Viva Africa — They Need Us!
There are quite a few people, not necessarily white, who have concluded that we Africans, if only we did not have minerals and oil, rich and fertile lands up for grabbing, (we) would be quite useless and irrelevant in the march of History. France’s embattled president even said we are just at the door of civilization and the past century and not yet in though he did not say whether it is because we did not knock, or were too lazy to bother or were kept out. Read More
THE FARCE CALLED KONY (2012)
To avoid any possible misunderstanding, let me start out by stating that Joseph Kony, the notorious leader of the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) , the relative of the equally infamous self declared witch Alice Lakwena ( frequented by many top Kenyan officials in Nairobi) is no joke at all. He is one who should not be taken lightly. For twenty years, he had led a rebellion against Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni, committed atrocities. Kidnapped children, chopped off ears, noses and lips, and, notwithstanding those foreigners who say he has no program at all, he did plan to set up different system in Uganda with, perhaps, himself as the top prophet. Read More
THE AFRICAN PARADOX CONTINUES
President Museveni of Uganda justified his clinging to power by illegally amending the Ugandan Constitution with the argument: I have stayed long in government and I am now an expert on governance and thus the better placed to rule Uganda. It is a kind of a vicious circle argument more in the line of lawyers defending the indefensible. And the AU built on the ruins of the most notorious Ethiopian prison, the Kerchielle, where thousands have perished and suffered, its new HQ. It is very appropriate in my view as the thieves and embezzlers and killers who are gathered within this useless body should sit on chairs on top of a former dungeon and hanging ground. Read More
OF LIES AND DESPOTS
This time around Amnesty International has got the spirit right by calling for the arrest of George Bush during his tour of Africa. Alas, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania do not have independent and truly African regimes and the man accused of violating the international convention against torture (and possibly against mutilating English grammar) will be feted and honored and not arrested. Bush will surely say “they misunderstimated me”. And Meles Zenawi, whose police and security forces torture and brutalize all prisoners, would give him a hug. Read More
SHOULD PERENNIAL FOOLS BE HANGED?
In the beginning there was the Word but overtime the cost of living has risen beyond tolerance while words have become cheap. Meles Zenawi vowed to assure Ethiopians three decent meals per day but deprived them of even one and ended up preaching dieting to a people that has been starving for centuries. Clinton’s speech in Addis Abeba weaved cheap words and sanctimonious preaching often associated with a sinful and decadent priest. Read More
BIN LADEN IS DEAD BUT OR OUR DEPRESSED LIFE IS STILL AROUND
The much trumpeted death of Osama Bin Laden brings many questions to the fore: where is the body? How come he got buried in the sea? Was he a seaman or a pirate? What is burying people in the sea in accordance with Islamic rituals? Who killed him? Americans or Pakistanis? Did he die in the firefight or was he captured and riddled with bullets making a presentable photo of his corpse impossible? And so and on. Read More
THE TRAGEDY OF REMAINING A SLAVE
Africans who live in Paris know a particular African species, black of course, often bald and muscular, sometimes puffed up but still looking less menacing and more pathetic, dressed in a cheap standard issue black suit, sometimes wearing dark sunglasses, often found at the doors of super markets and department stores. Maybe the species exists elsewhere. This is no African to be categorized as a paperless émigré, a street cleaner, a frightened unemployed soul, the majority, as it were, in the increasingly unwelcoming capital that Paris has become. . . . Read More
GYPSY POLITICS--AFRICANS LOSE AGAIN
Ever since he was elected to power, French president Sarkozy has not disappointed those who were itching to ridicule and chastise him. A small man with a sharp tongue that has, alas, seceded a longtime ago from his big ears and common sense (if any), Sarkozy, of Hungarian descent, has proved from the outset that he would be more condescending and insulting towards Africans than his predecessor Chirac . Jacques Chirac was liked by many people but he was the very person who condemned Africans in France for their noise and smell and refused to apologize to former French colonies who suffered French brutalities and massacres or to properly acknowledge the role of African soldiers who fought for France in the world wars. Read More
OF COLONEL GADAFI AND ARAB RACISM
"We don't know what will happen, what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans,"( Col Gaddafi said in Rome, August 30/ 2010.
Arab racism to wards Africans has for long been taboo subject--it is politically incorrect to even say that Arabs who are Moslems are racists to boot and consider Africans--Moslem or Christian it does not matter- as inferior.
Reference is made to the Genesis and thethree sons of Noah – Ham, Japheth and Shem with Arabs claiming that “the accursed Ham was the progenitor of the black race; that Japheth begat the full-faced, small eyed Europeans, and that Shem fathered the handsome Arabs with beautiful face and hair.” Arab philosophers also laid the ground for the racism of their kin towards Africans and all blacks. Ibn Sina (Avicenna 980–1037), Arab’s most famous and influential philosopher/ scientist in Islam, described blacks as “people who are by their very nature slaves.” He wrote: “All African women are prostitutes, and the whole race of African men is abeed (slave) stock.” He equated black people with “rats plaguing the earth.”
