Home > Uncategorized > Do we need to do soul-searching?

Do we need to do soul-searching?

A reader under the pen-name Veritas has the following challenge for those of us, ’who are not in a perpetual state of self-deception’. He is calling for a serious soul-searching.
‘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.’
Is this just a bravado that we shoudn’t take heed to or a bitter truth that we shouldn’t try to run away from?
Do you agree with what Veritas is saying? Do we need to do soul-searching?
You could join the conversation here.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. seife
    March 12, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    Sure, we need to do soul-searching,who wouldn’t?
    The only thing is to be careful not to speak like all-knowing God.When one says Ethiopians are like this or that…
    Does that mean that he knows closely at least three or more societies to help him arrive at such conclusions.
    Or do we simply think such lofty rhetoric make us look like we are intellectual or something?
    How about if he is simply just spiting the biases and lies he has been reading from those racist books (most) by the white travellers.(I stopped reading them long ago).
    There was this American who wrote the book , a novel Kulubi ,
    some twent or thiry years before.It is a huge book and the guy wrote the book to insult Ethiopians.(If he hated us,I don’t know he bothered to wrtie all that)
    One thing he was saying was Ethiopians are sucspicious.He keeps saying it as if he was the first person who discovered that.
    That guy is stiil alive and recently wrtoe another book to confess he was a CIA spy in Ethiopia.
    So how could the people who were suspicous of him could be faulted for that?
    Weren’t they wrtight?
    If you want to know more about him, you might check at Google.
    I think his name was Edmund Murray.
    No matter how earnestly intended ,I think we should suspcet(Being my nature) such cliches.

  2. Veritas
    March 12, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Selam Seife:

    Many thanks for your contribution and for your wise counsel. Just a short response to some of your suggestions:

    1) This writer, Veritas, perhaps, has never read or reads at present the category of works that you mentioned by non-Ethiopians on Ethiopians. No need to worry about being duped by others’ bias. Even if I read writings such as the ones you mention I can tell truth from lies and would not just believe everything that I read. This is not self-defense by the way. It’s rather showing the implication of your suggestion and telling the truth.

    2) You ask, “Or do we simply think such lofty rhetoric make us look like we are intellectual or something?”. I do not think we need solutions to the problems that I shared about us Ethiopians, in the sense I qualified when I refer to Ethiopians, consists in any rhetoric lofty or otherwise. I’m not sure what you mean by a desire to look like intellectual, either. The issue being discussed is about honesty, truthfulness, humility etc or lack thereof, and I’ll be the last person to perpetuate the vices while seeking deeper soul-searching examinations for many of us Ethiopians in order to be able to come up the best solutions for our problems. This discussion, I hope, will not be an opportunity to take refuge in intellectual rhetoric and lofty talks. It’s also a good thing to distinguish between these two, too: To want to look like an intellectual while being not an intellectual is a vice I’m calling upon all of us to face head on and deal with such a vice of arrogance in the sense I shared, and dishonesty, and self-deception. But then, to be actually an intellectual and to do a job proper for an intellectual is being oneself and a desirable thing. I hope Seife has noted these implications about what he said above.

    3) I’ve already responded to whether we need to compare the Ethiopian society in order to be able to face our own problems head on. Why avoid facing our own problems? I appealed to fellow Ethiopians. I hope that you’ve read that part before posting your suggestions to which I’m grateful though. Let’s assume for the sake of the argument that we’re the only group of people on planet earth who suffer from the character traits, the vices that many of us suffer. If such a scenario were true, do we still need to compare ourselves with another (in the scenario given, non-existing) society in order to seek solutions for our problems? I hope the answer is obvious. Why turn to others while the problems are ours, even if they as much shared with others? Let’s face them and deal with them. Shall we stop seeking a way of attributing our own problems to others, please? What is the point of saying we’re not an exception, as the first response, to deal with our problems unless that is seeking a way of avoiding an opportunity to take responsibility for our own weaknesses, problems, vices? Isn’t this the vice that is at the heart of what I want us all to reflect on? Please, fellow Ethiopians, let’s be a bit more careful in the way we think and say and share our thoughts with others.

    Many thanks once again, Seife, and my hope is that you’ll continue to contribute your thoughts on our need for doing some soul-searching with which you agree. I promise to do both and am already trying to do both of them, too.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  3. Veritas
    March 12, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    P.S.

    Trying hard to remember if I’ve ever read the kind of book on Ethiopians by non-Ethiopians, the only thing I could remeber having read, even perhaps part of it, is, the book by Danald Levine, Wax and Gold, which was an assigned reading for an undergraduate course I did about 14 years ago. Wax and Gold cannot be categorized or described by any standard like the books Seife mentions any ways. Did even reading, that long ago, perphas part of the book that I mentioned, influence me to think the way I do now? Absolutely not.

    Do we, Ethiopians, need for someone to tell us who we’re deep-down? I suggest the vices that run rampant in our society that I’m trying to do soul-searching with fellow Ethiopians cannot be missed being observed on daily basis by any reflective person, Ethiopian or otherwise. I hope that they’ve not escaped Seife’s reflevtive moments too.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  4. Veritas
    March 12, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Again:

    Seife, I did not have enough time to respond to your thought-provoking suggestions adequately though I’ve tried to do some, given the time I had at my disposal. This is just to say a bit more:

    You write speaking of the American writer, “So how could the people who were suspicious of him could be faulted for that?” I just wanted to be clear about one thing here, as well: My thoughts about us, Ethiopians, are not triggered by what non-Ethiopians say about us by any means. I’m only trying to focus on our own problems by us, without blaming any other people, individuals, societies; at least, at this initial stage of the soul-searching I want us all to do, if we’re deeply convinced something has gone wrong about us. Otherwise, it’s a good thing if someone out there shows us that nothing or not much has gone wrong with us; that is to say, we’re fine, but that I hope would be done by providing good arguments for such a conclusion so that some of us who think otherwise should take our lessons.

    I’m not claiming that we as a society can’t be influenced by any other society. Almost all the problems that I want us to focus on and face them head on have been with us for a long time when there was virtually little or no external influence on us as a society.

    Now let me hear what others think and want to share. I’m only trying to clarify issues so that we do not, unnecessarily, spend our precious times by trying to find ways to avoid facing our own problems head on– for that is the beginning of a healing process for an individual or a community or a society that engages in deep and sustained soul-searching, which is the theme of our discussion.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  5. Rediet A.
    March 13, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Many Ethiopians today might consider it unpatriotic for their fellow citizens to publicly criticize themselves.
    To see problems in Ethiopia that are serious enough to cause her harm and do nothing is almost seditious, if the definition of sedition could be stretched for these purposes to include intentional inactivity in the face of an impending threat to the country.
    Many Ethiopians feel in their hearts that something is not quite right with their country. They see a wide variety of problems that are not being addressed properly by the government and wonder if something is fundamentally wrong with the country itself. Much has been made of the government’s inability or lack of desire to deal effectively with an extremely volatile economy,the grinding poverty,denial of fundamental rights (Though there is a lot of talk of it to cover its absense),overpoulation,the growing disparity between the haves and the have-nots, the lack of good new jobs being created, lack of justice, wages that haven’t grown for decades, our declining schools, exploding health care costs,many other problems.
    If you ask a variety of Ethiopians what is wrong, they will identify several different symptoms, which at first appear to be the result of completely different problems. Upon further review, however, one can argue that these varying signs of decay are the result of one overriding issue—the absense and demise of democracy. Such a statement is very bold indeed, because such symptoms of a sick society are very far-reaching and affect Ethiopians at home with their families, at work.
    Comparison with Western countires might not be uncalled for here but our neighbour Kenya fares much better in accomodating political disssidents than us.
    This could be observed by brutality of the state police in last years’e violence is unequlled from seen anywhere in the world.
    Hence that is the area that we should focus on.

  6. Rediet
    March 13, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Seife
    Any mention of racism is a transparent attempt to close down an argument certain sections of the society don’t feel comfortable with. Its not very edifying.

  7. Seife
    March 13, 2007 at 8:31 am

    You see I look at it this way:

    I’m not racist; I am just aware of the existance of a long held notion of looking at things from the rational West and the irrational East, which had been perpetuated by those travel wtriters that I made mention of.
    In some cases,you don’t have to go to the places(If you are from England or France),sit down somehere write a book about the country, pretending to have a close kowlege of the country and give your book the title
    Ethiopia from within
    Actually, what he writes what he had already read or heared about the country.

  8. Veritas
    March 13, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Rediet:

    Thanks a lot for your really important points. I’ll try to properly engage your great thoughts as soon as I get enough time to do so. Many thanks for your insightful thoughts again.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  9. Veritas
    March 13, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Hi Seife:

    I hope that you’d continue to contribute to the real issues we’re discussing. Many thanks for coming back again.

    I wonder what you wanted to communicate with these terms, “the rational West and the irrational East”. Doesn’t that sound judgemental without showing why these people you refer to are such and such, which was not even needed at this stage of our discussion to address our own issues by oursleves.

    Wouldn’t such a description of other races rather confirm Rediet’s worry if you are attempting “to close down an argument.”

    Also, have you noticed what you went on to do after denying that you’re a racist? You blamed others in relation to Ethiopians, which, attributing blame to others, I identified as one typical vice among many Ethiopians and wanted us to deal with it. I hope that you see what I’m trying to say.

    Again, is there any implication–in your mind– for Ethiopians you want us to draw from what you say about the West and the East in terms of rationality and irrationality? Are we neither rational nor irrational since we’re neither in the West nor in the East?

    Also a minor question: You say, “In some cases,you don’t have to go to the places…sit down somewhere write a book… Actually what he writes what he…”.

    My question might seem trivial but it’s this, who does the “he” refer to in your last sentence? Did you mean to refer to the “you” earlier in the previous sentence? Many confusions could be avoided if your reference was clear. My charitable take is that you’re referring to the imaginary person you referred to with the “you” in the previous sentence.

    Otherwise, I look forward to engaging you and hopefully many others on these issues for our soul-searching.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  10. Veritas
    March 13, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Hi Rediet:

    I’m back to properly respond to your very thoughtful comments and suggestions below. Thanks a lot for them again.

    1)There is a sense that I could agree with you when you say, “Many Ethiopians today might consider it unpatriotic for their fellow citizens to publicly criticize themselves”. Having shared your concern I do not see how else we should engage ourselves in such a way that the public should NOT be aware of such soul-searching by us and I don’t see why we should be afraid of our image as a society since, if we do this soul-searching publically we’re only being truthfulness and transparent and such virtues or rather their lack in our society is that that has caused this writer to be concerned with a desire to share this concern with fellow Ethiopians in the first place.
    2)Perhaps your concern is about the TIMING of such discussion and public soul-searching since I do not see from what you shared with us that you’re trying to protect the problems that I brought up for us to discuss and debate about with some sense of pretension that would allow as to claim as if these vices do not exist. I can’t think of such an idea could be directly inferred from the thoughts that you shared with us. I can only see sincere concerns on your part. Again, if the timing is your concern, now another problem arises and that is this: when should be the proper time for us to engage in such soul-searching? You’d not say I hope that when we become better off as a society having left most of our problems behind, esp., the prevalent problems in Ethiopia today that you mentioned in your comments such as poverty, lack of democracy, etc.
    3)If there is such a reasoning (under 2) behind your suggestion, my response would be: the personal/societal character issues are part of the most fundamental problems that ought to be dealt with, without setting them aside at any time since there will not be a time at which we’ll be a virtuous society WITHOUT consciously choosing the way to be virtuous and there is no other way to be a virtuous person or community or society WITHOUT making virtues HABITS of our daily existence, both individually and collectively . It’d be a good thing to hear if there is another way to becoming a virtuous person or society other than what I suggested here fir I can’t see any. I want to hear about that and that will answer the question of the timing of this particular discussion.
    4)Rediet, I do not think I need to say much more about your comment, this one: “To see problems in Ethiopia that are serious enough to cause her harm and do nothing is almost seditious, if the definition of sedition could be stretched for these purposes to include intentional inactivity in the face of an impending threat to the country.”. My response above about the timing partly is meant to address why we should be spending part of our time and energy searching for possible, actual, and most reasonable causes/explanations for our societal problems and doing these things is a very serious activity, as far as I can see, and I can’t see how that would be seditious, stretching or without stretching the definition of the term. Besides, this activity is among those intensely intentional activities for almost all meaningful activities involve thinking deeply, ideally speaking, and we’re just trying to just do deeper thinking and reflections in order to figure out where we’ve gone wrong as a society, and individually. In order to counteract bad governance, and bad thinking that leads to bad consequences of bad governance, I do believe that we need to be much better, deeper, and more careful thinkers who know what kinds of idea leads where, be it in governance or individual lives that we got to live well, if we desire to live such a life well. I hope that we’ve such a desire to flourish individually and as a society.
    5)Finally, to reiterate some of my points: I see the reason why you shared your concern about being more active to do something about the multiple problems Ethiopia as a nation is undergoing and I suggested that this soul-searching is among the most foundational things we should also be doing, without pausing to do other goods that could go to any length to help us deal with our many problems. By being more careful and more reflective people we would not lose anything that is desirable; rather, by being more careful thinkers and by being more reflective people we’d be adding so much good to a society that lacks in so many things that are essential for any human flourishing.

    Look forward to reading your thoughtful comments and suggestions, when you share with us again.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

    P.S. I’ve so, so many important and time consuming things to do for my personal life at the moment, as almost always, but then I chose to share my deeply ingrained concerns about our society at the moment when I could have kept all these to myself or do nothing about them, even choosing not to think about them. Alle these are options live and open to me but I chose otherwise in oder to invest some of my precious time, which is always scarce, in sharing what I’m trying to share now and to wrestle about such deeper issues about us with fellow and like-minded Ethiopians. I do hope some more fellow Ethiopians want to take some moments to take stock about our deeper problems as seriously as such problems deserve to be taken so seriosuly.

  11. Veritas
    March 13, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    PP.S.

    For those of you for whom typos cause some distress, here are some corrections from my own post, which has some:

    1) Under (1): “…being truthfulness…” should be read as “…being truthful…”

    2) Under P.S. “Alle these are options…” be read as “All these…” and in the same sentence, “…I chose otherwise in oder…” be read as “….I chose otherwise in order…”

    Hope the above are the only typos and sorry for causing some distress to some of you.

    Veritas

  12. Tazabi
    March 14, 2007 at 12:52 am

    Seife,
    I feel you, men! Don’t dismiss totally what outsiders wrote about Ethiopians, though. Approximately 16 yrs. ago, I was browsing Ethiopian issue books in the library (I don’t quite remember the book title), but I read the very first paragraph of the first page it reads very similar like this “Ethiopian society is very sherwd and their religion is pagan”. I said to myself who’s this guy? how dare he writes about us like this…At the moment, i was shocked, mad and i lost interest to read it further and to find out what’s all about. Later on, i thought about what i read in that one sentence the description of our society and it was not far from the truth. I’ve been told by my family members and the ethiopian people i’m associated with how shrewd i am and honestly, what they said about me is not far from the truth. (I don’t believe that my shrewd character contributes negatively to the society, though. Or, do i?) I brought up from conservative Orthodox christian family and i used to think that Orthodox is the one and only religion representing Ethiopian society. But, to come to think of it, even from orthodox christian, there’s plenty people who belives in church and at the same time they believe and practice a pagan like religion (e.g Tenkola, Chele, Adbar …”. (Please, don’t quote on this, i’m not trying to say we’re pagan or orthodox is the only religion). So, when you think about it, for a writer it would be a very difficult task to distingush our religion and character.

  13. Veritas
    March 14, 2007 at 2:44 am

    Hi Tazabi:

    Welcome back! Thank you for your contribution again. You deserve a commendation for sharing with us your honest thoughts about yourself and for discouraging us from unduly dismissing some writings on Ethiopia when the writer happens to be a non-Ethiopian.

    Yes, most of the writings on Ethiopia that we’ve, if I’m correct, have been done by non-Ethiopians and that has happened for various reasons and without such writings there would have been much less written material on Ethiopia if we’re confined to reading writings by Ethiopians alone. Mentioning of writings by Ethiopian writers, have we, fellow Ethiopians, realized this one more truth about us and writing? Most of us, this very much includes me as well –time to confess– have the tendency of avoiding writing as much as possible, on whatever subject matter it is. I’m not saying that we intentionally avoid writing as such. As I think, since we all come from a predominantly ORAL CULTURE, we have a much more active tendency to talk than to write. Imagine how many countless hours many of us spend talking, about everything or nothing! Don’t compare us yet with others please, but then let’s admit how much time many of us, who can read and write, spend reading and writing and how much talking! If my memory is to be trusted, Donald Levine has said something about this perhaps in his most famous book, Wax and Gold. Please correct me about this, any one out there, for I’m not entirely positive about this. I could well be wrong.

    It’s only lately that Ethiopians are changing the long-standing tendency from writing less to being more active in writing. [By the way, confession again, I do some writings in my field of study but have resisted publishing them or other things close to them for various reasons for many years now! My second weakness confessed]. Please don’t respond by saying, aren’t we among the oldest civilizations with our own scripts, etc, etc? Granted. I’m talking about us, the current generation and its immediate one or two. I’m particularly talking about those educated Ethiopians who’ve had many opportunities to produce lots of writings but have failed. Yes, I personally have failed miserably in this regard and am perhaps trying to redress my failure by doing some writing one of these days as much as possible. I’m trying to understand myself, my people, and my culture a little bit better as I’m wrestling in public with you all.

    At any rate, back to our subject, about non-Ethiopian writers on Ethiopia: We know all the limitations of a non-Ethiopian writing on Ethiopia and it’s a good attitude, I think, that Tazabi shared with us when he/she said, “So, when you think about it [about our complex culture and religion] for a writer it would be a very difficult task to distinguish our religion and character.” I add, therefore, let’s be open-minded and gracious to non-Ethiopian writers without being gullible, credulous, that is just without believing whatever is written and said about us at the same without also dismissing everything written about us, either.

    One thing and am done for now: Let’s ask ourselves this question: who says that because a writer is an Ethiopian therefore his/her writings are free from errors, misrepresentations, and such? We all have many limitations and reading writings by only Ethiopians would never guard us from making mistakes about us as I hope all of us can see. The issue is about us all being humans and hence finite and hence fallible. I’m, and we all are. Let’s therefore be open-minded, once again, to learn as much as possible from as many angles as we have accesses to sources. I hope that Seife was not being excessively dismissive of anything written by non-Ethiopians.

    Many thanks Tazabi.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  14. Veritas
    March 14, 2007 at 4:43 am

    Hi Again:

    Since reading Seife’s comments about “the rational West and the irrational East” and since my raising a question for him if we, Ethiopians belong to either or neither, I could not stop wondering what other fellow Ethiopians think about the question.

    Seife, what sounded like a passing remark by you has provoked me to think about us, Ethiopians, and whether there is some such category as being rational or irrational that can capture us as well, whatever those terms actually mean for the moment, and for sharing such thought provoking things you deserve thanks.

    As I look forward to your own contribution, Seife, I also would like to hear what other fellow Ethiopians think about this very issue of the question of rationality/irrationality and the Ethiopian society.

    To be honest, the question of rationality, knowledge, and the nature of truth are among the core issues that I study but none of these from an Ethiopian perspective yet. I just remembered a book, which I was looking forward to seeing come out that I’ve not yet read but soon will, by the philosopher Teodros Kiros on Zara Yacob, the Ethiopian philosopher, titled: Zara Yacob: Rationality of the Human Heart (Red Sea Press, Inc. 2005). Here we go (!) with a partial answer to Seife’s provocative thought whether Ethiopians are rational or not.

    Here is the book description and about the author, from Amazon.com’s page:

    Book Description:

    ”Through a rare autobiographical act, Zara Yacob, who acquainted himself with the teachings of the Catholic Church introduced by Portuguese Jesuit missions in Sixteenth-century Ethiopia, becomes the first self-conscious founder of a philosophical tradition in Ethiopia. Indeed, it is a mild exaggeration to assert that it is Zara Yacob who gave the continent of Africa an original autobiography, something that was at that time confined to literate traditions outside of Africa. His treatise is a masterful example of self-presentation, clearly and powerfully expressed in a captivating literary style.”
    Author

    ”Teodros Kiros teaches at Brown University and is a fellow at the W. E. B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. He is a writer and journalist. He received his B.A. at University of Wisconsin and his Ph.D. in Political Philosophy at Kent State University. He is author of the books, Toward the Construction of a Theory of Political Action in Africa, Moral Philosophy and Development: The Human Condition of Africa, The Promise of Multiculturalism, Self-Construction and the Formation of Human Values (Winner, 1999 Michael Harrington Book Award for an outstanding book that contributes to human progress), and also Explorations in African Political Thought. His forthcoming books include a novel titled Cambridge Days and a collection of short stories and essays. He is also a columnist at The Somerville Journal and editor and writer-at-large for The Ethiopian Reporter.”

    Many thanks Seife,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  15. Rediet
    March 14, 2007 at 6:00 am

    Thanks all for the response.
    Sorry,I am kind of busy right now.I’ll try to drop a line some tomorrow.

  16. Veritas
    March 14, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Hi Rediet:

    Thank you for being so considerate enough to stop by and drop us a line to let us know that we’ll hear from you tomorrow.

    I’ve been looking forward to sharing with fellow Ethiopians my personal reflections on what’s gone wrong with us as a society, for a long, long time–perhaps, for more than 15 years– and that time seems to have come now, I’m hoping that it’s, when I’ll be able to learn from fellow Ethiopians and share my own limited reflections for what they’re worth. I’ll do that as we continue our conversation which is going great so far.

    I want to say thank you Arefaynie Fantahun for providing this forum for all of us to share our thoughts and also I want to say thank you for those who’ve been participating in the conversation. Thank you for helping me think about things that I might not be thinking or would not be thinking otherwise, at least, sooner. Thank you Yaya, Tazabi, Seife, and Rediet.

    After posting the previous thoughts on Teodros Kiros’ book, I ordered a copy of the book and when I get time to read it (that won’t be before this coming summer) I’ll do a review of it to share with my audience here. I’d not have thought of doing that this soon without this opportunity, and esp., Seife’s remark about rationality/irrationality that reminded me of the book, which I was planning to read but which was not included as part of my reading list. Seife thank you once again for being a cause in triggering some questions in me though without intending so.

    Lately, I was working on a paper that attempts to work out relationships between BELIEFS, THOUGHTS AND RATIONAL ACTIONS and one of the Laws of Association about thoughts says: “The More recently two thoughts have occurred together, or the more frequently, the more strongly they will be associated”. My thought about Teodros’ book got associated with Seife’s mention of rationality/irrationality about which I kept thinking since reading Seife’s comments and this law says that the more strongly such thoughts will be associated. So much for my paper. I was only illustrating how one thought triggered another and how such thoughts led me into ordering a book that I was not thinking about in such terms and how I decided to do a review to share with you all.

    By the way, I’ve informed Prof. Donald Levine to share some thoughts on what we’re discussing here since he’s a great scholar who’s spent more than 40 years thinking and writing about what we’re just beginning to share with one another. My hope is that he’ll find some time to share something by way of counsel or advice.

    Many thanks to you all,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  17. Yaya
    March 14, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Veritas,Big thanks for initiating this discussion that has full of nuggets of useful and insightful information.
    I am writing to say to add more on what Seife said. The habit of thinking in terms of stereotypes is a bad business. We are supposed to be conscious of these problems to be aware of stereotypes and what they can do to people’s mind.
    The mass media are still full of stereotypes, labels and clichés that misled more than they inform. We talk about ’Habesha’ as if they were scientifically delineated species of mankind. We still discourse the people in Diaspora or at home as if, like bottles of milk, they are homogeneous entities.
    We still hang on our politicians empty labels such as ‘Tebab’,’Gotegna’, ‘Teletafi’ as if we had some clear idea of what information these labels are intended to convey.Right?
    We can do better than that.We can use language with more precision.

  18. Veritas
    March 14, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Yaya and All:

    Thanks a lot for your note once again. Your contributions are valuable and please continue to share your thoughts whenever possible. I’m also learning a lot from what we’re trying to discuss.

    Good that you mentioned the value of being PRECISE when we share our ideas with others. We can be protected from many misrepresentations or distortions, stereotypes by the media and as such if we make it a habit for ourselves to be more careful and precise and clear about what we communicate.

    In order for us all to be focused on the theme of the present discussion, to be more fruitful, I just wanted to share with all of us the following conversational maxims by the British philosopher of language, the late Paul Grice. They are called Gricean maxims or conversational maxims and they are the following [though these are intended to be guidelines or principles helpful for conversations, I’m suggesting that they could still serve as well IF we are guided by them taking our discussions as extended conversations]:

    Maxim of Quality: Truth

    •Do not say what you believe to be false.
    •Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

    Maxim of Quantity: Information

    •Make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange.
    •Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

    Maxim of Relation: Relevance

    •Be relevant.

    Maxim of Manner: Clarity

    •Avoid obscurity of expression.
    •Avoid ambiguity.
    •Be brief (“avoid unnecessary prolixity”).
    •Be orderly.

    The above are abbreviated versions that one can find in multiple places for these maxims have been discussed in the world of philosophy since the 1960’s. I’m suggesting these maxims to serve us as our principles, too; my intention is not to debate whether they can serve us well. I do not want us to focus on them while my intention is for them to help us focus on the theme of our discussion, which is the character traits, the vices, to be specific, among fellow Ethiopians that caused concern for me that I shared with you all to discuss and learn from one another, the lessons we can draw from our personal and collective reflections.

    Many thanks again for joining this conversation.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  19. Tazabi
    March 15, 2007 at 2:51 am

    Veritas,
    Wait a minute here! Do we have ethiopian philosopher? My question might raise another question, but i thought there’s no African philosopher yet. Humm…what does it take to be a philospher? Is race, colour has a role when we claim a person as a philosopher? I’m familiar with Zara Yacob works and just to be fair i would say he’s ethiopian version philosopher (because of my suspecious nature :-), i do question what it said about him. Sorry for being off the track here. By the way i’ve not read from the above bloggers comments, about your original points in discussion. I guess, we all going around the bush to hush,hush it. Or, are we conducting the behaviour what’s already in point discussion? (of course unintentionally 🙂

  20. Veritas
    March 15, 2007 at 5:09 am

    Hi Tazabi:

    Thank you for you questions about whether there are Ethiopian and also African philosophers. I need to be brief about this in order to get back to the theme of our discussion though answering some of your questions might be an answer to some questions that might be raised later on as well and hence the following note:

    Yes, there are African philosophers and Ethiopia is said to be the only African country where there is a written philosophy. Prof. Teodros’ book, on Zara Yacob is to show that point among other things, I think. It’s possible that Prof. Teodros might stop by to share something with us about what we’re discussing here as well.

    You ask, “What does it take to be a philosopher? Is race, colour has a role when we claim a person as a philosopher?” Short answer to these interesting questions: To the second question first: race and color do not have anything to do with being a philosopher. It takes to be human, period. But that raises another question as to what philosophy is. I do not want to talk about that now though I’ve a long standing interest in this question and have something to say about it. Not now. Remember the maxim of relevance above? I do not want to violate that. To the first question: for one to be a philosopher, I think, besides being human, it’d a good thing if the person is intrinsically, genuinely interested in typical and enduring philosophical questions–I do not want to say what they’re now– and be committed to pursuing them in various capacities, as a hobby or professionally, meaning, pursuing philosophical questions as one’s vocation, career full time.

    Now I encourage you to read the original post by following the link and that will be really helpful for us all to focus on the theme that I think will be a very timely issue for us to wrestle with personally and collectively. From what I remember from your contributions it seems that you know what we’re talking about. I say, go ahead and share your contribution and let’s keep this conversation alive yet fruitfully.

    Many thanks for your questions though I did not answer them in detail. If we make progress with our theme now under discussion and want to share some ideas about what it means to be an African philosopher I’ll be happy to be part of such a conversation too. Prof. Teodros’ book and/or the review of it, will, hopefully, provide a much better answer to your question but that won’t be that soon.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  21. kedir Ibrahim
    March 15, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Verita’s descriptions of characters of ‘many, many’ inEthiopia is painfully accurate.Having lived in Ethiopia during my teen years and now in Holland in my 30’s, I have a vantage point that to help me to make a comparison.Many of us (Ethiopians) lead our lives decieving others and ourselves.We prefer to engage ourselves in trivals than in things of importance.
    There is no need to complain about what others are saying about us but to try to have a mastery over ourselves.
    By the way,it is a nice blog and this discussion make a good reading.

  22. Jama Jama
    March 15, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Kedir,

    You’ve made a good attempt at polemic, but why don’t you attempt to back up those claims with some of dem wee facts?

  23. Rediet
    March 15, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I don’t mean to put all the blames on politians but the state of the nation is in such way that, one can’t avoid the problems mentioned while discussiong national characters.
    Vertias, I am impresed by your analysis.Please accept my admiration.

  24. Veritas
    March 15, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Rediet:

    Thank you so much, Rediet, for being so kind and also for your kind words about what I’m trying to share with you, fellow Ethiopians.

    I’ll be back soon, when I get some time. No time right now to respond to others as well.

    Many thanks and my heart is full of gratitude to the good feed back that I’ve been receiving. All of you please accept my gratitude and let’s continue to share our deepest reflections with one another.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  25. Veritas
    March 15, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    Hello All:

    Now after reading the last few posts, I just wanted to raise the following questions for us, once again, to focus on the theme of our discussion:

    1)Now we seem to have made some progress in starting to see the point that if we continue to blame others, particular individuals or institutions for our societal problems without facing the problems in relation to ourselves, we’re only confirming what’s deeply ingrained in us, that is, attributing all bad things to others, blaming others and hence avoiding taking responsibility for ourselves. This is one step forward. I suggest, once again, that blaming others for bad things is just a deeply ingrained habit for many, many Ethiopians.
    2)This way of admitting our personal weaknesses, limitations, or failures, even at the level of society, by no means, means that if and when the government is to blame for some ills in our society that we should ignore such ills. Absolutely not. We hear countless Ethiopians blaming the government and political institutions for all kinds of problems and I do not think that is unqualifiedly right. All the worst government institutions in Ethiopia, in our life times, did not force all those Ethiopians who prefer to tell lies to truth, for example, to become habitual liars. That can’t be right. The political institutions do affect us in so many ways, that is undeniable. But can we honestly say that it’s the government that forces countless people who lie about all kinds of things, from trivial to really important lies? We need to search for true, accurate, and realistic explanations for such rampant habitual vices that govern the lives of many Ethiopians. We need to take stock now. Who’s closely, intimately GOVERNING us individually, as human beings, every waking moments our lives? The political institutions (the government) or OUR OWN characters in this way or that way? I hope that you see the point.
    3)I focus on lies, or perversions of truth, or untruthfulness, as a very, very deeply prevalent vice in the Ethiopian society and I’ll eventually ARGUE WHY I single this vice out as a foundational character defect for most of the others. But for now the real question is not: why do people, everywhere, generally, prefer lies to telling truths, when they do? Seeking a general answer to this general question is not an irrelevant way of trying to address our own questions about our own society. That is not raising a wrong question. We can do that at some point. But now: why is it much easier for fellow Ethiopians to prefer to tell lies to telling truth? This is a question that we need to face. Trying to answer THIS question head on helps us realize that we’re no longer seeking some remotely relevant answer to our deeply troubling questions, personally and collectively; we’re rather engaging ourselves, in soul-searching, with questions of vital individual and collective, societal importance.
    4)When we share our reflective explanations why it’s easy for some people, some of us, Ethiopians, to prefer to tell lies to truth, it’d be a good idea if we can also suggest how we can stop continuing to live lives of lies and start to live lives of truthfulness, honesty, personal integrity. It’d be a good thing to provide some arguments for what we suggest to be a desirable thing. It’d not be enlightening truth is preferable to lies, period. All of us might agree with that but without really seeing the point why a life of truthfulness is better than lies. I’ll share my reflections as we continue to share ours along the way.

    I look forward to hearing from you all,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  26. Veritas
    March 15, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Hi KEDIR:

    Welcome to this discussion and thanks for stopping by. Thanks for being open and admitting that we’ve a character problem, many of us, Ethiopians. Now I hope that you’ll add your own insights to this ongoing discussion so that we can learn from one another. Will you do that please? [By the way, I’m not a moderator of this discussion nor do I run the blog as you could figure out all these by yourself. I wanted to tell you this-truth- just to say I’m here on this blog to share my concerns, to do some soul-searching with fellow Ethiopians, am only encouraging us to continue to do that to learn from fellow Ethiopians and to share my thoughts for what they are worth.]

    Hi JAMA:

    Welcome to this discussion and thanks for stopping by. Jama, I was wondering why you said Kedir’s comments were polemical? Will you just shed some light on that, please? Also, it’d be great, as well, if you share your insights about what is being discussed right now.

    By the way, I’m not suggesting, by any means, that all of us should agree with the things being addressed here, about the problem of character defects that concerned me about our society and for us individually who constitute the society. It’s good to see good arguments being presented, both for and against, with an intention of seeking after the truth about us and sharing whatever truth we know about us for the betterment of us all.

    Hi REDIET:

    Yes, I see that you’re not putting all the blames on the politicians. Thanks for your clarification. Now one thing: do we not see that all the character defects, vices, that we are talking about here as being, possible, root causes for multiple problems that politicians contribute to the society in Ethiopia? Would it be wrong to say that some of the most fundamental problems that politicians contribute to the ills of our society are deeply related to their–politicians’– character defects as well?

    I think politicians are in the worst shape, partly, because they are the public focus or in the limelight. They might actually lie more frequently, they might be more suspicious, they might be more arrogant, they might be engaged in more deception, dishonest activities, etc. But are we not just trying to figure out why these character defects are so prevalent in the society as well as in the lives of our political leaders? I suggest, once again, that MANY of Ethiopia’s multiple problems could be traced back to some form of character defects under discussion. Such a suggestion might seem simply simplistic and wrong. But then I contend that MANY of our problems could trace their roots back to deeply flawed character problems that have been around with and in us as a society for a long time. Many, fellow Ethiopians, might say, wait a minute, are you saying our being an economically very impoverished/poor society is a direct (indirect (?)) result of our moral and character defects? What about poor governance, poor political leadership, and lack of democratic institutions? I’ve already partly answered this question in the previous paragraphs in the form of a suggestion. I’ll argue for it at some point, if need be.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  27. Tazabi
    March 15, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Veritas,
    I think i’m with Jama. Are you suggesting we all Ethiopians are liars, untruthful? What you just wrote above…”rampant habitual vices that govern the lives of many Ethiopians” is offending me. If you give us specific example i may understand your claim. I’m not a saint, but i always try to be a good citizen in my everyday life. I’m sure millions of us out there we just do that. You said “why is it much easier for fellow Ethiopians to prefer to tell lies to telling truth? I’m not sure how you came up with this conclusion? To tell you the truth, lying never been easy for me. I lied for a long time my smoking habit to my family, friends, and there’s plenty lies i made here and there just to cover my butt and never been easy. But, sometimes i had to do it. There was a time i lied beacuse just not to hurt the other person feeling. I’m a bit confused where you’re coming from, really. Are you targeting a certain class of society, age group, gender,…? Given what we’ve been through and given our recent situations as a society, we’re not bad at all. I don’t think labeling us to such a degree would be unfair for many good ethiopian citizens out there.

  28. Veritas
    March 16, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    It’s great to read your post and thanks again for sharing your thoughts honestly. That is very good of you. Now there is nothing wrong in challenging my APPARENTLY sweeping claims which once again sound overgeneralizations of what we’re trying to understand.

    Now here is the problem I faced in understanding your concern or question: if you remember, I hope that you do, I’ve already made it clear, repeatedly, what I had and have in mind when I refer to Ethiopians, us, in the context of the present discussion. It’s to your post that I responded twice in a single day, on the 10th of March, about my reference class whenever I refer to Ethiopians. You can re-read my responses then, here:

    https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/03/07/kifle-gebre-egziabher-a-poet-in-the-making/#more-168

    Look at the last rather two extended responses that I’ve already made.

    You ask, “Are you suggesting we all Ethiopians are liars, untruthful?” BY NO MEANS! If you’ve read the two posts that I’ve reminded you of above in the link, I do not know why you should interpret the following sentence by me in such a way that I mean ALL Ethiopians are liars or untruthful? You quoted me thus: “why is it much easier for fellow Ethiopians to prefer to tell lies to telling truth?” as if I was referring to ALL Ethiopians? Unless I say somewhere else that I refer to ALL Ethiopians in the way you attribute to me, which I’ve not said anywhere, you can’t take me to mean, by the preceding quote, that I’m saying that ALL Ethiopians are liars, and untruthful. That was a logical mistake. “All” and “some” and “many” and “most” do NOT mean the same thing as you know. I’m aware of all these things when I say what I say. I might make simple mistakes at any time, I’m human and fallible, but what you seem to have taken me to say was not a mistake I’ve committed as far as I know, unless you show me to the contrary.

    If you think I was being confused when I said, “We need to search for true, accurate, and realistic explanations for such rampant habitual vices that govern the lives of many Ethiopians”, I think you should have shown me by “many” I meant “all” as you attributed to me. You seem to have focused perhaps, on the meaning of rampant to include all. That is not still true. I can’t see what problems you’re raising now.

    One important distinction that might be of help for all of us, not to go back to this problem again and again: Let’s have this in mind please. Let’s call the following logically structured way of putting Tazabi’s worries A:

    1) All Fs are Gs,
    2) a is an F,
    3) Therefore, a is a G.

    This has the same structure as follows:

    1)All Ethiopians are liars,
    2)[ x=the speaker] is an Ethiopian,
    3)Therefore, [x=the speaker] is a liar.

    If I’ve said anything like the above, what I say would give rise to what logicians call a liar’s paradox, which is something like this: Let’s call the following sentence:

    B: This very sentence I’m now uttering is false. Well, is B true or false? If it’s true, then what it says is the case, so B is false. If it’s false, then, since this is exactly what it claims, it is true. In either case, B would seem to be both true and false. But it’s difficult to believe that a sentence could be both true and false at the same time. There is a similarity between A and B above. If all Ethiopians are lairs, and if X is an Ethiopian, so, X is also a liar.

    Why in the world am I sharing all this? What Tazabi attributes to me above, “Are you suggesting we all Ethiopians are liars, untruthful?” is equivalent to saying that in what I’ve said that I’ve committed a logical mistake something close to A or B above. I see nowhere committing this fallacy and since I’m aware of this problem that I’ve been trying to be careful in what I’m saying and was also encouraging ALL of us to be clear. Remember the Gricean maxims?

    I do finally hope that we’d not go back and keep talking about the same issue again and again, by wondering if I’m saying ALL Ethiopians are this or that. Please let’s try to understand all the participants carefully and accurately before attributing anything that they have not said and meant.

    Can we move on now and start tackling more than enough problems that I’ve shared with you all?

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  29. Tazabi
    March 16, 2007 at 5:48 am

    My head is spinning right now and it’s making zzzzzzzzzzzzzbzbzbz sound. I’m not lying! Of course, there’s a paradox, when i tell you there’s a good and a bad lie. One can say a lie is a lie and no justification for a good lie and i may or may not disagree with this. I guess, what you’re saying is that all good and bad lies with a bunch makes our society goes bad. To some degree, i understood you and well, again i don’t. It’s not a bad approach to find our society problems from philosopical perspective, since political or economical solution is far reaching. For some unkown reasons, i’m kinda worried about you. Hope, you’re alright.

  30. Veritas
    March 16, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Hi Tazabi:

    Thanks a lot for your honest contributions once again. Would you please clarify what you had in mind when you said the following?

    1) There are two kinds of lie, a good one and a bad one? Is that one of the things you say? Please just clarify these for me before I say what I had in mind about lies and truth as we go along.

    2) I was not sure what you were trying to commnuicate when you say: “For some unkown reasons, i’m kinda worried about you. Hope, you’re alright.”
    I also hope that I’m alright. Are you worried, perhaps, for my trying to be as clear and careful as possible in my attempts to communicate and even use logically structured arguments to show the connection between what I share and their conclusions? I’m a bit worried why you are worried about me too. Would you help me understand your REASONS for being worried about me, if you’ve found some reasons now?

    3) For your info, I do not believe that there are two kinds of lie, a good one and a bad one, for that matter, so that just you see my points. I was only saying that if an Ethiopian says/means ALL Ethiopians are liars, there is no point in going ahead for that SAME person to defend some Ethiopians are not liars because SOME (OR, EVEN A SINGLE) ETHIOPIANS ARE ALREADY INCLUDED IN THE SET THAT CONSISTS OF ALL ETHIOPIANS and therefore that person is speaking a contradiction or a paradox that is hard to make sense of. I was trying to communicate that. Usuing ALL needs an extra care in the context of our discussions.

    I hope that you shed some light on the above questions.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  31. Veritas
    March 16, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Tazabi:

    I forgot to include one of my questions in the last post and it was this:

    When you say, “It’s not a bad approach to find our society problems from philosopical perspective, since political or economical solution is far reaching”, I thought that you’re assuming or implying that that I’m proposing as a way of identifying our society’s problems that we’re discussing is from a philosophical perspective. I was wondering why you say that it’d be from a “philosophical perspective”.

    I’m not saying that trying to identify the problems we’re discussing from a philosophical perspective is a good idea or a bad one. I got curious as to what is philosophical about it. Just curious.

    Hope that your clarifications provide a way forward for us to make progress with our discussion. I’ve always appreciated your honest thoughts that you share.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  32. Veritas
    March 16, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Hello All:

    I’ve found out-earlier today, the 16th, really good thoughts/comments on what’s being discussed here that I do think is worth sharing with all of us here . These comments were posted at the earlier place where this discussion began its life. I asked the person, Daniyot, who posted it to post his comments here for us all and hence the posts below are his and my request for permission and his permission for me to post them here.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

    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

    Daniyot Says:

    March 16th, 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?

    Veritas Says:

    March 16th, 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

    Daniyot Says:

    March 16th, 2007 at 8:26 pm
    yes,I will give you a complete authorities do that(to post on the link)if and only you think that it is worthy.

  33. Daniyot
    March 16, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Now a days this discussion is giving me some sense of life,I mean I usually spent my time by reading some fictions or tabloids and related things when I get a chance(time) to do so,in other words I an engaged in day to day life as to feel my physical needs rather than my soul,it doesn’t mean that I am that much neive,even if I am,
    It was a couple of days ago,I truly opened my eyes to read those conversations and /or discussions even I can say “thoughts” with out any limitation.therefore guess what happened to me at the end ,I started to share my ideas no matter how shallow they might be.I know that I do have a considerable understanding about my fellow Ethiopians so I can try some as long as it gives me some sense of life.

    As far I am concerned I do not say Ethiopians are….and ..,but I can say we have bad parts as a societies which hinder our development absolutly,I do not want to spend our time by saying this and that adjectives to ethiopians,I do say that we have some chronic problems ,I know we have a problem in our custom,culture,politics,economy and so on,those are vived and they are not what we are talking about at least at the moment if am not mistaken,there is some achille hills,which is destroying our base ,h the main cause for the failer of our institutions,coopretions projects ,and our societal values,but they are hidden for a centuries ,no body tried or stretched his minds to comprehend themand stretch his hands to work out on them,I think if I am not mistaken this is my second time to see some one who forwarded those hidden epidemics into discussion for which we are we(omst of us) are scared of mentioning them even with close friends let alone with thepublic ,I remember one historian how he was cursed when he tried to criticize “Emperor Tewodros”and how sadly the discussion was ended ,Guys we have to be patient ,let say every one has the right to put forward what so ever ideas he think is good for the discussion. let me go back to my point,now someone paved the way ,please let us keep on discussing and and forwarding our point from what so ever angle.

    Among so many factors ,the achille hell for our development are those factors,I do agree on this,and I will forward My points for my arguments if it is necessary but I do not say Ethiopians are ….

  34. Veritas
    March 16, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Hello Yaya, Tazabi, Seife, Rediet, Kedir, Jama, and Daniyot:

    Now we’re growing in number and are adding some interesting ideas to the original that I shared with you all and with, of course, all who’d have a chance to read it and participate in the discussion vigorously, passionately, and of course rationally or reasonably, above all truthfully and honestly.

    I’m dropping this note to encourage you ALL and many others out there to participate actively in such a discussion as this one that is meant to engage us as fellow Ethiopians in a way that has not been done often enough, at least, in this manner.

    I can imagine various constraints on each one of the participants, making it difficult to contribute as much as one wants to. All of us might be really interested to contribute to this discussion as much as possible if we’ve adequate time to do so. My life’s setting is in academic environment where most of my waking hours are being spent on reading and writing and thinking and that is one of the reasons that you’ve been able to see my comments being more frequent. But do not conclude from this that I’ve lots of time to blog like this. Not at all. I could have used all the minutes that I’m using to invest here in this discussion for my own research and writing which is in areas that are very remotely related to what I’m discussing here with you all. My main motivation to be here is to learn from fellow Ethiopians and also to better understand how my society functions.

