July 4, 2006
A collection of poems by Poet Laureate Belatengeta Tsegaye Gabre-medhin, Ethiopian poet, playwright, essayist and philosopher who passed away on Saturday, February 25, 2006.
Prologue to African Conscience Dreamer Guilty? Who Is On Whose Way Tears Inevitable Galileo's Apologies Though this .. , though that. . . Hold My Hand</a?
December 22, 2005
Translation by Tadesse Tamrat
Ethiopia's first novel which first appeared in Amharic in 1900.
Much is due to him who is kind to others. Much is lost to him who does evil unto others. A kind man never gives; he lends!
At the beginning of the Christian era, when the new religion was still in the process of being preached, the Christians were very few compared with the pagans. The pagans, moreover, counting on their superiority of numbers and greater power persecuted the Christians, invaded their land, plundered and devastated their possessions. After every battle the pagans would massacre as many as they pleased and reduce to slavery all those who were captured alive. Very few as they were, the Christians were also strongly militant in defending their honor and the frontiers of their land. Victory was not the monopoly of any one side, the Christians and the pagans won the struggle at different times, neither wanting peace and reconciliation, each aiming at exterminating the other. Every year, every month, each side would fight and massacre the other. Once upon a time the pagans came as usual to plunder the land of the Christians, to castrate, to kill or to enslave them. When the news of this pagan attack reached the ears of the Christian king he at once mobilized his forces, organized them under four Dejazmaches, or generals, and sent them to fight the enemy and defend their faith. The pagan army was, however, ten times as large as that of the Christians.
November 2, 2005
Skovoroda, a radical thinker of eighteenth-century Russia, viewed the wretched state of affairs in his beloved land and penned his cri de coeur: " Our Father which art in Heaven, wilt Thou send down a Socrates to us soon, one who will teach us to know ourselves, so that knowing ourselves, we may then develop out of ourselves a philosophy which will be our own, native and natural to our land." And now in the second half of the twentieth century, Western foundations and universities viewing the wretched state of affairs amongst those described by Frantz Fanon as les damnÃƒÂ©s de la terre have convinced themselves that the undeveloped countries are in dire need of the kind of teacher Skovoroda had in mind. One can hardly find a single undeveloped country that has not been penetrated by intrepid anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, manpower specialists, or low-income housing experts. This explosion in social science research has brought about another phenomenon in the book-publishing business: a torrential outpouring of books on the modernizing " problems " of the peoples of le tiers monde.
by MENGHESTU LEMMA When the curtain rises we see the living room of Fitawrari Merrine Tekwas' villa about thirty kilometres from the city of Addis Ababa. Part of the country home is used by his son, Wondayehu, as a week-end vacation retreat, especially in the disagreeable Addis rainy season. His friends often use the house as a retreat and feel perÃ‚Âfectly at home. The living room which we now see appears comfortable and inviting...
By Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin "Taken in by surprise, the people, their ways of life, their values, all by surprise" commented a writer anthropologist generalizing on the fate of the African societies, both traditional and modem, ever since the black man's emergence into the Western historic awareÃ‚Âness. How much of this truth remains true also of the literature of the people is what this paper attempts to discuss.
By Tadesse Liben
She was very beautiful. People talked about her eyes, her lips, her fine row of teeth, her well-shaped legs, her waist-line, and her beauty in general. She was 18 years old and of average height. Her expensive dresses were tailored according to the most modern fashion, costing 50 to 60 dollars for the tailoring alone. Her name was Almaz Demissie.
Her father, Ato Demissie Abebe was of a dark brown complexion, and so fat that, in carrying his huge person about, he would breathe heavily like an overladen donkey going uphill. Perspiration would cover the whole of his fat face dripping down to his fat belly. When he tried to wipe a stream of sweat off one side of his face another stream trickled down the other side. His fatness was not like that of some unfortunate persons who, without the comforts of life, get fat spontaneously. Ato Demissie's obesity came from being excessively rich and basking in the comforts of life. His wealth was proverbial. He owned 33 gashas of land in Arrusi, seven gashas in Adda, and 36 gashas of coffee plantation in Jimma. The heads of cattle he owned in Arrusi alone exceeded 1,000. The fattened ones, which were brought from time to time to provide beef for his household, were either covered with a piece of cloth or kept near Nefas Silk, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, till darkness came, in order to protect them from the evil eye. The slices of raw meat4 from the slaughtered cattle that were served at his table were so savoury that once a person had tasted a piece, he would always ask for more.
By Richard Pankhurst Ethiopia, as is well known, possesses a rich store of historical literature, dating back with various degrees of authenticity for thousands of years. Here is a full translation of the Chronicle of Zara Yaqob, an Ethiopian sovereign who ruled exactly five centuries ago. The translation, which is the work of Louis Haber, preserves the spirit of the original and gives us an interesting glimpse into Ethiopia half a millennium ago. In it we read, of the problems of the day: the persecution of idolators; thereorganisation of the government; the rebellion of Mahiko, ruler of Hadya; the erection of a new palace at Debra Berhan; the appointment of soldiers; the war against Arwe Badlay; and other important events. The chronicle is divided into two parts, a general survey of the reign, followed by a brief recapitulation of the main events. The original manuscript was written in Geez during the reign of Lebra Dengel (1508-1540), and copies of it are to be found in the British Museum (Add MSS. 821) and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, being described in the catalogues of Ethiopic manuscripts prepared by Wright, Zotenberg and d'Abbadie. The work was later published with a French translation by Jules Perruchon in 1893.
by RAS IMRU HAILE SELLASSIE
This booklet is written to give an account of the life history of Fitawrari Belay and his familyÃ¢â‚¬â€the central figures in the story. At the same time, however, it also depicts the traditional methods of administraÃ‚Âtion and government practised in the various parts of Ethiopia at an earlier stage of the country's history.
The feudal domination of the nobility, the black art of magic practised by many who used to mislead the public, the religious differences that existed in the country, and other aspects of the life of the people are also dealt with in the course of the story. The story in this book has a double meaning. In its explicit form it is an account of the life of Fitawrari Belay. Implicitly, however, it is the story of the fall of Ethiopia under the rule of Fascism and of her eventual liberation.
April 15, 2005
By Ashenafi Kebede It was a day in 1926, in the month of September, that the wedding took place. It was a bright Sunday which fell on the 22nd, an even number, a sign of good luck, to couple and children to-be-born. The bride was Manyahlishal, the 13-year-old daughter of a guard in Queen Zewditu's palace.