Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Complete Surrender to Strangers’ Threats

  To all AJ audiences we have interviewed Otoli Warachung elder; statesman of the tradition Anyuak society to give us brief discussion on Gambella History and Politics, here is the excerpt.

AJ, there are threats everywhere in our land, were all about land, occupation, aggrandizement by strangers, who came, or brought by from faraway under different circumstances by the successive ruling regimes.  All of them forgot where they were originally belonging or came from; so to speak. We are now on threshold, contesting our native land with them. Why?

Ans,Otoli; the impending phenomenon is a curse on our souls. We must quench the fire, contain it from spreading.
AJ say how come this land that no one wants before all of the sudden have become violence hotpots.

Ans. Otoli Warachung: Traditionally, we are open society, and unlike other savage tribes who kill people as they saw them on their land; ours is an open society with traditional rule of law that governed behavior of our people toward peace, stability and good neighborliness. One cannot dispute the fact, our history shows we have been good in the reception, in the accommodation of the strangers on our land, from all opposite corners, a distinction I could say we are proud of as people, I believe one can’t prevent people from passing or coming by, taking a little break here from difficult situation that forced them to leave their environments in the first place. You see if a frog jumps out of the bush, it must be pursuing after something to eat or it must be running away from danger to safety. So did all the refugees who laded on our land, were welcomed with opened hands, accommodated efficiently. Now after peace was restored, we told them to pack, go back home. But they refused to go home. So what left for us as rights: is force deportation? But the problem we had now is our government intervention in all attempts we tried to correct the wrong political discourses. We have a government who often side with the foreigners whenever there were protest against foreign elements. And that's not right when a government does that to its citizens. It is no good government at all.

AJ Q, again how come those foreigners you are talking about have not been going to where they originally came from, what prevented them from going back?  Ha said the old man how can you prevent bees from sugar? Can you?  AJ, No, but, what do you mean?  Well to prevent bees from reaching, or leaving sugar container first of all you must remove the sugar that magnetized them to the container or spray poison fume around the sugar container to prevent bees from coming around anymore.

AJ, replied, but you can do that with people so what the take? Yea I know we cannot do that with people but we can make force deportation if people are not willing to go to the countries at their will.  If peace was restored than they should go back to their lands instead of giving us headaches.  We see to it that the law of the country is respected held up to standard, that’s not what we are seeing from our government otherwise, those who have broken the law must be held accountable, immediately deported, or make them settle in other countries of their wishes. If a host country they were in do not want them stay any longer, especially violent people must be expel from the country, without delays.

Interesting, AJ concluded,  AJ want state more, but was overrode by interviewee, who had plenty to say about many things, but the whole situation, he reminded AJ how good was in past, AJ said how, where?  Listen very, very carefully to what I am about to say, back in days when his majesty ruled this country the rule of law was up held by the courts in the country, everybody was under equal protection by the law, have you ever heard the word " be heg amlak" No, said AJ. Well it means in the "name of the law" a useful word used to civilizing people about the supremacy of law by all law abiding citizens, to distinguish themselves from hooligans, criminals, savages, that's how the emperor regime was with law. Unfortunately the king was dethroned by a bunch of idiots from the army, called the provisional revolutionary committee, which were nothing but thugs, thieves who rule the country by impunity.

  AJ, Q. What happened then?  Well, in the aftermath of the revolution the role of courts were reduced to oversee certain offences. But the bulk, majority crimes which were not crimes really were run by ad hoc or special committee which wrongfully imprisoned many compatriots to rot in jails. You see in that bygone era there were plenty of crimes leveled against individuals, crimes instigated by supporters of the revolutionaries, who accused most innocent people for political reason, to make it short what we got were so called special revolutionary committees, which held hearing in secrecy. No one knows how they reach decisions after decisions. Ultimately the country was tired of their draconian rule, left for the bush to unset the regime, they did. What came back was again something related to the previous revolution; in fact the second revolution had a blended "revolutionary flavor" like previous one. This time under EPRDF umbrella, federal courts were instated all over the country, so it is better now? AJ interrupted? What better as far as I am concern there no different between revolutionary committee, the EPDRF federal courts, again AJ interrupted, why? Because the EPDRF courts were stashed with cronies, that don’t exercise rule of law in the courts but nepotism.
 AJ, Q. So both regimes were not good for the Anyuak? You see unlike other violent tribes that bordered the Anuyakland, the Anyuak tribe themselves are law abiding people who hate violence in their culture. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are subjects of the rule of law. Previously, in the bygone era his majesty administrations provided, various mechanisms, which held our country, society in a harmonious ways and had allowed traditional rulers to rule according the law of their customs. There was one rule and one law for the country, there was also one rule of law in the traditional sense for all in the Anyuakland, be it for subjects under chiefdom or kingdom. But he said we don’t have our traditional rule of law anymore, neither king nor chief, that's the problem. AJ what was then replaced to balance the law?  All the court institution were gone, destroyed by dictatorial regime of Haile Mariam, who replaced nothing but chaos through revolutionary committees, its  associates such as: peasants associations, women association, youths Association, workers association, urban cooperatives, all were control by party apparatchiks’ from the central government.

