Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mengistu's regime: A Speck of Good

Ethiopia united

At the time of Ethiopia's revolution, in 1989, against the militant dictator Mengistu, the Ethiopian people united to get rid of a murderer. An entire generation of men was lost during Mengistu's regime; however, important to remember is that Mengistu was a socialist. Himself coming from an underrepresented tribe, he was determined to provide equal opportunity in education, work, health, and life. My father was educated under both Mengistu's regime and the prior regime of the "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah," Haile Selassie. He explained to me the evolution of education policy. Emperor Haile Selassie provided wonderful education and opportunities mainly to his own tribe – the amhara – of which my father was a part. So, when Mengistu took power by force, he was determined to educate every tribe in Ethiopia. There was a two year operation where high school and college students were dispersed throughout rural Ethiopia to be primary teachers. All of this is evidence that Mengistu did not divide Ethiopia ethnically; there was no ethnic or cultural strife. My mother would say to me “we did not know who was amhara or who was tigre or who was somali.”

World Bank, IMF, America’s agenda

However, the World Bank believes “significant political reforms following civil war [overthrow of Mengistu] including development of a new constitution and social order [cultural pluralism] in 1994 created the way for significant social progress.” Think about it, there was ethnic war in other parts of Africa; and the IMF and World Bank experts had, therefore, determined that each African country's problem was ethnicity. So, when Mengistu was overthrown by the current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Ethiopia's People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), IMF/America/World Bank advisors swooped in and gave billions of dollars of aid to the new government with the provision that, among other things (e.g.importing billions of goods), the government would have representation for each tribe and that their would be regional governments. And although this seems like a great solution to prevent ethnic war and genocide, such a problem did not exist in Ethiopia. Don't misunderstand my argument, Ethiopia did have ethnic groups, over 90 ethnic groups to be exact, and there were differences between each group. They were neither pure from government nor isolated from one another. After all, Ethiopia has existed as a nation for centuries. There existed ethnic conflict because of feudal system during the "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah," Emperor Haile Selassie's rule: the amhara's were privileged and the oromo's were traded as slaves and other systems pre-RasTeferi. However, without the IMF and World Bank's intervention, Mengistu and the Ethiopian people revolted against this injustice and fought for unity. Mengistu – despite his militant rule – fought for social equality. Meles and the new constitution did not bring a new progressive social order; they just adopted a western social order, or attempted to adopt a western social order.

The outcome of cultural pluralism is ethnic consciousness and ethnic tension. The negative outcomes of educational instruction in local languages, besides its high monetary cost as pointed out by the World Bank, is a firmer solidarity of ethnic groups, a language barrier between neighboring tribes, an isolation of ethnic groups from one another, a diversion of attention towards ethnic relationship and away from central government business, and a language barrier for rural students trying to enter national market conducted in Amharic language.

In America, political parties are divided by economic and political ideology, not by race and culture. Division by race and culture [ethnicity] is a lazy strategy exceptional only for poor African countries that need a "democratic" government fast.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Language Found SouthWest of Addis Ababa: Kistane

A language of Ethiopia

Population: 254,682 (1998 census).
Ethnic population: 363,867 (1998 census) including 4,000 Gogot.
Region: Gurage, Kambaata, Hadiyya Region, just southwest of Addis Ababa.
Alternate names: Soddo, Soddo Gurage, North Gurage
Dialects: Soddo (Aymallal, Aymellel, Kestane, Kistane), Dobi (Dobbi, Gogot, Goggot). Not intelligible with Silte or West Gurage. Dobi speakers' comprehension of Soddo is 76%, and Soddo speakers' comprehension of Dobi is 90%.
Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Outer, n-Group
Language use: 60,538 second-language speakers. People along the roads have contact with Amharic; some men are partially bilingual. People in the interior are not generally bilingual (B. Denboba 1989).
Language development: Literacy rate in second language: 21.5%.
Comments: SOV. Christian.

Click on the blog title and find out about all 89 Ethiopian languages: 84 living languages; 5 dead language.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Seven Easy Steps to Becoming a Developed Nation!

I. Becoming a developed nation.

There are seven easy steps to becoming a developed nation.

Step 1: Multi-party and decentralized government. Ethiopia checked that off the list. except for the fact that regional governments have no political voice, parliament members have no political voice, and the people have no political voice. The only party in Ethiopia with a real political voice is the IMF.
Step 2: Open market economy and privatization. Check. except for the whole privatization thing...you can own property but the government still owns the land. So, check minus.
Step 3: Social equality. Girls and boys, poor (rural) and privileged (urban) get equal opportunity in everything. Check. those development bank programs are handling that. POOR quality opportunity for both male and female.
Step 4: Increase international business and trade across the border. check. Except for the fact that we import 5 times more than we export. so we are basically dependent on outside manufactured goods and our own industry is idle...we might actually be developing backwards...industry is only 8% of our economy. but at least we have good relations with China, India, Saudi, the USA, and the IMF (They love us)..so check minus
Step 5: Expand Education. check. do you know the enrollment rate has increased from 35% to 62% since this new government has been in power. CHECK PLUS. except for the fact that grade repetition has increased, exam scores are not improving, dropout rate has stayed constant. Student:teacher ratio has gone from 42:1 to 65:1 and it is exponentially increasing. student:textbook ratio is 2.5 students to 1 book. Quality of education is horrible. But, nevertheless, enrollment has increased. It doesn't matter that a diploma has no value, in terms of employment. The point is enrollment has increased. so check towards development.
Step 6: Internet/Technological Expansion. Check. Ethiopia's government has funded the building of so many IT training institutions. It's too bad Ethiopia has only 88 internet hosts (The number of internet hosts is one indicator of the extent of Internet connectivity)....Eritrea has 1,088....Djibout has 1540...Kenya has 13724...Rwanda has 1590...Uganda has 1365....hmmm at least we're better off than Somalia who has only 3...but they don't even have a nationally recognized government. So we are building more and more IT training institutions and people are paying tuition for these schools to get a technical diploma, but the government is not building any sort of technological infrastructure.....we have 88 internet hosts. I'll take that check back. F.
Step 7: Join the war against terror. CHECK PLUS PLUS. Ethiopia's intelligence office has found Al Qaeda!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What exactly is Ethiopia investing in?