    Therefore, my point is to encourage you all to play active roles in these discussions with passion and honesty and commitment that will produce some fruits, eventually. As a typical academic type most of my waking hours are being spent trying to understand issues that are remotely related to what I’m discussing with you here and I’m learning how to think and share my thoughts with a very different audience than the one I’m part of, in another context that is my professional community, and I want to give credit to all of you who’ve been participating in this really important discussion for teaching me how to think clearly and communicate my thoughts clearly. Please accept my gratitude for that and I encourage you to continue to play active roles in the discussion.

    It’s my deepest desire to share with fellow Ethiopians whatever I’ve learned from my life and life’s reflections and readings and research that I’ve been doing for some years. If I be able to hear some comments on what is going on I’ll also write something on truth and how truth (and hence truthfulness) is at the core of desirable characters, virtues, and how departing from truth (and hence truthfulness) is the destructive road to most of the vices that I’ve been mentioning.

    I do hope that you all and many others will continue to be part of this soul-searching, honestly, truthfully, and with personal integrity that shines and is transparent and by so doing we’ll leave a better, virtuous, and intrinsically desirable legacy for those who look up to us to learn how to be a virtuous people as grown ups, as fellow Ethiopians, and above all, as people of character.

    Would please continue with me in this rewarding enriching, and purifying journey?

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  35. Veritas
    March 16, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    Please accept my profound gratitude to the thoughts that you’ve shared. I wrote my last post that follows yours immediately without reading your great and highly encouraging post. I was typing when you posted yours, I think.

    Just a quick thought or two: You wrote: “if am not mistaken,there is some achille hills,which is destroying our base ,h the main cause for the failer of our institutions,coopretions projects ,and our societal values,but they are hidden for a centuries ,no body tried or stretched his minds to comprehend themand stretch his hands to work out on them,I think if I am not mistaken this is my second time to see some one who forwarded those hidden epidemics into discussion for which we are we(omst of us) are scared of mentioning them even with close friends let alone with thepublic”.

    My response is this to the above timely and great thoughts of yours: I’m at the beginning of undertaking a project that you’ve in mind and this discussion is initiated, among other reasons, for me to learn something fresh and worth learning from fellow Ethiopians as I set out to provide my sustained account-elsewhere- of the reason why these “hidden epidemics” are decimating us, eating us away, and stifling and stunting our development as a society, and as a nation. Some of the most fundamental reasons for most of our societal problems are deeply related to what we’re just discussing. That is my claim and that is what I’m here to discuss with and debate about with fellow Ethiopians.

    Now is the time to work on these fundamental problems of our society that have been with and in us for centuries.

    Daniyot, your contribution is refreshing and indispensable and I look forward to hearing more from you and many others.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  36. Daniyot
    March 16, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    I think we are now on the way to figure out our problems .If we succeed on figuring out our problems,trust me half of the solution is right there.Therefore, let us dig deeper and deer on our problem’s order to find out the real problem and became part of the solution. let me rise the following issues to ourselve.

    We Ethiopians ,as individuals ,as single person ,how do we see our self?how do I define our self ?,let me say ,I am daniyot,How do I see my self ?do I ask my self about being and how do I answer those question to myself?what is the difference between what am I doing and what I am willing to do,what is the value of my existance to my self and to my society or to the world at large.What is my sacred part and what is my evil part,how am I working to develop my best part and to walk away from my evil part or I am someone like a saint or evil like Satinael or who am I?let as answer this questions,please do not deny at least for yourself,speak with yourself

    To be candid,how do we make our living?how do you communicate with your friends about yoursr,How do your friends judge your presence or in your absence?,how do you work to your society ,how do you act to make money or to get promoted?,are you altruistic or egoist?,please let us talk to our self,how much do you respect your own words?,how strong enough you are to be honest and remain poor or how fast you are willing to live luxurious life in expense of fellow Ethiopian? ,please let us speak to our selves and let us take our discussion to the next phase.If you truly answer those questions to yourself ,then you are the one who are capable of solving our nightmares.

    please pardon me for any grammer , logic voccabolary ,spelling and some related mistakes ,they the resultant effect of situation(time access and experience)I widely oppened my heart and mind to see the flow of this discussion

  37. Veritas
    March 17, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Hello Daniyot:

    Great, thought-provoking, and excellent post! I’ll try to share my thoughts as soon as I get time.

    I’m only dropping this note to express my deep appreciation for your honest, candid thoughts and questions.

    Look forward to interacting with you and all who’re part of this discussion.

    Many thanks,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  38. Veritas
    March 17, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Hello Daniyot and All:

    Now we seem to be at a stage to move ahead to work thru the issues we’re discussing and Daniyot is already leading us with a number of deeply personal and probing questions. I most certainly think that the questions Daniyot raises are crucially important and all of us should take them seriously IF we mean to care about truth.

    In the days to come I want for us to discuss and passionately debate the following thesis I’m forwarding to for all of us: I think (and will argue) that almost all (I did not say all) character traits, the vices, that we’re discussing are the consequences of departing from or drifting away from truth and truthfulness. That is my thesis. Examples of such character traits I’ve in mind are: untruthfulness, or lying, dishonesty, self-deception, and deception of others, arrogance (pretension), suspicion of others, etc.

    I’ll argue that the vices that concern us in the present context would not have been there, IF there were no departures from truth. Departures from truth presuppose that there is truth in the first place. That raises the question what truth is. Once one realizes that departure from truth and truthfulness is the source of almost all the vices, one naturally wants to know how one can return to truth and truthfulness. Return to truth and truthfulness is the most fundamental decision in one’s life for that way lies restoration and healing to a desirable life.

    I look forward to reading and interacting with the participants in our present discussion and let’s share our thoughts about what I’ve just shared.

    Many thanks,

    Cheers,

  39. Veritas
    March 17, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Hello All:

    Now I’ve finally proposed a thesis to develop and clarify and defend and argue for. I’m also looking forward to some responses to the thesis as I look forward to developing it in interaction with and as part of this on-going conversation among us, concerned fellow Ethiopians about the problems under discussion.

    In the meantime I just wanted to respond to some of the ideas in Daniyot’s posts. The following thoughts by Daniyot are revealing and remarkable in what they show us of a personal struggle a fellow Ethiopian could go thru when debating the theme of our discussions. “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.” And also: “It was a couple of days ago, I truly opened my eyes to read those conversations and /or discussions even I can say “thoughts” with out any limitation. Therefore guess what happened to me at the end. I started to share my ideas no matter how shallow they might be. I know that I do have a considerable understanding about my fellow Ethiopians so I can try some as long as it gives me some sense of life.”

    This is a refreshing sense of openness by Daniyot even if, as he/she says, his ideas were shallow and limited; yet his/her desire is to share them with fellow Ethiopians. That is commendable honesty. Thanks Daniyot for showing the rest of us what it means to be open and honest. This brings me to share with the audience, at least, with those who’ve been part of this discussion so far but now somehow, for reasons only they know whose presence is not being felt as much as some days back.

    I’m a little bit concerned about the possibility of some of our conversation partners playing less active role on this blog and on the theme we’re discussing for the following possible–not actual, for I do NOT know yet— reason that, I think, has a lot to do with being Ethiopians. As most of us know, (or, even all of us Ethiopians know?) many Ethiopians do not openly and easily admit their mistakes if and even when they are mistaken. Earlier in one of my posts, I identified this character trait, a vice, as being a consequence of arrogance and/or pretension that goes by I know without a desire to admit that I do not know this or that, whatever the subject matter be. If those of us who’re participating in this very discussion do not leave such a character trait behind and go beyond it by learning to admit things that we do not know and also by admitting when we’ve made mistakes about this or that, I bet there is not going to be a fruitful discussion here for all or most of our discussions will only be continuations, by some of us, of living out, demonstrating, the same character trait, vice, defect that we ought to face head on and replace it with openly admitting our mistakes, admitting that we do not know this or that, in a word, by being exercising HUMILITY.

    My hope is that those who’ve started to participate, some more actively than others, will be back and continue to play more active roles. I hope that my suspicion (this does not mean that I’m being suspicious) of the possible reason that I’ve just shared above won’t turn out to be true. May heaven forbid!

    By contrast, I want to encourage all of us to share Daniyot’s attitude that I’ve quoted above plus the following that openly shows how he/she is willing to openly admit his/her limitations when he/she says: “please pardon me for any grammer , logic voccabolary ,spelling and some related mistakes ,they the resultant effect of situation(time access and experience)I widely oppened my heart and mind to see the flow of this discussion”.

    Thank you Daniyot for setting us an example in what you’ve said and done above. By the way, I want to suggest the following to Daniyot, and, of course, to all of us who participate here: we can minimize spelling mistakes if we type our comments on Microsoft Word Document doing spelling checks and corrections and copy them to the blog. I do that myself since I do not want typos negatively affect the flow of my thoughts when read. We’re communicating in a language that all of have learned to various degrees and there is no reason for us to be afraid of sharing our ideas because of whatever limitations we might have. All of us have various limitations as human beings, and I’ve my own share of them, many in number, and you’ll notice them from time to time. Daniyot, I’ve had no problem following your thoughts and your English is much better than perhaps you might want to say.

    I hope the above note encourages us all to play more active roles in whatever way we can as we work together on trying to trace back, in a form of diagnosis, our society’s ills, that is ours. No other group of people can realistically do that for us, Ethiopians, if we do not do that for ourselves for the simple reason that Ethiopians are the ones in a position to understand themselves better than non-Ethiopians would do. This is true for all other societies as well; we’re no exceptions to that. But then we need to be able to do soul-searching on ourselves FIRST before we say this or that about ourselves and such soul-searching requires honesty, truthfulness, openness, humility and all other related virtues; without such virtues, there is not going to be any lasting solution for our society’s most fundamental ills. This suggestion seems to be too bold to defend but I’m willing and also going to defend it and now in the meantime I’m looking forward to reading and working thru the most relevant objections from fellow Ethiopians as well.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  40. Daniyot
    March 18, 2007 at 6:39 am

    Hi Guys.
    As far as I know we are sharing Ideas in respect of ‘soul searching”isn’t it?I am sure all of you say “yes”equevocally.if your answer is yes,there is no end in “soul searching”there might be a time when some one be convienced or he or she may agree with someonce elses idea at some point,but it does not mean this is or that is final as long as we are on the road to soul searching,as I mentioned ,we may be convienced by someonce idea at some point,that should not be the end,let share.

    This discussion may look like some thing easy or simple to someone or to some of us,trust me ,absultly not ,it is a new direction/HORINON SPECIALLY / to at least/TO us,I hope it would my best wish many my fellow ethiopian i have an opportunity take part in in this discution as writer or as reader

    To be honest ,when I( I was only reader at that moment) happened to read march 12th post by seife,that why I am reading this book”then I was immidiatly convienced ,his words are steal fresh in my mind.I have to know much about my so that I can attack him easely I said to my seilf,when I read seifes’ post,I ssaid to my self do not give up Seife what so ever the direction of the discussion is. when you read more and more pages from the book of an American fellow ,you can get power to defend his idea and give him lessen,that is how teaching learning process is !I said to my self by standing in the shues of Seife.

    my point here is .please let us keep on sharing ideas ,there is no end,let learn a piece of idea from one another,we have a lot of problems remained unsolved even unraised,let us go!!!!this the very beginning of the issue.

  41. Daniyot
    March 18, 2007 at 7:33 am

    I am sorry guys ,part of paragraoh three is missing the reason I do not know ,please, read paragraph three as follow apologize once again for the inconvenience it my cause.

    To be honest ,When I first happen to read March 12th post by Seife,I went back in memory to the year 1989 or 1990,I do not exactly remember the situation but I do exactly remember the point I discussed with my Friend order to refresh your memory it is about An American writer who insulted Ethiopians in his book as Seife said,When seife see the book he was not interested to read that book or even he did not like to see it(I am sorry if I am mistaken),that was the point where I went back in memory,It was in the year 1989 or 1990,I met one of my good friend in one cafeteria or road side’s that moment he had a book in his hand ,I did not west my time at least to see the topic of the book and to ask him about the book,Guess what the topic of the book wasI was confused or a little bit frustrated when I saw the topic tried to internalize my fear at that moment and I forwarded my first question as follow “this book is about devil do you read about devil ? ” he said to me Daniyot ,even you have to read this book ,it is really worthy reading he said to me.How ?I said, he put in the following way

  42. Daniyot
    March 18, 2007 at 7:58 am

    The topic of the book my good friend had in his hand was ‘MANY FACES OF DEVIL’

  43. Daniyot
    March 18, 2007 at 9:16 am

    I tried to fix my problems on the above post,but it did not worked out,I am sorry I wasted your time and mine either,so I decided to fix it before I went to my regular duty’s do no know How it happened therefore I am going to write the whole thing again.

    As far as I know we are sharing ideas in respect of “Soul searching”isn’t it ?I am sure all of you say “Yes”equivocally.If your answer is yes,there is no end in soul searching,there might be a time when some one be convinced or he/she may agree with someones idea/argument at some point ,but that does not mean that is the end of the game as long as we are engaged in soul searching .
    on the other direction this discussion may look like some thing easy or simple to someone or to some of us,trust me absolutely not,rather it is a new direction / horizon specially to us,I hope many of my fellow Ethiopians get part in as a reader or as a contributor,
    let me share my situation After I started to read those posts,I ,first tried to read ,then tried to stand in the shoes of the contribution in order to se the points,then I started to think my points on the areas, finally decided to contribute what so ever I have with out fear.Today ,where ever I may go the whole thing about the discussion comes to my mind,I Analise ,fight with them and so and so,that means My mind is getting open and open.so why should I stop thinking?!
    To be honest I was a reader at the moment when I saw March 12 post by Seife

  44. Daniyot
    March 18, 2007 at 9:25 am

    I am sorry guys.I have made a considerable effert to make points clear ,,but part of my points are missing when I click on submit button.sorry again,

    bye.

  45. Veritas
    March 18, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Hello Daniyot and All:

    Daniyot says, “Today ,where ever I may go the whole thing about the discussion comes to my mind,I Analise ,fight with them and so and so,that means My mind is getting open and open.so why should I stop thinking?!”

    I wish all of those who’ve been participants (besides Daniyot) and/or readers at the moment, if there are some, would be as passionate as Daniyot for what we’re trying to do here, by joining us thinking along with Daniyot, why should I stop thinking?

    I issue another challenge for all of us who’ve been partaking in this discussion (and the readers as well) if we have any desire to leave something GOOD TO GENERATIONS THAT COME AFTER US. It’s very difficult to find a forward, future looking attitude among many Ethiopians, and accordingly, thinking about leaving a good and desirable legacy for generations to come is NOT part of the Ethiopian mindset overall. That is a TRAGEDY that has befallen us for centuries.

    If the previous generations of Ethiopians were forward looking generations whose prominent desire was to leave a good and desirable legacy for generations to come, Ethiopia TODAY would have been at a much different and much better situation. What is the result of generations that failed to be forward, future looking? The answer: LOOK AT ETHIOPIA and all the miserable forms of existence that one can find in one place!

    Three thousand years of history of nearly meaningless or rather miserable existence with some sporadic good scattered here and there to comfort some that they have a GREAT history and long standing CIVILIZATION! I’d rather say, we, Ethiopians, are living proofs for what it means to exist for three thousand years as an unmistakable example of failure, tragedy rather than success that is desirable, and good. Who wants to live like many, millions of Ethiopians? A very qualified answer: Some fellow Africans who’ve undergone a dehumanizing colonial history. Any other groups of people want to live like Ethiopians? I very much doubt, and why would they?

    What about Adwa? Countless Ethiopians will say. Yes, but please stop there for I’ve said something about it when I spoke about fellow Africans. What about Axum and some of the castles/buildings that are found, here and there, in some parts of the country? They’re good for tourist attractions as much as we, the living Ethiopians, are good for attracting the attentions of the whole world for all kinds of failure and misery that we’ve demonstrated by NOW. [One might wonder, I think, rightly, aren’t we a “zoo” of misery and failure, as a society?] You see the above examples that have been points of fixation for millions of Ethiopians? These all are about the PAST. Let’s LOOK FORWARD NOW. That is the point. Some might find it so distressing that their fellow Ethiopian is proposing this idea of forward looking, future oriented life for us–for ANOTHER generation– for that would seem to deprive us of our taking comfort in the PAST, which I’d call that fixation and false comfort for millions that borders on illusion and delusion.

    Please have this important point in mind: some among readers of this discussion might, perhaps rather, would, think that I’m trying to propose ideas that are anti-Ethiopian and anti-history and immediately they might jump to a conclusion that would identify me with this or that group. If and when anyone does that, I’m so sorry for that person to waste his/her time by speculating about who I might be and which group I’m a part of.

    I’m not part of any group, nor do I have a desire to identify myself with anything that goes in the name of Ethiopia by whichever group. I’m not a patriotic person in the sense that millions of Ethiopians would think that they are. My “Adwa”, or any desirable victory for Ethiopia that I WANT TO BE PART OF bringing about is about the generation to come that I want to leave something good and desirable for. I do not want to spend my waking hours thinking about the PAST about Ethiopia and living my life in such a way that shows, or imitates life in the past! Life as only backward looking? That is not life that I want to live.

    I’m a concerned Ethiopian, am independent thinker, though that might sound a contradiction in terms for many Ethiopians for independent thinking is an anti-Ethiopian culture and identity. Think independently and you know what I’m talking about: you’ll immediately be condemned forever and hence ignored. That is a true Ethiopian response. That is why we live the way we do now. Part of the mystery for our existence is in how we treat ideas, good or bad, and how we respond to them. We dismiss them, ignore them, and call the person behind the ideas all kinds of evil things. That is a true Ethiopian history of how we treat ideas, noble or novel or what have you. I’m here to fight that life-style that head on which is part of my main reason for initiating this discussion.

    Yes, I initiated the discussion about Ethiopians and their character traits as one of the most fundamental issues that ALL Ethiopians should be thinking about in order to see a transformation in the Ethiopian society beginning with us but more importantly for generations to come. The vices that we’ve inherited have taken generations and the virtues that I want us to leave as a legacy for generations will need a much longer time than we wish to be so. If we want the transition to a better, desirable Ethiopia to be in rather a generation, NOW is the moment to do an extensive and intensive soul-searching. Now is that time that can begin to change us, if we’re WILLING to embrace virtues and as all know not a single person can be a virtuous person overnight, let alone a community, and a society.

    Will you join this soul-searching with discipline and commitment for the sake of the generations that we’re giving birth to and bringing into this world, into this Ethiopia not many would desire to be part of? Do we Ethiopians want to leave something better for our future generation of fellow Ethiopians? Do we have any such desire at all? We can leave such a legacy in one fundamentally important way: by willingly becoming people of character, virtues and here is a forum to help us begin such massive, extensive, and intensive, personal and collective soul-searching. Will you please join us?

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  46. Tazabi
    March 18, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Veritas,
    I hear your heart felt plea loud and clear. Believe me these are the same issues you mentioned above was eating me for a long time and continue to be(i’m assuming many ethiopians thought about it one way or another too). I’m a bit dissapointed of the small # of people response so far, though. I can see you’re very passoinate about these issues so, you may need to find other venues to have a wider audience and reach to many ethiopians. I noticed in the past, there was an Ethiopian gender issue linked to this web log and i wittnesed that ethiopians are glued to their PC and instant messages were back and forth instantly. There’s a lot to be said what we do, how we behave and the consequences to follow but the question is how you address it? I used to visit Ethiopians who live in Wasington DC (also familiar with the metro VA,MD surronding area) and what i wittnesed was bizzare Ethiopian culture and their attitude totally unacceptable in any culture. When i questioned what’s going on, usually the answer would be “this’s how in this area or i’m out of it,i’m weired..”. Believe me, by the time i finished my visit, i felt like i’ve been worn out from a job, confused and misearble. I don’t know may be the people i associated happened to be like this and i’m alone feeling this way?. I really think, the church may need to engage on going dialogue or disscussion with the ethiopians who lives up there. My hope is that these bad characters i exibited only limited to that area or limted to the circle of people i know. Sorry, targeting a certain area Ethiopians, but that’s the areas i’m struggling with for quite some time. Veritas, may be the church “Priest” would do the trick.

  47. Veritas
    March 18, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thank you so much for understanding the gravity of the problem that I’ve set out to share with fellow Ethiopians. Thanks a lot for your encouraging words as well.

    You’re right to share your disappointment at the number of participants we’ve seen given the nature and urgency of the debate. My hope is that more will join hands and minds as the days go by. I’ve just sent a note to another Ethiopian website to post my last note and also to link the post to where we’re discussing these issues here. Your note encouraged me to do that though I was also thinking of doing something like that when I started to see growing silence by fellow Ethiopians about this discussion.

    Though we’ve not as yet started to take a certain sample of Ethiopians as our example of what we want to argue here, your taking the Ethiopian community in Washington DC and the metro area is well taken. I do not think you need to apologize for taking some example as long as you’re talking about the issue and you’re taking some segment of the Ethiopian population to illustrate your point. Let those Ethiopians openly refute your example, if you’re wrong. Let our intention be sincere and after the truth and within the purpose of what we’re discussing. Then I do not see any need to worry about sharing one’s personal reflections on this or that group of Ethiopians as long as they are Ethiopians. Give good reasons for what you take to be the case and let those who disagree with your reasons come up with better reasons and show that your thoughts were wrong. This is a national soul-searching and it’s about debating our vices to replace them with virtues and let’s try doing that honestly and sincerely without worrying as to what others would think and say. What others would think of me and say about me, is one of those deeply ingrained mindsets, vices, that run thru the Ethiopian society and such a mindset should never be allowed to stand in the way of searching after the truth.

    About Churches and the role of priests as religious leaders and what they can do to address the problems we’re discussing I think we can bring these up at some point for I’ve already thought about who can and should do what in the process of helping reorient our society’s direction for a better future. But one thing we need to bear in mind: priests and pastors and all religious leaders should be role models themselves FIRST before they teach such virtues to others and I do not think that we’ve so many such virtuous religious leaders who lead life-styles that are radically different in the sense of being virtuous compared to the average Ethiopians. That is why I’m so concerned about this Ethiopian society: our problems are so, so, so deep and they need an absolutely profound self-examination, and sustained soul-searching!

    As the discussion develops I’ve in mind not only religious leaders to play more active roles in the transformation of the Ethiopian society, but also I’ve in mind the roles to be played by educators, aspiring politicians, and the civil society at large and the Ethiopian society both individually and collectively. I hope that this discussion goes as far as bringing together all such broad Ethiopians for the fundamental solution for the fundamental problems that afflict Ethiopia.

    Many thanks Tazabi for your note and please continue to play your active role as an individual both here in the discussion and all other ways that you leave something good to leave behind. I’ll always try to do likewise as long as I live.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  48. Tazabi
    March 18, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    That’s a good idea linking the issue, hopefully the word will be out. It’s a huge task you’re taking, but it’s worth trying,though.

  49. Veritas
    March 18, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thanks for your note again. Yes, I’m fully aware of the depth and difficulty of the task that I’ve decided to share with fellow Ethiopians for us to discuss and debate. This is a daunting task, and worth undertaking as you also realize.

    I’ve spent years reflecting on such issues and am just beginning a public discussion for the first time. This is going to be a long term project that will go beyond this discussion on this blog but then it has to start somewhere and I chose to start it here.

    One other important point: In order to avert or abort a possible misunderstanding when others decide to respond to one of my previous, most recent posts, esp., where I mention Axum and Adwa. Please note that the purpose of my mentioning them is not, primarily, to dismiss their significance, whatever significance they have for Ethiopians. I leave such debates about such historically significant events for historians. I’m not a historian. My area of study is, primarily, about IDEAS THEIR CONSEQUENCES; yes, ideas about Axum and Adwa have also consequences and I can say something about such ideas in the relevant part of this discussion in the days to come.

    Mind you now: if the ideas about Axum and Adwa have negative consequences for the Ethiopian society, in whatever way, I’ll attempt to show such consequences of ideas for the betterment of the Ethiopian society. Fixation on historical events when such fixations become counterproductive then comes a needed criticism about such fixations in relation to such historic events, be that Axum or Adwa.

    Therefore, please readers and participants of this discussion do not aim your thoughts and pens at this writer thinking that I’m simply dismissive of Axum and Adwa. It’s also good to know that I do NOT have any fixation on such historical things for I can only take them seriously so long as they have a positive good to contribute to my existential struggles NOW and also so long as I do not lose focus on what I should do for a generation to come. I’d rather focus on the present and the future without forgetting taking good lessons from the past. Axum and Adwa and all such historic events of the past won’t teach us ALL that we need to live our lives in a way any flourishing society should live its life.

    The past cannot be EVERYTHING since the present should be lived in a worthy manner for the future to be positively affected. I’d rather take such historic events as Adwa and as such much less seriously, if need be, and contribute something good and desirable and lasting to the future generation of Ethiopians than take Adwa and as such most seriously and leave only the memory of Adwa with much less to give to the future generation of Ethiopians. It matters quite a lot what we choose and stand for and I call upon fellow Ethiopians to examine what they stand for and live for and want to die for, if need be. Who wants to die for the past knowing full well that such a death does nothing whereas dying for noble causes for the future Ethiopians by far surpasses dying for the past, if such a thing were possible.

    If people only talk about the past and do not do much at the present (or what they do is wrongheaded all the more) they’ve already died such a death, death unto the past. Now the question becomes: how will future generation of Ethiopians will benefit from such backward looking talk and walk that lacks adequate and relevant vision about the future, about them. This is a call upon fellow Ethiopians to do soul-searching even when such soul-searching involves out attitude towards our history in the past as we’re called to make history, a better and worthy history, for future generation of Ethiopians, not about the past. Will you join this call with your hands, heatrs and minds?

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  50. Veritas
    March 18, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    P.S.

    Please read the above “IDEAS THEIR CONSEQUENCES” above as IDEAS AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES.

    Thanks,

    Veritas

  51. Veritas
    March 19, 2007 at 1:26 am

    Back again:

    As Daniyot remarked in one of his posts, as it’s already been the case with me, I could not stop thinking about the issues I’ve been proposing for us to discuss and debate and learn from one another. Why should I stop thinking?

    Since touching the story of Axum and Adwa and the other historically important things that I’ve mentioned in one of my posts today is like touching the nerves’ of Ethiopians, so to speak, I just wanted to be clear about the point that I was trying to make even after adding one more clarification above.

    Yes, Axum has a “historical significance” for millions of Ethiopians. I’m not that sure what that historical significance would amount to. I’ve every right to doubt and even deny any such historical importance for Ethiopia NOW and the future of Ethiopia except for its tourist attraction, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. If such a civilization was purely of Ethiopian origin in the first place, I do not know what that would mean, my problem is not with that civilization. Rather my problem would be, what has happened to us, Ethiopians, SINCE THEN that has brought us backwards centuries into the past? Do we, Ethiopians, realize that there no signs of civilization, like, at least Axum-type, in most of Ethiopia’s rural areas these very days in over 2000 years? That is a very important question for me. Instead of “worshiping” such relic from the past, can we bring about a new Axumite civilization now and for the future Ethiopians? That is an important question for us to consider, ponder about and look forward to. That is my Axum connection. Not much to make a huge fuss about.

    Yes, about Adwa: It’s much more important to positively think of the good and historic symbolism of Adwa for Ethiopians at large. The most important reason that Adwa should be seen as a positive symbol for Ethiopians is because of its victory being a victory over dehumanizing colonial history. That is well taken. Yes for Adwa, in that sense. But then I think we miss the point of Adwa if we continue to be dehumanized by our own people who rule Ethiopia in such a way that it seems much better, at least for me, to be considered a slave and dehumanized by foreign rulers in my own country than by my own people in my own country! If foreigners were to dehumanize and rule over us, they would do so by thinking that we’re so different from them and also so inferior to them, which seems easier to imagine than what is the case when such evil things are done to Ethiopians by Ethiopians! We need our new Adwa now and for the future generation of Ethiopians. We’ll continue to lose the battle for our new Adwa if we do not do a massive and extensive and intensive soul-searching that I’m talking about all the way! Our new Adwa starts with a victory over deeply ingrained character traits of millions of Ethiopians. That is where the battle is and that is what we should be fighting. It starts with fighting my own character defects as much as fighting those others who affect the lives of Ethiopians in many evil ways, because they’re also suffering from the very same sickness, character defects, vices but only in much greater scale.

    Our new Axumite civilization can come to pass only if we decide to address the deeply ingrained character problems among millions of Ethiopians. Our new Adwa over all forms of evil governance and much alike will come to pass only if we decide to address the deeply ingrained character problems among millions of Ethiopians. That is my proposal. I bet if we fail to do this, we’re inevitably doomed to make any desirable progress. Our future will be only as good as our past and our present. That is no future; it’ll only be, again, the past and the present incarnating themselves in the mirror of the so-called future. May heaven forbid such a history!

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  52. Daniyot
    March 19, 2007 at 6:11 am

    I was afraid of myself when I start to read the first two or three paragraphs your post(veritas) you picked what I was thinking since my 16th,,those(Adiwa,lalibela ,Fassil and our national flags at large) are the place where we hide our humiliations ,I mean ,almost most of us give due appreciation, to our national flag ,Adwa ,lalibela ,Tewodros ,and our country ,at large and we do express our affection about these elements in tens of thousands of words, We never notice or think the need to pay some scarifies to keep those things as they are. I mean when I say I love Ethiopia, and Ethiopians, I have to do some thing considerable and good to Ethiopia .I have to practically show my love toward Ethiopians and Ethiopia by doing good thing or becoming example.

    Do you guys, remember how many times we speak about Ethiopian coffee and Abay river, do we really now how much we are benefiting from those “resources” trust me we are unbelievably loosing world coffee market even if our radio and television station praise them day in day out, how we are treating Abay, it is sad to say here because all of you guys know it, here is my point,we have to work,

    Back in 1980s one of the united nation heritage agency officials was visiting northern part of Ethiopia (as one of my friend told me), there was an Ethiopian guider, who was very eloquent enough to express the historic, geographic and archeological truth about lalibel, Axume and Fasiledes with out stop to the official, that guider was too smart to express his ideas, his pride, and love to toward those historic elements, however the official was not interest on none of his explanation ,even he preferred to stop the tour ,guess why, the official was disappointed, and made his departing comment as follow;

    “I do really appreciate those who paid their energy, knowledge effort and time to construct those remarkable historic sites to Ethiopia, but I am not Interested on today’s situation, am not interested on your eloquent explanation because I saw so many heart breaking things here ,I saw one of Axume Obelisks fallen on the ground, I say part of Fassil building is cracking ,ets ,and I feel shame when I see you guys now, What are you guys doing now if your grand fathers did that and this in that dark age, even you didn’t get chance to maintain them, let alone to bring betterment to your people ., It worth me nothing what so ever sweet and smart your words are today, I do not care, I am sorry guys, “said the official.
    Imagine guys, if we love our country we have to do some thing in a place where we are, we are lagging behind ,so we have to engage our self ,we have to examine our self ,we have to question our self ,we have to propose a way where to start ,we have to share ideas first to figure out our problems, we have to start knocking the door in order to fight ignorance let us scratch every corner ,to propose something better together,
    I do respect the greatness of Veritas idea what so ever my stand may be, or I have to work hard to show my points if I do not accept his idea, it is widely open to say something I do feel and think.

    Thanks

  53. Lena Shersusagwo
    March 19, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Talking of having fixation in the past,
    I don’t think it is should be of any concern as it is not a trend that is prevalent in the present generation, as I see it.
    In fact, tt is becoming the other way round.Some Ethiopians are getting ashamed of thier hertigaes.
    I have seen other such attacks before.Why we dwell on our past?
    We are not afforded the luxury of sitting back and patting ourselves on our back over our past accomplishments.But our past is not to be something ashamed of, infact that is what we have a lot to be proud of.We should be taking a closer at our past and try to figure out on how to go forwaord.Much damage had alreday been done by borrowing knowelge from the West without crtically medting thier historical experinces.
    I am not an expert on Greek but I don’t think anyone would tell them not to take pride in thier past.By today’s standard,Greek is not an economic super powers.(though, not as bad as Ethiopia ).
    Yes,there is still much work to be done but why should I be ashamed of mpast, Axum or Lalibela?
    We must ask ourselves, what does it say about the values that we are passing on to the next generation of “Ethiopians,” when our best and brightest, leave Ethiopial for greener pastures abroad?
    When they even find it hard to say they are from Ethiopia.When we lost the desire to pass on authentic Ethiopian values to our children, and instead replaced them with the Golden Calf of western, progressive values, we gave up on the future of the People. When we lost the ability to sense Ethiopian shame, we also lost the ability to feel true Ethiopian pride.
    So long as we are unwilling or unable to educate ourselves and our children of the uniqueness of past, we will continue to lose our best and brightest to the foreign gods of western society, in all of their enticing forms. We have already failed many, let’s not fail any others, after all, we’re talking about the future of the our People.

  54. Daniyot
    March 19, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you Lena,When I say I fall in fear when I talk about lalibela,axum and Fassile,it does not necessery mean I am ashemed of those heritages,but we the Ethiopian have to do our current home work in a timely manner,I mean,it gives us a great pride and happiness if our current ethiopian some what much better than this days situation,I know they are pricelss historic resources,but it is best work hard,Now we are giving mere appriciation only ,that is what I do not like.

  55. Veritas
    March 19, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Hello Daniyot and Lena:

    Thanks a lot for your contributions! Let’s continue to probe into the very sensitive issues of our history and identity, for millions of Ethiopians, AS PART of what we’re trying to do here, in the present discussion’s context: what our character traits, vices, do to us who we’re Ethiopians.

    Here’s what I just wanted to share as a response to the two posts: I do not think we should say that Ethiopians should be ashamed of their past, esp., about those historic things that I mentioned. I do not think that we should be unreasonably proud of our past either. We need some balance and the balance could be achieved when we rightly and urgently start focusing on the present as the present being the closest thing to the future and doing something NOW that should result in some good for the FUTURE.

    It’s never been clear to me what it means to be proud of our past without qualification, to be honest. I’ve a hard time taking pride in something that I did not make any contribution to. [Perhaps, one might say, I’m proud of the accomplishments of those Ethiopians in virtue of “my” connection to them. That does not seem to help me a lot, either. I do not know what that connection should amount to, if there was such a connection in the first place]. That is one of the reasons that I keep reminding us that we should be doing some good NOW to leave a good legacy for generations to come. I think there is too much pride shown by too many Ethiopians that I do not see how that could be justified. Those Ethiopians who accomplished those historically important things should rightly take pride in what they accomplished. We should do something like them, taking them as our source of inspiration, and that makes more sense to me personally.

    I can’t bring myself to accepting what it means to be a proud Ethiopian about such historical relics while I find it so difficult to find a building, even a small work of architecture, in most of the present day Ethiopia. Let’s go to the rural Ethiopia, which is where most of the Ethiopian population is and find Axum-like civilizations! I think it’s not a bad thing if one feels a bit ashamed of such facts IN ORDER TO be honestly and passionately motivated to do something significant, historically and personally and in whatever capacity.

    I’m really concerned a lot about misplaced prides and lack of vision and passion for the right and the good and the true in my generation. That is more than enough cause for a serious concern and that is why I’m here as part of this discussion.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  56. Veritas
    March 19, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Hello Len, Daniyot and All:

    Now I just wanted to share the following thoughts with you, Len, from your very interesting post above.

    I couldn’t be sure whether you’ve been following the discussions from what you shared with us. Perhaps yes, or perhaps not. I shared those sensitive issues to be handled and discussed and debated from within the context of our present discussion the theme of which is about character traits that run throughout the Ethiopian society. I proposed for us to debate such character traits are responsible for so many problems, certainly not for all problems, that we’re experiencing as a society.

    Mind you Len, I’m after the truth about whatever. If my pursuit of truth about my history, my identity, what I should be proud of and what not, I should embrace truth no matter how it feels in doing so. It takes a lot of personal integrity and intellectual humility and moral courage to embrace truths about ourselves as Ethiopians. Such an attitude is lacking in the society whose history and identity I’ve a hard time making sense of. That is the truth about us.

    Having said the above, I’ve a question or two for you. But before that: By the way, you said that you’ve seen “other such attacks before. Why we dwell on our past?” I hope that what I’ve just shared above makes it clear that I’m not just doing one of such attacks you’ve in mind. When you say, “Much damage had alreday been done by borrowing knowelge from the West without crtically medting thier historical experinces.” I was not sure what you’d in mind. If you also think that this writer is borrowing knowledge from the West uncritically it’d really be helpful to know what that would mean.

    You also ask., “We must ask ourselves, what does it say about the values that we are passing on to the next generation of “Ethiopians,” when our best and brightest, leave Ethiopial for greener pastures abroad?” I think what I proposed for us to debate here, questions of personal integrity, overall character issues can explain why at least for some or for many of the reasons for the brain drain. Except for a small percentage of those who had to leave the country because of politically motivate threats to their lives, I bet the reason why the many other Ethiopians who claim that they love their country leave for the West has a lot to do with who they are as persons.

    I never ever said I love Ethiopia as far as I remember for I’m not sure what that means or what that amounts to. Yes, I said I love this Ethiopian person or that; I love something about Ethiopia, like food or music, etc, or the weather, etc. It never occurred to me to include in such attitude of love to Ethiopia to say that I love Ethiopian history and its past. That is not clear to me. I’ve already said something about my take on the past. I hope that is enough.

    Rather on many, many occasions I said I hate Ethiopia. Shocked to hear that? Be careful as to what I mean when I say “I hate Ethiopia”, even now as I write these words. No hurry to conclude what I never said or say. When I say “I hate Ethiopia” what I wanted to communicate with whoever is this: I hate those character traits, the vices that I’ve seen too many times among my fellow Ethiopians. For many years now, I’ve (almost unconsciously) identified some of those vices with the image of Ethiopia as some non-Ethiopians would easily identify the image of Ethiopia with famine and war. These vices are intrinsically bad and hence worthy of hate and fighting against as I’m doing right now. I cannot bring myself to saying and meaning I love lies, untruthfulness, dishonesty, being suspicious, taking advantage of another’s innocence or being selfish, etc, etc. I hate Ethiopia in the sense that I hate those vices. No other interpretation please. Do not think that I’m apologizing for a possible wrong doing. I’m only trying to make sure that our discussion be conducted with clarity of thought and expression and rationally as we strive to better understand ourselves as I’m trying to do sharing some of the shocking stories.

    MIND YOU again: I never said I hate Ethiopians. That is an altogether different thing. Of course, I love many Ethiopians. I cannot meaningfully say I love all Ethiopians, for I do not know what that means. I can say that but that seems to be like a cheap talk. It’s like saying I love humanity. Who does not? Do not forget as to why loving humanity is so easy for it’s only a concept. For me to say “I love all Ethiopians” is not much different from saying I love humanity. From the fact that I do not know what it means to say I love all Ethiopians, it does not follow that I hate some Ethiopians. That is a logical mistake we should not commit, I hope. Yes, I do not hate any particular Ethiopian because he/she is an Ethiopian, by the way. For a long time now, the name Ethiopia, tragically, has conjured up, or brought to my mind, those vices to the extent that I started to find it difficult to relate, at times, with fellow Ethiopians easily though without that being taken as hating them. Absolutely not. Tazabi, I know what you were talking about when you mentioned your painful experience with some Ethiopians in Washington DC area. I’ve been in the same boat multiple times!

    The above thoughts might sound too much for some fellow Ethiopians. But I say this to them: please take some time and think, as deeply as possible, about what you say and think about yourselves, about Ethiopia and Ethiopians. I’ve been reflecting on what so many fellow Ethiopians would easily say and want others to believe what they say. I never had any pride in who I’m BECAUSE I’m an Ethiopian and many fellow Ethiopians immediately would conclude from hearing me say that “you’re ashamed of being an Ethiopian”. I never said that either. Personally I do not know what it means to take pride in something that I do not have anything to do with, like the past. I want to be realistic, truthful. I’m not suffering from lack of self-respect and reasonable, realistic confidence in myself as a person. But that has nothing to do with my being an Ethiopian in any sense whatsoever. All the things that I’ve tried to accomplish in life ( they’re none for me yet for some they mean a lot) I’ve done what I’ve just tried to do just as a human being, as a person, who’s consciously pursuing one’s life’s meaning and goal as any conscious, purpose-driven person would, anywhere. None of my life’s dreams and goals have been inspired by my being an Ethiopian in any sense at all. It’s possible for many Ethiopians that their being Ethiopians could have served them with their life’s dreams and goals. That is fine. But I do not see how that makes a person a better Ethiopian either. I’ve a strong desire to contribute something good and desirable to the Ethiopian society as much as those whose lives have been inspired by their being Ethiopians. At the end of he day, I think I belong to the Ethiopian society in some sense, not entirely, and hence my desire to do something good for the society that I think I belong to. Otherwise, why would I spend a minute thinking and writing and sharing all these?

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  57. Tazabi
    March 19, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Lena,
    In my opinion, so many of us are hung up with the past. My understanding of the above comments about Axsum, Adwa… is not so much ignoring or being ashamed the past, but what they’re saying is that yes, the past is great, but let’s move on to do much better. There’s people out there waitting “Haile Selassie’s” regime, some even “Mengestu’s”come back.(I’m not saying those two are bad or good. I’ll leave this to politicians). What this showing us is that we’re to hung up with our past. We need a vision. I disagree with those who really think the western culture is all bad. I think we’ll benefit borrowing some of the western culture. It’s a wonderful thing teaching, your kids the Ethiopian culture,value, language, but what worries me is that just because we don’t like the western culture, some even attempts to bring the education structure to individual ethnic groups.
    Oh, yes! I’m guilty. I would say just for selfish reasons, i’m residing abroad. And again, it’s a day in day out struggle with myself to go back and help my people. I even went to test the water for 6 weeks and i was fighting, pulling my hair from day one (it started at the Airport and i think ends the same place) until the end of my 6 weeks stay. I’ve not given up yet, but the time hasn’t come to me to make that kind of decision. Most of the problem i faced was coming from my personality, though so, i’ve to deal and work with myself.

  58. Daniyot
    March 20, 2007 at 7:23 am

    It was in the first few years of EPRDF, we used to have a bunch of” free press “magazines and news paper, I used to enjoy some of the Cartoons, besides some of the articles, And I would like to share how I was impressed by the cartoon from that time unto know, so I choose to share it with you Guys,

    “In that time some historians, philosophers, anthropologists, archeologists and concerned citizens were making a final and monotonic attempt to bring back home one of the obelisk from Rome. It look like a final attempt by the time ,every body was talking about it ,but some of the obelisks sleeping next to the one standing in Axume ,they started to share words on the issue, one of them said guys it is time to wake up and welcome our friend when he came from Rome ,but he did not get any answer ,he asked them again, but nobody answers, then he asked them the reason, they said ,We do remember when one of our brother obelisk was taken to Rome, we were sleeping here when he departs us ,Now some of our friends were already buried right here ,we do not have any good news to tell him ,except the worst things being happening to us ,so it is better to us to sleep, and we do not know his fate, I think it would have been better if he would stay there.(obelisk’s talk to one another)

    To me this does exactly reflects our situation; we were trying to bring one from Rome while some of them here at home getting berried on the ground. Let me clear myself here I do not mean we should live our resources out side, but we should take care of those at home, If we do not care for those at home, it clearly seems to me unnecessary adventure, or a mere pride seeking. I do not want to be that kind of person, let alone to be an Ethiopian; I do not have time to narrate the history, when we were fighting with one another to magnify our ethno centrism, I do not want to apprciatiate our agriculture, while millions of Ethiopians are on the verge of death due to hunger, I do not want to admire our intellectuals, as long as they do not solve the open ended problems of innocent people. If you guys carefully observe things, we are really overwhelmed by Ignorance, poverty and multidirectional bad fates, I do appreciate the one who is confident and ready to show us the way how to get out this odds. That is the one I am looking for, but not a mere adventurer.

    Guys let me ask you an innocent question, what do you feel when you say yourself “I am an Ethiopian? How do you explain to yourself that you are an Ethiopian? “Are you proud of it? Or what? To me the place where I grown up, do that and this which contributed to be today’s Daniyot, and so and so but what?! Do not miss perceive me, I did not say I want to be a European or an American, when I think about those issues tears shade my face, you guy knows why this happens to me.

    About two generation already passes while we are talking, even our past going to be a maize (jock) or pie in the sky to the coming generation if we continue in this trend, believe me no body will trust us or pay attention to our culture, history, and everything, unless we find a loop hall to attack our enemies those embodied in our body and mind.

    Thank you my friend Lena, I do appreciate you concern to our past, I am sure I do have much enough concern to my past, but my point is not that, My point is we have an urgent class work for know and we have a challenging homework for tomorrow. That is the place where my concern is.Yes,you are right, there might be attack or something in some where in some group or what so ever ,but I do guarantee you that this is not completely attack ,even I am not comfortable with the word “attack” ,this is the way how to face the truth but not attack as you said ,you know what I do not know what western ,eastern ,northern or southern means ,except in the Geography, what is borrowed knowledge?, if you engage your self in the search of truth, you will eventually understand that knowledge is universal ,no exception. I do also appreciate your good desire and wish to pass those authentic values to our children, but is that enough to our children’s? Don’t you feel that they do expect much more that (mere pride?)

    Tazabi, you have been examine your practical environment that means, you are a mile a head of me to face the challenge .thank you.

    Words will never express how Veritas lit the fire in my mind; He is scratching our mind with his sharp pens, bravo Veritas.

