Trampled pearls

December 9, 2008 at 11:21 am 8 comments

I’ve been sensitive to the issue of “Biher Bihereseboch” ever since I saw my pretty cousin Azeb walking to where the teacher sat, taking down student details with not so red a pen, to whisper her grandfather’s name in his ears (a proud farmer who lived and died in Gore town, Illubabor, long before she was born). So I have not exactly seen eye to eye with those naïve Addis-born Ethiopians who considered the issue of “Biher Bihereseboch” as something EPRDF introduced and that we (YeEthiopia Biher Bihereseboch) were living “happy as Larry” pre-1983 E.C..

For this reason, I neither raged nor took it personally when our high school classmate Tadelech split on tea-break to fellowship ‘with her kind’ and spoke in nothing but Oromigna when she came across members of the said fellowship at the various school grounds. I also voice my objection everytime I heard pejorative terms like “Welamigna” being used, glowing with the kind of pride that would put Saints and Martyrs to shame when given the nasty look.

Which is why, in short, I gave EPRDF the big Just do it!when the infamous Article 39 was passed back in 1991 (true, I was only a young’un who got a box in the ear every time she voiced an opinion). Being an all time pro-choice and a big time divorce fan, I have felt “Biher Bihereseboch” should be allowed to take it as well as dish it out. “The right of self determination-upto secession”, I’ve argued, quoting our Prime Minister, “is the only way to keep Ethiopia’s unity intact. I’m afraid all you and I can do is make sure they do not want to”.

This resolve, I’m happy to announce, is still intact. Not meaning I do not find news items such as those high school students in Dukem taking the streets few years ago to protest the teaching-medium being switched from Amharic to ‘Qube’, holding a banner that read “KeAbACHADA Yishalal Acheda”, amusing.

Imagine, therefore, my delight when watching the 56+ Nations and Nationalities’ representatives flowing into MesQel square yesterday afternoon. The fact that some of their feet were shod in ‘moga chama’, ofcourse, broke the heart (the representatives of the Host region, Oromia, should be congratulated, by the way, over their colorful performance). “But”, I reasoned, “these people are representatives after all. If ‘Yebandira t-shirt’ is the best 95% of Ethiopia’s Nations and Nationalities could afford in the form of ‘Bahlawi’ attire, so be it”. The material out of which their shoes are made certainly didn’t discourage the aspiring poet in my bossom. “AnSebaraqiwochu YeEthiopia Qelemoch” was the word that kept coming to my mind while watching them dance past ETV/ERTA’s camera.

So what did I say when I hit the office first thing this morning?! “Enkuwan leBiher Bihereseboch Qen Adereseh/Aderesesh”! My colleagues’ response: a chuckle, as if abesheet was trying to be funny and, for once, succeeding.

I see their point ofcourse. They were agreeing with a statement Micheal Jackson’s brother once made regarding his demented kin. “We should judge an action by it’s intensions” was what this ex-member of ‘The Jackson Five’ entreated, arguing if Micheal behaved in an unbecoming way infront of kids, he may have meant it for a purely blameless reason we have yet to figure the driving motives of.

It’s no secret to any of us how EPRDF’s intentions in promoting the issue of “Biher Bihereseboch” was far from “pure.. as the driven snow”. It seemed to have focused on showing the wrong done to them by “gejiew yeAmhara biher” instead of what they have to offer separately or individually. It’s also true that this unwise attempt at winning ‘YeAnasa-Biherwoch’-vote costed innocent lives at Bedeno, Arsi, Jimma and the like. But is EPRDF the only one to blame for it or is that what’s to be expected of the type of mentality we Ethiopians have, a mentality that seems to consider ‘death’ as the only way to resolve any/every difference?!

Let’s say it were or weren’t, does that make the idea of “Biher Bihereseboch” wanting to speak in their language and celebrate their uniqueness within the “Qinfif” of unity necessarily bad?! Or December 9, “Ginbot 20 the Sequel”!? I do not think so! Anywho, Enkuwan LeHidar 29 ornull.

Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

I’ve got a stupid idea.. Objects of our affection

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. BluBlack  |  December 11, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    How is it this post didn’t get as much response as your few lines on one azmari who may be guilty? Do we need any more prove which ethiopians give more value these days? You do your thing habesheet..Ignore the ignorants.

  • 2. sistu  |  December 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    BLUSHA BABY!!!! I think you are who I think you are. Nice to finally read ur hands (‘dimtsishin asemign’ till neber enate. Not to me tho. She wouldn’t wish that on her enemy, my dimts). Ok, the ignoramuses will comment on this post too (I see you don’t mince your words, yeman zer gomenzer)…and the azmari too. you really have your words together, my mother would really love you. No singer can ever live past the azmari title in her eyes.

    I’m a fan of beher-behereseboch too, just as long as they kept their ETV programming to the minimum… with the exception of the saturday night features of them which that woman with the beautiful voice narrated. who was she?

    yigermishal gin, i’m the sort who would vote for each of their freedoms from Ethiopia if they choose to have it, like Oromiya. I would vote for Oromiya’s freedom if they ever get a shot at a referendum. Go on, let me have it… my just-just for that opinion. Let your words to the mekorkum-ing. Yeah, I’m all violence these days.

  • 3. Girum  |  December 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    “KeAbACHADA Yishalal Acheda”….Lol ( haha Yet heje lifenda alech..)

