Home > poems > Kifle Gebre-Egziabher: A poet in the making

Kifle Gebre-Egziabher: A poet in the making

By Kumlachew Fantahun

Kifle Gebre-Egzabher is a 65-year-old retired agriculturalist living in Bahar Dar town.Though his love for literature, mostly novel, dates back to his childhood days, it was only recently that he realized his talent for writing poetry in English.

In a country where writing in English is not a common practise, Kifle ventures to make his modest contribution to Ethiopian literature in English.His poems may not be flawless but for a man of his education and experience, one can say, he writes very good poems with bold originality and charm.

Born in Addis Ababa, Kifle went to the then Teferi Mekonen School where he completed his 8th grade studies and then after, he joined the Ambo Agriculture and Forestry School where he received a diploma in forestry after four years of study.Upon graduation, he was employed by the then Ministry of Agriculture where he worked in various capacities travelling to many parts of the country until his retirement in 1989 (EC).Currently, he is a freelance editor and translator.

Kifle developed his love for reading starting from schooldays.He says Teferi Mekonen School had a good library with large collection of English literature.He used to read a good deal of English novels borrowing from the library.Even at that young age, he remembers to have read classic books such as ‘Mobby Dick’ and ‘Don Qihote’.As his age advanced, his passion for reading grew and he delved himself more in European, American and Russian literature.He has read, among others, Dante, Virgil, Shakespeare, the metaphysical poets, Alexander Pope, Emily Dickenson, Doyestovesky and Tolstoy.

He is particularly attracted to Russian literature “as it poignantly portrays the human condition.”He singles out as a case in point Gogol’s ‘The Over-Coat’ which he says is a deeply moving story capable of evoking a powerful pathos from the reader.

Kifle’s longstanding love for the English language was sharpened by his love for reading and also because it was requred of him to write work reports in English.Hence, his wealth of vocabulary which he uses in his poetry with aptness and ease.

He says in the past fifteen years he came to realize his talent for composing English poems at which he began to try his hands.In 1985 he began (E,C) he wrote his first English poem ‘The Scenery of Battlefield’ with its theme about HIV/AIDS.Ever since, he has written around 80 English poems which he colllected under the title ‘The Hungry Millstone’ and Other poems.

                                 The  Hungry Millstone

In a shabby like old store

Planted was a millstone

Suddenly was the stream stopped flowing

Letting the wheel loosing power,

By man-made calamity or unknown.

All corner walls remain unclean

With old time fume, flour and dust,

And the ceiling webbed by soot and rust.

There’s no even goodly grain left-over

Or at least one bean altogether,

Now, no ground grain in the basket

And the mill is tantamount to stop

Even no residue between the pair stone beat

And hungry was the millteeath to eat.

Aching pain, remain in the grinding gear

Longing to grasp, whatever it may be

Still, millstone, swinging to and fro

Giving sound like a crow, for

It’s belly is shallow, and

Have no any grain at hand to swallow.

Below is his another poem entitled

        Silvery Moon

Its brightness not as usual

Though shaded by street moon bright

The cool air breeze, almost drifting

Trashes of all kind, like avalanche piled on top of me

No blanket to wear

And no pillow and matters under me

My neck on the ramp of the pavement

My back on the bare aspalt road

As though souns asleep

But not at all

In the meantime

I prayed

“God, what will be tomorrow?”

Still no answer.

Still God knows

And still I remain a street boy.

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Categories: poems
  1. Tedla
    March 7, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Hello Kume:

    What a delight to read your contribution to Just Thinking! After reading this latest contribution by you I decided to search for older ones, in case you’ve contributed some before, and the result is that I found out some and was reading them moments ago and hence decided to drop this note here to say, thank you for your job and keep up the good work.

    Now as you’d certainly recall I’m one of those who’d not reaidly understand poetry, for it seems that I was born without a “poetry gene”, as it were, that can fairly grasp literary works incarnated in such forms as poetry, in order to value them properly.

    For people who’re incapable of understanding poetry to apprecaite its value, if there are some out there like me, and for those who have some inclinations to understand plain prose, I encourage you to also write something on the philosophical works by literary figures, hoping that there are some Ethiopian writers under such a category. I know that you’re well versed in such things as literature that capture philosophical insights about life and that is what I’ve in mind for you to share with your audience to incldue some of us too! If that does not sound too selfish a request to make in the first place.

