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post Ye’Zare Hasabe

December 21st, 2007

Filed under: Literature Corner — Lissan Magazine @ 14:25

Article from Zethiopia Newspaper

Ye’Zare Hasabe
by Abeba

Haddis Alemayehu Tewlid

Years ago, I remember trying to break into a local festival that took place in an open area park. My sister and I walked away from the entrance and tried to get in from a walkway that was opposite from the main entrance and not in sight from the uniformed people who were collecting the entrance fees. W h a t we didn’t know at the time was that the area was well policed by nech-lebashoch (security) all around. Before we crossed to the main stage where Salif Keita was playing, there was a guy behind us saying “Excuse me”, “Excuse me”.

I was going to write about concerts and other works of artists that we don’t like paying for when another “Yezare Hasab” took over. I am cramming for a book club meeting that I have tonight and I am taken by this book. It is called ”Kinfam Hilmoch” - beTam (very) interesting short stories book. Initially, I was going to have my uncle read it and tell me the story so I can discuss it at the meeting since it has been a while since I picked up an Amharic book. In the end though with a friend’s encouragement, I decided to pick up the book and read it. To my surprise the book was very engaging and seemed like it was written for my current level and probably also for most of us out there who rarely read Amharic fiction.

Here is one of the stories I read in the book. I am no ‘book-reviewer’ so bear with me, I will just summarize what it was about.

The story starts with a letter from Habtamu who lives in Mankusa (countryside in Gojam) to his brother LeAndamlak who lives in Markos (city in Gojam). It is followed by other letters that form a chain. LeAndamlak then writes to his sister Senait who lives in Addis Abeba. Senait writes a letter to her fiancé Teklemikael who lives in Mississippi. Teklemikael writes a letter to his friend Tamene who lives in California. The story reflects human nature and mirrors our life as immigrants.It relates to us all who come from various background and who aspire to change our lives.

I don’t know much about BeEwketu Siyoum, the author, except what I read at the back of the book, the author was born in Mankusa and kind of lived in his story’s cities moving to Markos and Addis. I was surprised by entries in the letters and the name of the city Mankusa where Habtamu lives and the name of one of the characters. Mankusa is a village where some of the characters in ‘FeQir Eske MeQaber’ Haddis Alemayehu’s masterpiece live. The author also mentions other literary works and the Bible in the letters. The first letter (Habtamu’s) is long and the subsequent letters get shorter and shorter as we are moving farther away from the village life. ‘Habtamu’ (the rich) lives in poverty or thinks he needs to change his life. His counterpart in Mississippi envies Habtamu’s life. I was astounded by the book because it bit my expectations a hundred times over.

I joined this book club to make a very passionate hardworking friend happy. This friend spends most of her time trying to change the lives of Ethiopians here in the community and also back in Ethiopia although she has a demanding full-time job. She told me about the authors back home who struggle to get published and who are very talented and that she and a bunch of other people imported books from Ethiopia with a lot of hassle and expense to help out the authors and were signing people up to join this book club called “YeEthiopian Metsaheft Kebeb” (Ethiopian Book Club). Reluctantly, I ended up paying the membership fee complaining that it was too expensive and joined the club. I still have problem paying for artists’ hard work I guess.

If you are picking this newspaper, you may be like me who surf Ethio-websites from time to time and read what is written about Ethiopia with some reservation. You may not be like my passionate friend, but if you are somewhat interested ‘join the club’ as they say.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated to the organizers although I would have been lucky to and this is not a marketing article. This is purely my Yezare Hasab (today’s thought).

Volume3| Issue 35 Zethiopia | http://zethiopia.com

Statements and opinions expressed in this article herein are those of the authors. Lissan Magazine accepts no responsibility whatsoever for the content.

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