The dirge, the current government completely destroyed Anyuak tradition system of ruling themselves through their representatives, without bearing the consequences. Poorly the Anyuak were/are left with no traditional safeguard, protection anymore. It was a mistake by those who destroyed the old system, opening our society future floodgate to destroy the entire society soon. That’s how the Anyuak people see their fate nowadays. Their fates are in the balance. No one should blame them really. What dignity was left for them when their land was/is forcefully snatched, out of their hands given it to some people else who don’t belong to their community. Is this a government of the people, by the people or of the hooligans, by the hooligans? How come a government they called theirs was/is murdering, prosecuting them with impunity. Who supposed to be watching who, who watched the supposed watchers. Can protection of security for all be left in hands of the organized thugs, criminals?  AJ are you dramatizing the situation.

Ans. what kind of question is that? No I am not dramatizing situations. It is real, and I am not amplifying it either.  If we are one, than we should be protected by law of the country. It is imperative that everyone who’s a citizen, including foreigners should be under the equal protection of the law. The law should reign supreme. That's what distinguished civilized people from savage society. Indeed if we are not one, than we should be able the take our security into our own hands. The English philosopher Hobbes 1640 in his treaty leviathan postulates social contracts this way; I am paraphrasing differently: for all individuals to live together as community certain important rights must give up to the body of law for the whole group or community lives in perpetual peace with one another, otherwise one risk losing them all. My point I am posing to you, if a government was not in the protection of the security for all, than we should take our own security into our own hands, it should be clear to everyone that security matters most when all are under equal protection of the state.

  The world have heard enough of the impending calamity hovering over the country, still some of us have unconditional love for the country to do better. But the agony, the brutality still continued in that beautiful land that was once in harmony, in peaceful- coexistence. Nevertheless can the downturn be reversed, AJ injected a Q?  Of course let keeps hope alive.  You know it difficult to subjugate the Ethiopian people for a lengthy time: under any conditions. They may put up with you for a while but not for too long our history shows no tyrant ruled for too long without being deposed 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Strange Language But Beautifully Used:

  It was my second week in the beautiful windy city of Chicago uptown area packed by many foreigners from every country on earth; of course many have been there longer than others. Especially, South African community, Ethiopian community all from Africa are much more established than rest of the African communities. It was also first time arrival of the Gambella people from Ethiopia to USA. I believe many Ethiopian due lack of information about their country did not even know where we came from exactly, even when told that we are Gambellan Ethiopian some still could not believe it. It was/is a denial that sometime comes out of ignorance from ill informed citizens about the human geography, and history of our country.

I think our dark skin pigmentation was the matter of all. For some reason when some of them see our dark skin pigment, some think we are from Jupiter planet even to this day some of them still do. It did not matter for us. No body is going to the take away our freedom of belonging to Ethiopia. A belonging in other word natural, no body is going to determine for us which political community we should belong  to. But that is another topic to be discussed in the near future. Let me go back to my original story, I believe we were housed at a high-rise building called “Gojam veranda” named after Amhara people of Gojam. Of course the majority people residing in the building were in fact from that particular area of Ethiopia; except the four of us from the southwest who was housed in in a one bedroom apartment. Imagine four adult’s people like us with different social needs in a one bedroom apartment with appalling condition, it was terrible. To tell you the truth it have been terrible living condition imposed by inconsiderate sponsors who were financial stingy only to help us withered by suffering.

 Financially, they gave each of us seven dollars a week for food that is it. Now with five dollars we each chipped in totaling twenty dollars what kind of food can one buy to make four of us get by for a week really. As I said before four of us were young; had different social needs, for instant after we chip in five-five for food I had only two dollars left for a pack of Marlboro cigarette. My friend had two dollars left too that we used for a bull bear bottle. Friday night was the best of all of Windy City Chicago:  night clubs and enjoyment with no time limits, special downtown Chicago but with no money to go there was no way for us to enjoy the vistas .

But there is one odd thing or perhaps many things about Chicago, for instant when one stands waiting for a sky way train, have a few cash spent in his/her pocket, do not want to use it at moment no problem just ask people existing when the train stops at any station for “transfer”, say transfer, transfer please! Please! And without focusing on any particular person, if lucky one could have someone give you his/her transfer instead discarding it. There many things to pay attention to learn; one of them is city language by black people, there are many more to talk about, it is the English language used by black people of America. I tell you the truth it took me a year to understand them well.

First learning school of this language is the street one walk on every day. One could counter some brothers on the streets asking if you “got a quarter”, it is the "first puzzle" one should resolve if one is in America already. If anyone of you doesn't know about the meaning of a “quarter”; “it means twenty-five cents”. Yo bro can you give me a quarter, or yo bro give me a quarter. I understand there are all sorts’ things one didn't know before? Yo =means you, bro= means brother, matha fuka means= mother fucker, shit= stool, etc...