    Many thanks to all of you guys,

  59. Lena
    March 20, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    It is good to learn you are not ashamed of your past,and neither you a fixation in the past.I am curious to know what is bothering you then?

  60. Veritas
    March 20, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Hello Lena:

    Lena, would you please make your last question clear? This discussion has several aims, from what I’ve been sharing with all so far: you can find the major thesis of the discussion if you’ve carefully read my responses to your post plus elsewhere in the earlier posts. That will answer your question, if your question was addressed to me. I was wondering if you’ve read the previous posts already. You’ve not indicated that you have, though.

    Another aim of the discussion that I suggested could be taken as aiming at clarity of expressions of our thoughts, and also carefully reading others’ posts, and aiming at conducting the discussion with reasonable degree of arguments, or providing reasons for what we assert etc. You can read something close to that that I’ve shared in one of my posts that is called Grincean Maxims or Conversational Maxims. Sorry, by the way, for misspelling your name, Lena. I want this discussion to be as rational and constructive and civilized as possible. There is no chance for this discussion to be reduced to the ranting and rambling and too much confusion and rhetoric that is the feature of many other blogs and web sites run by fellow Ethiopians for fellow Ethiopians. One can see the difference between such web sites and blogs and this one and judge what I’m talking about.

    Daniyot, many thanks for sharing the story about the cartoons, and also drawing lessons from that for all of us. Your passion is exemplary. Thanks also for your kinds words about me as well.

    Tazabi is the only person who’s been with us (of course, I’m also there) from those original participants. Tazabi keep up the good work!

    I can’t say why the other dear fellow Ethiopian friends have stopped participating in this discussion. REDIET seemed great fellow Ethiopian sharing sincere thoughts and hence could continue to teach us quite a lot. SEIFE was one person who provoked us to think with his provocative thoughts. We missed such contributions from him too. YAYA was expressing a concern–or sharing the same concern– about the theme of this discussion from the very beginning and would have been a great contributor if he decided to stay as a participant. KEDIR expressed some great interest in the discussion and my hope was to read more from him too. JAMA, was there challenging us to support our assertions with evidence and reasons and he could have continued to play his role productively if he stayed with us.

    NOW FOR A LITTLE THEORY: Most of our actions could be explained by our beliefs and desires and thoughts. This is about all human beings; Ethiopians are not exceptions to this. I do not want to provide true explanations as to why our dear fellow participants from early on have stopped participating. They all know why and I do not. But according to the model of explanation of actions that takes beliefs and desires and thoughts as explanations for human actions I can infer something that is possible and could be closer to the truth about the above fellow Ethiopians’ silence, which itself is an action that results from a decision to act otherwise. I want to leave for them—REDIET, SEIFE, YAYA, KEDIR, AND JAMA– to tell us the truth. But one thing bothers me though: what if their silence is a result of their being Ethiopians? Being Ethiopians in this context means showing their decision to continue to act or to act otherwise based on their character traits which are the subject of this whole discussion. IF that is the truth about them and their absence from this discussion I’d take that as a tragic CONFIRMATION of the tragic Ethiopian character traits under discussion. I only said IF. No, I did not say, this is why they stopped their contribution. I left the true explanation for the individuals I mentioned by name. But as I’ve just said, IF their behaviors/actions are the consequences of their being true Ethiopians, that is a tragic confirmation. That will be a nightmare again (!!!) with which I’ve lived most of my adult life that I’ve decided finally, to share with fellow Ethiopians to discuss and debate!

    You can see from what I’ve just shared how difficult it is to hide truth overall. I’m trying to bring out the truth about what I take to be a very fundamental problem for the Ethiopian society: the problem of our characters, the vices, that we embody and exemplify and how these vices define us and shape us as human beings, particularly, as Ethiopians. One can see how painfully difficult it is to keep up honest, open, truthful, transparent, and sincere exchange of ideas/thoughts with so many fellow Ethiopians.

    Is there any fellow Ethiopian, out there, who is willing to prove the preceding claim wrong? Do not worry for what I’d feel if someone proves my claims wrong. I’d most certainly be grateful and happily admit my mistakes in the public for the whole world to see. I’d even disclose my real name if that makes it more truthful to the audience to think that I’m not taking refuge under a pen name. This is how much I desire to learn from fellow Ethiopians though I’m not naïve as to expect really much. One can see how many years of knowledge of fellow Ethiopians and their characters has led me into sharing my concern with the public in this discussion. By the way, I’m not using a pen name because I wanted to hide my real identity. Absolutely not. I know how easy for fellow Ethiopians it is to say this or that the moment they know who I’m. I know Ethiopians so well and have decided to take a pen name for a greater cause of doing something productive, that is to carry on this discussion with some fruit WITHOUT MYSELF being the subject of the debate. I’m intrinsically interested in truth, ideas, and productive discussions; I’ve NO interest whatsoever about who thinks what about me as a person. That is how I’ve lived most of my life and those who know me know what I’m talking about. Being an independent thinker requires one to pay heavy prices in a society such as my own, Ethiopia, and I’ve done that joyfully. I’m not a fictional character and those who know me personally can say much. So much about myself. Even now I do know that I’m dealing with fellow Ethiopians and how much frustration that could be no body knows. Or, only some who’ve gone thru the experiences that I’ve gone.

    Now I do still hope to continue this discussion with some hope that I’ll learn from others and others might gain something from my contribution too. Some day I’ll disclose my real name and then you’ll all come to know who I was and why I was so concerned about the Ethiopian society. Will you continue in this soul-searching?

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  61. Veritas
    March 20, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Hello Again:

    I thought to share a short note:

    If some in the audience want to understand how the belief-desire-thought model explains most of our actions I’ll say a liitle bit more about that in one of my posts soon. This model has been used, without calling it by name though, all the way in our discussions.

    I wanted to give you a chance to think about it for yourself first before I share some thoughts on what it is and how it explains most of our daily actions as intentional beings. All this will be part of the theme of our discussion and please note that I’m not adding something irrelevant to what I mean for us to discuss.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  62. Bisrat
    March 20, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    I have been reading these debates going back and forth
    quite for sometime and I was wondering how long this is going to last befor our idenitity is completely dismantled . I wasn’t quite certain about myself either if I have the sencerity or the gut to engage into such form of soul searching, because I know that I am ‘ethiopian’ and I am indifferent. We don’t like to be included.
    I finally realised that it is a fallacy and complete ignorance trying to exclude myself just by saying it is simply generalizing, I am not what he said I am. The hard fact is we are what he said we are and we are NOT what we think we are.

    However, Veritas has gone extra mile with steady perserverence to illustrate the nature of our shortcoming as ethiopians individually and at large. I appriciate his patience because he could have reflected his HABESHA nature by refusing to keep up the discussion just by blaming all of us. But he refused to drop himself out in the debate everytime there is misunderstanding and he did it boldly and in a graceful manner. I applaud for you Veritas.

    Fellow Ethiopians, we HAVE A PROBLEM. We have to find a cure by any means necessary. Man is the X-factor of his thought hence I completely agree that the source of our most problems are deep rooted in our character. It has a profound effect in our day to day life individually and also as as society in general and it could be also true for those in the government, as someone said,” They are us, the worst incarnation of us.”

    Now it is time for us stop bragging about anything about the past which is over and done with and to open ourselves to anykind of criticism wether constructive or not and to ebrace it with humble spirit and examine ourselves in truth.

    Finally, please don’t try to quench the spirit of soul searching that is enlightend by Viritas pen by your unenlightened soul.

    Keep the torch burning.

    Bis

  63. Veritas
    March 20, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    Hello Bisrat:

    Many thanks, Bisrat, for joining this extended conversation, and discussion. It’s good to know that there are other fellow Ethiopians who’re willing to join us as we keep doing an extended soul-searching.

    It’s refreshing to see that there are Ethiopians who admit, without pretension that defines many Ethiopians as we all know that we’ve problems and being willing to accept challenges to do self-examinations. It seems that the time has come for some of us to do just that: honest, truthful, open and transparent self-examination of our individual lives as well as that of the society which we are a part.

    Bisrat, I hope that you’ll continue to share your thoughts and your challenges with fellow Ethiopians, all of us.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  64. Tazabi
    March 21, 2007 at 3:21 am

    Danyiot,
    I’m still laughing…..that was very funny cartoon story. You got good sense of humor. I also read the rest of your posts and there’s a question pops up on me which was”how to be a leader than a follower”? You’re passionate about the issues in discussions and you sounds like a straight shooter so, i like what i read so far.
    Veritas,
    I think Bisrat’s comment is encouraging because he has been reading the blog for a while . Since, soul searching is a very private, individual matter, even though they don’t post their comments in this blog, i believe the word already got out. I think your goal will be accmplished one person at a time.
    Hummm…..who’s Veritas? Don’t ask me this:-) I think you’re the person who have no Ethiopian blood but someone who grew up in Ethiopia, loves Ethiopia dearly? My curiosity is sky rocketing right now and my mind is racing all over the place. Don’t disclose it soon, though. Keep us guessing.

  65. Veritas
    March 21, 2007 at 5:37 am

    Hi Tazabi and All:

    You’re a very faithful person as one can say based on your faithfulness to this discussion and I’m proud of you. My hope is that other fellow Ethiopians will learn something about commitment and faithfulness to something, be it something like this on-going discussion or something more or less from your life that you’ve graciously shared with us here. This is not a small commitment for it takes some time to read all these posts and respond to them. You’re proving yourself to be a worthy fellow Ethiopian I’d really look forward to continuing to exchange some more thoughts which are yet to come as I’m trying to see if we’d have more among “the readers” to who’d decide to join us to engage us in a lively discussion for the days to come.

    Yes, among “the readers”, Bisrat has joined us and it’s good to see some decide to be part of this discussion. I’ve alerted a number of fellow Ethiopians and most of them have, I think, been thinking what to do since it’s very likely that they’ve, at least, read the discussion since I’ve sent them links to it. You can also do that if you’ve not done that before, which I think you have. A prominent Ethiopian philosopher promised–in a personal communication with me– to join us someday and that will be a great addition for us all. We’ll look forward to his joining us and to his great contribution!

    Daniyot’s passion and honesty are amazing and we’ve every reason to believe him to continue to be part of active participants in this discussion. Daniyot, keep up your passion and openness and curiosity to learn from others and your desire to share what you think is relevant and helpful with fellow Ethiopians.

    Tazabi, I’m not going to disclose who I’m yet; but I can share something about this project, the discussion, which I’ve initiated. I’m “working” on a book project that will include some of the issues that we’re discussing. The book will be much more carefully argued, more detailed, and passionately about truth that is about us, Ethiopians. I’ll provide an explanatory hypothesis, an explanatory model, that will go, I hope and as I want to show, a long way in explaining some of the most fundamental problems that afflict the Ethiopian society.

    Some of the faithful participants please note that your role and contribution will be acknowledged in the book that will be published in 2008, at the latest. I mentioned this idea in a passing by saying, elsewhere, when I was responding to Daniyot a few days ago or so. Therefore, those who’re participating should know that you’re contributing to a book project whose subject matter will include some of the issues we’re sharing and your efforts will be acknowledged.

    Perhaps, some of the earlier participants and/or new participants who’ve been keeping silent might want to contribute to their fellow Ethiopian’s project, which is about most of us, and if you feel motivated because of what I’ve disclosed above, please do so for the point is to do something for Ethiopia and your share of contribution will also be acknowledged. This way of sharing a book project might be an UNETHIOPIAN thing; let it be. I never followed what other Ethiopians think and do, unless and until that is my own conviction as well, and this is not an exception. If what I think and do is right and truth, truth will take care of itself. I do care so much to do the good, the right, and speak the truth-these are my life’s fundamental principles. These virtues never need a defense. Period.

    A caveat, or warning: I’ve more than enough material to write a book. I’m not saying the project depends on what the participants will say or will not say. I’m only trying to share my reflections, which are genuine concerns that I want other fellow Ethiopians also debate. I do not want to withhold anything which is good and desirable by postponing the opportunity of sharing some of these ideas until some find them in the book in the future. You participants please make sure that you’re doing that–you’re also contributing– because of your genuine desire to share your thoughts and concerns or to refute a book project such us mine from ever getting published by simply showing that the ideas are simply and incurably wrong and worthless. I’ll admit publicly whatever is wrong about them, if a fellow Ethiopian shows me how I’m wrongheaded, and then I’ll do something better and good and beneficial for the Ethiopian society. I’ll not stick to a dead project. I’ll bury it and move on to a new project for there so many other worthy projects that need someone to pick them up and do something about. If someone thinks proving a project such as this seems to be an easy thing like eating a piece of cake, I want to say, no, it’ll not be that easy for it’ll also take a lot of work too. It’s good to know what One enters into. This is a project undertaken to share some good with the Ethiopian people and there is no hidden agenda that is at stake, if this project is shown to be bankrupt before it takes off the ground.

    Tazabi, now I’ve disclosed something about what WE ARE doing as fellow Ethiopians. Do I have an Ethiopian blood? Do I love Ethiopia? No need to keep guessing for I’ve already answered some of these questions in my recent posts. Remember? I said I belong to the Ethiopian society, in some sense, but not entirely. I never ever said I love Ethiopia but then I explained what all that means. Good guess but I’ve complex stories to share someday. When you see your name, whichever name, pen name or real name, acknowledged in a book with some of these issues being discussed in its pages, you’ll also know more things about me. Then it’ll be a revelation or not at all. We’ll see.

    Let’s move on now to the real discussion, with honesty, sincerity, truthfulness, and transparency.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  66. Veritas
    March 21, 2007 at 5:50 am

    P.S.

    1) The first word, “You’re” with which I opened this previous post refers to Tazabi.

    2) Typo: Please correct the following: I wrote: “If what I think and do is right and truth, truth will take care of itself”. The first appearance of “truth” should have been “true”. Like in the following: “If what I think and do is right and true, truth will take care of itself”.

    Sorry for the confusions.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  67. Veritas
    March 21, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Hello All:

    Now I’ve mentioned the fact that those who are participating in this on-going discussion are working on ideas for a book project and I thought it’d be a good idea to say a little bit about what the central idea of the book would be:

    This work/book project will be an attempt to undertake a sustained analysis of prominent and widely held beliefs and values by so many Ethiopians. I’ll propose to argue that these beliefs in conjunction with widely demonstrated character traits, vices, among many Ethiopians, as I’ll argue in the book, can go a long way in showing us some of the most fundamental problems that afflict us as a society. I’ve a theoretical model that will capture what I’ll be arguing for and that will be a detailed philosophical work. The application of the model is wide-ranging.

    Another theme of the book project will be an attempt to show the power of truth, the freedom in truth, the joy of truth and the joy in truth, fulfillment in knowing and embracing the truth, it’ll also be about us, human beings as truth-seeking, truth-embracing, and truth-embodying beings whose desire is to experience the power of living in truth as being truthful. It’ll overall be a sustained argument for what it means to live one’s life in truth as a celebration of truth. These all will be fleshed out with examples as to how such ideas about truth will enrich one’s life and thereby affect the life of one’s community inside out. This work will be a call for us all, who’ve wandered away, or gone astray to walk back to life in truth to celebrate life in truth. It’s about being human in an authentic way, yes, being truly human.

    Now the question for many will be what is truth? If one wants to really know what truth is, I hope, such a person will be genuinely asking such a question and stay interacting with those like-minded fellow Ethiopians who’ve decided to seek truth and nothing else but truth for their own personal lives to live a life of personal integrity, among other things. I’d also love to hear what fellow Ethiopians would think about a proposal such as the above and how they would react and now back to those of you who want to speak your mind, sharing truth about what you think truth is and what it means to drift away from truth, and what it means to walk back to truth, to embrace it with a desire to live it out, once again.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  68. Veritas
    March 21, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    Hello Again:

    I think Tazabi and Daniyot and Bisrat will be happier by now having discovered the fact that you’re part of a project that is designed to show our society’s fundamental problems thru a serious work that started out as a conversation among several of us. I decided to let you know this since “we got to know each other” in a way and I’ve seen that at least some of you, mentioned by name, have proved to be good friends with whom I consider it’s worth sharing my continued reflections on the problems of our society that have been eating me away for many, many years. All the three of you have expressed enthusiastic interest in pursuing such a project and now it’s your turn too to share your deepest reflections as to what ought to be done as we keep thinking and sharing our thoughts.

    Tazabi, now you’ve an idea as to what kind of project this is and I’m curious to hear your reactions to it too. The same thing is true about Daniyot and Bisrat.

    Mind you one thing which by now is too obvious to state but I’ll still state it, once again, since I can imagine some might miss it:

    this discussion PRESUPPOSES or REQUIRES, at least, a DESIRE to open ourselves to acquiring virtues (such as truthfulness, honesty, humility, openness, etc) and participating in it should be with such a desire in order to grow as a virtuous person. If a person, esp., a fellow Ethiopian happens to think that that person can easily escape by pretending that he/she is what he/she actually is NOT, it’s not that difficult for the rest to see what kind of person says and does what for one’s actions give away one’s intentions/beliefs/motives to a reasonable degree that we can be confident that this person does that or this for this or that reason. It’s still very possible for one to deceive all of us even for a long time, but as I’ve already said that person is engaged in a self-defeating exercise in such a way that he/she does not have a desire to be a virtuous person.

    Again, this discussion presupposes or requires at least a desire to be a virtuous person, as I’ve already pointed out. This is not a project one gets involved to please or impress others. It’s about oneself first and foremost. If one is bent on deceiving others one is deceiving oneself FIRST, it’s good to realize for THAT person that THAT person is first and foremost engaged in deceiving himself/herself before he succeeds in deceiving others, us. Such a person is tragically engaged in destroying his/her personal integrity first and foremost , if he/she desires to deceive others, and that is to his/her own personal destruction. I do not think that a sane, healthy person should choose that route to join us here.

    This, the above, is a very difficult test for one to simply pass without being honest and truthful and open; therefore, I recommend to all of us, including, of course, myself that let’s pursue truth about all, including ourselves as we share our reflections about what we’re discussing.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  69. Tazabi
    March 22, 2007 at 12:30 am

    Veritas,
    This’s a grat news! I’m looking forward to read your book. My question is that how to target a wider Ethiopian community in a simplistic format? You know these days, reading books is becoming being “uncool”. i would say majority of ethiopians are not accustomed to reading books (even those who’ve gone a higher education level). If things work out the way you envisioned it, you may need to work it out for text books. I mean it! I know i’m way ahead of myself here, but this’s the kind of book we could’ve taken in “Ethics” or “ethiopian philosophy” or “Ethics and Ethio Economics” class. Or, how about training development class for every employee? I’m too excited right now. Or, make it controversial and it’ll be on everyone’s hand before you know it.
    Speaking of the question weather you’ve ethiopian blood or not, i said to myself “here we go again!” another nonethiopian who cares about our issues. Oh, well, they said Clinton is black, right? ha,ha. To be honest with you, it don’t matter as long as you’re willing to share and relearn together.
    Forgive me on this, i’m struggling still with the idea having ethiopian or African philosophers to the exception with Zara Yacob so, i’m very cruious what he /she has to say. Please, let me know if they’ve written papers. Are you talking about Gorfu who wrote a book opposing Nietzsche?

  70. Veritas
    March 22, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    Please note that your excitement is a tremendous source of inspiration for someone like me who’s committed to working on a book project we’re already testing its ideas in our discussions/conversations so far. Thank you so much for your excitement, and your suggestions as to how, finally, to put such a book (when it sees the light of the day, that is when it gets published) to use, as widely as possible. We’ll see how things will unfold. Now I want to share some of its ideas as I’m doing these days and when the book finally gets published we’ll find a way, I do hope, to make it accessible to as many Ethiopians as possible.

    Speaking of the book’s possibility of becoming controversial, I’ve no doubt it’ll be. It’s a book that addresses the deeply held beliefs and values of many Ethiopians, in millions, I can say, and its subject matter is a national soul-searching to make a return to truth and I’ll show with reasonable clarity, as I hope, where we’ve failed as a society and how we can regain our true, human identity which has been covered up with so many lies, deceptions, pretensions, and groundless pride, and arrogance, and an incredible degree of ignorance about even ourselves as a people. If such a detailed work on our own society is not controversial enough I can’t see what else can be. I’m not saying that my intention is to write a controversial book; absolutely not! What I mean to work on is almost inherently controversial by the nature of the subject matter and in the face of all kinds of evidence that I can marshal to support my claims eventually.

    Yes, this work could be used for various purposes: as a philosophical reflection on one’s identity, one’s beliefs and values; reflections on moral philosophy or ethics; for work ethics; moral psychology; moral foundations for development; moral/ethical foundation for education; on motives/ reasons for human actions; a reflection on the nature of truth, beliefs, and values and even the meaning of life, to some extent. These are not chapter breakdowns. These could be some of the most prominent themes that will run thru the book. The book will be between 250-300pages, bibliography included. That is my plan but things change a lot when one works with publishers. Please wish me good luck as I work on this book in the days and months to come. Do not forget that some of the ideas I’m sharing with you guys these days will be incorporated into the book but in a much more carefully nuanced and orderly manner. Hope this is enough for your excitement.

    Remember what I said, about the book we’re discussing, in one of my earlier posts? I said, “I’ve a theoretical model that will capture what I’ll be arguing for and that will be a detailed philosophical work. The application of the model is wide-ranging.”. I think by now, having re-read this quote you know the nature of the book. This quotation provides you with a clue to one of those puzzling questions you’ve raised again, in your last paragraph today. Do you still want to know if there ARE African and ETHIOPIAN philosophers? You’ve an answer to it already by now.

    By the way, I’m an Ethiopian as I’ve indicated before: in some sense, not entirely. If being an Ethiopian includes/requires the character traits that I HATE, when I say and mean “I hate Ethiopia” (remember what I said?), I do not want to be such an Ethiopian. I CHOSE to be an Ethiopian who goes AGAINST all those character traits, vices, that I’ve been describing that I’ve been waging a personal war against for many years and I’m waging a public war against now in this discussion and the book project. As long as there are Ethiopians, yes, there are still many, whose desire is to CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE VIRTUES over VICES, whose heart’s desire is to be people of character, YES, I want to call myself an Ethiopian in that sense with those whose heart’s deepest desire is to be people of character and also who CONSCIOUSLY pursue truth and truthfulness and celebration of life in truth as I’ve indicated above. Am I an Ethiopian again? I leave the answer to you now. Have you counted the two answers to the questions that seemed to have puzzled you to which you got answers in this post? Now that much is enough about providing answers to your curiosity-questions. I hope you agree.

    I know who G.E Gorfu is but I was not referring to him in my posts so far. The author of Zara Yacob will join us when I share a review of his book on Zara Yacob. I look forward to his contribution then.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  71. Daniyot
    March 22, 2007 at 7:33 am

    When I started to see those posts weeks ago, it was usual to see new names with new ideas, I think that is why I made a great attempt to direct myself into participation, now a days, the number of participants are shrinking, even if some wonderful, provoking, and perturbing ideas are being forwarded specially by Veritas, to be honest When he/she raised those organic issues, tens of hundreds of people have been expected to stand against him so that to fight with him/she with their pens, because it was usual to see those things when they happen in Ethiopian (it was too is to stand against on those kinds of sensitive issues) ,however, it did not happened yet, even the number of participants are being limited to a couple of guys(I do not forget the arrival of Bisrat,thank you),so what is the reason would be. Let me guess,one,all us(the readers and participants) might be convinced very well, Two, they may choose just to hear the puzzles and its solution directly from Veritas sharp pen, three, they might have a limited access to internet and limited experience to challenge those kinds of organic issue. Four, they are struggling with themselves to engulf this hidden truth as it is so that to internalize it, last but not least, they might be tired due to our very character even if it is not still common to prefer silence or remain impassive from the very nature of Abesha. Do you know why I do worried too much, I do not went to miss this unique discussion, at the same time I do not want at least to break Veritas heart by leaving him alone and some wonderful guys voice unheard.

    Is there anybody who wants to know the real Verities? Please do not worry ,we do have nothing to do with his personality ,he might be from any where ,I do not care as long as he /she addresses our long existed ,hidden ,undiscovered and unsolved problems ,let us pray together to keep this discussion alive, this what I worry for.

    I know we are going to see some wonderful work in the form of book from Veritas sooner or latter, still I can wait that with a great patience, but it is not my worry for the time being, I do worried to clearly define, see, argue for /against on the Abesha characters, and to get excellent lessen about our nature (character).

    Guys, to keep our discussion as cozy as it is, let each of us forward this link to at least five people (they might be friends, family members, and mates).please let us do it today,

  72. Daniyot
    March 22, 2007 at 8:09 am

    I was so surprised when I see how much eager Tazabi is to see Verities book in his open eyes and mind, Even if we (most of us) are unfamiliarity’s with books as he pointed out, I think that is why he suggested how to distribute the would be book widely across the country , and he even suggested a topic to it, I do appreciate that, But I have a reservation on the topic of the book, let us name it like this “The Nature of Lies, Vise And dishonesty in Abasha Land with souring but Possible Remedies” ,thank you Tazabi

  73. Daniyot
    March 22, 2007 at 8:16 am

    correction,please read the name of the courses as Tazabi mentioned it ,then consider my topic as a main area of focus ,

    sorry for the inconvience,

  74. Veritas
    March 22, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    Many thanks as always for your exemplary passion and enthusiasm. By the way, I want to thank you also for the idea of sending a link to our discussion here at least to five people we know. Some thoughts:

    1)Mentioning of sending this link to others, I’ve done that to many people already. For example, I’ve even sent to a popular web site on Ethiopia called Nazret.com, but never even heard that they’ve received it. Neither have they posted the link. Do not forget that we’re dealing with fellow Ethiopians, the most difficult people one can encounter in one’s life.
    2)About the title of the book: thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’ll take that seriously but since we’re at an early stage, we’ll continue to think about it as the book evolves into a kind of project that I wanted it to be. Don’t worry we’ll have a great title but the problem is that publishers usually determine the title of books since it’s for their commercial interest as well. We’ll find a workable way with that when the time comes for that.
    3)Why the number of participants has kept shrinking? I’ve thought about that a lot but then since you’ve shared your possible reasons I want to add mine to see if some out there will join us even to refute or prove us wrong of our perhaps unreasonable guesses:
    a.First off, we’re dealing with fellow Ethiopians and their being Ethiopians is the most convincing reason to think of why they are avoiding such a forum; I mean, we’re dealing with people whose character traits, vices, are the reason for this discussion and a future book. As long as these people are the ones whose lives and actions are the cause for concern for myself and you, fellow active participants, until they overcome their character problems they’ll remain as spectators. That comes naturally for them. Habit is a second nature, as the saying goes.
    b.The reason under (a) is the major reason I can think of. But there are many possible reasons for some genuine Ethiopians who’re willing and able to contribute but do not have time, as they would say. Though there is truth in this I can hardly conceive of an Ethiopian who does not have 10 minutes from out of 24 hours to just stop by and share a note with others. And also, many could be willing and able but still the Ethiopian deeply ingrained habit of talking non-stop during waking ours even about this discussion but writing almost nothing could be the reason.
    c.Some could be afraid of writing in English if their English is not good enough, as they might think of it. That is understandable. But then why not take a risk to learn something even when that involves making mistakes and continue to write better? I’ve learned to write a little bit better by making as many mistakes as possible initially. English is my third language or something like that. I hope my English communicates something now and that is what is needed, not to show off how much we’ve mastered this language which is not our native language. If language problem is a reason please overcome that limitation since we all understand one another. We’re all ever learning.
    d.The other possible, even a bit more reasonable, explanation for the shrinking number of participants could be this: it’s still about being an Ethiopian and not being willing to participate if one’s view is challenged or proven wrong. Who among Ethiopians admits when that person makes mistakes? Not many and that is one character trait we’re discussing here: we called it arrogance even when there is massive ignorance on our part. That is a typical Ethiopian character for so many. It’s about such fellow Ethiopians that this book project is designed to help them realize their limitations and learn from their mistakes and overcome self-deceptions by which they might try to cover up their lack of knowledge and ability to do this or that. This same vice probably might be keeping them silent.
    e.This project, discussion plus the book that will, partly, come out of this discussion eventually, has become in the process a REAL TEST for those who want to join to deceive others, to show off, to impress others and to lie like all other times. But then I’ve already pointed out that such a thing is too bad for such people will be engaged in self-deception FIRST and all their attempts, until they come out truthfully and honestly and sincerely, will condemn them right there. Their own actions will condemn them even without our having a clue as to who they are and why they are there in the first place. This is a tough place for habitual liars, deceivers, and arrogant and ignorant fellow Ethiopians who’d otherwise love all these vices among their fellows who love these same vices as well. Here there is no chance for such people to survive long enough without being challenged and exposed. This is like a fire place where we learn how to purify ourselves if we’ve not done that before.
    f.It’s almost inconceivable to observe fellow Ethiopians to keep silent in public given the sensitivity of the issues we’re discussing here; we all can reasonably imagine that many of those who read this discussion are fabricating all kinds of lies as to explain the motives of us the participants here. As they keep doing that they would think that they’ve done great things and even take great pride in themselves. It’s almost 100% true that there are so many fellow Ethiopians who’ve heard, or read this discussion but chose as always to keep talking about it as they keep sinking farther into the depth of their character problems under discussion. If there is an Ethiopian who wants to challenge this claim let him/her come out and share with us all the challenge.
    g.If there are fellow Ethiopians out there who are following this discussion yet who feel inadequate to meet the challenge of responding and handling responses from fellow participants, I could have helped them by asking them to clarify what they wanted to communicate as I’ve been doing already and such ways of trying to achieve mutual clarity in communications could have taken us a long way. But then if such fellow Ethiopians are not ready to overcome such senses of feeling inadequate to the task, there is no other way that we can be of help to one another until we openly admit that we’ve weaknesses, limitations of this kind or that kind. Such genuine group of fellow Ethiopians might gather their courage and join us. We still hope.
    4)Daniyot and others fellow Ethiopians: do not worry that I’d feel like giving up this discussion having seen how frustrating the shrinking of the number of participants. I’m 100% conscious of who I’m dealing with: FELLOW ETHIOPIANS, those people, whose numbers are so many, that has caused so much concern in me for so many years and that is why I’m here to seek a better and deeper understanding before I share my reflections in a book form. I meant and mean to give THEM, fellow Ethiopians, an opportunity to show me where I’ve gone wrong ( if I’ve gone wrong somewhere for it’s possible that I’ve) before they end up reading in a book form their own tragic story. Not all will read the book any ways even if we give them free books, I know many Ethiopians so well. They’d rather talk non-stop about such a book that is meant to challenge them to change for better and become people of character as part of a fundamental solution to their society’s problems, than read and engage it. I’m talking about those who can read books but wouldn’t.
    5)We’ll see how far we can go on in this discussion. We’ll try our best. I’ve waited to see such a debate such as this to come up among Ethiopians for years. The issues that I’m raising and sharing are very sensitive issues as we all can see and the silence of so many, esp., those who’ve had chances to read or hear about this discussion, is one of the true marks of the Ethiopian identity: avoiding facing the truth about themselves! Truth hurts at times, but then truth heals as well.

    6)If this discussion were in our own language some would take comfort in thinking that those who do not read the language won’t find this out. Never take comfort in such thoughts any more: I’m an Ethiopian exposing the problems of my own people for a healing to come for my own people. I’m not a foreigner and there is no chance to attribute any blame to any outsider any more. This fellow Ethiopian is saying we’re DOOMED as a society. Prove me wrong and I’ll change my mind and will start to say we’re FLOURISHING as a society: but know this: nothing short of TRUTH will change my mind. It’s infinitely better, I’ll argue, for us as a society to admit our deeply ingrained problems as a society and do something about them and leave our nightmarish past behind and start leaving a legacy for future Ethiopians whom millions of us are bringing into THIS WORLD OF ETHIOPIA. Do you, fellow Ethiopians, really care about the future? If your answer is yes, do something about yourselves NOW, deal with your own problems NOW before all your children and grandchildren end up inheriting all the vices that have made us a society that never knows what it means to grow and develop in almost all desirable ways: FOR CENTURIES IN THE PAST AND FOR CENTURIES TO COME. That is the HISTROY of Ethiopia, more or less.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  75. Veritas
    March 22, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Hello Again:

    I hope some of us remember what Daniyot has asked us, in one of his posts, “why should I stop thinking?”, about these issues that are burning in our minds, and hearts, at least in the minds and hearts of some of us. Most of my waking hours are spent on thinking and working with ideas and seeking truth about what the most important things that matter to us humans, including Ethiopians as it’s become the case of late. Therefore, spending my time this way is a normal way of living for me; I hope others will also discover the joy of having one’s mind and heart after truth.

    Those who are only reading this discussion, “the spectators” but not participating in these discussions, and those who’re participating would be interested, as I hope, in seeing where all these talks about character traits would lead us and what implications could be derived from such apparently superficial claims that I might be taken to have been making. I’ll keep sharing some thoughts here and there as I wait for a full-blown, even some serious responses from fellow Ethiopians that would ideally consist of “the spectators” as well.

    The nature of beliefs and their relationship to truth will be one of those issues that will receive a sustained presentation in the book and to some extent in this discussion when I see it fit to share that with the audience. I do not think every moment is equally right and ripe and hence conducive to share some of my thoughts. My hope is that such a moment will come here in the context of the present discussions or it’ll arrive when I do the book.

    For example, we’ll ask questions such as what beliefs are. How are beliefs related to truth? What is truth? What if some of our beliefs happen to be false? What is the consequence of holding false beliefs? Do our beliefs cause us to act one way or the other? What can we do to make sure that our beliefs are true? If beliefs cause (in conjunction with our desires and thoughts) us to act one way or the other, there must be a difference, that gets reflected in our lives, between holding true beliefs as opposed to false beliefs? What should we do then to have true beliefs as opposed to false beliefs?

    My hope is to show us how these apparently innocent s and dry academic-type sounding questions have incalculable consequences in our daily lives, in our daily actions and choices. Eventually, I’ll argue for this thesis: Many Ethiopians hold many false, unjustified beliefs, about themselves that shape their lives in such a way that their choices and identities have been severely, negatively affected by those many false beliefs. We need to re-educate ourselves about those many of our beliefs so that what we believe about ourselves should correspond to what is true. This will be part of the national soul-searching I’m proposing and arguing for in the book.

    The other important item for discussion is about the nature of values and what we value, esp., Ethiopians and how our values define us and shape as human beings and, especially, as Ethiopians. What do we value most in our lives as individuals and collectively? Do we care (value) more about the future or the past? What and thru which values, should we aim at shaping and positively affecting the course of the future of Ethiopia? When we realize that the values our community/society holds are inherently destructive, do we choose inherently good values no matter what the consequences are? When we observe many in our society lie and deceive in order to get promotion or to seek life elsewhere, for example, do we say no to such means out of a principle of keeping one’s personal integrity? What is more valuable, money, and power, and prestige by means of lies and deceptions or life with personal integrity intact without power, prestige that the society at large accords them? Do we believe and value the power of truth and personal integrity over that of lies and deception whose end is destruction after a short time of glory and sense of “accomplishment”? Which values do we choose given choices, which we almost always have?

    We’ll hear/read a detailed analysis about the above topics, among many others, in the book project and in the meantime, if you, the readers, spectators and active participants do care about such issues and have any desire to be people of character? Many Ethiopians who have happened to have read books, self-help books by non-Ethiopians have lived praising those authors and cheaply (thoughtlessly) imitating what they seem to have learned from such books. Now your own fellow Ethiopian is determined to share his life-time frustrations with the down-ward spiraling of his/your own society and given my knowledge of many Ethiopians’ habits of burying their own people alive when they set out to do some good, I do not expect much from fellow Ethiopians but then I want to challenge you all to challenge me to do a better book that I’d not do otherwise. This book is a project that is born out of a life-time frustration with one’s own community’s/society’s life that could have been much better but which has been growing worse as the years go by.

    Will you ever care; will you ever desire the good for the sake of it? I’ll never give up but then I’m issuing a challenge to see if some brave souls will join us to contribute some good, for their fellow Ethiopians’ wellbeing, betterment. I’m trying to do my share. Good luck for all of us.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  76. Veritas
    March 22, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    This is a note for the two of you:

    The two of you’ve demonstrated so much sincerity and passion and openness to learn even the brutal truth about us, Ethiopians. I’ve seen an increasing desire in my heart, as a fellow Ethiopian, to meet in person with both of you some day, before this project gets materialized finally or in the mean time. I do not know when. I’m writing this so that you know how much your passion has become a source of inspiration for me and I hope for many Ethiopians who’re not out here to share that yet.

    I wanted you to know that I truly admire you and want to say, well done, fellow Ethiopians for setting such an example in striving to seek the truth with passion. I do not exactly know where both of you live but I suspect that Tazabi lives in the US from what we’ve read from her (?) (reflections, posts) so far. I do not know where Daniyot could be. My hope is some day to sit down with you and reflect these moments of mutual desires that united us and our mutual desire to grow together in the future. At some point I’ll let you know how I’d be able to see you in person. I think that I’ve a way about that.

    Those who love truth love one another because of their mutual love for the truth that binds them together and that is the love I’ll have for you. Not because you’re Ethiopians, first and foremost, but because you’re persons whose heart’s desire seems to be set on fire for the love of truth like mine. Some day some light will shine in the midst of our fellow Ethiopians and my dream is to live among a society that is open, transparent, truthful, honest and sincere, trustworthy, among others virtues. I’ve longed to see such a community in Ethiopia or in the Diaspora, which I’d say is even worse, but the truth is that: I’ve never. May your love for truth, Tazabi and Daniyot, shine thru our community. I’m confident that the same is true for Bistrat. Continue to strive to live an exemplary life no mater what fellow Ethiopians think of you. Very, very rarely you’d find them think good of whatever you think and do. We all know that. That is us, many Ethiopians, that is us: that is our story. What a story!

    In Truth,

    Veritas

  77. Tazabi
    March 22, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Daniyot,
    Your proposal for a book title is hilarious. Using the book as a text with that kind of title? Are you kidding, it’ll be ban. The other issue would be as Veritas mentioned is that finding a publishing co. who’s willing to do as you wish. Nice try, though.
    Veritas,
    Come down! I know it’s so much to say, but you’ve to keep in mind that there’re many things influences the way we think, behave, act..Somtimes it’s true when they say “what you don’t know, it doesn’t hurt you”. I’m not making excuses for our bad behaviour however, we’ve to give a benefits of doubt for those people who has no clue for their behaviour consequences. I think most of the problem as a society we’re facing tied up with our belief. I believe, that’s one of the core issue you mentioned above. At least in my case, it’s a real challenge un-learn what ought to be wrong.
    Yes, i’m located at east coast, sharing my life with my dear husband and my 2 yrs. old little darling girl. We could meet you if you happen to be in D.C area. Let me suggest you this..in the mean time, how about writing an article and publish it in the local ethiopian magazine (i’m sure they’ve it)?
    So far, i enjoyed communicating with you all, above all, these’re the kind of issues i longed to talk, discuss, argue about for quite sometime and eventhough my desire is not fullfild entierly, i found it worth sparing my time.

  78. Veritas
    March 23, 2007 at 1:25 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thanks a lot for your response as always. Some thoughts:

    1)As you said we’re NOT at a stage for our desires to be fulfilled or to be entirely satisfied with what we’re discussing these days. These are barely the beginnings of what is yet to come. We’re just scratching the surface of the deeper issues we need to be thinking about and arguing and discussing in the days to come. Yes, let’s think of what we’ve been sharing at this stage only as brain storming and only suggestive of what I, on my part, can say much deeper issues that I intend to uncover and show as to the implications of the issues under discussion. Promise which will be kept when all these realize in the book project.
    2)You’re right, Tazabi, for suggesting that there are too many influences in our lives that some do not have any clues as to how their thoughts and behaviors or actions are caused by their beliefs. Granted. I can imagine our parents’ generation, most of who have had no exposure to formal education, and to the benefit that comes with reading and interacting with some thoughts others could be exposed to thru their exposure for some form of formal education etc. I’d not say all of such groups of fellow Ethiopians should be lumped together with those who’ve had better chances to be a bit more reflective of their beliefs and their actions. Therefore, what I’ll say will not be a condemnation of all fellow Ethiopians without taking into account some such differences. A point well taken and thank you for your suggestions.
    3)Thank you also for suggesting publishing some of these thoughts in some Ethiopian journal/magazine. I’ll think about that. I can’t think of one off the top of my head right now but when I decide to do something like that you all will be notified about my decision and if something gets published I’ll alert you to that as well.
    4)Thanks also for sharing an idea for a possibility of meeting in person in the future. I look forward to seeing you and your family and Daniyot someday. We’ll see.

    Keep sharing your reflections and thank you again for sparing your time to share your thoughts.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  79. Veritas
    March 23, 2007 at 5:33 am

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    My friends (and I myself) have continued to send links of our discussion to many of their friends and there’s a hope that some fellow Ethiopians might join us one of these days. Though we don’t have the best of reasons to hope for many Ethiopians to join us we’ve some hope and let’s persevere.

    This all is a persistent way of trying to persuade fellow Ethiopians to make this discussion as lively as it can be. I’ll continue to share my thoughts and please continue to do likewise. Don’t lose hope, is the message.

    I also mean to promote a culture of sharing ideas for a book project with fellow Ethiopians as I’m trying to take a risk as to what will happen to such an experiment. I don’t know if any other fellow Ethiopian has done such a thing before. I know Ethiopians who happened to be writers trying to HIDE their ideas for books or articles from fellow Ethiopians worrying others might steal their ideas and publish them in their own names. That can happen anywhere but I know from personal experience that such things have really happened among my own friends.

    With our characteristic culture of suspicion and lack of trust many have hidden such things from their fellow Ethiopians. We can only break such a culture of suspicion and hiding one’s thoughts in secret places from fellow Ethiopians by going against that by providing access to our thoughts as publicly as possible as is being done now. It’s for the public good that I want to work on such a book project and it’s for whoever to have an access to the ideas that I want to develop in the context of honest and constructive interactions and therefore, fellow Ethiopians, this is your chance to work and collaborate on a common project in a book that seeks to bring out reasons for our ailment, sickness and propose some workable solutions as remedies.

    This is your chance to do the good and contribute some good to your community and your society.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  80. Daniyot
    March 23, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Definitely, we will have some time to be together sooner or latter, trust me, this is the easiest thing we can do, but let us decide on one thing, are we really such a people with multi directional vices, as an individual and as a society or are we as innocent as Abraham and as patient as Eyob, let us confess our sins if we are sinner or praise our sacred part if we have it , let me put in the following way,” are we liars, dishonest and many more as a society and as individuals?” let is decide for our self, say yes, we are or no, we are not(please ,do not raise the issue of generalization ,it can be a mask to hide our hidden personality ).
    Today, I had a chance to discuss those issues with one of my good friend, I told him the main team of the discussion ,how it is worthy to spend a couple of minutes at least by reading those posts, then he listened all I said ,eventually he said ,so what? Immediately I asked him “you mean is it ok to be aliar, be dishonest? He said “No! No!’ I mean what is the root courses for those all evil characters, and then I tried my best to explain some of the issues again, finally he said “it may be right, but we do not know which is which , even I have not yet get a chance to clearly define my character, therefore I can not say today that I am a liar or honest, I have to do some experiment , I will put myself on the laboratory for the next few days and I well let you know to which category I do belong,” by saying that my friend departed me for the time being.

    I hope my good friend will be back with his laboratory result in the next few days if he do not lie to me ( I hope he do not lie, but I do not know).Just after his departure, some thing knocked my mind, then I said ‘ yes we should be in the laboratory ,we are testing our self so as to find a concrete evidence to decide on our character ,I think that is why thousands of people keep silent for the time being.

    I hope I will see my friend and thousands of fellow Ethiopian join us as soon as they finish their experiment, I can guess that the result will be “positive ” then , we well move to the next phase .

  81. Daniyot
    March 23, 2007 at 6:19 am

    Is it ok to translate some of the posts in to Amharic and send to our weekly papers ,do you think that can work?

  82. Daniyot
    March 23, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Correction

    please read “root courses “as “root cause,”
    ‘he do” as” he does’sorry for those elementary mistakes,mainly they are the result of very limited time and access I have.

  83. Veritas
    March 23, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Hello Daniyot:

    Thanks for your contribution once again. Yes, let’s wish all the best for your friend’s experiment about finding out which group he belongs to. It was interesting the way you put it, when he’s back whether he’ll tell you the truth about his findings or will lie to you! Such is a paralyzing experience when one deals with habitual liars.

    I do also hope that many more fellow Ethiopians are experimenting like your friend. But to be honest I’m skeptical about their results, even if they do the experiments. If speaking from experience is any good piece of evidence, which it’s any way, even if many decide to do some soul-searching as your friend has promised to do, most of them, I think, would easily blame some other source for their own problems as this is characteristically, typically Ethiopian. Or, they will find a way to dismiss what we’re discussing here as some form of a conspiracy theory intended to damage the Ethiopian society.