Ethiopia's Chamber of Commerce says: (Source: http://addischamber.com/aboutethio/profdetail.asp?CID=26)

The EPRDF government has focused on reorienting the economy through market reforms, including structural adjustment program. As a result the state's direct role in economic activity has declined.

Major steps taken were:-

1.Tariffs have been cut
2.quota constraints relaxed
3.Licensing procedures simplified
4.Foreign exchange controls eased
5.Compulsory cooperative membership and grain delivery discontinued and privatization begun.

The government has also adopted Agriculture -Led Industrialization policy as a central plank of its development programme with a focus on small farms and labor intense industrialization increased agricultural activity will be achieved primarily through an extensive extension program.

The Full poverty Reduction Strategy paper (Full PRSP) prepared by the government in full participation with all Stakeholders provides a good opportunity to focus on alleviating poverty and fostering medium - to long-term development.

Investment is rising since reforms began in 1992. Saving, as in most developing countries is very low. Both savings and investment are improving in the aftermath of the Ethio-Eritrea war. Foreign direct investment is increasing Saudi Arabia being the major source (60%) of the FDI.

So, according to Ethiopia's government, Ethiopia is investing in the people, free market, farmers, small farms, industry, job opportunities, and infrastructure for long-term development.

But, according to Ethiopia's budget spending, Ethiopia is investing in military, small arms, and kissing America and the UKs butt so that they can give them more weapons and money for more weapons.

Ethiopia spends 295,900,000 USDollars (on record) on developing its military. Compared to all the countries of the world, Ethiopia is above average in terms of military spending. It has the fifth largest military force in sub-Sahara Africa. 296 millions US dollars.

Now in terms of railway and road (infrastructure) spending, it is surprisingly below average. Ethiopia has merely 681 km of railway - which it shares ownership with Djibouti.

Ethiopia has 33,856 km of roads of which only 4,367 km is paved roads. 29,489 km is unpaved roads! Afghanistan has more roads than Ethiopia. Namibia, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Congo have more roads than Ethiopia.

Let's examine the technological infrastructure: Ethiopia has 88 Internet hosts. Out of 233 countries, Ethiopia ranks 192. Cape Verde - a 4 thousand sq km island off the coast of Senegal- has 234 Internet hosts. Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Djibouti, Rwanda have thousands more Internet hosts than Ethiopia. Christmas Island has 2368 Internet hosts for their 135 sq km island (smaller than Washington, DC) - Santa and his elfs are more connected to the world than Ethiopians.

Ethiopia has the capacity to do much. It has the land, natural resources, and human resources to accomplish lots. It has a greater responsibility than most countries to build its infrastructure and economy, because it has a greater population - that is growing at an above average rate (about 4%). In a decade Ethiopia will have one of the greatest populations in the world.

But instead Ethiopia is doing little for itself. In result, outside countries and resources are coming in trying to correct our problems in a careless manner - and they are not careless because they don't care but they are careless because it is not their own nation, so their capacity to care is much smaller than an Ethiopian national. Example: China built a highway - a highway sounds good, it is a road; however, the highway is misplaced and seems to be more of a burden than a positive development. People walk across the highway; cabs stop in the middle of the highway to drop off passengers; cows/goats/donkey travel the highway.

I pose the question again: when will Ethiopia invest in Ethiopia?

Friday, December 01, 2006

When will Ethiopia invest in Ethiopia?

Raw materials constitute 1.4% of Ethiopia's imports. Manufactured goods constitute 72.4% of the imports. Im going to take a dangerous step and suggest that Ethiopia needs to invest more on manufacturing its own goods. Maybe then we wouldn't have one of the greatest debts in the world. We have all of the resources and materials but instead we are importing all manufactured goods from China, India, America, etc. And at the same time we are exporting virtually nothing. The goods made at home by our own people are not being bought by any other countries; and moreover, the goods made at home are not being bought by our own people. So, our countries goods are devalued and local manufactures do not have enough profit to continue their work. How do we get out of all of the contracts and IMF/World Bank policies that encourage the ethiopian government to buy so many goods manufactured in other countries? How do we get Ethiopia to invest in Ethiopia?

Click on the title and go to IMF documents on Ethiopia.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Evolution of Currency

"In God we Trust" is imprinted on every United States coin and dollar.
Where in the world this model was directly adopted from, I am not quite sure. Britain, Spain, France, Greece, Rome. But where this system first existed is south of the Sahara desert and west of the Red Sea in the East of Africa.

