Photo Essay - September 15, 2004 -  MediaETHIOPIA


Hero's Welcome for the Athens Olympians

September, 2004: It has been almost two months since we did our last photo essay story and many e-mails had arrived enquiring about the long silence. The good news is that we are back with two stories that we hope our readers will enjoy. First-off, however, a brief explanation why we have been silent all these weeks.

September, it seems, is the busiest month in the lives of urbane Ethiopians. All decisions held up throughout the rainy season seem to be finalized by September. In our case, a senior member of our photo team's dream of emigrating to the West finally bore fruits. True, it is a huge loss for us - and we are even tempted to say to the country - that such talent continue to leave Ethiopia and empower the West. But who would dare to stand  to change the course of dreams of this talented girl? Perhaps, in the long run, Ethiopia and those of us who have decided to cast our lot with the fate of the country may stand to gain from the experience, entrepreneurship, and re-invigorated blood that these émigrés of today but returnees of tomorrow will bring.

So, as we saw-off a colleague at Bole, it was a funny coincidence that we welcomed our great heroes and heroines of the Athens Olympics of 2004. The most impressive part of this elaborate welcome to our athletes were not only the athletes themselves but the face, hope and excitement of the Addis Ababa population that poured to the streets. From the modern day "Bahta' who was advertising for coke (right) to the hundreds and thousands of school kids with make-shift bill-boards (picture on right), Addis Ababa showed - once again - that what these athletes bring to the country goes beyond medals to finer and more subtle things like hope and inspiration to a whole generation. 


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