Letter from Ethiopia


2005 - Tizibt Mezgebu ( E-mail)

"So, what actually happened between mid-May when we thought a new Ethiopia seemed a possibility to mid-June when Mengistu Haile Mariam was reincarnated as a bold-headed, Lenin-looking, 'ager'-selling, children killing, arrogant Meles?", asks Tizibt marking a rare comeback of her 'letters from Ethiopia' column. Here. June 13, 05.

2005 - M. Ashenafi Ze-Shegol Meda ( E-mail)

M. Ashenafi Ze-Shegol Meda writes his first 'Letter from Ethiopia' column focusing on the May 05 elections. "Kardachin Bejachin - Kinijt MirChachen" is one of the slogans at the Addis Ababa University, writes Memhir Ashenafi as Ethiopia prepares for its Historical elections. Read Letter Here.

2004 - Tizibt Mezgebu ( E-mail)

Tizibt comments on what she calls the "Chinese Opportunity". She writes, "At the end of the day, dear Ethiopians, the question that begs to be answered in our response to the 'Chinese Opportunity' becomes, "how can we then build more dramatic and significant win-win business and growth initiatives with the Chinese that will indeed establish us as the 'gateway to Africa' - just like the Chinese think we are?" " More.

"I suggest that, to achieve a balance in our foreign relationships as it relates to the Arab nations and Israel, every time we send President Girma to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, we should consider requiring Prime Minister Meles to travel to Israel for a compulsory medical check-up" writes Tizibt commenting on the implications of the recent news of the immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.  
Letter Here. Jan 04.

2003 - Tizibt Mezgebu ( E-mail)

"For us ordinary Addis Ababans now, the '9' area code (area code for mobile phones) is, of course, a symbol of prestige. It means we can afford the payment, we are connected, we are ambitious, and - most importantly - that we can change from second gear to third gear in our cars with the right hand while holding our mobile phone with the left hand and not killing anyone during the process," writes Tizibt about what she calls the "mobile phone elite of Ethiopia". As always, she picks on Meles along her way. Here. December 03.

"For an afternoon, even when the city was dirty and polluted, the streets muddy, most people went with half full or empty stomachs, government houses continued their decay, confusion reigned at City Hall, EPRDF prepared to let Badme and Assab be officially demarcated as non-Ethiopia, the words of hope from this rich man gave us brief and fleeting moments of inspiration we rarely enjoy in this country," writes Tigist commenting on Mr. Al-Amoudi's recent speech at the university. Here. August 03.

"It is a season of discontent and confusion here in Addis Ababa and the rest of the country. Our electricity is now cut twice in a week, water is rationed, and the city's administration is in a middle of a confused shake-up that has already made thousands of civil servants unemployed." writes Tizibt as the country waits for rain and hope. Here. [June 1, 2003].

"Why does every Federal and kilil official drive brand new Land Cruisers? How many of these cars has the government bought in the past 10 years? How much money have we spent on these cars?" asks Tizibt commenting on what she thinks is a raging madness in Meles's government. Here. [April 25, 2003].

"From what we see on the TV, it looks like Badme - that barren land....the land that took the lives of 80,000 of our people from both sides only 3 years ago - may be keeping Mr. Meles awake at night." writes Tizibt. She also talks about 'Defense University' and the "Civil Service' college. Here. [March 17, 2003].

"The truth is.. in the modern world, small nations like Ethiopia should and need to work intelligently to quietly promote their interests even if it involves playing bigger nations and their obsessions, compulsions and if needed their nemeses too." writes Tizibt commenting on the AU summit in Addis.  Here. [February 2, 03]

"As the prime minister continues to lock himself up in his palace and office receiving only foreign officials who bring him the hope of money and food aid, the city and for that matter the whole country seem poised for uncertain times" says Tizibt in her first letter of 2003. Here.

You can e-mail Tizibt at ( E-mail)

2002 - Tizibt Mezgebu 

Our guest writer Tizibt Mezgebu writes from Ethiopia about the story of Ethiopia's continental break up that may change weekend plans for future generations.  Here. - [July 2002].

