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by: Gash M

And finally, our new best friend and the reason why we should stop thinking we even know anything about literature or life, GashiyE M, who points out the biggest ailment of all…

Culprit's name:

Bless you. Bless you one and all. The chance I never thought I’d get!! The chance to explain. My version, through my own lips--nay, through my quill. Quaint? I’d say!

Who am I? Well, let me introduce myself. I am the country’s most respected, and most hated if you must insist, piece of junket anyone and everybody would NOT want around their necks. A yoke? Yes sir! Impediment? Most definitely yes, yum yum! A trait? Most ardently and most impossibly in the affirmative, with two, count them, one, two brass knobs on.

Call me Conscience. For loss of a better word, that is. I am called YiluNta by the natives. A Cross borne by all including those famous census-fearing 400. Cross-pollination is the norm in this our world.

I must hereby notify you and anybody else who is reading this opus that you will all be taken to the highest court to hear judgment on your actions. For I was sandbagged. On my way to cause havoc, true. But I was sandbagged from behind – a method I would have otherwise been proud of. I was sandbagged, as I was saying, and unceremoniously bundled into a sack-like garment, my mouth taped by what must have been a hold-over of the duct tape scramble.

Culprit's age and brief biography:

My age is none of your business, and nor is it any of your concern. But you do so INSIST: It is a millennia or two, or more: depends on how you count. If it is backwards, as you and I are, then it is as long as you and I have been around as Abyssinians. If you count otherwise, then you have no right to do so.

How fitting that I am telling people about Me, and how much of an impediment I’ve become. I am now much bigger than a pimple, I’ll have you know. More so, in fact. A handicap, too. An albatross or the heaviest anchor, around the collective Abyssinian neck.

The strange thing about it all is that there is no English language equivalent for YluNta. Conscience explains just the half of it. A quarter, even.

YluNta demands a Conscience as the foundation; the rigid sides would be made up by Fortitude, bolstered by Values in life; it is then reinforced yet again by social Mores; topped up by Awareness of what others might think of you. And the icing on the cake would be Breeding-- which Abyssinians of all walk of life have in abundance. Which is why my fight has been an easy one.

Because, you see, it is this YluNta that has led to the downfall of the Abyssinian. If not that, at least to his being found at the bottom of every totem pole you’ll find this side of purgatory. And we’ve ALL been there, haven’t we ? The Abyssinian has so much of this YluNta, this something that no one else has (indeed it does not even exist in any other language or culture, as I have regurgitated often enough); that it takes reams to explain the disorder to outsiders. Except, of course, to those that have made a study of the said animal.

Your enemies, and, therefore, my friends, all have taken advantage of this, seeing it for what it is: a Weakness. This moral dilemma, as the Abyssinian sees it, of thinking in terms of what people will think of him or her has left Abyssinians in the hole. Literally. Not that I mind, mind you. All the better, I say. As much as I hate saying this, there is, in this YluNta, also the unconscious desire to please the Maker: what would HE think. NO matter whether you are a Christian or a Muslim. It applies to all. And the common factor, and for which I hate them all? It is that they are all Ethiopian. The country that has a radius of 1080 kilometers as the crow flies. Crookedly. Go figure.

Spit. But I must agree with a couple of things that you have done, my captor. You have lobotomized me for good, so I might as well be sanguine about it all.

Why this culprit over others?

I realise why you had to get me. It’s not that you’re an idiot: The thing that does unnerve me is the fact that you have woken up to the fact that those around you--you've taken them for granted, believe me--were the ones, the only ones, you thought who mattered. Want proof negative? Alright: how about your friend, but not mine, History? As if your whole life depended on it! Sweatheart, you seem to think that is the only thing that you have going for you. But it is not. There are other things that matter more, and are much more important. Like belittled Piety, for one.

Who has ever benefitted from past history, pray? The Greeks? The Phoenicians perhaps? Ah yes, and of course, Carthage. It benefited. Know where it is, or was, do you? The Egyptians? Of course, they benefit. That’s why they rely so much on the waters that you let them have, threatening your very existence. But I digress, yet again.

So, what would you have done? You see, the choice was always between Me, Myself and I; and listless CHewanet. Choice between CHewanet and YluNta. Some choice! CHewanet - you know: the opposite of BalegE. Which leads one to…. assadagi yebedelew; be samma tegerfo yalteshalew…you know what I mean?

The Abyssinian does have traits that only he possess. YluNta is not just a trait, though, even though it is national one. It is above all, a Weakness, it is a hopeless, hapless yearning for attainment of sainthood while on this earth, a longing that will entail the falling flat on one’s face before virtuous triumph. Which is all very nice if you can get it, as the song goes. Not the falling flat on one’s face. You have to explain such things to some people: My captor, you are many things, but you are not that dense. Dense, yes. But not that dense.

But this world is not an easy one if you are not perfect. Such as I was before my comeuppance. Foibles is a nice word as it describes a shortcoming. And the Abyssinian has many, but, for all that, he has somehow managed to stay afloat.

