Home > Uncategorized > The glory that was Ethiopia

The glory that was Ethiopia

This is an excerpt from the piece that I wrote for the Sub-Saharan Informer.I couldn’t link it as it isn’t online.

The topic  may seem a little pretentious  for such short article but I am hoping to expand it some time in the future.Veritas, I think this will resonate with some of the ideas you’ve raised.

For now, here you are.

Three decades after the country came around to the realization that the imperial era has irrevocably gone, a new, curious trend seems to be emerging.Books, songs, magazines, films, webpages, posters, and T-shirts are coming out in great numbers, carrying messages of past greatness, and loss of ‘those happy by-gone days.’

A cursory look at some of the films and plays that are being shown in the town may bear this out.One new Amharic film that was launched last week, March 30, ‘Icabod’, a Hebrew word meaning, ‘The glory has left’, pushes its dramatic exaggeration of melodramatic moments in word and image to recount how the country’s historic treasures taken oversees in the hands of collectors and are stored in Western museums.The viewer is inexorably dragged into a story of loss and redemption, as the fight between those ‘who commit an assault on thier country’s and those who try to stop it’ unfolds.How much this adaption represents or trivalizes the real facts could be a subject for debate but it is an interesting, telling example of the growing fascination with lost chattels and treasures.

Another stage play that is drawing a huge audience at the City Hall celebrates one of Ethiopia’s prominent historical figures, Etege Taitu.The play by the renowned director, Getnet Eneyew, is by no means a one-off in the theatre landscape -neither as far as current trends are concerned, nor from a historical perspective-although the public interest that accompnied the play make it an oustanding example of popular cultures ‘ preoccupation with historical figures.

In a pattern that fits this picture, Tatek Tadesse, a talented film director who surprised us with his premier film, Gudifecha (Adoption), is also coming up with a new film, ‘The Return of Grace’ with a theme on the revival of the ancient Axumite civilizations.

But cinema and theatre are not the only mediums where people are using to vent these feelings.Some are waxing nostalgic on the attire they are wearing.It is not uncommon to see young people wearing T-shirts, with messages like ‘Wa Gize’ (Oh, those glorious days) and the picture of Emperor Haile Sellasie.

Of course, the Lion of Judah is the most noticeable figure, reappering in books, now and then, his picture hanging in shops, bars and even on taxis.

If you visit bookshops, you will see that there are around major six books on his life that came out in the last two years, including the new one “Talak Zemen, Talak Negus, Ye Aba Tekl, Ayse Haile Sellasie (Great Times, Great King, the Rein of Haile Sellassie) that was the light of the day two weeks ago.To a degree some are finding it excessive, in some circle, Haile Sellasie being idolized; his name, image and person held in almost sacred regard.So much so that, anyone who dares to make the slightest criticism of his reign is likely to get a rebuke of the strongest type from his fervent supporters.

Considering the fact that young people who are now in mid-thirties were born the year he was deposed and even those who are in thier forties have a dim and distant memory of him, the present generation’s fascination with him seem quite curious but looking at all these, one feel that, whatever the historical importance of Ethiopia’s last Emperor, his record is having something of a permanence, something of intensity.

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  1. Veritas
    April 7, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Hello Arefaynie:

    Thank very much for sharing an excerpt from your article on the glory of the past for a younger generation of Ethiopians.

    As you’ve rightly said what you’ve shared resonates with much of what I’ve been also sharing on this blog now for a month. I want to add to what you’ve said what I’ve said in one of my most recent posts which is very much provocative, if there is anyone out there who still has a sense of being provoked and wants to share his/her thoughts with us: The following is what I’ve in mind, which is my take on what you’ve shared about nostalgia, when it takes a wrong turn:

    “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 with untold meaninglessness. That is our story. OUR FUTURE IS OUR PAST for we’ve rarely had any desirable and livable and better visions 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 conclusions 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.”

    The links I was referring to are:

    1)Where the discussion on the above issues ahs started:

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

    It’s moved to:

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

    Now it’s moved to:

    3)https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/the-continuing-self-search-debate/

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  2. Veritas
    April 7, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    P.S.

    I see two of the links do not seem to work:

    One more try for (2) & (3):

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

    3) https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/the-continuing-self-search-debate/

    Hope this time they work.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  3. Daniyot
    April 8, 2007 at 6:29 am

    I have read the above post ,but my response at least for the time being is borrowed(qouted)from Veritas post from the other section this blog(soul searching…)

    “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. ”

    How do you see this?

  4. agere
    April 8, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Yes, our future is in question. We don’t need to be told. Mostly the Govt. need to be accountable by implementing bad policies and many others things to follow. Instead of Mr. Veritas endless nonsense talking outside the country, why not he come in the country and make some changes. He writes like he has some kind of hidden agenda. May be selling books???Talk is cheap.

  5. Veritas
    April 9, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Hello Agere:

    Thanks for your most sensible post! I hope that you’ll soon realize that this blog, in some sense, is not for the likes of you who make most sense among us who make no sense, or nonsense.

    Don’t worry about the hidden agenda by Veritas. One of the REVEALED things about Veritas’ agenda is to tell fellow Ethiopians, including himself, that our CHARACTERS ARE LIKE MIRRORS. Now one does not need a genius to see and predict what kind of person you’re for, REMEMBER, characters when revealed by actions mirror the person’s heart/mind, who the person truly is. You just gave away that. That simply shows you that you’re at a wrong place. That is why we’ve not had any person like you in the month long discussion and your future is in your past and hope that you’ll teach us to make sense in the future, if we’ve one.

    The above is cheap talk. By the way, what if Veritas is in Ethiopia and is doing something? Will you then say that Veritas makes sense? I hope not. One more thing: when the book comes out, please do not buy it. And also if you’re really kind enough start a promotion so that the likes of you never read that book, I say this as if you’d read such a book any ways. One of the purposes of such a book is to contribute at least some good to those who still make no sense that is for the likes of us, but then who desire to make some sense like you. Since you make the most sense you do not need it. Hope that you got the point even if it does not make sense and all it is is cheap talk.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  6. Aaron
    April 9, 2007 at 6:09 am

    Agere welcome

    “Yes, our future is in question. We don’t need to be told.” Imagine guys what Agere said here, if this statement is being forwarded by mentally and physically healthy person, I am sure I must be sick., how many Ageres’ do this country may have ?it might be too many even in a key position ,we never know ,I think that is why our future is our past.