Around 330 C.E., King Ezana converted to Christianity, converted his Nation the Axumite Empire to Christianity, and had a greater vision to convert nations outside his own. So, to spread his religion he used the most frequent and widespread traded good - coins. King Ezana ordered his court to replace the crescent symbols on the coins to the cross. In the next two centuries, other great Empires including the Roman Empire adopted this system and used phrases like 'By the grace of God' and 'Christ is with us.'

Before the Christian era, before King Ezana, the Axumite Kingdom used coins with the face of King Endubis. Around 270 C.E., King Endubis wanted his kingdom to better participate in the fast-paced Greco-Roman trade across the Red Sea. So, the writing on the coin is in Greek letters and the weighing system of the coin is Roman. The Axumite Empire is the first pure African nation to adopt a coin system.

Source: Ethiopianhistory.com

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Be a leader, not a follower

A man ran away from Ethiopia years ago during the Mengistu regime. He came to America at the age of 17 and with a vision of surviving he started a successful business. Hairsalons. Mr Tadiwos used to charge more than $100 (£52) for a haircut in Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts. But after 23 years in the US, he went back home. In Ethiopia, he only charges $11 dollars for a haircut, but "I wanted to be part of the development of Ethiopia," Mr Tadiwos explains.
"Be a leader, not a follower," my father would say to me every 5 minutes, at the most appropriate and inappropriate times. There are many reasons people avoid the idea of going back to Ethiopia to invest their new knowledge, vision, and source of money. The bureaucracy, the trade laws, seem to be at the top of the list of reasons. So, in ethiopia you have bureaucracy led by the government, in America you have bureaucracy led by walmart, starbucks, credit card companies, universities, banks, starbucks. Everywhere you go someone is trying to rip you off. Here in the USofA, in a free market, humans are a potential for big profit. So, I wouldn't be so quick to denounce Ethiopia's market and support US's "free market." Be a leader, not a follower.

Click on the title of this blog, and read the BBC article.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Street Kids

60,000 to 150,000 total number of street kids in Ethiopia
How do I express my feelings, my reaction?
I am a hypocrite, a failure
I curse these structures set up to support poverty,
while I myself am a pillar to it
I read the stories of the street children,
while turning up the volume on my ipod-nano
60,000 to 150,000 total number of street kids accounted for in Ethiopia

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mother Ethiopia, Forgive me

Agerachin [our country]
Our country so beautiful
We claim you night and day
With our mouth and song
Inatachin [our mother]
You gave us tef [wheat] and mar [honey]
Silver and gold
The mouth of the Nile
An endless flow of wealth
Hymanotachin [our spirit, our religion, our belief, our faith]
Lalibela, the Ark of Covenant, Zion
A land of spirit strong enough to last millenniums
Abundance you gave us
Happiness you allowed us
At times you made it difficult
You challenged us as any mother challenges her child
To teach strength and patience
To teach strength and faith
We have abandoned you
Your children have left you astray
We drank your milk, strengthened our bones
In your water, we cleansed our bodies
With your oil, our hairs were made silk
Your treasures gave your children beauty incomparable
And we abandoned you
For money that smells of sulfur
We traded your timeless wealth for that which cannot withstand time
Forgive us mother, for we have abandoned you

Friday, November 10, 2006

Let's Search for the Truth: Britain's attempt to colonize Ethiopia

BBC's Current Timeline for Ethiopia
1868 - Tewodros defeated by a British expeditionary force and commits suicide to avoid capture.

1872 - Tigrayan chieftain becomes Yohannes IV.

1889 - Yohannes IV killed while fighting Mahdist forces and is succeeded by the king of Shoa, who becomes Emperor Menelik II.

1889 - Menelik signs a bilateral friendship treaty with Italy at Wuchale which Italy interprets as giving it a protectorate over Ethiopia.

In between 1872 and 1889, there are so many battles, treaties, and undocumented negotiations that occured between Ethiopians, the British, the Italians, the Egyptians, the Muslims in Sudan.
In between 1872 and 1889, the British tried to colonize Ethiopia through the Italians who were their ally; so that the French, who were nearby in Djibouti, could not gain Ethiopia and its resources.
Let's not take history as it is given to us; let's investigate our true past and bring it to the light.

•Tewodros arrested and refused to release imprisoned British subjects
•Early 1868, the British force seeking Tewodros’ surrender, arrived on the coast of Massawa
•The British wanted to pass through Tigray to go to Tewordros’ capital Magdala, so they offered Dajazmach Kassa of Tigray money and weapons to pass
•Tigray Tewodros (emperor from 1855 to 1868) died in 1868
•British completed their mission and were leaving the country, they rewarded Kassa for his cooperation with artillery, muskets, rifles, and munitions, all in all worth approximately £500,000
•Menelik, escaped from Tewodros’ imprisonment in 1865 after Tewodros died and with the support of family and friends, he became the ruler of the province of Shewa.
•Wagshum Gobaze ruler of Amhara, Wag, and Lasta occupied Gondar and crowned himself Emperor Tekle Giyorgis II. No one took his coronation seriously because there was no abun
•July 1871, Emperor Tekle Giyorgis II, attacked Kassa at his capital in Adwa, for Kassa had refused to pay tribute. Although Kassa’s army was outnumbered 12,000 to the emperor’s 60,000, Kassa’s army was equipped with more modern weapons (given by the British) and better trained. At battle’s end, forty percent of the emperor’s men had been captured. The emperor was imprisoned and would die a year later.
•21 January 1872, Dajazmach Kassa Mercha of Tigray became the new emperor under the name Yohannes IV

