Swimming above the tide

February 3, 2009 at 9:56 am 9 comments

When I saw the t-shirts bearing the Amharic version of 1st Kings 20:9 on Arefe’s Timket photos a week ago, I wanted to ask who the implicit target of the statement was supposed to be. But I was scared. Scared of drawing the wrong answer or the wrong audience. “Gomen BeTena”, I said to myself, and let it pass. This morning, however, I realized things have already gotten out of my plump little hand. That our Ethiopian Muslim brothers over by Negashi – OJ have seen the photos too, and perceived it’s implicit meaning (inspite of the “netela” covering one of them).

Ofcourse, things have been changing ever since USA invaded Iraq and Al-Shebab appeared as a key player in Somalia’s war front. Things that one would like to see more of until one starts asking “why now?!” and tried to view them with relation to other omnious events taking place around the world.

  • More girls becoming conservative-Muslims and wearing hajib than they used to.
  • Muslim men seeming to replace the Jehovah witnesses that stop you in the street in an attempt to save your soul from eternal damnation.
  • Arab investors appearing more interested than ever to invest in our country
  • More importantly, the so called “Islamic” militia not seeming to find the Prophet Muhammad (Allahu alayhi wa sallam)’s orders not to harm Ethiopia necessarily binding.

And there are things one hears one wishes one didn’t. About: an “imported radical Islam” in Ethiopia, of terrorist suspects [armed men and women with the intention of establishing an Islamic government in Ethiopia by will or force] being brought to court, of books being written by the same ole ignorant wild-fire-starters (fanatic Orthodox Christians and radical Muslims) attacking and disrespecting one another, resulting in the killing of innocents and the destruction of mosques & churches.

And one wonders if this means that Israeli Ambassador’s statement of a year or so ago has a grain of truth in it. A statement one mocked and jeered back then as a “wishful thinking” on them root-of-all-21st-century-evil-Zionist’s side. About Ethiopia being one of those countries to whom religious war is a clear threat. And one worries.

Then one realizes how there has been many such “mwart”s on our country and people in the past. “Mwart”s that foretold our demise and “woe to us”ed us with horror. “Mwarts” that confidently talked about how we’d all perish when EPRDF’s forces entered Addis, for example. A “Mwart”, complete with biblical “evidence” and the finding of hair threads among the pages of the Book of Zephaniah, that “Badme would be deserted” when Ethiopia went to war with it’s tiny and disruptive neighbor. A “mwart”, as recently as 2005 G.C., telling us how 15,000 of our youth would be sacrificed to bring “Kinjit” to power.

And one fondly remembers how in all these “mwarts”, in all these “eminent” “threats” to our safety as individuals and a nation, Ethiopian Christians and Ethiopian Muslims have stood together. How they knelt infront of their respective Lord, and begged and entreated Him to “Save our country, protect our people”. And one knows, just knows, Muslim/Christian Ethiopians would find a way around this [new threat] too were they to let their instinct, instead of the vicious hate-filled noises outside, guide them [the way Addis Admass’ columnist Yohannes S’e. told it here.

P.S. Yes, he ain’t much of a poet 😉 ].

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Abbiye Mengistu’s “Tizita” “E” is for Idiota

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Seada  |  February 4, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Those who are aginst us will be defeated.We will stand becuse Allah is greater than them all.Those who are insutling us will kneel down before us.

  • 2. Girum  |  February 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Prophet Muhammad (Allahu alayhi wa sallam) = Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam)

  • 3. abesheet  |  February 4, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Ameen Seada. YiLmedibish!

    Girume,
    Welcome back. Does this mean my Qale mistakes are forgiven 😉 ?

  • 4. Misrak  |  February 4, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Kneel down before us!
    Why is it that dominance is so importnat for Muslims?

  • 5. Girum  |  February 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Abesheet, there is no forgiving stuff b/n us…We’re always cool. Just the bro speaks what he feels right at the moments.
    Like for the ‘Qale’ incident, it isn’t that I disagree with you at all.
    But just didn’t expect from you some rough approaches like I or some bloggers would tend to follow.
    BTW, I was here, perhaps everyday, looking for your posts. Having felt no more to say, it is a kind of better to be a silent reader….