    “Mostly the Govt. need to be accountable by implementing bad policies and many others things to follow” you look smart enough here, wow you have addressed our problems, ha! I wish I could turn a deaf ear but I can’t, please go to some of road side book stores in laghar area or to the corner of Mierab hotel and spend a couple of coins on some book ,I am sure even those will enlighten you ,sir

    Instead of Mr. Veritas endless nonsense talking outside the country, why not he come in the country and makes some changes, but still you do not want to be told, right? So how?

    “He writes like he has some kind of hidden agenda. May be selling books???Talk is cheap. Do you know author who became rich by selling books in Ethiopian? Can you tell me any example? What kind of conclusion is this, do you think selling a book is a hidden agenda again, I am sorry I can easily guess that you do not know what agenda mean.

    To sum up, let me tell you some thing said by one of well known late professor of Mathematics.

    I am sure it was in 1994 E.C. it was said by one of the late mathematics professor when he was teaching 101 mathematics in the 4th kilo campus freshman Medicine students..

    He asked one of his student(the would be doctor)a simple algebra question ,the student said I do not know ,he asked the other student ,he does not know either ,then the professor gave his lecture on the subject very well, eventually, before he live the class ,he said “are you guys going to be I doctor, right? All of the student said “yes” equivocally, the professor said, yes I am like because I would die by the time you become a doctor ,that professor was dead due to natural cause before those students became a doctor ,he must be lucky,I wish I could die before ….

  7. Aaron
    April 9, 2007 at 6:15 am

    In the last paragraph line #6 “the professor said I must be lucky “in stead of “like “

  8. daniyot
    April 9, 2007 at 6:19 am

    Agere

    For the heaven sake ,please,please read at least some of the posts by Veritas and let me see you then.that is all I can say .

  9. Veritas
    April 9, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Hello Agere:
    I hope that you’ll read the following post–copied for you below– I made in response to another post by our new contributor on the national soul-searching project that I proposed for the discussion that is going on this blog now with the title “The continuing self-search debate” which is the continuation of the previous month’s discussion with the title: “Ethiopians: do we need to do soul-searching?”:

    Your response to whatever I’ve shared for discussion was posted under another post on the same blog and I do not want to litter or clutter this discussion of a much similar issues by another fellow Ethiopian whose post it’s by bringing my “nonsensical endless [talk]” as you put it.

    If you read the following–again, copied for you below– and want to respond to that discussion you’re most welcome to do so. But please note that there is a reasonable and somewhat demanding standard for contributors to willingly meet as they continue to participate in that discussion and without a desire and willingness to meet that standard I’ll not respond to your posts, if they are similar to your post above. What standard I’m talking about you can find out by reading the previous posts from the last month’s discussion I was referring to here:

    If you need a summary of the standards that we all mean to meet as participants here let me know and I’ll provide a brief summary of them. I’m not doing so right now because I thought you know them since you seem to have “read” my previous posts despite their making no sense to you, unfortunately.
    Hope to see you there.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

    P.S. I pologize if the above post appears twice. I did it first with links provided and it said something that I’ve learned to interpret as meaning it would not appear; hence I’m posting the same thing minus the links except by their titles.
    _________________________________________________

    “Hello Dan:

    Welcome aboard to this blog and to this discussion which has been going on for a month and has been a rewarding experience for me personally and I hope for my most faithful companions who’ve been here with me all the way. Your addition, I hope, will make a great difference to what we’ve set out to achieve here. This brings me to your very crucial question for us, myself included: which is, “What constitutes the success of this search of truth about ourselves?”

    A short version of the answer to your question is this:

    1)As you’ve seen some of the previous posts (or most or all of them) the discussion was/is a proposal for fellow Ethiopians, including myself all along, to take a stock of ourselves as individuals and as a community and as a society at large for multiple problems we’ve suffered as a society for far too long. Ethiopia as a nation has suffered from abject, grinding and absolute poverty for far too long; we’re a civilization in prolonged crisis; we’ve been decaying and dying as a society for far too long; we rarely had good governance and political leadership for far too long; we’ve continuously deteriorating and dying educational institutions; we’ve a long history in the past with no clear direction for the future as a society; you can add many, many more similar afflictions.

    2)Many fellow Ethiopians readily admit that we as a society suffer from such multiple problems. That is fine. But that is only the beginning of a search for the answer to the society’s ills. The search for the fundamental root causes of our society’s problems usually, almost always, as far as I know, does not go beyond some attempts to address the SYMPTOMS of our society’s problems. The most predominant thinking about what causes all our problems usually consists in pointing our fingers at the political leadership. No one can deny that a good political leadership is a positive and desirable thing for any society’s development. The consensus among many Ethiopians is that once we’ve democratic institutions in Ethiopian most of Ethiopia’s problems will go away.

    3)I’m very skeptical of the popularly proposed “solution” that depends on democracy as the most effective solution to Ethiopia’s problems. My reason for being doubtful about the popular solution is simple if anyone wants to think carefully about what that means: democratic values are part and parcel and ALSO extensions of the values of one’s society. Democratic values do not develop in a vacuum of values and/or in a society that is largely based on character traits that are self-defeating for the emergence and development of democratic values. Political leadership of one’s country is, to a great extent, a mirror reflection of the society’s values that run throughout one’s society. Characters of individuals, communities, and one’s society are the well- springs, the fountains from which the democratic values of the society emerge. That seems to be obvious to me. I’ll argue for this point when I see some call into question what I’ve just said.

    4)Now I hope that you see where I’m going (in my discussions I’ve been underscoring the indispensable value of character traits in the life of individuals, communities, and a society at large). Accordingly I proposed for us all to debate the hypothesis that I thought/think can explain why we’ve been suffering from multiple afflictions as individuals, communities and a society and my hypothesis that I’m sharing with fellow Ethiopians is that the most fundamental root cause for our society’s problems is the inherently bad and destructive character traits that run in the Ethiopian society as an epidemic of character problems. I’ve given various lists of them from time to time.

    5)You ask a pointed question, “What constitutes the success of this search of truth about ourselves?”. This is more than one question as I see it. Let me stop dividing it into its possible parts and say a few things for now:

    a.Part of the answer, or the beginning of a PARTIAL answer which is logically prior to others is openly admitting all the major character defects that are destructive to the society and starting working on—I’ll explain how that is supposed to work in the future- them with a desire to bring about a drastic change. That is the beginning of HALF of the solution to our problems.
    b.The other (PARTIAL) answer would be to provide an explanation for the so many false beliefs and values that contribute to genesis of the bad character traits. I’ve already provided some examples of false beliefs and I want to encourage you to remember them for now.

    c.Recognizing the false beliefs and destructive values many of us hold as a society would be a huge step forward in doing a realistic diagnosis for the ROOT CAUSES for our societal problems. The next step is to propose as to how to deal with the preceding problems. I’ve already said, in my previous posts, something suggestive with respect to what I’ve in mind about possible ways of dealing with our problems.

