What is it like to sing thinking of one's country? Remembering the old days, looking through discolored memory, while you are surrounded by a strange culture, in strange land. One of my all-time favorite singer, Gigi, chants about 'Balewashintu', in which she reminiscences about the 'Washint" player from her native Godjam. Despite the fact she found herself in cosmopolitan New York, she demonstrates her affectionate and nostalgic feelings when she envisaged the musician playing his flute. For Gigi, exile seems loss of freedom to return to things and places familiar.
But there is also different kind of exile, according to a veteran poet and political activist, Hama Tuma, who is also living 'in the other part of the world.'
His 'exile' doesn't compel owning a passport or a visa, or leaving for a far off place. Here is the excerpt,
When memory fades
and you forget what joy ever meant
When " home" becomes a mirage
an illusion to haunt you in the dark
That's when exile really begins
Desolation in the interior of your mind.
' Of spades and Ethiopians '
Don't you think those trying to give us the exact figure of those "Living in Exile ' should reconsider? Perhaps, there are a lot more than they imagined.