    May I suggest this? As they say “poverty is the mother of invention”, and some of those who’ve had chances to see the Western world with some of its almost inhospitable natural environment would easily understand that saying for without their environmental pressure to be as creative as possible to survive in such harsh places people would not have been that technologically advanced in the West. One can dispute such a claim but then the truth is is there as well for all to see.

    I wonder why Ethiopians would not make great philosophers as well for life has been too harsh for us too, but not in the same sense as the environmetal one as in the West. We’ve had too much of a tragic sense of life that has largely been invented by human beings, us, and that I think should naturally have caused us to think more about us as the sources of untold human suffering that we brought upon ourselves. Finding ourselves in such endless suffering that largely has been brought about by humans, bu us, by Ethiopias, wouldn’t it seem a fitting thing to search for a deeper cause and explanation for our own suffering? A tragic sense of life brought about by human beings, by us, seems to call for an answer, explanation, by us and this is my suggestion for fellow Ethiopians, as to why do we not see many more Ethiopian philosophers, thinkers that are driven by what they see and also embody to figure out the point of it all?

    Kume, please share with the rest of us from literary figures as well as any others what we’ve so far and let’s hope that there will be more Ethiopians who contribute in the above sense of contribution to the life of literature, both in plain prose or poetry.

    Look forward to reading your and others’ contribution.

    Tedla

  2. Tedla
    March 7, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Arefaynie:

    Alas, I spotted two typoes after submitting my thoughts on Kume’s piece.

    Is there a way to edit before submitting the comments? I don’t think there is such a mechanism on this page. Is there such a thing that I missed by any means?

    Sorry for the typoes, two or more of them. At least two, I hope.

    Tedla

  3. Veritas
    March 7, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Some Thoughts:

    After reading some of the thoughts based on Kumlachew’s piece I could not stop thinking about what we, Ethiopians, can do about the form of life, which one can easily say is a graphic and vivid portrait of tragedy of life writ large, and why we’ve embodied such a form of life for such a long period of human history.

    By referring to a tragic form of life in Ethiopia and its long history, I’m not referring to something specifically political and I’m not saying that Ethiopia has undergone and embodied perpetual poverty, all other kinds of undesirable forms of human life, due only to its political history. I’m not denying that political leadership and such similar institutions contribute to some undesirable things that we Ethiopians undergo as a society. That is undeniable. But then if we keep thinking that only the government is to blame for all forms of suffering that we’ve experienced and are experiencing, I think, that way of trying to understand our own problems for what they are is wrong-headed, in some sense.
    Take for example, such widely distributed, manifested, character traits among many, many Ethiopians, this is going to cause a chaos among some who want to deny the truth (!): why are so many–“many” never means all, or even most, mind you–Ethiopians characteristically untruthful; dishonest; suspicious of another fellow human being; arrogant in the sense of being unwilling to admit that they’ve made mistakes, and admit that they do not know certain things; jealous; and also want to take advantage of others’ innocence, etc, etc. These are characteristically unhealthy, undesirable things for any human society and they part and parcel of all other societies, of course. But please do not respond by saying that we’re not different, these are problems one can find everywhere etc. This way of answering simply confirms one or the other of the traits that I listed above and please be careful not to just confirm what I’ve already shared to reflect on with fellow Ethiopians. Please do not seek easy answers that only explain away the problems for in those answers we only show how much little we care to think deeper, or more carefully, and being honest and truthful about these very questions. Please let’s face it [them] and try to understand why we’re such a society and widely suffer from such vices of character.

    I want to hear from fellow Ethiopians who’re not in a perpetual state of self-deception in trying to explain away a call for some rational and deeper understanding of our society’s problems as I’ve tried to share a tip of the iceberg which we can extend and expand and contemplate together to see if we can make sense of our own identity, and our own destiny as we keep being reflective on what makes us who we’re. My hope is that some will share insights from all kinds of sources such as literature by fellow Ethiopians who address some of the above questions that unfortunately define us a society.

