Saturday, September 25, 2010

የጋጋ ስጋ and the Lazarus Measures

The 50 pounds meat outfit that was shredding the media the past week hit me in so many ways. I wanted to anticipate or philosophize and say something about it but I got engaged with different thought perspectives that cascaded or contradicted with one another that it made me feel like a chauvinist if I don’t relate and give meaning to it. A meaning that would that could be measured with the moral virtue as being right or wrong.
So where does the sense of right and wrong come from? For some God reveals his laws and they get elevated with his love which makes them commit to it for life. For others it is moral reasoning and the choice they make. But as the moral naturalist it is due to the observation and moral attitude built through the history of relationship which is the remedy for influencing and inspiring ሕሊና. Moral judgment is generally a moral behavior which will make an individual be more sensitive to others point of view. The thirst of recognition is sometimes the lack of being well equipped with fairness, justice and virtue or lack of being good at anticipating and feeling other people’s feelings and pain. Or in short not being able to go out of the Me zone.

Me compliment is about everything but me. It is about the hungry child who dies from deficiency of food or the unfortunate woman who gets raped on her way to night shift work or the father who could not afford to send his bright young boy to school or the people who year after year live in poverty and all those who does not have a choice.
Choice: the privilege to neglect an alternative. It is very intriguing to know what this small word can mean, there are people who starve (diet) by choice and those who starve not by choice some who are naked by choice and some not by choice but then again there are people who strive to succeed and gain superiority and there are some who abandon everything they have and decide to live in the wilderness.
Even though there is many ways of refining cooperative moral beliefs, a progression of reasoning takes up a major role. Consequently a meat dress an exclusive way of achieving recognition is outrageous for some domain and for some it is a question of even-possible since the need t
o eat has not yet been satisfied. This might not be an offensive deed 50-100 years from now because by then reasoning might have reached to a stage that positively justifies such action.
So where do we draw the line between reasoning and ignorance? For me the best reference is ancient history and most of all, the Bible. Because these stories really challenge our moral virtue and sometimes force to reconstruct our belief, views and the ground of fairness right from scratch. The best parable is Lazarus and the rich man. It represents the two faces of this world Lazarus the un-benefited, un-dressed, the hungry, the one that struggles to survive, the one with oozing sores -- therefore unclean and the weak and the rich man who dresses well and eats well and lives it up every day. Neither of them has chosen but were granted or favored through situations.
Lazarus Measures
Regardless of what happens in the afterlife the moral of the story is that if we are the benefited one in life we should seek the opportunity to think for and be sensitive about those who are in pain or disadvantaged and be able to respond more powerfully to the plight of an individual. This, I think, normalizes the awfully altered moral virtues of acting responsibly.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ladies firsቱ ቢቀርም ምንም አይደለም

A conversation between folks waiting for an elevator
….the elevator arrived..
ወንድ 1  ................ቆይ ሰዎቹ ይውረዱ
ወንድ 2 ኧረ ምን እነሱ ብቻ….ሌዲስ ፈርስትም እንጂ  (አብራቸው ወዳለችው ት እየተመለከተ..)
ሴትዋ  ኢትስ  ኦኬ ግቡ
ወንድ 1 .. ኖ ኖ ኖ ግቢ ..
ወንድ 2 ..ግቢ ፕሊስ
………….ገባች………….ገቡ………………elevato ሄደ
…………1ኛ…..2ኛ……3ኛ ፍሎር ደረሱ
………elevatoሩ ቆመ በሩ ተከፈተ
……………………………..ወንዶቹ ቀድመው ወረዱ   L
Cultural clash at times make society a victim of un and re learning. Even though there is no contradiction in the notion of the subject, the way it is conveyed and expressed is carved by the culture of that society. The difference is prevailingly observed when cultures cross as civilization merges and influences due to many social reasons. Bring this to my topic the notion of respecting women, all human beings in that matter, is positively accepted by any civilized society but the way it is expressed is different in every culture.
As a Diasora individual I struggle in this process of unlearning and relearning culture other than my own and “Ladies first” is one.
Ladies first
Although there are many speculations abounding the origin of this tradition the impelled resulting-concept is: Respecting Woman. So knowing this does neither make me feel less respected nor make me evaluate a man’s gentlemanliness with that measure, since this is not a tradition I grew up in. One time, I was coming out of a convenience store and a guy, የእኛ አይነት ሰው የሆነ ሰው  in other words originally not from the US or any like culture, coming in the store held the door open for me and said "first ladies!!!.." unfortunately he was standing opposite the side the door opens so I technically had to pass under his stretched arm so that his effort of practicing “Ladies first” doesn’t go to waste . So I learned my lessons and if a guy says “.Ladies first...” or "first ladies!!!.." which ever appeals to him I would ask back “Are you sure?”, because for me the phrase reads not ladies first but safety first or first safety.
 I believe that it is not phrase but the thought and the motive that matters, if the ethical idea of respecting others is well internalized then the expression is noticeable not only by the way that person treats others but also by the way she/he carries her/himself. Refining a personality is a change process that keeps getting better and better in time through unlearning wrong traditions and relearning the good once. The learning curve is not linear because not everything we learn is good or everything that we unlearn is bad. So the perfect equilibrium is obtained, if obtained, after many trials and errors since life itself is about the experience. So in the same context if የእኛ አይነት ሰው የሆነ ሰው  guy forgets to practice the Ladies first phrase does not make him a coward or lesser of a gentleman so ladies firsቱ ቢኖርም ጥሩ ነው ቢቀርም ምንም አይደለም ዋናው ሴፍቲው ነው.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The wedge in a Tug-of-war