COULD THIS BE THE WAY OUT?
Some people accuse us old guards of not adopting new ways and new solutions even to old and persistent problems and I think it is perhaps time we consider novel approaches and solutions to deal with our serious problems that have refused to leave us. Read More
ARE DESPOTS INTELLIGENT?
Poem By Hama Tuma
Will Castrating Tyrants Help?
The rest of the world has not got it yet. Many still think that Africa 's major problems concern famine, AIDS, conflicts and wars, poverty, rigged elections, nepotism and corruption, fevers of all types that are said to originate from the continent and more. How wrong. No one knows Africa like its cruel tyrants and they have time and again told the world that Africa 's problems are elsewhere.
“Languages are not strangers to one another, but are, a priori and apart from all historical relationships, interrelated in what they want to express.”
Western culture has a penchant for worshipping the exotic from a safe myopic distance, overlooking the human reality rubbing up against its elbows and knees, unintentionally creating cross-cultural connections comical, frustrating, and inspirational all at once. Israel, literally and figuratively, finds itself somewhere between Europe and Africa. The “people of the Book”, are currently celebrating “Book Week” with hundreds of new titles on display in all the major cities. Despite Israel’s considerable Ethiopian population, the only work of fiction (to the best of this writer’s knowledge) published by an Ethiopian writer this year is Hama Tuma’s The Case of the Socialist Witchdoctor and Other Stories, translated by Dori Parnes (Ahuzat Bayit 2009). Activist writer-in-exile Hama Tuma’s book is out of print and essentially unavailable in English, and has never been officially published in Ethiopia in either Amharic or English, so if you want to read this brilliantly funny, sensitive, intelligent portrayal of life under Mengistu’s reign of terror, start learning Hebrew. To read more click here
WHERE DID OUR DECENT MURDERS GO?
Ethiopians, who have had to endure brutal deaths over decades, have a common wish which asks God “to make my death decent” (amamuaten asamirew). I am one of those who wonder why Ethiopians pray since He hardly ever listens to them but then again Ethiopians are a hopeful lot who will die hoping and praying for better days that never seem to come. Read More.....
OF SWINE FLU AND MOTHER AFRICA
Thank you swine flu and Mexico ! For once Africa has not been blamed for being the source of a deadly virus. From Ebola to Lassa Fever, Rift Valley Fever, White Nile virus, the Marbrug Virus, the “Jealousy” malady and even AIDS and all so called haemorrhagic fevers have been attributed to poor old Africa . Africa is good for some blame at least.
The ongoing swine flu has been first detected in Mexico and the reports indicate that a small five year old Mexican boy was the first victim. Imagine just if his father or any other Sanchez or Mexican had been on safari in the Serengeti plains and the swine fever would have been called the African swine flu and Mother Africa would have been blamed for a mild yet deadly flu that you can avoid by wearing a face mask and washing your hands! Shame of shames, an African virus that does not kill millions would have been bad for Africa ’s reputation. This time around the Mexicans are to blame even though it could very well be gringo/American tourists who took the virus there and brought it back to their homes. Back in 1981, the first AIDS victim was an American but somehow the scientists argued that the deadly virus must have originated from the “dark” continent. By the way, the Israelis have reportedly protested against the present flu being called the swine flu. Not kosher at all. The virus is said to be a combination of swine, bird and human flu, a combination that poor Africa cannot really afford come to think of it. Now that this deadly flu is beginning to ravage the Western world a vaccine may be found for it fast as it is no malaria killing millions in over populated underdeveloped countries. Read More.....
OF A ROYAL PARDON AND FRENCH DENIALS
“…the African man has never really entered history”
To be fair, Nicolas Sarkozy did say Africa deserves to be happy just like other continents. But in the above quoted speech in Senegal he did say also: “The (Africans) have never really launched themselves into the future,” and Mr. Sarkozy did add “the African peasant, who for thousands of years has lived according to the seasons, whose life ideal was to be in harmony with nature, only knew the eternal renewal of time … In this imaginary world, where everything starts over and over again, there is room neither for human endeavor, nor for the idea of progress. The problem of Africa … is to be found here. Africa’s challenge is to enter to a greater extent into history … It is to realize that the golden age that Africa is forever recalling will not return, because it has never existed.”