    My hope is some will face themselves honestly and do something about the issues and taste the fruit of choosing virtues, good character traits over vices, bad character traits. That is like changing one’s identity for so many Ethiopians for bad character traits have been their identities and changing them for something else is not going to be an easy process. That is why I speak in terms of generations to come to see the fruits of such changes. Without such changes Ethiopia as a society is going to be the same or worse for a long time to come. Wait and see if what I’m saying is true, that is my challenge for those who want to dismiss all this as a conspiracy theory against Ethiopians. Or, it’s open for all to show me where I’ve gone wrong if “wait and see” seems to be a way of presenting an unfalsifiable theory, which is falsifiable any ways.

    As for the idea of translating what you find of value in our discussion please feel free to do whatever with the ideas. It’s for the public good that we’re sharing all this and it’ll be my joy if at least ten more people take such concerns seriously and do something about them having read something in Amharic. By the way, I’m also thinking of asking some of my good friends to do a translation of the book, if it finally gets published, which I hope that it will sooner or later. We know most Ethiopians would find a book in English inaccessible. My command of the Amharic language is awfully inadequate to the task. That is among my greatest weaknesses. I’ve of course many other weaknesses which are not relevant to raise now. Good luck with your attempt to share some of the ideas in Amharic.

    Yes, I’ll also look forward to seeing you in person someday, somewhere and likewise some other fellow Ethiopians who truly and honestly want to see change and transformation in their society. We’ll continue to debate and discuss these increasingly timely issues whenever we’ve opportunities.

    Later today I’ll try to just show, in brief, the implications of what we’re talking about for one institution, education, in Ethiopia for those who might entertain some doubts about the real seriousness of what we’re concerned about. I’ll try to take examples to show implications of these ideas for various institutions from time to time. IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES: the consequences mirror the ideas. Yes, good ideas do have good consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences, all being equal.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  84. Veritas
    March 23, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    Hello All:

    I’m back to share some thoughts about what I’ve promised to do so earlier today and add one or two thoughts. Before I share my main thought, the one on education, I want to share the following:

    My target audience obviously consists of fellow Ethiopians and I’m addressing fellow Ethiopians as an Ethiopian myself in some sense that I described about myself. I hope that those who’ve read my posts so far are familiar with the way I make distinctions between this or that and my attempts at clarifications about what I mean when I say this or that.

    1) Now I want for all of you to have this thought in mind: I’m not maliciously (with a bad intention) bent on doing some damage to the Ethiopian society due to what I’ve been focusing on in the discussions all the way. I’m only trying to uncover the root causes for our societal problems, at a much deeper level. And it’s obvious that I should not be talking about the GOOD things we as a society have for the good things we have CANNOT be responsible for the bad things that need, or cry out for causal explanations.

    I’m not trying to take comfort in thinking about the good things we have as a society when I NEED to be focusing on what CUASES this or that societal level problems that have been afflicting us as a society. If it cheers up the moods of some fellow Ethiopians to read some songs/prose to praise the good qualities we have as a society I think someone else would be well advised to consider doing such a project. That is not a bad project. That is not the project that I’ve in mind as it’s been abundantly clear from what I’ve been sharing and intend to continue to share.

    Mind you again: I’m not denying that we have anything good in us as a society. We do. Without any good in us as a society we’d have long ago been extinct or close to being extinct. But what we need to bear in mind is which of the two does outweigh which: the good or the bad qualities? Which of the two do we have more? I think what I argue requires me to say, on balance, the bad qualities outweigh the good qualities we have as a society. Otherwise, where do all the afflictions that we suffer from come from? From the good things we have? By no means! They must be located within the society and be accounted for if we do have any desire to overcome those causes of our afflictions in order for us to overcome our fundamental societal problems. This is a very crucial point to bear in mind as I think.

    2) Just a short example of how some of our character traits can affect how some institutions function in our society. I take as an example institutions of higher learning, post-secondary schools, or universities and colleges just for now. We can take other examples some other time.

    Now anyone who’s had a chance to attend for example, Addis Ababa University, can understand what I’m talking about right now. I want to emphasize this though: this example can be generalized without much fear of committing a logical mistake due to generalizations for what I’m sharing is almost a universal problem in the university/college settings in the whole of the country. I’ll justify this claim if there is any one who wants to challenge my claim. I think it’s too obvious and does not need any justification at the moment, at least.
    Now let’s remember what implications those bad character traits of university teachers would play at AAU community and beyond in the careers of their students. Let’s focus on the teachers for a moment. Most teachers, I said most, this time (not many) to emphasize for the majority of the AAU teachers would be characterized as follows:
    •They’re mostly ARROGANT or too proud to be approached by their own students or in the sense of creating an unreasonable and unjustifiable distance between their students and themselves; they demand respect that they have not earned in virtue of the quality work they’ve done as teachers as we’re talking about teacher-student relationship. Teachers lord over their students in setting bad examples for generations of their students to copy their bad examples as that has been the way in that such vices have been kept well and alive at universities in Ethiopia as destructive character traits.
    •Teachers are DISHONEST when it comes to what they know as teachers and what they expect their students to know when they prepare exams, for example. Or, they try to cover up their lack of knowledge and an unacceptable level of incompetence by preparing exams sometimes they themselves would not pas if they were required to take them! This is also a consequence of lack of genuine concern for the wellbeing of their students and is still related to the previous point, arrogance and too much pride in their role as teachers or rather their lordship role.
    •The majority of them teach only to earn their living without any obvious or genuine motivation to advance the state of knowledge and thereby contribute to the country’s development thru their work as teachers and researches. Many undertake research, of course, perhaps most of them do, but can we say that their research work is a consequence of genuine desire to conquer frontiers of knowledge and contribute to their students’ development as future citizens Ethiopia and to Ethiopia’s development? There are some who do their jobs with some genuineness in a commendable way. I’d certainly say, they are very few. Otherwise, we could have seen Ethiopia changing and flourishing many years ago! You can tell what they are doing by their fruits and we all know what the fruits are. This also seems to be a consequence of SELFIHSNESS that does not go beyond caring for oneself at the expense of a society’s wellbeing such as the Ethiopian society that has been left to look for any good to come from another country, from the West. Do not forget this about what lack of research by the teachers does to them and their students: they use the same lecture notes over and over for as many years as they can get away with. To see what that means, just take away those lecture notes from one of such teachers (do not steal (!)) and that will be close to being the end of that teacher’s teaching career for a semester or so. I know this first hand and have seen it happen many times over. We’re not talking about fictional university teacher characters.
    •SELF-DECEPTION and DECEPTION of the others is a common phenomenon among the university teachers. What I mean by this is the following: We know how many of those who teach at, for example, AAU, are qualified to teach. Not many and we know how they start their careers as college/university teachers: more or less, by simply meeting the requirements for a teaching position which mainly focuses on the GPA, which is not a bad criterion by itself. It’s too obvious to require stating about the LACK of relationship between just having the highest GPA in the graduating class and having a quality for being a teacher. There is no obvious logical connection between these two. There could be some motivational connection or something else. Now those who end up being college/university teachers are highly likely to being prone to thinking that they are BETTER than all their fellow students at one time and now their poor students who’ll be victims of their self-deception about themselves. In terms of GPA, yes, let’s grant, they’ve performed better than many. In terms of qualities to teach, who can say that? Those who end up being teachers in that way, the majority of university teachers get being teachers there in that way for years, and then the story of self-deception and deceiving others starts and takes its toll. They would think that they are unique, much better than others, start to act as their previous role models as arrogant as it’s humanly possible to be, and finally, having stopped being motivated to do research and teaching themselves, some end up being what it means to be an example of incompetence at the highest level! Generations of students have been victims of such university “scholars”. No need to name names though I could name scores of such names off the top of my head. I myself am a former victim of such incompetence. It’s taken me some years to recover my mental sanity.
    I could go on and go on drawing out many implications of various character traits that can capture the crises of college/university education in Ethiopia. Some might immediately protest to the above portrait of our sad state of affairs by starting to blame our poverty, bad governance, and all sorts of external problems. I deny all such blame attributions to others. A number of factors could and do affect qualities of university education anywhere including, or even more so, in Ethiopia. But the above problems of individual teacher’s character traits are not imposed on the teachers from a bad whatever. These are vices that need to be corrected if we have any desire to see a transforming effect of university education on the generation of students whose character traits are almost direct copies of their former role models, teachers, when they start their careers as whatever in the society at large. Bad character traits breed bad character traits and the vicious circle and cycle of Ethiopia’s much deeper societal problems could be accounted for if we start to take a stock with our individual and collective character trait problems I’m hammering at these days in this discussion.

    Ethiopians: Do we need to do soul-searching? The above even superficial implication of how character traits can negatively affect a society’s health with a destructive consequence can show us how we got where at the moment. You can add more examples of such destructive consequences of fellow Ethiopians’ character traits. Please join this soul-searching project for the sake of yourselves and your society’s wellbeing and eventual flourishing.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  85. Tazabi
    March 24, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Daniyot,
    On your last post, you raised a question if we’re liers or honest as a society and i don’t know how you measure such things in a grand societal level. Also, i’m not sure why you’re having difficulty to tell us wheather you’re an honest person or not? I consider myself fair mind and honest person. I stated before i’ve lied before here and there to cover my butt or not to hurt other people because sometimes the truth can cause more harm than the truth. How many times we said “thank you, excuse me ” in a daily basis (here in the west) when we interact with people who we don’t like and basically we’re witholding the truth one way or another. So, should i be labeled as a liar? I’ve been told that Socrats defending lies as “preventative medicne” in the republic. I like Socrats idea. May be i’m strething if i say some lies are practical and some are immoral. My profession is in finance/business and i’m seeking answer from people who’re expert in philosophy, or sociology.

  86. Daniyot
    March 24, 2007 at 2:19 am

    “It is your character and your character alone that will make your life happy or unhappy. That is all that really passes for destiny. And you choose it .No one else can give it to you or deny it to you. No rival can steal it from you .And no friend can give it to you. Others can encourage you to make the choices or discourage you. But you choose.”

    From ‘Character Is Destiny” by John McCain

    This is the point that attracted me so much so that I like to share it with you guys. You do believe that your happiness is at steak in every difficult decision you must make about what kind of person you will be: honest or deceitful, responsible or unreliable, brave or cowardly, kind or cruel. I think that is why Veritas raised his pen on this core and sensitive issues from his very beginning .To be honest I think that is why I totally engaged my self on this core issue (character).If we find or lie a plane how to identify and solve those issues, it would really be a loop hall to ease all our problems. In order to reconsider our issues let me mention the following sayings from my little reading in a line with the points we discussed so far. I find the following quotes directly from the book I read, they are related to our topics

    1.” He surrendered everything for the truth as he saw it, and shamed a king with the courage of his conscience.”
    To Thomas More for his” Honesty”
    2.” He could not harm a soul, but his heart would not yield to power, and would triumph over the empire that opposed him”
    To Gandhi for his” Respect”
    3. When he had lost everything he loved, suffered from the worst of human cruelty, and stood on the threshold of death, he gave his life purpose and value.”
    To Victor Franklin to his “Dignity”
    4.”When the rest of the world looked away, he stayed behind in a manmade evil for the sake of duty and justice”
    To Romeo Dallaire for his “Righteousness”
    5.” He preserved through every trial and misfortune to alert his countrymen to the approaching danger, and so to save them when they ignored his warning”
    To Winston Churchill for his “Diligence”
    6.”Born in poverty and obscurity, his heart burdened with grief, beset by criticism and misfortune, he would not yield until he had saved the country he loved”
    To Abraham Lincoln for his “Resilience”
    7.”She chose to live amid squalor and sickness and desperation, endured hardship and endless toil, and might have been the happiest person on earth”
    To Mother Teresa for her “Selflessness and Contentment”
    8. “His curiosity and courage helped him to discover the history of nature, and start an argument that has continued for 150 years.”
    To Charles Darwin for his “Curiosity”
    9”The one who opened our eyes to see our defects in order to shape up our thinking toward the truth and our betterment “
    To Veritas to his “Commitment to face challenge and to teach the truth”

    “It is your character and your character alone that will make your life happy or unhappy. That is all that really passes for destiny. And you choose it .No one else can give it to you or deny it to you. No rival can steal it from you .And no friend can give it to you. Others can encourage you to make the choices or discourage you. But you choose.”

    From ‘Character Is Destiny” by John McCain

    This is the point that attracted me so much so that I like to share it with you guys. You do believe that your happiness is at steak in every difficult decision you must make about what kind of person you will be: honest or deceitful, responsible or unreliable, brave or cowardly, kind or cruel. I think that is why Veritas raised his pen on this core and sensitive issues from his very beginning .To be honest I think that is why I totally engaged my self on this core issue (character).If we find or lie a plane how to identify and solve those issues, it would really be a loop hall to ease all our problems. In order to reconsider our issues let me mention the following sayings from my little reading in a line with the points we discussed so far. I find the following quotes directly from the book I read, they are related to our topics

    1.” He surrendered everything for the truth as he saw it, and shamed a king with the courage of his conscience.”
    To Thomas More for his” Honesty”
    2.” He could not harm a soul, but his heart would not yield to power, and would triumph over the empire that opposed him”
    To Gandhi for his” Respect”
    3. When he had lost everything he loved, suffered from the worst of human cruelty, and stood on the threshold of death, he gave his life purpose and value.”
    To Victor Franklin to his “Dignity”
    4.”When the rest of the world looked away, he stayed behind in a manmade evil for the sake of duty and justice”
    To Romeo Dallaire for his “Righteousness”
    5.” He preserved through every trial and misfortune to alert his countrymen to the approaching danger, and so to save them when they ignored his warning”
    To Winston Churchill for his “Diligence”
    6.”Born in poverty and obscurity, his heart burdened with grief, beset by criticism and misfortune, he would not yield until he had saved the country he loved”
    To Abraham Lincoln for his “Resilience”
    7.”She chose to live amid squalor and sickness and desperation, endured hardship and endless toil, and might have been the happiest person on earth”
    To Mother Teresa for her “Selflessness and Contentment”
    8. “His curiosity and courage helped him to discover the history of nature, and start an argument that has continued for 150 years.”
    To Charles Darwin for his “Curiosity”
    9”The one who opened our eyes to see our defects in order to shape up our thinking toward the truth and our betterment “
    To Veritas to his “Commitment to face challenge and to teach the truth”

    “It is your character and your character alone that will make your life happy or unhappy. That is all that really passes for destiny. And you choose it .No one else can give it to you or deny it to you. No rival can steal it from you .And no friend can give it to you. Others can encourage you to make the choices or discourage you. But you choose.”

    From ‘Character Is Destiny” by John McCain

    This is the point that attracted me so much so that I like to share it with you guys. You do believe that your happiness is at steak in every difficult decision you must make about what kind of person you will be: honest or deceitful, responsible or unreliable, brave or cowardly, kind or cruel. I think that is why Veritas raised his pen on this core and sensitive issues from his very beginning .To be honest I think that is why I totally engaged my self on this core issue (character).If we find or lie a plane how to identify and solve those issues, it would really be a loop hall to ease all our problems. In order to reconsider our issues let me mention the following sayings from my little reading in a line with the points we discussed so far. I find the following quotes directly from the book I read, they are related to our topics

    1.” He surrendered everything for the truth as he saw it, and shamed a king with the courage of his conscience.”
    To Thomas More for his” Honesty”
    2.” He could not harm a soul, but his heart would not yield to power, and would triumph over the empire that opposed him”
    To Gandhi for his” Respect”
    3. When he had lost everything he loved, suffered from the worst of human cruelty, and stood on the threshold of death, he gave his life purpose and value.”
    To Victor Franklin to his “Dignity”
    4.”When the rest of the world looked away, he stayed behind in a manmade evil for the sake of duty and justice”
    To Romeo Dallaire for his “Righteousness”
    5.” He preserved through every trial and misfortune to alert his countrymen to the approaching danger, and so to save them when they ignored his warning”
    To Winston Churchill for his “Diligence”
    6.”Born in poverty and obscurity, his heart burdened with grief, beset by criticism and misfortune, he would not yield until he had saved the country he loved”
    To Abraham Lincoln for his “Resilience”
    7.”She chose to live amid squalor and sickness and desperation, endured hardship and endless toil, and might have been the happiest person on earth”
    To Mother Teresa for her “Selflessness and Contentment”
    8. “His curiosity and courage helped him to discover the history of nature, and start an argument that has continued for 150 years.”
    To Charles Darwin for his “Curiosity”
    9”The one who opened our eyes to see our defects in order to shape up our thinking toward the truth and our betterment “
    To Veritas to his “Commitment to face challenge and to teach the truth”

  87. Tazabi
    March 24, 2007 at 2:24 am

    Veritas,
    You brought a nerve touching issue for many of us who experianced education in the ethiopian way and the west. I only attended AAU in evening class program for 2.5 yrs. in early 80’s of course, there’s no comparison with a day students and i experianced less pressure. Oh my God! my husband has been telling me all kinds horror story about AAU teachers. One of the amazing story he told me that the teachers main purpose is to fail you and they don’t want you to know much. It’s sadly deafets the whole purposes of why we needed education in the first place. In my opinion the teachers are a failed institution cultural products. it’s a mess. Honestly, what we’re facing as an Ethiopian is overwhelming, some of it is even beyond my belief and i’m almost came to the point thinking education is a luxury item in my list right now, which is bad. Through out the year, we already had a brain drain in huge numbers and it seems that there’s nothing done to fix for the remaiing. I hope those people who’re blabbing politics endless hours would address these important issues. Sad, sad..

  88. Daniyot
    March 24, 2007 at 3:07 am

    To Tazabi
    1. Yes, we need historian, philosopher, and psychologist and archeologist, sociologist and whoever have a deep rooted knowledge about our character, it merits and demerits, and who can show us who we are as an individual, as a society and as Ethiopian .I do like and want that, that is what I have been waiting for since I involved in this discussion us a contributor and reader.
    2. In any of my posting I have never said that Ethiopians are liars, dishonest and some, but I do have strong willingness to know the impact of our personality (character) on our problems and to know how we are characterized as an individual as a society by our selves, others and experts on the area.

    3. I know that I am a person with integrity, values and commitment to myself, to my family and my Country at large, I am the then graduate of Addis Ababa University Business and Economics department, I used to work in business firms for about decades in Ethiopia from the level of officer to regional manager. (That is all I can say about myself, I am sorry).
    4. I think Veritas can give us a detailed understanding about those issues, besides with other concerned Ethiopian Intellectuals if they are willing to take part in.

    Thank you Tazabi

  89. Daniyot
    March 24, 2007 at 3:59 am

    For Fun let me tell you some thing.

    In mid 1980s ,we were attending principle of accounting part one course in the then OSR building the mean time our instructor told us some jocks ,a result some of the student laughtered,some were surprised,some remained silent ,I was among those who preferred silence,then one of my class mate asked me why I keep silence when our instructor cracked a Jock said ,there was no humor and that was why on I did not laugh,eventually he said ,”yes ,you are right but we have to laugh even if there is nothing funny in the jock,”why ? I said ,He reached to my ear and said “If we do not laugh in his jock ,he may give us D’s and F’s ,you never know ,so we have to laugh even if it was not funny.

    That was a jock ,as my friend told me like some decades ago.

    let me add some thing truly happened some years ago in the compuse.
    one of our instructor was giving us a lecture on types of leader ship,like aristocratic leadership .He explained the nature and characters of aristocratic leadership and he asked us to give him some examples in those industries ,institutions and govts who follow this style ,one of my class mate raised his hand and gave his answer ,we ,all of us including the teacher were surprised ,his answer was “Addis ababa university”and he explained how aristocratic the relationship between instructors and students is in the Univeristy ,I think he convinced all of us,but he(my class mate)repeated the course.this is true story

  90. Veritas
    March 24, 2007 at 4:06 am

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    I’ve read your contributions, and have really got so excited when I read all such great posts, sharing great experiences.

    I’m busy with something else right now; I’ll join you guys soon!

    Great contributions and good job!

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  91. Tazabi
    March 24, 2007 at 4:37 am

    Daniyot,
    Thanks for your response. We’ll agree that our character collectively hurting us. No doubt! I know my questions are conflicting ideas for each other, though. By the way, speaking of AAU student, Veritas posting will give you a flash back what you been through.
    I enjoyed reading the collection of quotes you posted from great leaders who influences/touches so many people’s life. I’m a big fan of Mother Theresa and she rocks!

  92. Tazabi
    March 24, 2007 at 4:47 am

    Daniyot,
    I believe you brother! How sad?!

  93. Veritas
    March 24, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    Yes, I look forward to hearing more about the institutions of higher education in our country as the days go by. What I’ve shared with you all is something that only does scratch the surface. I can say quite a lot more for I’ve reflected on the crises of college/university education for more than 15 years. There are many things to share and nightmarish stories to recount. Almost all of them are intimately related to character problems that are the subject of this discussion.

    I would even argue that the crises in college and university education in Ethiopia have contributed to the deeper societal problems of Ethiopia, at least, to a comparable degree to that which has been caused by bad political leadership. A shocking comparison? A totally outrageous claim? I want other fellow Ethiopians to share their reflections before I do mine. Now to you, readers.

    Daniyot, I want to thank you for what you’ve shared with us all about characters from your reading. It was flattering to see your generosity towards me too. Many thanks. Your story about your class mate is one out of countless others. We’ll expose those in order to learn from our past mistakes for a better future and healing of the Ethiopian society.

    Tazabi, your enthusiasm and excitement is a tremendous source of inspiration, along with Daniyot’s, of course. I’ve a question or two for you, Tazabi.

    1)I want to hear from you what your understanding of a philosopher is. What would it look like, for you, if we’ve an Ethiopian philosopher at the moment? Just share your thoughts about this question please.
    2)I also want to hear what your understanding was/is about the following quotes from what I’ve shared in my previous posts as well:
    •“I’ve a theoretical model that will capture what I’ll be arguing for and that will be a detailed PHILOSOPHICAL work. The application of the model is wide-ranging.” (Emphasis added).
    •“Remember what I said, about the book we’re discussing, in one of my earlier posts? I said, “I’ve a theoretical model that will capture what I’ll be arguing for and that will be a detailed PHILOSOPHICAL work. The application of the model is wide-ranging.”. I think by now, having re-read this quote you know the nature of the book. This quotation provides you with a clue to one of those puzzling questions you’ve raised again, in your last paragraph today. Do you still want to know if there ARE African and ETHIOPIAN philosophers? You’ve an answer to it already by now.”
    •“Am I an Ethiopian again? I leave the answer to you now. Have you counted the two answers to the questions that seemed to have puzzled you to which you got answers in this post? Now that much is enough about providing answers to your curiosity-questions. I hope you agree.”
    3)In light of the preceding quotations, now I want you to answer your own question, which is the following from your latest post: Which is: “My profession is in finance/business and i’m seeking answer from people who’re expert in philosophy and sociology”.

    Tazabi, I’ll explain, if there is any need why I decided to ask you the above questions. I want you to remember this from one of my posts as well: “I know how easy for fellow Ethiopians it is to say this or that the moment they know who I’m. I know Ethiopians so well and have decided to take a pen name for a greater cause of doing something productive, that is to carry on this discussion with some fruit WITHOUT MYSELF being the subject of the debate. I’m intrinsically interested in truth, ideas, and productive discussions; I’ve NO interest whatsoever about who thinks what about me as a person.”

    Now putting together all the above quotes and their implications, please venture into sharing your understanding why I’m asking you the above questions. Of course, Daniyot can also share his thoughts but I’ve a reason why I decided to hear Tazabi’s thoughts on these matters.

    Tazabi and Daniyot keep sharing your thoughts and many thanks for keeping this discussion alive. Many thanks again.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  94. Tazabi
    March 24, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Veritas,
    Just to let you know that all the questions i raised above is out of ignorance. I took only two philosophy classes, one back home and one up here which i loved it so much. I read some of philosophical works by westerns, of course Zara Yacob too, besides that my interest is more into litrature and art.
    I would say in a simple form my understanding of a philosopher is a lover of truth, wisdom. When i said this in litteral form, but in my opinion a philosopher (wheather i agree or not) should answer objections, stimulate to change me,reasoning,reflections…
    Oh, no! i’m still having difficulty understanding Ethipoian/African philosphers. I don’t mean to suggest that they’re not capable. More pwer to them. My main problem is that because you’re a philosphy teacher, is that qulify you to be a philospher? Or, If the person who is basically interpreting/disagreement for what others philosphers (traditional or western) conversation, thoughts so, now we can call this person a philosopher? I enjoyed reading about Zara Yacob tremendously, but what i was missing from the writer was originality (Kiros). I guess, little i know about philosophy is written in english language and all the reflection, reasons,thoughts, anticipating…is all western, so that also have a great impact on me. The other problem i’m difficulty with is that whether if there’s such a thing as Ethiopian/African philosphy? Let alone philosophers. Of course, we have so many oral tradition,tales and so many superstitions and my question for those philosophers is that are they taking into account all these are as a philosophy?
    Veritas,
    The western influence would be great on Ethiopian/African philosophers so, may be i would be more comfortable if they call them may be “contemprary Ethiopian/African philosophers?”. (who i’m to tell them, any way) Of course, to be authentic philosopher, you don’t have to be Greek, but i would love to see Ethiopian philossophers’ whose work is mainly emphasis ethiopian rather than western philosophy.
    Once in awhile i I post short poems at Meskot.com and a couple of times, we communicated through e-mail to give each other comment and we talked meeting him for discussion so, i may get some answer. (by the way, he writes excellent poems, and comparing to him, i’m not even near him. I’m amature writer).

  95. Tazabi
    March 24, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Veritas,
    The person who i’m refering the last paragraph is Ato Gorfu. Sorry, missing his name.

  96. Veritas
    March 24, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thank you for your post and sharing your thoughts on what I raised as questions for you. You’ve done a great job.

    I’ll respond to some of your thoughts as follows:

    1)Your understanding of what a philosopher is is not far from what philosophers would say to describe themselves or what they do that makes them philosophers and not, for example, engineers, or accountants, or scientists, etc. Lover of wisdom and someone who pursues truth based on reason, arguments, logic, among other things, could well be a philosopher. I’m not saying this is adequate to describe or define what a philosopher is. It’s something to begin with and we’re not supposed to finish it here any ways.
    2)Your own opinion for a philosopher as someone who answers objections, stimulates us to think and reason and reflect is not that far from the way to think of philosophers. They spend their careers raising objections to views they think are wrong, answer objections to the views they hold, and, of course, challenge people to think as deeply and reasonably as humanly possible. That is fair enough.
    3)You’ve a difficult time thinking and also accepting what an African and Ethiopian philosopher would be like. You seem to be okay if philosophers from Africa/Ethiopia call themselves contemporary African/Ethiopian philosophers. I do not think they’d mind calling themselves that way, indeed that is how they call themselves, I think.
    4)Your real difficulty with African/Ethiopian philosophers seems to have been tied with the other question, that is: you’re not sure if there is African/Ethiopian philosophy in the first place and if there is no African/Ethiopian philosophy, how can we talk about African/Ethiopian philosophers? That question has been debated among African philosophers, if you grant that there are African philosophers. I do not want to say much right now on what I think about the question of whether there is African philosophy. I can say only this, though: for me philosophy is neither Western nor Eastern, nor is it African. It’s human, it’s universal. But that does not mean history, culture, tradition, religion, and in a word, one’s context, does not affect or shape the way one does philosophy. If philosophy is taken to be a pursuit of truth and love of wisdom, and a reflective and rational human activity, I do not see why it should be limited to some group of people for ALL human beings have a sense of truth, an idea of what is wisdom, and they are rational creatures, and to various degrees reflective of who they are and their place in the universe. Of course, not all human beings make a vocation out of fundamental philosophical questions and sped their entire lives working on them. Only some do; nor are all human beings engage in scientific pursuits or literary works, or engineering, or whatever example we take. There are professional philosophers, everywhere whose lives are spent, as I said above, on working on fundamental philosophical problems as it’s true for the others as to how others spend their lives doing their own professional things, whatever their professions are. More on this when pursuing such questions becomes relevant.
    5)Now you also have another difficulty in thinking of African/Ethiopian philosophers if they’re genuinely philosophers if they are teachers of philosophy and most of their work consists of interpreting other philosophers’ works etc. I think you need to be careful here for if we follow your suggestion here there has never been a single philosopher in the history of the world! Why am I saying that?
    A.Those Greek philosophers, examples of what it means to be a philosopher, all interpreted and agreed/disagreed with their colleagues’ or teachers’ philosophical works, and most of them were teachers as well. Plato was a teacher of Aristotle, and on and on. Aristotle actually disagreed with Plato who was his teacher etc. If we follow your suggestion these philosophers were not philosophers and no one can be a philosopher for your suggestion requires philosophical work to be done in only in a vacuum. That means that you can see that teaching philosophy or interpreting other philosophers’ works is not incompatible with being a genuine philosopher. If a teacher of philosophy does not advance, in even a small way, the works of his predecessors or even contemporaries, then your worry seems to be a legitimate one and such teachers of philosophy might not genuinely qualify to be philosophers, IF they do not add any of their contribution to the field of philosophy.
    B.But you must be careful not to be committed to the following: Someone who is a lover of wisdom and who pursues truth, a philosopher as traditionally understood, MUST come up with an original idea in the sense of radically new understanding of everything that has ever been held in order to be considered a philosopher. This does not seem to be right. For example, the theory of truth that Aristotle held thousands of years ago is still held my many contemporary philosophers until now with some depth to it has been added over the centuries and with needed nuances added whenever objections to it arise. If we are committed to the idea that for a person to be considered a philosopher that person MUST come up with an original idea in the sense of radically new understanding of everything that has ever been held under consideration, none of the philosophers who’ve shared Aristotle’s understanding of truth are philosophers again! That still seems to be wrong. Now I hope if you’re committed to what I described above under the beginning of B that idea cannot be right.

    6)Now if you’ve followed all the reasoning above I do not think you’d fail to conclude that there could be African/Ethiopian philosophers and of course that are many of them. As for our own Zara Yacob, I hope that we’ll discuss his contribution when I share a review of the book by Prof. Teodros Kiros in the future. I’m not sure how to take your reason for your dissatisfaction with his work. We can postpone that discussion for later on.
    7)Now my main concern when I brought up the questions to which you answered in your last post is this: I’m not sure, still, whether you could tell what my academic background is. I kept hearing from your posts that you’ve a desire to pursue philosophical questions and even ask philosophical issues as you said in your previous post when you said: “My profession is in finance/business and i’m seeking answer from people who’re expert in philosophy, or sociology.”. I thought I’ve given more than enough information for you to conclude that my academic background is in the area you’re seeking some help from those who can share something about your questions. I’ve already made it crystal clear that the book project whose ideas I’m sharing here is “a detailed philosophical work.” I did not want to say more than what I’ve said which I thought would be more than enough for you to go ahead and share/raise your philosophical questions relevant to what we’re discussing because what I’m working on is an attempt to provide a philosophical account of the reasons or causes of the most fundamental problems of our own society.
    A.I avoided disclosing much about myself in order for the discussion to focus on the issues we’re discussing without myself being the focus of the discussion in any unnecessary and counterproductive way and I said that based on my knowledge of fellow Ethiopians who would rather talk about people than discuss ideas/issues. Now I’ve shared with you that my background is in philosophy, but then, please do not ask me anything besides what I’ve shared now. My background is in philosophy does not mean that I’m identical to philosophy. By sharing my academic background I’ve not shared much or more than necessary and relevant to our discussion. I shared this with you and for anyone who wants to know our respective backgrounds as long as knowing our backgrounds is relevant and adds some productivity and direction for our discussion. Knowing my background would help you and others that you’re engaging fellow Ethiopian whose background is in philosophy and whose contribution to this whole discussion is mainly from a philosopher’s perspective. I do have other academic backgrounds as well which are not relevant to mention at the moment. No questions about them please.
    B.I REPEAT AGAIN: I’m not willing to say anything more than necessary here for the sake of the advancement of our discussion and for pursuit of our questions. I thought it’d be dishonest of me if I keep silent about my academic background when it became a relevant issue in the face of your desire to raise philosophical questions at the moment. In a forum where I’m trying my best to promote truth and truthfulness, honesty and transparency, I thought it’d be a right thing to share, at most, at the moment, the directly relevant thing about myself without slipping into a fear that I might end up being the subject of this discussion at any point. I do not see why one would want to know anything more than what I’ve shared above in the context of our discussion from now on. I hope this post clarifies almost all the things that I’ve been trying to help you infer from what I’ve said about my background without myself coming out and say what I’ve said in the present post which has nothing wrong about it but was unnecessary until this moment.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  97. Tazabi
    March 25, 2007 at 3:38 am

    Veritas,
    I really appreciated! I had a feeling somehow you’re a kind of person who knows about philosophy. Obiviously, your writting reflects that. In a way, i’m biased towards philosophers, because i don’t question engineers or other professions however, those professions to some extent shows results what they do. In my part may be i’m wrong but i hold philosophers in the highest individual level and it has not been easy for me to accept them. Your explanations for my questions is beautifully done, and i think i’m getting somewhere. Now, everything is coming down to a simple question which would be to “contribution, results”. You may help me on this, i would love to read if there’s a thesis, book.. written by Ethiopian philosophers available out there.
    Regarding of Zara Yacob, my dissatisfaction is not about the book, but naming (Kiros) as a philosopher. Again, i’m not familiar with his other works in philosophy so, hard to say much.
    Your answer was convincing enough when you said in your opinion “philosophy neither western nor eastern” because i would say if we say “Ethiopia or Africa” philosophy and then my question follows by saying “who’s/what’s Ethiopia or Africa”. I would think the complex culture and languages we’re having makes it in deep complex debate. Or, is there any such debate you knew?

  98. Veritas
    March 25, 2007 at 5:01 am

    Hi Tazabi:

    Thanks a lot for your response that shows that we’re making progress now. Very brief responses to some of your thoughts:

    1)By the way, Prof. Teodros Kiros has published about six books and I think I’ve mentioned that in one of my posts, on the 14th of this month. His book on Zara Yacob is among his other works and I encourage you to consider reading his other works as well. I’ll say more about his philosophical works when I do a review of his book on Zara Yacob as I’ve already mentioned before.
    2)Now when you say, “Now, everything is coming down to a simple question which would be to “contribution, results”, I do not think, I hope, that you’re expecting to see philosophers to do something like showing “results” in the same way that engineers would. That does not seem to be right since philosophers are not engineers or vise versa. “Showing results” when applied to philosophers is a very confusing way of speaking about philosophers. You need to be very careful as to what your idea of “showing results” means; otherwise your understanding of philosophy vis-à-vis other disciplines does not seem to be right again.
    3)Yes, philosophers “show results” of their works but not in the same way, for example, that engineers or chemists or geologists, or economists would. These disciplines are not one and the same and expecting philosophy to be one and the same with others is still showing a misunderstanding of what philosophy is and that is a crucial thing for you to do something about in order to make progress in our discussion. I’ll explain what I’m talking about if there is a need for that.
    4)I was not sure what your question was about in your last paragraph. I’m not sure how our culture and language is a problem for philosophical works. We can raise a question about what Ethiopia or Africa is but that is like asking the same question about every continent or country. Your question in your last paragraph was not clear to me, any ways.

    I do hope that we’re making progress.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  99. Daniyot
    March 25, 2007 at 7:35 am

    Yes,Tazabi we have Ethiopian philosophy and philosophers!

    From my understanding, you look you are not satisfied with the Existence of African philosophy and philosophers, let alone Ethiopian from the very beginning unto now, I do not challenge you for that, it may emanates from so many factors or it may seem easier to say none when somebody see the insignificance of the influence, contribution, and the role of African philosophy to the modern world, but we have the philosophy as well as the philosophers, that is why ,today I picked my pen to show you this with my limited knowledge to philosophy.

    To begin with let me start with the work of Zare Yacob and Wolde Hiwot to different fields of philosophy (Do not forget my shallow knowledge to philosophy and…)

    1. From elementary philosophy (Philo 101) Epistemology can be defined as the theory of knowledge. It attempts to answer questions like where does knowledge come from. What is the basis of knowledge? And so on. Zara Yakob and Wolde Hiwot believed God as a source of knowledge and this knowledge, to some extent is found through reasoning .Zara Yakob put us follow. For both of them reason and faith are inseparable, because God is embodied in an absolute reasonableness and the only everlasting thing in this world is the knowledge of God as per their thinking as Claude Sumner pointed out in his legendary book. According to Zare Yakob it is possible to arrive at truth through critical inquiry. He said “To the person who seeks it, truth is immediately revealed .indeed he who investigates with pure intelligence set by the creator in the in the hearts of each man and scrutinizes the order and law of creation will discover the truth” (sumner, 1985), And Wolde Hiwot also gives priority for reasoning than faith and he believe that knowledge is endless phenomena. Wolde Hiwot said” don’t become dishearten with having to go on learning and don’t give it up during all your life .Even if you learn the teaching of all the men, there are many things you do not know”(Sumner 1985) ,so can we deny that or turn blind eyes and ears for those noble works.
    2. They do contribute to the Metaphysics (the study of reality in broader sense) let me try to point out their contribution to metaphysics .Zara Yakob raised metaphysical questions like “How God does know: or is there any one in the heaven who knows? Or if there is one who knows, why does he remain silent on men’s depravity while they corrupt His name act with inequity in His Holly Name?” Sumner, 1885.Zara Yakob said this because he observed that the followers of every religion argued as if their faith was true and other’s faith was false as Sumner mentioned in his book. On the other hand, Wolde Hiwot the same question in regard to the existence of God. He said “all things we see in this world, including our self, are transitory and created, but how can they be created with out the creator? Because each creator is finite and weak; it has no power to be created from nothing .there need to be one essence and that existed before all creatures as Wolde Hiwot. This is the way how they dealt with Metaphysics.
    3. Their view to ward Aesthetic (the study of beauty in broader sense). According to Zara Yakob ,all things in the universe are great and admirable .They are they are created with great wisdom while Wolde Hiwot Love is the basis of every beautiful things because of this it make all things possible as apparently mentioned in professor Sumner books. Imagine how wonderful they from their time up to know.
    4. To summarize my points let me quote from the works of Zara Yakob in regard to people adherence to falsity”…I said to myself ,why is that all men do not adhere to truth instead of (believing)falsehood?’ The cause seemed to be the nature of man, which is weak and sluggish .Men aspires to know truth and the hidden things of nature, but this endeavor is difficult and can only be attained with great labor and patience… Hence people hastily accept what they have heard from their father and shy from any(critical) examination ,But God created man to be master of his own actions, so that he will be what he wills to be” Claude Sumner

    5. They raised so many issues in every area of philosophy, yes, they are philosophizing, and therefore they are Philosophers and Ethiopian too.

    In order to make my points more clear let me look at the works of Ethiopians who are engaged in the area of philosophy.

    1. The first admiration goes to the works of Tewodros Kiros .He wrote a wonderful book titled as “Zara Yakob: A seventeenth century Ethiopian Founder of Modernity in Africa.” I did not read the book yet, but I read tremendous comments about this work.
    2. Did you viewed “the place of heart on moral economy”,” Famine and moral orgazition” ,”a tribute to a national poet” “ the speech the Prime Minister should give to Ethiopian people”,” the political art of compromise” and many, many more from Tewodros Kiros,If you do ,you will see how philosophy works even empirically
    3. Last but not least, do you remember, the issues we are raising and the corresponding answers of Veritas. To which part of study do you associate them? I think they are moral issues, strongly linked with philosophy.

    When you guys read the afore mentioned facts, my only attempt is to show Tazabi that the existence of Ethiopian philosophy and philosophers, I do not have any experience knowledge, enough reading material to raise all the necessary issues, but I am only willing and ambitious to show Tazabi that we have philosophy and philosophers then and now, Please do not misquote me .I put any thing wrong, do not leave any stone unturned even for a while so as to show me the way and the mistakes I made .

  100. Daniyot
    March 25, 2007 at 8:18 am

    Please add at the beginning of the last sentense “IF”

  101. Tazabi
    March 25, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Daniyot & Veritas
    Thanks for your response. I read Zara Yakob works written by (Kiros) and i’ve no doubt about him. To me, the content is heavily religion and i felt that it’s a philosophy of religion book. The main reasons i’m in doubt with the existance of Ethiopian philosophers (I’m hesitating to say African philosophers here because of colonization english language is widely used by many)was mainly because of the language. Don’t you think language is essential to philosophy? I would think so, otherwise, we could’ve misleading statement, phrases, words. When we talked about “truth,love,exsitance, knowledge,believe…” what it means in Amharic language (in my case), we don’t have accurate meaning in english language. My argument is that the english language (also the western culture),being thought philosophy in english could’ve great influence in Ethiopian philosophy. Again, when you say this is Ethiopian philosophy and presenting your idea interms of the western view, you’re not giving me accurate, clear, acceptable view of Ethiopia. This also might lead to another question to what language is representig Ethiopia.
    My other qestion would be a person who is an Ethiopian and who doesn’t speak non of the native languages and he/she can be Ethiopian Philosopher? Of course, we raised philosophical questions in our daily life intentionally or not and there’s no limit where you’re at. My problem is more with the label “Ethiopian Philosopher”.
    O.K now, are we saying Ethiopian Philosopher to identify the person from another country philosopher? If that’s the case, i’m fine with that. I know i’m a kind of person you won’t me to have me in your class.
    Veritas,
    These all going to be tied up to our original discussion which is “soul searching”. All the questions you raised for us is very philosophical questions and when we talked about lie, truth,decieving and so on, in my opinion it would be difficut to take it literally what is in the english language and using the application in our culture.
    Definately, i’ll get Kiros’s book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  102. Veritas
    March 25, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    Many, many thanks for these extremely interesting thoughts you both are sharing. For a philosopher nothing is as exciting as discussing the kind of questions you guys are sharing, esp., in these last posts you’ve shared.

    My area of interest (and in some sense specialization) includes metaphysics, epistemology and the philosophy of language, which is roughly the study of the nature of language. The contemporary philosophy of religion is an area I’m also working on. That means it’d be really my joy to discuss the issues Tazabi has just raised and they’re very interesting issues. Many thanks for those ideas.

    By the way, none of these, latest, discussions will take us away from the theme of our discussion for I’m using my background in the above and other areas of philosophy in whatever we are discussing without mentioning the names of various areas of philosophy. Mentioning names is not essential for the discussion and that is why I did not do that. I mentioned today because the two of you brought them up and hence the relevance of mentioning. Remember the maxim of relevance?

    I’ll address the issues when I get time. I’ll be gone for most of the day, and will be back to the discussion as soon as possible.

    Keep the discussion going and many thanks.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  103. Veritas
    March 26, 2007 at 6:20 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    Now we’ve arrived at a stage in our discussion to get a little bit more serious in the thoughts we’re communicating, that is in our discussion since the discussion is getting more philosophical, which is a source of tremendous excitement for me but then we should be careful that getting all philosophical is not the core purpose of this discussion.

    Please note this as well: we’re getting all serious about the issues we’re discussing without making our points unnecessarily complicated and inaccessible to those who do not have a background in academic philosophy. Gricean maxims should be our guides and that means we need to be clear, and relevant without being unnecessarily technical.

    With the above caveat, or warning I just want to say a few things for now which we’ll be developing further whenever there is a need for that.

    1) Now Tazabi’s question about the relationship between language and philosophy is not a trivial question and hence it’s a legitimate concern. Things will be clear eventually, as I hope, as to what the relationship between language and philosophy is, at least, from how I see things and will argue for them; please note this point for now: Yes, there is a deep relationship between language and philosophy. We do philosophy with our human language. That much is clear. But that does not mean that languages are radically different in the sense of making philosophical discourse impossible. That cannot be true for philosophy has been done in so many languages and also, what is even more true is that we can do philosophy and pursue truth in all human languages without the pursuit of philosophy as a pursuit of truth being reduced to languages or linguistics. Bear this in mind too: the nature of language is beyond what linguistics as a discipline is concerned with. Philosophy is an independent discipline from linguistics and that is also clear. That is, philosophy is not linguistics.
    2) My concern here is not to defend the existence of African/Ethiopian philosophy. That is will not be my concern even in the long run. I’ve already said that I do not think that is a correct way of talking about philosophy. Philosophy is a universal human intellectual pursuit with some fundamental philosophical questions as defining features of philosophy as a discipline. For example, if we believe that African philosophy is essentially different from Western philosophy BECAUSE of the differences in the languages we use to do philosophy that would lead us to conclude that what is true for an African is essentially different from what is true for the Western philosophy. That will further lead us to believe that TRUTH IS RELATIVE to languages. Now, if truth is relative, that means what is true for Americans, for example, might not be true for Africans. Just to take a concrete example: If an English speaking American philosopher believes (as true for an American) that Africans (black people) are inferior to Americans (let’s take, only Caucasian Americans) based on our premise that says truth is relative to language because language gives rise to the relativity of truth, Africans are expected to believe that they are inferior to the a Western, English speaking philosopher (!) because such a conclusion (for an American) is based on his/her language which is essentially different. But is such a conclusion true (for Africans?), or, for whoever, or even in whatever language?
    3) I hope that we see where the above reasoning is leading us. If we essentially tie philosophy, or, for example, our understanding of the concept of truth to different languages, that is where we are led in our reasoning. That does not seem to be right. That means one or the other of our premises is false. In short if we follow the preceding reasoning it looks like the following in structure;
    a. All philosophical claims are language relative.
    b. All assertions of truth are philosophical claims.
    c. Therefore, all assertions of truth are language relative.
    Now if one accepts premise (a) and premise (b) as true, one MUST accept the conclusion, which is (c). But we’ve already seen that all philosophical claims are not language relative as we can see that from a western philosopher’s assertion that “all Africans/black people are inferior”, that is false, but which is based on essentially the same reasoning as the above (a-c) which is a form of a valid argument. In any deductively valid argument as well as a categorical syllogism as the above (a-c) is, if the premises are true, then the conclusion MUST also be true. That means one who accepts the premises as true must also accept the conclusion as true.

