Of boyz and men

December 16, 2009 at 6:13 pm 26 comments

After hearing the bad news of my favorite newspaper not being published back home anymore, and that my favorite journalists were on the run; I made my way to the facebook profile of one of these journalists. To mastezazen, you know. The way you do at “leQso bet”s. To shake the head, to suck the lips, to dig for info. To ask “meche, endet, weldowal?!”. And, like most leQso bett visits, i came out hardly able to contain my laughter.

The source of this [cruel, inappropriate, uninvited] amusement is the words this journalist friend chose to show his online status with. It read:

Cursed to think. Cursed to speak. Cursed to be born in a place where you cant think or speak. Cursed not to bow down. Cursed to be surrounded by those who master the art of bowing down. Me and my kinds In Ethiopia are truly BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN.

Call it what you will:

Lacking in precision (I mean, “can’t think”?!)

[I called it “heavy”. Too heavy to try & read into at 7:19 a.m, before a girl had her morning fill of Folgers’ classic roast — not that light-brown “special” thingy which tastes like a perfume]

But you can’t help notice, for a facebook status, it is too melodramatic. And like all melodramas, it seems laden with seeds of, dare i say it?, insincerity! Like a fit a cousin would throw at the sight of you, about being robbed on a minibus, before you even have a chance to say howdy and demand she return the money she swore she’d give back this morning. Making you wanna apologize and slither out with a heart-felt “you don’t have to explain it to me, Sile/Netsa/Enu. Honest you don’t! I believe you [–were scared of being thrown in jail, and would have never dreamed of coming to America, and garner the privileges dished out to persecuted journalists, if it weren’t for that fear].

Now a line from Forrest Gump:

There was this man, giving a little talk. And for some reason, he was wearing an American flag for a shirt… and he liked to say the “F” word. A lot. “F” this and “F” that. And every time… he said “F” word, people, for some reason, well, they’d cheer.

Welcome to the great US and A, guys. Enjoy your first few weeks :-).

Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

Desperate times/desperate measures Scenes from “Jolly Bar”

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Totit  |  December 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    HeY habseet…Me is glad u have decided to blog again…:)

  • 2. Ankami  |  December 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Abesheet. Wellcome again to the web, but is very sad the Addis neger issue. Please, comeback with a happy one.

  • 3. Scooby  |  December 17, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Anche chekagn. LOL`i hate to say it but i see your point ~_~. But you know nobody is perfect. What’s more,most of us speak in ways we heard in books or movies.We don’t know the average american don’t speak that way on his day to day life until we experiance it. `I agree with ankami,it’s really sad about addis neger.The few issues i read made me think the country finally ready for freedom of speech.`it’s suprising they last thsi long.

  • 4. abesheet  |  December 18, 2009 at 5:19 am

    Funny you should mention that, Scoobs. Because the first time I talked to my husband on the phone, he was intimidated by what he later termed as my “enunciation”. He kept catching his breath and sounding very uncomfortable on how proper, how… posh I sound (and how contrary he must). It was later, while talking to one of his football-loving, burger-gobbling, right-out-of-knocked-up [the-movie] friends, that i understood “stuck up” was how my english made me came across as to my american listeners. In person, ofcourse, it’s a different story. Your accent, that you never knew you had a hint of, may make some of the things you say hard to understand. [The way i pronounce “elevator” is a source of mirth with my white-american colleagues]. But people usually find it “exotic”. Rare. Beautiful. Not too shabby, I should say ;).

  • 5. Spacefog  |  December 22, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I think they are being dramatic. I read Abiye’s interview and it sounded not origional.something is not right with their stories.

  • 6. Abiye Teklemariam  |  December 23, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Hilarious! But I want to know these privileges the US dishes out to persecuted journalists and prepare for a higera across the Atlantic.

  • 7. spacefog  |  December 23, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Abiye …If you are the real abiye ,great to have you here!
    Now tell us , what really happned ?
    If possible specifics ..not general stuff. Like me I already know that there is no freedom of press in Eth. I assume you had that understanding when you started Addis Neger too. So what happned in the process that made you quit half way ?

