Thursday, December 21, 2006

So 'Old' York

New York is a great many things.

It's one of the few city-cities. Sometimes it's gray tall buildings, which seem depressingly grayer on cloudy days. It rat conventions in the subways. It's luxurious lofts, doormen, chihuahuas on the top and roach infested, closet sizes studios beneath. It's homeless men who claim the street like they've the space on a lease ... which reminds me of Addis. It's free stand up comedy a ride to your choice of destination (much love to the conductors on subways). It's people always in a hurry - possibly to the nearest coffee shop - stepping on your toes with their unnaturally high stilettos in the dead of winter (but, why, why, oh why?), and barely noticing. It's 'gentlemen' clubs in the middle of Time freaking Square.

As a self declared bumpkin, I dutifully take in this fodder for amusement purposes only. What I fail to understand and tolerate is hanging out with, say habehsa guys, and trying to catch a cab at the end of the night. Then I find the real rotten apple.

This is the routine.

The guys will stand at a distance from me and I'll hail a cab.
If cabbie thinks I look respectable (really, that should read as I don't look like i'm going to the Bronx) and that I'm by myself, then it will stop.
Sometimes the presence of hovering black men in the background is enough to send a cab to the furthest lane from my curb.
And accelerate.
If the cab stops but before entering the cab if I make the mistake of acknowledging the guys, it will speed off.

One of my friends brushed it off and said, 'you can't let it bring you down.' Me? Down? No, I think New York is pretty god dammed low, and some how everybody's fine's with it.

Madonna sings away ...

"If you don't like my attitude, then you can F-off
Just go to Texas, isn't that where they golf?
New York is not for little pussies who scream
If you can't stand the heat, then get off my street"

I guess I'm little pussy, so another drink for good ol'Joisy.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Somebody Else's Stream of Consciousness

Apparently working full time and taking multiple classes in an area that's not one's forte is not good idea. Hard to write when not having had much to think. But thank God (?) for little mercies that come in spurts, nay deluge, of anonymous comments. If you've a lot of time in your hands (mind you, I'm barely 1/100th through it) , and by a lot I mean a LOT, then read the comment here by a certain (3nd) Anonymous.

I found it to be interesting, and at the least amusing.

So far my favorite part's been the word 'masculinization'. Is there a masculinizer, too? 'Can I have a bottle of masculinizer, please?'

Masuculinize is defined as, the tendency for women to engage in cursing, casual sex, or be quick to anger and violence.

Of course, if the masculines didn't have masculinized women to curse at, have casual sex with, abuse in quick anger or be violent towards, their masculinity will be all wasted. Lo and behold, no masculinized women!

Does this count as a post?

Monday, November 06, 2006

So 'Old' York


Date of a post should be date of posting, not date when when one composed its title!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


It's quite likely that the name stands for 'studded with money.' The company formerly known as StarBucks, henceforth referred to as *$, is renowned for many things. Depending on who you talk to, *$ has made a name for good (popular?) coffee, bad coffee, fair-trade, unfair trade, eco-friendly, barely eco-friendly... But if there is one thing there will be a consensus on, it is the fact that *$ makes money. Some serious money.

Ethiopian farmers are not known for many things. Not that many people, even among Ethiopians, know much about them. But here are two things there will be consensus on - that they grow darn good coffee, and that they're poor.

*$, meet Ethiopian farmer. Ethiopian farmer, meet *$. The outcome? Explosive headlines.

"Starbucks, the giant US coffee chain, has used its muscle to block an attempt by Ethiopia's farmers to copyright their most famous coffee bean types, denying them potential earnings of up to 47m [pounds] a year."

Remember when Nestle sued Ethiopia, at (one of the many) heights of food shortages across the country? Well, Oxfam, along with many appalled parties, was all over the case until Nestle backed down.

Here is round two of fighting the giants. If you think yeHarer, yeYirgaCheffie and yeSeidama coffee deserve as much trademarking as over-roasted, caramel frosted, whip cream smothered coffee products of Starbucks, learn more and take action here.

Spread the word.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Morning Non-Thoughts

Some people say their morning prayer.
Some people go for a run.
Some people drag themselves to the fridge to grab another beer to 'ease' a hangover from last night.
Some people walk the dog.
Some people do yoga.

I wonder if they also non-think:
If I should labor through daylight and dark,
Consecrate, valorous, serious, true,
Then on the world I may blazon my mark;
And what if I don't, and what if I do?
- Dorothy Parker
Who is John Galt?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


There's a song about 'lemlem Ethiopia' stuck in my head. I just can't get the words out.

Our current government has/had this dream about an 'Agricultural revolution' in Ethiopia. It seems our lemelem country is particularly unviable for agriculture (I am assuming that's all Eth has and has already exhausted as a resource). More here.

It's very strange that Ethiopia's resource consumption ratio is as high as that of developed nations as the United States and countries in Europe, or as that of super-populated nations like India and China.

Having said that, I am be curious to know what figured into calculating the resource per capita ratio for those maps and figures.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Random stuff

I like news. Random news. It makes my day. Not the CNN headline kind of bloody news of yesterday’s “20 more pople die in Iraq”, or today’s “21 more people die in Iraq, making that number a record for this week”. Really? Considering today is Tuesday, that’s one hell of a record. But does anybody dare aggregate the number since the War on Terror started manifesting 'itself' in Iraq?

Everything is sensationalized. Like the dead of summer and winter seasons in the US, where every region is always breaking some 40 year old record every year. Seriously, how’s that possible? If they can’t name it ‘the coldest temperature recorded in 40 years’, the weatherman will phrase it as ‘the longest coldest temperature recorded in the briefest period of night time in 40 years!’. Before your mind can even formulate a ‘Huh?’, the newscaster will take it from the weatherman and say ‘Thanks, John, for that wonderful analysis. Well, folks. You heard it. If it continues like that we’re going to have one verrrrrrrry cold winter. Let’s hope for the best. Stay warm, and that’s all for now from Channel 99”.


