Archive for June, 2009

Art immitating life, or life immitating art? (or does it even matter?)

Peter Pan’s Statue @ Carl Schurz Park
Peter Pan

After watching part of the interview Micheal Jackson gave Martin Bashir, “Living with Micheal Jackson”, where he made that infamous statement about sharing your bed with kids being “the most loving thing to do”, I decided to google “Peter Pan”. [Whose story I came across and got hooked on in the movie “Hook”, and watched (under the pretense of renting it for my pre-teen kins) over and over until the video cassette no longer works. Maybe there is a child in all of us that never grows up. And maybe there should be a child in all of us that never grows up. How else can we credit stories of flowery heavens, brim-stoned hells and ideas like “true” and “unconditional love”].

I googled, then Binged, Peter Pan (just to see what the big deal was; found none) and learned he was a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie:

“..a mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up … spending his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland, as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Indians, fairies and pirates, and from time to time meeting ordinary children from the world outside.”

The fact that J.M. Barrie shared the first two alphabets of his name with the late “King of Pop” — M.J., interested me. I decided to read a bit more about him. How he came up with the idea and what people’s reaction to it was. I was in for a major surprise & a more interesting read than the story I first set out to — you know — read. In that the biography of this … Barrie dude has a striking resemblance to that of Humbert Humbert’s, the middle aged protagonist of Nabokov’s “Lolita” [who “becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze”]. Right from the caged childhood, to the befriending of a parent to get to a minor, to the loathing of the marriage bed [“Greatest horror” he once wrote “—dream I am married—wake up shrieking”], right down to the faking of wills & screwing up of a child’s future.

Maybe Micheal wouldn’t have gushed about Peter Pan, using him as an excuse for misconduct, it seems, so freely if he knew what a creepy midget the man who conceived him was. Or realized the very words used to describe the latter’s freakish dispositions [“asexual” when it comes to women, “impotent” when it comes to his unconsummated marriage, and “loving to play with other people’s kids” when it comes to his fellowship preference] would one day be used to describe …him–self. Or……. did he know, and tried to take advantage of “the naughtiness and evil passions with which [kids] go to bed with” before they “wake in the morning with [their] beautifully aired.. spread out … prettier thoughts, ready for [them] to put on.”?!

[One can only wonder!]

For those who haven’t read the original book, here is a free copy of Peter Pan: The Boy Who Would Never *Grow Up To Be A Man*.

Related Post:
* Prisoners of Love: The New Michael Jackson Tribute.

June 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm 7 comments

Michael, እንደ Ethiopia ዘመን አቆጣጠር

In the beginning were “The Jackson Five”. Then “Thriller”. Then “We are the World”.

     “People faint while he sings”, my mother told me once, “they cry… and scream. It’s as if they are possessed by evil spirit”.

Then came the change of looks. The skin “rush”. The funny nose.

     “They say part of his face is already gone”, my cousin Netsanet joked, “that’s why he wears masks, to hide it”.

He then became a pedophile, a circus-freak, a clown who avoided company and slept in an oxygen-filled tank.

We cussed him out: First we cussed his dad, for beating him. Then we cussed his talent, for putting him in the spot-light at such a young age. Then we cussed him, for the decisions he made.

We were going to cuss him more, and he was going to take it. We counted on that. What we didn’t count on, what we didn’t imagine he’d do, was give up and die. And, by dying, remind us all the joys he once brought us. The charities. The wonders. The “thrills”. Of “Micheal Dabo”. Of “Micheal jacket & Micheal suri”. Of “YeMicheal Jackson aynet tsegur aQoraret”.

Rest in Peace, M.J. You will be missed!

Related posts:
Ethiopia: Remembering Micheal Jackson
Ethiopia artists, fans and media mourn Micheal Jackson’s death
The world mourning Micheal Jackson’s death

June 26, 2009 at 1:44 am 14 comments

K’naan: A pirate, a guitar

Dressing the part

I was hoping somebody would bring this subject up and I’ll be allowed to give my distinguished opinion about it ;). Nobody did, so i decided to do the dirty work myself – with, ofcourse, some help from For, as the Home Depot commercial would tell you, doing it on your own doesn’t mean doing it alone.

