It will be Barack Obama’s first visit to the land of his father as American president and a far cry from a 1988 trip when his luggage got lost. Obama will be visiting only Kenya and Ethiopia. Yet each is the base for two Africa-wide trends. In Ethiopia, he will give a speech at the headquarters of the 54-nation African Union, the main body trying to lift the standards of governance among its members. But the White House appears more focused on Kenya, which is Africa’s center of innovation and host to a global “summit” of entrepreneurs.
"The average monthly income in Ethiopia is about $300-$400, less after taxes. She is running to take $4,000 home. You do the math. All I am going to take home are some sore legs, a cheesy medal, and a fierce hangover from partying with my brothers. I got nothing to lose so I let it all hang out. We don’t speak the same language, but running is universal, like music."
119 years ago, today, the unthinkable happened, as far as the Europeans were concerned. The Ethiopian army trounced the Italians in the Battle of Adwa. Headlines such as ‘Abyssinia (Ethiopia) Defeats Invading Italians’; ’80,000 Ethiopians Destroy 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adwa’; ‘Italian Premier Crispi Resigns’; and ‘Abyssinia and Italy Sign Peace Treaty.’ peppered the European press. Adwa was placed on the world map and remained a historic story because of Ethiopia’s decisive victory against the Italian army on March 1st 1896 (Yekatit 23, 1888 according to the Ethiopian calendar).
'I am a woman. I do not like war. But I would rather die than accepting your deal."attributed to Empress Taitu Bitul*, Wife of Menelik II [more inside]
"... now, my sight and my world and my life have all returned." Vision: Healing the Blind in Ethiopia [vimeo, 10m] [more inside]
Inside, please find a list of forty-three movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Werner Herzog, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. One or two of the films are in German without subtitles; this is noted in the description. [more inside]
Architecture And Vision has used warka trees and towers made of bamboo and fabric to harvest 100+ litres of potable water from the air (video) per day.
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
Ever heard the other-worldly sound of the Ethiopian lyre known as the begena? It's sometimes referred to as the "Harp of David", since legend has it that it's the same instrument that soothed the Biblical king. Whether that's true or not, there is little doubt that the low pitched, buzzing sound the instrument produces is one of the most unusual to be found just about anywhere. Used to accompany meditation and prayer, Biblical passages and so forth, check out the amazing sound (along with accompanying male or female vocal) here, here, here and here.
Nearly three decades after Israel began airlifting Ethiopia's ancient Jewish community out of the Horn of Africa, Israel's rabbis are now working to phase out the community's white-turbaned clergy, the kessoch, whose unusual religious practices are at odds with the rabbinate's Orthodox Judaism. [more inside]
With East Africa facing its worst drought in 60 years, affecting more than 11 million people, the United Nations has declared a famine in the region for the first time in a generation. Alan Taylor's In Focus quickly brings home the scale of the suffering, with a link to the CNN article listing several ways to donate.
The poor in Ethiopia are often unable to buy newspapers, so they 'rent' papers for 20-30 minutes at a time from local entrepreneurs.
Audio slideshow: Photography of Sir Wilfred Thesiger Sir Wilfred Thesiger took nearly 40,000 photographs during his eight decades of travels throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Now, to mark 100 years since his birth, Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum is displaying some of his most striking images.
He was considered a shoo in for an equestrian medal in in the ’36 Olympics but went to war instead. He led the last cavalry charge against artillery and tanks of the British army. Known as Commandante Diavolo, he waged guerrilla warfare in Eritrea alongside his beautiful and heavily armed lover Khadija, daughter of an Ethiopian Muslim chieftain. He served as a diplomat for thirty years and more than once saved lives during military coups. He retired to Ireland (for the horses, of course) where he rode and hunted fox well into his nineties. Please pause for a moment for the passing of Amedeo Guillat, the most decorated soldier of the Italian army. [more inside]
Does international adoption benefit adopted children? Serve to satisfy prospective parents? Is it a helpful situation for everyone involved? The current situation of ten American Baptists charged with child trafficking in Haiti is again opening up the conversation about the complexities, benefits and drawbacks of international adoptions arranged between Western and third-world countries. [more inside]
This development project may not be meeting its own expectations. Here is a look at a sustainable alternative to conventional development in the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia, as shown in the film, A Thousand Suns, from the Global Oneness Project. previously
3D laser scanning offers a fly-through view of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Carved directly into volcanic bedrock, the churches of Lalibela were built during the Zagwe Dynasty (1137-1270). YouTube video of the church and local villagers.