    I look forward to reading some reflections by Kumlachew and other fellow Ethiopians who’ve a much better knowledge, who know much more than I about the Ethiopian literature, art, and such sources that can help us reflect on ourselves. I’ll be happy to share my own thoughts as I continue to interact, hopefully, with those who’re courageous, honest, truthful, and open enough to face the above predicaments about our society, about us in these dark days as there have been many such in our history.

    Vertias

  4. Veritas
    March 7, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    P.S.

    My pen name, Veritas, in Latin, means, truth. The correct spelling is Veritas.

    I do not mean, by way of my pen name, I’m an example of a truth-full person or anything like that though I’ve been consciously striving, for all my adult life, to pursue truth, embrace it and embody it, as much as humanly possible.

    I’m intentional as to why I chose my pen name the way I did though. I do hope that many among the readers will share this: there is nothing like loving truth for its own sake, conscientiously pursuing truth, and experiencing the joy that comes as a result of being truthful.

    Veritas

  5. Veritas
    March 8, 2007 at 4:31 am

    Hello Again:

    I thought it might be of some help by way of clarification about the previous post (comment?) if I add the following: When I say many Ethiopians habitually hide the truth hence being untruthful under various circumstances; being habitually dishonest; being habitually suspicious of another fellow human being, and arrogant in the senses I said in the original post, we can take concrete examples of such scenarios regularly happening in the society at large and I’d encourage the readers to provide their own favorite examples of manifestations of such character traits, if they have any doubt as to what I’m trying to communicate, and also provide justifications or reasons or explanations as to why people habitually tend to do those things as they do.

    I’ve already said that not all Ethiopians manifest the character traits I pointed out for our discussion for if all Ethiopians are like what those character traits describe them to be, that is consistently so, it’d be very doubtful for any society to exist and hence properly function under such a scenario. It’s still possible, however, for a majority of a certain society to practice those character traits, the vices, and for such a society to exist but the existence of such a society is far below or inferior to what is desirable and good for any society, by any standard. It’s good to hear what others think about this. I’d deeply appreciate if anyone wants to defend a position that goes against what I think is a realistic representation of what I shared above and believe to be the truth about the Ethiopian society without being precise about the extent of my claim for there is no need, as far as I can see, for me to be so precise for we can work on what I’ve provided without any need for precision, at least at this stage.

    Finally, I shared the thoughts I did because these thoughts have puzzled me for a long time, most of my adult life, and it’s out of a genuine desire to understand my own society better and to know the truth about my own society that I decided to share the puzzles that have been with me for such a long time. And I do know that many fellow Ethiopians have shared much similar perplexity about the same phenomena about our own society and my sharing these puzzles is not an isolated incidence.

    I do look forward to a fruitful discussion and rational debate among fellow Ethiopians who can contribute their share of insights from literature, arts, philosophy, religion, and personal reflections, and on and on.

    Veritas

  6. Yaya
    March 8, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I think it is a nice thing that we’ve strarted such self-probing.Or it is not that new.Infact, if listen to typical Abesha conversation, you would see how harsh Ethiopians could be on themselves.Most Abesas would spend thier time talking how, for example, mikegna the other one is.That is where I find it unhealty.We prefer to attach each other collectively, not to see ourselves in relation to what we are saying.
    I myself have often said all the vile in the book about Abesha but never bothered to know if I was different form the people that I was putting the blame on.
    To be honest, I have yet to come across an Ethiopian who readily directs the blame on himself or herself when something goes wrong in her/ his actions.

  7. Veritas
    March 8, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Hello Yaya:

    Thanks so much for sharing a very insightful point that I think goes to the heart of the problem I mean to discuss with fellow Ethiopians. Yes, we Ethiopians, suffer from this blaming another or others for anything wrong without taking the blame upon ourselves hence trying to be right ourselves and hence “self-righteous”, as deeply as one cares to find in any society, I’d say.

    No need to protest my tendency to compare us with another society for that is not the point, I do that only in an illustrative sense and is meant to be provocative. We as a society are adept at explaining away our own problems, our vices, by trying to explain why we’re such a society by comparing ourselves with the hope of finding another society worse than ourselves. Do not forget that is exactly a subtle instance of attributing blame to the other and exonerating or excluding oneself/ourselves from any blame! That is the point Yaya is getting at. Now, rather than treading that vicious road whose destiny is decay and death, let’s start attributing any blame for anything wrong that we originate and hence we do to ourselves, individually and collectively , and that way reigns a process of healing that will culminate in a society that is virtuous and sane with all the other goods to follow.