    6)One can see that what I’m proposing is not going to be a short term solution for centuries old problems of the Ethiopian society. It’s about a drastic change in the life and values of a generation of Ethiopians to come starting from us, NOW. The problems that afflict us have taken a long time to be deeply rooted and it’d simply be UNREALISTIC to expect to see a desirable and drastic change for better in our society in less than a generation’s time at the earliest. But we got to start doing something substantial about that in that direction NOW, WITH US, OURSELVES.

    One who’s read most of the discussions/dialogue would be able to see a bit fuller picture of what I’ve tried to summarize above. This is enough for now, I hope, to keep our discussion going and we’ll continue to spell out ideas that will shape the destiny of our society. All that starts with a massive soul-searching and that is why I proposed such a project for fellow Ethiopians in the first place.

    Now back to you Dan and whoever would like to share her/his ideas.

    Many, many thanks Dan for your pointed question which I see as a sign of a good beginning for your great contribution.

    Cheers,
    Veritas”

  10. Veritas
    April 9, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Hello Aaron:

    Many thanks for your post and welcome to the discussion that you seem to have been reading and you seem to be on the same page with the rest of us who mean to contribute something here.

    I’ll be participating in the discussion that is going on under the title “The Continuing self-search debate” from the previous month’s soul-searching debate/discussion.

    See you here or there on the discussion forum I’ve just mentioned.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  11. agere
    April 9, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Wake me up when you finished changing 65million+ people behaviour. I’ll be here. Get reality!

  12. Aaron
    April 10, 2007 at 4:14 am

    Agere,

    No,No it is better for you to sleep,do not worry, nobody will disturb because it does not make any difference,

    If you had a chance to see some book’s ,you would have an access to see how our world was influenced by stronge,commited ,briellient,responsible and honest individual,let alone 65 million+ people.

    trust me nobody will wake you up,have a nice nightmare as usual.

    Thank you,

  13. Veritas
    April 11, 2007 at 1:50 am

    Hi Aaron:

    Mnay thanks for your notes. I think the best thing that we should do for a post like the one you and I’ve responded to is to simply ignore the ones like that and move to the ones worth responding to.

    I was wondering if you’d like to participate in the main discussion by fellow Ethiopians on this blog here:

    https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/the-continuing-self-search-debate/

    There is a lively discussion is an on-going which is a continuation from last month’s discussion, which I think you’re aware of.

    Please consider contributing your thoughts there.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  14. shita
    May 10, 2007 at 12:54 am

    Hi all,

    After following the conversation between Veritas and co( …us on the same page..) on the one hand and Agere on the other I could not help expressing my feelings. It is not my intention to get deeper into the issues but to comment on what I thought was reflected in this blog.

    Veritas, Whilst I agree with the issue you raised, 100%, it is the fact that you and the supporters of the ideas all displayed the very”ill” that you were talking about. It was so obvious that you all looked down on Agere, superiority complex is not limited to ethnicism, as you all displayed it but also in feeling intellectually superior or feeling grand for speaking better English. I thing we have found a very good first ground to eradicating “Grandeur” Start from yourself.

    Although you might have found it a laughing matter, Agere made a critical point when he said”wake me up when you have changed 65million people”
    You cannot change others but yourself, after you changed yourself you will be able to change others by setting an example as well as by teaching from experience not theory. Then even Agere will listen to your ideas with respect because you would have earned it by then.

    Agere, I am sorry you were made to feel like you are less intelligent by not agreeing to everybody’s point. I understand your idea is as valid and feels entirely right as everybody else’s, it always helps to look for ways to improve one’s life without waiting for others to change. That includes governments and society. In fact by changing ourselves we will be able to change others because a society and a country is a reflection of the individuals within it.

    Guys, let’s start respecting others before we preach about respect.

    Shita

  15. Veritas
    May 13, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Hello Shita:

    Many thanks for your comments and concern. I do not check this page of this blog often since the main discussion has been going on in the other page of this blog which I think you might be aware of. I just had a chance to read your post minutes ago.

    Now you’re most certainly right about some of the points you made but I do not think that you’re right thru and thru though.

    You’re right when you talk about change in an individual’s life is more fundamental than and primary to that of changing others, society or what-have you. I’ve made those points again and again at the beginning of the blog discussion and that is exactly one of the premises of this whole discussion. In that regard your comments resonate with and in the spirit of this blog’s discussion.

    But even when you made this entirely obvious point that bears discussion and debate for some who fail to see its obviousness for whatever reasons, I do not think it’s right to speak of changing others without qualifiction. Changing others without their being willing to change themselves might involve coercion or some external force which is not genuine change at all; but chane in others can still be a result of a positive external influence that one sets for others to emulate, which does not involve coercion etc. I think it’d be helpful to distinguish such ideas of “changing others” even in what you say which seems to be innocent and obvious.

    Now the above is what we seem to be holding in common. Your main reason to share your comments was to share your concern that I and those who were critical of Agere displayed the same “ills” that we were supposed to fight against. I do not see where you got that idea from the posts or this blog.

    You say, “It was so obvious that you all looked down on Agere, superiority complex is not limited to ethnic-ism, as you all displayed it but also in feeling intellectually superior or feeling grand for speaking better English.” I wish I had any idea about what you wanted to communicate here for there is no reason from what we all SAID in response to Agere that there was any ethnic element or ethnocentrism involved for we do not know who is who that that has been participating in these discussions except for one person who shared her background.

    I think one and better way I understand you when you mention “ethnicism” is that you’re using that concept by way of analogy to draw the kind of superiority that you think we’ve committed , that is feeling intellectually supperior for speaking better English. I hope that you ddid not mean that. There was no debate in this blog that involves better English speakers vs poor English speakers. As you yourself can judge Agere’s English was as good as and even better than some others’ who’ve been part of this discussion. If you think I was critical to Agere based on Agere’s English you should show me from what I’ve been sharing all along who I have become critical of based on one’s English.