  • 8. Abiye Teklemariam  |  December 23, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    @spacefog? Like what? Who said what to whom?… and when? In the interview you mentioned, I said what made us to collectively say that ” the stone had no more corpuscles to squeeze out” was the anti-terror law. Now that is a different beast even to people who consider being jailed as just another job hazard. As you said, we assumed press freedom was perilous in Ethiopia. Every Addis Neger editor had multiple criminal and civil cases in court. We were never “okay” with that, but willing to work within it. But the anti-terror law was a whole different ball game.
    I went back to the profile page of the journalist you quoted. It was his birthday…a week after the paper was closed…I can’t see a more appropriate time to be melodramatize low spirit. You are actually very harsh on him.

  • 9. spacefog  |  December 23, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Okey …details like we had court cases make sense.
    The rest just doesn’t add up.

    We knew each other personally at some point so I wouldn’t dare say you would do this for the sake of getting an asylum some where. All am saying is the rest of the things just don’t add up.
    To be more blunt , I understand why you can leave when you have a court case but not because of the ” anti terror ” law.

  • 10. spacefog  |  December 23, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Why didn’t you just stay in the country and pursue something else . Like when ET radio shut down “talk sport ” you guys took it somewhere else, if am not mistaken, right?

  • 11. abesheet  |  December 23, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Just woke up, West Coast here ;-).

    Abiy, you wrote:

    I went back to the profile page of the journalist you quoted. It was his birthday…a week after the paper was closed…I can’t see a more appropriate time to be melodramatize low spirit. You are actually very harsh on him.

    I don’t understand how you can agree with the gist of my post and can still call me “harsh”. Min atefahu aba?! Melodraman.. “melodrama” kemalet beQer?! Thought you, of all people, should appreciate that. Have called “domma” some pretty “domma” things I’ve said and done since I land here. (Or was “harsh” another word for “mistir awetash”?! In that case, I am 100% guilty :-)). Postu Mesfinin ayateQalilim, by the way. I have a deep respect for that quite soul no amount of silence would break. It must be the convinction that he, actually, is the one journalist from Ethiopia who isn’t out for cheap popularity at the expense of good journalism. Just a feeling.

    So nice to see you again dear. If i am not mistaken, Abiy [was the extra “e” intentionally added, by the way, as a shout out -as they say- to your last name?!] has been out of Ethiopia since 2005. After winning a scholarship in America. So he hasn’t technically quitted half way. And the anti-terrorism law does indeed sound as if it would land every journalist that doesn’t work for Addis Zemen in jail. However, the answer to the question “why now” can only be speculated upon. I tend to agree with yours.

  • 12. Abiye Teklemariam  |  December 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    It isn’t because of the anti-terror law. It is because some of the editors were to be charged of the anti-terror law…if that makes sense. Do you think they should have remained at home knowing that charges were being prepared against them? At any rate, this is simple: people felt threatened. They left the country and issued a statement explaining why they left. It doesn’t really matter if some people are convinced or not.
    Bringing “talkfootball” is mixing apples with oranges. As the show’s co-host, I was never threatened, harassed or persecuted. There was no charge in court against me. Nothing. They just shut down a sports show.
    The whole notion of Addis Neger editors shutting the paper to seek asylum smacks as “Doro Bitalem Tirewan new” non-sense to me.

  • 13. Abiye Teklemariam  |  December 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    @ abesheet
    The extra “e” was a gift from my Grade four English teacher.

  • 14. Abiye Teklemariam  |  December 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Not that I am saying you intend to suggest it.

  • 15. abesheet  |  December 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Lol. I always had the feeling “Abiye” was an affectionate reference to Gash Teklemariam. Apparently, there was an easier explanation. The “+e” plague! Paltalk is brimming with it.

    So how come you didn’t try to have it changed? Too much paper work? Or was there more to your teacher than being just a bad speller?! [That made correcting the spelling in your name feel like a betrayal ;)]

  • 16. Abiye Teklemariam  |  December 23, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Gash Teferi yibalalu. Yegash teferin sihtet sireda, it was too late. you know, ministry, martic minamin…

  • 17. Spacefog  |  December 23, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    As I said .. to me, court cases are understandable.

    I don’t agree talking about the sport show is mixing up apples with oranges. I thought they shut it down because of the other Amharic news paper u used to publish ..forgot the name. At least that was my understanding. Even if ,they did not threaten u personally they meant to limit ur rights to expressions.