For those of you who don’t know who the guy on your right is, his name is K’naan Warsame. He is a Somali-Canadian poet/musician/rapper born in the district of Wardhiigleey (“The River of Blood”) and brought up in “the meanest streets in the universe”, or ‘the risky zone’ as he calls it, “full of pistols and russian revolvers”.

His mission:
Seeing to it that the “average Somalis”, the “most forgotten people in the world”, have a voice other than all the voices that talk about them & drawn their’s. Voices of “violent warlords, or pirates hijacking ships off the coast”. He’s made it, the above mentioned website reports, L.A. Times’ “an artist to watch” list after:

His first album, 2006’s The Dusty Foot Philosopher, was a hit with critics here and abroad. His latest, Troubadour, features Mos Def and Damian Marley .. The Guardian called him “powerfully low-key, theatrical [and] witty.”

And what was it about him I was hoping a reader would bring up & i comment?!
In a word copyright. In two words, copyright violations. This up and coming Somali rapper has been accused by Ethiopians of violating international copy right laws; in the form of copying/stealing/taking without permission or acknowledgement some beats that are rightfully ours. The beats he allegedly copied/stole/took with neither permission nor acknowledgement are “the original composers and singers of Ethiopia namely Tilahun and Alemayhu eshte”. A special attention has been brought, both by and Jimma times, to this song.

I, being one of those who give more attention to the ‘giTim’ instead of a rhythm of a song ( although my Introduction to Poetry teacher at AAU, one Wondwossen Adane, another genius on his own right, repeatedly said a song won’t be a song without the beat), am no more bothered by it than I would by anyone around my age “kilil” winning the celebrity status. And he’s an awesome geTami, this ‘weriha’, of an experience most of us went through back home and continue to [go through] abroad, as this poem here amply proves. [Did i just add myself to the list of “most of us abroad”?! You’d think i’ve been “affer meGfatting” for 30 years, instead of 3 months; well.. the first 6 months are supposed to be the hardest :cool:].

More importantly, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. For it’s no secret to us how if there is something the Somalis are good at, it’s piracy. It’s not bringing their issues to the table and thrashing it out, it’s not having ambitions that are realistic by nature (Barre’s outrageous day dreamings and Aweys’ blabberings come to mind), it isn’t even going without “chaat” for a couple of days. It’s piracy. Taking what doesn’t belong to them and making profit out of it. [And ..oh yeah.. renting a room in groups that has a landline telephone; making long distance calls to their various relatives in the UK and Canada, talk for hours on end and disappearing when the bill shows up. They are good at that stuff!] Not to mention how “counterfeiting” is “tirsachewin neQlewu yaDeGubet muya”. But a friend of mine has been pretty chocked up about it, to the point of asking me to do a post on it [which I, loyal to my loyalty to the “Dusty foot philosopher”, refused], then giving VOA’s Amharic Service a call and alerting them of the theft. Then alerting me of the call. [I know, it’s pretty confusing :)]. “Well..”, I said to self last night (while pacing the room with a sleeplessness that bordered with insanity), “he’s been a ‘lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’ these past few months, giving me pointers on what to do and when — to make the American transition easier. He’s also been my source for any mischievous act Meles or his government has committed lately :). Lemme google the songs and give the post a try”.

Here are my findings. I’ll start with 15 Minutes away, which just became one of my favorite songs of all times. [Tiny Western Union office on “Global Hintsa”, biresash Qegne yirsagn!!]. America, ABC’s and I come prepared.

You tube and The Official K’NAAN Website has a lot more.

June 16, 2009 at 11:04 am 6 comments

The fairgrounds

I was at the 2009 San Diego County Fair at Del Mar Fairgrounds the other day. I saw a couple of things I only knew on tv (the fun-zone where you get to ride some pretty scary machines, banjee-jump or walk into the “house of horror” and have your childhood nightmares come to life). None of this, ofcourse, can be compared to the thrill of seeing a handful of fellow fair-ers who look — well — Ethiopian. One or two of them even had a bag or a hat with a “green/yellow/red” color on it. I didn’t have the guts to approach them and ask “abesha neh/nesh?”. Apparently, they didn’t too.

Wished you were here, Babi and Blen. For now, though, check out my mobile-collection of:

The outside scenery


June 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm 3 comments

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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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June 2009

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