After publishing the Legesse Wegi post herebelow, I went to Abesha Bunna Bet to see what my friend Dr. Ethiopia has been upto. There, I came across an article entitled Marrying-Off a (four) year old Ethiopian Girl. I found this article interesting. Because only the other day (*cough* last Sunday), I was watching ETV’s “Yelijoch Gize” and have came across a drama that somewhat confused me.
It’s not just the pretentiousness of the drama that bothered me (it’s based on, atleast, two Grimm fairy tales). But the lesson it was trying to teach. This girl, Adera, is brought to the city by her aunt. Who, as we know, is a mean spirited wretch who makes her do all the house work and look after her own kids.
Somewhere else, the king is looking for a “playmate” to his son. After turning the kingdom upside down, he decides to send for an old man known for his wisdom. “Abba Musa..” says his Highness in a volcanic voice, (the scene takes place in a park where Waiters & Waitresses can be seen running with dishes behind the trees) “Go get my son a playmate! A girl who would grow up with him and become his fiancée!”.
“Abba Mussa” bows in obedience and goes out with his “masinQo”. He is then observed walking around villages looking for kids. That he gathered around him and start playing the following song:
Amta Qolo yilegnal
Zilzil siga yilegnal
Kelijoch gaar chewata
Yamregnal .. yamregnal..
The kids, on their turn, sing back:
Amta Qolo yalewal
Zilzil siga yilewal
KeAbba Mussa chewata,
“Once upon a time in Neverland” says I “there was a King-of-Pop called Michael Jackson who liked playing with kids too – at night, in the bedroom, on the bed. Just lose it (HA-HA-HA-HA-HA)“
When Abba Mussa is done singing, he takes the little girls apart and tells them to count a handful of “teff”. “If you got the correct answer” he tells them “there is a prize you can never imagine”. When they take it home and come back with numbers, he looks disappointed. Sings his song again and bids the children farewell. Adera, ofcourse, told him teff could not be counted .. good prevailed over evil and they all lived happily ever after.
Now, I know “choosing a fiancée” for your child is an old Ethiopian tradition that need not be blotted out of history books. This is, after all, a drama from the good old days when Janhoy and EteGe were believed to have been “Anointed Ones”. But is that what The ETV/ERTA Children’s Program people want to tell those kids whose parents can’t afford to have MBC3 installed?! The answer is NO.
Two songs made in the last five years have been shocking the hell out of me every time I heard them. The first is “Lijinetwa” by Nati, aka “Teamiregnaw Nati who, upon renouncing this title and claiming to be a mere mortal, got in a bitter battle with that DeFaar ‘Yesefer Lij’ of mine Samson Mamo”. “Genna Yitsan lij nat”, Nati or the character he’s playing in his song, tells us, that her youth makes him feels sorry for her. But does it stop him from drooling over her? Nope!.
The second song is Aster Aweke’s “Murit” from her latest album, “FiQir”. This actually has got a line that goes:
Lemin tilalachu “Lije gena nech gena”
DoRom Tibelalech, atintwa saytena.
Where do I begin?!
Aster Aweke, then. I’ve been her fan for as long as I can remember. Even when Tilahun Gessesse’s songs felt more like a punishment than entertainment in his post-“Min Taregiwalesh” career, I sought Aster diligently. She’s got a voice that was bigger than her person, I felt, that was truly magical. But I’ve never had much respect for neither the way she behaved on stage, nor on interviews nor the lyrics she wrote. “DoRom tibelalech atintwa saytena”, however, is pushing it, even for Aster Aweke! What next? “Tinish lij wedje nefs yalaweQechi.. alGa lai sinweta gelaye tadesse?!”
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, if these people are actually from the 21st century?!