    Plus, I think it matters if ppl are convinced.

    @ Abesheet,

    I guess it took closing down a NP to make u blog again. Good to have u back !

  • 18. abesheet  |  December 23, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    People, space, people have always been my core interest. That maybe why i’m failing to say much about my experiences in america, no other country has a wide array of folks hard to boil down into one all-fitting tube. As to being back, only time and how intriguing people decided to act will determine.

  • 19. antigone  |  December 24, 2009 at 4:41 am

    Abiy is right. Guys are playin hard ball this time. The security ppl beat AN’s trustee and took away their computers..they did the same in the case of kinjit. Meaning? They will try to fabricate somethin and present it as evidence at their sham trials..

    However, some of the AN affilitates could have started another newspaper and continue the public discourse..

  • 20. antigone  |  December 24, 2009 at 4:52 am

    My question though is to what extent was the source (who told AN that they will be prosecuted) credible? This might yet be one of the tactics of the regime-when they want to get you out of the picture, they will send their security and tell you that you will be prosecuted unless you flee the country in hours..While it is unlikely that such threats will materialize, the risk/possibility of prosecution will make u take it seriously. Once u go on exile, the threat u pose to them will be minimal. As Tesfaye GAb said ‘Hageru yelele manim yelem”

    I wonder whether AN editors would have been tried for terrorism..AN had built a very good reputation and connection among the diplomatic circles, and one could normally assume that EPRDF would think twice before taking such an action. But look at what they did to Birtukan..they don’t seem to care about diplomatic pressure..If they feel that AN would be an obstacle in the coming sham elections..they won’t hesitate sending the editors to jail..

  • 21. antigone  |  December 24, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Sorry. what Tesfaye GAb said was Hageru yelele yetim yelem

  • 22. Wello dessie  |  December 24, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    What happened to AN is far more than individual writers behavior
    or even their intention for taking asylum. I don’t know why no body seems to see that. Also I don’t understand who the “men” are in the title. However,i’m glad you are back kongit. Youve been missed.

  • 23. abesheet  |  December 25, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Hello Antigone, love the nick. Nice to see you again too, Wello dessie.

    Regarding your comment, WD, I’m not trying to imply what happened to Addis Neger (the fact that it isn’t being published anymore) is less than tragic, and that the government isn’t fully responsible. Have said it on Arefe’s blog and will say it again: It’s the one time in America that made me grateful i wasn’t back in Addis. However, throw a bit of melodrama into tragedy, and what do you get? Comedy! Just trying to see humor in it, is all.

    The title is about transition. Of a hope that our boys would grow into men, and our men – into their nobler self – someday. Not that I have a grain of doubt that they, or atleast the journalist I was referring to, have come to the right place for it. As I said to a friend the other day, no other country heals you off your childhood dispositions than the great US & A.

    Melkam yeFerenjoch Genna. Hannukkah. And/or Kwanzaa.

  • 24. Just to say  |  January 4, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Weta wetana ende shenbeko tenkebalele ende mukecha!!

  • 25. Mr.Hargeisa  |  February 5, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Hey abesheet, i don’t know if you remember me. It’s been a while since i visited. Moreover,i can see it’s been a while since you have an article too. No matter. Just don’t lose your personality. That’s worse than any form of writers block. Good luck

    Ijole Hargeisa

  • 26. abesheet  |  February 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    –dabo firfir.

    Lol. That sounds pretty “dereQ”, especially without a “mawerareja” of some kind. Something like a Safi wetet or a shai-buna “sprees”. Or has “jolly” bar advanced out of it’s dark “unjolly” eras and started serving it’s “gazetta tekeray” customers a macchiato that looks and tastes like a “sini liQlaQi”?! From 5 Kilos’ Lion Bar to Legehar “Minit”, that’s the addis i know — and loved :-).

    Hey abesheet, i don’t know if you remember me.

    Ofcourse I remember you, Mista. How can i forget my avid [may I say to the point of “obsession”?! *poke* *poke* *nudge* *nudge*] anti-chaat reader!? Unfortunately, or fortunately, I doubt anything short of a zurba of Awoday’s best would cure the “mental dinzaze” i am in [if i were ever free of it]. Would driving all the way to Las Vegas be worth it……i wonder?

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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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