    4) Now Tazabi, I hope that you’ve followed the above reasoning and if you’ve carefully followed the reasoning you cannot accept that all philosophical assertions are relative to languages. If you still think that all philosophical assertions are essentially tied to language and are hence relative which requires you to accept that Africans are inferior to Caucasians! I’d think that you’d not accept such a claim as true because such reasoning is false/incorrect. But the point now is this: how can you say that, if we do philosophy in Amharic that conclusion would be different. I can’t see how. I do know Amharic as my native language and I think and reason in English as well and the above conclusion that “Africans are inferior to Caucasians” is false, whichever language I use to do philosophy and hence I conclude that all philosophical assertions are not language relative, that means, I deny premise (a). Or, to put it differently, premise (a) is false and hence the conclusion (c) is false, accordingly. If one of the premises is false the conclusion is necessarily false. Again, the point is that all philosophical assertions are NOT language relative. They transcend languages and I’ll explain why that is so some other time.

    I’m sorry if what I’ve shared is difficult to follow. Just let me know which part is difficult, if you’ve found any part of this post as difficult and I’ll try my best to explain myself in a better way. By the way, please have this in your mind: a good grasp of what truth is is crucial for our discussion about lies, deceptions, and other character issues that we’re discussing and that is why I tend to talk about truth more often. I’ll say what truth is some time when the time comes for that.

    I want to say thank you so much for sharing some thought provoking ideas and we’ll continue to pursue our discussions once some of the philosophical concepts get clearer.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  104. Bisrat
    March 26, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Tazabi, Veirtas and Danyot,

    I’ve been meaning to write my thoughts, esp. when the dicussion gets solemn and sublime. But I wasn’t able to write for some reasons and I don’t dare to say anything right now what I’ve been up to but then life has gotten increasingly busier all the time and hence my writing this note somewhat later that I’d have liked to.

    The more this discussion gets philosophical, I am worried that it is becoming about philosophy itself. Tazabi has triggered this point by asking help form a philosopher or sociologist. Tazabi must have lost track somewhere in the discussion or I can say this with all honesty that she has distorted understanding of PHILOSOPHY. Does she undersestimates any claim that comes from Ethiopian thinker? How did she missed to see it? Veritas is not obligated or must be pushed to disclose himself to validate his claim. It will be unfair when you intentionally or unknowlingly ignored his cridentials that could be seen from some of his writing that he is pioneering in the subject matter.

    In addition, When this discussion firsrt started, there were lot of ideas that could be attributted to philosophy. For instance, in his previous notes, Veritas states that he was working on a paper that attempts to work out relationships between BELIEFS, THOUGHTS AND RATIONAL ACTIONS and one of the Laws of Association about thoughts says: “The More recently two thoughts have occurred together, or the more frequently, the more strongly they will be associated,” and there are many more that could be cited in terms his ability to integrate.

    Our attempt here, somehow is not suppose to be to discuss or raise a debate about if there is African Philosopher or not. We have one among us and let us recognise that. Let’s be humble and reason out with him and learn. It could be our previledge to get to know him. Let’s give him a chance to show us what he has already seen.

    I don’t want to label Tazabi to “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” ass one of Ethiopian Characters mentioned in Veritas primary writing.

    Make no mistake, If we don’t let the stars among us starts to shine, we would be doomed forever. Especially those the so called “educated’ are responsible to show us the path. Educations is a change of behavior and nothing else.

    Please no hard feeling Tazabi

    cheers,

    Bis

  105. Tazabi
    March 26, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Veritas,
    I’ll get back to you. Thanks
    Bisrat,
    Come on now. I’m not allowed to be ignorant? I’ll explain to you later when i get a chance. Just to let you know that i’m not mad at you 🙂

  106. Veritas
    March 26, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Hello Tazabi and Bisrat:

    Welcome back Bisrat: It’s good that you shared your thoughts finally, thanks for that; also I look forward to seeing more contributions from your side as well.
    1)Some thoughts on your post: it’s a good thing to be concerned if we go too far away from our theme issues by getting involved in a debate whether there is African/Ethiopian philosophy and correspondingly if there are African/Ethiopian philosophers. Though such a debate is not inherently wrong to pursue I do share Bisrat’s worry that we should not get sidetracked and focus on such a debate. That would be losing track of the theme of our discussion which is about trying to see what consequences bad character traits would have for the Ethiopian society. Personally I do not have a desire to establish the existence (or the non-existence) of African philosophy vis-à-vis Western or Eastern philosophy for as I’ve already made it clear that that is NOT how I think about philosophy.
    2)I can imagine the reasons why Tazabi found it difficult to conceive of the existence of African/Ethiopian philosophy and hence her struggle to see if philosophy which was conceived and born outside of Ethiopia and Africa, somewhere like in the West, could truly and accurately address African/Ethiopian issues. I think that is a legitimate concern. My hope is that Tazabi has found some answers to her struggles in my previous posts. I think it’s in the context of her struggle to understand what African/Ethiopian philosophy would look like that she was interested if there is an Ethiopian philosopher who would address her questions. I hope that I’ve done something about that.
    3)Personally, since I’m not developing an Ethiopian or Western philosophy (you all know why by now) I’m NOT concerned how others would think of me: an Ethiopian philosopher or an African or none or whatever. That is of no interest to me. I’m only conscious of what I set out to do, that is: I’ve been puzzled, as a person first and as an Ethiopian second, and as an African third, why do we Ethiopians suffer from so many, multiple afflictions as a society. This book project I’m undertaking is just my first attempt to address the puzzles with which I’ve lived for years.
    4)In one of my recent posts I might have misunderstood Tazabi and I’m trying to see if I got her concerns right here: Tazabi says: “Now, everything is coming down to a simple question which would be to “contribution, results”. You may help me on this, i would love to read if there’s a thesis, book.. written by Ethiopian philosophers available out there.” I responded to Tazabi as follows:
    1)“Now when you say, “Now, everything is coming down to a simple question which would be to “contribution, results”, I do not think, I hope, that you’re expecting to see philosophers to do something like showing “results” in the same way that engineers would. That does not seem to be right since philosophers are not engineers or vise versa. “Showing results” when applied to philosophers is a very confusing way of speaking about philosophers. You need to be very careful as to what your idea of “showing results” means; otherwise your understanding of philosophy vis-à-vis other disciplines does not seem to be right again.”

    2) “Yes, philosophers “show results” of their works but not in the same way, for example, that engineers or chemists or geologists, or economists would. These disciplines are not one and the same and expecting philosophy to be one and the same with others is still showing a misunderstanding of what philosophy is and that is a crucial thing for you to do something about in order to make progress in our discussion. I’ll explain what I’m talking about if there is a need for that.”

    Tazabi, if what I’ve responded to you in the ways I did in these two preceding points is a misunderstanding of your thoughts, I’m sorry for getting your thoughts wrong. I apologize if that is the case. I started to doubt my way of taking your thoughts when I read a possibly correct or better understanding of your concern by Daniyot quoted below. Daniyot guesses if your struggles in thinking about African/Ethiopian philosophy could be a result of the “insignificance of the influence, contribution, and the role of African philosophy to the modern world”; if Daniyot’s take is correct I can add the following to build on his/her take: there are other contemporary Ethiopians philosophers (besides Teodros Kiros) who’ve made some philosophical contributions, of course. Just for one example look at this link:
    http://artssciences.udayton.edu/Philosophy/ShowProfile.asp?u=23533K3DMG2&t=Faculty
    One thing we should also note: though we’ve Ethiopian philosophers, their number is not that many, and their publications do not seem to be really that much. Personally, honestly, I’m not a good resource for such information since I do not know much about writings by the Ethiopian philosophers. This is still related to the way I think about philosophy and how I do it. Furthermore, my areas of philosophical interest are also very far from what I personally know that most other Ethiopian philosophers are apparently interested in. That is partly why I do not have many interactions with their works, perhaps as much as I should. We’ll see what happens in the future.

    So far as I’m concerned I’m trying to contribute to the literature by working on this project. My hope is that it’ll fill in some gap in the literature on these pressing issues that I think need to be addressed as soon as possible and also with hope of sharing my reflections with my society.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  107. Veritas
    March 26, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    The following short note is from Prof. Teodros Kiros in personal communication with Veritas. Prof. Teodros was responding to one of my posts about the nature of philosophy and truth and language. I’ll explain what propositions are and their relationship to truth in one of my future posts, perhaps soon.

    Prof. Teodros’ points add something important to our discussion on the nature of language and philosophy that I’ve also addressed in a response to Tazabi’s thought provoking questions. Thanks to both Tazabi for her questions and to Prof. Teodros Kiros for his contribution.

    “Indeed, I do agree with you that the statement “Africans are inferior to Caucasians” could be argued to be false in any language. First we must separate (a) the statement or proposition from (b) the truth value or veracity of (a). (a) can be stated in any language, and (b) can be argued in any language also. Of course, a racist in bad faith could deny both, but not because of the nature of language, but rather (c) because he/she is simply speaking in bad faith and is a racist in bad faith.

    Good luck with the argument.”

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  108. Tazabi
    March 26, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Veritas,
    I greatly appreciated all your responses. Any conclusion i make from your above example could be from my experiance, it could be from my racist point view or i could trust/believe that particular English teacher what he/she is telling me so, whatever conclusion i draw might not be a result of language. Please, thank Professor Tedros for his contribution to part of my question. Bisrat comment alert me to say this..If i’m upsetting the Ethiopian/African philosophers’ community i apologize. My intention was to learn.
    It is very true. I was getting off the track from the origianl issues here. By any means i don’t wanna turn off readers with my endless questions. I was having fun, though.

  109. Tazabi
    March 27, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Bisrat,
    Thanks for your comments. I’m so sorry, shifting the original discussion to Philosopical questions. One of the reason was that only three people were contributing in regular basis (not taking into consideration thouands of undercover readers, that’s my fault) and i started out by asking a simple question, but i got myself in a deeper hole.Guilty, Guilty! and Guilty! I found a little humor in your comments …How i’m distorting the understanding of philosophy without understanding it myself? Thanks for Veritas, i may go and buy “philosophy for dummies”book.I may go over board with my questions, but all your assumptions was wrong. One thing you’re right about is that the main focus here should be soul searching not the existance of Ethiopian philosophers’. Believe me, I would love to get philosophical answer for all the problem i’ve (if i get socially acceptable solution from philosophy) so, all the above questions i raised came from being ignorant on the subject and i’ve no ill intention. Actually, i have a rocky (love & hate) start with Veritas. I may not agree with everything with Veritas but, i’ve great respect and admire him. My respect for Veritas has nothing to do with his profession, though, just because he has positive attitude about life. He has a gut to come out and say “People, we’ve got problems”.
    Bisrat,
    One of the most important lesson from your post is that you’re still sneaking in and read what’s posted in this blog. Please, stop by more often and help the discussion to be alive.

  110. Veritas
    March 27, 2007 at 3:45 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thanks a lot for your very honest response to some of the posts. Do not feel so bad for asking questions that we’ve been trying to discuss, even though some of them were not as close to the heart of the issues we’re discussing as they could be. The questions you raised were interesting ones anyway. Thanks for raising them and when I was trying to respond to you I was also thinking your questions could be questions others would have raised if they were participating and hence I was trying to provide answers for such “undercover readers”, to use your expression.

    I’m not sure whether you should buy “philosophy for dummies” by the way. If you really want to read good contemporary books on philosophy I’d recommend some for you. But let me know what area of philosophy you want to read on. From good introductory books to a little bit solid books on various areas of philosophy or what would be your idea of doing some reading you want to do on philosophy? I might be wrong for asking this question since you were also saying you do not know much philosophy but then I’m not sure that was right either. Just let me know what you think.

    Thank you for your kind words about me, by the way. It was good to hear what you said to Bisrat thus: “One thing you’re right about is that the main focus here should be soul searching not the existance of Ethiopian philosophers.” Yes, that is a great point and let’s get focused as we keep track of the direction of the discussion we’re having a great time participating in. I hear from some friends that some people are actually reading this discussion though for some reasons they’re not participating. We’ll continue as long as we can, I hope.

    I look forward to hearing from you all. Now I got some other things that I need to do but will be back as soon as I can.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  111. Daniyot
    March 27, 2007 at 5:23 am

    Now I days, I think we have a common understanding about the existence of African/Ethiopian philosophy and philosopher .If all of us agree on this issue let underline it, even if it does not have a considerable effect to the points we are discussing or to the issues we are trying to address, but it looks to me essential, for at least we are Ethiopians, for at least someone from the group or the readers is eager to know about it , for at least anyone (contributor and reader) has the right to ask any issue on the earth if he/she thinks necessary for our discussion and helpful to LEARN and/ or address our problems (For instance ,the existence of African/Ethiopian philosophy and philosopher to Tazabi looked like a tale Tale)but due to considerable effort of some of us, I think she eventually got a better (at least fifty fifty)understanding about it . So we should appreciate Tazabi for her continues enquires, because she just wants to learn, so what is big deal. By the way she made me read a little about Ethiopian philosophy with in these days, thank you again.

    You guys, do you got my point, let me put as follow, I was frustrated a little bit when I start reading the post by my friend Bisrat ,He do not leave anything for tomorrow (abesha’s saying),In short his words were some what bombastic, please come dawn Bisrat ,I would like to thank you though .

    Tazabi confessed her misunderstandings if they are and make her clear regarding the issues posted by Bisrat, thank you for your honesty and patience.

    Veritas you played a major role to narrow the gap, to avoid confusions, to clarify the points, to address the issues, and to do so many things, I wonder how you manage your running time.

    Let us go to our points, Please, Bisrat keep it up.

  112. Daniyot
    March 27, 2007 at 8:05 am

    I think I did read a book called “the Protestant Ethic and capitalism” or with some what similar topics some a decade ago. I am sure the writer of the book is Max Weber (Germany sociologist and or economist) if I am not mistaken again, Please, take in to account that I am not going to discuses about religion or Protestantism that is not completely out my point, But I would like to forward what I have in my memory whenever I think of Max Weber, his book as well as our situation (specially our economic problems).I was really impressed when ever I attach the content of his book(as per my understanding) to the current situation of My country.

    In his thesis he tried to forward that the evolvement of capitalism is directly or indirectly associated especially with old protestant ethics which is Calvinism. This means Calvinism has a direct or indirect effect on the immergence of capitalism that is accumulation of wealth and economic progress. In other words a protestant ethics was a force behind an unplanned and uncoordinated mass that led to the development of capitalism ,if so what is the spirit of capitalism “it is the idea and habit that favor the rational pursuit of Economic gain.” Where as the protestant Ethics also viewed as follow by Weber “in a capitalist Ethics waste of time is the first and principal dead least of sins, the span of human life is infinitely short and precious to make sure of one own election. Loss of time is through sociability .idle talk ,luxury ,and even more sleep …is worthy of absolute condemnation…..Time is infinitely valuable because every hours lost is lost labor for the glory of god ,Thus inactive contemplation is also valueless or even directly responsible if it at the expense of ones daily work(Mind you here) .it is less pleasing to God than the active performance of his will in a calling…”This is what it means to me, I mean the ethics of Protestantism and the spirit of capitalism. This is not a lecture note on sociology class but the way I want to address my issues .thank you for your patience.

    Most of the people in Europe were converted to protestant religion in that time and their conversion directly or indirectly contributed to the growth of capitalism, this mean when they become religious,every time they attempts to respect the words of God ,that means they have to work hard ,avoid long sleep, avoid unnecessary talk ,wastage of time in short that means they performed what they are supposed to do in order to satisfy God and to maintain their Ethics eventually Europe developed as per the theory.

    Now I would like to take this theory directly to Ethiopia and Ethiopians(please do not misconceive me ,I do have nothing to do with religious issues here ,I just used it to address my issues),thank you again

    As it is obvious, we are definitely poor people with poor country, Right, therefore hard work is absolutely essential in a place where we are and time is the most important element to solve or economic problems at least in a short term, so how do we spend our time? , how many hours do we work a day? How is our productively? How are we making our living? Which way do we prefer to make our life pleasant, what is the meaning and value of time to us? , How is our farmer and our farm ,how is our manager and our management ,how is our engineers and our industry ,etc .God do not want a mere contemplation ,it is valueless to Him, What is the extent of our responsibility to perform our duty ,to satisfy The almighty God and to make our life as pleasant as we wish .Please let Us share a words on our attitude toward our duty, work ,responsibility and time. For today, I think this is enough, but let me quote words from Max Weber about Time “time that we are going to kill, but ends by killing us”

    I do apologize if any of my points are not clear, please you Guys have a complete authority to shape me up if any of my points took the wrong direction, I do not have much time to go through it again and again, so mistakes may be common.

    Thank you.

  113. Veritas
    March 27, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    Thanks a lot for your great contribution to this discussion, again. You’ve always something good to propose for this discussion to go a step forward and that is very encouraging. Thanks again.

    Some thoughts:

    1)As for Bisrat’s post and Tazabi’s: Yes, I’ve already addressed their thoughts and it was also good to read your thoughts on their posts. One thing I also want to add based on what I’ve read from your post: It’s a good idea to encourage one another to raise any question (s) during the discussion if the person thinks that issue is important and is related to this discussion. All of us should feel free with expressions of our thoughts, i.e., sharing them with others. Indeed, we’re free to do so.
    a.Since we all want to make progress working on the issues under discussion we also want to raise relevant questions though we’ve so many other questions which we do not share because we think they are irrelevant to the points under discussion. We can share any thoughts and show how relevant the idea is and then we respectfully and honestly discuss it. We should exercise a reasonable degree of respect for the ideas shared and argue as reasonably as possible to show why we should discuss them or why not.
    b.Nothing should be taken personal when we try to weed out some irrelevant ideas that might contribute to the distraction from the theme of the discussion. In our Ethiopian community it’s one of those deeply ingrained habits to feel attacked and hold resentment when our ideas are shown to be wrong. We take objections immediately to be personal. This is one of those great hindrances for our society not to learn from others. I hope that we’re overcoming such bad character trait as we debate ideas and see some of our precious ideas being refuted, proven wrong for the sake of learning and pursuing the truth about what we’re set out to learn.
    c.I also hope that we all are learning how to conduct reasonable or rational discussion of ideas honestly, openly, and with the spirit of learning from one another like Tazabi has taught us. Tazabi please know this: without your participation our discussion would not have been as lively as it has been. You deserve many thanks.
    2)This brings me to Daniyot’s major contribution from his readings of M. Weber and that is a great contribution and very relevant as far as I can also see. I think, as long as we try to show how relevant the ideas we propose are there is no need even to apologize. By the way, what you’ve suggested (Weber’s arguments) as an explanation for why the European society and the US’s is economically far more advanced than others, esp., Africa, is a key issue to debate. Of course, Weber argues that Protestant understanding of Christianity (Calvinism and otherwise) played such a role in the economic prosperity for the Western societies, esp., in the emergence of capitalism. Why should we apologize to share such ideas which have been widely discussed and debated for decades? I do not see any reason to avoid raising such issues as long as we’re supporting our theses with some good reasons so that the discussion is guided by reason and not just what we like or we feel. I want to say to Daniyot thank you for sharing your thoughts on Weber’s contribution and its relevance to our society.
    3)Now to a puzzle from what Daniyot has shared: if Christianity has played such a role in the Western societies’ development, and if we also think that Ethiopia as a nation has been Christian for centuries even before Europeans; the US was not even there then to compare with: Why is such a positive influence of Christianity almost non-existent in Ethiopia which boasts centuries of Christian history? Has Ethiopia been a really Christian country for all these centuries IF we can barely observe similar positive influences of Christianity on the Ethiopian society? I do not think that the claim that Ethiopia has been a Christian nation is true, if Christianity could have such an impact on a European/US society as Weber argued, without any comparable impact on Ethiopia. Something has gone wrong either with Weber’s argument or the claim that Ethiopia has been a Christian nation for centuries. I think we can debate this claim when we see it fit.
    4)Now to another puzzle: for a country like Ethiopia which claims to be one of the longest nations with a Christian history again, why is it also a nation with a history of character traits among many Ethiopians such as lies, deceptions, arrogance/pride, dishonesty, and untruthfulness, etc? I think Christianity teaches the OPPOSITE of such character traits as it teaches such virtues as truthfulness, honesty, humility, love, selflessness, etc. Why is there such a tremendous mismatch between what Ethiopia as a society claim to be, that is, largely Christian for centuries, and what actually is the case, the opposite history from what Christianity teaches, not only about lack of economic prosperity but also a nation afflicted with many inherently bad and destructive character traits? How do we explain such gaps in the claim of many Ethiopians who consider themselves Christians but whose nation’s history is a testimony of nothing else but the opposite of what Christianity is claimed to have done in Europe if Weber’s argument, among many others, is correct?
    5)Now my original proposal comes back full-circle: with or without Christianity, bad character traits could contribute to a society’s life in many negative ways. Without fully speaking truth to one another, without people being honest to one another, without people being humble enough to learn from one another, without people trusting one another, without people being open to one another, etc, what kind of work ethic could prosper a society, what kind of institutions could function properly, be it government, college/universities, business, family, etc , etc? One can argue that Christianity provides a framework for the teaching and promotion of such characters, the virtues, I’ve been mentioning as opposed to the bad character traits. I’m not doing that right now at any rate. At the very least, without taking a stock with our characters we’ll NOT make much progress in whatever desirable direction that we want to grow, develop, and flourish.
    6)Daniyot, I hope that I’ve tried to show how what you’ve shared with us is relevant to what I’ve been proposing to discuss and debate for fellow Ethiopians and thanks again for your great and relevant contribution.
    7)You were wondering as to how I manage my time to be as active as I’ve been trying to be in our discussions as you and Tazabi have been, too. Now we’ve Bisrat joining us, hopefully, more frequently. I’m doing this thing actively since I’ve committed myself to doing this and will continue as long as there is some productive discussion here. In the next few weeks and afterwards I might contribute much less for this time of the year brings, to me personally, a number of deadlines to meet for what I do and as a result my contribution might not be as much as it’s been so far. But that is for a time being. Also, much of the summer (from June-August) I’ll also be absolutely busy with other responsibilities. I’ll be traveling long distances as well. I’ll also be working with the draft of the book project, ideally to complete half of the project. This is then a warning that my contribution will not be this frequent and not as much in the months to come. Let’s continue to do our very best in the mean time though.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  114. Bisrat
    March 27, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Tazabi,

    I am so humbled by your response. Despite of my tough words, thogh NOT with bad intention what so ever, you are making a tremendous effort to keep this blog alive, and also, I want you to understand that I really admire your honesty. I do have a lot of respect for modest people like you. I haven’t said that in disguise. As Danyot maentioned I will try to keep it dow next time make it reasonable.

    It is so interersting how this discussion sudddenly make a quick turn to the most fundamental question that has been going in the minds of many people for a long time. Daniyot brought a mesmerising truth on the table that Christianity, beyond reasonable doubt is the source of western civilization.

    If that is true that Christian ethics has a profound impact in the shaping of western society, what happened to christianity in Ethiopia and why is it going adrift? Can we put the blame on to the church? If so why can’t we all this years?We ‘ve claiming a christian when we never be or shoul be closly exmined? why danyot seems unconfortable to say the truth?He wrote”Most of the people in Europe were converted to protestant religion in that time and their conversion directly or indirectly contributed to the growth of capitalism, this mean when they become religious,every time they attempts to respect the words of God ,that means they have to work hard ,avoid long sleep, avoid unnecessary talk ,wastage of time in short that means they performed what they are supposed to do in order to satisfy God and to maintain their Ethics eventually Europe developed ”

    Ok now, What about other non-christian nation like japan got prosperous? Is there other way of making it happen other than Christian ethics?

    Is there a problem, a mischief, in the foundation of building our nation? Who is responsible for all this in the our making of history? what is the corrolation between source of civilization and our character problem( as we trying to refute our wrong claims)?

    I got to go right now. I hope you got my point. I will be back next time with full gear. Thank you all of you for your contribution. I am learning a lot.

    Alot of thoughts were crossing my mind so I apologise if I didn’t make myself clear or orderly.

    see you,

    Bis

  115. Veritas
    March 27, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Hello Bisrat:

    Thanks a lot for your latest post. You’ve raised a number of very important questions in your post that are directly related to the theme of our discussion and that is great.

    I’ve also raised the puzzling things about Ethiopia’s Christianity in its long history which does not solve many problems that brought us here to share our reflections and discuss them.

    Now to some thoughts:

    1)Of Bistrat’s questions the one that caught my attention is the one that asks about the relationship between “the source civilization and our character problem”. But then Bisrat also claimed that Christianity is the source of western civilization and why that is not the case in Ethiopia, as I’ve also shared my puzzles about the latter. I want to give a chance to Bisrat to support his claim about the preceding assertion that Christianity is the source of western civilization. Since looking at such reasons will likely shed some light on our own society I’d like to hear what he thinks.
    2)I don’t know much about the case of Japan to say much by way of bringing such an example to bear on what we’re discussing and hence I encourage you guys to share with the rest of us what you think is the reason for non-Christian nations like Japan that prosper economically. When we look for some key insights about economic prosperity for this reason or that, we should keep in our minds the fact that economic prosperity is not an absolute answer to ALL of a society’s problems that cannot be addressed and handled in virtue of the society’s economic prosperity. Any given society’s prosperity, rarely, if ever, solve other, non-economic problems. I’ll explain myself if this point is not clear enough.

    Now back to you all for your great contributions.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  116. Tazabi
    March 28, 2007 at 12:11 am

    Veritas,
    I welcome your book rcommendations. I would say i’m into litrature philosophy, because i find litrature very “human”. Just to give you a clue, Dostoyevesky’s books are my other bible. I think Daniyot just gave you one more chapter in “Time Managment” for your book project. One of these days (when they’ve Etheo. plitical demonstartion), don’t be surprised if you see me in D.C PA. Ave. a slogan read “Veritas for President”. Just kidding.
    Danyiot,
    Humm.. Religion and economic/social development? Thanks for your info. When i read your post the relation between religion, development , i said to myself “..those are good old days!”. When i think religion then and now, i’m feeling ancient. I believe religion could shape up human’s life, but what i see now around me very puzzling. I start to laugh now…because approximatley 6 or 7 yrs. ago somebody told me that what my “Yeneta, who taught me “Dawit, A..BU..GI..DA” had done. This’s a true story. He’s an old priest , his age could be in mid 70’s and he shot another priest and ended up in jail. Just visualize, a priest and gun!? This’s the face of religion these days.
    I’m glad you brought the idea of time. I work for blood sucking Corporate America and believe me it’s eating me alive. I’m not even counting the sleepless night i spent just thinking through the what to do lists for the next day. If i work a split-fraction of time to my country, we won’t be where we’re at now. I used to work back home in Govt. organization and when i think and look back now, you won’t believe how embarrasing to me. It’s not only we lack work ethics, we also lack (i call it) “life discipline.” I was not sure even how many people knew i held a real job, because you’ll find me outside work doing my own thing in my work hours. My contribution to the economy could be measure so little, the question is how many of “me” out there? When i went back home a few years back, nothing seems changed, i found the same things where i left off. The only thing different this time was i’m in the cutomer side of the table and it was not pretty at all. UGLY! I also made a big mistake taking my instant “one minute microwave” attitude with additon to my faminine gloves and of ocurse, it won’t be pretty, right?!
    Bisrat,
    O.K I’m dusting it off and picking up myself from the beat up i got from you. A little bruses here and there other than that i’m o.k (ha,ha..). We all should be blamed for. I would say that religion would be the least excuse for our failing nation. How we’re going to fix it? It would be individual call for each one of us. I think if we stop being selfish, we could make a big difference collectively. Of course, my immediate hope is Veritas project book could help many of us who longed to see some change.

  117. Veritas
    March 28, 2007 at 6:28 am

    Hello Tazabi and All:

    Just wanted to add the following:

    Speaking of books in the previous post, I’d be happy to recommend, in the future, some more relevant books that have bearings on the various issues we’re discussing here as we move forward to dig deeper into the issues of crucial relevance to our discussion.

    When I do that my idea is for some of us to read those books, whenever, for our personal readings and to learn from them. I’ve no intention of turning this discussion into a discussion on the list of books that we should read. That is not the idea.

    There are a few other things from which we can learn as much from as from reading GOOD books that teach us so, so, so much about us, life and much more about the world in which we all live. But we should never forget this about books: NOT ALL books are worth reading, and NOT ALL books are good books. One of my life’s desires is to find a way to help fellow human beings discover GREAT/GOOD books that are of immeasurable and incalculable and enduring values from those that do NOT deserve our time, attention at all. There is one thing some really bad books can teach us, though: how never to pick up others like them; how much we need to seek better books and grow in our taste to discover and value GOOD books. One thing I can say just before I go: only those who’ve read widely and broadly and deeply could tell which books are in which category: really GOOD or really BAD.

    Hope that you’ll find the above books in the previous post helpful and worth reading.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  118. Veritas
    March 28, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Hello Tazabi:

    [I’m posting this note about the books again. The one I posted earlier had online links to the description of books and would not show properly on this blog. I decided to post again without the links. The last post talks about this one. The order has changed for the reason that I’ve just shared].

    Many thanks as always for your post that brings up fresh questions about whatever we raise and adds liveliness to our discussion. By the way, you’re very kind to me and I want to say thanks for all your good and encouraging thoughts, once again. Your plan for slogan in PA Avenue, in Wash. D.C., was hilarious. Relief to hear that you’re kidding!

    I’ve not read any book by Dostoyevsky and I’m envious of you and your bible! Some day I hope that I’ll read at least one or two of his great books. I’ve a copy of The Brother’s Karamazov which, I hope, will be read some day. You can tell that I’m not into literature. I try to learn as much about life and much more from my readings in philosophy which cover almost any subject matter under the sun as you might guess philosophy is so, so broad and it somewhat addresses almost all areas of human knowledge. I try to broaden the horizon of my knowledge by reading MORE PHILOSOPHY!

    I’ve two books on philosophy to recommend for you, and one on critical reasoning, which is a tremendous asset for any human being who’s a desire to correctly reason, critically think, and to be a much more careful thinker about any subject matter. The philosophy books are basic and the ones I’ve used/”tested” on my students and from my students’ reaction they loved them so much and they did not wait for any reading requirements to read them. Some have almost finished reading a big book in the first two weeks into the semester when that was a text book for the whole semester because they’ve loved the book so, so much. This is that book:

    1) Thinking Philosophically: An Introduction to Critical Reflection and Rational Dialogue by Richard Creel (an American Philosopher).

    The other book, which also is great is:
    2) Reality? Knowledge? Philosophy! An Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology by Stephen Hetherington (an Australian Philosopher).

    The book on Critical Thinking is the following:
    3) Invitation to Critical Thinking by Joel Rudinow and Vincent Barry, the 5th edition or the 6th.

    I recommend the above books not only for you but also whoever wants to have a good grasp of what philosophy is. One thing that I can say in relation to what I’ve just said is this: I rarely come across any living, fellow Ethiopian who has even a comparable knowledge of what philosophy really is about that one can find in even an INTRODUCTION of one of the above books! By the time you finish reading the Creel book you might decide to go back to school to do philosophy! Some have done that by the way.

    Thanks for asking me for some recommendation of books on philosophy. That says a good thing about your openness to learn for I tell you that many fellow Ethiopians who’ve no knowledge of what philosophy is all about would get offended if you recommend a book title for them. They would say, “Thank you, Tazabi”. That means who are you to tell me that I need a help. I know it all. I deal with such living, fellow Ethiopians almost every time I have a chance to talk about philosophy. Good luck on your next encounter with fellow Ethiopians who’d do same to you. That is for sure. If you experience otherwise, you’re a lucky person.

    By the way, about our society’s desperate lack of work ethics there will be a chapter in my book project and that was already being planned to be addressed. Thanks for sharing your experience honestly. I hope many are taking a lesson from your openness and honesty that you share here. I’m referring to “undercover readers”, to use your expression, as well.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  119. Veritas
    March 28, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Hello Friends:

    Once again, speaking of books, I got my copy of Prof. Teodros Kiros’ book, Zara Yacob: Rationality of the Human Heart(Red Sea Press, 2005) just moments ago. This is the book I promised to do a review of here when I get time. I look forward to doing that and sharing the review with you all.

    I remember hearing from both Daniyot and Tazabi that you guys are also going to get copies of this book for your personal reading. Am I right? I’m not sure about Bisrat.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  120. Tazabi
    March 29, 2007 at 1:53 am

    Veritas,
    Thanks for your recommendations. I appreciated. Just to let you know that i’ve read Prof. Kiros book (Rationality of the HH) . Actually i purchased it from Half.com on e-bay. Personally, I would like to know your take because i haven’t met anybody who read the book yet so, it would be interesting to hear your point of view. There’s another book by him called Self-Construction and the Formation of Human Values: Truth, Language, and Desire and when i’ve time i would like to check that out. When it comes to book, i could talk forever so, i don’t want to change once again the main topic to “Oprah’s book club” 🙂

  121. Veritas
    March 29, 2007 at 2:10 am

    Tazabi:

    It’s so interesting to hear from you that you’ve already read Prof. Kiros’ book on Zara Yacob! That is great. Yes, it’d be my privilege to share my review as soon as I get a chance to do that. I’ve already skimmed thru the book and have found it quite interesting.

    I imagine that you and I have somewhat a different take on the book. I might be wrong. To whet your appetite on what I’d think, it seems to me that some of Zara Yacob’s concerns according to Prof. Kiros, seem to overlap with what we’re discussing right now, these days: disturbing lack of care for truth, peoples’ disposition to lie lies, laziness when it comes to searching for truth, etc, in the Ethiopian society at the time of Zara Yacob and our own time!

    I was also going to check out the other book by Prof. Kiros you’ve mentioned in your post. I can’t promise to read that one any time soon for I’ve a number of deadlines to meet soon and hence lack of time for much extra reading besides the ones I’m doing right now.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on books.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  122. Bisrat
    March 29, 2007 at 3:27 am

    Tazabi,

    Thank you again for your response and your sense of humor. I can tell you are a very friendly person. I also want to thank veritas for his advise for allof us to conduct our debate rationally and in a reasonable manner. I hope we all keep that in mind. By the way , Thank you for the books you recommended. I promised to myself to get atleast one.

    A lot of questions has been brewing in my mind regarding this very crucial issue; Why Christianity didn’t have thae same graet influence in Ethiopia as It had had in a western society? I am incouraging all of you to give a closer look in history and see if there is any coherncy that we can draw out. It is not my intention to give explicit scholastic explanation, rather I am simply trying to justify my assertion on the subject matter.
    Recently, State Sen. Doug Stoner, a Democrat, said, “Students need to know the Bible to understand Western civilization and Western literature.” (a debate to make a Bible school text book)

    One can easily observe reading history books how Christianity made a deep and positive imprint upon Western civilization. The positive teaching of christianty has impacted in almost every area of our modern life; the dignity of human life, work ethics, poor an doppressed, the impact on the emergence of civil liberty, on Arts and science..etc. I can’t go through all this but from the era of Mesopotomia; Gutemburg’s printing press to the beautiful reformation paintings and the rise of secular classic musics of the sixteen cerntury. It could be traced its impact to the nineteen century, like the openings of the most presigious schools by christians, like Harvard, Yale and Princeton. They were founded to train pastors in Bible and theology and other subjects. Once somebody told me about the motto those schools used to have, it says” Theology is the queen of science and philosophy the handmaid.”

    Talking about phlosophy, christianity has played a vital role in the arena of philosophy. Without doubt the greatest achievement by the Western Civilization was its acceptance of reason. Here again the scholastics, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, played a important role in showing that true reason and true faith could never contradict one another, and that any perception of an apparent discrepancy lay in the inadequacy of knowledge regarding the given subject. It would be a grave mistake to attempt to divest the Western Civilization of its Christian origins. There has been a continuous and sustained Christian influence on Western Civilization. Because of the organic nature of this contribution there can be no clear distinction between Western Secular thought and Western Christianity.

    Now Guys, If we attempt to get deeper in such passion into the human history, this is what we finaly encounter. The undeniable fact:
    In the early Christian era, Egypt, North Africa and modern-day Turkey were the great centers of Christianity—not Western Europe. Indeed, one of the oldest of all Christian denominations in the world is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. While surrounding parts of Africa were overthrown first by Moslem armies and later by Western colonialists, Ethiopia alone successfully resisted both the Moslem and later the European armies, remaining an independent Christian state for centuries.

    This is the puzzle of my life. If we agree on what has been already said about what christianity can do to human civilaization, what point of our history took a wrong turn and left us in the Darkness and saga. who cast a curse upon us to misery and immeaseurable atrocity. Let’s reason out together as candidly as possible fix the Jigsaw puzzle.

    Selam Hunu,

    Bis

  123. Veritas
    March 29, 2007 at 5:29 am

    Hello Bisrat:

    Thanks for your post which once again provokes us to think that there seems to be something wrong about Ethiopian Christianity, IF what Daniyot and you have been suggesting is true of the Western world.

    Your argument if I’m correct is like this: Christianity has had a direct influence on the emergence of Western civilization: on the science, art, economy, work ethics, etc. [We should bear this in mind: Daniyot was also proposing this idea for us to debate.] We, Ethiopians, are among the oldest Christian nations but the influence of Christianity in Ethiopia is nowhere like that of its influence on the West. That seems to be Bisrat’s claim.

    Now we face the following dilemma: (a) either the influence of Christianity on the West is true, or, (b) the claim that Ethiopia is among the oldest Christian nations is false. Both of these claims do not seem to be right, since we do not observe as much Christian influence in Ethiopia as it’s been claimed to be the case in the West.

    One way out of the above dilemma could be asking ourselves whether what we mean by Christianity in the West and in Ethiopia has been one and the same. I’m not proposing an answer to the dilemma but then it does not seem to be far from the truth to say that accepting the second horn of the dilemma (b) is right: that is the claim that Ethiopia is among the oldest Christian nations is false. But such a tentative answer seems to contradict Bisrat’s claim, which is as follows: “While surrounding parts of Africa were overthrown first by Moslem armies and later by Western colonialists, Ethiopia alone successfully resisted both the Moslem and later the European armies, remaining an independent Christian state for centuries.” I personally do not know what such a claim would amount to. If Ethiopia has been teaching and practicing Christianity in the same way as the others, Europeans and Americans, have taught and practiced, I think, we’d have seen much similar fruits of Christianity like in the West. That seems right.

    Back to my initial point: do we want to say that the bad character traits that I take to be destructive forces for the Ethiopian society for far too long are results of the FAILURE of Christian teaching and practicing what Christianity teaches? If we accept (b) above, I propose for us to examine, every aspect of the question that I’ve just raised. We should not forget that Ethiopia has not been just a Christian nation; we’ve, now a days, as many Muslim brothers and sisters as the Christians. The search for answers to my original proposal does not distinguish Ethiopians by their association with any particular religion. Since it seems to be the case that Bisrat and Daniyot have raised the case of Ethiopians who claim to be Christians, I think, we can draw out implications of the failure of Christian teaching and practice for the Christian Ethiopians. By the way, there is an essential difference between saying Christian teachings in a given society have failed and saying that Christianity has failed. These are separate claims.

    I’ve tried to raise more questions for us to debate and now back to you all. Many thanks for Bisrat for his contribution.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  124. Daniyot
    March 29, 2007 at 6:32 am

    Today, a number of issues are crossing minute after minute, the main reason for this all is the issue I tried to pointed out in my last post, and the way how intrinsically Bisrat, my friend entertained the them, tried to extend the dimension in a direction to get more clear understanding about the Western, Christianity, Development and their attachment to the situation of our home land. I do appreciate the way you forwarded you comments on the points I mentioned in my last post. I will try to say some thing about this issue latter on this page, before that I would like to say something funny that came my mind when I read the post by Tazabi about “Yenetta”.

    I got two yenetas’ in my mind.

    1 Yeneta # 1, I think in one of the year like 2003 or 2004, one of my friend who had some what a radical behavior went to Arat Kilo post office (you guys remember that place) to fill DV application, After long line, he got a chance to give his application to postman, in the mean time he saw A priest (about 55 years of age) in the post office waiting in the line to submit his application, All of a sadden my friend turned his face to Yeneta Said “Memru are filling DV application ?Memru is this place is as bad as that even to the priest who works for their soul,? Yentta Said “yes, my son, I wish I could go there right know “friend said “if so, I would stay here, I wish you good luck, Memru!” he went out of the post office by throwing his application in the garbage (true story), Imagine how we are ……..!

    Let me leave the Other Yenetta for some other days,

    Bisrat thank you for your wonderful questions, It needs further reading or understanding therefore I would like to live your questions for some other days as well, but I would like some thing under the same circumference to the issues under discussion

    It has been long, long time when I started to think about the would be positive impact of Christianity on the development if it is worked out on the way it should be, rather than the way we are handling it at the current time. Let me make clearer, I need to be open here what so ever the consequence would be, In my last post I quoted the following” WASTE OF TIME IS THE FIRST AND IN PRINCIPLE THE DEAD LEAST OF SINS.THE SPAN OF HUMAN LIFE IS INFINTELY SHORT AND PRECIOUS TO MAKE SURE OF ONES OWN ELECTION ,.LOSS OF TIME THROUGH SOCIALBILTY ,IDLE TALK LUXURY .AND EVEN MORE SLEEP …..IS WORTHY OF ABSOLUTE MORAL CONDEMINATION….. THUS INACTIVE CONTEMPLATION IS ALSO VALUELESS ,OR EVEN DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE IF IT AT THE EXPENCE OF ONE,S DAILY WORK.IT IS LESS PLEASING TO GOD THAN THE ACTIVE PERFORMANCE OF HIS WILL IN A CALL.’ this is what we have to add to our Christian works, this is what we have to learn from church fathers(from any religion),this is what the priests have to teach us in their daily words, or in other words some times we do give the reverse meaning when we speak of Christianity in respect of our daily duty and our responsibility as I have observed through out my life .

    If we add the value of hard work, the need to work hard and the essence our duty and responsibility ,the danger of ignorance ,the valueless ness of laziness and so many related things into our church teaching ,Imagine what gone be the resultant effect to our country as well as to us as we fulfillthe words of God,plus ,yes that is what we are lacking ,that is what I would like to introduce indirectly to our discussion. In my belief we are not living by the almighty God word if we deny those facts as per my understanding of Christianity (please do not misunderstand me here, because I am forwarding what I am feeling and thinking when I think of Christianity).
    What the value of time to us, do we consider for a while that wastage time is sin, yes, it is, if so we are Sinner, period .In order to cleanse our sins what are we supposed to do? Or where are we supposed to start? What you guys think about this scenario?

    I have no intention to extend our discussion in to religion or Christianity, but this issue is some thing came to my mind when I was thinking about Max Weber, and I preferred not to loose the chance once it happened to me suddenly.Right?!

    When I say church ,it can be any church in the world where christains assemble(protestant ,catolic and orthodox etc)

  125. Daniyot
    March 29, 2007 at 6:56 am

    Tazabi.

    I wish I could read specially “self constructions and the formation of human values”it look like marvelous from its topic,right Tizabi? ..you like dostoyevsky waw ,Now I do Understand that how deep your reading is,how is “the Idiot ” ? I am kidding.

  126. Tazabi
    March 30, 2007 at 2:38 am

    Bisrat,
    I’m in not in a position to answer the link between civilization and christianity, however, i’ve a few common sense ideas that might help us our disccusion. (When i say christianity, i referring to Orthodox Christianity, here
    I agree with Veritas cautious response on this. Christianity is not one size fits all religion and it never been a faith for all people, for all nations around the world. In my opinion, christianity served a disadvantage in Ethiopia for civilization because our christian religion is very excluded and has a very unique characters in the christian world, (I would take the following into consideration, it could be because of the language, the rulers had been used christianity as insturmental governing power for the few, it could be where we located geographically), chrisitan teaching in Ethiopia is what matters is believing in God and almost civilization in the eyes of the christian chuch in Ethiopia is like how dare you challenging the almighty God. The church teaches us social, sex inequality of women so, women significant contribution is missing. (don’t you see a gender gap in our discussion here? even after American women’s sets the example burnning their braw for libration!) Let me take it back. Is there a women contributor in our disccusion? Civilization suppose to give respect for knowledge, culture, learning, science and none of these are encouraged in our country. It’s not like many christain civilized countries beliveing government of the people by the people, for the people either. Christianity ruled as a govening power with no inclusion in our country history (the myth of Solomon Dynasty).
    We could argue that if we believed christiantiy is a peak of civiliazation, how come slavery, civil inequality existed in America? History taught us Rome was civilized before christianity arrived to Roman Empire so, could we say the arrival of christianity brought more indiffernce than unity? The jury still out.
    In the end, I’m being challenged with the idea putting together the puzzle by linking western civilization, christianity as a whole and Ethiopian christianity.
    Danyiot,
    Speaking of a good “Yeneta”, a while ago i contributed to http://www.Meskot.com a short poem under the title “My Yeneta” and when you get a chance check it out. You may relate with my story. (it could be in the archive by now,though.)
    By the way, are you suggesting us that if i work hard, using my time wisely so, i would be sin free? As a result of laziness, lack of time managment,lack of work ethics.. there’a a great consequences to that but, i’m not sure how these would amounts to “sin”.

