Posts tagged ‘Ethiopian Bureaucracy’

Is “Nu” enough?!

A friend of a friend once wrote an essay for his ‘Workshop on Creative Writing’ class at the Addis Ababa University. Dr. Yonas Admassu, older brother to Poet Yohannes Admasu, was the man chairing the workshop in those days (unlike the monster-with-no-soul that is chairing it now). In his reign, legend has it, the creative freedom abound :). So this friend of my friend wrote an essay on the then “hot-potato” subject of the return of the Axum stele. A fact, apparently, he was violently against and made him beg the poor “sidetegna hawilt” not to come, not to let them trick you into coming because there was nothing good to come here to. He listed, my friend told me, the possible bureaucratic and societal problems the stele would face if it decided to live in our midst. Giving it as his final opinion that the “hawilt” better stay where it is and have us love it from afar, as we always seem to do with things we don’t have to directly deal with, than coming here and it end up hating us. (That’s the gist of the essay, if not the exact words the writer used)

But ofcourse the damn stele, who may have had more in common with my good uncle than what it’s modeled after, refused to heed to this advice & came. It’s been observed to me it ain’t having much fun lately!

My uncle was a celebrity. Back when celebrities were rare and not even called that. You can’t walk the streets with him without having taxis honk their horn at you and every one of their passengers “menTeRarating” on top of one another to get a glimpse of him; making you feel pretty special by association! 😉

After “hizb leHizb” proved successful in convincing the West that there was more to us than mere starving kids (or atleast that’s the story that went about), my uncle was allowed to go to America to entertain the Ethiopian Diaspora there. He stayed in Washington for 9 months, savoring the sophistication and the “ene liQdem, ene liQdem” adoration from the Ethiopian community most of whose members fled the country during the Ihapa time (through either Moyale or some other neighboring country’s border) and weren’t likely to come visiting soon.

When the nine months were over, he declared his intention to return home. When the whole family protested “but why????“, he said he was too Ethiopian and has too proud a spirit to wash the white man’s dishes after performing on the white man’s stage. His exact words were “ageren mAseDeB new”. What happened afterwards is, ofcourse, a tragedy. He didn’t die, but boy did he live to regret it?! (more…)

June 5, 2008 at 8:25 am 1 comment


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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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