But unless he gets rid of YluNta first and foremost, he will get nowhere. Which goes nowhere in arguing for my non-destruction by you, since I am supporting my own destruction. I have little love for the symbiotic life that I lead, but I know when Bad is really Bad. And I am IT. Being baboozeled, sedated after being zonked on the head did not help matters.

Detailed plan of action in capturing culprit (you have from now until New Year's Day, 2015):

How was I caught, you ask? If you must know, it was with my pants down. No. No sordid thoughts, if you don’t mind. Please. And if you must also know, I was on all fours, looking for my contact lenses, and I also happened to have my pants down below my knees…looking for my lenses…Oh, alright: Why did I have my trousers down between and below my knees? If you must know, it was because I had to take these infernal cowboy boots off, and the only way you can do that is by taking your trousers off.

And the boots were to give Me stature, height, the ability to, for once, look DOWN on the Abyssinians, although if truth be told, that is not too hard a job!! Anyway, these boots made me feel as if I was walking above a canyon, looking down on hairless scalps and domes of dingy, short-limbed, knock-kneed males of the species. And I felt good. At least, I was feeling good, when in swoops this vulture, You, my lordship, my subjugator, my vanquisher; lasso in hand, busily tying twine all over me. Me, without my lenses, with my trousers by now nearly strangling me; blind as a bat, knowing it was YOU, only because of the running commentary you were giving me and the rest of the world as you were tying the knots. Learned no doubt in the best Boy Scout tradition, at your mama’s feet.

So, there I was, knotted, bound like the Ethiopian highland sheep before being summarily strung up, knifed, gutted, and made ready for the feast. Poor sheep, poor Me. And I wept buckets, but to no avail. Trussed up, made ready for the sacrifice. To be ejected from this world. For ever.

How would culprit's ejection transform Ethiopia and Ethiopians?

Get rid of Me and you’ll have a future. Promise you. Have your conscience by all means, but not to an extent where even your enemies have pity on you. I am not selling shoes, but yichalal. Just do it.

You didn’t recognise it, but there’s a little bit of globalisation in that phrase there for you. Smacking of the loneliness of the long distance runner there, too. Where everybody but the record holder makes tons of money harping on somebody’s efforts and strengths.

Once a upon a time it used to be : your Emperor-such a man, such a figure, such a symbol…Now it is: Your runners!

And you know who took the cake. And deservedly so. He’ll get to drive his Mercs yet. Got his driving license, I hear. He’s got to drive on the road named after him, after all! Good on ya, me lad.

But I think someone more clever than that came along soon after. Remember the Mingizem Phillips slogan? This one is just as clever: Yichalal. The English language version is, and I feel sure you’ll recognise it: Just do it. By and for whom was it designed? Googelize it.

By the by, there’s a huge poster of you-know-who hanging up against a blank wall of a 14-storey building in lower downtown Addis for all to see. It does wonders for both the shoes and runner, AND for the unpainted, pealing, dirty blank side of the apartment building.

Do you know what or who Laqech is? Of course you don’t know. The Chinese, in their wisdom, and in their infinite quest to feed all the world and themselves, have designed a three-legged stove that uses paraffin instead of wood, to cook on, indoors. All very well, you might say. Except that the three spindle legs were not just wobbly, but downright dangerous: the stove was too easy to tip over. Hence, stories of fires, and whole families being burned alive.

Along came Laqech. She was cheaper and looked more handsome. But she used coal, and her carbon monoxide belches did occasionally put the unwary to eternal sleep. But she was ETHIOPIAN, and no manner of knocks or shoves was going to tip HER over. Laqech.

Dinqenesh? DenqEm! Foreign, no doubt. Seeing the world, and my demise, from the belly of the beast, DenqiyE: I see foreboding. An Ethiopian spaceship? Had our own plane, and many a flier, too once. In them thar’ old days, before the eclipse. In them days when Ethiopian pilots were applauded everywhere. Jomo Kenyatta, it is said, cried big tears when he saw Ethiopian pilots do wonderous things with jets. He sobbed to see so much aplomb and daring, on a par with anything on earth.

And in Rome International airport, an Ethiopian Airlines jet had to do a belly landing because the under carriage failed to come down. All planes, on the ground and in the air were commanded to stay away, and fire engines were readied for any eventuality, with foam and water. The plane, a 707 had its full compliment of passengers and crew. It landed without swerving or spinning on the runway, on its belly, and all walked off the plane unscathed.

In the terminal, there was tremendous applause, cheering and cat-calls, as there was in the air traffic control tower. As can only happen in Italy. And some one asked: whose plane was that? And the answer came back: Ethiopia. And the retort? From Italy and from Italians? But of course: It just had to be Ethiopian. Who else could it have been, they asked? No fibbing.

Woe is me: I hear rumblings. The engines throttling up are they? Just for me, the one and only passenger?

But before I go, a word of advice: look to my buddy-buddy: MeqeNenet. I’ll not be surprised you’ll be needing another Dinqenesh, and a larger Dinqenesh, for him. Or is it ..for her?

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