Out of Africa. As award-winning Globe and Mail Africa correspondent Stephanie Nolen bids farewell to a place she's come to love, she reflects on how it has changed, and how it changed her. [more inside]
The People of the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, use their faces and bodies as canvases, using natural elements at hand in an especially beautiful, natural fashion show. These photographs [flash] were taken by Hans Silvester, a German photographer who spent 10 months in the Omo Valley. [more inside]
Teff, a native Ethiopian grain, has been cultivated there for at least 4,000 years. Its seeds are smaller than pinheads, and can be easily scattered. Many Ethiopians eat it two to three times a day in injera bread, porridge or, of course, alcohol (pages 3-4). The grain is gluten-free and is full of essential amino acids, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. It has a short growing season and tolerance for marginal soils and drought or flood conditions, but its low comparative yield optimal sunlight conditions, and labor intensive harvest may limit the spread of the grain.
The Millenium is approaching. In a little under two hours, the Millenium will dawn again - in Ethiopia. [more inside]
China's African oil safari turns bloody again. "Before dawn this morning At 0430 AM local time in Ogaden, the 'Dufaan' commando unit of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) conducted a military operation in the vicinity of Obala, 30km North-West of Degah-Bur in in Northern Ogaden." Sixty-five Ethiopians and nine Chinese were killed in an attack of an unprecedented scale. Another seven Chinese workers are being held by the ONLF. (BBCFocusAfrica interviews ONLF spokesman (.ram streaming audio))
Ethiopia Hits Somali Targets, Declaring War (The New York Times). the Ethiopian government has declared war on Somalia's ruling Islamic Courts Union. The Islamic Courts Union, which had gained control over much of Somalia, had been engaged in a civil war against the Ethiopian backed Transitional Federal Government. Back in October of 2006 the BBC reported that the Islamic Courts Union had declared a 'holy war' against Ethiopia due to their support of the Transitional Federal Government. What many may not be aware of is that Ethiopia is a recipient of American economic and military aid. More links from The New York Times on the lead up of events: 12/22, 12/23, 12/24.
Lucy and Ethiopia From a favorite mailing list, I receive my dose of satellite images. One of the images this week is from Ethiopia. Reading the text they provide, you’ll see this is the area where ‘Australopithecus afarensis’ hails from; she is know as Lucy to most of us. Why Lucy? Because Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was playing on the radio when they found her. The site also lead me to this guy, who has the title Paleo-Artist and has rather interesting artwork on his site.
The Queen of Sheba was a legendary beauty from the 10th century BC. She travelled to see Israel's King Solomon, bearing his son, Menelik (said to have transported the Ark of the Covenant to Auxum, Ethiopia), is mentioned in the Bible and Koran, is a muse to poets and artists through the ages and is "viewed as the embodiment of Divine Wisdom and a foreteller of the cult of the Holy Cross". Little is known about her origins although stories are common through Persian, Ethiopian, Arabian & Israeli traditions. Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia claimed direct descent from her. She is said to have possibly lived in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan or Somalia. But recent archaeological work suggests she may be from further away than the legends describe.
via [much, much more here]
via [much, much more here]
Mountain Voices. 'This website presents interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions round the world. Their testimonies offer a personal perspective on change and development.'
Barely Edible, But Sometimes Life-Saving: Famine Foods are valiantly being documented in Ethiopia in an effort to spread knowledge and alleviate disaster. The research into famine foods is also a stark reminder of the starving millions of this world and, quite probably, of the continuing failure of the fight against extreme hunger and poverty. The highly restrictive policies and generous subsidies of the fat Western nations come to mind. That's if inveterate foodies don't start pouring over the list in search of possible new trendy vegetables...
Following a disagreement over her husband's spending habits, an enraged Ethiopian mother of five refused to give him his dinner. Her husband was so angered by this affront that he tried to beat her. In the melee that followed, the wife grabbed and twisted his testicles, causing serious damage. The man was so embarrassed after the incident that he declined to seek treatment for the injury and died days later.
America today - a nation overrun by Ethiopian immigrants. Can nothing stop them?
Ethiopian Icons: Faith and Science. Richly hued religious art from an African Christian culture.
Apparently I live in the most diverse city in the United States. Synagogue arsons, propane-tank-bomb-plotting and suburban hate crime aside, Sacramento is a pretty neat place, especially since my wife (Korean-American) and I (Jewish) can afford to own a house on our meager incomes and still go out to eat Pho (Vietnamese), Kitfo (Ethiopian), Som Tum (Thai), Kalbi (Korean) all within a short drive. It's not San Francisco, but neither is the cost of living. Do you notice the tension caused by resistance to diversity in your town, or are you too busy eating the sushi to notice?
Send a sheep to your beloved in Ethiopia. You can choose from Medium, Big, and Very Big sizes...all with a guarantee! I like their holiday specials too -- check out number 5: a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red and a medium sheep. (though I think I'd need a bottle of scotch if someone sent me a sheep.) Similar to this post, but I had more fun with this. Too bad it only delivers to Addis Ababa...