•1874, an Egyptian army captured the Ethiopian cities of Bogos and Keren, both near the Sudanese border.
•The Egyptians had also occupied the port of Zula and all ports south of the Massawa, establishing an embargo preventing import of weapons into Ethiopia
•1875, the Egyptians took Harar.
•Yohannes had tried to appeal to European leaders but was completely ignored because Egypt was economically superior
•23 October 1875, Yohannes declared war on the Egyptians
•November 1875, the Egyptian army met Yohannes’ well-prepared troops at Gundat. The Egyptian army lost one-third of its men, including their commander.
•1876, The Egyptians returned 4 months latter with a better-equipped army, numbering 15,000 – 20,000 (Henze, P. 2000, 147-8). The three-day battle in March of 1876 in Gura left all but 500 Egyptians dead, wounded, or captured. Yohannes was also able to confiscate “12,000-13,000 Remington rifles, sixteen cannons, munitions, and other … booty.” (Marcus, H 2002, 75).
•Both countries attempted to come to a diplomatic solution.
•At the same time, Egypt was breaking apart internally and in northern Sudan, which had been part of Egyptian territory
•A Muslim Mahdist movement had broken out and replaced Egyptian authority as well as emerge as a threat to Ethiopia
•1884, British came to Egypt’s defense in 1884 and made an arrangement: a treaty known as the Adwa (or Hewett) Peace Treaty. According to the treaty, Egypt would give back Ethiopian lands if Ethiopia assisted in the evacuation of Egyptian troops out of Sudan. After Ethiopia had carried out its part, Ethiopia was able to regain all former land except for its ports.
•1885, the French were settled nearby in Tajura (in modern day Djibouti).
•The British were very concerned of French intentions in the Horn of Africa
•The British figured that the best way to keep the French in check was to have a large presence in Ethiopia
•Early 1885, the British had convinced the Italians, a British alley, to take over Massawa.
•One of the first things that the Italians did in Massawa was to stop the import of weapons into Ethiopia from the Red Sea
•1886, Italians occupied two cities near Massawa, Saati and Wia, which according to the Adwa Peace Treaty, had been decided was part of Ethiopian territory.
•1887, Ras Alula, the emperor’s chief commander, attacked the Italians and chased them away from the two cities (Pankhurst, R. 1998, 171-2).

•“The call for revenge was heard in the streets [of Italy] as well as in [The Italian] Parliament. A special force of 5,000 men was organized to reinforce the existing troops. Roads and bridges were built and repaired in an effort to strengthen the infrastructure for the future military action. Simultaneously, the policy of instigating Menelik to act against Yohannes was intensified.” (Zewde, B. 2001, 57)
•Both countries called upon Britain as a mediator, both believing Britain was an ally
•The British needed Italy to counter French threat and thus proposed that Italy be allowed to occupy Saati and Wia.
•The British also proposed that Yohannes should publicly apologize to the Italians.
•A very angry Yohannes took some 80,000 men to Saati to finish the issue with the Italians. However, the Italians refused to come out of their fort to fight. Yohannes had no choice but to retreat because he was running out of food and supplies

•The Mahdist Muslims of Sudan began by attacking the western frontiers of Gojjam and Begemder (now that Egypt did not have control of Sudan, the Mahdist Muslims were prepared to make Ethiopia punish for her interference through the Adwa Peace Treaty)
•The emperor was preoccupied with the Italians at Saati and couldn’t be of any assistance.
•1888, so it fell upon Tekle Haymanot, the ruler of Gojjam, to lead Ethiopia without the assistance of the emperor. He was no match against the Mahdist Muslims and they inflicted heavy loses upon his army. They marched on Gondar in 1888 and burned the city down.
•Emperor called upon Menelik to defend Gojjam and Begemder against Sudan.
•When Menelik was returning to Shewa after his campaigns in Begemder and Gojjam, he and Tekle Haymanot, who had been rivals beforehand, forged an agreement to work together against the emperor.

•When Yohannes returned from his unsuccessful campaign against the Italians in Saati, he invaded and ravaged Gojjam for Tekle Haymanot’s rebellious intentions. After the ravage of Gojjam, Yohannes won back Tekle Haymanot’s loyalty and was preparing to attack Menelik in Shewa.
•Meanwhile, Menelik has made an arrangement with the Italians for a double attack on Yohannes.
•The Italians were going to attack from Massawa and Menelik from Shewa.
•The Italians has supplied Menelik with enough weapons to assure victory.
•But once again the Mahdist Muslims began to attack Begemder, the emperor abandoned his plans on attacking Menelik and ran off to face the Mahdist Muslims
•This combat with the Mahdist Muslims, know as the Battle of Matamma, was to be Yohannes’ last:
•9 March [1889] when the battle opened, it appeared as if God favored the Ethiopians. The emperor and his command breached the center of the Mahdist lines and surged forward toward victory until Yohannes was shot, first in the right hand, and then, as he again advanced, by a bullet that lodged mortally in his chest.
•Triumph to the Muslims.
•With his dying breaths, Yohannes declared his natural son, Dej. Mengesha, heir.
•25 March 1889, when Menelik learned about the tragedy at Metema, he immediately proclaimed himself negus negast, king of kings


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ethiopian man circumcises 2 year old daughter?

I tried to resist from commenting on this case but I fail. CNN proudly reports "Female circumcision trial may be first in U.S." You read the first paragraph of the article and fall back in shock. It reads:

The trial of an Atlanta-area father accused of circumcising his 2-year-old daughter with scissors is focusing attention on an ancient African practice that experts say is slowly becoming more common in the U.S. as immigrant communities grow.