HAMA TUMA’S FIRST BOOK NOW PUBLISHED IN HEBREW (IN ISRAELI)
The first Hama Tuma book in English, “The Case of the Socialist Witchdoctor and Other Stories” (Heinemann, African Writers Series, 1993), has been translated and published in Hebrew by the Achuzat Bayit Publishing House Ltd (Tel Aviv). The well known historian Professor Haggai Erlich has written the introduction to the Hebrew version while Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiongo had written the preface to the English one. Other Hama Tuma books have been translated into Italian and French.
The Case of the Socialist Witchdoctor, By Hama Tuma
In the book the twelve stories of part I deal with courtroom scenes during the Mengistu regime while the eleven stories in part II recount life as it prevailed under the oppressive regime and in Ethiopia of the time. Reviewing the book, Ngugi wrote: Hama Tuma brilliantly captures the contradictions that make up the real Ethiopia of the twentieth century”. On his part, Robert P. Smith Jr. of Rutgers University wrote: “ Hama Tuma’s tales admirably illustrate the spirit that prevails widely under oppressive regime in Africa today. Dreadful though they may be in content, these excellently written stories combine the satire and imagination of a Montesquieu and the inventiveness, humour, and oral tradition of Bernard Dadie, a Birago Diop and others”.
For the Hebrew version of the book contact Office@Abayit-books.com
Hama Tuma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Of DJs and Coups: Africa’s Unending Originality
The “dark” continent is in reality the most vibrant and original continent. Tam tams are still there, the drums of passion and of an undying spirit of hope rising against the reality of despair and death. Westerners have this annoying tendency of taking poverty as exotic (take the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire as an example) while disliking the poor, of loving Africa’s wild and Serengeti type plains while detesting the Africans as a whole.
The controversial International Criminal Court has finally come out with an arrest warrant for President Omar Beshir of the Sudan . The warrant is out for war crimes and/ or crimes against humanity but not for genocide—a point that would surely not matter that much for the accused
Let me say from the outset that I have little or no sympathy for the tyrant in the Sudan who, aside from causing the slaughter of so many in South Sudan and Darfur , has deported many Ethiopians to their deaths or disappearance and has sent his troops to occupy Ethiopian land. That said, the decision by the ICC and the clamour it has engendered from quarters that have proven contempt for Africa calls for some reflection. As I tried to point out in my previous article, “Of Courts and Hypocrisies”, the ICC seems to be in reality the ACC, the African Criminal Court, as it seems hell bent to deal ONLY with alleged African war criminals (up to now) from the Congo, Sudan, Central African Republic and Uganda. From Milosevic to Charles Taylor and the Congolese war lord, that court in The Hague has yet to deal with notorious war criminals from the West. To read the whole article click here
OF COURTS AND HYPOCRISIES
A loud hue and cry is being heard just because a Sierra Leonean Court found three former rebel leaders (of the Revolutionary United Front--RUF) guilty of war crimes. The accused were found guilty of what a CNN reporter termed creative torture (what is so creative about chopping hands and arms?). The foreign media cried joy in its usual paternalism, congratulating Africans for conducting a trial (that the UN was involved is a footnote) and delivering a verdict of guilty. For those of us Africans who know African judges and courts and their insatiable appetite for finding all and sundry guilty, there is of course no surprise at all. To read the whole article click here
Africa’s Woes and Jokes
The time has come, the Walrus said,
Lewis Carroll ( Alice ’s Adventure Through the Looking Glass)
Somalia has done it again. For 18 years it showed the world that a country can exist without a State (which makes the Somali fundamentalists the first real Marxists) and still accomplish all the functions of a proud African State —kill, maim, destroy the country, displace millions, bring in famine, commit atrocities and more. And now, as the whole or at least half the world watches, Somalia has elected its latest president (no fake claim like Meles or other dictators who allege that 99.9% elected them)--, meaning some 500 MPs from various clans—themselves unelected-- elected Sheikh Ahmed as president and did the election not inside Somalia but in a neighboring country, Djibouti.
The statement by Rama Yade, a young Senegal born woman who serves under the French president as a junior minister for human rights, provoked my foray into this mined field that often triggers wrath from the "we love America" camp. Yade was euphoric that Barack Obama got elected US president and said: "This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten. America is becoming the new World. On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes". To read this article click Here......
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|The Problem of Modernity
" Give a dog a bad name and hang it,” says the proverb. In AmariNa, too, there is a saying that comes to mind “ Libeluat yefeleguatn qoq jigra yiluatal.” The saying assumes that qoq is not edible or kosher. Be that as it may, when the Seleda Editors asked me to try my hand at writing something on modernism in the Ethiopian context, I was perplexed at various levels. Were they indirectly having a private laugh at my previous attempts to go modern by writing short stories and poems in English? yalTereTere temeneTere. And as a self-respecting Ethiopian, I had to look for evil (and hidden) motives first before coming to the easier conclusion. In any case, in the end I had to grapple with modernism itself. To read this article click here.....