Being extraordinary is always fascinating; at times this title is given to individuals after a long journey of contradiction. Look at the above picture very closely; even though, the sand is slippery sometimes, its granulated texture is easy to hold firm in a position and when we look at the team members, each individual are pulling the rope harmoniously except the last person who seems to have tripped over, this actually challenges the impression making it difficult to say whether they are losing or wining.
Hilarious as it a may look, Last person is actually a vital team member in the game and has not even broken the rules in the tug-of-war that requires the rope to be above the knee. The way he has positioned himself not only helps him to be intact in his place but also act as a pole around which the rope is tied and all they, the rest of the team members, have to do is pull the delta difference between him and the opposite group. All in all he is the reinforcing wedge for the team. My conventional explanation might not even be true but it made me ask myself :what would I do to win ?, what extraordinary steps would I take ?, would I wedge ?even more what does success and talent mean ?
Depending on our measure of success, extraordinarily successful people stand out because of what they have achieved slightly or significantly more than the context of general. When we hear their stories, there is always a time when they have pulled opposite to the norm in the tug-of-war of life and have chosen a different route to get to where they wanted to be. Although talent has a decisive role in where we end up, it does not have influence what so ever in the extent of our success.
Talent is just the initial difference which everybody has but unique to everyone. Some has the love for art, some for science, some for physics and some for music, it varies for all. Yet, the drawback of talent or the initial difference is that it should be exposed to a situation in order to aggravate like a spark in gas chamber. To see this more clearly let us consider rate of talented kids in US and Africa, the difference is huge; it does not imply that there are no talented kids in Africa but that they don’t have enough exposure and God knows how many talents have gone to waste. It is not only exposure but also practice that makes one perfect or successful in what they do like Bill Gates who used to get up at night to go to his school and do programming on a card for hours and hours unlike any other 15 year old boy who would rather sleep for 12 hours. I am sure people or his friends might have thought he is crazy for doing that and he even might have been bullied for it too but that did not stop him, he pulled and wedged, pulled and wedged till he became The Bill Gates he is now.
So I would say the tug-of-wars in life might need a pull rather than the conventional way and a decision to change the direction or route that takes to the destination and wedge that; like what my face book friends have said, it needs: knowing the talent, having a dream and a plan which we can execute with passion, determination and discipline with confidence and sense of doing good through the span of time and above all with faith and God’s help.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Genocide Wot ( ዘር አጥፊው ወጥ)

I am still in the holiday vibe and trying to handle all the nice happenings that started from Eve till today, the day after the New Year; struggling to keep the memory of each moment as much as I can. Going through the pictures I took, I came across a closely taken picture of a Doro Wot – the thick red rich gravy, the drum stick, and the boiled egg – it caught my attention because of its arty and prestigious look but then when I started looking deeper I suddenly felt chills going down my vain. Doro Wot is so famous that it is the first thing that comes to my mind if someone asks me about Ethiopian traditional food but I have never seen Doro wot in this way ever before I am so surprised because I am vegetarian who is struggling to make myself believe that I should eat meat against all odds that I consciously feel and this is something that would have fortified my paradigm. I must be blinded by the tale I have been told all my life about Doro Wot being an exotically authentic and delicious dish. No, this is actually exotically brutal; it is the act Genocide of the Poultry species.