And then you continue to read the article with urgency:
Khalid Adem, a 30-year-old immigrant from Ethiopia, is charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children.

Human rights observers said they believe this is the first criminal case in the U.S. involving the 5,000-year-old practice.

Prosecutors say Adem used scissors to remove his daughter's clitoris in their apartment in 2001. The child's mother said she did not discover it until more than a year later.

And you immediately hate this man, you hate this ancient 5,000-year-old African practice, and you hate immigrants! The article continues on giving you so many statistics:
*130 million women worldwide had undergone circumcision,
*Knives, razors or even sharp stones are usually used,
*The tools often are not sterilized
*Often, many girls are circumcised at the same ceremony, leading to infection.
*Unknown how many girls have died from the procedure
*Common psychological side effects: Nightmares,depression,shock,feelings of betrayal
*73 percent of women in Ethiopia had undergone the procedure
*Female circumcision is most widely practiced in a 28-country swath of Africa
*more than 90 percent of women in Ethiopia are believed to have been subjected

It is too bad that all of these statistics are outdated! These studies are from 1998 to 2001 and this data comes from surveys. I don't think they surveyed the entire population of women in Ethiopia (at least 30,000,000) to get that very high percentage. Their statistical analysis has a great margin of error- it is not generalizable to the entire population, it is not reliable and I am so sorry that CNN carelessly included it into this article. I am so sorry that they also included this statement:
"I had maybe read about it [Female genital mutilation] in Reader's Digest or some other journal, but not really considered it a possibility here [the USA]," said Dr. Rose Badaruddin, the pediatrician for the Adems' daughter. "With immigration, the immigrants travel with their traditions," Bien-Aime said. "Female genital mutilation is not an exception."

Listen Bien-Aime, whomever wrote this article, and CNN: The Ethiopian population in America and other immigrants in America reacted in the same horror and shock when reading/hearing this news. It is not accepted in the culture of immigrants to mutilate a child. This article is racist and appalling. I want to further examine the idiocy of this article/case. This was reported:
The girl, now 7, also testified, clutching a teddy bear and saying that her father "cut me on my private part." Adem cried loudly as his daughter left the courtroom.

I just have one question and I think it can reflect the question of anyone with COMMON SENSE. How can any child or human remember an event that occured when they were the age of two? Furthermore, how could she have remembered that it was specifically her father who circumcised her?

Ethiopia's Ethnologue

Ethiopia has 84 living languages. Click on the blog title above to learn about each of these languages and where they exist in Ethiopia.


A language of Ethiopia
Population: 923,958 (1998 census). 595,107 monolinguals (speak Hadiyya alone).
Ethnic population: 927,933 (1998 census).
Region: Gurage, Kambaata, Hadiyya Region, b/w Omo & Billate rivers, Hosaina.
Alternate names:Adiya, Adiye, Hadiya, Hadya, Adea, Hadia
Dialects: Leemo, Soro.
Lexical similarity: 82% with Libido,56% with Kambaata,54% with Alaba,53% with Sidamo.
Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland
Language use: 150,889 second-language speakers. Speakers also use Amharic.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ethiopian farmers: The Starbucks Slave

Starbucks is claiming ownership to the coffee bean names Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe. Yes, Mr. Donald (CEO of Starbucks), your creativity is undeniable. It may annoy you or be of a discomfort to you that this poor country and these poor farmers are trying to deny you of all the profit you rightly deserve. I, however, can't help but imagine the anger it must bring upon the farmers who hand pick these coffee beans in the Harar, Sidamo, and Yirgacheffe regions for less than $1 a day to learn that their coffee is bringing Starbucks $8.5 billions dollars a year and is bringing you, Mr. Donald, a higher ranking in the fortune 500 list. That must be infuriating and humiliating for those farmers. They almost freely labor all day long for your great success.

Anyone who cares about fair trade and the poor, please go to the Oxfam link either by clicking on the Title of this blog or by going to the 'Oxfam' link on the right and join the petition against oppression.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Why we should avoid eagerly encouraging our young cousins in Ethiopia to come to America

Reason 1: Adolescents identify their own value and worth in terms of their social group. Teenagers in America, in Ethiopia, in Antarctica think in relation to peers. Most of their thought is consumed consciously or subconsciously by "what do I have to do to become more popular." So, the pressure of being an adolescent is great, but the pressure of being an adolescent immigrant is insurmountable. You don't speak the language of the others - and this is not only the English language but also the slang and moreover, this is not only verbal language but also physical language. There are a lot of dances, facial expressions, silly movements and other mannerism that are learnt over a long period of time. So, this adolescent immigrant becomes not only a foreigner to the country, but more importantly a foreigner to the other kids at school or in the neighborhood, a foreigner to friendships and groups, and eventually a foreigner to him or herself because an adolescent's understanding of oneself is in terms of social networks.
Reason 2: when we encourage the idea that America is the golden land of opportunities and the place where dreams come true, we deceive our people and our young children. America is a wonderful country, no doubt. Opportunities, however, can be found anywhere just as long as your eyes are open to them. When we encourage young Ethiopians to dream about coming to America, we enable them to close their eyes to opportunity and we cheat them out of the opportunities available in Ethiopia. Let us act to stop this violent spread of wrong information; America is great but so too is Ethiopia.
Reason 3: this is a more macro analysis but, nevertheless, Brain drain. A nation's one greatest asset is its people; and Ethiopia is losing a fortune.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Let's review the position of the Prime Minister in Ethiopia, shall we

Does anyone else find it strange that the Ethiopian Prime Minister has the authority to send troops or "military trainers" to another country without first consulting the parliament?

