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.


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.