But I digress. I like random news. Like the homeless people’s world cup currently being held in South Africa. Instead of petty weather news, I like to occupy my mind wondering how homeless people afforded the ticket to SA to play unprofessional football when I’m working obscene hours (well, at least in my mind ) and I can’t afford the time or money for a trip to SA. I hope this does not sound like I’m being sarcastic, bitter, or cynical. I’m not. I’m truly bemused. Somebody managed to pull a trick in 48, most likey developing countries to finance homeless players to scuffle half-way across the world to pay street football. And they found respectable venue. That’s a commendable feat.

The home team, Bafana Bafana,Version Homless, beat Chile but was then brought down to submission by Brazil’s Usual Suspects de las Favelas. I wonder if we’ve Ye Menged lay tedadaree igir kuas-tegnoch representing.

Then there’s this : the inauguration of a new service in Germany that ‘helps break up dead-end relationships’. You can chose to have them deliver the news by phone or in person. They can deliver it in a’ sympathetic or direct’ manner, and voila! You’re off the hook.

Ha ha ha ha. Gud’ko new.

Yes, I laugh. Until one day it happens to me.

Mean while, ha ha ha …

Monday, August 21, 2006

Wey gud!

My mother would say, "YeqoTun awerd bila yebibitwan Talech". Or maybe she'd be more pithy and come up with a better one liner.

Here are a series of events that just ... hurt when one tries to make sense out of.

a) August 6 : The 'Islamists' take full control of Mogadishu, and start advancing north, increasing areas of Somalia under their control. The government of Ethiopia starts saying 'i'rrrreeeee!', and warns that if they advance withing 60 km of the Ethiopian boarder, then Ethiopia will take action. Let me clarify, in case there's any misunderstanding. We're talking 60 km inside Somalian territory. Apparently EPRDF is high on whatever their papa Bush is on, and think that they can pull the same shit America's pulling in Iraq (never mind the fact that Iraq has now degenerated into a state of civil war ... perhaps for Ethiopia that's no issue since Somalia has 'always' been perpetual
a state of civil war).

There were reports of Ethiopian solders inside of Somalia. The Ethiopian Government denied it. The Somalian transitional government denied it. But the Islamists were convinced that Ethiopia wanted a hand in this. They finally declared jihad on any Ethiopians found in Somalia. (Ok, I'm Ethiopian but really, who can blame them?)

2) August 7/17 : Floods hit parts of Ethiopia, especially in the south and south east. The first of major reports coming from Dire Dawa suggested that about 200 people were estimated dead. A couple of weeks later another river overflowed killing 125 more people in southern Ethiopia. Thousands are reported missing or trapped.

Rescue workers claim that their efforts were hampered by the fact that helicopters couldn't fly to the disaster regions due to weather conditions, and the boats they were able to send in were very small. "
We are trying our best", they said.

3) Aug 20 morning : The United States sends in its army reserve stationed in Djibouti to help with the rescue operations. Oh, how nice! (yes, as much as I like to sit and bash American foreign policy and its global irresponsibility, the US does have its many kind moments.)

4) Aug 20 evening : Ethiopian troops are finally openly present in Somalia. The BBC reports that they were seen approaching the city of Baidoa, the seat of government of the transitional government of Somalia.

We've people and villages getting swept away, lives being taken and destroyed by the hundreds and what is the Ethiopian army doing? Yelela swe guada gebto yifetefital. Ihis? We've other people's armies coming into our country to deal with our disasters.

"We're trying our best", they said. Best? Best? Does that imply there could be worse? Mts.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Swift Summer and a Balcony

My apartment has a pathetic excuse for a balcony. I noticed the wooden thing they called a floor was only partially painted when I first came by to look. Oh, well. I figured it would be very unlikely for me hang out on a balcony to ... tan? Or something.

Anyway, I put a Walmart $15 hammock on two opposite railings and for a while it was pretty cool. It lasted me the fall (used a couple of times) and winter (forgot it existed). Spring came and I tried it out once. It looked shaky, but it was fine. Then a friend, who happened to be twice as tall and weighed twice as much, decided to try it out. Needless to say, he ended up on the semi-painted 'floor' with one side of the railings on top of his head.

He was okay. I promptly removed the hammock and anything that might indicate recreational used of the balcony and called the manager. Really. There was nothing in my agreement that said not to use the balcony as a hammock hanger. The next day somebody came by and put caution tape around it.

A month passed. The caution tape started discoloring, too. Considering I don't live on the first floor, I called the manager again with the friendly reminder that one can easily fall off my balcony in its current state. I was assured it would be fixed. Another month passed. I called again. This time a new lady told me the other manager got fired. OK. And the balcony? She asked me how long it's been, then proceeded to chide me for not having reported it earlier. Um. Hello? Caution tape? After a little barking she promised it would be fixed. It's been another month and a half.

Maybe I'll fall off the balcony and sue them.

In the mean time, I just received a strongly worded notice 'reminding' me that I haven't renewed my lease. If i do not sign and return the form by late August, they'll be forced to take legal action. M*****F****RS!

So I proceeded to log in and type here instead of signing my lease.

Anyway ...

Is 'agramot' a word? How?

Must listen, why not see ...
I could do with a CD, actually.

Whoa!I first heard about her at, and now she's all over. (video to song mentioned in bernos) (Interesting) (man in an apron!) (for some reason, its content was considered offensive to/by some and you've to log in to see it. Perhaps it's a lil' yemeteqe kelemednew stuff, but really, is freaking youtube!)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"Mahedoooo No, Harar"

First of all, a big :-)

Then some lyrics:
"yemegalawa lij, yemitadrew dirE
simEn Tiriwna, limTalish berirE
meTichE liTeTa yegimel wetet
hod yemiayleselis, yemiyares anjet"

Also, some stoker-esque scenes that were reminiscent of "every breath you take, every move you make ...", until they ended in a rather amusing "lomi biewrewir aha ahaha, deretun metahut, aha ahahaha" way. Say, why is it that it never works for me when I hand men fresh lemons? In my case they bolt out of the kitchen swearing and muttering and stuff.

