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.