hence why you are so limited in your rationalization maybe coming out of ET will give you that openness and seeing things from different angles…

      “you have become what the bible calls “the blind who tried to lead the blind”
      LOL!! Ethiopia is being lead by the sighted… this is way too hilarious

      “For the record and with due regards to your person, as long as you guys don’t try to come digging back to us”
      LOL!! This is too funny… Who is coming digging into whose country… all we ask is that you leave us alone… Access to the sea new Yelem!!

      But again, just because of you personally and your Government I am not going onto a rampage and say I hate all ETs…

      “That’s how every Ethiopian I know feels regarding their ex-Eritrean brothers and sisters. Anybody telling you otherwise is selling something.”

      Wow you have spoken to all 70+ million ppl and asked them their feelings… I am impressed!!

      “BTW, i won’t tell you where but i have an article published in one of the biggest online magazines”
      Online Magazine… BIG DEAL!!! I won’t wish you any luck in your endeavors as u didn’t wish my country man any…

      Again Awet Ne Hafash!!

    • 7. abyssinia  |  August 25, 2008 at 8:37 pm

      [no name] Wake up and smell the coffee…it’s pretty clear how Ethiopians feel about Eritreans and vise versa.

      Btw, I think it’s absurd to even think Ethiopians give a rat’s ass about your fellow men not winning a single medal in Beijing…

    • 8. abesheet  |  August 26, 2008 at 6:25 am

      Lol. Abby. Welcome back sis. And thanks for telling that [no name] in no uncertain terms how you feel about his Eritrean behind 😉 . You’ve been greately missed!

      Wedi Eritrea,
      You know very well who has made a profession out of digging. And is “meLkEfing”, like a mad dog, each one of it’s neighbours so his people would be too busy to notice he can hardly stand [alone] on his two feet. Ture, the Eritrean government hardly represents the-whatever millions of people in the land he rules by the iron hand (as EPRDF can never represent me, if it tried) and i haven’t gone around asking each and every ethiopian how they feel about their ex-brothers and sisters. So.. how about I appologize for hurting your feelings and you tell me what “awet ne hafash” means?

    • 9. abyssinia  |  August 26, 2008 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks abesheet! Now that the Olympic is over, I’m back in full force and have some catching up to do.

      You are absolutely right that nothing brings people together like the Olympics games. It’s very exciting not only to watch the world’s most compelling sporting event but to be able to celebrate the excitement and emotion of the Olympic games with friends and families.

    • 10. Anonymous  |  August 27, 2008 at 5:54 pm

      Ethiopia is so standing on its own two feet that it has to beg for aid from any and every country that is willing to pass a hand… The country including the ppl has become nothing but a bunch of proud beggars with supposedly a long history….
      Let’s not get into politics. This started about the Olympics which ironically should have brought all countries together and focus on the sports but not name calling of other countries…
      But guess what? only ignorant ppl can deep low enough to always get side tracked by irrationalized issues…
      Wonder where it is that Eritrea stubbed you! (Quoting from your saying)
      Anyhow… Apologies accepted. If it does you any good you can continue to
      hate us all you want and keep being ignorant. We like to keep you stupid and idiot anyway…
      I am not into educating an ignorant person…

      So you will not know the meaning from me.
      Awet ne Afash!

    • 11. abesheet  |  August 28, 2008 at 6:04 am

      You are right, [nameless]. I’m an idiot. Not because of my “blind” hate to your people. Or because in trying to point out the “guDif” in your eyes, i’ve failed to see the “silQ enchet” in me and my own 8) . But because only an idiot would keep on trying to out smart you. For you got the stuff brother. And sound like a cool people. Certainly better than me. So I give up. Thou art no idiot, my Eritrean brother. For some reason, that still comes as a surprise!

      So.. tell me.. who are these “mihurans” you are into educating?

      Best wishes

      Victory for the masses!
      (oh yeah, Google Wulo yiGba. Fail to see the relevance though, to the subject under discussion i mean!)

    • 12. Axum  |  August 30, 2008 at 3:56 am

      I am 100% Ethiopian and I agree with the Eritrian guy I am ashamed that their are EVEN ETHIOPIANS OUT THERE LIKE YOU giving us a bad name and SPREADING HATE then having the audacity to speak for all Ethiopians.I know plenty of kind generous Eritreans. We are essentially the same people, so basically you hate yourself. You are a prime example of why are countries can not get ahead AZZ BACKWARDS POLITICS from IGNORANT hatefull mnds. . IM HAPPY when ANY member of my race (read BLACK) gets ahead.Learn to love yourself thas the only way you can respect others. In order to HAVE PRIDE for Ethiopia I don’t have to have HATE for Eritrea. I respect their perserverance and their struggle.When judgement day comes trust me we are not going to get extra points for being Ethiopian.As for that book yes kharma is a bitch and shes come back to bite you. The universe will never bless you if you preech hatred.

      – peace

    • 13. abesheet  |  September 1, 2008 at 5:30 am

      Ok, Axum. I’ll preach love from now on. If you promise to keep visiting.

    • 14. Lilye  |  September 19, 2008 at 3:40 pm

      I just stumbled upon this interesting post! It actualy took me way back when we were watching Ethiopians or sports on TV.

      Amazing! My reaction was exactly the same regarding the Eritrean guy!!! Anyone but him.

      No name guy, I believe we have ample reason to feel that! No need to take a nation wide survey for that. I can guarantee it to you. You definitely proved to all that you are blind to call us beggars. Have you dared to visit or call to your so called country. Haven’t the entire country been turned into beggars.
      Sad to admit, huh!!! Sad indeed, no matter how you try you cant hide it. At least do your country men a favor and expose the reality.

      No matter what we shall always pray for you ( as your people have been begging us to do… aside from other things).

      WA! As you see ye Emiye Ethiopia amlak Qelal aydelem. Tenqeq.

      Abeseet, keep up the good job. Sorry had to go there. Peace.

    • 15. abesheet  |  September 22, 2008 at 5:38 am

      Thanks Lilye. Melkam YemesQel beal yihunilish.

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