A fantastic lovers on a garee scene with a ferenj garee nejee (in pyjamas or was that a jelabiya?) and two habesh passengers. Good & Gud one!

Last and least, dude who popped up with the guitar, I must have totally missed the guitar in that music.

Well, it definitely entertained me. But then again, so did this.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Black Stars

Win or no win, hats off the Black Stars. Looking forward to cheering them in South Africa next time.

Oh, and here's some South African Ghana vs. USA humour:

A friend of a friend (of a friend's friend friend) says he'll cheer for France in this World Cup because he believes that a truly African team. The French team's the face of the United Nations of (West) Africa. While this theory is almost as appealing as it is amusing, I'm going to shamelessly go back to cheering the Brazilians, as is the age old Ethiopian tradition. If they continue to play as haphazardly as seen so far, it should make for one helluva ride.

Why Sience is Cool

Or better yet, why scientists are the coolest.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Street Children

BBC photojournals the lives of street children in Addis:

"Across from the main post office, there is a sewage drain. It draws little attention.

Thousands of people walk across its steel bars every day without giving it a second thought. This is good for Mohammed and his friends. They do not want their home to be discovered."

Used to be good for them until it became good for you, BBC.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Many Faces of Tobian

Tobian in this blog is for e-Tobian or eTobian, otherwise written as Ethiopian. Or maybe it's the Amharican for a citizen of Tobia , a Tobiawi or yeTobia sew ...

Whodathunk Tobian is also a language currenlty spoken by about 100 (50?) indivuduals from the island of Tobi in the Phillipine sea.

The language tree goes something like Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central Eastern, Eastern , Oceanic , Central-Eastern, Remote, Micronesian, Proper, Ponapeic-Trukic, Tobian

It also seems:
Both Tobi Island and Helen Reef have been invaded by Monomorium destructor, a so called ‘tramp ant' species that is widely dispersed by human commerce and trade. The ant causes extensive economic damage in human settlements by damaging fabric and rubber goods and removing insulation from electric cables. On Tobi Island particularly communication means (phone cables) and solar electricity systems are under threat but humans also directly suffer from the insects’ aggressive nature. The resident population in Tobi Island has decreased significantly due to disturbance by this ant.
Well, good luck and sabuho.


A year since Ethiopians dared to demand that thier votes be counted.

Facelift coutesy of this Flickr collection.

wusedegn yalsh we de gas light
ibete molto gazna isat

(something i can't hear) soderen banay
shower iniwsed biret miTad lay

indachi lale shenqata lij
min yaregal kitfo bombolino in'j

Dereje & Habte

Chachi : things you don't see people in habesha libs do on TV often. The song's been around for a while, but I'd not seen the video.

Funny Meles interview. Again, this has been around for a while ... but if you've not seen it and you are too deep in love with Meles ...

Favoritelines : "yetNawa mist nat?" & "Inae I don't worry. Yichin libs man indesefat alwaqm. Des alech'N. Gezahuat. Lebeskuat"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tintin and Tutu

At first when I saw the headline I thought, 'surely, it must be another Tintin'. On BBC it said, "Dalai Lama awards Tintin and Tutu".

So I clicked on to see who on earth named their kid Tintin. To my initial relif, and subsequent amusement, it turned out it was good ol'Tintin of Tintin in Tibet , an adenture which, over half a century later, won him this award.

So the Delai Lama honored Tutu and Tintin in the same berath?!?! Ha ha! (well, the award was for the Herge Foundation, established in
memory of the author of the Tintin cartoon adventure books ... but that's a minor detail you don't get to until 10 years into the news article.)
In his speech, Archbishop Tutu paid tribute to his friend.

"I give great thanks to God that he has created a Dalai Lama," he said. "Do you really think, as some have argued, that God will be saying: 'You know, that guy, the Dalai Lama, is not bad. What a pity he's not a Christian'?"
Hmm ... I wonder ... what did Tintin have to say?

I liked Tintin. I guess I still like Tintin for old times sake. But since growing up, looking at some of the pictures, I'm less amused by the depiction of black characters. They're so ... Bamboozled!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

So Confusious!

I’m confused. If it’s not something to do with everyday drudgery, it’s to do with those high school (I hope!) kids who smoke pot in the laundry room beneath my apartment (what a choice of location if you don’t want to piss off strangers. ይጨብጨብቸላው), or with rare, but sufficiently convoluted US immigration laws … or something.

ለምሳሌ… when they say, “Those here for longer than five years -- an estimated 7 million people -- could earn legal work status immediately …”, does it mean that one had to be illegal for all of the five years? I’m wondering because suppose I hurried to violate my visa status now, and I have been in the US legally for longer than 5 years, do I still qualify for the amnesty? Alternatively, can I lie and claim that I lied when I first got my visa to enter this country, which will make my visa void, and thereby make my more than 5 years of stay in this country illegal? How about if I became illegal for the next five years? You see …I’m confused … unless I’m confused about being confused.

This, I believe, is the state my fiend calls ‘confusious’. I am confusious!

ሌላስ?”, you say. I’m confusious because I don’t understand why EPRDF decided to ban all these blogs. I mean … no, I don’t mean … really, just why? Consider how many people have access to Internet. A diminutive proportion of the Ethiopian population. Consider what kind of people have access to internet. I would say Addis Ababans, in general, the same people that voted CUD whole heartedly into almost all their constituencies.

IMHO, all this is what habeshas aptly describe as, ‘He started from the ground and wanted me a thing!”. The government opened and stirred a perfectly content, ተከድኖ የሚንተከተክ ዶኬ. Now all this ሽሮ is መፈናጠቅing around, international journalist groups yapping, apolitical blogs are preaching censorship avoidance techniques, and amidst my confusion I have to go back and ask the basic question: all this for what? If Addis Ababans aren’t busy reading these websites and agreeing, they’re busy writing them. Are Addis Ababans about to change their minds and love EPRDF if they read or wrote less? Um. No. So ለማን እና ለምንድን ነው censorshi?