    Yihe yebiher bihereseb ken gin… It’s a kind of reasonable for a country like ours. It might create a clear picture of who we are and sends the right message to everyone that we are together on ‘lemesmamat tesmamten’ and works till ‘lalemesmamat eskeminsmama’. But am afraid waving too much this ‘ Biher Bihereseb’ thing will polarize our community. It is better we reflect it on a slower pace….’ ale adel Ye Alem mecheresha aderegut eko’

  • 4. RiRi  |  December 11, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    @ BluBlack

    you are right that not a lot of people ended up commenting on such an interesting post, but i don’t think we should simply regard them as being ignorant. What bothers me most on such blogs is that so many people comment on topics they are not familiar with, save some opinions they’ve heard on the media and comments made by their grandparents. There is nothing scarier than someone convinced of an opinion built on such sources with no regards to reason and logic. So, I was glad not to find too many comments on here, because i would assume ( and i may be totally wrong) most would have based their opinions on emotions and empty rhetoric, instead of a relatively deeper analysis of Ethiopian politics or culture… Many people are aware of Teddy Afro, not so much federalism…


    Thanks for a great post; i do agree that we should be able to celebrate our differences while still embracing the idea of our unity. No matter how much people rave against the idea of Art. 39 (especially those in the Diaspora) – It does serve a great purpose. I think the verdict is still out on whether such a system of federalism was the best possible solution to minimize conflict that have been witnessed for much of the our modern history or whether the government has been able to put in practice what it preaches in theory. But we shall live and see…. until then…. Enkuan le Beher Behereseboch Ken abro aderesen 🙂

  • 5. sistu  |  December 12, 2008 at 12:28 am

    RiRi, no need to be shy. Let’s talk federalism if its an interest of yours. I promise we can invoke academics and not have to rely on Ayat-kidmayat afe-tarik. Between you and I, I am big on EF (i will trust you to know what it stands for as you seem to know your ha-hus of federalism). So let’s talk.

  • 6. RiRi,  |  December 12, 2008 at 2:52 am

    lol i didn’t realize i came out as being shy. I do admit though, i am not one to wear my opinions on my sleeves ( i find the more i become convinced of a given opinion, the more i’m closed minded about others – which can be quite dangerous given my lack of experience in what they call ‘real life’)

    I don’t know if i can say federalism is a great interest of mine, but i do feel obligated to understand a thing or two about it since i am Ethiopian. If i ever hope to understand what Ethiopia is all about, it is one of the topics i feel like i need to be aware of.

    Between you and i 😉 i’d agree on the idea of EF for Ethiopia. I still haven’t figured out what other system would have worked for a nation so diverse. I do agree that all nations should have the right to practice their own culture, language and political freedom the way they chose to… whatever the intention of the EPRDF was implementing such a system, it did give all nations the right to be who they are.

    I guess the topic is way too broad and complicated to look at all the pros and cons of such a system ( especially on abesheet’s blog lol) and i honestly believe we’ll still have to wait and see if the system has accomplished what it has set out to accomplish…. cuz there is always the other side – the USSR did finally collapse because of it…
    Sistu, so that’s sort of where i am at…

    abesheet, thanks for providing your blog – it seems to have potential to distract me from all the things i need to get done – i have to admit, i sat up all night a couple days ago and read your online book – the whole thing – it was wonderful, thanks 🙂

  • 7. sistu  |  December 12, 2008 at 11:30 am


    I realize i’m making a habit of leaving a link-trail on Abesheet’s pages but there is this other great paper that I came across just a couple of weeks ago that i also found v interesting; its not too long or yetenzaza. Here is the link. If its un-openable, i will send you the file through our emissary abesheet.

    glad u brought up USSR coz the parallels are greater than one would expect, i guess. Abesheet makes a great point in her post. “It’s no secret to any of us how EPRDF’s intentions in promoting the issue of “Biher Bihereseboch” was far from “pure.. as the driven snow””… their intentions weren’t pure, nor were USSR’s. What i found most interesting there was that they thought they could do away with it after a few years after they had stabilized their gov’t. (i won’t add all my thots here but again, appetitot kefekede, i will forward you an email thru Abesheet to add more on it). But I hope Eth. is doing things differently in that B-Bs (sorry) are getting truly **empowered** (word i dislike, but hey) that they won’t fall under an autonomous rule that would suppress/ignore them in the future.

    my final point for now is that it depends what your view of USSR’s collapse is. It may have collapsed as a big superpower but the independent countries seem to be surviving… not sure how they are doing tho.

  • 8. RiRi,  |  December 13, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Sistu, thanks for the paper, i still haven’t had the time to read the whole thing, but i managed to skim through it enough to make me wanna read it. I’ll definitely get to it as soon as i get some time.

    I love how you brought about the idea of ” what your view of USSR’s collapse is.” That’s why such things are so interesting – the moment you change your point of view, it just becomes a whole other story. I guess the process of the collapse and the cost of it was more of the problem, rather than the final outcome for the former members of the USSR. But it just amazes me how sometimes we are so blinded by this idea of being ‘united as a nation’ that we disregard what the cost of staying united is, or, really, whether its even something we need to strive for…

    Our current government is a disappointment, to say the least… to be honest, i’ve never regarded the issue of Ethnic Federalism as the question in need of so much scrutiny. Like i said, i think it’s something that could work for Ethiopia. The main issue is the lack of democracy, which is a prerequisite if there is any hope of federalism to work. I know this is such a cliché thing to say, but unless power is divided in the real sense of the word and real autonomy of states is promoted – well… lets just say our scholars could have countless debates and discussions… the party at the head will remain right where it is feeling content and at home…

    I’ll love to read what you have to forward, i think appitiate bedenb yefekdal 😉 Thanks sistu…

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The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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