Let us review the powers of the Prime Minister in Ethiopia, shall we.

Appointment of the Prime Minister

1. The Prime Minister shall be elected from among members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives.

2. Power of Government shall be assumed by the political party or a coalition of political parties that constitutes a majority in the House of Peoples’ Representatives.
Article 74
Powers and Functions of the Prime Minister

1. The Prime Minister is the Chief Executive, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and the Commander-in-Chief of the national armed forces.

2. The Prime Minister shall submit for approval to the House of Peoples’ Representatives nominees for ministerial posts from among members of the two Houses or from among persons who are not members of either House and possess the required qualifications.

3. He shall follow up and ensure the implementation of laws, policies, directives and other decisions adopted by the House of Peoples’ Representatives.

4. He leads the Council of Ministers, coordinates its activities and acts as its representative.

5. He exercises overall supervision over the implementation of policies, regulations, directives and decisions adopted by the Council of Ministers.

6. He exercises overall supervision over the implementation of the country’s foreign policy.

7. He selects and submits for approval to the House of Peoples’ Representatives nominations for posts of Commissioners, the President and Vice-President of the Federal Supreme Court and the Auditor General.

8. He supervises the conduct and efficiency of the Federal administration and takes such corrective measures as are necessary.

9. He appoints high civilian officials of the Federal Government other than those referred to in sub-Articles 2 and 3 of this Article.

10. In accordance with law enacted or decision adopted by the House of Peoples’ Representatives, he recommends to the President nominees for the award of medals, prizes and gifts.

11. He shall submit to the House of Peoples’ Representatives periodic reports on work accomplished by the Executive as well as on its plans and proposals.

12. He shall discharge all responsibilities entrusted to him by this Constitution and other laws.

13. He shall obey and enforce the Constitution.

Now here are some amendments under the article that states the powers and functions of the Council of Ministers (comprises the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers and other members as may be determined by law)

8. It shall formulate the country’s foreign policy and exercise overall supervision over its implementation.

10. It has the power to declare a state of emergency; in doing so, it shall, within the time limit prescribed by the Constitution, submit the proclamation declaring a state of emergency for approval by the House of Peoples’ Representatives.

11. It shall submit draft laws to the House of Peoples’ Representatives on any matter falling within its competence, including draft laws on a declaration of war.

12. It shall carry out other responsibilities that may be entrusted to it by the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the Prime Minister.

13. It shall enact regulations pursuant to powers vested in it by the House of Peoples’ Representatives.

Now Most Important to me is to know the powers of the Federal Houses (Parliament):
Under Chapter 6 of the constitution are the amendments:

7. It shall determine the organization of national defence, public security, and a national police force. If the conduct of these forces infringes upon human rights and the nation’s security, it shall carry out investigations and take necessary measures.

8. In conformity with Article 93 of the Constitution it shall declare state of emergency; it shall consider and resolve on a decree of a state of emergency declared by the executive.

9. On the basis of a draft law submitted to it by the Council of Ministers it shall proclaim a state of war.

ALRIGHTY, so as open ended these amendments are it seems quite clear (and not to mention, democratic) to me that the Prime Minister must present to Parliament its intention to use national defense to support another state. It is irrelevant, your Excellency, that "we have the right to defend ourselves against these people. We have been very patient throughout this ordeal." Under your state's constitution, you should have presented this case to parliament BEFORE you sent troops. Now, those Ethiopians living in the Somali region and Ethiopia are under greater security threats. This action has upset the Islamic region in Somalia and the "holy war" they have declared on Ethiopia will put those geographically closest to the region, those living in the south east Somali region of Ethiopia in great danger of ground combat and attacks or even danger of more destructive weapons. The Prime Minister acted irresponsibly and prematurely and has carelessy endangered occupants of a large Ethiopian district.

Members of the Federal Houses, under amendment 17 of Article 55, I call on you "to question the Prime Minister and other Federal officials and to investigate the Executive’s conduct and discharge of its responsibilities."

I cannot quote it exactly but Ngugi wa Thiong'o said something like: Too much silence breeds misery in the state.

Monday, October 16, 2006

"There is enough excess food in the UK to feed all the hungry people in Ethiopia"

Once the UK’s 60 million people have met their daily nutritional requirements, there is sufficient food left over to feed 33 million people. There are an estimated 31 million undernourished people in Ethiopia.

Today is World Food Day. Stop and think about this:
One child dies of hunger every 5 seconds.
Hunger is the number one health risk: kills more people than HIV,malaria,TB combined.
To give a school lunch to a hungry child in a developing country, it costs 3 pieces of chewing gum (19 euro cents per day).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nearly 60% of Ethiopian women were subjected to sexual violence

According to the Ending Violence Against Women report, out of 71 countries studied Ethiopia has the highest rate of sexual violence against women, including marital rape.
I mean we all know about the existing problem of Female Genital Mutilation, which I must note continues to be a great problem in Eastern Ethiopia and Somalia. But this report launched by the UN indicates that their is a different realm of abuse.
Most of the women are being abused in their own homes by their lawfully wedded husbands.
The BBC Report states: "It said some 100 countries had no domestic violence laws and marital rape could not be prosecuted in more than 50."
It needs to be investigated, what laws the Ethiopian Government has to protect women against such violence.


