SELEDA Ethiopia


Editors' Note
Our Favorite Mail
SELEDA Challenge Part 1
SELEDA Challenge Part 2
SELEDA Challenge Part 3
Random Acts
Up From Faradise
The Odyssey
30 Questions
Value of...
Top Ten


There are many questions we at SELEDA have about life, death and who the head designer was at Darmar CHama BEt. And usually, when we don’t know the answer to a question (which is very much almost always) we, a) make it up b) disparage the asker with a swift "Y’hE demmo, yemmanew!" or, c) pretend we’ve lost our hearing.

It has come to our attention, however, that, apparently, there is another approach to alemaweqachinin maweq… namely, asking people who know! Hmmm. An interesting concept, except, where do we hang our ego, in this room? Oh, there.. we see the Ego Check Window.

And so, we presented five questions to our favorite Ethiopian Intellectuals. And, man! Mnnew arfen bniqemeT… aqmn alemaweq new hager’n yaTefaw

We proudly present to you a new SELEDA feature… a cerebral exercise with those intellectual giants who humble us into oblivion with each tap on their keyboards.

This month’s Challenge:

It's New Year's Day, 2015 AD. Millions of Ethiopians are watching the much anticipated, televised launching of "Dinqnesh 12" into space from Cape Gorgora on the banks of Lake Tana. "Dinqnesh 12", a state-of-the-art space shuttle in construction since June 2003, holds a single object in her immense cargo bay: a tiny gourd in a qETEma pouch, suspended from the ceiling with ropes. Dinqwa, bless her heart, will sail across incalculable galaxies to dump the freight into Black Hole #4G5X87.

The gourd holds captive the intangible and most ferocious foe that has plagued our people for many decades. It is a mindset, an outlook, an ethos that has held Ethiopia back from realizing her full potential.

You have been selected to identify, arrest and loadthe handcuffed villain into “Dinqnesh 12”’s cargo bay. However, you need to fill out the following form (yes, paperwork, alas, still reigns supreme in 2015) before you start working on the case.

1) Culprit's name:

2) Culprit's age and brief biography:

3) Detailed plan of action in capturing culprit:

4) Why this culprit over others?

5) How would culprit's ejection transform Ethiopians?

And the answers…


by Berhanu Yalew Yihun

Have you ever wondered why Ethiopian life revolves so much around food and drink? Or why the evil witch of the neighborhood is none other than the nefug "injerra ennat"? Or why the oppressive "gibbir" stands for both tax and public feast? Or why the CHisegna half-heartedly wails at the funeral of the generous but heavy-handed balabat: yabelaN yeneber iyagbeSebeSe, ya'jegnaw Ikele Tattu beSebeSe. Allow me…

Culprit's name: Hod. Alter ego: re’habb.

Culprit's age and brief biography: Created with Adam and implicated in the Original Sin fiasco. Lived in the Garden with utter contentment until TgabeNanet led to his fall from grace. Disguised as a serpent, as the Good Book tells it, Hod tempted an angel of a woman into plucking the forbidden tree. Generations of Dinqnesh's daughters have internalized the following lesson from that nasty episode: wendi'n me'yaaz behodu! My gut feeling (no pun intended) is that the Evolutionists have bested this silliness—but that is a story for another issue of SELEDA.

Detailed plan of action in capturing culprit: No need for a detailed plan, man. Hod is found everywhere Ethiopians are, in the tight grip of the qebetto or the meqennet. For the geographically (or physiologically) challenged: it resides in the middle of the body-prolific (among the rich) or the body-horrific (among the poor), just below Heart-land and above Sin-land.

Why this culprit over others: Are you joking? Hod is public enemy number one, especially among the poor. Actually, it has no friends among all social classes except perhaps the devil himself. People obey it more intently than they do the QebelE thugs, kings, emperors, or even God Herself. Consider its aliases: hoDam, kersam, hoDe-seffi, and borCHam.

How would culprit's ejection transform Ethiopians? Only now, you are asking the zillion birr question (inflation adjusted). The banishment into oblivion of Hod from Ethiopia to Black Hole #4G5X87 will indeed transform the country into one of the happiest lands on this speck of the cosmos. From 2015 on, if I get my way, REHAB shall stand for Resurrected Ethiopia Heralds Astounding Beauty. By this wonderful alchemy, Black Athena shall emerge out of Black Hole.