    By the way, Yaya, what you brought up which is what I tried to show in the preceding paragraph is, I submit, an instance of self-deception, which means outright lie, untruthfulness, that many in our society embody but then, alas, live in denial-hence its nature as self-deception. Who can fail to this point, for example: do we not blame the government, the current or the former or what have you, for almost all the wrong things in the country? Without saying this or that about this or that government, for that is not the point at the moment, are we not just doing what Yaya shared with us that I also tried to show what it amounts to? Blaming the other and exonerating oneself from any blame! This is a vice which is rightly a vicious circle without breaking such a vicious circle there is no way for us, as a society, to get anywhere for generations to come.
    Am I being pessimistic? No, I say. I’m rather being realistic. What should be do as a society, and also what should I do personally in order to break the vicious circle that is the fabric which many of us are made of and entangled in and seem to be destined to live as such: self-deceived, dishonest, untruthful, suspicious, arrogant, never learning from one’s mistakes, blaming the other for one’s one mistakes. What a tragic portrait of a society! How shall we then live as such a society? I urge fellow Ethiopians, who are sincere, honest, open, transparent (a word that I’d rarely, if ever, use to describe Ethiopians, sorry fellow Ethiopians), trusting another/others, acknowledging one’s/their limits and weaknesses, to start doing a profound soul-searching, individually and collectively, to find the solutions for the vices that have been eating us away, decimating us, and degenerating us. Shall we see an Ethiopian society that thrives in some such preceding virtues some day? I do not hope now where there is no reason for any hope but then I do hope that some will do something about this portrait of us, a tragic form of existence. If no one else does anything about it, I will.

    Veritas

  8. Veritas
    March 8, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    P.S.

    Typo: There is “see” missing in paragraph three, where it should have been : “Who can fail to see this point…”

    Veritas

  9. Veritas
    March 8, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    PP.S.

    Another typo(!), alas:

    Please read “…one’s own mistakes…” in the place of “..one’s one mistakes…”, just preceding “What a tragic….!”.

    Sorry for bothering you with typoes.

    Veritas

  10. Veritas
    March 9, 2007 at 4:55 am

    Hello Again:

    Most of my waking hours what I do is think about various important ideas/thoughts and since I can’t stop doing that since that is my job, I also, almost inevitably, couldn’t stop thinking about the ideas I shared on this blog and my hope is that others will join the conversation/discussion for I thought that what I tried to share was/is something important for our society. I could be wrong about that but then it’d be good for someone to show me that I was wrong in thinking so and I’d be grateful to that person, perhaps, along with others whom I’m misleading by dwelling on trivialities while we got some other weightier and more valuable things to think about and do.

    In the meantime, I’d deeply appreciate if anyone, who has a background in sociology, psychology, philosophy, theology, literature and whatever is relevant to the kind of issues that I raised, contributes to this discussion. Such a profound individual and national self-examination and soul-searching would naturally involve fellow Ethiopians with all kinds of relevant backgrounds. I do hope that such responsible discussion will be conducted with a sense of fairness, rationally and be debated without descending into unacceptable name-calling, dismissing important issues by way of hand waving and hence evasion or anything similar to these.

    Many thanks, in the meantime, to the one who runs this blog for allowing me to share my thoughts and for encouraging me to do so and for anyone who contributes to the dialogue, exchange of ideas, and for debating important ideas that will be contributions to the flourishing of fellow Ethiopians and the Ethiopian society at large, ideally speaking.

    Veritas

  11. Tazabi
    March 10, 2007 at 1:17 am

    Veritas,
    I don’t have the bacground you’ve mentioned above, but it seems that you had bad experiance. If you don’t mind, let me suggest this… I think you need to have a dialogue with those people who gave you bad experience. Why you think honesty is good? Because, you’ve been thought or may be that mental model is with you since childhood. In order to understand this reverse your own thinking and you may find honesty after all is not that great either. Are you familiar with Gerves Buhe book? I really, really recommends you to read. Sometimes, unintentionally we creat our bad/good experience. In the past, i socialized with people from different part of Ethiopia and they’ve their own unique characterstics. I found it the inner city folks could be difficult to deal with. I’ve been lied to, cheated.., but i would say that most of the time it’s the result of economic disadvantage. I agree ,honesty & truthfulness would create good relationship among ourselves, but being “open” has a different level. I believe that by being open as a society will serve us real bad. We all agree that the west is by far a very open society and what i see now is not liking it. To me, the brave new world is very questionable.