    Do not forget that saying one does not write ( I thought you meant to talk about writing for we’re not speaking in English here) good English has not been the issue; what I’ve been trying to encourage fellow participants here is to try to improve the ways by which they expressed themselves, their communications skills, clarity in their thoughts and hence communications. No body ever mentioned that such things could only be achieved if done only in the English language though English is the medium of communication here. Therefore, you can see how you’ve missed the points that have been part of this discussion though your intention seems to be genuine and right.

    There is no justification for feeling intellectually superior for whatever reason if and when one means to help bring about change for better in one’s community and society at large. Character is practical though it’s theoretical underpinnings and as I’ve said this again and again: no one can become a virtuous person by preaching theories if one does not practice those virtues. I wish you’ve added something fresh and shared new insights in your points that has not been repeatedly said and meant.

    Why was I critical if I were critical to Agere and if others on this blog were critical to Agere, if they were critical to Agere? I think the answer has been clearly provided in the points that I’ve made and others have made when there was need for such comments to have been shared whe we read Agere’s posts. You go ahead and show me or us that the reasons for sharing those comments on Agere’s post were wrong and I want to learn from my mistakes what went wrong with what I’ve said. Otherwise, I think the reasons you’ve provided, I’m afraid, have missed the points why I said what I did and others likewise.

    Many thanks once again for taking your time to share your concern.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  16. shita
    May 14, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Many thanks Veritas.

    My point is that WE ARE THE PRODUCT OF THE CUSTOMS WE ARE CRITICISING THEREFORE OUR OWN WELL MEANING ACTIONS ARE STAINED BY THESE HABITS WE ACQUIRED FROM SOCIETY. HENCE, THE NEED TO LOOK INTO OUR ACTIONS EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

    To borrow Oscar Wilde’s words “We are all in the gutter except some of us are looking at the stars”. It is important not to forget that identifying the problem does not mean we are free of it. You and I are still there except we want to get out of there.

    I never thought I will need to give details but here it is. I did not mean you all did it knowingly, it is always what we are not aware of that damages us and others most. However, the last respondant was bluntly offensive towards him which sadly is prevalent in our society. The very reason all oppositions are crashed by all governments. We do not tolerate difference and opposition.

    What is it called when a person corrects another person’s use of language in a middle of a discussion? That is what I read when one of the responders corrected Agere’s use of term in relation to the story he related about the Instructor who died before his students became doctors.

    As a seasoned communicator( I think you are) would making corrections help a flow of communication? What kind of reaction will it trigger on the participant? Imagine chatting to an English man who is correcting your use of terms every step of the way.

    I did not read any comments indicting any of the responders acknowledged or respected the fact that Agere had a different view except assumptions of his not understanding. Is it not why you were trying to help him by summerising and directing him to the past comments? That is what is perceived as “respect & kindness” in our society but in reality it is not. He could have made a choice to believe what he wanted to believe.

    Do we sincerely respect the right to be and believe anything other than what you and I perceive as “right”.? How about a person’s right to believe in the devil if he chose to? Are we prepared enough to give respect to other peoples beliefs?

    My point was made regarding what can not be seen and the mistakes that can be made unintentionally.

    Anyway, do what you think is right.

    I can not wait to read your review of Zera Yacob’s philosophy! Any idea where I can get hold of Claude Sumner’s books?

    This is my way of giving you a constructive push.

    Good day veritas!

  17. Veritas
    May 14, 2007 at 4:15 am

    Hello Shita:

    Many thanks, once again, for your very thoughtful response. Confession: It’s not been easy to find a fellow Ethiopian (from my experience since I’ve been part of this blog discussion, and please no generalizations) who is as subtle and insightful in his/her criticisms of what he/she observed here as you’re. I do not mean by this that those who’ve been part of this blog discussion have not been insightful or anything like that. Your comments are well taken but….

    Now to the but which signals the beginning of our differences about what we’re talking about which is no longer about the original concern you wanted to share which you rightly did share and thanks again for that post. There are a number of points with which I agree with you but then it’d do no good to simply reproduce the points on which we agree and as a result I’d focus on some with which I disagree.

    1)You say: “WE ARE THE PRODUCT OF THE CUSTOMS WE ARE CRITICISING THEREFORE OUR OWN WELL MEANING ACTIONS ARE STAINED BY THESE HABITS WE ACQUIRED FROM SOCIETY. HENCE, THE NEED TO LOOK INTO OUR ACTIONS EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.” This is true, of course, with some qualifications. I think the statement (your conclusion): “THEREFORE OUR OWN WELL MEANING ACTIONS ARE STAINED BY THESE HABITS WE ACQUIRED FROM SOCIETY” does not necessarily follow from “WE ARE THE PRODUCT OF THE CUSTOMS WE ARE CRITICISING”. It’s possible for someone’s actions, at present, to be free from being stained from certain habits that person acquired, in the past, from his society. That is even possible for some of the participants in the present discussion.

    a.What if someone is so conscientious about his beliefs and values and desires and overcomes some (not all) of the bad habits that he/she has acquired from his own society and as a result desires that his people do THE SAME about those same bad habits? That you might say is impossible but the problem if you hold something like that is not based on a good reason for I do not understand what it’d mean to fail to hold the standard of rational and reasonable way of holding one’s beliefs and still maintain rationality. Why would it be impossible for a person to consistently reject some bad habits that one’s originally acquired from one’s society and hence his actions eventually reflect something that is foreign to his own culture?

    b.Your answer to such a response above might be this: “Do we sincerely respect the right to be and believe anything other than what you and I perceive as “right”.?… Are we prepared enough to give respect to other peoples beliefs?…. Anyway, do what you think is right.”.

    c.To be honest, I do not know what it means to recommend to another fellow human being to do what that person thinks is right no matter what that person thinks is right. What if what I believe and think and do, all are inherently wrong? What if I believe that all those fellow human being out side of my ethnic group are evil, and it’s a praiseworthy thing for me to wipe out all of them? And what would you say if you happen to be one of those outsiders who’d be victims of such beliefs and actions by me and the likes of me? I very much doubt that you’d repeat the same answers like the ones under (b) above. The reason is simple: such an answer if not qualified in such a way with truth being the norm or standard of our rational judgments is simply indefensible and if one wants to defend it as defensible I do not know what standard would be invoked for such a view. Show me that I’m wrong about this and please allow me to learn from my mistakes if I’m wrong.