To make Doro Wot the main ingredient is the Chicken. It is not just parts of it but the whole bird sliced and diced into 12 parts so that it is well dead and cooked for hours just to make sure and then it is preferable to boil the laid eggs just in case they hatch and become chicks. I wonder who came up with this recipe, this reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend about two weeks ago about how and why Monarchical rule for centuries contribute for the development of authentic dishes; since the chefs of the palace are carefully chosen, brought from different parts of the kingdom and they have to prove themselves of being the best before being hired. They have to come up or modify recipes that eventually become an international identity for those countries like Doro Wot is for Ethiopia. But I don’t feel like this is a recipe that you can come up in an environment where ingredients are available in abundance. If it was grounded beef with spiced butter and homemade cheese and some well-seasoned collard green with Kocho bread I would have agreed. There must be something else that would relate this to our cultural upbringing - We can't be this cruel...

Guest welcoming heart…
This reality reminded me of two stories from the Bible, the old lady who relinquished the only two coins she had and Abraham who hosted the Lord out of his distaste to eat alone. I believe these two stories gave birth to our other identity of delightfully hosting guests and eating together. I am sure many, same way or another, would share my story of hearing the famous free verse “…የእግዜር እንግዳ ተቀበሉ…” and had also experienced it as የእግዜር እንግዳ or as a ተቀባይ. So I think an old Lady, maybe a widow, who always believed that guests are God sent but who did not have much to give, just a significant Chicken and it’s eggs which were all she had to live on and were, therefore, exceedingly valuable to her. Without hesitating served her Doro Wot to her guests with a smile on her face and fullness at her heart. This is not storied behind the creation but the thought of what it would feel like to give up all you have and smile actually made me smile. God, please let this be the story behind Doro Wot

Sunday, September 12, 2010


See this relative use of words having different meaning.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Clean Canvas of a New Year Day

New Year is like a clean canvas upon which we paint our new dream with all the colors of the universe. Even though time always seem to start from zilch I frequently find myself lingering on the past trying to rewrite it, thinking about what I should and shouldn’t have done or could have done better giving no time to think about the upcoming future in the presence of today. As a child I remember how exciting it was to see the wild yellow flowers blossom on every meadow, the bright sun light making the scenery a fresh paint of nature which tells and send a message of rejuvenations. New-year-day was always filled with change, excitement, fiesta and new beginning.

New Year is time’s way of setting a threshold to a part of time - the Past, Last year, last decade – and declare the beginning of a new year and a new moment and that, for me, is the true essence of the celebrating a new year day. Think about it for second, if time didn’t exist or if we weren’t governed by it we will be in the was of then in now. I really don’t know what it means but what I mean to say is that we will go insane because nothing will stop or come to an end.Time gives us the tool to demark for what has been done and gone and to visualize the future and connect with now.Presenting a new and clean canvas in each moment and each day for us to have a fresh start,create and paint.If we paint hate,greed and all the wrong things ,it will just give our mind a hauting thought which will only weaken our soul and tire our body so just tear it off and start painting again on a clean canvas with a new love and a giving heart because what we paint is what reflects back to us.

Last year is a lasted year, the past and it is not coming back and as we stand on a New Year day we turn the page in time. It is a chance to carefully look at how we participate with the new moment in now and the coming future. The past should never be the present. Learn the lesson we created and move on to the next page to a clean canvas of today and tomorrow with all the colors of different virtues and start painting brighter perspective, better view points, new Spirit and new heart with no bruises of any kind.

New year is all about giving ourselves any new chance to be present and foresee the future, let the New year bring us compassionate Love, endless peace, better commitments to our plans, etiquette to society and most of all Utopianism to our Ethiopia.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Ethiopian New year to all

I wish you all ,a happy and prosperous new year filled with success and good thoughts

Principle is Attitude

Ethiopians on facebook have dedicated this week to remember Birtukan Mideksa

I always wonder what makes individuals-those unique
Why are they so different and significant?
They are the: disturbance like a flower in the grass field; when blossom, declares the awakening,
the triumph even in a defeat,
the Un-bogged virtue that’s timelessly free,
the hope and the spirit that intertwines the We,
the survival and the faith,
the unbroken eloquence of justice,
the flesh of honesty,
the being in all human,
the we in I
                                    We will always remember