  127. Veritas
    March 30, 2007 at 2:50 am

    Hello Daniyot:

    Thank you so much for your contribution which is great as always. Some thoughts to share with you and others:

    1)One can tell how much you’ve wanted to share the ideas you’ve been sharing for discussion and for debate with fellow Ethiopians. One can see your passion about the subject you’re sharing with us: about Christianity and its role in the Ethiopian society.
    2)Now having said that I’ve also been puzzled about the way you seem to be hesitant in saying what you want to say openly with a desire to share the truth about what you mean to share with us. I’ve shared some suggestions based on Bisrat’s post in which I said, which you did not engage directly for they are triggered by your post more than the rest of us, except for Bisrat whose ideas I was also putting together in a summery form for us all to engage. I said:
    a.“Now we face the following dilemma: (a) either the influence of Christianity on the West is true, or, (b) the claim that Ethiopia is among the oldest Christian nations is false. Both of these claims do not seem to be right, since we do not observe as much Christian influence in Ethiopia as it’s been claimed to be the case in the West”.
    b.I then added the following: “I’m not proposing an answer to the dilemma but then it does not seem to be far from the truth to say that accepting the second horn of the dilemma (b) is right: that is the claim that Ethiopia is among the oldest Christian nations is false.”
    c.Again, I added: “Back to my initial point: do we want to say that the bad character traits that I take to be destructive forces for the Ethiopian society for far too long are results of the FAILURE of Christian teaching and practicing what Christianity teaches? If we accept (b) above, I propose for us to examine, every aspect of the question that I’ve just raised.”
    3)When you say, “Let me make clearer, I need to be open here what so ever the consequence would be,….[And you say somewhere below that the following]… In my belief we are not living by the almighty God word if we deny those facts as per my understanding of Christianity (please do not misunderstand me here, because I am forwarding what I am feeling and thinking when I think of Christianity).
    4)I remember encouraging you not to apologize for a thought you’ve decided to share with us as long as you can show us how relevant your thought is to the theme of our discussion. I wanted to take this moment to encourage you AGAIN NOT to be hesitant to share ideas that you’re convinced to be worth sharing and hence debating because they are relevant. Remember what my questions were for us above under (2): (b) and (c)? You can now deal with them head on. I’ll be there to share my thoughts and of course to participate. I’m not trying to avoid the ideas you’ve shared with us. I’ve been trying to bring out their relevance as I keep trying to show how relevant they are for the theme of our discussion.

    Hope to see a lively debate going on about the issues that have been raised within the context of our theme issues for discussion. Many thanks for your great contribution.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  128. Veritas
    March 30, 2007 at 5:10 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thanks for your post. It’s good to exercise care and caution when we discuss sensitive issues as the ones we’ve been trying to do since the beginning of our discussion. However, do not forget that I shared some of my most brutally honest thoughts about this or that about my own society and I’ll continue to do so whenever there is a need for such brutal honesty only because seeking truth honestly demands, at times, such confrontation with truth. Remember what you said of such brutally honest thoughts that I’ve shared with you all: Your having undergone a rocky (love and hate) relationship with this writer? What a confession!

    “In the end, I’m being challenged with the idea putting together the puzzle by linking western civilization, christianity as a whole and Ethiopian christianity.” It’s good to hear your honestly saying that, Tazabi. This is among the greatest challenges for us Ethiopians to think about and to come up with an understanding/explanation that would shed some missing light on our nation’s multiple problems. I’ll return to this idea at some later point.

    You’ve also said, “Civilization suppose to give respect for knowledge, culture, learning, science and none of these are encouraged in our country.” Why is that so? is the question for us all to figure out, debate, and discuss. This is exactly one of the most fundamental reasons for my taking an initiative to share my ideas that got us into all these challenging questions. I encourage you like I did for Daniyot to come out and say, there is something wrong about this or that and I know that you’re already sharing your thoughts and I’m encouraging you to go a step forward too.

    Most of my initial thoughts that I’ve shared were very disturbing for any traditionally minded Ethiopian, or any typical Ethiopian. Now I’ve started to see you guys share much similar views about what has been your concern and let’s go a step (or steps) forward as we continue to seek truth in our search for fundamental answers to fundamental problems of our society.

    Now to all of us: please note this: we’ve been making progress in the discussion that we’ve been conducting in a reasonable and respectful way so far. Compare the way we’ve conducted this discussion, given all the sensitive issues that we’re addressing, compared to other Ethiopian-run web sites/blogs. There is much promise that this discussion can be a good example for many fellow Ethiopians as to what it means to discuss ideas despite differences, respectfully, reasonably, and with openness to learn from the other. You all deserve commendation for this. In all my readings and writings, which is almost 100% philosophy, what I read and write about is arguing for or against, with fellow philosophers. That is my life style.

    Being able to see (even three other) fellow Ethiopians with such a different background (such as ours) handling such sensitive issues with the degree of reasonability/rationality and respect for ideas that we’ve seen, I think, will set an example for other fellow Ethiopians. Just read other web sites/blogs run by fellow Ethiopians to see how much difference there is in most of them and this forum. Am I being self-consciously being self-congratulatory of our own effort here? I’m speaking the truth and let anyone who thinks that what I’ve shared above is wrong show me where I’ve gone wrong. I’m trying to encourage fellow Ethiopians who’re also faithful participants to take note of the fruit of their work. I wanted to say thank you so much for your setting a good example. Let’s continue to set an example as we continue to debate the ideas.

    By the way, watch out for this: this is about the end of March. Our discussion that has been going on so far will be going into the archive for March: this is the nature of how blogs work. I’m working with the person who runs the blog on continuing this promising discussion and debate on this very blog perhaps with a new title for the next month. Take note of these seasonal changes to take place very soon.

    Many thanks,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  129. Daniyot
    March 30, 2007 at 5:53 am

    Hi Guys,

    When I first start to say a word about Max Weber works, I do not have any plan to open a debate on issues like:” the western civilization and Christianity, none Christian lands and development, the correlation of western civilization with development, why Christianity did not bring development to ancient Christian counties like Ethiopia.)That was not my area of focus on the first place, but if it seems essential, the road is open as long as we are under the umbrella of these blog.

    When I raise the issues I (wished) expected to see or learn the following from my fellow Ethiopian at large and the current participants in particular.

    1 When I raise the work of Max Weber ,it go back to about 1870 to 1910(the prime time for his work),He wrote his thesis in that time ,then imagine the place of western civilization at that time .
    2 .In his work he showed that “capitalism evolved when the protestant ethic influenced large number of people to engage in a work in the secular world, developing their own enterprise and engaging in trade and accumulation of wealth for investment .in other words the protestant ethics was a force behind an unplanned and uncoordinated mass action that led to the development of capitalism’. Therefore we can easily infer that the significance role Christianity played at that period of time, at least. Here is my view, If Christianity has contributed at least some to the development of Europe and America at that time ,So what was our Christian ethics ,what are the dos and don’ts in our Christian Ethics ,or what are the main team of our Christian teaching(I do clearly understand to worship God ,that is unquestionable ) what do they teach us order to perform our daily work efficiently? our daily life besides the living words God .As far as I know Our church fathers do not include or do not want to include the need to teach us the value of time ,about the value of hard work ,and they do not appreciate or encourage us to engage in our daily work ,in reverse they wish every to leave his assignment and just spent day and night personally or mentally within the church .That is what they are teaching us ,that is why most of us wishes to be a priest ,or paster, that is why they do not want to teach us the hard core about our lord and the bible .

    I am sorry I can not continue because ,I have some thing urgent to do now ,if I get the chance I will be with you Guys soon ,sorry again for the discontinuation of my ideas .

  130. Bisrat
    March 30, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Tazabi,

    Since we are talking about Christianity in referring to history,
    Particularly, faith in triune God and the lordship of Christ, I will say; Christainity has been transcending culture, geography and language since the beginning of recorded history. But remember we all know that it originated in Middle East. We (Ethiopians) are not exceptions from this truth by any means what so ever.

    You said,” I agree with Veritas cautious response on this. Christianity is not one size fits all religion and it never been a faith for all people.” I did not say it is or I will not say it should be. It is improbable to say today’s west is Christians since they shift to atheism, relativism and secularism, especially. Europe. However, I am afraid you have totally missed my point here. What I did try to address in my previous note is the fact that Christian hallmark is clearly seen even in this post modern age. I don’t understand how this can be a puzzle to you to see the relationship between Christianity and western civilization. There are ton s of history books out there on this issue. I didn’t make it up or is not my opinion. Let me explain this in a little more detailed manner if you will:

    Impact on the Value of Human Life; for your concern about woman;

    In ancient cultures, a wife was the property of her husband. Aristotle said that woman was somewhere between a free man and a slave. In India, widows were voluntarily or involuntarily burned on their husbands? Funeral pyres. Christian missionaries were a major influence in stopping these century-old practices and ideas. Even Feminism has Christian roots to begin with or it could have emerged in India or other Muslim nation where women are degraded.

    Children. In the ancient world, for example in classical Rome or Greece, infanticide was not only legal, it was applauded. Killing a Roman was murder, but it was commonly held in Rome that killing one’s own children could be an act of beauty. Through a higher view of life, it was the early Christian church that ultimately brought an end to infanctide.

    Slavery. While it is true that committed Christians have owned slaves in history, it is also true that slavery was ended in great measure by Christian activists. For example, historians credit the British evangelical William Wilberforce as the primary force behind the ending of the international slave trade (which happened prior to the American Civil War). Two-thirds of the members of the American abolition society in 1835 were Christian ministers. And Tazabi, Slavery might have a different meaning in the bible than we understand it today. It could be debatable.

    Gladiators. A 5th century monk, Telemachus is credited as being the pivotal force ending the gladiator spectacles.
    Cannibalism. Missionary followers of Jesus are credited with stopping cannibalism in many primitive societies.

    Tazabi , Do you really think Rome was civilized before Christianity. Nero would’t have enjoyed persecuting christians as a sport. They were simply pagans, Worshipers of false gods until Constantine converted to Christianity and change course.

    Education: From the beginning of Judaism, from which Christianity is derived, there was an emphasis on the written word. But the phenomenon of education for the masses has its roots in the Protestant Reformation.
    In order to promote Bible literacy, Christians have been leaders in education. This trend was accelerated with the advent of the printing press( as I mentioned it in my post about the Guttenberg printing press) at about the same time as the Protestant Reformation

    Free Enterprise and the Work Ethic
    Private property rights can be traced to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:15-17 (Thou shalt not steal,?Thou shalt not covet.”)–as well as to other passages from the Old and New Testaments. Interestingly, there are over 700 references to money in the Bible!

    Government of the People
    While America’s constitutional government is not specifically Christian, it can be argued that its roots are taken from biblical doctrines. I don’t have to go to the details.

    Science: It is possible to argue that science has it roots in Christianity. One can point out that other world religions may express a worldview of fatalism (everything is fatalistically determined) or of illusion (that the physical world is an illusion). Science could not have arisen from these worldviews.
    Christianity on the other hand, is based on the notion that there exists a rational God who is the source of rational truth. This, they argue, gave rise to the possibility of scientific laws.
    Evidence for this view is that nearly all the founders of modern science were Christians. These include men such as Keppler, Boyle, Pascal, Pasteur, Newton, etc.

    Now, if I give you the glimpse of the Christian influence in civilization, let me get back to Ethiopian Christianity. Even if there might be minor difference in the doctrine and dogma, there is NO Major difference between the east and the west in the fundamental teaching; about God and Jesus .

    The problem, however, in my opinion is the other way round. When Christianity first came to Ethiopia it was as Jesus thought it and was perfect. What happened later could be speculation .But, there is la lot of factors Why we missed a sound teaching form the orthodox church if we dare to compare and contrast;

    first, the ancient church was totally immersed in a vain mysticism and absorbed various sincretic beliefs to this day and abondened the true christian teaching. It was substituted by false teaching brought by of those nine monks who exiled from Egypt because of their heresy. They implement unbiblical teaching to church. I can’t elaborate this on this blog.
    Second,
    1) the influence of the Church was for long limited to the north of Ethiopia;
    2) most of the clergy know very little about the Holy Bible;
    3) the clergy could hardly translate verses from Geez to Amharic language;
    4) the clergy could hardly write even a private letter in Amharic;
    5) the Holy Synod was always subservient to the ruling regime;
    6) the Church miserably failed to recognize the virtue of hard work in her teachings;
    7) the Church stood in the way of science and technology.
    As to the Church leaders, they preached the laity to obey those in power in most cases failing to condemn atrocities perpetrated ruthless rulers

    So my conclusion is as follows, If Christianity superb in shaping one’s character individually and a society at large but it didn’t happen to affect us posetively, as Veritas put it, it is logically possible to say true that Ethiopia is utterly out of touch. The Orthodox Church has totally failed to cary the mandate she received. So Ethiopia is Not a Christian nation or has never been. So we have to be evangelized again.

    Selam Hunu,

    Bis

  131. Bisrat
    March 30, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Just to add to the last paragraph. We desperately need grassroots REFORMATION in orthodox church.

  132. Veritas
    March 30, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Hello Bisrat and All:

    Now we’re at a stage to debate very important views/thoughts that some of us have been trying to share with some degree of hesitation and reservations. Bisrat has shared his extended thoughts for the conclusion that Ethiopia as a nation has never been a Christian nation nor is it a Christian nation now. Now I can see that we’ve got something serious to debate in our individual and collective soul searching that I’ve put forward for us, Ethiopians, to do. Bisrat, I want to say thank you so much for your extended thoughts that are going to be debated for some time, at least, among the four of us.

    1)The examples Bisrat has given us to show the relationship between Christianity and the development of the Western world could be taken as good indications that there was a link between what Christianity teaches and fruits of Christian teaching if correctly and consistently lived. They are not proofs as such but then they can serve as pieces of good evidence for what Bisrat claimed to show us. That is enough to us to start working our way forward, I think.
    2)We need to be careful again: When Bisrat claims that Ethiopia has never been a Christian nation he’s clearly referring to the Orthodox Church failing to deliver what Christianity is supposed to teach us about values, about who we’re are as humans, values that we ought to hold as humans, and how we should live accordingly. His reasons from (1-7) seem to be right for most part. If these reasons are mostly right then it does not take much to see the failure of Christian teaching in the context of the Ethiopian society: once again, we’re talking about those who claim to be Christians.
    3)I hope that we all remember what I said once: IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES in our lives and what the majority of Christian Ethiopians have believed and lived out in their lives does not seem to be what other nations (like in the West as Bistrat has reminded us) have believed and lived out. Ideas and thoughts and beliefs are intimately related and this is one example of how what we believe affects us in the way we live our lives. If what those fellow Ethiopians have believed about Christianity is wrong in some ways, we’d not expect to see the fruits of Christianity as Bisrat claims that we see in the West. Mind you: in this context of the influence of Christianity on the West we are mot talking about the present moment, whether the Western society is predominantly Christian now. That is an altogether different talk from one country to the other, in Europe and the US. We’re focusing on the positive contributions of Christian teachings on the formative historical periods of the Western world.
    4)Nowadays we’ve a fair number of Protestant Christians in Ethiopia and I want to see how their influence is different and/or better on the contemporary Ethiopian society. Protestant Ethiopians have not been around as long as their Orthodox cousins, if I’m mot mistaken, but I wonder if their contribution to what we’re debating is any better. The reason I’m raising this point is for the following historical link between the Reformation that gave birth to Protestant understanding of Christianity which is what Max Weber’s study was largely based on and the influence of such understanding of Christianity in Ethiopia during the last many decades. I’m sharing this for the sake of debate in relation to what we’re discussing and debating these days. If Protestant Christianity is not making the difference to the way (Protestant) Ethiopians live their lives, as opposed to those who do not hold similar beliefs and values, what is the point of being a Protestant Christian one would wonder.
    5)I also want us to bear this point in mind as we discuss these issues: there is no intention here or should there be any such intention at all to judge and condemn any Ethiopian, Orthodox or Protestant or Catholic as we seek to figure out why we do not see positively appreciable and significant impact of Christianity on the Ethiopian society. I’m not concerned at this point whether this group of Christian is correct or not; I’m not thinking about salvation of one’s soul or not. These are not part of this discussion in any direct way as I hope it’s clear for all of us. There might be an indirect relationship to the salvation of one’s soul, that is, becoming a Christian as Christianity teaches about Christian salvation and what we’re discussing. The point being discussed here rather is IF Christianity has really, actually played such positive roles in other parts of the world, why has it failed to do the same in our own society? This is a very important question for all well-meaning Ethiopian who’s concerned to understand one’s own identity and also how we, as a society, got here all along.
    6)This preceding point is what brings us back to my question about character traits which is the heart of this whole debate for Christianity teaches something about ALL the Character traits that have caused a profoundly unsettling thoughts in this writer’s mind that led him to share his long-standing concerns about his own society’s destitution, despair, degradation, deterioration and decay and down-ward spiraling development, if we can call such a thing development at all.

    Now back to you all to share your important thoughts as you’ve been doing for many days now. Many thanks for all the active participants: Tazabi, Daniyot, and Bisrat.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  133. Tazabi
    March 31, 2007 at 1:10 am

    Bisrat,
    One of your question 3/29 post was “Why chirstianity didn’t have the same great inflence in Ethiopia as it had had in a western society?” and i was attempting to point out some of the areas what appeared to me problems in orthodox christian religion.

    Actually, the reason i said to take a look this discussion with caution is that because we’ve so many unexamined Ethiopian issues in our history. I was also concerened when we talked about christianity, Orthodox christian religion has deep root with judaism and i’m worried using the term christianity in the general term may take us to another route where we’re not planning to go. Let me ask you this..How about if i say labeling Ethiopia as a christian nation is not true? If we say majority of Ethiopian population is Oromo so, how we reached to the conclusion that “Ethiopia is a christian nation?” When i think about the complexity of the Orthodox religion elements under the umberella christianity, it makes me think that many orthodox christians practice is almost like a mix of christian religion and a pagan like religion. As always, it confused me.

    What i learned in history is that Rome was civilized in Roman empire and because of christianity arrival many buildings, art destroyed, burned and replaced all by christian religion arts. I don’t think christianity is not all rossy in world history. I think we can argue with these issues some other time.
    Veritas,
    Let me assume all their claims about christianity outside Ethiopia is true and let me focus on only Ethiopia. The orthodox religion is very old and very traditional in its teachings. Even, the monthly calander showing us how occupied with religious events and how the working days are limited to a few days, not to mention the fasting seasons. This indicates us what it matters in orthodox religion is dedicating our waking hours to only religion than work. The teaching supports less work and more time to prayer, fasting, visiting the church frequently. They don’t encourge in discussion, dialougue either. Becuase, they teach you to tell your problem to your priest or pray on it. I could go on and on…Since, i’m an Orthodox chrisitan, in my opinion, yes, we could see many problems in Orthodox christian religion in many areas, however, i’m not holding the curch responsible for our society bad behaviour, character traits. The Orthodox church is not representing the entire ethiopian society.

    Veritas, when i said “civilization supposed to give respect for knowledge..’ what was in my mind was that we have been told that christianity brought civilization to the world, in the same token, if we said Ethiopia is the oldest christian country and if all the above claims are true, obviously, christianity has not delivered the promise of civilization in Ethiopia. To me, civilizaiton is a process.

  134. Daniyot
    March 31, 2007 at 1:40 am

    Let me go back to the place where I stopped, because I think I have to, at least summarize my points.
    3. When I talk about the value of hard, the effective use of our time, our due respect to our daily work, it does not mean having two full time jobs so as to get cure from sins. It means to me that one who believes in His God has some commitments and responsibility to perform .One of his responsibility is to know the value of time, the need to work hard, and to pray to his God to bless his works, we, in the contrary, just like to seat down and expect some thing from heaven without performing our duties and responsibility. To be honest our church (any of Christian church) intentionally or unintentionally do not focus to teach as this part, if I were Ethiopian pastor that will be my major are of focus, Even I do let lazy people know that something is wrong in their approach to God (this is what I think to reduce the extent of poverty in our country because the church is exceptionally the only place to get relatively larger number of people as well as it a place where people pay much attention to the teaching)

    4 .When I first raised issues of Christianity, time, hard and work in my previous post, I was eager to see some commit of what so ever sort ,but no body tried to attach this issues directly to our country situation, but we all us preferred to be more analytical instead ,

    I will be with you just after a couple of hours.

  135. Veritas
    March 31, 2007 at 3:04 am

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    We’re making a great progress with the ideas we’re sharing and trying to understand why our society is the way it’s been for centuries and what we can do about our desperate situation. Thanks a lot for your enthusiastic contributions and your honesty in sharing what you think is worth sharing with the rest of us.

    1)Tazabi: I agree with you when you say that the Church does not represent the entire Ethiopian society and I remember your taking note of that statement by me when you said that I was also being cautious. Yes, the Christian Churches (Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) do not exhaust the whole of Ethiopian population. We should not make that mistake. Your cautions are well taken for I’ve already shared them as well.
    2)Now one thing I also said specifically addresses Ethiopians who claim to be Christians, whatever Churches they belong to. I made it clear that there are Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians in Ethiopia and these Churches are responsible for teaching their people what Christianity is supposed to be teaching about work ethics, which is our example. In that sense we can debate whether these Churches have accomplished their mission. I very much doubt that they have. I raised the same question about Protestant Ethiopians as well as the Orthodox Ethiopians as I hope that you’ve seen.
    3)I agree with you that civilization is a process. If Christianity has contributed any positive good to the civilization of the West, we face a real problem for Ethiopia has been claimed to have been a Christian nation perhaps well over 1, 300 years BEFORE the US was born! Where have we been in all those years? We need an answer. Something seems to have gone wrong somewhere. Let’s continue to search for the BEST explanation for why we’re the way we are today. That is the major reason for my initiating this whole discussion and soul-searching.
    4)Daniyot: I’ve been consistently encouraging all of us to share whatever thoughts we want to as long as they are relevant and I also addressed you personally to do that without any need for apologizing. There is no idea that should be kept secret or hidden when we’re out in public doing soul-searching and trying to work out something helpful for our own healing as a society.
    5)When you say the following, “When I first raised issues of Christianity, time, hard and work in my previous post, I was eager to see some commit of what so ever sort ,but no body tried to attach this issues directly to our country situation, but we all us preferred to be more analytical instead”; honestly I got confused who you have in mind as to who prefers to be more analytical. I do not understand what you’re trying to communicate by what you’re trying to say under your point that I just quoted and when you say that all of us preferred to be more analytical instead that does not seem to be right IF what you’ve in mind is the following:
    a.If you mean by analytical as being pedantic or merely academic without being practical, that is simply wrong. If what we’re doing is a mere talk without a practical purpose nothing seems to be more wrong. I hope that this is NOT what you have in mind.
    b.If you were trying to say that we were afraid of sharing some issues and were trying to avoid raising them, I can’t see how that would include all of us for I’ve been trying to encourage all of us to be honest, open and openly and honestly discuss any issues as long as they are relevant to the theme of our discussion.
    c.I do not know what else you have in mind when you shared what I’m responding to. Now you can help us by clearly sharing your thoughts so that we all should be clear as to what you were trying to communicate with us. The reason I wanted clarity in what you’ve shared under the point I quoted above is because I’m trying to remind us that we follow the Gricean Maxims that I’ve shared with all of that talk about relevance and clarity in our communications. My job as a philosopher is to clearly communicate my own thoughts as well as trying to understand what the other is trying to communicate so that TRUTH will remain the goal of our pursuit all along without confusions guiding us as principles. I hope that you see why I decided to bring up these thoughts. I know from countless personal experiences that when people do not like demands for clarity in communications, which is what philosophers would typically seek for the reasons that I’ve shared, they dismiss such desires for something intrinsically good and valuable by dismissing them as analytical, pedantic and merely academic. That is part of the mind-set of so, so many Ethiopians and hence my desire is to understand an honest and clear idea that you had in mind when you said what concerned me under this point (5). I’m not asking for something new from us which I’ve not been emphasizing all along and I’ve tried my best to live up to what I’ve been asking from others as well. I’ve no other hidden motive.

    Hope to see very productive discussions and debates among us, and hopefully, with some who’d join us in the long run.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  136. Veritas
    March 31, 2007 at 4:31 am

    Hello All:

    As we’ve observed from our exchange of thoughts as the days go by I hope that we’ve taken note of the desire to focus mainly on work ethics in our society. I want to remind us all what I’ve shared with you all about what kind of book project that I’ll be working on; the following is what I’ve shared with us all on the 22nd of March:

    “Yes, this work could be used for various purposes: as a philosophical reflection on one’s identity, one’s beliefs and values; reflections on moral philosophy or ethics; for work ethics; moral psychology; moral foundations for development; moral/ethical foundation for education; on motives/ reasons for human actions; a reflection on the nature of truth, beliefs, and values and even the meaning of life, to some extent.”

    1)What we’re discussing is what I was planning to include in the book project and that is why I wanted to see what fellow Ethiopians think about the issues that I’ll cover in the book. When I saw that Daniyot was brining up the issues of work ethics the reason I kept encouraging him to be open and share his thoughts was because the topic is already part of the project I mean to develop and am testing my ideas with you guys. It’s my plan to show how work ethics is directly related to or the consequence of the bad character traits that I’ve been encouraging us to be focusing on.
    2)Now the following point is what ALL of us need to bear in mind when we discuss about LACK of work ethics in the Ethiopian society, generally.
    a.We should NOT forget that most of the Ethiopian population lives in a rural setting. We should bear in mind that the rural people, the farming community, the majority of the Ethiopian people, if I’m not mistaken, are the most hard-working people one can observe in Ethiopia. We know when they go to work and when they get back home: from dawn to dusk. Their being less productive is not due to lack of work ethics: it’s a direct consequence of lack of technological advancements. They (that is, we) are in, more or less, the SAME technological state as our ancestors centuries ago. That is a fact.
    b.The urban population is the least productive due to LACK OF WORK ETHICS. Mind you that most of Ethiopia’s strategic roles for development and advancement and prosperity that should change and transform the lives of fellow Ethiopians in both the rural and urban part of the country, is in the hands of those who have had some formal education and work as civil servants. Many or most of these fellow Ethiopians are the sources of tragic history for Ethiopia’s lack of development and those things that negatively affect Ethiopia. My hope is that Daniyot has these people in mind when he talks about lack of work Ethics. If I remember correctly Tazabi was referring to these urban people as well.
    c.Now things are getting complicated: My original thesis that many Ethiopians have been negatively affected by bad character traits targets still many in both the rural and urban settings. When it comes to lack of work ethics I separate rural Ethiopians from urban Ethiopians: both these groups of people are the least productive: the rural for lack of technological advancement whereas the urban is for lack of work ethics.
    d.Now we can see the implications, among so many things, of the FAILURE of institutions of higher learning in Ethiopia, colleges and universities, and how much miserably they’ve failed the society when the majority of the Ethiopian people, ESP., rural Ethiopians, are left to be the least productive when we claim to have educated people whose role in the society has been the least effective. The role of the Church also comes into focus now as part of a failed institution in Ethiopia when it comes to lack of work ethics predominantly in the urban Ethiopian society.

    I just wanted to share the above thoughts for I think that they are crucial distinctions to have in mind when we talk about work ethics.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  137. Daniyot
    March 31, 2007 at 4:55 am

    Veritas

    No ,I did not mean that ,that was not totally my intention.if I do put the whole thing in that way ,it means all our efforts will be in vein ,When I raise this issues time to time ,my intention was to make someone(with in us or the outsider) to give us some new direction, lessen and recommendation from the practical point of view about what our (church) has been teaching us and/or our church supposed to teach us ,To be honest that was my only intention when I forwarded my last paragraph’s ,otherwise I am mistaken.Thank you Veritas ,That is the way how you usually give life to this discussion,

  138. Veritas
    March 31, 2007 at 5:17 am

    Hello Daniyot:

    That adequately explains what I was confused about. Many thanks again for your honest and quick response.

    Now let’s move on to tackle our common mystery about what has gone wrong with us as a society. Please note that one of the roles that I’m playing as a fellow Ethiopian is encouraging us all in this discussion group to share our thoughts WITHOUT sharing ALL my thoughts at once that led me into a book long writing project I want to do.

    I’m giving you all (including myself) chances to participate by sharing some of my thoughts as I do all the way. If I shared with you all my major arguments at once that will be a full blown book and hence there is no need for us to engage in this discussion now. Now I want to connect with fellow Ethiopians (such us you and Tazabi and Bisrat) in their (our) struggle to understand and figure out why we’re who we are as a society today and what will become of us tomorrow.

    And also some of the thoughts I’ll share with my audience are from a little bit difficult areas of philosophy that require for some in the audience to get used to some of the preliminary ideas that I’ve been sharing from time to time that would eventually lead us into somewhat a little bit difficult yet necessary concepts for our understanding of our root problems. As we continue to engage one another I’ll continue to share some of the most relevant issues for our discussion and your contributions are always deeply appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  139. Daniyot
    March 31, 2007 at 8:02 am

    I would like to thank Bisrat for his deep analysis of the issues like western civilization, Christianity and the place of Ethiopia in respect of Christianity; it does not mean to ignore the noble contribution by Veritas and Tazabi, even this discussion would have been possible with out the usual questions of Tazabi and Well organized & deep rooted explanation of Veritas.

    From March 30, post Veritas put the following points as a dilemma or as question” Now we face the following dilemma: (a) either the influence of Christianity on the West is true, or, (b) the claim that Ethiopia is among the oldest Christian nations is false” I do say that Ethiopia is the old Christian nation as well as western civilization was influenced by Christianity. Let me say words as follow.

    1 Ethiopia is among the oldest Christian nation that is true to me , because of the following facts.
    A. The adoption of Christianity in Ethiopian dates to the fourth century reign of the Axumite emperor Ezana .As many scholars of ancient history agree that the main reason for the conversion of Ezana into Christianity is mainly associated with his intense desire to have a strong trade relation with the roman empire who had a absolute dominance on red sea trading by that time .Immediately after his conversion the following incidences were occurred on Ezana Governance.
    _He unified many diverse ethnic and linguistic people of Axume Kingdom.
    _He economically dominated the region at that time
    _The first state to develop a coin system to manage his well sophisticated economy by time
    _He was the first world leader to put a cross sign on coins that is the earliest example of Christian material culture from Ethiopia as ancient history books teach us .
    This all factors were directly or indirectly linked with the adoption of Christianity in to Ethiopia and its consequential positive effect on the economy of Ethiopia by the time .here what do you think he create and use money (Coin) as a means of trading, I do infer that the existence of economic growth, what do you think when he unify many diverse Ethnic and Linguistic people of Axume kingdom by that time, it is a sign of development to me. To make my points clearer, let me put the following quote from one of ancient historian work “trade and Christianity not only brought prosperity, but it also brought change, Ge’ez began to take hold as the common language of the people and was often used by royalty .THE BIBLE was also translated into Ge’ez .As well as the language taking a shape, OTHER COUNTRIES BEGIN LOOKING TO AXUM AS A SUPERPOWER.”, [So, you guys see how it was….at that time.]

    B. in the 12th century a new dynasty was begin to emerge in the high land of Ethiopia (the Zagwes dynasty) ,when this dynasty came in to power they were wise enough to retain social political and religious protocol of Axumite kingdom .Emperor Lalibela from the Zagwes dynasty build rock-hewn churches during his rule of 1185 to 1225.How do you think about the way ,the technology, finance and skilled & unskilled labor took part in the process of this construction or do you think is that a miracle? The European were very intrigued with Ethiopian the middle ages because they believed it to be the only Christian nation outside of Europe, so I do not see any room to ignore the claim Ethiopia as old Christian ,developed and old nation by the time.

    To sum up all this development and growth were directly associated with the acceptance of Christianity as a religion by the Axumite kingdom and the rest then.

    2. The influence of Christianity in the west is true; yes it is true, as so many scholars do understood that western civilization was formed from three distinct traditions;1 the classical culture of Greek and Rome 2.the Christian religion 3.the enlightenment of modern era .Many have seen western civilization as a result of those three factors .many scholars even at the present time says ‘the central and crucial tradition of western civilization is the Christian tradition ,which has carried on the best elements of classical tradition ,while subordinating them to a higher biblical truth ,Christianity ,in other words, kept the development in a good shape and balance.

    When we may see something happing in Korea, china, or Japan, and some other countries at the current time, believe me it is not either civilization or development, it is only an economic growth, i.e. some sub part of development.

    3 I have tried my best to show that Ethiopia is old Christianity nation and contribution of Christianity to the west even if I do not have adequate knowledge and experience to those issues ,then my point is we have to see our Christian teaching ,If Christianity brought that kind of change to Ethiopia at that times, why not today ?! Or is there any thing missing some where in some time or what.

    * * *
    Veritas, you have to write your book today, you do have adequate …of almost everything as far as book writing is concerned, I do understand your remainder from your very beginning, whenever I do raise issues about some people ,my soul knows to whom I was referring to even if I did not mention it ,thank you again.

  140. Tazabi
    March 31, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Veritas,
    Thanks for clearing some of the grayish area in our discussion. You’re right, all my experiances and reflections are coming from the city life and I cannot say all my experiances reflects the Ethiopian society as a whole.

    Danyiot,
    By the way, thanks for bringing up work ethics and religion issues. It allowed me to explore in many areas of Ethiopian history and allowed me to ask if i have been holding untested truth. Sometimes we take things as granted or shrugging it off as if that’s somebody elses problem.
    What you’re saying is that without getting too analytical on the issue, there’s a problem in christian church teachings and let’s find solution for it.

    When we blame the church, that’s a huge claim in our parts and we’ve to put in the table reasons and historical facts to say the least, to support our claim. Without analyzing the critical issues about christianty in Ethiopia, the history, you cannot get the answer or reach to the conclusion. Some where along the line, you may find answer for it or you may not, but we cannot find solutions without getting into depth as issues like what we’ve been discussing.

  141. Veritas
    March 31, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Hello Daniyot & Tazabi:

    Daniyot:

    You’ve done a tremendous job. Many thanks for taking your time to share with us lots of important points about the claim whether “Ethiopia is among the oldest Christian nations is false.” To remind us of what I posed as a dilemma for us to debate here is what I said: “Now we face the following dilemma: (a) either the influence of Christianity on the West is true, or, (b) the claim that Ethiopia is among the oldest Christian nations is false. Both of these claims do not seem to be right, since we do not observe as much Christian influence in Ethiopia as it’s been claimed to be the case in the West.”
    1)If you’ve quoted me a little bit more fully I do not think that what the dilemma presents is a wholesale denial that Ethiopia has ever been a Christian nation in any sense at all or Christianity in Ethiopia has not been around for centuries, in form or the other. I added the following qualifier, “Both of these claims do not seem to be right, since we do not observe as much Christian influence in Ethiopia as it’s been claimed to be the case in the West” since we’re talking about Christian influence in a nation which we can tell by its fruits in terms of civilization in both moral and technological realms. What you’ve provided as examples of Christian influence in Ethiopia centuries ago is fine with me. Remember what I said about the remote past history of Ethiopians and who should take credit for that, etc? I hope that you’d remember what I shard about how I think about those achievements of Ethiopians centuries ago. There was an element of Christian influence then and that should not be denied while we’re seeking answers to our fundamental questions for the fundamental problems of our nation SINCE THEN.
    2)By the way, I want us all to have this point in mind even when we recognize some early positive influence of Christianity in early Ethiopian history, if we grant that much: Ethiopia of that period of time in history and Ethiopia of today are not one and the same. The history of Ethiopia is complex and it’s way beyond my area of expertise. But, I think, this much is clear: The early Christian influence in “Ethiopia” is not what we’d want to say that that influence was there all over the current political geography of Ethiopia like among the current people of Jinka or the Mursi people or in the then Wolytta people or what have you. Go farther from the THEN north to the then south or to the then west or to the then east, and I bet that perhaps, for example, most of the Mursi people still even now have never heard of what we’re talking about: “Ethiopian civilization” which we are attributing to THEM TOO if we do not clearly make the distinctions I’m urging us to bear in mind. I think it’s fair to say that the sense in saying that Ethiopia has been said to be one of the oldest Christian nations is better understood if we take Christianity to be what those in political leadership of those times claimed to have held and its influence was closely related to the subjects of those segments of the Ethiopian people whom they governed or ruled or related to due to their role as rulers of that time in the history of Ethiopia. I think Bisrat has also mentioned some of these factors under points (1) and (5) in his post for March 30th. When we try to make such distinctions our talk about Christianity and Ethiopia shrinks to a story of the ruling classes’ use of Christianity as an instrument to subject its people for their political goals, to put it provocatively. This is something we should not forget in our discussion and soul-searching.
    3)The following points from Tazabi are good points to keep in our minds as well for they are in similar spirit with what I’ve just said under point (2): “Actually, the reason i said to take a look this discussion with caution is that because we’ve so many unexamined Ethiopian issues in our history…. Let me ask you this..How about if i say labeling Ethiopia as a christian nation is not true? If we say majority of Ethiopian population is Oromo so, how we reached to the conclusion that “Ethiopia is a christian nation?” When i think about the complexity of the Orthodox religion elements under the umberella christianity, it makes me think that many orthodox christians practice is almost like a mix of christian religion and a pagan like religion. As always, it confused me.”
    4) Daniyot thanks for urging me to write the book, “today” whose ideas I’m trying to share with you all. I’ve other commitments at the moment that would not allow me to devote a full time and energy to writing the book I mentioned though writing such a book is not something that is like an impossible task. I chose this time, now, for us and myself as a time to reflect individually and collectively on our national soul-searching. I decided to hear the reflections of flesh and blood, fellow Ethiopians. I wanted to learn from them as well while I’m also sharing my own reflections that of course would take up hundreds of pages whenever I decide to write. Thank you for urging me to do what I want to do, given an adequate time. It’ll be done soon though.
    5)Tazabi: Thanks for understanding the value of undertaking analysis of important ideas and searching for truth in the process of analysis of our thoughts/ideas/beliefs/values. That is so encouraging to hear from you as well.

    Now back to you all to hear from you more and to learn more about our own society and ourselves as well. I hope that this discussion/journey has been an enriching and rewarding one to us all who’re participating.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  142. Bisrat
    March 31, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Tazabi and all

    When I say the Orthodox church must hold responsilbe for the decadence of our society and culture, I am not Judging with no grounds. I have reffered historical facts over and over again, and all of you did as well. otherwise, it will be a false humility not to.

    There is no way to justify our failure. We have failed and we know it. Daniot is right when he said we don’t need to get too analytical on the issue. It is as simple as that:

    There is NO other truth. Please understand, the gospel that works for the west should work for us too. The abslolute truth about Christianity is its power to bring one individual and a nation to a dramatic change anywhere at anytime.

    If that is so, what kind of analytical evidence( It seems to me that you are trying to find a loop hole to give an excuse to the church) do you want other than the facts we already mentioned. You already admitted that Ethiopian christianity is mixture of Judaism and pagan practices hence you definitely know it is a problem even before we try engage ourselves in dismanteling the thread in the time line.

    You see, there is a heirarchy in the church. The clergy has the mandate to teach and lead the laity. That is how God sees it. Jesus didn’t go great length trying to modify or to bring Pychological analyses in showing how people of God failed the standard. He didn’t need to. It is could be seen clearly. he just preached the good news, period. he said repent.

    Now, if we agree that there is a correlation between christian teaching and individual character, we have to admit to that the church has to take responsibilty a least to some degree to those she was acounted for. If the church (Orthodox) had initially recieved the great commision and never accomplished it by it entirety, there will be no cure or reformation to our faith and country. acceptance is the first step to overcoming the quensquence of any misfortune. As Jesus himself rebuked the pharasis of their hypocracy and holds them accountable, I have no doubt that he will do the same to ours too.

    Once again, I am not here trying to sit on the judgement sit of God and tryig to send everybody to the pit of hell. No No NO God forbid. However, what I am trying to say is if we can’t see the problem and face it, who will be bold enough to encounter those accountable for this mess. Who will challenge them like the reformers did to the catholic church. Nevertheless, the church will have no ressuraction. As she lived in darkness she wll end up in darkness. And it will be YOU and ME who will be responsible for that.
    There is no time to give analytical logistics and…..

    Tazabi, you know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you free. I argue that progress in every aspect in Ethiopia should be derived from the christian value, not from the pagan practices of the south. It doesn’t mean that must not be tolerance or freedom of religion. For undeveloped society like ours, the rural people is volunerable for cult and occult practices. The true teaching of christianity is the only hope for our beloved people and country.

    Veritas. I will comment about the protestant church and its role next time.
    but the protestant movement is too young to take a full scale impct to the large and copmlex society like ours. I will elaborate on that when I come back

    Cheers,

    Bis

  143. Veritas
    March 31, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Hello Bisrat and All:

    Thanks Bisrat for sharing your thoughts, once again, on what YOU think would be the BEST solution for our problems as a society. I know that we all agree that Bisrat is entitled to his views no matter how much we agree or disagree with what he said. Having said this let me add a few more thoughts:

    1)As usual I’m going to call upon all of us, esp., the active participants, to exercise as much care as possible when we share our views. For example, when Bisrat says, “There is NO other truth. Please understand, the gospel that works for the west should work for us too. The abslolute truth about Christianity is its power to bring one individual and a nation to a dramatic change anywhere at anytime.”
    a.Such claims seem to go too far at this stage of the discussion. I do not think that everyone in Ethiopia must be a Christian in a way Bisrat seems to communicate his thoughts for Ethiopia to receive solutions for whatever we as a society have. From what we’ve communicated about the relationship between Christianity and civilization in the west and lack of similar fruits in Ethiopia, it does not seem justifiable to say what Bisrat has said in the quote I’ve provided from him. I think we need much more careful argument for such a very strong conclusion. Even if I share the conclusion with him, which is not the point of this note, I doubt his reasons justify such a strong conclusion.
    b.Simple example: Our Muslim brothers and sisters in Ethiopia, as many in number as their Christian brothers and sisters, have been well known for their working hard and being more successful in various businesses than most of fellow Christian Ethiopians. Whether what I’m just saying is true or not, which I think is open for all us to see whether the claim is true, if it’s true, then Christian Ethiopians need to explain why Muslim Ethiopians are more successful in what they usually engage in, like multiple businesses. I think Christian Ethiopians need to lean from their successful Muslim brothers and sisters. When one is after the truth as we mean to be here, we should not ignore any fact that can shed some light on what we’re searching after: fundamental solutions for multiple afflictions with which we’ve lived as a society for far too long. Islam and Christianity are not one and the same; I do know that. I’m only sharing the preceding puzzle for those who argue that only the Christian way is the only way. No mistakes here: I’m not for Islam and against Christianity, or vise versa. No such conclusions, please. I’m only pointing out problems some of us might show in how we share our thoughts, which are perfectly fine, but rational dialogues such as this demand reasons and evidence and supporting arguments to properly and adequately establish our desired conclusions.
    c.One more thing: I do not think it’s the best thing to say the following to Tazabi: “Tazabi, you know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you free” as one would wonder how addressing Tazabi this way would be relevant to the issue we’re discussing; it does not seem to serve the purpose of what we mean to achieve in any direct way. It could be but I doubt it’s the best way to say such a thing at this stage of our discussion.
    2)Let’s not forget this point that I’ve shared once before: we are concerned here to figure out why we Ethiopians have been suffering from many problems such as perennial poverty, institutional crises, be that governmental or educational or what have you, and the issue of Christianity and work ethics came up, we continued to share how that idea works. Going BEYOND the issue of work ethics and its relation to Christianity as one might want to show the connections from a Christian point of view, or Islam, TO who needs salvation and who does not have it would be counterproductive , at this stage in our discussion, as far as I can see. One is free even to argue for such an idea by claiming unless a person is this kind of Christian or that there will never be any solution for Ethiopia’s problems. But such arguments are too difficult to establish, in a short post such as ours. I’m sharing my concern because of such possible counterproductive routes we might be taking unawares. I’m more than happy if someone shows my concern is groundless.