Anyway, the fact that EPRDF tried to do something about the blog situation means that it’s tickling some people in the government the wrong way … which naturally leads this former Addis Ababan to the conclusion, nay affirmation, that something very worthy is being said here. Something so worthy that perhaps it should be spread beyond the Diaspora and internet-accessing Addis Ababan populations. These blogs should be made into a (bi-)weekly newspaper.

Between Aqumada’s poetry and essays from funny, yet misogynistic students of medicine, Enset's unconventional wisdom, Weichegud’s acerbic commentaries, Ethiopundit’s unrelenting politi-economico-blows, Seminawork’s ፍቺ of ወቅታዊ ጉዳዮች, Bernos’s … well, ምን ልታሸ መድረክ ቀረ?, Meskel Square’s የአደባባይ ምስጢር, CoffeeChilliSun’s ጸሃይ አያስሞቁ ፤ ቡና አያስጠጡ ፤ ቃተኛ የሚያስቆርሱ መጣጥፎች እንዲያው ምኑ ቅጡ … herein lie the perfect fodder for a pot luck publication.

I say, somebody should select articles from the past week (with the consent of the bloggers, of course), print it, and sell it cheap, darn cheap (well, no need to pay reporters, after all) just in case those who cannot afford time & money for Internet in Addis miss out on the best of የተወገዙ bloጎች.. .





Curiously, I’m now a lot less confusious. Really.

Got my route laid out and my mind is clear
Got my pen and my pad, gonna get it all down
'Cos words are a road that lead outta town

Monday, May 29, 2006

Like The Pot Calling The Kettle Purple

Isaac Asimov supposedly once asked his daughter, “Why is the sky blue?”, and she’d confidently responded, “Because it’s not purple!”. That sure beats delving into refraction and the electromagnetic spectrum.

In English, color is a funny thing.

I came across an article entitled “Meles vs. Mengistu: The pot calling the Kettle Black”. The point the author made was that Mele himself has a lot to be judged by and when it gets to his turn, “One hopes it does not take 15 years for justice to be meted”.

Yeah, Meles sucks. Yeah, Mengistu sucks. However, my preoccupation with the article was more to do with its title. This title would obviously make no sense if it was “Meles vs Mengistu: The Iris calling the African Violet Purple”, or “Meles vs. Mengistu: The Dough calling Snow White”. My gut instinct was that the origins of "The Pot Calling The Kettle" is from times when being black was of lower stature in Western cultures. So I did a little bit of research which revealed other ways of looking at the proverb.

The saying 'that's like the pot calling the kettle black' is a very old saying. It means 'You've no real cause to say these things to me because you fit into the same category' or more simply 'look in the mirror, you're no different'. But the part about the pot and the kettle comes from way back in history, probably when the western U.S. was first being settled, and people cooked with cast iron pots and pans. The tea kettle was black, the dutch oven cooking pot was black and so the analogy was formed 'pot calling kettle black'.

I could almost believe this except “the post calling the kettle black’ is usually said by a third person looking at the ‘pot’ and the ‘kettle’ from a higher ‘moral’ ground and passing the judgment that the ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’ are both worthless.

But then Blonde Justice delves into its origins from “Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins” which gives two possible meanings. One is that calling the kettle back is ridiculous because they are both black. “The other theory is that the pot was black but the kettle polished copper and the pot, seeing its own blackness reflected in the shiny surface of the kettle, maintained that the kettle, not it, was actually black.”

Hmm. Let's keep in mind this is coming from dictionaries that define themselves with currents of time. Like the way The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary copy I had while growing up had sample sentence to go along with words. For the word famine, and that sentence was ‘Famine in Ethiopia’, which of course was very true in 1984, and still is true now. Hopefully it will not be true in another half century or so, but my copy of the dictionary will still be around.

So …to believe or not to believe? I dunno. I say we change the proverb to, ‘The pot calling the kettle purple’.

Another English term that bugs me is ‘white trash’. I am pretty sure I had read Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ before I came to this country, but … I don’t remember what I felt about it. Years after I came to the US, and having had a different view of the American ghetto than what’s depicted in ‘Coming to America’, when I opened the book a second time, the term white trash stuck me funny. The narrator, who was black and poor, was referring to poor white people as ‘white-trash’. Perhaps this is the case of the pot calling the kettle purple.

What finally struck me about the term white-trash was that it is so offensive to black people. And to all other people of ‘color’. A black person with a low socioeconomic status is simply called a black person. A Latino with a low socioeconomic status is called a Latino. After all, what is so strange about these people being poor? A white person who is poor is not just white, but a white-trash, the scum of what should otherwise be a spotless race. White needs hyphenation, the rest are trash anyway.

Is there another way of looking at it?

Ah. God bless America, indeed! Yibarkat'm, yimarat'm!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Real Rant

For anybody who’s bothered to read my posts from over a year ago, it’s pretty clear that I take my CUD with a grain of salt and Tena’Adam. Then I gave it all up and switched onto other issues some time after the elections because … all sides became nauseating.

I have been trying to write an article on CUD for over a month, but every time I start to write it, I keep thinking about all those people in jail and I have to let go of the idea. Poletikam be yilugnta – gud ikno new!

But then came the story of Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) which jolted me back to reality. In fact, it sent me running to my copy of Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”. Time to question my South African history.

Ok. So the South African struggle was at some point backed by a military branch. In fact, when Umkonto we Sizwe, the military branch, was formed in 1961, its commander in chief was Nelson Mandela himself. During the next 30 years of the guerrilla army’s existence, the organization attempted to sabotage capabilities of the Apartheid government, and the government returned the favor by labeling the freedom movement as a ‘terrorist organization’. Initially Umkonto we Sizwe started` off with attacks on government/infrastructural targets, but eventually it moved onto urban warfare and inevitably civilian casualties.

So why did news of AFD send me running to this piece of history? Because AFD didn’t make sense. And I had to verify that, despite my vehement opposition to armed struggle, the South African resistance actually had some semblance of sense. In South Africa the army branch was ideologically on the same grounds as ANC, and therefore a logical extension to ANC. It was not attempting a revolution, it was not drawing out a civil war, it was not exterminating whites nor fighting to evict them. It was destabilizing an exclusive white South African government and the structures that enabled its existence. It was inflicting an economical wake up call to make white south Africa realize that the country’s future will have black written all over it, whether Afrikaners liked it or not.