    d.I hope the above is enough to spell out some disagreements in our views that lead me to say that the views you proposed as an answer, though you’re entitled to hold them, are wrong if not qualified, for reasons that I’ve shared above. But nothing like being disrespectful of you as a person follows from the wrong views that I claim that you hold, if not qualified. I could be wrong all the way about what I’ve just said but it does not follow that you’d be disrespectful of me if you say so. I’d not think so. All my professional life and work involves mostly addressing points of disagreement without any sense of disrespect towards the person (s) I disagree with. I’ve no problem holding you with a high respect, as I do even now, while disagreeing with your thoughts.

    e.To be honest, I did not see any worthy thoughts which I dismissed from this blog discussion. You claimed/implied that I did dismiss Agere’s views but then I for the life of me did not see any worthy point that I read from his/her post that would even rise to a point worth debating. I said I’d not waste my time responding to any posts on this blog no matter what their agendas are IF they fail to be about the issues being discussed and IF they fail to be about debating ideas/views rather than attacking persons, the very Ethiopian thing I was against all the way. I’d not have responded to your comments if I did not see values in them though I was fully entitled to think that you’re wrong and claim that I’m right if I follow your suggestions and leave all the issues just there.

    f.If the preceding reasoning is correct I do not know how else to I’d take your well meaning comments. I cannot see what it means to say this either: You say: “He [Agere] could have made a choice to believe what he wanted to believe.” This apparently innocent view seems to assume that whatever we choose to believe we’re right after all. Not true. I’ve already provided an example to the contrary. Yes, in one sense one is entitled to believe in whatever, even in the devil as many do. True. But it does not follow from this that any belief one holds on the basis of whatever reason is worth holding and defensible or right or true. All reasons are not good reasons; all claims of truth are not true either. These are subtle points that need to be kept in mind.

    g.What is the point of rational dialogue, debate if we all are right in holding whatever we make choices to believe whatever we WANT TO BELIEVE? I cannot disagree more with such a recommendation about beliefs. This goes against the whole normative role of truth as the goal of belief. If you want me to clarify what I’m trying to communicate here I’ll do so but then it seems too obvious to need stating it any more. I could be wrong about its seeming obvious to bear additional explanation but then if I’m wrong it’s up to you to ask for more explanations for clarity and for the sake of truth.

    2)On another point, yes, I’m just waiting to get some time away from some personal things that take some of my time these days in order to do the review of Teodros’ book on Zara Yacob. Hope to do that as soon as possible.

    3)As for Sumner’s books, to be honest, I’ve no idea that you’d not have, that means I do not know anything as to where to get them. I’d only try to track them down online if I were you and you might want to do that if there is no other better way. If things are the same way, I remember seeing copies of Sumner’s books at AAU book store a decade or so ago. I’m sorry for I can’t say much.

    Many thanks once again for your thought-provoking thoughts and for your kind words as well.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  18. Veritas
    May 14, 2007 at 5:01 am

    Hi Shita:

    Just a thought that I forgot to share in my previous post:

    I was wondering what justification you’d have for withholding yourself from participating more actively in this blog discussion, which has been going on here as well:

    https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/the-continuing-self-search-debate/

    You seem to be a very reasonable person whose contribution would make much sense to such a debate for which I’ve been issuing calls to see if we’d have more fellow Ethiopian contributors like you.

    Do you want to share your reasons for not wanting to contribute your thoughts to the discussion? I’m just curious.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  19. shita
    May 14, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Hello again Veritas,

    I just noticed my comment has vanished ooops. (the one from half an hour ago)

    Thanks for the praise and I think you are good in expressing yourself, you are standing for a noble cause and I admire your effort to put the issue for everyones attention. I will just highlight the main points in your comment.

    Yes, I agree that people can correct their errors and develop new and better ones.

    No, I did not say or imply that you committed all the errors I said I noticed intentionally. I could be wrong about that too.

    No, I am not hiding or avoiding these discussions. Infact I am working on a project to tackle these problems and I am certain our paths will cross during one of my project works.

    You and I agree in principle and theory but differ in the methods only. Experience has taught me what can hinder such projects and it was those findings I gave you in my comments.

    Interesting point on G- You reiterated my point. What was you reason for trying to discuss your view with Agere? I can not make anyone see what I saw. He joined the discussion to express his view period!!! This is the difference between theory and practice. We all hate the devil, but who is the devil? Being able to identify the devil will be the most difficult job in devil busting, so to speak. And in some cases we end up being the devil himself, still analogy.Identifying who is sincerely wanting to discuss the matter and those who join in just be listened to and even those who will try get you off track pretending to be agreeing with us is our job.

    What do you think is the reason behind this sudden explosion of Pro Feudalism Pro Hailesellasie revolution Veritas? Iwill be interested to hear your answer to this question.

    You have answered my query regarding Sumners books to my satisfaction thank you, and also for the link to the other discussion.

    Regards,

    Shita

  20. shita
    May 14, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    I came back again because I forgot something I wanted to say.

    I believe all things are affected by the things and process they passed by and through, some obvious and others not so obviously. This is universal law of nature. If you know a man who has not been affected by his environment please direct me to him. The difference between a good and a bad person is the degree of the good and bad characteristics in a person.

    Almost all humans swear to being non-racist until their son or daughter brings home a fiancee from an ethnic group they secretly hold inferior. these are the darker sides I talked about which are sometimes hidden to ourselves.

    Veritas, my friend I am so tired of talking that I favour the practical approach of answering questions, like putting your finger in the fire instead of explaining what it is like to be burned. You get my drift, somethings are difficult to explain and make people understand.

    Bye now.

  21. Daniyot
    May 14, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    I have made some glimpse on the dailoge between shita and Vertas ,I was so much impressed by the discussion,so I will be with you guys.

  22. Veritas
    May 14, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Shita:
    So good to hear from you once again, or twice, that is even better!
    Now you’ve raised a number of interesting points and I’d like to respond to some that stand out that I’ve found more interesting:

    1.You said, “No, I am not hiding or avoiding these discussions. In fact I am working on a project to tackle these problems and I am certain our paths will cross during one of my project works”.

    a.This thought has attracted my attention so wildly and made me want to know more about the project you’re working on, if you will. It’s so encouraging to come across a fellow Ethiopian who’s grappling with much similar, as you say “these [same] problems” and would you say a little more if your project is at a writing stage or both research and writing? It’d be a great experience to learn from each other if we’re working on some much similar projects as it seems to be the case from what you’ve shared with me.

    b.I’ve already shared–on the blog– a number of the ideas which are part of the project that I’m beginning to work on, a book project, and I’m curious if we’re writing two books on the same subject at the same time!

    c.And also, it seems to me much better if we hasten our communications and exchange of ideas without having to wait for our paths to cross, which we cannot be sure unless we ensure that they come to be. It’s a thrilling experience for me, at least, to discover a fellow Ethiopian or human being, who works on the same project and to start sharing ideas so that something better comes out of our respective works for the betterment of our society.