    Hope the above points are important ones for us all and let’s continue our debate/discussion with these points in mind if they are worth keeping in our minds.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  144. Tazabi
    March 31, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Bisrat,
    Please, please, you and Danyiot are taking a one-sided view of christianity,here. Since, i’m an Ethiopian,Orthodox christian, in addition to this i’m Amara i would love to believe all your christianity claims are true. Most of all i wish all people are christans, having said this, I’m experiancing the “norms” by reading you guys comments. There’s a question it comes in my mind that we all belives that what we’re telling is true, it could be from personal beliefs, individual point of view, historical facts, however, don’t you think most of the time, what we believe is what we have been told to believe? (Veritas, please take a note here. I would like to discuss some other time with you guys about norms).You said..”the gospel that works for the west should work for us too. The abslolute truth about Christianity is its power to bring one individual and a nation to a dramatic change anywhere at anytime”. I thought you agreed with me when i said in my previous post that christianity is not a one size fits all religion. I’m afraid you’re being naive here. The rural people are vulnerable to cults..? I can see easily your passion towards christianity, but Are you suggesting christianity is a high state of mind?
    Of course, we need to analyze the issue without shutting down other areas of facts. We shouldn’t corner our position in “my way or the highway”. I just don’t get it holding the curch responsibilty. Let me give you this example, if you rob a bank and ended up in a jail, are you blaming God because he creates a bank, or are you blaming your parents for your action, or are you blaming your teacher? They teach us the not kill, steal, don’t lie and we do the opposite all the time and are you saying that the church should be accountable for millions christians who’re in jail?
    The teaching i recieved from the church is very individual. One thing the Ethiopian Orthodox church has accomplishement is that they dominate the religion, stay on the top by “making us believe” we’re all christians.

    I would like to make one point here. Church is a man made institution, not God given object. Jesus, were teaching while he was walking, nothing wrong with the establisments of church rules, laws, but let’s not hold like it’s unreachable.
    Bisrat,
    Just take out your christianity hat for a minute and put it on the non-christian hut to see what went wrong with your last comments.

  145. Tazabi
    March 31, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Veritas,
    I guess you were writing your comments at the same time while i’m writing. You sounds like you’re overly concerned here. I noticed that he was too hot. I’m glad he shared what he believes and what he knew with us. Any rational person should see clearly where he’s coming from. Hey, We don’t want to hear only what we want to hear 🙂

  146. Veritas
    April 1, 2007 at 1:56 am

    Hello Tazabi and All:

    Tazabi:

    You’re partly right that I was concerned about the direction our discussion might be taking when I responded to Bisrat in my previous post. I hope that we all stay on course with as reasonable degree of conducting our discussion about which I’ve always been reminding us whenever I see a need for such a reminder. Hope that note is well taken.

    I thought it would be of some help if I say something, very briefly, about the nature of beliefs and truth, since I’ve seen something about beliefs has kept coming, esp., by you, among others. I’m sharing here some thoughts that I’ll develop much further eventually at some proper time. This is just to have some ideas about beliefs and related concepts to them like truth.

    1)Philosophers describe beliefs as mental states that we hold as true in such a way that when one says that “I believe this or that” that person takes it that what he claims to believe is true. For example, I believe that I’m typing these thoughts to share with Tazabi and my other friends who’re part of this discussion. I believe what I’ve just claimed to be true. You believe that you’re an Ethiopian, Tazabi, and by that you mean your belief is true. For example, if you say to someone that you’re an Ethiopian without believing that to be true, that means you’re lying to another person. This just an example.
    2)These above points show us that beliefs are intimately related to truth. Philosophers put that relationship between beliefs and truth by saying that the aim of belief is truth. By that they mean, whenever we believe something we believe that as true. All the beliefs that we have we hold them as true. That does not mean, by any means, that some of those beliefs that we hold are not false. But then the moment we discover that what we believed to be false we abandon that belief unless we are under self-deception and some delusional state of mind. That means, again, we do not consciously believe something which we know to be false as true. We all know that we believed so many things as children that we no longer believe to be true now. Why? Because we’ve found out, as we grew older and mature, that some of those childhood beliefs are no longer true. We hold all our beliefs as true until we discover that they are false and at that moment, perhaps when our conviction to hold those beliefs gets eroded, we change our mind about those beliefs and we no longer believe them. Beliefs are also intimately related to reasons or evidence that supports them or indicates their being true rather than false. Naturally we want to believe something when we’ve good reasons for the belief to be true; when we acquire reasons or evidence shows our belief to be false then we naturally do not want to believe such a belief unless we’re deceived or deluded.

    3)Tazabi writes, “There’s a question it comes in my mind that we all believes that what we’re telling is true, it could be from personal beliefs, individual point of view, historical facts, however, don’t you think most of the time, what we believe is what we have been told to believe?” Yes and no. Yes, we happen to believe many things from what we hear others tell us, from what we read and see etc. But the problem is if we simply believe whatever we are told to believe as ADULTS, then we need some help. For example, if I tell you that “I’m 3000 years old and I’m also a god”, would you simply believe that statement? No, I assure you won’t believe me no matter how many times I tell you that because as a grown up you know that there are so many things that you know or believe that contradict what I said. What about if you were only a 3/4 three year old little girl and if I were your father and told you that? You’d most certainly believe me.
    4)Now one of the crucial points to bear mind about beliefs and truth relationship: we do not believe everything we hear/read etc as adults; everything that we believe is not necessarily true either; if everything we believe is ALWAYS true that means we never make mistakes, as a result we know everything and we know that that who knows everything and never makes mistakes cannot be a fellow human being. Only God fits that bill as many would say and we all know that we’re NOT a God. The crucial reason that whatever we believe is not necessarily true is because truth is objective and beyond our control. What is true is true for all; if something is true it is wrong to say something-is-true-for-me. Something is either true or false. Not for me or for you. For example, Tazabi currently lives in the US. That statement is true, period. It cannot be true for you and false for me. What makes that statement true is the fact that you currently live in the US. If you do not currently live in the US and if I make that statement then that statement becomes false.
    5)A word or two about what truth is, to which I’ll come back later on: truth is a correspondence of beliefs/statements/propositions to reality. Or, to put it differently: a statement or belief or proposition is true if and only if what the statement or belief or proposition says to be the case actually is the case. To take our earlier example: The statement that says that “Tazabi currently lives in the US” is true if and only if what the statement says to be the case actually is the case, or false otherwise. The statement that says “God exists” is true if and only if what the statement says to be the case is actually the case. If God does not exist that statement is false. If what we believe and what is actually the case, the fact or reality, correspond then what we believe is true; if what we believe does not correspond to a reality then our belief is false. Remember what I said about truth as being beyond our control? For example, Tazabi does not live in the US BECAUSE I believe that statement. Whether I believe or not if you live in the US that is what makes my belief true or false. If God does not exist and if I believe that with all my heart, that does not make God exist. If I believe right now that Tazabi is in Congo that does not make it the case that Tazabi is in the Congo.
    6)I decided to share the above crucial philosophical issues on what we daily try to communicate with others and ourselves as well. These thoughts will be developed extensively in the book project with so many examples and how they will be relevant to what we’re discussing; if that is not clear enough for you to see now, I’ll continue to develop these thoughts and show their applications and implications in the future, partly in our discussion and more fully in a book project.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  147. Veritas
    April 1, 2007 at 3:08 am

    Hello All:

    If what I’ve just shared does not seem to be related to what we’re discussing I just wanted to give some more examples in order to show why I shared what and how it’s relevant:

    1)So many fellow Ethiopians hold false beliefs about themselves and others and how the consequences of holding false beliefs and being guided by such false beliefs negatively affects one’s life and one’s choices and one’s actions in multiple ways. For example:
    a.If a fellow Ethiopian believes that Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations (a belief which we’re examining these past few days) and being in such country is considered a blessing until one dies, one can see how such tragic (false) belief can negatively affect that person’s life and destiny.
    b.If a fellow Ethiopian (falsely) believes that for all the problems that occur in Ethiopia ONLY the government is to blame and does nothing to improve his life, that person is being deceived holding a false belief. Government cannot be a reason for ALL problems in one’s country.
    c.If a fellow Ethiopian (falsely) believes that Ethiopia is a unique Christian country in the whole world and God is going to prosper Ethiopia and does nothing for that to come to be, that person is ruining his life based on a false belief that cannot be supported by any evidence, except wish fulfillment.
    d.So many fellow Ethiopians (falsely) believe that one ethnic group is superior to the other and based on that miserably false believe treat others as inferiors to them. That is a tragic mistake that we’ve observed in our midst that is even a growing problem these very days. Only a deluded fellow Ethiopian can hold such an utterly false belief but how many Ethiopians from different ethnic backgrounds believe others to be inferior to them? We all know that story. Imagine all these fellow Ethiopians believing that one is superior to the other just because one happens to belong to another ethnic group! One form of a reality check for such people is this: go to another country, a predominantly white country, like the US or Europe, and when all the white folks look at you just as one and same poor black African you will learn that bitter lesson: after all we ALL are one and the same: black. The simple truth is that: after all we ALL are one and the same: humans. No need to go to Europe or the US for such a bitter lesson to be learned. We had better learn that lesson by observing that we’re essentially the same: black or white or Asian or whatever. Humans, that is us.

    2) One can go on and on with a huge list of false beliefs that many of us happen to hold that because of our being out of touch with reality, or truth, we simply deprive ourselves of the true meaning of who we are and what we should have been believing about ourselves and should be doing as to what we ought to be doing to develop and flourish as a community and as a nation. I hope the above examples show how it’s absolutely crucial to seek truth about everything and how much we need to strive to believe truth and only the truth about ourselves, about others, and about our lives now and what we can and should do about our future as individuals and as a society.

    Hope these examples help.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  148. Daniyot
    April 1, 2007 at 4:45 am

    Bisrat
    Religion is to UNDERSTANED,but not to FEEL ,I think you have to clearly scrutinize the huge gap between those two aspects of religion,When I discuss about Christianity I do not have any intention to take sides toward any category,But my main intention was to awaken or at least to address my issues to the majority(I have a dought)of Ethiopian population,christanity ,western civilazation and the church history were byproducts but not my major area of focus ,Anyway we have to be careful and strong enough to separate(keep away) our personal interest(agenda) when we address our societal problems ,This does not meant to ban our personal experiences ,Any way Veritas wisely and timely responded for Bisrates Innocent agenda

  149. Tazabi
    April 1, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Veritas,
    I think, i was aware of believe and beliefs. Thanks for you explanation, though. You mentioned very important issues in your last post. Believe me, i heard it all. I’ve friends from Kenya, Uganda and fellow ethiopians always referring to them “Africans” and it’s irritating to me. I always reminds them where Ethiopia at. In our society, there’s a false perceptions in many areas. Most of the time when i’ve conversation with Ethiopians it ends by saying “this’s what we learn from family, this’s what we’ve been told…”. I think, We need to learn to break this bad habit.

  150. Veritas
    April 1, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Tazabi:

    Some thoughts:

    1)Yes I can also relate to your story about calling other African brothers and sisters as Africans as if Ethiopians are Europeans or Americans or Japanese, or whatever. Such a distorted view about ourselves comes as a result of many things and I do not want to say much about them now. One way or the other, we are wrong. Just one reason for such a way of looking at fellow Africans as Africans and ourselves as not is due to this false belief about us which goes as follows: we‘re UNIQUE. It does not take a genius to show that every society’s has its uniqueness. We’ve much in common with other Africans though there are some historical, cultural, linguistic, etc., differences about every other country when it comes to every country and society. Uniqueness by itself is neither a good nor a bad thing; it simply is a way of describing a situation. When one attaches some values to one’s sense of uniqueness and starts to look at others as lacking in those values, which are not necessarily inherent to the things called unique, then one’s false belief negatively affects one’s life and those in relation to that person in a negative way.
    2)One of those absurd and utterly false beliefs that have done the greatest damage to our society is believing or thinking that one ethnic group in Ethiopia is superior/inferior to the other. It’s very easy to provide an account of the formation of such false beliefs and hence how they become part of one’s identity: that is doing sociology. It’s another thing to show that such beliefs are inherently wrong and destructive and damaging because they are inherently false: that can be done by way of providing an account of the nature of beliefs, and truth, and what a human nature is that makes all human beings equal. That is mostly a philosophical work and I’m trying to provide such an account in these blog discussions before I provide a much fuller account of the nature of beliefs and truth in the long run and how many people can ruin their lives based on false beliefs which have no justification for them or even if there are some justifications for them the justifications are themselves wrong and indefensible.
    3)Now when fellow Ethiopians say this or that belief is what they were taught by their parents, schools, etc and if they do not have a desire to unlearn some of the FALSE beliefs that they were taught earlier in life, this is a tragic evidence that these people are still functioning as “adults” with childhood beliefs which could be mostly wrong or defective or prone to being false. The implications of such people’s beliefs are so, so much and destructive in some cases. I’ll address some of them in the future.

    I hope that my post on beliefs and their relationship to truth is of some help. This is just a beginning and my hope is to build on what I’ve shared there and I encourage all of us to be clear about what beliefs are and how they relate them to truth, which is objective that means, mind independent. Please let me know if things I’ve shared are not clear enough for I’ll try my best to make myself clearer. These issues about truth, and belief, are among the most crucial philosophical issues for my project and for our discussion now.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  151. Veritas
    April 1, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Tazabi:

    I forgot to ask you a question I was meaning to ask in my previous post:

    I was wondering what you mean by the following when you say:”I think, i was aware of believe and beliefs.” The focus of my post was not a contrast between “believe vs. beliefs”. I’m not sure whether you’ve understood what I was trying to communicate in that post.

    My post was mainly on the relationship between belief and truth; though believe (the verb) has been used all the way. I was focusing on “belief” (the noun). “Believe and belief” are very much related as anyone can see but the focus of my post was not on that relationship.

    I was wondering if you’ve got these distinctions clearly in your mind for they are absolutely crucial for so, so many things I’m trying to share and develop from now on, though I’m building on what we’ve been discussing all along. I hope that you’d re-read that post to see if things are clear enough.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  152. Tazabi
    April 2, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Veritas,
    Let me try to answer your question. My understanding of belief vs. belief is-
    —when there’s a fact my belief is true. Not necessarily all beliefs are ture, though.
    —I may believe my belief is ture, but it doesn’t mean it’s true. In order to make my belief true or false, i need to have reality. Just because i believed it doesn’t mean my belief is true or false.
    Let me take your propostion example.
    —The above proposition (it could be ture or false) when you said “Tazabi currently lives in USA”, so, that is a true proposition and it’s a reality. What makes your propostion true is that the reality. If the reality doesn’t correspond with your propostion, so, the reality makes your propostion false. Please, let me know if i don’t get it right. Thanks.

  153. Veritas
    April 2, 2007 at 1:39 am

    Hi Tazabi:

    Great! Good job. You’re now clear and now I see that my question or concern is addressed well. Since “believe”, though related to “belief”, is distinct and since your former post did not show that distinction I wanted us to be on the same page and now we’re. Thanks for clarifying your thoughts.

    Just to add a few more thoughts:

    1)Philosophers say a belief is a propositional attitude, or a relation we’ve to a proposition.
    a.Propositions are, abstract entities, which are also non-linguistic bearers of truth; or, propositions are contents of beliefs. The reason beliefs are said to be true or false is in virtue of their propositional contents, since propositions are the bearers of truth. Propositions are finally that which we call true or false.
    b.Sentences or statements as beliefs are said to be true or false in virtue of their relation to propositions which are the truth bearers again.
    c.Facts or reality, or the world is what makes some belief/proposition true. Facts are truth-makers, as philosophers call them.
    d.Yes, these distinctions again: propositions are contents of beliefs, hence they are abstract, and they are called truth-bearers; facts are makers of truth or truth-makers. When a belief is said to be true we mean by that there is some fact/reality that makes the belief true; if there is no fact of the matter that the belief corresponds to, then the belief is false.

    2) The above are some of the fundamental concepts that we need to understand as we go on making some progress in our discussion about truth, lies, untruthfulness, dishonesty, deception, etc. It might not seem that these rather abstract talks about beliefs and propositions are going to shed some light on the character trait issues that we’ve been discussing and will be discussing for some time. Hope the above helps.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  154. Bisrat
    April 2, 2007 at 4:34 am

    Tazabi,veritas,and Daniot

    Befor I proceed addressing my “View,” let me make clear myself at this stage of our discussion. It is my understanding that in our debate nobody’s point of view should be taken as simple, hostile or as a personal agenda. We are sharing ideas. I just brought my views and solutions on the table no matter what I think it is right or wrong. You have the right and possibly a chance to refute my view without even being edited. But I can see from the shadow of your responses, you have started to give me a label. It seems like you have the idea who the heck I am.

    From my experience talking with fellow Orthodox brethren, I have noticed that the moment you called the name of Jesus, they start to panic. Specially, if it come from another fellow Ethiopian, it is could be taken as treason and things will take a different directon. They will be suspecious of you being an enemy. I have got used to it. The sad fact is most of them missed the Core subjet in the christondom is christ himself.

    Most orthodox christians have ‘PENTE PHOBIA’. This is what I am seeing here. Just because I called the name of Jesus and gospel, don’t catagorise me in the group you think that is ‘heretic.’ first,
    You refused to take my Non- christian facts about our problem. You don’t want to recognise the facts. You didn’t take a moment to say. yes there is a mess. you are totally contraditing youself most of the time. I will explain that later

    For now let me address Veritas respons here first.

    I am worried you yourself missed the point here. You literaly misquoted me here. I haven’t said that All Ethiopians must be christians. You are using my the text without the context. it is impossible for me to say that. All Ethiopians can not be a christian. All Europeans are not christians either. I haven’t ignored that. It is frustrating. But I can say all Ethiopians need to here the message of chrstianity regardless. I feel like you are insulting my intelegence. I believe the “gospel” that resides in Ethiopia is paralysed, forgotten, antique in a sense but disfunctional.

    Meanwhile, I am repeating myself. when I say one TRUTH. I am saying ONE GOSPEL. The gospel that worked for the west. I am using your own analogy here. If what we said about west is true. Ethiopia is NOt christian or viseversa. Finally we all agreed that the fact about the west is true and I gave my suggestion, period. I am sorry if I didn’t make myself clear.

    What ever you said about the muslem, I can’t see the signifcance of their contribution; success as a nation. Ethiopia is the poorest of the poor. They are not like the jews
    I have not seen their contribution to the whole society in different aspects of life, interms of science, technology and art etc… If you are talking about
    theire work ethics and why most of them are involved in business is I think it is a vertue taboo in islam and it is related to their religion as Mohammad himself was a merchant. I can’t see the relevance of your question at this point and why you suggest for christians brothers to learn from them. I have suggested christianity has proven itself making a nation succesful. We still have a chance to make it happen if we admit our false pride and reclaim our country to the true gospel. The orthodox chrurch stiil posses the influnce on the majority of the people. Befor we start to talk about the other religions in Ethiopia let’s tackle the problem that resides in the giant.

    Having said that, Let me get back to Tazabi,

    I am sorry, I have to go . I will be back.

  155. Veritas
    April 2, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Hello Bisrat:

    Many thanks for your clarifications of the ideas you’ve shared with us all and for challenging us to be focused on what the issues we’re supposed to discuss and argue for and advance forward instead of being suspicious of who represents which view etc. Let me respond to some of your worries briefly:

    1)I’ve already made it clear that by saying I quote myself: “I know that we all agree that Bisrat is entitled to his views no matter how much we agree or disagree with what he said”. And also I’ve added the following: “One is free even to argue for such an idea [I gave an example of the idea I had in mind in the text I’m quoting myself from] by claiming unless a person is this kind of Christian or that there will never be any solution for Ethiopia’s problems. But such arguments are too difficult to establish, in a short post such as ours. I’m sharing my concern because of such possible counterproductive routes we might be taking unawares. I’m more than happy if someone shows my concern is groundless.” If Bisrat suspects that what I’ve said with this preceding quote was groundless, I took his suggestion for Tazabi as one piece of evidence and it was the following: “Tazabi, you know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you free” and I added my concern as follows, once again, “as one would wonder how addressing Tazabi this way would be relevant to the issue we’re discussing; it does not seem to serve the purpose of what we mean to achieve in any direct way. It could be but I doubt it’s the best way to say such a thing at this stage of our discussion.” These thoughts are more than enough to justify my concern and I’m more than happy to see if that way of reasoning was wrong for the purpose of our discussion. How many times I cautiously expressed my thoughts one can count them.
    2)I myself am worried with the way Bisrat is worried about what I’ve said about his post from his response as follows: Bsrat says: “I am worried you yourself missed the point here. You literaly misquoted me here. I haven’t said that All Ethiopians must be christians. You are using my the text without the context. it is impossible for me to say that. All Ethiopians can not be a christian. All Europeans are not christians either. I haven’t ignored that. It is frustrating. But I can say all Ethiopians need to here the message of chrstianity regardless. I feel like you are insulting my intelegence.” I was not attacking Bisrat and I’m at a loss as to why he should sound defending himself for all that we need in our discussion is just more explanations of some of our thoughts if fellow participants seem to have a problem with this or that.
    a.Now let me clarify why I said what I said about what Bisrat seemed to be communicating: Please, let’s re-read first, what Bisrat said and what I was trying to communicate with my ideas that worried him: Bisrat said: “There is NO other truth. Please understand, the gospel that works for the west should work for us too. The abslolute truth about Christianity is its power to bring one individual and a nation to a dramatic change anywhere at anytime.”
    b.I responded: “Such claims seem to go too far at this stage of the discussion. I do not think that everyone in Ethiopia must be a Christian in a way Bisrat seems to communicate his thoughts for Ethiopia to receive solutions for whatever we as a society have. From what we’ve communicated about the relationship between Christianity and civilization in the west and lack of similar fruits in Ethiopia, it does not seem justifiable to say what Bisrat has said in the quote I’ve provided from him. I think we need much more careful argument for such a very strong conclusion. Even if I share the conclusion with him, which is not the point of this note, I doubt his reasons justify such a strong conclusion.”
    c.I do not see how what I’ve said, from what I’ve just quoted myself justifies him to say the following: “You literaly misquoted me here. I haven’t said that All Ethiopians must be christians”. From what Bisrat said “The abslolute truth about Christianity is its power to bring one individual and a nation to a dramatic change anywhere at anytime” if one wonders by saying as I did, “Such claims seem to go too far at this stage of the discussion. I do not think that everyone in Ethiopia must be a Christian in a way Bisrat seems to communicate his thoughts for Ethiopia to receive solutions for whatever we as a society have.” I do not know how it’s possible to conclude that I was saying Bisrat actually claims that “All Ethiopians must be Christians”. I was being very cautious by saying when I said what I said, “I do not think” or “In a way Bisrat seems to suggest” which does not mean by any means that Bisrat has actually suggested what he attributes to me as if I said that he actually did. I was also pointing out that from such a short discussion about Christianity and civilization in the west, I thought and said “it does not seem justifiable to say what Bisrat has said in the quote I’ve provided from him. I think we need much more careful argument for such a very strong conclusion” as the one Bisrat proposed again by saying (besides the one I quoted above) when he says: “I argue that progress in every aspect in Ethiopia should be derived from the christian value”.
    d.I want to leave for readers to judge if what I’ve tried to share as an expression of my concern for the greater cause of the discussion we advance has anything to do with quoting you out of the context and why what I’ve said sounded as an insult to your intelligence, which for the life of my I cannot see nor can I see any reason why you should even bring up anything like that in this discussion. I want to just leave, once again, for all the readers if what we’re trying here to prove is how intelligent we’re, which absolutely has nothing to do with the goal and spirit of our discussion and I do not see how you’ve to go this far to worry about yourself as if others are attacking your intelligence. I’m so, sorry if I come across like that. The ever patient Tazabi, whom I’d like to call a heroine among us the active participants in this discussion, for her openness to learn from her mistakes whenever any one of us charged her with this or that, should have felt and should have told me many times whenever I suggested that she was not right or clear enough about this or that. She taught us what it means to be challenged, accept the challenge, and learn from her mistakes, and make this discussion the best it could have been. I’m so sorry for your taking all that I’ve tried to share with you, in many cautious ways, as a way of telling you that you were not intelligent or anything like that. I’ve no agenda like that to prove whose ideas are brilliant and who is brilliant, and who’s not; we can safely leave such judgments for others to judge if we seek to hear what others think about us (which I’d never for the life of me, any ways) and, once again, if I’ve sounded like that I trying to be attacking you personally I’m so, so sorry again.
    e.I hope that the above thoughts are enough to stop us talking about taking issues personally. I remember mentioning at one point that taking issues personally instead of debating ideas is one of the typical Ethiopian character traits and my hope is that we’ll not promote such character traits here. Let’s focus on ideas, thoughts, no matter how good or bad, right or wrong they sound or are for we can make them the best if we work together, with the spirit of learning, humility, and openness.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  156. Veritas
    April 2, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Hello Bisrat:

    I’m adding a few thoughts about why I raised the contributions of Muslim Ethiopians to this discussion could be worth considering:

    1) I said this: “Whether what I’m just saying is true or not, which I think is open for all us to see whether the claim is true, if it’s true, then Christian Ethiopians need to explain why Muslim Ethiopians are more successful in what they usually engage in, like multiple businesses. I think Christian Ethiopians need to lean from their successful Muslim brothers and sisters.”
    2) One of the relevant reasons why I said the above is already there in my post, and that was: “I’m only pointing out problems some of us might show in how we share our thoughts, which are perfectly fine, but rational dialogues such as this demand reasons and evidence and supporting arguments to properly and adequately establish our desired conclusions”. In my previous post I reminded us that your–Bisrat’s– conclusions were too strong given the reasons/evidence you’ve provided such as this: “I argue that progress in every aspect in Ethiopia should be derived from the christian value”.
    3) I put my reasons why it’s worth considering learning from our Muslim Ethiopians about work ethics in esp., businesses and I do not think it’s possible to deny that most Muslims are successful in businesses. How can one deny that whatever reasons they have behind that? By the way it’s committing a genetic fallacy if one denies truth about something by referring to the origin of the truth being debated. It does not matter in this case whether their motives for being in businesses is because the founder of their religion was a merchant. That is irrelevant to the truth. For example, the presence in Ethiopia of that one billionaire–I did not say that he’s a fellow Ethiopian, mind you– as we all know is enough for my suggestion. He’s not a Christian nor is he a rocket scientist; he is just a Muslim who commands a lot of financial empire partly in Ethiopia and that is not a bad thing it and of itself because he is not a Christian.
    4) I want to recognize successes of fellow Ethiopians when they work hard and succeed in what they do—if their success does not involve bad character traits. I did not say anywhere that because of Muslim Ethiopians’ successes in businesses in Ethiopia our society has become a rich nation. We’re a very poor society, we all know that and are trying to figure out what has contributed to such a state of affairs, but then we’re not so poor BECAUSE of the examples of success in business of fellow Muslim Ethiopians. It’s rather in spite of (not because of) such appreciable successes in businesses that we’re a very poor nation and that needs an explanation and that is why I’m here to do our soul-searching about our abject poverty as a nation with Bisrat, Tazabi, and Daniyot. My hope still is that other concerned fellow Ethiopians will join this soul-searching at some point.

    I hope the above clarifies my earlier responses to Bisrat.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

    P.S. I do hope with the above clarifications of our previous thoughts we will move on to debate ideas and continue our soul-searching in the form of our great discussion without reducing this discussion to DEFENDING OURSELVES rather than defending ideas that we proposed for debate and discussion. Personally, I’ll not respond to any future posts that focus, in any obvious way, on defending oneself rather than one’s ideas for in such posts we’ll only promote the bad character traits that we’re here to overcome and move forward. I feel like I’ve wasted my precious time clarifying issues, in my previous post, that should not have been taken personal in the first place

  157. Bisrat
    April 2, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    All,

    Veritas, thank you again for taking timer to resolve the misunderstanding that arises between as. I am really really sorry for creating this kind of intensity and unnecessary atmosphere. I will take back the ‘Insulting my intelligence.’ part from my vocabulary on this blog. I know that nobody would do that among us, participants. I apologize for using such a word while I am yet enjoying the debate. I assure you that there is no hard feeling in my part though. I was just a little bit worried that I thought my idea was being pushed away thinking that it is too simplistic, raw or an intent to promote personal agenda, as Daritas said, and I didn’t understand why my view was considered as ‘too far and strong’ at this stage.Yet nobody asked me or challenged me why I said this(my view) can be potentialy a solution, or nobody gave alternative solution to the problem otherwise.

    Let me paraphrase what I already said in my last post. For instance, if I said communism is our savior because it is proven to be true in china. I don’t have to be a communist my self to justify that. I am simply suggesting in the grounds of what all of us knew in advance that china is progressing in economy still embracing communism. We can debate on that without saying this and that. Using the same example let me illustrate a simple scenario. The same can be true about Christianity In Ethiopia. Since 80% of the population lives in rural area and most of them are badly illiterate. It is possible to bring a significant change through holistic ministry like the puritans did. When People start to understand who God is, there will awakening and they will be free of superstition. Eventually strong desire would be triggered to read the bible by them, then slowly but surely it will start systematically to tackle illiteracy. Dreg has done quite a good job in trying to eliminate illiteracy. Unfortunately it short lived. Our people have the zeal and blind fear of God hence short the legitimate knowledge of scripture and attributes of God. We can use that gap as a bed rock to civilize and educate. It is definitely a fertile soil that the Orthodox Church is unable to realize.

    Having said that, I want to say few words to Tazabi,

    I want to directly answer why I said, “you know the TRUTH….” That is not my own words in the first place. I might have used it inappropriately but no offense. That is what Jesus said. He said the he is the truth, life and the way. I just used it as metaphor tying to imply that we have to be open to see and analyze the reasons and also it is said thinking that you (Tazabi) is Christian and agree that the truth I mentioned will bring freedom and sets to problem we are discussing about. But I have a problem to conclude you are a Christian. I have some challenges for you and I want you to see it earnestly and with positive mind;
    Once again you have very much distorted idea of Christianity as most Orthodox christias in Ethiopia.

    1. Most Ethiopian orthodox Christians mix their faith with their history and Nationality(Love for the motherland) flag and identity. When you to intermingle those three, you will have a problem. It is true that Ethiopian history is deeply rooted in Orthodox church. It seems is impossible to separate them. But does it make it is right? What do we care more? Do we care for the truth or shall we choose to remain stubborn, unwilling to be changed. We want to keep The Orthodox church as it is no matter what and at any cost cause it is significant to our history and it is our pride? Do you think that is in God’s mind too ?No The people of Israel missed the Messiah because they were not willing to recognize him. They were too proud for who they are among the people of the world and zealous for God, they were not able to see him when he was among them. It became a curse t them to this day. If one said there is something wrong about Orthodox, People will get furious and become defensive instead of trying to see the problem and reason out. Here you hold the Orthodox faith for no good reason. Because you yourself said there is a problem in it. Why you are you still orthodox Christian?Is it because you are Ethiopian and Amara and it is norm oto recognize yourself with it or is it, as you said you were told it is true. I doubt you did your personal investigation personally as a rational reasonable human being beyond the person shadow of fear that is casted upon orthodox believers. As you said, “ who are you questioning God…”

    One more thing. It is alarming when you said we can’t say Ethiopia is Christian nation when the majority of our population is Oromo. There are a lot of Christian oromos and it is questionable when you said I am Amara and Orthodox. Are you saying,’Zeraf… ahhhhh

    2 .Most orthodox believers don’t know the scripture and the Orthodox doctrine itself very well. Even among the educated Ethiopians, i haven’t met one yet.

    When you said, “Church is a man made institution, not God given object. Jesus, were teaching while he was walking, nothing wrong with the establishments of church rules, laws,” You got it completely wrong Tazabi. I can give you multiple verses from the Bibl if you will. that is incorrect. If you read the epistles in the new testament, especially Titus and Timothy, it describes about laws and rules in the church in a very detailed manner. I don’t know where you got that idea..

    3. You said if I think Christianity is the highest state of mind. If you don’t believe that is true. You can’t call yourself a Christian. You can’t abide in the philosophy of Christianity and claim it is not the highest form. Why? You have to strive for the highest state of mind in your span of life somewhere else. That is where Veritas said about belief and truth make perfect sense.

    Finally, let me say few things about myself. I feel the need right now in our debate, so nobody will be confused about myself and speculate different things or think I have personal agenda.

    It will be comfortable for me just to call myself a Christian. I don’t belong to any denomination right now.

    Befor I came to faith, I have struggled a lot since my teenage years with questions like why there is a lot of evil in this world. I have tried to find an answer from different places. I have read Zarasustra, Confucius, Buddha ..etc and a lot of philosophies. I have learned from Friedrick Nietzsche, Williams James, Kant…etc. It took me sometime to learn to ask the right question. I was getting wrong answer because I was asking the wrong Q. Ultimatelly, I found the christian religion to be adequate in answering the fundamental questions of my existence. So I came from atheism to thiesm.

    Selam Hunu

    Bis

  158. Veritas
    April 2, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Hello Bisrat:

    It’s good read your post again with some good/clarified thoughts being proposed for us to discuss as we have been doing these days. Many thanks for also taking recognizing the potential for misdirection and misunderstanding that was created by some choice of words that you say you should not have used. Yes, mature and rational discussion as the one we mean to promote here will certainly benefit quite a lot from our recognition of what has gone wrong, by us, when pointed out by fellow participants.

    I do not have time right now to engage your thoughts which I’d really like to but then as soon as I get time I’ll.

    Many thanks again.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

    P.S. By the way, in your first paragraph you refer to one of us as “Daritas”. I thought you wanted to either refer to Veritas (me) or Daniyot. It’s a hybrid! If you had in mind me (Veritas) I think that was not right; I did not say what you attributed to “Daritas”; I do not remember referring to your post having an agenda, which you could prove me wrong by showing where I said so; if I did not say that it’s clear who else did. But then you can correct that and hence I leave the rest for you.

  159. Bisrat
    April 2, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks Veritas, I was refering Danyot not you. Sorry for spell errors here and there.

  160. Veritas
    April 3, 2007 at 2:47 am

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    I’m missing contributions from Daniyot and am hoping to hear Tazabi’s contribution too. I’m getting increasingly busier every day these days though still I’ve been trying to be here.

    I’m hoping that we’ll be able to move on from the spirit and direction the discussion has been taking these couple of days or so. Ever patient Tazabi, now I’m looking forward to your gracious response to Bisrat that will take us a step forward for a much more fruitful discussion which we’ve been enjoying immensely. I’m assuming that Daniyot has been doing his homework and when he comes back I hope we’ll have a great contribution from him that will advance our discussion a step or two forward.

    Bisrat has shared a number of things building on what he’s previously shared and now it seems his thoughts are much more clearer and whoever wants to respond will have a better chance of developing the ideas further, if they are worth developing further, or challenging them wherever the weaknesses are.

    I look forward to reading your posts and Bisrat’s continued contribution. I’ll of course, also post my contribution soon.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  161. Daniyot
    April 3, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Hi Guys,
    Let me be honest here, for the last two days I preferred to keep my self away when the discussion took somewhat different direction, but still my mind does not stop to think about the way how to turn the topic into its right direction, and/or to give my opinion even if it is not my interest to engage in this sort of issue .Eventually, I decided to say some words because it is directly or indirectly associated with character.
    1 “I do have a lot of respect for modest peoples like you. I haven’t said that in disguise. As Daniyot mentioned I will try to keep it down next time make it reasonable” when I read this sentence from one of my good friend Bisrat post, words could never express how happy I was, because he was the one who said” I don’t want to label Tazabi to “suspicious of another fellow human being; arrogant in the sense of being unwilling to admit that they’ve made mistakes”
    2.”Thank you again for your response and your sense of humor. I can tell you are a very friendly person. I also want to thank Veritas for his advice for all of us to conduct our debate rationally and in a reasonable manner” When I read this I said to myself that How honest those guys are, I wish everybody could be ready and willing like Bisrat to accepted criticism, comment and ready to apologize for, but my happiness did not last long because Bisrat came up with unnecessary and groundless conclusion like “ What ever you said about the Muslim, I can’t see the significance of their contribution; success as a nation. Ethiopia is the poorest of the poor.” And “The orthodox religion is very old and very traditional in its teachings. Even, the monthly calendar showing us how occupied with religious events and how the working days are limited to a few days, not to mention the fasting seasons.” Imagine the point he raised about Muslim, Imagine how Ethiopian orthodox religion viewed, by no means they should be the issues and I do knot know how he understood Veritas post , and I do not know why we all are trying our best to give some high light about our character to us and to our fellow Ethiopians using this forum but know we are in treble .Guys !If we start to associate ideas to this and that kind of things it is better to stop (for instance at this moment I am not ok or I feel dizzy, because I know that I am writing some thing… instead of writing something worthy at least to me) but I hove to say a word still because our main area of focus is CHARACTER WITH SPECIAL REFERANCE TO ETHIOPIANS ,BUT NOTHING ELSE,….unless it is going to be a “bet curse not cure “.I do not like that !

    3.”…….I haven’t said that All Ethiopians must be Christians. You are using my text without the context. It is impossible for me to say that. All Ethiopians can not be a Christian.” So what was your intention? So why you worried this much in this issue, if really you do not want this to be happened, why you west all your by saying “Most Ethiopian orthodox Christians mix their faith with their history and Nation. Most orthodox believers don’t know the scripture and the Orthodox doctrine itself very well.
    Y saying things like By the way what the problem if they put those three things together if it is correct? Do not you know that all American says “God bless America.”

    4”… I also want to thank Veritas for his advice for all of us to conduct our debate rationally and in a reasonable manner. I hope we all keep that in mind” thank you I think that is what you quoted in one of your posts, yes! We all need to conduct our debate very rationally and very reasonably. I think that is why you came up with the following “From my experience talking with fellow Orthodox brethren, I have noticed that the moment you called the name of Jesus, they start to panic.” So what happened here? Or you saw Veritas reminder in a different Eye glass, I do not know? Veritas reminder was clear and legible to me, wasn’t it?

    5. “… I am really sorry for creating this kind of intensity and unnecessary atmosphere,
    It is my understanding that in our debate nobody’s point of view should be taken as simple, hostile or as a personal agenda. We are sharing idea ‘thank you again but you said again and again the following, but I do not have time and gate to debate on this kinds of issue. The followings sentences are your own words? Aren’t they?
    -“Even among the educated Ethiopians, i haven’t met one yet. ality(Love for the
    Motherland) flag and identity. When you intermingle those three, you will have a…”
    -.”Most orthodox believers don’t know the scripture and the Orthodox doctrine itself very well. Even among the educated Ethiopians, I haven’t met one yet.”

    5 But the protestant movement is too young to take a full scale impact to the large and complex society like ours I were you at least I would try to see things in perspective ,because Do not you know that Protestantism was introduced to Ethiopia in the 19th century ,It is about 90 years in Ethiopia, right? Is it possible to say young or some?

    6”Talking about philosophy, Christianity has played a vital role in the arena of philosophy. Without doubt the greatest achievement by the Western Civilization was its acceptance of reason.” If this is the case doe’s philosophy or Christianity has a direct relation to reasoning? Please do not put all things on the way you like but they should be on the way it should be.

    7 “Tazabi, you know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you free. I argue that progress in every aspect in Ethiopia should be derived from the Christian value, not from the pagan practices of the south.” Do you think is that necessary while we are discussing about our poverty, character, and some related issues? Please …I have so many, so many things to say in regard to this but it is neither my area of interest, nor my topic, nor associated with the issues we are discussing about.

    THERFORE, LET US GO TO OUR NORMAL TRUCK, LET US DEAL WITH OUR TOPICS, WE MAY FIND SOME BLOG FOR THOSE KINDS OF ISSUE OR THERE MIGHT BE SOMEWHERE ELSE TO SOMEOME WHO HAS URGET DESIRE TO DISCUSSE THOSE ISSUES, BUT NOW IT IS NOT MY INTEREST AS WELL AS OUR AREA OF FOCUS .WE NEED TO HAVE RESPECT, SENSE OF HUMERE, RATIONAL AND REASNABLE AS BESIRAT QUOTED IN HIS POSTS SEVERAL TIMES EVEN IF HE WAS THE ONE TO BREACH THEM..

    Thank you all of you guys let us go to our truck , I will be with you Guys to morrow some topic in that I will need your help.

    See you then.

  162. Daniyot
    April 3, 2007 at 8:20 am

    correction;
    1.Under #5 ln the second line please add “if”in between Ours and I .
    2.last paragraph …tomorrow with some ….

    Please ,be patient

  163. Bisrat
    April 3, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Veritas, Tazabi and Daniot,

    I am very sorry for taking your pricious time and diverting the issue when you are trying to solve the important problem here. Problems like dealing with people like me. So I have decided to put myself on the bench for now. I will keep sneaking to this blog everynow and then to see how you guys are doing. I have really enjoyed this conversation but I don’t want to be the stumbling block to the progress.

    Tazabi,

    You don’t have to go away because of me. If what I said to you is
    exteremely offensive and seems personal attack, I want you to FORGIVE ME. I have NO ANY INTENTION to upset you or any other reason to be hostile towards you. I feel like you are saying Hell has no fury than a person like me behind a computer.

    If there is anything that you want to say to me, go say it. I might learn from it. Show me where it went wrong so I may not repeat that to another poor Ethiopian and left without a friend.

    I am not going to defend myself at this time,

    peace,

    Bis

  164. Veritas
    April 3, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    [I just read what Bisrat has posted as I was going to post what you see below. I decided not to change anything for I still think and hope that it would still be good and have some value for us all to read and think about what I’ve shared with us all. Veritas]

    Hello Daniyot:

    DANIYOT: Thank you so much for your very honest thoughts that you’ve shared with us. Yes, I’ve already shared my thoughts on where we’ve got in this forum where excitement and openness to learn and share our thoughts honestly has been the rule rather than the exception. My hope is to get back to those, old good and great experiences once again, leaving behind whatever we’ve seen and felt about some of the posts which went off the track as I think we all would admit.

    Now you can go ahead and share with us what you’ve promised to do so. I can’t wait to engage ideas once again without worrying about more personal attacks and counterattacks dominating this forum.

    TAZABI: Where are our, friend? You can tell how much we miss your contribution since your contributions have always been issues we pick up to respond to, or clarify our own thoughts in interactions with, or debate about etc. One thing about you that we can all witness is that you’ve never been mean to us no matter how we charged you with this or that. I do expect to see the same degree or even better way of handling what has been going among us as your response to Bisrat will be, as I hope, as friendly and understanding it can be and has been. You can tell how much I’m trying to bring back peace and a sense of friendliness we’ve enjoyed and also a clear sense of respect to one another. I hope such qualities will shine thru whatever we share here as they should in the rest of our lives. Back to you, Tazabi, to rescue us from any further frustrating experiences!

    BISRAT: Reading what I’ve been sharing with all of us above I hope you will want to do whatever it takes to contribute your best to keep the liveliness and friendship of us all, at least the active participants here, alive. We’ve already gone quite a long way, given our Ethiopian background and characters with which we’ve lived most of our lives. This forum has demonstrated an exemplary exchange of ideas so far and I feel like such experiences have gone a long time ago since I’ve missed such experiences in just couple of days or so. I do hope that we all agree that we’re here to overcome whatever deficiencies, weaknesses we all have in our characters as that has been among the virtues we all have come to seek and pursue and practice from the very beginning of this discussion. You can rescue the future of this discussion forum by doing your level best to keep its spirit alive.

    I want us all to refresh our memories about the Gricean Maxims which will certainly help us a lot as I believe they have done before. I’m copying them below for us all to remember and stick to, whenever we lose track of what we mean to be doing here. No one is imposing these maxims on us; I’m recommending them for ALL OF US so that we’ll benefit from their service in guiding us as they do help others as well. Here they are again:

    Maxim of Quality: Truth

    •Do not say what you believe to be false.
    •Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

    Maxim of Quantity: Information

    •Make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange.
    •Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

    Maxim of Relation: Relevance

    •Be relevant.

    Maxim of Manner: Clarity

    •Avoid obscurity of expression.
    •Avoid ambiguity.
    •Be brief (”avoid unnecessary prolixity”).
    •Be orderly.

    Amen?

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  165. Tazabi
    April 3, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Bisrat,
    Honestly, you don’t need to apologize to me. After all we all make assumptions. I really appreciated your sincerity, though. Don’t get me wrong, you knew what you were talking about, however, it’s not a wise idea to say my idea is always right. We’re living in a very complex world these days and you cannot find simple answer for issues like a religion. I enjoyed your conversations here. Hope, you’ll contribute more.

    Come on! Don’t be a quiter! I still don’t quite understand some of your suggestions/conclusions. I’m not sure if you get a chance to see it, but i left you a question on the above post. When you get a chance, please, let me know.

    Veritas,
    You’re too kind to be in a philosophy field. By the way, The New Yorker magazine, April 2/07 issue has excellent article under the title “The Pope and Islam”. It’s a good read, check it out if you guys get some time.
    Daniyot,
    Let’s hear what you’ve in mind.

  166. Daniyot
    April 3, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Hi Guys,

    My good friend Bisrat

    If we miss you from this blog it means to me so many things that can disappoint me far deeper than anything else, when I post my previous, my intention was just to show you how we lost the main time of our discussion or the extent of personalized issues those may cause or may have adverse effect to our area of focus, or in other words how it adversely affect the pace of our discussion, but nothing else .Bisrat we are here to learn or teach each other .Though out this process it is comment to those kinds of disagreement to occur, but the good thing is we, all of us are there to learn or teach one another .We all are human beings ,there is no way to avoid those kinds of issues unless we are willing to teach and learn from one another, please to do not retreat ,do not keep yourself away from this kinds of discussion. That will hurt us much!

    Tazabi,

    If we miss you in this discussion, it means we left only with skeleton. You are the one who give us a way to open and extend our discussion to different dimensions, almost your willingness to know and your usual lovely questions and comments are among the main reasons to give live to our discussion. Please come back with your great enthusiasm to learn and to forward you questions and comments, please.