  • 6. abesheet  |  February 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I didn’t know i was being rough, Girume, only sharing what i felt. But you know how it is. One man’s pear can be another man’s poison. I personally LOVE, simply love, those readers who call a spade a spade. Problem is not many people have the courage to examine what they feel about a writing. So they wait for somebody who is brave enough to comment, to help them decide where their votes should go 😉 . Those who know what they feel about an article and can comment do not because: A. They worry they aren’t informed enough to handle the questions and answers that might follow. B. They’d rather read and go instead of saying something that’s likely to cause offense for somebody. Trying not to offend others, even in this cyber jungle, seems important somehow. Which is the weirdest thing for me because i thought that’s why we come online, you know?. Yelibachinin lemenager! [The same reason why i once said blogging takes guts, the kind of guts you wouldn’t understand unless you experienced it, especially for those bloggers who dare stop and question]. To make a long story short, I believe that’s why you don’t get comments like mine with posts that many people feel strongly about. Not because the reactions aren’t there!

    By the way, did you see this awesome article on The World of Islam on Arefe’s blog?! I don’t know much about it’s authenticitiy, having only taken one course of my “Arabic for All” at AAU, but loved it.

    Well.. have a nice weekend bro.

  • 7. Girum  |  February 6, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Abeey,
    Okay u just gave me an assignment to think more about a silent or dissatisfied reader. For me, all of us are not here to just speak our guts out. Some of us target to collect what some Good people have said. We don’t dare to put our comments that is based on insufficient knowledge on the subject matter, sometimes we tend not to be in the mood to discuss the raised issue, We felt laziness to critically go through the piece (something more than reading) or lose the energy to wind up our stands and hit the comment button…..’Weze terefe, eyaln eyaln ye sinfinachin tebeka enhonalen ’
    But when we feel something is wrongly deviated from what we believe, we tend to flash our sounds….. Whatever the case we keep up reading (We continue to learn), tho sometimes finishing the whole post might be…. u know.
    Yeah, u’re right that isn’t the right approach, just saying something ‘bedefenaw’ doen’t mean anything. Haven’t you faced a ‘senef temari’ at school?…. + I have a personal experience of Insulting my favorite blogger badly and I couldn’t stop regretting it for so long!! Doesn’t it, thus, better to keep sometimes calm than driven by ignited feelings and end up to complications?
    True, I didn’t like your comment on ‘Qale’. What was the problem of naming the Vigil as Qale, or what difference would it have if it were ‘Qalwa’? Are we in an Ethiopian literature class or somewhere with a focus on one ‘miskin’ Ethiopian driven to a prison? Is it expected from those old politicians to be such a creative on naming the ‘mishit’? Can’t get how you were that despised by the lack of their creativity. Essentially that was not at all the purpose!!! Ur comment had this general TONE of ‘what do you expect from those…..’
    Whether those people are dumb or whatever, the essence is that there is something sad that has happened and needed to be remembered in some possible way. I sensed why you play it this rough, perhaps u are unhappy with the political capability of the old people out there or maybe you didn’t like the move taken by Bertukan or in general the ‘TeQawamis’. That may have led you to be unhappy with their proceedings from the beginning. ‘Negerachew hulu alwat bilosh?!’. Me too, I felt the same way, the question is tho do we have to ‘ Ye mote sew medebdeb’? Do we have to be this far ‘Neger neqash ’ ? Such things were okay, if I do them, But didn’t expect from the subtle mind of yours.
    About Muhammad (SAW), it isn’t that I wanted to correct the piece, it is a kind of expression of my detest to the post. Regarding ‘’Things that one would like to see more of until one starts asking “why now?!”
    I don’t think religious extremism is only reflected with our Muslim brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. It is like a fashion to show up extreme inclination, than previous days, to religion by other Christians too. First of all, it is wrong to tie terrorism and Islam in Ethiopia; they are by no means the same. I believe that we tend to see more anguish approach in religious views by our people than ever. True more Muslim chicks wear hijabs, but more Christian chicks are seen also wearing their ‘netelas’, over the China jeans (that is how I come up to see it). It is my near memory that most of Christian chicks start refusing to have sex during ‘Filseta’ (Well it is only during ‘Filseta’ tho). One can wonder what happen. Is everybody getting the ‘MeGelet and Jesus’n maGgneting’ stuff? (well, was everybody in kaliti!?). It is sometimes like a mood, haven’t you recognize the mobile tones in a Taxi? If you happen to go a long way with a mini-bus in Addis, you will most probably have a small census of religious distribution among the 19 people therein (Well, only the ‘weyala Ketena’ can’t be known)
    So What I want to mean is that the extremism isn’t only by our Muslim neighbors. In a fair judgment, the radicalism you would see from Ethiopian Muslims is far less than the Christian Ethiopians’ acute mind setting =’ Ye abatochen rist alsetihim aynet’. So why aren’t we discuss the backward thinking, crept in some of Christian Habeshas like me, that hinders us to really believe in religious equality, or that gives us to fantasize of our picture ‘Ethiopia =Ye Christian Island’. BTW I am totally not a Muslim.
    Abeeye yene konjo….bekagn bakish kezi belay anchi chersesh asrekbilign…

