Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Political Kitfo


Kitfo is a specialty dish in Ethiopian cuisine. It is made from the leanest meat, hand minced in qorerima (cardamom), miTmiTa (powdered chili peppers) and a soupcon of salt. It is traditionally served rare, warmed only by melted Ethiopian clarified spiced butter.

Awright awreddi.

Work’s been killing me softly. Will be back soon. In the meantime:

Didja see ethiopundit’s supreme punditrocracy Washington's Lethal Delusions of Stability? Didja? Awww. Grab your mittens, boys and girls.

His Punditricity basically transformed himself into an ET-Edward Scissorhands and clawed, sniped, sliced, chopped, hacked, poked, stabbed and excised all theories that have thus far excused Washington’s and donor nations’ lethargy in ixnaying Ato Meles’ government.

It is political kitfo at its best:

There’s the slicing of the meat:

The War on Terror must be fought with vigor and determination but Ethiopia seems to have slipped through the cracks. The Ethiopian government slickly uses the threat of terror to manipulate Washington in particular, and its policies of aid dependent economic stagnation and tribal divide and rule will ultimately lead to another failed state.


There’s the hacking off of the bone:

In the interests of illusory stability Washington is propping up and making excuses for a corrupt tyrant whose policies by every bit of logic and historical memory will lead to nothing but disaster for all concerned.

There’s the trimming of the lifaCH:

The former American Ambassador to Ethiopia in her farewell speech made it clear that Ethiopians were not included in that or other calls for liberty in the world. Instead, on behalf of Washington, she made a call for the opposition to just go along with the government at all costs and for Ethiopians to just know their proper place at the feet of their politburo betters. If they gave up on their dreams, somehow, someday all would be well, you see. This vile sentiment was wrapped up in expressions of affection for Ethiopians but its intent is not in keeping with the interests and morals of the American people.

There’s the slicing:

Statements like the Ambassador's and those of recent US / EU statements that include any element of calls for all parties to be peaceful and obey the constitution are absurd and contemptuous. The ruling party has always had an absolute monopoly on violence, just like it does in the business world, and it is offensive to ask Ethiopians to obey the laws and a constitutions that they did not consent to be ruled by and whose purpose is the eternal rule of their oppressors.

There’s the dicing:

Ethiopians are not asking for the United States to make everything better for them. It is clear that is exactly what they want to do for themselves. At least the US must get out of their way.

There’s the mincing:

One must wonder how many Americans, Democratic or Republican or Independent know that billions of their tax dollars and their country's good name is spent on behalf of a government:

--that is a brutal, vengeful and highly disciplined Marxist-Lenininst-Maoist party masquerading all at once as a liberal democratic parliament, election board, supreme court and assorted tribal 'federal' divide and rule Bantustans

There’s the adding of the miTmiTa:

The kind of calculation that Washington has accepted in deaing with Ethiopia stems from the time Clinton crowned Meles a part of an 'African Renaissance' and then shut up quickly when Meles warned him "don't tell me how to govern my country" while swallowing billions in US aid.

(That’s also the Lewinskying.)

There’s the powdering of qorerima:

Then Ethiopians will have a better chance of fulfilling their potential that the blood, sweat and tears of the past bloody century has earned them. Surely Americans can not find an easy alliance with a despot whose main source of power and foreign exchange is the display of his own people suffering.

There’s the dash of salt:

The American people simply do not know what is being done by the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship that their foreign policy has embraced in their good name over two administrations

There’s the generous dousing of lega qibE (spiced butter):

This issue has nothing to do with Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican. This alliance is harming the interests of the United States by supporting a government that rules by terror and that will generate only more instability and the certainty of chaos in the future.

There’s the qarya (chili pepper) garnish:

Ethiopians only ask that the US stop supporting the despotism over them - they will take care of the rest peacefully.

There’s the dollop of aiyb (homemade cottage cheese):

While it is clear that nations like the US care more for Ethiopians than their own government does it is up to Ethiopians and Friends of Ethiopia to decouple the convenience of the status quo in Washington's eyes from the current dictatorship to the possibilities of an entirely democratic and stable ally.

Cover with injera:

There is no reason for the US to think that its own interests would be threatened, in any way, by the appearance of a democratic society in Ethiopia. The most sustained period of peace and relative prosperity in modern history was had by Ethiopia under the aegis of an American alliance and such should be welcomed in the future as well.