**So, I am going to briefly explain my understanding of the languages spoken in Ethiopia. From my explanation you will quickly realize that I am not a linguist nor have I ever taken a linguistics course. I am just interested in the 80 + languages spoken in Ethiopia and their similarities in origin.

The native (indigenous) language of Ethiopia is in the Cushitic family. The Cushitic family is one of the 6 Afroasiatic (the former term is Hamito-Semitic...cool side note: Hamito comes from the name Ham who is the Bible Character...he is Noah's son and then Semitic comes from the name Semite who is a descendent of Shem who is also Noah's son). Going back to the Cushitic languages (oh and Cush is also a son of Noah) - Somali, Oromo, Sidamo, Komso, and Saho Afar are a few of the members of the Cushitic family....so, these dialects are closest to the native Ethiopian language.

Ethiopic (Geez) is a part of the Semitic language family (a sister family of the Cushitic family, both daughters of Afroasiatic languages or Hamito-Semitic). Ethiopic was brought by migrants from South Arabia and it was strongly used in the capital Aksum of the Ethiopian Empire (then known as the Aksumite Empire). In the 4th Century AD, the Emperor of Aksumite, Emperor Ezana converted to Christianity and so the state of Ethiopia converted to Christianity. Ethiopic (Geez) was used in the churches and it is still used in the church liturgy today. In the Ethiopic language family is Tigre, Tigrinya, and Harari.

On to the facts from factmonster:
Ethiopic (ēthēop'ik)
*Extinct language of Ethiopia
I. Semitic Family
A) Afroasiatic family of languages
1. South Semitic (Ethiopic) languages
a. North Ethiopic group
*Ethiopic is also called Geez or classical Ethiopic
*Some time before the 14th cent. A.D. it ceased to be a spoken tongue in Ethiopia
*It long remained the medium for Ethiopian literature
*The liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church uses Ethiopic (Geez)
*Tigre & Tigrinya: modern languages in Ethiopia that represent the extinct Ethiopic
*Ethiopic is close to Old South Arabian lexically and grammatically
*It is suggested: its speakers came from S Arabia in the 1st millennium B.C.
*The native Cushitic tongues of Ethiopia (which are also Afroasiatic languages) exerted a degree of influence on the newly arrived Semitic language or languages with respect to grammar, vocabulary, and phonology.
*Although the script used for Ethiopic and other Semitic tongues of Ethiopia is syllabic rather than alphabetic, it seems to be derived from the alphabetic South Semitic writing of the Old South Arabian inscriptions, to which it shows many similarities.
*The reason for the syllabic development of the Ethiopic script is not known.
*Since the 4th cent. A.D., when Ethiopia was Christianized, the Ethiopic script has been written from left to right, though previously the direction of writing was from right to left.

For more interesting information go to www.factmonster.com

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ethiopian Assimilation in America

For my 'Micropolitics of Development' course, I had to read a study about the Chinese assimilation in Thailand. I used their measures of assimilation to understand the assimilation of Ethiopians here in America. Are Ethiopians assimilated or is the culture of the new generation as pure as the native Ethiopians? The factors measured in the research are:
1) Language...how many first generation Ethiopians can speak Amharic?
2) Religion...how many first generation Ethiopians regularly practice their parents religion in its pure form?
3) Cultural practices...how many first generation ethiopians practice standing up for an elder (norr) or listening to amharic music?
4) Education...how many first generation Ethiopians know the history and studies of Ethiopia?

Based on these measures I would say Ethiopians have assimilated in America
*most first generation Ethiopians can not speak Amharic...probably 1 out of 10
*most first generation Ethiopians do not know the history of their country beyond the facts that it was never colonized and that Emperor Haile Selassie ruled in Ethiopia(im sure many do not even know the time period of his rule
*As far as religion, I would say 1 out of 6 practices their parents’ religion (many do not because they cannot understand the language)
*Cultural practices remain alive in first generation Ethiopians but its strength is dying. People do not stand up for elders-norr in amharic- but they do offer their seats to them and give them priority when serving food.

What could be the reasons for such a fast paced assimilation of Ethiopians in US?
A) Ethiopians are sparsely arranged throughout the United States and therefore do not get in contact with other Ethiopians
B) Ethiopians are living in a foreign country where to be economically successful you have to speak English well and you do not have to have Ethiopian customs

From where did the coke in my coke can come?

As I was drinking my diet cherry coke and reading the BBC photo journal entitled the Ethiopian wood collector, which narrated the life of a little girl Amaretch who collected wood every day for 12 hours only to collect 2 dollars a day, I couldn't help but wonder the beginning form of my delicious diet cherry coke. It didn't just grow out of the grass or trees as a canned carbonated drink. I became very curious and my drink became increasingly bland. Everything that we consume, whether it be food or the shirts on our back, is a product of a number of ingredients, ingredients that are hand picked and/or packaged by poor kids like Amaretch or other people who are forced into this life style by a misfortune of being born in the wrong place. Next time when I pick up my diet coke to soothe my thirst or when I stuff my face with cake to soothe my sweet tooth, I'll be forced to think of Amaretch and be more grateful and less greedy.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Origin of Coffee

My boss did a random google search on the origins of coffee and found this: The origins of coffee are shrouded in myth and great stories. It is commonly believed that coffee plants were first discovered in the Ethiopian province of Kaffa. Legend has it that a sheep herder named Kaldi noticed that the sheep he was taking care of would become hyperactive after eating red cherries from a plant native to the area. Deciding to see what the effects of these cherries would have on a human, Kaldi noticed that he also became hyperactive. The story also describes how a monk passed by and scalded Kaldi for his actions. Ironically, it would be monks of this period that would be among the first coffee enthusiasts. Monks found that the stimulant qualities of coffee allowed them to stay awake for a long period of time, which was useful during long periods of praying and meditation. This story would seem to confirm the belief that coffee received its name from the Ethiopian province of Kaffa, which continues to be a major coffee growing region in the world today.