The Evidence

Forgive me, I am slightly ahead of, or perhaps beside, myself. I see a vicious smirk on your virtual face, Seledawian. You are saying to your skeptical selves: Tirss’is limadu new, Hoden attassiqew! In a bid to lighten the huge load on your feet and to reactivate your fossilized mindset, I have managed to canvass Ethiopian public opinion on the subject from the sefer, the mender and the gebeya. Sorry, the revolutionary democrats refused to give me permission to comb Wube Bereha for this project. Here are my findings based on extensive chats with the man and woman in the foots paths (or the streets, in the case of the City Center of Addis) on the subject of the impending demise of Ethio-Hodophobia:

A Prematurely Bald AAU Professor Emerging from a Marathon Gimgema Session: Hod is known to claim most of the waking hours of habtam Ethiopians, and all but five hours a day of deha Ethiopians. This state of affairs has left our people unable to engage in serious scientific endeavors, or peacemaking, or the creative arts. An Ethiopian has yet to win the Nobel Prize on account of our enslavement by this dumpster of an organ. What a superb cosmological imagination you have got, young-looking chap. How come I failed to be the first to entertain this intellectual epiphany? Oh, yes, Hodaminete!

A Priest at Cape Gorgora: Hod tempts, indeed compels, otherwise pious people to break the Ten Commandments with guile. It is as ungrateful as it is avaricious. Let's say, you feed it brindo today. And how does it repay your favors tomorrow? It will not hesitate to beat the drum with the pangs and fangs of hunger. That is maddening enough to send you rummaging through that garbage pile. That is how! And, did you know how many qollo temariwech have been so traumatized by vicious dogs as to abandon the life of qidassE for one of wudassE?!

An Opposition Politician in a Beltway Cafe: Hod entices otherwise intelligent and capable people to sell their political souls to the highest bidder. Hence, the epithet: Hodam. Aye, bichachewin belut. Is it not poetic justice that bichawun yebella bichawun yimmotal?!

Emama Hod'e of Mettu: Hulum ye'Igziabher ingida new, enne bEt. Lije, in my humble opinion, the banishment of Hod will definitely free up the Heart to do the hard lifting. You know what I mean: 'thinking' (Hod siyawuq doro matta), patience (tew chalew Hode), jealousy (hodna jerba), selfishness (yeCHelemma gorash, inne balayih Allah yayihaal!), love (anjeten belahew), kindness (anjetE tenSefeSfe), betrayal (anjete teqorto …) and courage (abEt kulalit!).

A Philosophy Major at Killil U, Jimma: Yes, this invasive surgical operation would surely free up the Mind to think about creative "stuff" for the first time since that Abyssinian Zara Yaqob (referring to the discovery of the mind-body paradox at Enfraz). We will then say: out with Abba Dula, and in with Abba Mella. By the way, she adds, I am an avid reader of Seleda. I can decode the Latinized AmariNa, the one that irks purists of the ossified generation, with as much ease as I do Latinized Oromiffa. By the way, don't you think free spelling is a lot like free love? [Not having had any encounters with the latter, I had to fake a knowing smile just to look cool.]

A Street Beggar under Minelik's Hawult: Wuy, mniNa tilliq werE abesserkeN. No more limmena or Tigab or gibir. Debetteraw HodE, do you think they would dismantle the ovens of Hell, and build us Italian-style stone shelters at Jan MEda?

A Bahitawi in Dedebit, Tigray: SiminTeNaw shii feneda! The good Lord shall henceforth forgave our sin, original or otherwise. No more need to hide the stolen Ark. [To my query about the prospect of the Ark joining Dinqinesh at the National Museum, he retorted: Aye Shewa!]

A Debterra near Haiq Estifanos Gedam, Ambassel: To tell you the truth, I was never sure that the apples that tempted Adam were none other than the devilishly seductive duo dangling on Eve's person. Anyway, the demise of Hod would certainly improve the sex lives of our yebirro-burzhwa. Their borCH will no longer be that omnipresent talqa-gebi! Preoccupied with la petite morte [my bashful translation of his even more expressive AmariNa], they would finally leave us alone!

A Zelan in Gode, Ogaden: Hod, what Hod? Do you see one on me? Those damn Adere and Habesha!