In an enduring statement at one of his trials, Nelson Mandela once said,

I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

The point is that it is his cause that he is willing to die for. When ANC wants to fight it gets ANC people to fight for it.

So what is CUD(P) doing? It realizes that it can’t motivate the exhausted we-love-one-Ethiopia yuppies to fight for its cause. Instead it aligns itself with LFs who’re willing to die for another cause, like OLF and ONLF. Lovely! Just lovely! If CUD’s not willing to die for a cause, then they’re not worth the cause and the cause is not worth it, so they should quit and desist before they send that poor country off on another half a century loop. Personally I would not lift half a finger to pull no god dammed trigger to fight EPRDF, nor will I encourage even a willing member at the farthest end of my extended family. Obviously, neither would CUDistas

Besides, what exactly will AFD be fighting? Is it going to go for a civil war? Like the ones we had been fighting since 1950s? Like the ones that brought us a lovely government called EPRDF?

A year ago, on the wake of elections when EPRDF banned demonstrations my thoughts on the matter were conflicted. In theory, it was wrong. You can’t ban dissent in the name of maintaining democracy. However, in practice we don’t have democracy because we have not developed the democratic culture. By ‘we’ I don’t mean our government, I mean we, the Ethiopian people. Whatever is lacking in our leadership is lacking in us as a society. My thoughts then were that Ethiopians forget that the very symptoms they fear in others are the symptoms others fear in them.

On the same note, I don’t think another civil war in Ethiopia will bring us leaders any less jaded, bitter and myopic than the ones we already have. We produced this government, and we’re fully capable of repeating history. Just like EPRDF has spent too many years out in the bushes disconnecting from civility, ability to discuss and compromise, so will this era of freedom fighters. In the end, we can’t ask nor expect the new breed of ‘liberators’ to be any better … when we have not put enough effort to be any better ourselves.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Interlude to rant ...

Good one, McGruder ;-)

I wonder how much of this is true - we do things because we've paid for them, and we pay for them because … we do!

A month ago I went to the dentist, not because I had to but because I was about to cancel my dental plan (I come from a proud no-to-dentists family that believes in good tooth cleaning, ideally with mefaqia, kaltechale be brush and kolgate, and none of that dentist hogwash) and i felt it was a waste to have paid for my plan and not having done something with it. So I made an appointment with a dentist and found out what I expected - disappointment and a waste of my time. No cavities. Some cleaning. The lady commended me for doing a good job of keeping regular appointments as evidenced by healthy looking teeth (um ... how about this is my first ever visit to the dentist? - She looked at me funny) Will i consider taking out my wisdom teeth in the near future? She said they may impact the rest of my teeth. May. Right. Um ... I may ... in the future, but if my Dad's fine with them, maybe I'll be, too.

I still pay $15 for basic cable. I definitely don't watch it, or even know what channels consist of the basic cable. I don't think I've gone past channel 11, and those lower channels I get from antenna anyway. In any given week, I don't think I've ever watched more than 5 hrs of TV. The $15 this has not inspired me to watch more TV, but its wastage, along with my other (lack of) habits has not inspired me to cancel either. Maybe one day, I may ...

Monday, May 22, 2006



Gud iko new ... ishee beqagn, beqagggnnnnnnnnn crazy.

In short,
"A historic meeting convened, by the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP), the Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front (EPPF), the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Sidama Liberation Front (SLF) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), at Utrecht in Netherlands, from 19 to 22 of May 2006 has successfully completed by forming the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) and elected its officers."

"The new Alliance Freedom and Democracy (AFD) says it will focus on peaceful struggle against the government but the armed groups will still stage attacks."

"The Alliance includes the rebel OLF and ONLF groups, which are campaigning for greater rights for Ethiopia's Oromo and Somali communities respectively."
Be'isat lay CHid new yemibalew?

(BTW, to whomever wrote that for BBC, that article is darn confusing.)

Rant to be continued kesira wouCH ...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Yeah. Like I said, me like crazy.

This is pretty impressive for an habesah. Normally we like to hide our names & faces ...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Maybe it's me ...

It's not even that I fish for music stuff!

Anyhooo ... I've not yet worked through why this was aseqTaCH but ... it was.

I guess I don't see what the point is (publicity for the artist, somebody's home video, art project ...?) Anyway ... you know what they say about Ethiopians: 25% die from civil wars, 25 % from famine, 25% from AIDS, etc. and the remainder 25% bemayagebachew gebtew.

And right now, thisu beTam ayegabagnm ...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Time is money.
There is a time and place for everything.
Time cures all things.
Time flies.

The funny thing I have found about keeping journals/blogs is that they help you measure time. Wasted time. I dind't do anything I would consider fruitful in the past 3 weeks (besides going to work - not that I'd a choice. I guess time is, indeed, money. ) and yet I couldn't even bring myself to sit down for ten minutes and put down my thoughts.

Americans like claiming that they don't have time. But seriously, how busy can life really be? I think it has become a culture to think that Americans are busy.

If I fail to call home on a regular basis, other members of my family cover for me by saying i've been 'busy', and that excuse always works like a charm. In fact the standard habesha description for uncommunicative people is "min yidereg ingidih ... nuro'ko ruCHa new!".

Ok. I understand there are some people who work two jobs. Maybe those people are truly busy. But what's with the rest who work, say 10 hrs a day. Let's say they sleep 6-7 hrs, and commute for 30 - 60min round trip. That leaves 6 hours free per day. Lets say another hour or two for taking a shower, meals etc. Abesha people in America don't have to do zemed Tyeqa (ok, locations that are recreations of Ethiopia on the wrong side of the Atlantic, like DC, don't count), leqso, daily beteskian mesalem .... and to prove we've the time to waste, many among us will not miss the routine entertainment, be it a party or a wear-out-the-seats session at Starbucks. If there is a time and place for everything, then place seems to be the key word.