    Veritas

    In one way our the other, you are the one capable to take us to the normal track, therefore please take us back to our normal track ,you are the one to do that, I do believe that.

    I will be with you soon guys,

    Many thanks

  167. Daniyot
    April 3, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    Tazabi ,

    I think both of us posted at the same time ,because I have not seen your post while I was writing mine ,anyway thank you,

  168. Daniyot
    April 4, 2007 at 1:54 am

    One of the issues I would like to share with you guys, but we need to be careful when we discuses this kind of issues because it is highly sensitive or it can be easily linked with the current political situations in Ethiopia, I do not have any plan to see it on the glasses of politics or as a politician, even I do advice all of you guys to stay away from seeing those issues in the eyes of Ethiopian politics ,but it look like to me it is directly related to as a main treat to our character.

    Let me go to the points, we are Ethiopian who have a multi dimensional economic, political, social and [cultural] problem, this problems are beyond the level to define and address so as to find out acute solution therefore we have to cooperate to one another, we have to help one another, we have to find a common solution to our extended socio economic problems, who have to stand hand in hand to attack our common enemy which is poverty at large, but we are not in a place to show our cooperation to one another ,to show our love to one another, let alone to work with one another ,because of a big problem which is ETHINOCENTERSM.

    Let us not fall into the trap of arguing that we are all identical Ethiopian who lived together in peace and harmony before the 90th, nothing could be further from the truth .we have been in a deep but unnoticed problems for hundred of years.

    How do we decide an individual’s personality? How do we decide an individual achievement, who do an individuals ethnic group affect once performance, how do we understand personality as we know his ethnicity.

    How do we respect, value and judge a person? By his age? By his behaviors, by his personalities, by his achievements, by his ethnic group, or by what? what is the influence of ethnocentrism in Ethiopia ,how is it adversely affecting our society at large ,how does it determine our level of cooperation ,the extent of our performance , is their any advantage or disadvantage to belong to one or the other ethnic group ,to me most us are very biased on this issue ,to me it is affecting our existence as a human being and as a country ,it is a Chile hale ,isn’t it?

    Please let us share some words on the questions of ethnicity in Ethiopia in respect of character, but nothing else (excluding the political or politicians turmoil)

    Veritas and all of you, I need your help here to elaborate, extend, correct, comment and suggestion on this sensitive issue because it seem to me one of the main treat adversely affecting our society internally and externally. and it is part and parcel of character vise .

  169. Veritas
    April 4, 2007 at 2:21 am

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    It’s with great delight that I’ve read your posts, from both of you. On the other hand, it’s really sad if Bisrat’s decision to stay away from this discussion is firm, which I do hope is not. May it not be!

    Thank you both of you for your kind and encouraging thoughts about me. Tazabi, now I want to fight with you: are you saying that philosophers are not kind? Kidding. I was kind of thinking what you’d generally think of philosophers, kind, unkind or both. Philosophers want to think and understand almost everything and hence my wondering but I do not want to wander into another topic!

    Yes, I’ve also been thinking of doing a review of the major steps that we’ve taken in our journey, which is going to be one month old in a few days, by the way. Here’s a list of major thoughts; not complete though:

    1)I proposed as one of the fundamental explanations for the multiple crises in our society could be the result of widely running bad character traits in the Ethiopian society; such bad character traits or vices include: untruthfulness, or lies, or dishonesty, lack of openness, distrust, or being suspicious, self-deception as a result of arrogance or pride in refusing to admit our mistakes, pretending to be knowledgeable and hence being unable to learn from one’s mistakes and weakness, among others.
    2)Replacing vices with virtues, or good character traits (opposites of the above character traits) is among the best solutions for the fundamental societal problems. This proposal can make sense when I show (since I’m the one who proposed the diagnosis above and the burden of proof is on me) how bad character traits can be reasons or causes for multiple societal problems and what solutions for that should look like. That will be done as the days go by and fully in a book project.
    3)I’ll try to show how our characters could be largely explained by adopting a theoretical model from philosophy that shows how our beliefs and desires and thoughts can go a long way in explaining our actions as human beings. That requires a lot of philosophical work.
    4)I also proposed to argue, from time to time, that a good understanding of what truth is will help us locate multiple virtues or vices in our characters as either being in line with truth and truthfulness or departing or drifting away from truth and hence being in the grip of lies and all other related vices. This is not going to be an easy task for it involves a lot of philosophical work to which I’ll return from time to time.
    5)We also explored various suggestions as to how we can address the problem of work ethics in the Ethiopian society that can draw its resources from Ethiopia’s major religions, among others, Christianity.
    6)I briefly introduced some philosophical understanding on the nature of beliefs and truth and their relationships. The applications of beliefs, true as opposed to false beliefs many Ethiopians hold, will be very crucial to our understanding of how, Ethiopians, live our lives as Ethiopians.
    7)I also proposed to show, eventually, many of Ethiopia’s problems could be traced back to many major false beliefs many Ethiopians hold which are destructive and have done a tremendous damage to the nation.

    The above are some of the major issues we’ve been trying to touch on which we’ll continue to develop in a much deeper way as the days go by. That is my hope.

    Just as I was about to post this above note I read Daniyot’s latest post with many pointed questions for us all to discuss and that is a great post worth discussing.

    Hope the above list of issues that we’ve touched on are enough reminders for all of us and we continue to dialogue and discuss and debate crucial ideas that matter most to our society’s survival and flourishing.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  170. Veritas
    April 4, 2007 at 4:09 am

    Hello Daniyot:

    I’ll try to respond to your post as soon as I get time for that. I hope that you remember what I shared with you all about my being so, so busy these days. That is why I’m not able to respond right now.

    One question for you: I remember reading in one of your posts that you wanted to get a hold of Prof. Teodros Kiros’ book on Zara Yacob. That means at that moment you did not have a copy of it, as I think. Right?

    Now we, this family of participants, in virtue of being only three or four, can and should find a way, I think, of helping one another at least in some of the things we can be of some help as that will be part of an act of promoting the good as much as we can.

    What am I talking about? It’s this: I do not know where you’re currently. If you’re in a situation in which it’s not that easy to get a copy of the book that we’re talking about, which I’ll also be reviewing sometime, perhaps this month or next month, what if you just tell us, honestly, if you need the book and it’s somewhat more difficult for you to get a copy of the book and one of us send you a copy of it? I got my own copy; Tazabi told us that she has her copy. Bisrat, I hope will get one for himself.

    Would you like to get a copy from one of us if it’s somewhat more difficult for you to get a copy of this book, which is about $20.00 USD? If yes, will you let’s know your mailing address so that one of us can order for you?

    Just let us know. I think the book is a very, very good one given your/our interest and what we’re talking about these days: issues of character traits, virtues as well as vices, by two of Ethiopian philosophers of the 17th century: Zara Yacob and Walda Heywat. I’ll of course say much more in my review of the book.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  171. Veritas
    April 4, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Hello Daniyot and Tazabi:

    Daniyot:

    When I get time I’ll try to address some of your questions. In the mean time I thought reminding us of what I posted on the April 1st, from two similar thoughts, would be part of how I’d start responding to your questions based on ethnocenterism. Here’s what I want us to remember about what I’ve already proposed about holding false beliefs about ourselves and for the conseqequences we’ll talk about:

    “One of those absurd and utterly false beliefs that have done the greatest damage to our society is believing or thinking that one ethnic group in Ethiopia is superior/inferior to the other. It’s very easy to provide an account of the formation of such false beliefs and hence how they become part of one’s identity: that is doing sociology. It’s another thing to show that such beliefs are inherently wrong and destructive and damaging because they are inherently false: that can be done by way of providing an account of the nature of beliefs, and truth, and what a human nature is that makes all human beings equal. That is mostly a philosophical work and I’m trying to provide such an account in these blog discussions before I provide a much fuller account of the nature of beliefs and truth in the long run and how many people can ruin their lives based on false beliefs which have no justification for them or even if there are some justifications for them the justifications are themselves wrong and indefensible.”

    We can move on to spell out the problems and how we can go about addressing the problems you raised as I did too some days back. I hope to join you guys soon.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  172. Tazabi
    April 5, 2007 at 12:43 am

    Danyiot,
    Unfortunately, ethnocentrism is a sad truth. Even though, We all belong different ethnic origin by accident, i think what makes us different is our beliefs, values, attitiudes. I doubted if we can eliminate ethnocentrism, but we could minimize it. first, each one of us we need to be aware of the problem and willing to work on it. I hear all the time from people that as if the problem is a government problem alone. I believe educational institution, religion organizations could play a big role by teaching awarness. Of course, we need a central government that committed to fairness, closing the economic disparity gap and recognizing a differnt ethnic group distinctiveness might minimize the problem.
    Regarding Zara Yakob’s book, you could buy it on EBAY or Amazaon .com
    If it’s inconvineient for you to order it, let me know and i don’t mind sending you.
    Veritas,
    When you say lack of openess, are you implying “openess” to listening, to take criticizem from others, to discuss ? One of the other character traits you mentioned was being suspicious. What’s wrong with being suspicious? Personally, it took me a long time to be suspicious and i found it very helpful. I think there’s healthy suspicion and unhealthy one. I know some people are notoriously suspicous of everything and that makes it difficult to have good relationship with them. I would think these two characters are not harmful to the society.

    When i said “you’re too kind in philosophy field”, i was thinking about how philosophy could be unkind to philosophers. Becuase being in this field i would imagine how you can get unexpected hit from left to right in all directions. It’s funny, i kind of knew you would asked me this question. You see, how my suspicious nature works?!

  173. Daniyot
    April 5, 2007 at 3:02 am

    veritas ,and tazabi

    Thank you for your offer ,when I read the post by both of you guys,truelly speaking I was filled with the sprite of happiness for the whole days,thank you ,thank you ….you guys are becoming exemplary offer has embodied a messages to us and other fellow Ethiopians is so many thing to me.

    I have already ordered through different source , I hope I will get the book with in the next couple of weeks,thank you once again for your generousity.

    Viva

  174. Veritas
    April 5, 2007 at 5:52 am

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    Tazabi:

    Thanks for your post and also for you questions. I agree with you that ethnocentrism is not something that can just go away that easily. It’s something that we got to live with but all the way striving to minimize it. Yes, government can play only so much role in the process of minimizing the negative consequences of ethnocentrism. Educational institutions can play a huge role, if they are not under the weight of problems related to ethnocentrism itself! I’ve a real doubt if schools in Ethiopia are doing anything by way of creating awareness about the dangerous of reasoning and forming beliefs and being guided by beliefs and values that reflect the superiority/inferiority of various ethnic groups in our society. We’ll talk about roles that educational institutions and religious institutions can play in minimizing problems related to ethnocentrism which I do not think they are doing anything substantial in the Ethiopian society.

    As for your questions, as to what I had in mind about lack if openness and being suspicious. By lack of openness and being suspicious I have something in mind that these two character traits have much in common. Someone who is suspicious of another human being, WITHOUT ANY GOOD REASON, is roughly someone who does not open himself to healthy interpersonal relationships because of lack of trust, or being distrustful. Put another way, a person who does not trust another person, when there is no good reason to be suspicious of the other person, would not open himself to a good and healthy interpersonal relationship. These character traits can easily lead people into being dishonest about themselves, into a habit of lying something about oneself (dishonesty, and being untruthful ) because one is not willing to openly tell the truth (lies again) and would not trust (suspicious again) the other person to tell the truth honestly.

    When these character traits rule a person’s and/or a community’s life, one can see what kind of interpersonal relationship can flourish in such a community. Not much! I can illustrate so many aspects of interpersonal relationships that ruin human relationships as a result of these bad character traits. Just as one example: imagine how much time it takes for a Ethiopian typical man and woman to get to know each other if they mean to establish a romantic relationship. How much open would they be to each FROM DAY ONE? How much truth would they tell each other FROM DAY ONE? How much they turn out to be suspicious even if one party tells the truth? Who would believe if one of them speaks the truth FROM DAY ONE? This is among those typical lies-infected-and-saturated situations. I can provide plenty of examples of how much lies goes on in such situations for a long time when typical Ethiopian guys and girls start relationships. That is one example, which for me has been like an experience of hell on earth, which I could never understand why a human being would do such a thing! You got the point?

    Daniyot:

    Many thanks for your kind words. It’d have been my pleasure to find a way to send you a copy of Zara Yacob’s book as it was the same for Tazabi. I was not sure whether getting a hold of that book would be hard for you or not and then I decided to share the idea with an offer. Glad that you’ve already ordered it! I know that you’ll read and finish reading it the day you receive it. You’ll find so many things that are relevant to what we’re discussing here.

    Back to you guys,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  175. Veritas
    April 5, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    In response to your many very crucial and timely questions I just reminded us that what I was also trying to share in my previous post an example of holding false beliefs by many, or most Ethiopians as one of those beliefs that has very damaging consequences, even apart from the current political issues. I’m with you on this, as I do not think that the negative implications and deeper damages of ethnocentric thoughts has started just with the current political situation in the country, which I’d think is a further example of an already, deeply ingrained problem in Ethiopian history.

    No politically motivated discussion is needed here to address the question we’re trying to address: ethnocentrism and its negative effects in the Ethiopian society. Yes, the ethnocentric thinking/beliefs receive much fertile ground when personal bad character traits are added to them.

    1)It’d be crucial to distinguish between how ethnocentric beliefs’ have negative influences on characters and how bad characters’ have negative influences ethnocentric beliefs.
    a.Ethnocentric thoughts/beliefs, can be largely innocent, given the way human beings, generally form such beliefs. We acquire ethnocentrically inclined and saturated beliefs from our childhood association with our family members, our community, school, religious association, etc. We are encouraged to believe the goodness or even superiority of our own family’s, community’s, school’s, religious affiliations’, worth. That is a sociological and descriptive thesis. I think this is largely innocent.
    b.Now as grown ups if we persist thinking/believing that our ethnic group is inherently superior to the other and vice versa, then we need to exercise much care here. But sill most of adult life is in a constant process and context of shared beliefs and continued belief formation that goes without being critically assessed for what it is for many or most people.
    •Now it’s very easy for many people to think that they belong to a superior ethnic group, in much of our country’s history, when their own people group happen, by historical accident, to be in political power and economic power and also shape major institutions such as educational and religious in and after their own beliefs and values, which could have developed innocently as superior much earlier in life as well, as I explained above. Without even doing anything worth taking pride in one’s, so many people fall into trap of thinking and falsely and tragically believing that because some people in power are from their ethnic groups they must somehow be superior to the rest of the society. That has been with us for centuries and that is a deeply flawed way of thinking about human beings and their shared nature. The present political situation cannot be an exception by the way for the continuity of to such tragically false and destructive beliefs.

    2)Now the previous thoughts were on ethnocentric thoughts’/beliefs’ negative influence on people and we can also see how bad character traits can play a negative role in fermenting and aggravating problems created by ethnocentric beliefs, which could even be innocent. Now add bad character traits like arrogance, based on a sense of deception, self or otherwise, lies about one’s limitations, lies about one’s accomplishments, being suspicious to people from another ethnic group, etc. Hence bad character traits become fertile grounds for already wrong-headed beliefs about one’s sense of superiority, etc.
    3)Now, yes, there are so many things that can be done to minimize negative consequences of false ethnocentric beliefs before they inevitably for many and most give birth to the epidemic of bad character traits and hence turn destructive.
    a.A description as to how ethnocentric beliefs are acquired is neither good nor bad; that is the way things are. For example, we can’t blame children for believing what their parents instill in them for good reasons or bad reasons at early formative years. Sociology can only offer as descriptive state of how things are.
    b.Now arguing that holding false beliefs is wrong is saying that there are good reasons why we should distinguish truth from falsehood and hold true beliefs rather than false ones if we want to live a healthy and flourish in life as individuals and as a community and as a society. Philosophy comes to play a crucial role at this stage for philosophy provides us with arguments why truth is good, desirable and normative and prescriptive. People who hold false beliefs and continue to operate on such false beliefs even when they face arguments and evidence that show such false beliefs are wrong and ought to be rejected fail to be rational and fail to lead a good and healthy and desirable life. They are prone to live their lives in a destructive way.
    c.Schools and religious institutions can play crucial roles in teaching people, fellow Ethiopians, how to weed out, and abandon false beliefs about who they are as individuals and as a community and as members of this or that ethnic group.

    Now I’ve shared the above thoughts and hope that they address your questions more or less. I did not mean to address all of your questions in this single post. Now back to your and Tazabi’s reactions. Hope that the above crucial distinctions between sociological and hence descriptive ways of talking about belief-formations and normative or prescriptive ways of talking about false belies as being inherently wrong, with philosophical arguments to show that holding false beliefs is wrong and hence truth is good and normative in human life. These distinctions will be treated at much more greater length in the days to come.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  176. Tazabi
    April 5, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Veritas,
    I agree lying, cheating, abnoxious suspicion, all kinds of bad behaviours are harmful to personal relationships. If it takes a time to get to know a women, that doesn’t amount a character traits to a society as a whole. Every culture has its own distinctive character and the cultural influence could forced us to behave that way. I don’t think there’s wrong or right to this. I’m not in favor of the Americans openess either. What i see, hear on the media is everything is out in the open. I don’t say they’re wrong because that’s the way they are. I know people who used to date Ameriacan and having difficulties maintaining relationship with Ethiopian women. Believe me, when it comes to relationships among Ethiopians, i hear the same stories in both sides and it’s hard to find who’s telling the truth.
    Danyoit
    You’re very welcome! I’m glad you find it.

  177. Veritas
    April 6, 2007 at 1:09 am

    Hello Tazabi:

    Thanks for your post and sharing your thoughts once again. By the way, you seem to have focused on the EXAMPLE I gave more than the IDEA I shared in response to your question about what I meant by lack of openness and being suspicious.
    1)The example was only meant to illustrate the idea and also I did not single out women in what I said: I said between men and women who mean to have a relationship. I was not blaming women as opposed to men or focusing on women as opposed to men as you tended to focus on. And also mind you the openness in the American society is not the norm or standard I’d have to compare with the Ethiopian society as I’ve been meaning to focus on our society.
    2)We can use examples and things to illustrate from another society without losing our focus on what is the heart of our discussion, and I’m not opposing your using Americans as a point of contrast. At one point you said “If it takes a time to get to know a women, that doesn’t amount a character traits to a society as a whole”. When you refer to “society as a whole” you’re generalizing the issue and I made the point many, many times before and I never have the society as a whole about anything that I talk about. Please never ever assume that I speak of every single Ethiopian whenever I refer to Ethiopians UNLESS I explicitly say so. For example, saying “All Ethiopians are Ethiopians” is a general statement but it’s a logical truth and nothing is wrong logically to say so. But such a statement is a tautology and proves nothing.
    3)By the way, we do not need to compare Ethiopians with any other society in order to say certain things are wrong about us or right about us. There are moral truths, for example, that are universal such as “torturing babies for the fun of it” is wrong everywhere, at any time, and if an Ethiopian tortures a baby for the fun of it that Ethiopian has done something morally wrong. Another example, “Rape is morally wrong” and it’s wrong anywhere and at any time, whether that happens in Ethiopia or New York City. That means we can speak of certain things being right or wrong about us, Ethiopians or other cultures.
    4)The preceding point is to show us that being suspicious, lying, being dishonest, for example, in a relationship context or being in political context or in a school context is something WRONG. There is nothing wrong for a man or a woman to take some time to get to know the other. But it’s wrong in the mean time to lie about oneself, being dishonest about oneself, and relate to the other person with suspicions WITHOUT ANY GOOD REASON and that was my point. You might still say that the way our society has taught us to relate to others is with some mixture of lies, suspicion, dishonesty; I think that I’ve already shown as to how we need to handle such things. I said something to address such issues in my post about belief and truth relationship, about holding false beliefs as children and as adults, and in my post about ethnocentrism. I hope that you’ll remember all those points in order to see the crucial distinctions that I’ve been making all the way.

    Hope the above helps.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  178. Daniyot
    April 6, 2007 at 9:45 am

    When I post my previous idea, I was well aware of that Veritas can do much more on the issue than I can do and it was proved to be true that means what I thought was right, therefore let me borrow a sentence from one of his post on this issue “One of those absurd and utterly false beliefs that have done the greatest damage to our society is believing or thinking that one ethnic group in Ethiopia is superior/inferior to the other.” In this sentence he showed us that it is absurd and utterly false beliefs and the extent hoe it is damage(ing) the (to) our society, and it is also a chronic diseases which is on the way to turn its way into cancer unless it is well identified ,defined and addressed by the specialists i.e. the society by it self.

    I do share Veritas idea once again, ethnocentric thoughts /beliefs that can be widely innocent ,as we are from a given society ,community ,geography ,culture and so on ,there is no problem to have or to belong to which ever ethnic group or to admire or appreciate once culture ,language ,community ,etc as long as it is not in expense of others ,there is no problem to be Gondere ,Hadya ,Oromo ,Gurage ,Tiger ,Tsemay or Murse , because it is nonetheless true that ethnic membership is typically not chosen but given ,so there is no inferiority or superiority ,but we the(Ethiopian)have developed evil ethnocentrism instead of innocent one to our culture ,to our society ,to our life ,to our work ,to our every touch of life specially at the current time even if it has been with us for a centuries by continuously damaging our existence.

    Nature impulse prompts human being to strongly consider the need of other fellows even compete with his own, this means even if we computing one another it is necessary to have to stand together and work for a common goal. Let me show you haw it is adversely affecting our over all performance .We, Ethiopian have a huge problem as big as a gigantic mountain that is unthinkable to take care of it as a society let alone as individual .but we are still repealing each other, how let us see below, they are simple examples like abc.

    1,let us see our marriage ,when couples get married ,the governing factor or the corner stone for there marriage should be LOVE ,right ?,in order to have sacred life in your marriage, love should come first ,given some factors(citrus paribus) but how many of us stretched our minds and heart toward love or did we consider some of her/his culture, geographic location,ethinic group, language or some thing else ?let us take a moment and see back how we made our decision or how we are going to make our decision ,let us consider how our marriage was /is affected positively or negatively due to the consequential effects (For fun ,Do you remember Clyn Dion song which is “love does not ask why”) I am not joking! Evil ethnocentrism is damaging our marriage or the would be marriage, too

    2. let us see our work performance .you guys do you remember the old saying “the right person on the right place “ wow I love that , but why do we say that ,it is simply because the right persons are not on the right place because of ethnocentrism, in order to be effective and efficient and to increase our productivity we should assign the right person on the right place even from small kiosk to huge manufacturing factory ,but we are not doing that ,that is why all our productivity is shabby and as slow as dodo.

    3. Let us see our religion .our big exemplary institution; here we are in a place where to forget all earthly things and to pray for our heavenly life, if we are religious there is no room to ethnocentrism(NO EXCEPTION) because it is ultimately against the great book, this is the place where the main tragedy of ethnocentrism drama okestrated especially in abroad ,the situation it getting worse and worse at the current time, imagine guys if we have this problem in the premises of our church in a place where we worship the almighty God ,how sad it is ,but trust me there is the worst of its kind in our churches.

    In short it is in every where, it is almost chronic, it is in the way to cancer, we need good medicine, and we have to start the search for cure individually or as a group even if the journey is long and tedious, but we have to start now to get the cure because it is a sad truth as Tazabi pointed out in her previous post, too (guys we have to dig deep to see the cause, effect and cure of this epidemic)

    ** ** ** **

    In my part we need to be open any way at any time, as long as we are capable to see things in perspective, as long as we have the information, the knowledge to judge .if we strive to get the knowledge and to see things in perspective, everything will be open, let alone our openness, that is how I understand openness.

    Thank you

  179. Veritas
    April 6, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    Thanks a lot for your very great contribution on the problems related to ethnocentric beliefs which pretty much run throughout most of the Ethiopian society.

    Your applications of destructive ethnocentric thinking and actions by so many Ethiopians in the context of marriage, work place and religious institutions is to the point and I do not think any Ethiopian conscious of the problems we’re discussing would miss your obvious yet very relevant and crucial points.

    I want to say something about the impact of destructive ethnocentric beliefs and your thoughts about religious institutions.

    1) Yes, religious views (in particular the major religious views in Ethiopia, such as, broadly, Christian and Islam) provide justification for the equality of all human beings so far as I know. My knowledge of Islam is not good enough so I’d take examples from Christianity, with which I’m more familiar.
    a. Now the majority of the Ethiopian population is either Christian or Muslim and that means these religious institutions are based on some teachings that should have addressed the problems of ethnocentrism that I suggested that they can do something about to significantly minimize its negative effects. We know that religious institutions failed to play the role that is within their hands because they’ve failed to see the role of religion in addressing such issues as ethnocentrism that goes AGAINST the teachings of these major religions, or because the religious leaders themselves are victims of ethnocentric thinking/beliefs.
    b. Daniyot, you say, “…here we are in a place where to forget all earthly things and to pray for our heavenly life…” I think one of the reasons why religions played such insignificant roles in addressing societal issues such as the problem of ethnocentrism, is precisely for the widespread thinking and belief that, I’m afraid, that we’ve partly read from Daniyot in the above quotation. Let’s take Christianity: If Christianity teaches that we “forget all earthly things and pray for our heavenly life” there is no way for it to address such societal issues as ethnocentrism for such an issue is about THIS world and that is people need to do something about the destructive fruits of ethnocentrism now.
    c. I do not think Christianity teaches that we should forget all earthly things such as ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism I think is against the Christian teaching that states ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE CREATED IN THE LIKENESS AND AFTER THE IMAGE OF GOD. If such a teaching is from the Bible, we cannot conclude that the Bible teaches us to ignore whatever teachings go AGAINST that teaching from the Bible about the equality of all human beings before God.
    d. I’ve been trying to draw some of the implications of some of the thoughts that can be shown from what Daniyot has said (the quoted one above) but which he might have said a little bit less carefully for I do not think that Daniyot wants to say that the Bible does not have teachings AGAINST ethnocentrism because he also says, immediately following what I’ve quoted above, “..if we are religious there is no room to ethnocentrism(NO EXCEPTION) because it is ultimately against the great book”.
    d. Daniyot, and if there is anyone out there that thinks/believes that the Christian religion requires believers to focus on the life to come at the expense of life here and now, I think that such a way of thinking is wrong; my knowledge of Christianity is that its teaching is as much about life here and now as about life to come. Otherwise, how can Christianity contribute anything positive to human society here and now? Recall our discussions on the Christian influence on the western societies and lack of its influence in Ethiopia.

    I hope the above thoughts would clarify issues about the role of Christianity addressing the issues of ethnocentrism. I’m also inclined to think that Daniyot’s thinking is not farther from what I’ve tried to share.

    We’ve not heard much of Tazabi’s thoughts on what we’re discussing and I look forward to hearing her response too. Many thanks Daniyot.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  180. Veritas
    April 6, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Hello All:

    Some more thoughts:

    1. By the way, when I realized who I meant to address when I said “Hello All” and when I realized who is my audience that I’m aware of that reads and participates in this discussion these days, I felt a little bit of a shock. The thing is that it reminded me of where I come from, originally, and which people I belong to, in some sense: the sad yet true answer goes: ETHIOPIANS. But then that awareness partly provides the answer to my own feeling of a shock at the realization of the fact that ONLY TWO other fellow Ethiopians are interacting with me, in this forum. What a shame I should have said and abandoned everything to do with Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.

    2. It’d make no sense whatsoever for one (a non-Ethiopian) to imagine what we’re trying to do here and to eventually accomplish and to observe in light of our purpose how much deadly silence has been dominating this discussion forum as if we the regular participants are playing a game here with no intention of being serious. If I were not dealing with fellow Ethiopians, whose character is the subject of my long term project to which two or three fellow Ethiopians are contributing their share of thoughts, I would never ever make sense of the silence that is deadly here for a month now. I do know I’m dealing with the Ethiopians and what else can I expect? Not much. That is the answer. Sad yet true. Depressing yet true. Frustrating yet true. Shocking to begin to think about it yet true.

    3. By the way, I was going to add some thoughts as anyone who reads how I started writing this post can tell but now I think I’d stop here for the moment and think about fellow Ethiopians just to see once again what it means to deal with them. I can imagine even God having a “puzzling thought” about us, Ethiopians in His dealings with us, many of us. Perhaps He’s given upon us, to some extent, and we fancy ourselves thinking that He’s going to make Ethiopia a great nation. What a wish-fulfilling thought! That will never happen and that is not a prophecy. It does not take a genius either to say and show that for it’s obvious that many of us do not know who we are and we do not want to know who we are, and we do not care to figure out if there is a solution for our depressing form of human existence.
    4. One month after posting my call for such collective soul-searching I’m interacting with only two fellow Ethiopians now who’ve been faithful in their commitments to taking this soul-searching call seriously. Some have come and as typical Ethiopians would do they have gone. Some might come in the future, who knows, but only to go after one or two posts. This discussion might come to an end but the project, the book project, will not. That is one thing that I can do without any help of fellow Ethiopians who do not care, who do not want to know who they are and how they came to be who they are today and who they will be tomorrow and their children for generations to come: but the sad yet true answer is that they ALL WILL BE THE SAME, PERHAPS WOULD EVEN BE IN A WORSE SITUATION THAN NOW.

    5. The above is not a prophecy. I’m not a prophet. I’m not. NO mistakes please. This is calling a spade a spade; this is speaking the truth boldly and confidently. We, as a society, are NOT going to be better in whatever desirable way UNTIL AND UNLESS we have a desire to change so many of our false beliefs about ourselves and much more and UNTIL AND UNLESS we change our so many misguided values by which we’ve lived for centuries, and they’ve taken us only this far. That is how far we will ever go: THIS FAR. Without drastically changing ourselves in many ways, we will be here to stay: as people whose story is perennial and persistent misery and without untold meaninglessness. That is our story. OUR FUTURE IS OUR PAST for we’ve rarely had any desirable and livable and better vision for a future. OUR FUTURE IS OUR PAST. What a sad future! But that is us, that is our story. That is true. I’ve arguments to support those conclusion that our future is our past. Anyone who has had some courage to read this month long discussion-of course, besides my faithful companions in this discussion- can tell where my arguments are going, they will be telling reasons to show us that we as a society have failed in multiple ways. That is true.

    Will be back,

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  181. Veritas
    April 6, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    P.S. Please read “without untold meaninglessness” as “with untold meaninglessness” under point 5.

    Veritas

  182. Tazabi
    April 6, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    Veritas,
    When i asked you what’s lack of openness to you, you gave me the relationships example and i was responding to that. If you say lack of openess for discussion, criticizem, i would say definately there’s a problem in our society. Unless you’re specific, when you say “open”, it covers many areas. In my opinion. we don’t need to be open for everything.

    Daniyot,
    Speaking of marriage, let me share you guys my experiance. Given the place where i live, i was dating an American guy and i got disapproval for that. Later on, i happened to meet my lovely husband who’s an Ethiopian guy and we got married. You won’t believe the reaction i got from people who lives here in USA by telling me how a different region Amhara would be bad to my marriage. I was shocked to hear so much hate even among the same ethnic group. I’ve no idea how we got to the lowest of the low. I hope things won’t get out of control before it gets better.

  183. Tazabi
    April 7, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Veritas,
    Believe me, the silent has been killing me softly. When we discuss about philosophy alone, i was expecting Ethiopian philosophy major students might join us. By the way, Orthodox religion teaches to love one another, respect…I live in a small city and i’ve not been Ethiopian church for a while.Oh! Let me take it back, somebody told me that there’re churches available in DC area for different ethnic groups. So, that doesn’t support my claim either. They should takeit seriously. Hope, Arefe gives you one more chance to post it under new title and we all may learn from fellow Ethiopians.

    Happy Easter for you & Danyiot!

  184. Daniyot
    April 7, 2007 at 3:30 am

    Veritas

    “…here we are in a place where to forget all earthly things and to pray for our heavenly life…” when I wrote this sentence my intention was not to ignore or disregarded what we do and we are doing in our daily basis but to stress or show that the one who is praying for the heavenly life should be away from ignorance, jealousy and bad character, he should be exemplary of good deeds , to me it is to say that the one who pray for the heavenly life is supposed to forge his behavior ,attitude and character toward perfection(even if perfection is impossible to human beings)but we ,most of us even with in religious institution are walking toward imperfection ,that was what I want to mention, I never mean to say that .if I put my sentence in that context ,it mean there is now way to raise any issue to adderess religious person ,no way

    I do appreciate your suggestion, correction and clarification,

    thank you

  185. Veritas
    April 7, 2007 at 5:33 am

    Hello Tazabi and Daniyot:

    Thanks a lot both of you for sharing your thoughts. I want you to read the following paragraph from one of my philosophy paper’s that I want to illustrate a point using it below: Just read this first:

    “Contemporary epistemological literature is littered, so to speak, with descendants of Cartesian Evil Demon skeptical arguments. Most of the radical skeptical arguments in the contemporary epistemology literature take various incarnations of the following skeptical argument where ‘sh’ refers to a skeptical hypothesis, and ‘e’ refers to any one of everyday propositions that are inconsistent with ‘sh’, thus:
    S1. If S knows e, then S knows ¬sh.
    S2. S does not know ¬sh.
    S3. Therefore, S does not know e.

    Now one can easily see the radical nature of such skeptical arguments since S3 is in direct conflict with almost everything we claim to know. The above is an example of a widely discussed structure of skeptical arguments but then for my purpose I do not need the form of the above argument for there is another version that can bring out what I’m trying to get at in the present context and it’s called skeptical arguments from underdetermination(SAFU) and it goes as follows:
    (U1) If my evidence does not favor my belief in everyday propositions over the known to be incompatible skeptical hypothesis, then I am not internalistically justified in believing everyday propositions.
    (U2) My evidence does not favor my belief in everyday propositions over the known to be incompatible skeptical hypothesis.
    (U3) I am not internalistically justified in believing everyday propositions (and thus I lack internalist knowledge of everyday propositions.)

    The above “template underdetermination-based skeptical argument”, as Pritchard calls it, is based on an underdetermination principle which goes as follows:
    “For all S, φ, ψ, if S’s evidence for believing φ does not favor φ over some other hypothesis ψ that S knows to be incompatible with φ, then S is not internalistically justified in believing φ.”

    Now here is the point: This is an example of how philosophers in the area I do philosophy write and argue about their points. All my philosophy papers are in one way or the other much similar to what you’ve just read from one of my recent papers. Now you’ve read my posts for the last one month and those posts are not tightly argued as the example I’ve just shared with you. By no means!

    When I decided to share my thoughts with fellow Ethiopians I knew that my audience would consist, most likely, fellow Ethiopians whose academic background training is not in contemporary analytic philosophy. Based on that understanding I’ve tried to be as clear in my communications as I could be without bringing in any technical issues from what I’d do otherwise in more professional philosophical settings. I’ve learned the difficulty of trying to share my thoughts with non-professional-philosophy audience that is not part of what I do in all my writings.

    One of the purposes that I wanted to accomplish when I decided to share and test my ideas for the book project and to learn from fellow Ethiopians has been to PROMOTE careful and much deeper thinking about whatever issues we discuss and also to promote clarity in communications of our thoughts. With this SECONDARY purpose in mind which has not been a hidden agenda anyways, I’ve shared the Gricean maxims hoping that they would be of some help in what we mean to do here.

    Now please bear this point in mind: I’m not saying that my expectation all along has been to see philosophical writings in this forum in a way that I want to do for myself and want to see among professional philosophers, from those who’ve had academic trainings in philosophy. By no means!!! But I’d be encouraged to see some degree of change for better in participates, whoever, in this discussion forum for my strong desire is FOR ALL OF US to grow together. For me that means I want to grow in how to clearly write and be able to communicate some of my thoughts with fellow Ethiopians whose background is not in academic philosophy. That is a very difficult task. Only those in academic philosophy would understand what that means. That is one of those things that I had doubts that I’d be able to do well on when I started this blog discussion. From what I’ve experienced so far my hope is that I’ve tried to communicate my thoughts to some degree with some success.

    What about my fellow Ethiopian participants? I’ve a strong desire to see their writings and thoughts to progressively change for BETTER though that is not my primary reason for my being here at all. If I benefit from this discussion in some way and if I do genuinely care for the development of my fellow Ethiopian participants, it’s a good thing I think to openly and honestly and truthfully encourage them to continue to take advantage of this forum to develop their ideas, to learn to think more carefully for all of us need that all the time any ways, and for them to use this opportunity to achieve communicating their ideas coherently, orderly, and clearly as well. Now both of you can evaluate your first month’s progress in terms of what you’ve done and how much you’ve developed some such virtues that will be tremendously helpful for you as persons. I do not need to argue for the values that I want to promote, as my secondary purpose, in this forum, any ways.

    If anyone thinks that the level of discussion and the depth of ideas that we’re trying to discuss and the care, some of us, have been taking to demonstrate in handling issues is not significantly different from any other Ethiopian-run blogs, I would not have emphasized the value of promoting the values of learning how to think more carefully, and how to communicate more clearly as I’ve been doing all along. I bet there is no other Ethiopian-run blog that I’m aware of that takes pains to discuss ideas deep and timely and cares to promote intellectual virtues to the degree this discussion has been striving to promote.

    I’d love to hear reactions from both of my faithful companions and most enthusiastic fellow Ethiopian participants, Tazabi and Daniyot.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  186. Veritas
    April 7, 2007 at 5:59 am

    P.S.

    After posting the above and when I re-read it I’ve found the last (longer) paragraph that starts with “In anyone…” not as clear as I now think it should be. I’ve discovered something awkward in it when I was re-reading it. It needs some clarifications.

    I want to leave it for Tazabi and Daniyot to tell me what went wrong with it. What is its problem as it stands? To be exact, what is wrong with this paragraph:

    “If anyone thinks that the level of discussion and the depth of ideas that we’re trying to discuss and the care, some of us, have been taking to demonstrate in handling issues is not significantly different from any other Ethiopian-run blogs, I would not have emphasized the value of promoting the values of learning how to think more carefully, and how to communicate more clearly as I’ve been doing all along.”

    I should have been clearer in what I wanted to communicate with the above paragraph. Let me know what has gone wrong with it. I think I’ve made a subtle mistake. It’s not obviously grammatical though it’s related to that as well. It’s more about my thoughts being unclear somewhere.

    Mind you I discovered this awkward paragraph AFTER posting what I wrote and I’ve not done that intentionally to test you. I’m exposing my own mistake in a post that encourages us ALL to be more careful in our thinking and clearer in our communications. I’ve quite a lot to learn in that regard. Make no mistake about that. I’ve quite, quite a long way to go to learn how to think better and how to communicate clearer. My professional setting has a standard any sane human being would take to be insane given how much precision, rigor, and clarity in thought and expression or communication is valued in contemporary analytic philosophy.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  187. Veritas
    April 7, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Hello Daniyot and Tazabi:

    Thanks a lot for your clarifications about what I raised in one of my posts. As I also indicated in my response that was attempting to clarify your ideas I thought you’d not be farther from what I tried to say there, that is what you’ve said in your post that clarified what I was wondering about. Thanks for seeing the lack of clarity and immediately dealing with it. That is great.

    Tazabi:

    I do not know what you’ve in mind when you say: “Unless you’re specific, when you say “open”, it covers many areas. In my opinion. we don’t need to be open for everything.”

    I’ve tried to give you enough clarifications as to what I was trying to get at when I said lack of openness and I do not know why you still say this: “we don’t need to be open for everything”. I never said that we’ve to be “open for everything” for I do not know what that means in the first place. Perhaps you can help me figure out what you’ve in mind. Saying things like that is very vague and I do not know where you get such an idea from our discussion. I never said nor implied that we need to be “open for everything” which I’ve no clue what it means again.

    For philosophers words like “everything” mean quite a lot and very important and they write a book and multiple papers on just such one word. “Everything” is called a universal quantifier. For anyone who’s familiar with such works to read and understand what you wanted to say when you said “”we don’t need to be open for everything” is confusing. You could have avoided all this by saying something that clarifies what you wanted to say by that with a little bit of effort in your thinking and communications.

    Why did I say this for example: “But it’s wrong in the mean time to lie about oneself, being dishonest about oneself, and relate to the other person with suspicions WITHOUT ANY GOOD REASON…” I thought such a clear qualification would answer your worries. Please be more careful in sharing your thoughts as I’ve always encouraged ALL OF US.

    Hope the above clarifies communication of our ideas. I hope that you see the value of valuing clarity in communications in a forum such as this as I’ve tried to encourage ALL OF US many times. If we don’t take advantage of such an opportunity as this to learn from each other and develop skills in our thinking and writing and communications and developing intellectual virtues we’re still showing our character flaws as Ethiopians. CHARACTER IS LIKE A MIRROR, a very reliable one at that, and let’s be more reflective of what we think and say and do, EVEN HERE IN THIS FORUM more than anywhere else for it’s here that we’ve come to learn from each other publicly.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  188. Dessalegn
  189. Veritas
    April 7, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Hello Dessalegn:

    It’s good to see a link to your great post which is on much similar issus that we’ve been discussing here for a month now.

    I hope that others will also read your very much realistic thoughts on the problems that we’re also trying to addess here and the debate will move a step forward as fellow Ethiopians like you join this discussion/debate.

    Many thanks for providing a link to your article and my hope is that you’ll join us for sharing your thoughts on many issues we’re trying to address here.

    Note that our discussion has moved to the following here:

    https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/the-continuing-self-search-debate/

    I’ll also move your link there for readers to find it there as well.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  190. Daniyot
    April 8, 2007 at 5:31 am

    Veritas
    I have read your post dated 6th of April, I do understand it is a shock; it is heart breaking as far as I know. In the first place I have innocent thought that helped me to convince myself at the very beginning , but it was only momentary, in the first week I was happy when I say some participants ,at the end of second week there were 4 participants, at the beginning of 3rd week three people continued ,at the end of 3rd week and at the beginning of 4th week one guy joined ,but he resigned, now we are 3 ,yes only three ,yes this incidence directly or indirectly depicts our character ,from the simplest thing imagine how it was started ,how it continued and where it is now ,it shows typical abash’s behaviors. That is how we do any of our projects, that the sign how we start, how we continue and finish and how we fail , that is one of the root cause to our faller, sad to say that but I have no choose .

    Yes, our past is our future, and it will continues like that as long as we are not willing to dig deep and find out proper solution to our deep rooted problems, from this one month experience I can, at least judge that how dreadful we are to work for our future, in short our riddle will remain as they were/are as long as many of us are not willing to work for our present and future.

    In order to continue or discussion, we have to design some other ways that can directly address the issues to the society, but still we have to keep it up. Do not give up Veritas and Tazabi.

    Let us do some home work .What is the reason for this deadly silence? Let us figure out the reasons and then forward our recommendation, please let us try this way for the time being.

  191. Daniyot
    April 8, 2007 at 6:01 am

    1. “If anyone thinks that the level of discussion and the depth of ideas that we’re trying to discuss and the care, some of us, have been taking to demonstrate in handling issues is not significantly different from any other Ethiopian-run blogs, I would not have emphasized the value of promoting the values of learning how to think more carefully, and how to communicate more clearly as I’ve been doing all along.”
    You said “some of us” in the middle of the sentence but you finished this sentence by saying “…I have been doing all along.” at least you have to put “we” or “some of us” in the last sentence as well.

    This discussion is some what different from other blogs run by other Ethiopian for its significance as well as its essence, if not, there is no need to emphasize the value of how to think, how to communicate more clearly and carefully, that is what I understood from this paragraph as well by the way .
    If I put something wrongly ,please do your correction, as usual

  192. Veritas
    April 8, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Hello Daniyot:

    I’ll be brief for now; I’ll be out of town for most of the day. I’ve read your great post with delight as usual.

    By the way, here is a link to a conference on the Ethiopian Millenium and I’m thinking to submit a paper with the title, if any one ever allows me to present such a paper: the title is: Our future is our past.

    The link:

    http://www.addisvoice.com/PR/m.pdf

    Cheers,

    Veriats

    P.S. Hope Tazabi will come back today; otherwise, imagine just the two of us being here for another month.

  193. anga00
    October 14, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    A fascinating observations on Ethiopoia’s cultural follies by veritas, and by the contributors in no less degree of passion. I am glad I have been here and pretty sure will be back again.

  194. December 16, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I conciliate lying, cheating, abnoxious suspicion, all kinds of undesirability behaviours are unwholesome to private relationships. If it takes a period to get to agnise a women, that doesn’t increment a attribute traits to a culture as a whole. Every subculture has its own characteristic attribute and the social powerfulness could unscheduled us to presume that way. I don’t weighing there’s misconduct or access to this. I’m not in advantage of the Americans openess either. What i see, comprehend on the media is everything is out in the open. I don’t opportunity they’re injustice because that’s the idiom they are. I agnize mortal who used to maturity Ameriacan and having difficulties maintaining state with Ethiopian women. Infer me, when it comes to relationships among Ethiopians, i overhear the same stories in both sides and it’s effortful to find who’s informing the truth.

  1. April 7, 2007 at 4:56 pm
  2. July 26, 2007 at 1:33 am
  3. July 26, 2007 at 1:36 am
  4. November 23, 2007 at 9:51 pm
  5. November 26, 2007 at 7:08 pm
  6. December 10, 2007 at 5:48 pm

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