Bon appétit!

Next stop: Tony Blair! (Anyone in London wanna take up the baton?)

Say g’night, Gracie.

(Here’s a list of Ethiopian restaurants worldwide, lest your appetite has whetted.)


Blogger A'imro said...

I read your blog regularly and appreciate your forthright comments. The gastronomic metaphors made me want to share these comments from 12 October which have some like examples. Thanks.

Recent events in ethiopia make one reflect on how risky it is to be a politician in the undeveloping world. Notice the apparent misnomer which would make a world bank official frown but have you seen any developing country doing what it is supposed to do nowadays? Nyet as as a muscovite or indet tedergo as an Addis Ababan would say.

One digresses. Back to politics and risk. It is probably riskier to be a social worker than a politician in the rich world but the reverse is true in the poor world assuming that is there are social workers there.

So what makes them do it? The politicians of the poor world standing tall to scary dictators and apparatichicks, calling a spade a spade, boycotting fraudulent parliaments. Where do they get the nerve or the guts ? depending on your preferred anatomical hotspot. I wonder.

No doubt the democratic zeal of the politicians which is people driven is real and genuine. Ethiopia has deep pockets both cultural and spiritual
(but not of the l'argent of the globalization variety) and its own democratic traditions.

But to one of a suspicious bent , it only takes a little stretch of the imagination to think of a western journalist or two or even the odd World bank official shaking her or his metaphorical head and saying over cooled martinis, " Evelyn Waugh was right , the are aping their betters again". Who said such backroom racism died in the 1930's?

There are some phrases which says it all in one language but difficult to match in clarity and satisfaction of meaning in another. "Lenesu mech anesachew" is one. Ahhh-- it is as satisfying as a dry martini or even a glass of your favorite aunt's homemade tej. Now how can you top that in English? You can say the poor will always be with us but do they need democracy, real ,genuine , the real mccoy kind ? That even the rich do not have. The type money can not buy? And it will still fall flat.

Lenesu mech anesachew. Ahhh.

Tell that to the brave politicians trying to make the people's voice heard , their votes count and in the process try to take the un out of the undeveloping. The courage of these souls in tha face of such overwhelming odds is genuinely awesome.

11:15 AM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger kuchiye said...


I knew there was some other mystery to this favorite delicacy of ours ... "Kitfo"

...heading to my favorite ET restaurant with the hope that a good "gursha" of "Kitfo" will help to unravel some of the intriguing political paradoxes of Ethiopia.

Ethiopundit is always tasteful without "Qimem" but you sure made it more aromatic.


3:54 PM, December 01, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All together…

“Ethiopians are not asking for the Unite States to make everything better for them. It is clear that is exactly what they want to do for themselves. At least the US must get out of their way.”

Here is another one along the same line… from other source

“komatan komata kalaute gebto yifetefital.”

It’s always frustrating not letting ethiopundit know our appreciation (does not allow commenting). beTam new yeMinewodat. Keep up the good work.

8:14 PM, December 01, 2005  
Anonymous not genet zewdie said...


you can always email Ethiopundit, yes? SHE is amazing.

Girl power.

7:40 AM, December 02, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...


Your political correctness in calling it “Traditional” Kitfo was not lost on me.
Mn tadergi mechess, it’s a sign of the times. If all was well in the land, you’d think nothin’ of calling it by its real name: “yeGurage-Kitfo!”

My fear is that Kitfo’s identity may evolve yet again. Thanks to Birhanu Nega’s hobnobbing with the Amhara these days, how long, I wonder, before good-old-yeGurage-Kitfo gets tagged “ye-Chauvanist Kitfo” in some progressive circles?

Kuchiye, I now know what you meant about Kitfo unraveling the intriguing political paradoxes of ET-politics . . .

I guess I'll go unravel me some . . .

11:42 AM, December 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a non-traditional kitfo and a non-Gurage kitfo?

12:19 PM, December 02, 2005  
Anonymous ETW said...

Not Anonymous,

I wanted to distinguish "traditional kitfo" from um, "Ostrich and Foie Gras Kitfo with Foie Gras and Grilled Vidalia Onion."


but in the tradition of Freedom Fries, i'm sure there'll be "chavanist kitfo."

6:07 PM, December 02, 2005  
Anonymous Yonathan said...

two months later, I wonder if anyone has been given the 'goorsha' yet. any denouements?

1:56 PM, January 24, 2006  

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