So how did we acquire the "ruCHa nuro" reputation? I for one feel like i'm wasting shitloads of time. Yes, time is flying ... but no, i'm not feeling cured.

Headlines of the (last) week

Sometimes I worry for the "American" part of this blog's description. But when I don't have to, I worry even more.

Here is a farce of the American justice system. Don't get me wrong - if I ever had to be tried in court (obviously due to some confusion ;-), and I had a choice of courts, then surely an American one would still come out on top. But every so often you have to stop and wonder.

One of my friends who in grad school jokes about how his jury duty calls consist of going for the selection process and somehow always getting rejected. He claims the less 'provably logical' you are on paper, the better a juror you make. As of recent observations from trial Zecharias Mousssoui's trial proceedings, now it also seems the less English you speak, the better a juror you make.

The word the juror looked up was "Aggravate"which, I guess, is not necessarily an everyday word, but then again, what kind of words are used by lawyers?

My guess is, in the future we'll hear of American jurors uttering:
"Excuse me. Allo? Allo ....what me do here? ... oh. Ok. So if me not under arrest, me go? No? ... "
"May I ask when do we'll get to my case, becoz I didn't mean to kill her ..."
"Your honor, we find the prosecutor guilty as charged!"

Moving on ...

The "Failed States Index" by the apparently not-so-estieemed Foreign Policy has finally been issued for 2006. Ethipia placed 26th on the Rankings . I've to say we've not topped the worst rating for any of the categories even in their eyes. The entire African continet, however, has managed to register all countries but 4 (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland & Madagascar) at some level in the 'Failed States Index'.

Now, to the BIG question: Pakistan??? What the hell is Pakistan doing in the top 10 list? Pakistan between Afghanistan and Haiti?

I don't think so.

Then again, there are some other interesting in order, like Russia at 43, Ertirea at 54 and China at 57.

Hmmm.'Nuff said.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ah, ኮምጣጤ!

I bumped into this hilarious parody at Yekolo’s blog, which led me to a Website of The Nonsense (Warning: approach in full armor! Rudeness, acrimony and obnoxiousness, all in the name of good humor, abide) and then to a discussion which revealed the source of the parody, an interview with Zeritu Kebede, at the one and only, Addis Live! (Warning: if you’ve not been there already, then you’re missing the essential some-some of habeshatude!)

So … the interview was … ምን ልበላችሁአለ አይደል … umm … በቃቂቂቂቂቂቂ ….(Ok. There’s only so much Zerututalk I can write!) … excruciating! It was insufferable. Agonizing. It brought back memories of first days of ፍስለታ ጾም when I was a kid, you know, right around 2PM, in time for የምትፈናከት የቀትር ጸሃይ, when they’d start lining us up, all unknowing, sin-less, ረሃብ የቦጨቃቸዉ kids so we can መቁረብ, and for one moment, ግዜር ተእምሩ እያልቅ, there’s … harmony, as discord ceases to exist in the minds of millions of Ethiopians – albeit all children – across the country as they stare up at the adults, making it seem like their stares were actually directed to the heavens in piety and awe, while in fact all were whishing that this process would end, like, now, as in አሁኑኑ፥ በቃን፥ ደከመን፥ ራበን፥ ሰለቸን፥ ቄሱም ጉሮሯቸው ነቃ … where is …ንትን … what was it …why are we here … ረሃብ makes one delirious … eh …አዎ … where is … ቁርባኑ? Give me .... whatever it is now and let it all be over. Now, goddammit! (and BTW, ግዜርዬ ይቅር ይበለን for having these thoughts). Yup, that was her interview. Where exactly was it going, and why was I following?

Every whisper (“Baby”, not seductive!), laughter, ‘Arif’ …. አሰቃቂ … goddddddammn. The thing was supposed to last 1 hour and I was watching the time counter on WinAmp tick, thinking እውነት? .. ሌላም ልትይ ነው? ተይ ንጅ? ወይ ጉድስቲ? So I kept going. Sadomasochism 101: Theories of Habesh Molqaqification.

Then the time hit 33 minutes and something changed. Nothing really happened - I just came to the realization that this girl was …. f***ing crazy! They say ማር ሲበዛ ይመራል … well, here’s one for you : ኮምጣጤ ሲበዛ ይጣፍጣል. I LIKE HER! Me like crazzzy. She’s crazy. Have I stressed that enough?

We keep complaining about how habesh are bound and held back by ይሉኝታ, “ሰው ምን ይለኛል” mentality, unfaltering attachment to our “Ethionpian-ness”, our great history and long traditions, that we have an unfaltering definition of education as the fields of science, engineering/medicine and success is defined by those and only those.

This girl doesn’t have an ounce of ይሉኝታ left (or born) in her, her Ethiopian-ness needs a classification of its own. She is more of a candidate for a ፈረንጅ whose soul was stolen by aliens, implanted into an Ethiopian skin, and dropped on the Abyssinian highlands by some cosmic fluke. She has an unabashed lack of appreciation for … almost anything Ethiopian (oh wait, no … can we surmise that she likes አንጀራ, but obviously not ዳቦ?). This girl … has almost no appreciation for education, nor does she seem to have had much of it, for that matter. Not only does Zeritu not care about what the public says of her, she doesn’t seem to care what her አብሮ አደግ thinks of her (or what Zeritu says of her!) Above all, we’ve to give this to her … she’s young, successful and ደፋር to the point of አይን አውጣነት!

Well, አዳሜ ሃበሻ … be careful what you wish for … the 21st century delivers to you, “Baby”, with a banging style.

Having said that, I should also note that I don’t like her music. Here’s the problem: you know those Ethiopian songs that are so looooooong that even if you start off liking the song, 7 minutes later (Efrem Tamru is notorious for this) you ready to break the radio, or into a deliverance prayer, because you feel … nauseated? The problem with her music is that I can only listen to the first one minute before the impatient brain cell starts screaming ‘next!’ Her stuff is mildly refreshing, but not captivating.

