Letter from Ethiopia #7

By Dandew Serbello - October 15, 2001


Dear Readers,

I am pleased and encouraged by some of the interesting and very touching emails I receive from you. The nostalgic memoirs and recollections the pseudonym Dandew Serbello brings relating to the radio commentaries I used to write for Sunday Morning Radio shows in those good old days when even some of you were small kids and the realization that some of us old codgers are still kicking around is something I really cherish and enjoy. I love you all and still follow you wherever you go as long as I live with this new gadget of communication technology. 

The other day, we have had an amusement in this parliament of ours. As you may have been informed, the House was opened ceremoniously after two or so months of recess, and it was Election Day of the country's second president, as Dr. Negasso's term of six years of office has elapsed. And Lt. Girma W/Georgis, a veteran of 77, a man who was once a pilot in the Ethiopian Air force, a president in the Lower House during the Imperial rule, a transport and communications representative in Eritrea, etc, etc has been elected president of the country replacing Dr. Negasso. I guess he couldn't have a better crowning of promotions and elections throughout his life than capping them presidency. I would say 'one for the road' as my friend Netsere Wolde Selassie, God bless his soul, once named a small pub in his neighborhood, the connotation being that the Lieutenant's presidency at this age could be the last post he chances before he leaves this world for good to be more succinct. The old codger was not even able to endure a few minutes to stand and listen to the short speech delivered at the inaugural ceremony of ovation. They had to seat him on a chair. Of course old age might have good merits for leadership, but when one is too old even to stand for a photo pause and get chocked when delivering a speech, I would rather tend to take him for a liability rather than an asset. 

Lt. Girma may not be familiar to some of you, as you may have not lived long enough yet to reckon him. He could be my father's contemporary and I am approaching my late fifties. That afternoon all the cameras focused on him in the House as he sat silent with supine indifference unperturbed by what was going on in the House. He was rather phlegmatic and remained calm until he was ushered to the podium for the official transfer of position at the helm of the supreme power, at least theoretically. He gave me the impression that he was just a casual intruder who happened to get in passing oblivious of what was going on in the House. The whole thing was quite a show and a successful play, I would say. 

The day wore out and we old friends met at our usual hangouts to exchange views. To my surprise, people were not moved at all by the day's political drama. They tended to listen to the second day of anti-terrorist bombing in Afghanistan; the news emphatically being articulated by the veteran Alemneh Wassie, who is nowadays engaged in every day news cast since September 11th. I couldn't help but laughing at the hilarious drama as the whole episode proved to be. I am not in any way implying anything against Lt. Girma, but it baffles me why he of all people in the House is chosen to bear the burden of leadership in his dying days as he proved it when he hardly stepped down the platform to lurk back to where he came from. The other comment during the foretold election ceremony was the outgoing president's pleasure in learning that the transfer of power was smooth and peaceful! Keep smiling!! 

Dandew Serbello 
from Sidist Kilo



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