  12. Veritas
    March 10, 2007 at 5:35 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thank you so much for your comments. First off, I want to say this: what I shared above does not, necessarily, reflect my bad experience with those people who lied to me or cheated me, or have been dishonest to me, etc. Nor is it related to some values about honesty instilled in me in my childhood. Even if what you suggested could be true, I do not think the reason that led me into sharing these ideas is just based on my personal experience.

    The preceding is to clarify or give you an idea as to where I come from. What I’ve shared above is based on years of observation, and reflections on what I–I’ll argue eventually for the points and there is no need to take my words based on my own experiences if it sounds that I’m just talking about my own bad experiences– take to be a widely shared and manifested character trait that one unfailingly can find in the Ethiopian society, be it in Ethiopia or the Diaspora, there is no essential difference in the Ethiopian community.

    It’s good to ask why honesty is a good thing as you raised this question. But I’ve a hard time understanding you, Tazabi. You seem to value truthfulness and honesty and also you raise the question why honesty should be valued. By agreeing with the positive good that honesty and truthfulness carry you seem to have answered your own question. In the future, hoping that this discussion goes on, I’ll argue why honesty, truthfulness, openness, personal integrity, transparency, and such virtues are intrinsically good, whether we’re taught by our parents, or community, or our society or were never taught anything about them at all. Intrinsically good things are good in virtue of their own nature or they are ends themselves or things that we should value and seek for their own sake. I think the virtues that I indicated are such values and they’re desirable and essential for any given society’s health, properly functioning, and flourishing.

    I hope that you’ll see why I’m concerned with the vices that run thru our society, in a rampant way. By the way, I’m not sure if the vices that are epidemic in our society are the consequences of poverty, or economic disadvantage as you suggest. It could well be the other way around. One can argue that we as a society suffer from economic poverty because our character vices contributed to our poverty, economically. In a society where lies and cheatings and taking advantage of others’ innocence, corruption, as one might say, reign and where there is no enough personal integrity how can one expect economic prosperity? I wonder which the cause is for which: whether moral poverty, that is poverty in desirable moral values is a cause for economic poverty or vice versa. I’d tend to think that moral poverty could play much more crucial role in one nation’s economic poverty that the other way around.

    Now I hope that, Tazabi, you’d see how serious the gravity of the thoughts that I shared are. It’s not about my personal experience for if I base such major concerns only on my personal experience it’ll be difficult to make a case for something much larger that one’s personal experience.

    One thing and I’m done: I do not know the book that you mentioned and it’d be good if you’d tell me and other readers more about it so that some of us may take time to read it assuming it’s relevant to what we’re discussing at the moment. Many thanks for your comments and suggestions.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  13. Tazabi
    March 10, 2007 at 11:24 am

    I’m afraid you’ll run into complex sociatal behaviour issues when you start generalizing Ethiopian as a whole. In the past, my job allowed me to go places where you would think human exsitance is impossible and small neat community farmers village (by the way it’s not a day or a week trip. I’ve been staying in some places more than 6 months period). I felt love, respect, shared thier laugh and they live in such harmony and i’m having difficulty categorizing those good communities out there in one basket. What they were lacking is that leadership and bad govt. economic structure. It would be much easier if you narrow it down ethiopian economic poverty from a society as awhole to a small government body or to personal level. I think all the above character traits you mentioned are imposed by those poeple in charge. The buck stops there. Honesty is a wonderful thing. I honor it. The reason i mentioned honesty was as an example and sometimes we tend to think good or bad based on our personal belief and when you start digging it deeper, you may not have the same feeling what you deeply held. I believe that change will happen with time and gradual. We’ve a long way to go and see what we wish for. your intention is well taken. Good luck to your journey 🙂

  14. Veritas
    March 10, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    Many thanks again for your thought-provoking thoughts. Since you’re sharing some important thoughts I’m happy to continue to engage you in a rational, constructive, and hopefully productive discussion as I hope that others join us.