Unsurprisingly, her music reminds me some pop songs I’ve heard on some US rado station that never quite made it to the top charts. Now, I didn’t even listen to Britney at the height of her career and I was still a teenager. When I listen to Zeritu’s music, I feel like I’m doing it a favor in the name of it being Ethiopian (and damn – she doesn’t even care!) I fear that one way favors can only go for so long.

I may refrain from listening any further interviews with Zeritu (coz now it’s flipped back to ማር ሲበዛ ይመራል, you know), but I will look forward to her next album. I hope that by then she’d have grown a little bit more of … substance, while maintaining her dis-Ethiopian Ethiopianness intact.

Yup, yup …. I dig this chick, man. She’s crazy.

Headline of the Week

"No African country is objectively spending enough on defense," says Eboe Hutchful, executive director of the Ghanaian think-tank, African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR). This was announced at a conference on military budgetary processes in Africa, held in Addis Ababa. Hmm. Oh, you mean buying Hummers to mow down civilian protestors is not …‘strategic’ enough for military spending?

EPRDF does not have time, need or desire to be objective about its military spending. Why strategize when all you have to do is shoot when in doubt, and also shoot any Ethiopian who dares question this approach. Is ASDR crazy? Advising prodigal African governments to spend more money to better strategize how to blow money … to kill more Africans? I am not sure what I find more offensive – the conclusions of the conference, or the fact that the conference was held in the first place.

What the hell is ASDR anyway?

Also, “Business in Africa”, do a lil’spell check on your news items, please.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Daily Prayer

Ha ha! Funny (minus the part about "thy womb ...")

Where is Dedesa, anyway?

Power to the wonders of backtracking URLs. I came across this page that had a good range of oldies that'd eluded my ... pitiful collection. And to think, just the other day I was reading about respecting Ethiopian artists' copyright ... (which, btw, I sympathize with but since it cannot be technologically helped, i think artists should look into other ways of making themselves more attractive... including looking into producing an entire album - or almost - of worthy music so that some of us will actually bother to get off our arses to buy their stuff. How often does that happen in the Ethiopian music scene? I don't mind giving money to charity. But when i give for charity, I'd like to call it charity, not music shopping. I mean, for example, are these people tax deductible? .... pardon me, April 15 ደርሶኮ ነው!)

Anyway, some of the stuff on that page, I don't think most of can go out and buy even if we wanted, or so I tell myself ;-)
አይጥ ሞትዋን ስት ስታበዛ ሩጫ
ሄዳ ታ
ታለች የድመት አፍንጫ
So I continued to dig ...
But then it got better ...
... and better ....
  • Nanu Nanu Naye with Israeli accent. What more can one ask? Good stuff. (No really, it's Mi'Maamakim from Idan Raichel - now this album I will buy).
How was that for random?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Headline of the Week

I think I should dedicate a post per week to ridiculous news headlines. Last week's was Nigeria/Liberia/Sierra Leone and Taylor. This week it is:

[Drum roll]

[Better yet, imagine the first 15 secs of the song 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday']

I can't believe the news today
I can't close my eyes and make it go away

Africa, bloddy Africa.

The man took a shower to wash off HIV? Hmm....

.....hmm. A moment of silence, please. Let's mourn what a life could have been, but isn't.

My defense for Thabo Mbeki on what I believe is a misquoted statement on AIDS from 10 years ago in discussions with Americans (usually neCHoch, lemin yihon? They can't tell Timbuktu from Pretoria, but they all know that quote from Thabo Mbeki.) has not even rested yet. And now this? This?

I considered reading the article again in hopes that I would find a way to justify the statement as another misquote. Then it struck me that ... I really don't care. I give up. But I'm convinced this guy committed the rape. From his actions, he seems so dense that he probably doesn't know the difference between rape and consentual sex.

Anyway, they keep saying the woman is HIV positive. What about Zuma, when was the last time he was tested? He behaves like an irresponsible HIV+.

How long
How long must we sing this song?
How long, how long?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blog Stock Market

I came across this ... concept(?) It's a Blog Stock Market. It tells you how much your blog's worth on the 'market' in B$ currency. Apparently this one is worth B$1,402.79. Bicchhhaa? Mts!

The better value for me was that I bumped into a bunch of interesting blogs, of which some ethio-centric ones were ...

Ethio-Probe On Ethiopian current affairs. No joke zone.

Ethiopian Cartoons. Like it says ....

Ethiopia and Me , an interesting Indian woman in Jimma, with lots of interesting comments, and ... some "weTa weTa'na inde shembeqo, tenkebalele indemuqeCHa" ones:
"The people of Ethiopia have been in bondage for too long. They dont have freedom of speech, their democracy sucks, they are not developed..... India represents everything they long for - the right to do what they want, speak what they like, move forward with the world, wear colourful clothes and have pretty women (pretty as in white pretty woman)."

Organic Ethiopia on social democrats, coming to you in Swiss. Few posts, but still interesting. Curiously my kind of stuff, actually. I really think the CUD has some very good people, but some real crazy ones as well. Berhanu Nega would be one of my favorites. I'll reserve the 'Not Favorites" list for the time after EPRDF stops being so ... fascistic.

Elena in Ethiopia". Like it says ...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What am I missing?

Every so often something so idiotic happens in Africa that one has to pause and wonder if it happened at all. If one is unable to convince oneself that it did not happen, then unfortunately one has to ponder if perhaps one is too intellectually challenged to fully comprehend the situation. The recent news about Nigeria offering to "give up" Charles Taylor to Liberia, Liberia failing to carry through, and his inevitable 'escape' has served me as one such occasion.

To maintain my sanity and preserve my optimism for our beloved continent, I'll write off this entire useless flaw of information as byte hiccups. Surely, my network card must have barfed on my screen, or else it couldn't have ...

UPDATE: So they 'caught' the guy (hmm ... and why was he getting out of a plush looking Nigerian plane? Is 'hijacking' going to be among the list of his cirmes. Oh, wait, no. Could it be that Nigeria was facilitating his 'escape'?) Some funny comments on his arrest continue to humour me.