A Tej-bEt Diva in Dessie: What a brilliant idea, wondeemye! But, I do have a question for you: how are we then to bear the little ones? (Impressed by the learned diskur about cloning and test-tube babies, she became an instant convert. In fact, she made the insightful suggestion that the long-necked and wide-bottomed brill’lE bottle is just the perfect baby incubator. After all, she must have reasoned, it has stood the test of time, and the taste of many a man and a woman. "Yetemare gedellen sinil, yetemare liyadinnen meTa," was her last and most definitive pronouncement on the subject of rocket science.) [As I was staggering out, a wicked azmari can be heard singing: Asher-ba-sher belTo HoD'n kemashaker, yedehinna sett qemiS tenteriSo madder. Wollo mejen!]

The Choice: Hodophobia or Utopia?

Dear Seledawian, I now rest my case. The unceremonious ejection of Hod in a lowly gourd, rather than that of HSI in a lowly VW Beetle, would have been the right thing (okay, thingy) to do as far back as 1974. This courageous act would have saved us time and money; raised our moral standards; eliminated the opportunism and greed out of politics; enhanced our pitiful life expectancy; improved our looks to the point of making the country a center of international fashion; and cleansed our lissane negus of all references to meblat (to wit: be'Ayenu bellat).

In short, Hodlessness is the best antidote to homelessness, not to mention qefonnet and gibiznet.

One more thing. I must disabuse you of the notion that a Hodless society is not necessarily a gutless society. Hodlessness, my compatriots, is the elusive miracle that is now staring us in the face. It would surely restore our rightful place as the true "chosen people." As the Fitha Negest puts it, a little obliquely, “lehodu yetegeza bariya new!”

We deserve freedom more than any other people in the cosmos, the Martians included: in our protracted struggle against the directives of Taskmaster Hod, we extolled the virtues of poverty, fasted longer and starved in greater numbers than any other people since our grandparents naively entered into a plea bargain only to face deportation from the Garden of Eden.

Mark my words: on Meskerem 1, 2015, Ethiopia shall be the Utopia that is Tsion. On the morning of that fateful day, the noble Ethiopian with the smallest Hod, the diminutive ye'Yihuda Anbessa, shall soar to the skies to accompany Dinqittu in a bid to prove just who really was " the elect of God." Until then, Yesemachihutin hullu be hodachiu yassadiribachiu. Amen.


Reliable sergo-gebboch have alerted this writer to the "fact" that a certain Seleda editor (or perhaps two), in a bid to suppress publication of this earth-shaking piece and thereby enhance the market value of an overpriced Ivy League goatskin, has plans to accuse me once again of engaging in a pseudo-intellectual hyperbole of weffefE proportions. The rejection email, I am told, will argue that this gem of an article does not go far enough. Why not banish Heart and Mind from the land along with Hod, the editors plan to posture. This disrespectfully infantile qefonnet reminds me of a certain Mr. Tip O'Neill who once explained why he chose to be a Democrat in these graphic terms: “The Republicans cut you from the waist down; the Democrats do it only from the knees down!” I concur with the former Speaker of the House that there is at least one invaluable organ worth saving between the waist and the knees. Now you finally know why I singled out Hod for a Dergist treatment. Let it be known that I love my people too much to follow the suggestion of these virtual editors. Only a hard-hearted and mushy-headed cabal would contemplate the sight of millions of gutless, mindless and heartless Ethiopians dishonoring the Promised Land.

I am eminently hode-seffi and forgiving, though. Sensing that the Seleda in the editorial washroom that goes for a boardroom is black (i.e., 'white on black', broadcasting chalk dust and thereby clouding their already enfeebled judgment), I have decided to purchase them a white board (i.e., 'black on white', for a change). It is a token share of the huge profits expected to flow from the worldwide commercialization of the "banish Hod" idea. What a uniquely Ethiopian weight-loss program! My sincere thanks go to all Hodamawian and, more importantly, to Hod himself, whose inattention to this plot is guaranteed by a single-minded focus on digestible things rather than on unpalatable and indigestible ideas.


[SELEDA Editors want to let our respected readers know that we never received Ato Berhanu’s promised White Board. Hodachin’in bar-bar blotal. And OUR reliable sergo gebboch have informed us that Ato B is a known Hod yebasachew Hodophobe. As they say at a five-kegger party at that second tier Ivy League school he attended, “Hod yabawun, bqil yaweTawal.” Amen.]

Table of contents Editors' Notes Comments How to Contribute Archives
© Copyright SELEDA Ethiopia, June 2003.   All Rights Reserved.