Friday, September 29, 2006

it's not meles' fault

It is easy to blame a country's problems on the country's leader...but it's not meles' fault. Meles and EPRDF took the baton but had no clue which way to march. Ethiopia was a weak country in 1991. The people were weak and beaten by fear and death from the previous regime. The government was in pieces scattered all around ethiopia. There did not exist any clear, straight path for EPRDF and Meles to take. So, here comes IMF and World Bank advisors with a defined plan of success for ethiopia based on their own interpretation of ethiopia's needs (cultural pluralism and consociationalism). Meles and EPRDF had to take their advise...what other choice did they have?....ethiopia was vulnerable and as leaders of Ethiopia Meles and EPRDF were vulnerable...they needed money from the World Bank and IMF and other democratic governments....moreover they needed to get into the globalization race and compete on an international level. So, how can you blame meles for dividing Ethiopia into ethnic groups...it was the mis-advice of development banks...you can only blame meles for being so foolish and easily blinded by money and power...however I think that is the case of most human beings...you get excited when you see a big government official or celebrity ...not because of their work...but merely because of their title and power...so meles is a victim of being human. So ethiopians need to stop focusing so much on Meles, woyanes, EPRDF and need to focus on ethiopia's political structure-the constitution, the parliament, the courts- and we need extensive research on the effects of the new political structure on ethiopia's economy and society. We need to strengthen our political and economic structure so that it wont be vulnerable to human faults.

New government in Ethiopia based on cultural pluralism and consociationalism

*Looking at Ethiopia’s revolution of 1991; the Mengistu government collapsed because it was killing people
*There was a genocide in Ethiopia “the red terror” and people wanted the government out
*It was not a conflict between ethnic groups; it was a revolt against genocide
*When the transitional government (led by the EPRDF) was writing its new constitution and political structure, IMF/America/Western world advised
*IMF/World Bank assumed ethnic groups are separate communities
*They used objective indicators to realize that Ethiopia had many ethnic groups (80+)
*They assumed these ethnic groups were completely separate communities who were deeply divided
*They predicted tribal warfare and complete political instability unless the new government gave representation to the ethnic groups in parliament
*So they took 80 + tribes and condensed Ethiopia into 9 ethnic regions
*People became conscious of their ethnic identity and conscious of the economic and political gap between other ethnic groups
*It is the worst policy to hit Ethiopia and perhaps the worst to hit development
*Why? BECAUSE this new political structure marginalized 70+ tribes and now there is a need of NGOs and small non-profits to correct the disparity
*New theories of development: Millennium Villages: A New Approach to Fighting Poverty

Thursday, September 28, 2006

my sentiments this morning

why oh why is ethiopia so poor...yet so rich in natural resources... outside aid... NGOs... human resources. who is the dark man in the dark hooded cape stealing all of these resources. i need to find his underground storage house and retrieve all of ethiopia's riches.

it boggles my mind how mr. coffee man is an American business man from New York who also use to own an NBA basketball team...and im further boggled by his increasing fortune...he is climbing up the fortune 500 list.....the boggling continues with the news that coffee is the second most traded good after oil......why am i so boggled?...well coffee is believed to originate in Kaffa, Ethiopia...and moreover, there are no coffee farms in Brooklyn, New York....his fortune along with the fortune of other coffee business men originate from small remote farms located in developing countries......

So you've heard of fair trade.....(a new initiative to give a greater percentage of the profits to the farmers-who are the first to touch the coffee)....well i went to starbucks here in DC on Pennsylvania street and asked if they had fair trade coffee....her response, "it's not in season"....excuse me!....please, let me know when justice is in season??

why oh why is ethiopia so poor?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ethiopia: Quick Facts (Source: CIA World Fact Book 2006)

Our geographic coordinates are 8 00 N 38 00 E (north east from the center of the earth)
Area: 1.13 million square kilometers (a little less than twice the size of texas)
Parameter: 5,328 kilometers (bordered by sudan, eritrea, djibouti, somalia, kenya)
Land Area: 1.12 million square kilometers
Water Area: 7444 square kilometers
Land used for replantable crops (wheat, maize, rice): 10.01%
Land used for crops not replanted after each harvest (citrus, coffee, rubber): 0.65%
Irrigated Land (supplied artificially with water): 2900 square kilometers
natural resources: small amounts of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
3 major crops believed to originate in Ethiopia: Coffee, grain sorghum, castor bean
52 people/square kilometer
Population: 74 million (18th greates population in the world)
Annual Total Population growth: 2.31 % (above average in comparison to the world)
Annual Urban Population growth: 4.1%
Ethnicity: Oromo (40%) Amhara and Tigre (32%) Sidamo (9%) Shankella (6%) Somali (6%) Afar (4%) Gurage (2%) Other (1%)
Religion: Muslim (45-50%) Ethiopian Orthodox (35-40%) Animist (12%) Other (#-8%)
Literacy Rate: Total = 42.7%; Male = 50.3%; Female = 35.1%