ቴዲ መቸ አፍሮ

Yup. That's his middle name. From butt shakin’ to belly piercing, hip wining, MJ’s “Thriller” ripping action in his videos , Teddy A(la)fro is paving new grounds in the Ethiopian music video scene. There are at least four of his videos at Habesha Hookups (በነገራችን ላይ I thought when they said ‘hookups’ that they meant …you know. . . ንትን ሲሉ . . . ምናምን. “Hookup video” ብሎ ለላ? Annnnnnyway!) You may have to skip over some other videos in between. Alternatively, some of the vidos in between were interesting, too. There is a rap song, primarily in English but with Amharic chorus, that sounded kind of cool.

Much like western music videos, these ones also flaunted their share of women (to a little more than what I’m used to) by habesha standards. Some focus on the back side (Yo, there’s this woman shakkkking it ነው የሚባለው!), pierced belly, etc. The one thing that was decidedly missing was the bust area. Ha ha! ገና ዛ … አልደረስንም? ደንባራ prepubescent camera - አደናቅፎት ከፊትዋ ተንከባሎ ሆድዋ ላይ ኣረፈ. Somebody once said how for Ethiopians, beauty still starts and ends with ፊት/መልክ. The rest are accessories.

In Lampadina, there was something about the way he was smiling that reminded me of Jamie Fox’s depiction of Ray Charles.

UPDATE: Somebody commented that they couldn't see Teddy Afro's stuff on the link provided above, and it seems like they rotate the videos. So the only one I can see now by Teddy Afro is "Promise", the one about Bob Marley. Instead, though, I saw some disturbing shit! I don't like Miss Whatever competitions, as it is. "Miss Ethiopia North America"? First of all, WTF was that?? Couldn't the video possibly have been just a lil'more flattering? There were some shots in there fittting a prelude to a porn video. Secondly, call me ... whatever you like, but if you've to strut it on stage, it ain't worth it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Adam and Hewan, 6000 Years later

Recently habesh men and women have been going at the sex blame (በላት! በይው! ኧረ በላ ት!) game at አቁማዳ. I’m unable to think of a reasonable gender perspective on my side because … I don’t believe such a thing exists. In fact, I’d like to think that the very problem which these people have been discussing exists because ….people believes it exits. You think. Therefore it is! . . . and the sooner people submit to the idea, the better for single people!

The topic is a ደባሪ recurring theme across cultures whenever differences between men and women are mentioned. One typical argument is that the sexes are genetically ‘wired’ to behave differently. To be more specific, the arguments usually follow the lines of defense for men (that men have raging hormones and insatiable desires and that when they fall off the wagon of … eh … commitment) or accusations pointing at women who should be more nurturing, e.g. willing to ‘look out’ for their man, cook and soothe, etc. (Pardon me if there’s a lack of positive spin to this genetic argument with regards to women … unless positive means something entirely different to you, in which case we’re all good).

I am in no position to argue the veracity of the above statements one way or another. Instead I have a question: ግን የምለዉ እኛ ዛ ነን ድመት? Do we have to jump to every banana or that comes our way? የደ elementary books used to say “ሰውን ሰው ያረገው ስራው ነው”. Well, ስራችን ምንድን ነው? I don’t think we’re genetically wired to build bridges, sky scrappers, tools and computers. We do it because we see the need for it. What I don’t understand is why people fail to see the same need, or fail to accept that such a need exists, when it comes to their personal lives. Since when has "I'm genetically wired to die. Therefore if I see my impending death, I will not react, regardless of whether I believe I can alter the outcome" become a valid argument? Basically people are saying, 'I feel. Therefore I am.' Ok. So do ቦቢና ውሮ. How long till reincarnation?

I don’t think we were wired to get married. I don’t think we were wired to believe in a god or in gods. I don’t think we were wired to appreciate the music we grew up hearing. A significant portion of our behaviors are picked up through a systematic conditioning process that we affectionately call ‘culture’. And culture is dynamic. It bends for the remover to remove, or for the innovator to add.

So, what’s my take on the sexes being wired differently? It’s possible, but is of no consequence. Mostly I see effects of culture all around me. If we don’t like the state of our existence, it’s our place to change it. We forge our way instead of waiting for natures write out our destinies. Relationships are not meant to please the whole world – it’s just between two people. If a need arises, in a relationship that’s worth keeping then we have to rise to meet the need. But we can’t impose on or sit back and expect from the other person. At best the issue can be resolved through discussion. At worst, somebody has to move on. Not every person likes to build bridges, paint paintings or be a politician. Not every woman likes to cook, nor every man not to cook. Perhaps they never will.

In the end, if we try to climb the wrong tree and find that we don’t like it, the problem is not the tree, but the fact that it’s the wrong tree. And that is not the tree’s fault. To be mad at the tree … is so Hewan blaming it on the snake. So thousands of years ago. Haven’t we learnt better since?

Next ...

Monday, March 20, 2006

ሳይቸግራት ሞታ ታስለቅስናለች

This news item makes me laugh. It's really sad. But it's so twisted that it's also really funny (Well, if you're a cynical African.) Apparently Nigeria has a political system based on ethnic representation, much like Ethiopia. According to the report, clashes broke out in Nigeria over census reports as "The headcount is highly sensitive, as funding and political representation depend on the results. " Currently "No-one knows how many Nigerians there are - and the authorities are too afraid to find out".[Emphasis mine]I remember when the Ethiopian census results were announced in the early 90s, everybody was claiming that they were fabricated. Back then they simply ignored the numbers.

Unfortunately, the way we've been going, one day Ethiopia will also start to react to issues as Nigeria. We'll be scared of our own shadows, too afraid to know anything about ourselves.

Friday, February 17, 2006

ፊዼል ሖይ

በቀደም ለት የሆነ ብሎግ ላይ በፊደል post ተደርጎ አየሁ. ይህ ለሙከራ ነው Maybe I'll make the rest of my posts in Amharic (as soon as i figure out a speedier way of typing Amharic ;-).