    2.You also say: “You and I agree in principle and theory but differ in the methods only.” This is even more tantalizing to hear. I’d really love to hear how our projects differ in methods we use. Mine is philosophical and hence theoretical but with PRACTICAL implications thru and thru. Would you shed some light on how our approaches, methods to the problems we’re working on are different? I’ll share with you a little more about my method, which I’ve not made crystal clear in the discussions on the blog which has been going on since March 7th. Hope that you’ll say more about the differences in method that you alluded to.

    3.As for your question as to what I’d think the likely reason could be behind some sudden explosions about Pro Feudalism and Pro Hailesillasie revolutions etc I can only think of the following: One of my theoretical models takes beliefs and thoughts and desires and values as an explanation of human actions and what we observe among some Ethiopians who are pro this or that, esp., with respect to the PAST, seems to be part of the Ethiopian mindset, in short, fixation on the past, one of those problems that I take seriously in my work. I think as a society we’re very much past-oriented, backward looking and we’ve very little when it comes to being forward looking, being visionaries about the future. And also as a society we’re either totally consumed with the present with little or no regard to the future and with fond thoughts and taking pride in the past achievements of our forefathers. I’ve suggested on the blog much earlier that such pervasive attitudes in our society are among very destructive beliefs and values to the Ethiopian society and I do not see there is anything substantially different about these sudden explosions about the trends you mentioned than I just shared with you as a possible explanation. Part of the reason still could be dissatisfaction with the political leadership in the present and recent past. These are my understandings that I’m happy to explain in a better way but then I think the above is enough for now.

    4.In your P.S. you shared a very important idea and wanted to see if I’d have someone whom I think might have transcended his environment if by environment you do not mean something over and above the human environment, about which human beings generally have little control over. You can’t shoot the sun down and change it with something better! Now if you mean by environment something about the human environment that refers to effects of human decisions and actions, yes, I agree with you that none of us are perfectly free from such environmental influences (I did not say determinism for there are important differences in such takes anyways) and we bear some degree of influence from our respective environs in the sense I qualified. One person comes to my mind who’ve overcome environmental influences in the sense qualified and that is Jesus of Nazareth. There are some human beings who’ve followed Jesus’ footsteps relentlessly whose lives are far more different from the rest of us. By “us” I refer to myself, at least.

    5.Last point for now: You seem to have been really tired of explaining to people about the practical vis-à-vis the theoretical, if I got your point right. As for the practical approaches you’ve in mind I’d like to hear more from you in order to see what it is that makes it difficult for you to explain some things to people until they get the point. I find that much easier to do, more or less, since almost all my work involves providing some explanation or another for this phenomenon or the other. The very book project I’m working on is mostly a theoretical work with practical implications as I’ve mentioned above. What do you mean by practical and theoretical? As far as I’m concerned there is NO practical thing that is worth considering that does not involve theoretical elements to it. All practical things have ideas behind them, theories behind them, and also some ideas are better than others, nonetheless ideas all the way. Ideas are not practical in some sense yet there are no practical things that do not involve ideas in some sense. It’s a matter of which ideas would work practically better and which would not and why do we choose one idea over and against the other? The answer to this question still depends on providing justifications, which are ideas thru and thru, for why we choose some ideas as being better and workable than others. Ideas have consequences and consequences are things that we experience and hence practical in some sense.

    Yes, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my conversations with you Shita and many thanks you for such wonderful posts.

    I look forward to hearing more perceptive posts from you and from others like Daniyot who’s already made a promise to join us.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  23. shita
    May 14, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Hello veritas,

    I am glad to say I have seen even the best of you in this comment. Philosophy! It is my first love I must say, when learned with real hunger for the truth it is the real path to understanding and enlightenment as many would say.

    By environment I menat the culture society upbringing education even the kind of dog you had when you grow up. You know, the discussion about Nurture or Nature?

    The truth is I and a few of us have been discussing on the matter for years with no success to include other peoples participation, no more than a lip service if any. It used to be a taboo subject and you can not imagine how pleased I am to observe the progress made since those dark days. i promise not to get in the way of your book sale:-)

    Forgive my cautious attitude, it is because of my past experience. Regarding my project, although it will involve writing a book there is more to it, as I have indicated earlier it is focused on action and practical measures. If you are really interested to join in I will authorise Arefe to give you my mail to discuss the matter further. There is a condition though, I will need to know who you are first, though. With due respect to you, politics and any hidden agenda have no place in my world and I need to make sure of that.

    As Jesus of Nazareth has said, we will all be judged by the fruit of our efforts and that is our measurement. Having said that, every tiny effort towards improving our society is equally noble.

    Are you in Ethiopia? I will understand if you don’t wish to say.

    Regards,

    Shita

  24. Veritas
    May 14, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Hi Shita:

    I forgot to add one person I know whose life is so unlike whoever else around him, his society. He’s not an Ethiopian.
    This person is a well known atheist philosopher of our time with whom I’ve something to do in virtue of an overlap between his philosophical work and my philosophical interest that largely overlaps with his. I know him personally too. He and his life-style are the direct opposites of the other example I’ve given you before, that is about the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
    You’d have a hard time imagining what kind of person I’m talking about but the point is that there are some persons whose life is so unlike everyone else around them whether they are good or bad, that is not the point I’m making now, anyways.
    Unless one’s committed to a thoroughgoing determinism or fatalism, we can think about and observe fellow human beings whose lives are so far from the average man on the street. That is enough to take as an example of how it’s possible for human beings to transcend their environment in the sense I qualified before and I do not know what else is required to make a sufficient room for human creativity and responsibility in an otherwise even hostile environment.
    And also you said something about the hidden side of (our dark side (?)) us humans that we cannot see that comes out thru our actions. True. Yes, there is such a side to us but then I do not know what you wanted to prove with that point. If we do not and even worse cannot know where some of our actions spring from I do not know how you’d go about addressing them, something that you cannot know nor can anyone else know.
    Yes, there is some undeniable grain of truth to saying human beings do not know themselves thru and thru and that is an obvious consequence of our being finite, which all of us are. I’m not worried about our being finite at all, if your concern goes along such a line. What I’m and would be concerned is what we can do about what we know and we CAN KNOW about ourselves and there are so, so many things that we know and can know about ourselves that we ought to be doing something about. That is part of the project that I’m involved in and I think that is what you’re up to in your project too.
    Hope the above clarifies some points.