    Some responses to some of your thoughts:

    1) You suggest that I might run into some complex societal behavior analysis if and when I generalize what I’m trying to communicate. Thank you for sharing your positive experience in the remote parts of Ethiopia as an exception worth considering. I do not want to defend generalizing unqualifiedly as an acceptable way of approaching the issues we’re discussing. But also I beg to differ with you as follows: what I’m doing is not going to be a hasty generalization, which is an incorrect or fallacious way of reasoning that ends up concluding about a target group from an inadequate sample size. I’m not doing that. Remember what I said earlier in one of my posts? I said the vices that we’re discussing run thru many Ethiopians, not among all Ethiopians. I did not even say most. I’m even willing to say most, but let’s work with many, so that the issue of generalization would not be a stumbling-block and another means of avoiding confronting the truth by way of attributing blames to others, which is one of our distinct vices that was pointed out earlier too. I submit this contentious idea too: when you encounter Ethiopians who immediately protest about charges such as the ones we’re discussing by saying you’re generalizing, it’s most likely, not certainly, that they’re playing this game of trying to say I’m not to be blame about this or that, others could be, hence do not include me in them by generalizing. I’m not saying you’re doing that right now. But then why are we afraid of debating the ideas instead of trying to find a way of avoiding confronting them? I’ve already responded to this challenge when I qualified my target group, which consists of many Ethiopians without including some like the group of people you’ve had good experiences with.

    2) You say, “It would be much easier if you narrow it down Ethiopian economic poverty from a society as a whole to a small government body or to personal level. I think all the above character traits you mentioned are imposed by those people in charge. The buck stops there”. Now I hope that my response under (1) is adequate for the problem of generalization, which now you suggest could be avoided by narrowing down. Now I really disagree with this statement: “I think all the above character traits you mentioned are imposed by those people in charge”. I’ve a hard time believing that such character traits many Ethiopians manifest and habitually embody are imposed from without, that is from any other group, be it government or any institution. “Imposed character trait” sounds like a contradiction in terms. Characters are such that we acquire them as we grow in a community, in a society at large thru social interactions and many other ways such us reading, hearing by way of conversation, observing how others behave and live and choosing to live this way or that way and most or almost all the character traits are chosen by us rather than imposed on us as you seem to suggest. It should also be note that moral values are objective and hence such values are not the products of socializing, rather they can be tainted and hence deformed by socializing. I intentionally avoided politicizing this discussion by blaming the government, or by blaming the other as it’s habitual for many Ethiopians to do just that, which still could be part of the issue of trying to avoid taking personal responsibility by blaming others that many, many Ethiopians are adept at doing as I’ve already pointed at.

    3) I do hope that the above responses show the gravity of the concern that I’m trying to communicate and I’m calling upon fellow Ethiopians whether they are among those such character traits describe them or not, to join this discussion and face the challenge head on, without doing that I suggest we’re not going to make much progress in so many ways that we wish, desire, and believe that we’d some day. We as a society have much deeper problems that we need to face, individually and collectively, and until we do that I submit there is no better Ethiopia tomorrow. I’m waiting for some fellow Ethiopians to refute such gloomy, doomsday sounding future for the Ethiopian society that I’m suggesting based on the reasons that I’m sharing with you all and such Ethiopians will do us a greater good and we’d be grateful to them.

    Many thanks Tazabi for your thought-provoking thoughts once again and I look forward to your stimulating contribution.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  15. Veritas
    March 10, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    I can imagine many, perhaps, the majority, in the audience on this blog would harbor some doubts about the, somewhat inevitably, vague reference by me to “many Ethiopians” having a habit of lying, being dishonest, suspicious, arrogant, not being open and transparent, etc., in the senses that I described and this is a kind of post script to provide some help in better understanding what I’m trying to communicate:

    I want us to do the following thought-experiment, that is to think/ reflect on the facts that we all know for certain without any need for any additional data or statistics about the issues under discussion for the sake of achieving some reasonable degree of clarity as to what I’m trying to show about “many Ethiopians”, which as I said, I’m even willing to say most Ethiopians. Let’s assume that each one of us knows at least 100 Ethiopians to some degree. Let each one of us take these 100 people we know from schools, churches, work places, and anywhere, and take a moment or two and see how many of these people habitually and consistently tell the truth, trust others, are open and transparent, admit mistakes when they commit mistakes, are consistently honest about trivial and also important things, etc, etc. If one thinks that 100 people are too many for one to think about, why not take 10 people at a time and work your way up to 100 just to see how many of those whom we know are largely with or without the character traits under discussion.