Asfawossen Asrat, an Ethiopian Geologist responds to Tizibt. Asfawossen comments that the continental breakup theory is not a new discovery (it surely is a new media discovery) ....but don't expect "Harrar wedia-mado" - "Addis wedih- mado" scenario. Here.

In her latest "Letter from Ethiopia", Tizibt Mezgebu comments on the Prime Minister's refusal to travel anywhere in the city and the country outside his palace. Here. [August 2002]

Meles 2 - Intellectuals 0 comments Tizibt writing about Meles' recent performance in his 3-week monologue / dialogue with professors. Maybe we shouldn't have called for his venture outside his office, adds Tizibt. Here. - [September 2002]. 

"Coffee, like my mother says, 'Tinbun Tilual' - so cheap that we have been drinking our Abo, Tona and Baraka buna with a lot of guilt knowing that our coffee farmers are hurting these days", says Tizibt in her latest letter. Here. [ September 20, 2002]

Tizibt explains why the Eth. Airlines Addis Ababa-Bombay route  is her favorite route and the lessons learnt about meal coupons from Tesfa Dirijt. Here. [Oct 1, 2002].

In reaction to the news of Ali Abdo's imminent departure from City Hall, Tizibt reminiscences about the city's past mayors. Here. [Oct 15, 02].

Tizibt talks about "famine, the algebra of the relative truth, twisted logic of the powerful, 21st century 'pre-emptive' militarism, and misplaced priorities".  She also talks about the new breed of returnees that are finding solace in Addis Ababa. Here. [November 10, 02].

"For us here in Addis watching the PM daily on ETV always looking well-rested, full and round, and with a well-groomed goatie, there is nothing external to show that the PM is worried about his 15 million subjects facing famine," says Tizibt in her latest letter. Here. [November 23, 02]

"These are days when our expectations for head of a government are so low that when he delivers a talk and begs the outside world to feed the very people that he was supposed to feed himself, we applaud him," says Tizibt in her latest letter. Here. [December 9, 02].

2002 -Dandew Serbello

Dandew's [Letter # 12] Dandew talks about this year's Ethiopian Ghenna  (Christmass) and Timqet Celebrations. In his usual style, Dandew comments also how the Chinese textiles dumped in the country have damaged our local industry.

Dandew's [Letter # 13] "Many things worry us," says Dandew reflecting the popular feeling in Ethiopia these days following the border decisions.

You can send e-mail to Dandew at <( E-mail)>

2001 -Dandew Serbello

Maiden Letter - June 18, 2001

Letter #2 - July 12, 2001

Letter #3 - July 23, 2001

Letter #4 - August 3, 2001

[Letter #5] - Dandew writes about how Addis reacted to the first challenge to Haile G/Selassie's absolute dominance on the 10K race.

[Letter #6] - Dandew comments how the tragedy of the World Trade Center was felt in Ethiopia; particularly the fact that it happened in our New Year day.

[Letter #7] - Dandew comments how Lt. Girma, the 77-year old new-occupant of the Imperial Palace, looked as if '....he was just a casual intruder who happened to get in passing oblivious of what was going on in the House...." as the Parliament voted him as the country's next and oldest president.  

[Letter #8] - [10/25/01] In his latest letter, Dandew comments about the "job opportunity for over 45 ministers, minister de-etas, and vice ministers" PM Meles created, the Anthrax threat, and how even the politically-conscious ET Patriarch is actively campaigning against AIDS. And....."God save our president," Dandew prays as the country wonders if the old man will come back home alive. 

[ Letter #10] Among many other things, Dandew writes why bridges and culverts built by Chinese contractors in parts of Ethiopia like Woretta and Woldia show traces of Chinese arts and architecture.

[Letter #10], quoting Poet Laureate Tsegaye and his memorable poem "Aye Merkato!", Dandew talks about the charm, power and dynamics of Merkato-Africa's largest open-air market.

[Letter #11], Dandew talks about Addis Ababa's 19,000+ taxis and the problem of transportation in the city. Along the way, Dandew comments why government officials prefer coming late to work to "displaying authority and indispensability".

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