    Cheers,
    Veritas

  25. shita
    May 14, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks Veritas.

    I tend to see things philosophically. Believe it or not there are simple explanations for everything but it took me years to understand this important fact.

    Who is that man you were talking about? Atheist is a matter of labeling. I don’t want us to lose sight of the original topic but Jesus and almost every other philosopher are saying the same things in their own respective language and culture. If you have not worked it out yet, I do not see the world with the accepted norm and I might surprise you by admiring your favourite person.

    The point about the subtle defects is what I was talking about from the very beginning. Even our well meaning actions could have a hint of that side we are not aware of. Do you think all humans commit crimes knowingly, sometimes they are convinced what they are doing is for the greater good. It’s relevance to this topic is you tried to baptise one of the participants without trying to know if he wanted you to. You still could not see what was wrong with your well meaning action? Like I said, I need to borrow your finger to dunk it in that fire, so to speak, and you will understand my point instantaneously. Let me tell you a story I heard about Hailesellasie’s time in Bath, England. The kind people there came out to receive him and brought him buckets full of coal to keep him warm. They welcomed him and brought him presents because they cared for him, that is at the surface of it. You can work out the slightly deeper meaning of it. You are into philosophy, Veritas! The answer to your question is contained in this story, it is not even a juicy riddle.

    I too have been working on the subject of self knowledge. Know Thyself and you will conquer the world, or is it?

    Let’s work together Veritas. You are making me work hard already, I like an inspiring and challeging partnership. I have a few refined people, tested by their consistent action, around me.

    Zera Yacob has touched some interesting subjects I am interested in which I just discovered, you are too.

    Still waiting for your answer.

    Tara!

  26. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 12:14 am

    Hello Shita:

    If this is a duplicate ignore it.

    I’m having a problem posting my notes. I’m writing this assuming my previous post will somehow appear out of somewhere if it’s somewhere any ways.

    Do not worry about my failing to understanding your point Shita. You do not need my finger to dunk it into anything let alone into fire to show me what you’re trying to communicate. It’s not that I did not see your point; rather, I’m trying to challenge your take on this hidden side of us idea you’re trying to communicate with me. I’m a very reflective person and I might be biased and even deluded in thinking that people would have better ideas about their inner life, based on the way I spend my time working on introspective self- knowledge as any philosopher would do. That is not a defect in understanding oneself, I hope.
    Epistemology, the theory of knowledge, is at the core of my research interest and self-knowledge is part of my area of interest. And also motives and motivations for human actions and human actions I general are my areas of research interest. Working in these areas among many others related to them, I hope, is not a defect that stands in the way of getting to know others. I’m not sure what you’re to say when you’re talking about a person that I misunderstood while trying to baptize that person unawares. I never claimed I knew thru and thru who is part of this discussion; nor will I claim that I’d have any such knowledge. I never claimed that I even know myself 100%, either. By the way, my intention when I started to share some of my thoughts on this blog has never been trying to get to know people to determine whether their actions would reveal who they claim to be.
    I made it clear to all that we’ll reveal our motives by our actions and even by our silence, lack of actions. Yes, our belief and values and desires can go a long way in explaining our actions but I left it to each individual who has been part of this discussion that his actions would betray who he/she is but do not forget that I’d NOT simply conclude from this that all who appeared here have been genuine or meant to reveal their true selves by what they said. Not at all! Any human being can deceive another fellow human being and we can also become victims of deception by others by those with seeming sincerity while saying and doing this or that when the truth is otherwise. I’m acutely aware of such possibilities.
    Hope the above clarifies some of the ideas in our communications. I wish I had time to just write a book on the epistemology of other persons right now. That is another project that has fascinated me for a long time and I might do something about, time permitting.
    Finally, I was not sure what you wanted to communicate when you said “Atheist is a matter of labeling.” As far as I know the word “atheist” has a clear meaning and there are atheists who call themselves so and it’s not clear what you were trying to say. Your reason for saying the preceding was given as follows: “I don’t want us to lose sight of the original topic but Jesus and almost every other philosopher are saying the same things in their own respective language and culture.” I’ve already tried to address the relationship between truth, philosophy and language in one of my posts and it’d save time if I call your attention to that post rather than writing something about the same thing. I take it that we are saying much the same things perhaps. That thought was posted on the 26th of March, 2007. It’s a response to Tazabi’s question and you might want to have a look at it to see what I’ve in mind here:
    https://arefe.wordpress.com/2007/03/12/ethiopiansdo-we-need-to-do-soul-searching/#comments
    Finally, I discovered the book on Zara Yacob recently, after having started participating in the discussion and have read it since. Yes, it’s some relevance to the project I’ve in mind but then I’m not sure what to make of it for my own work for I’ve already theoretically sophisticated models to work with from contemporary analytic philosophy which is “the tradition” I work in. Will say more when sharing the book review.

    Hope the above clarifies some of my previous thoughts.
    Cheers,

    Veritas

  27. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 1:19 am

    Shita:

    I could not post my additional posts for some mysterious reasons. This is an attempt to communicate; no idea if it’d be posted.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  28. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 1:41 am

    Hi Shita:

    Since I can’t be sure that I’d be able to post anything now I’m giving you a very short version of what i’ve written elsewhere with an idea of posting which I could not.

    Yes, you’re most welcome to authorize Arefe for your contact address. Your conditions for that, staying away from politics has already been my condition for those who’re part of this discussion too. We’re in the same boat about that. No one can be as far away from politics as this person you’re talking to.

    I’ll say more if I can post and it’s no good writing longer ideas only to lose them from what i’m busy learning today.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  29. May 15, 2007 at 2:12 am

    Shita,
    Thank you for paying attentin. You make much more sense than that guy Varitas.He’s looking down everybody.Now he’s trying t be a grammer scholl teacher and if we aren’t fluent in english he thinks we’re damn. English is my 3rd language so i need to learn mre. It desn’t mean i’m damn or ilitrate. I may know mre things what he desn’t know. we don’t have t be philosphers to know our society prblem.. He may think he knows all ethipian people/culture, but there’re more inttelegint/educated people far better than him.Who does he think he is. he talks like he is god and saidethiopian this and that. you’re right, before we preach, let’s examine ourselves.