    It’s a good thing, I think, to reflect on our own character traits while we’re trying to see how many of those 10 or 100 fellow Ethiopians that we know pass the thought-experiments we’re conducting to find out how many Ethiopians could be among which category. I challenge any one of us out there to share our own findings with the rest of us. That way the problem with the vagueness of reference to “many Ethiopians” would hopefully be minimized. Mind you one thing: it takes honesty, truthfulness, and all the virtues even in order to share our findings with the rest. I, tentatively, and very generously, submit not more than 2 out of 10 or 20 out of 100 will be among those without the vices that I think many Ethiopians suffer from.

    I do hope the above is of some help with the inevitable protest that this writer is generalizing and making all kinds of mistakes. It’d be a great help if someone out there can help us minimize this fear of overgeneralization, which I’ve already repeatedly addressed so that discussions needn’t be bogged down on something that could be avoided, if we all are honest and open enough to learn from one another.

    Veritas

  16. Daniyot
    March 16, 2007 at 6:09 am

    I have been carefully watching the way this discussion was started and going On ,To be honest I was shocked when I first happen to see the topic,I have made several attempts to scrutinize ,defend and/or accept the the issue by itself.

    Candidly speaking ,the first question came to my mind at the very first moment was “is it possible to generalize,” I was sure that the one who put the topic on the air definitely knows what generalization means because I can easily guess that how capable the person is to tell me about the concept of generalization is,it is as easy as ABC to figure out he really look like well educated(this is my assumption),so he has a good reason(s) to stop me if I keep on asking him about generalization,so let me stop here talking about generalization.
    Let me go to my point I spent almost half of my age working with people in business,govt. office,farmers,elderlies,politician,ets. I do have a lot of opportunities to see the behaviore,emotion,eggo,so many related or other factors adversely affected the truth from the mind(heart) of my fellow Ethiopians ,on the contrary I have seen a few honest people who stand for the righteousness ,truth and honesty,so is it possible to argue for those statements and say Ethiopians are like this and that?I do not think so
    Instead We can say and struggle in order to make our society better,this means,We know that we are poor ,period,when we observe the hidden cousesthe main causes for our poverity,let say our behavior ,our arrogance,and so on,how because it will hinder our development in a many ways ,in short if somebody is lier and ?or arrogant ,communication will be impossible ,If communication is impossible there is no way to walk on the road of development.therefore
    there we have to direct ourself to ward fighting those epidemics,insted of saying Ethiopians are these and that

  17. Daniyot
    March 16, 2007 at 6:46 am

    Is soul searching possible In ethiopia,I mean are we or our situation is oke to direct our self in soul searching,I am sure it is necessery to work on soul searching ,but my question who is supposed to do that I mean philosophers ,or the farmers from the very extream.or all of us?or is it possible to search the truth(soul) in a place where We Are?

  18. Veritas
    March 16, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    Great to read your very carefully thought out comments and many, many thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Just to let you know : the discussion you’ve just joined us has been going on pretty well on another page in this same blog here:

    https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/03/12/ethiopiansdo-we-need-to-do-soul-searching/

    Would you mind posting your two great posts on the link I just provided? The link I just provided is the one you can just click at just before your first comment above.

    I look forward to seeing you join us there and hope also to continue to hear from you.

    Many thanks once again,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  19. Daniyot
    March 16, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    yes,I will give you a complete authorities do that(topost on the link)if and only you think that it is worthy.

  20. SOL
    August 21, 2008 at 10:26 am

    “A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth either in himself or anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself as well as for others. When he has no respect for anyone he can no longer love and in order to divert himself, having no love in him; he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal in satisfying his vices.”
    Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov
    THIS IS HOW MOST OF US LIVE

  1. March 12, 2007 at 10:16 am
  2. January 14, 2008 at 7:17 am
  3. March 10, 2008 at 7:58 pm

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