So this is the kind of conversation that passes for conversation between me and my husband:
“I can’t figure out the html code for the new Weichegud look.”
“Why are you redecorating?”
“Hello, what? What hello?”
“It’s nearly been a near with the same look?”
“So??!! Excuse me, have we met? What are we? Godless communists? Same look for an entire year?”
“You realize your analogy makes no sense.”
And that’s when I remind him of how many hours I was in labor. Match, game, set.
Sorry for the leave without absence, but just as I was ambling to get back, goodness gracious, it was Fashion Week, people. The High Holiday. Happy to say things are back on track, but with a twist. The Wonqville family has expanded, literally and literally.
Point 1: I will be on maternity leave after I heave out another baby.
Point 2: I have managed to recruit a couple of writers, so now there will be four of us haranguing you. Their introductory blogs are coming up, but here are the basic stats:
Meskot- highly disillusioned, big city lefty who dabbles in pop culture idolatry. Has become ruinously political as of late. And a little something for the fellows on the east coast: she be single… and, if I may be the divulger of secrets, easy on the eyes…when she is not scowling… which, in these troubled times, ain’t that often.
Welafen- on a self imposed exile to a cave somewhere in one of those square states which the rest of us think don’t exist, Welafen will occasionally opine on social matters. WelE is smack in the middle of mending a brutally broken heart, so if he sounds unduly morbid, please, be gentle… Only the gentlest sprinkling of salt on his open wound will be acceptable.
Trendspotting Chiraq- will be the resident political satirist, which is very ironic considering that T.C. lives in the terminally humorless Bible Belt where they speak in a nauseating drawl when they deliver incoherent hate speeches.
And, of course, Gooch has an open invitation and a special place in our hearts.
I’ve been mulling what Gooch said about functional diaspora organizations. Can’t We All Just Get Along is a must-must read if you are interested in channeling your energy.
I think I’ve been lucky in that the few Ethiopian-related organizations I’ve been involved in have been positive. Of course that’s because they’ve been grassroots, and the membership was an amalgamation of like-minded people who drink as heavily as they curse. I know. Where do you sign up?
There is an intricate psychology one has to be armed with to get involved in Ethiopian organizations: the kind of psychology that helps you cope when you don’t get a return phone call from an organization you are trying to help. Once you get over that hump, then things fall in line.
The fantastic thing about Gooch’s entries- especially “Give and ye shall be given”- is that it triggered helpful discussions on harnessing the energy of disenfranchised diasporans. That’s the thing about politics. If you don’t watch out you become a raving lunatic. Gooch was able to inculcate some direction to the rant. And, look. He did it in three short entries… without the assistance of four-letter words. Damn, he’s good.
Phiqr took the baton and started the ball rolling- read the comments. I lib Phiqr.
So about this forum leading in some kinda action… Seriously? Don’t givethat kind of boost to my self-aggrandizement ‘coz that’s not going to do anyone any good.
I am not being modest here. I know my place. There are some of us who are destined to be the ranters, the raconteurs, the people who sit in the back of the room and talk to imaginary friends. The “Guddu Kassa” of life, if I may be so bold. Then there are the Goochs of this world, blessed with clarity and pragmatism. Nirvana would be marrying the two, not asking one to morph into the other… i.e. I know my calling.
Here’s my take:
Cue in the violin. Somebody? Anybody?
That out of the way, I agree with Gooch in trying to make existing organizations better. Being disillusioned by an organization is not intrinsically Ethiopian. Ask the democrats-- who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The aftermath of the brutality of post-revolution
Social change has to precede political change.
Once we've re-glued our mental state, we’ll be able to seize the bull by the horn, the Ibex by the balls [insert less graphic and more appropriate metaphor here].
Until we calibrate our collective psyche, however, there are things we can do. I agree much with Gooch (I’m having a T-shirt printed that says that) when he says trying to start a new group, especially over the innernetz, might be duty heavy at this point. So here’s what I think:
1) Change our social behavior. Surround ourselves with the right kind of people. Yes, I said it. Hang out with people who are doers and result-oriented. A friend of mine tells people who call her to complain about the EPRDF that they have an allotted time for whining, and then they either STFU or she’ll hang up. That should be our policy. The time and energy expended bellyaching... please, people.
2) Start small. Join a civic organization, a political support group, edir, mehaber, whatever. Stay engaged knowing this will be for the long run. Activism is not a laxative. Start by calling friends and urge them to call friends, etc. Often we want to sprint before we learn to walk without stumbling.
3) I forgot number three. But rest assured it was a splendid point.
I’ve said this before- we need to align ourselves with moderates who have the ability to temper their anger and angst, Berhanu Nega style. (That excludes seething to make a point, which he does brilliantly.) I don’t believe in ephemeral alliances, no matter how politically expedient it might seem. Long term, it does not work. It sounds naïve and politically unsophisticated, but we need to realize that we have a right to ask for leaders who are honorable, above all. It’s not okay to settle for leaders who mistreat us less than Mengistu. Surely, that can’t be our yardstick.
So specifically we want to do something? Again, thank you Gooch for leading us to Advocacy Ethiopia. A friend of mine who is in the know about people who know people who are famously in the know also vouches for them so… whaddayawant? Gooch Certified, mother approved.
Hark, the “Wonqville $20/20 campaign” hath been born. Take out your credit card… steady now... and commit to donating $20.oo to Advocacy Ethiopia. (If you want anonymity, send the money order thing.) Twenty bucks. Then send an email urging 20 0f your nearest and dearest to do the same. The last part is equally important. 20/20. Get it? Wait. You hear the angels singing in C Minor? Yes, you do.
How can we keep track of how many of us participated? Geja? Can we email you? Or add it to the comments. We can use the honor system.
With a few friends, my family celebrated the anniversary of the victory of Adwa at the same place Mussolini declared war on
20/20. Advocacy Ethiopia.