  30. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 2:35 am

    Hi Shita;

    I’m curious to see what you’d say to the post above by the person you started this discussion defending.

    It’d be really interesting and instructive to see how you’d make a case for such a post. I’d not as a matter of principles that I’ve shared before. Nothing personal.

    Yes, I’d rather do something else, worth doing, than participate in ad hominem, character assassination thru and thru. You do not participate in vices in order to develop character, in order to be a virtuous person. You might have an idea as to how to go about it since you’re defending such a thing from the very beginning. I never. I do not know how, either.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  31. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 3:10 am

    Hello Shita:

    I thought you might find it handy to bring here one of my posts that talks about language/philosophy relationship. I’m copying it here–below– so that you’ll have an easy way to read it, IF it gets posted passing today’s setbacks!

    Let me try.

    “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.”

    Now I’d look forward to hearing your thoughts about these thoughts on language and philosophy and culture.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  32. Dan
    May 15, 2007 at 3:13 am

    Hi Verita,

    Thank you for letting us know of this insightful discussion.

  33. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 3:27 am

    Hello Dan:

    Welcome back Dan and hope that you’ll find time to contribute your thoughts to Shita’s interesting contributions!

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  34. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 4:34 am

    Hi Agere:

    Thinking about your post again and again I decided to do this though I said I’d not do anything. I’m not going against what I’ve said above. I’m thinking of something afresh to approach the issues between you and myself, if there are any issues, as it seems that there are some.

    If what I said and done to you has hurt you, without any intention and knowledge whatsoever on my part, I want to ask you to forgive me. I’m sincerely asking you this. I do not know how much I’ve hurt you by saying this or that, which I know is not essentially different from what I’ve said about other participants here.

    There is nothing better than saying, sincerely, I’m so sorry for hurting you, if that is so at all, which has never been my knowledge and intention at all. I’m human and all too human and as such I might have caused some wrong against you unawares.

    I do hope this makes sense. Otherwise, I’d love to engage you if you’d like to share your thoughts on the blog. I never said your English was bad, or poor or anything like that. I think to the contrary as I’ve already indicated. I’ve nothing against any-one’s English for that matter, English is my third language like it’s for you too. We’re in the same boat. I’m learning it as much as I’ve been learning anything else. No worries about whose English is good or bad for that has never been an issue.

    Feel free to say whatever I share is wrong or false and challenge me to clarify my thoughts or share my views. As you’ve noticed from my exchanges with Shita I’ve said Shita is wrong about many things but I’ve not seen Shita taking it personal; I’ve not taken anything personal about what Shita has said about me. I hope these points are helpful to reflect on.

    Otherwise, I’m so sorry if I’ve hurt you by any means and I want to assure you that hurting you has never been my intention. You’ve said many things that could easily hurt me if I take things personal but please note that I’ve not taken personal even whatever you said about me, perhaps the worst things said about me by any human being to date and that never bothered me nor does or would it. If you knew me personally you’d have a better understanding as to what I’m talking about but that is not the point now.

    Many thanks for your understanding.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  35. shita
    May 15, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Hello Agere,

    It is good to see you are back.

    I like expressing my thoughts in order to contribute towards better understanding and a better way of communicating with each other, otherwise known as civilisation.

    Agere: we get hurt by fellow humans everyday, life itself throws one challnge after the other on us but as humans we fight to rise above this tide that is threatening to swallow us by trying to find ways of surviving and beyond. I can see and feel your anger in your words. If you think I have less pains than you do think twice, we are just trying to channel our hurts and pains into positive and constructive ways, never letting anger get the better of us.

    Regardless of our poverty and suffering we have to maintain honour by acting honourably, I know you will agree with me. You love your country, make her proud of you by being honourable. Respecting others, speaking the truth and never doing what others did to hurt you are a good place to start.

    I bet you could make a good philosopher. You know what they say about problem being the mother of philosophy. The wisdon the tribal fathers of the world have is what corporate directors are paying for to learn. Meditation is a big business. Nothing beats the unadulterated knowledge and wisdonm of the tribal fathers. Jesus didn’t have a degree and no degree will enable us to understand his parables and riddles but a sincere search for an answer to their meanings. The best teacher I had in nmy life had no formal eduction.

    Forgiveness is a great healer if we have the strength to taste it!

    Loads of love to you.

    Shita

  36. shita
    May 15, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Hello Arefe,

    Why are my postngs to Veritas beng rejected? t happened four tmes o far.

    Hope to get a reply soon.

    S

  37. shita
    May 15, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Hi veritas,

    I tried for the 5th time and failed. try emailing me.

    S

  38. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Shita:

    I’ve started trying to post once again and have lost my first one. I’m trying this short one again.

    Thanks for sharing refreshing things on this blog and I look forward to reading more constructive things from your pen.

    I’ll email you as soon as I get your email address.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  39. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    I’m trying my nth time this time with a contact address:

    Shita:

    You can reach me at the following:

    ilovealethia@yahoo.com

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  40. Veritas
    May 15, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Shita:

    I’m still trying:

    Feel free to email me whenever you can. As of next week I’ll be on the road for many days afterwards and hence won’t have convenience to email as I wish.

    Hope to continue our conversations in whatever way we can.

    Cheers,

    Veritas

  41. Aaron
    May 15, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Hi shita

    By the way did you read all the posts by Agere and the subsquent responses on the other parts of this blog,nobody tried to attack agere ,but it is only her/his Approuch that has pushed me into such unnessesary situations ,but nothing else .you have to see the Ageres’ post on the other parts of the blog,you will see how difficult the situaton was,if you were there by that time.plusif you read all or partof the blog titled “self search debate you will see what kind of ideas being entartained there and you will see also the placeof agere there,then you will decide in your part.

  42. Richard Cummings
    June 8, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    All through the 1960s and until Haille Sellassie’s fall, Ethiopia was a CIA project. The Agency ran everything. It even censored books on Ethiopia in the U.S. American troops were, illegally, on the ground in the late 1960’s I know because I saw them in action. When I was editor of the Journal of Ethiopian Law, the Ethiopian government censored a major Supreme Court decision that overturned an order from the Emperor requiring all students to do a year’s service before they could get their degrees. The Americans yielded and didn’t press the Emperor to obey the law and allow for democratic elections because Ethiopia was an ally against the Soviet Union. The students became disillusioned with America and joined the revolution, which led to Mengistu’s bloody reign and the Ethiopian Diaspora. Now, Ethiopia is once again an pawn of America and the consequences will be the same.

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