  • 8. abesheet  |  February 9, 2009 at 7:12 am

    What an awesome comment that was, Girume. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. Sorry to hear you still feel guilty about “insulting” your favorite blogger. I’m sure he or she has forgiven and forgotten long ago 😉 .

    Regarding the “Qale” thingy, if you remember, I didn’t say it was “wrong”. I said it was not creative! Dumb, at worst. That’s all. It has nothing to do with my reaction to what happened. If somebody else, like you for example, felt a rose is a rose.. then it’s ok with me. But I will wish if a more appropriate name was chosen.

    Nobody hates the “YeChristian Deset” bullshit more than I! [YeZer, YeHaimaot, YeQelem “kurat” has always pissed me off]. It was ignorance at first. Then it became insensitive. Now, and with the presence of the likes of Mad-Qess Birhanu, it’s out right “teb-acharinet”.

    But, and here lies the important question, are fanatic Orthodox Christians the only one to blame for the religious tension we sense in Ethiopia these days?! The answer is: No! You said “it is wrong to tie terrorism and Islam”. That maybe true. [I said “maybe” because I have yet to finish reading the Qu’ran]. It is atleast true to 95% of Ethiopian Muslims. For Ethiopian Muslims, just like Ethiopian Christians, aren’t your average Muslim or Christian. They are Ethiopian first and then religious second. But haven’t there been sufficient number of Muslims indulging in terrorism act [in the name of Islam, supported by quotes from the Holy Qur’an nonetheless] to warrant that attitude? The answer, unfortunately, is “yes”. I said unfortunately because it’s the one fact we can’t deny. They were executed out in the open, these acts of terror, while the whole world is watching with horror, the beheadings and mass-killings of innocent people [Christian, Muslim, non-Christian, non-Muslim] in America, in Pakistan, in Jimma.. etecetra.

    I’m not saying any other muslim except those who did the deed is to blame for this. And that there hasn’t been Muslim-killings in the last 20 years. Kosovo is a sad and recent example. But you don’t generally see Christian groups training suicide bombers with the promise of going to heaven for killing one kāfir. [If they did, would our Muslim brothers and sister hesitate from labeling them “Terrorists”]. And it’s a public knowledge how would-be-suicide-bombers, who gathered under the umbrella of “Islam”, were caught and brought to justice only two weeks ago here in Ethiopia.

    So we can’t help associating Islam with terrorism [after all survival precedes reasoning]. It’s unfortunate. And completely unfair for the law-abiding peace-loving Muslim who would like to live in peace with his/her neighbour. We should try to swim against and above the tide, not just for the sake of “Abro Menor” but because, as Arayaselassie observed here, we are in this together. But none of us can be above biases so we assume things.

    Now what moderate Muslims should do, I believe, is show their religion is truely a peaceful one. If they, or a good numbers of them, would rather act all “beQuaaf”, making themselves vulnerable to those who inflame the tension {by counting wrong deeds of the past, training their daughters at various Kong fu centers here in Addis, act jubiliant every time Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared he would or not do something that’s threatening to the Modern world}, that only adds to the distrust and make matters worse. I am trying to be honest here. For I don’t see how we can achieve peace by pretending the king wan’t naked. By being honest only when it comes to dumb/fanatic Orthodox Christians. [The usual suspects, so to say. The parties we freely blame for we know we have nothing to fear from them. Hmm…]

    Now, if we could all stop for a minute and try to see who is behind this new tension, this tension news agencies like Al-Jazeera are subtly feeding, and who has to gain from our killing each other, things would have been easier. For all would realize religion is only the cover, and the powers that be are really political ones. I pray that we, Christian/Muslim/Non Christian/Non Muslim Ethiopians, do soon. If not, I pray Fetarrii (undemocratic and dictatorial as it is) Mengistachinin enditebeq. For in IT lies our survival.

  • 9. Mr.Hargeisa  |  February 18, 2009 at 6:19 am

    This is what happens when politicians get their dirty finger nails where it doesn’t belong. Nothing good comes out of it.

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