 But these are the first words from blacks in America one is going to encounter upon arrival in the States. The second school to learn Black English language is at work place. By interacting with the brothers you learn a lot about shit, fuck in any conversation. One may shy away for a while or one might be thinking they were saying what they are saying because of one was near them. To contrary they are not.

Black English words are words one would be first reluctant to use in his/her daily conversation with others. It is a cultural shock for those of us coming from different parts of the world. It irritate people especially first timers, sometimes it makes one go home from work ballooned with anger, disappointment. It is not the grammatical English language one learned all his life.  Perhaps, the only thing one does is quit the job. But for what reason, can one explain satisfactorily?  Instead of learning adapting why decide quit. For learning sake quitting is not the answer. Where would one go in America where one doesn't hear Black English language used: the answer is nowhere. It is music, big time, it is a news channels, it is being used in theaters, and it is a commercial language spoken in the market places.

Historically, black English was hated by many in America in the bygone era. But now has become global, with global reach, have now become universally spoken language. It so popular that even the Russian people from faraway want to speak English in black accent. It is attracting more, more audiences around the world.  To fully grasp what I am talking about check with Eminem lyrics, see whether he was using black accent or not, so do many white kids in America today.  So if one asked what than can I do to learn the language, the answer: it is current, the current trend indicates; black language is developing; getting worldwide acceptance. It is up the individual now to learn, adapt acculturate themselves. Back in the days in Chicago I learn their way of spoken English, I have no difficulty understanding black English. Man! my friends I love Chicago even to date when I am longer there in the windy city. I left Chicago because all my homes left, I was living alone, and the money I was getting was so little in that epoch. I was cash strapped, what I had was just to get by, and not enough for rent, food, utilities, transportation, so you see I was financial broke all times. I started drinking alcohol heavily. I was extremely depressed, if I did not move to Minnesota by insistent of a friend; I do not know what I would have been today.

You see Chicago is one of the best American cities to live in if one is financially stable or okay. Otherwise one should move quickly when difficulties struck as they did with me. As I said earlier in my article “Strangers in Another Land”  “job” is the number Uno as personal security is concern, it is the source of money; to happiness, like the river water one should have it every day, all the times If not one could suffered a great deal of depression, the psychological trauma that comes afterward could take years to wash away from a person mind.    

Friday, November 21, 2014

Confused Strangers in Another Land

Some years ago I was looking for a rental apartment by Sheridan, and Kenmore Ave in Chicago Illinois not faraway from the beautiful lake shore drive. I believe l could still remember them well. So am also new, I have not learn much about the costume, the tradition of the country, let alone the rules and the regulation ensued by the land lords for their properties. For example as I was looking for the apartment, I came to a high rise building that has note posted by its doors window glasses, the note reads: "No pets, No children" says the note, to put it mildly I was astonished, stunned, I say, say what! No, No man I can'y believe this, What kind of crazy thing is this anyway? My friends don’t misunderstand; I understand about the animal’s behaviors perfectly but to dislike children that way no, no human being should do or say anything negative like that in any way or form about children.

But as I was still talking to myself, cursing what the F is this,something in my heart told me I should just quit searching for a apartment today,and go home, I put off the search for good. What kind of person is this person? again, I continued, I went home with displeasure, anger. I arrived at the apartment I overcrowded shared; I told my refugee friends, Can anyone of you believe what I just saw an hour ago? They say no but tell us please. Well I said, while I was looking for rental apartment, I came by this building,that seemed from outside a decent place to live in but contrarily what I found at the door was mind boggling. 

There was a note posted by the window as directive, it was from the building manager I supposed, I clear cut note written in plain English, readable understandable even for those of us who just came to the country recently. You will see the note posted by entrance window as you approached the building, it was about kind of people should live in their building, including No pets and No children, I say could anyone of you believe what I just said, And with no reply from the group I detected discomfort, Displeasure, also an agreement about the damn whole situation. Undoubtedly we all agreed that even from cultures where we came from some people cannot put up with pets; specially cats, and dog for that matter, other types of domesticated animals. In fact there are type of tribes in my country that do not know about cows, and goats, jungle people or people from forest country with no attachment to the domesticated animals. I know they dislike them too but not the meats.

But to say hateful thing about children; "God forbid", where would one live if one does something like permanently "disliking" barring children at anyplace? What part of our society would one go, be allowed to live free. Not in the Anyuak country. Never the other one in the group responded with dismay. The world is too small for such a person to accommodate, especially the Anyuakland another one interrupted. By the way what kind of land lord was that one? He must be crazy,out of mind we said, another person concluded he must have unstable mind. 

I said did all of you remember the other day when someone knocked our door, telling us to tone-down the noise, Yes yes, by the way what F is tone down?, I said well let me check my dictionary, I had one by me on the table. I opened the book, I checked for the meaning, it says,.. to put your voice, or sound down, Is that all one asked, I replied yes. Man that man came to us all the way from that corner to say just this "word" what a stupid a man can be, please, please my dear brother don't curse, I charged. Quickly I change the subject, I went back to what I was saying to them. Truly; I said how can someone hates children like that man did; he must be some stupid “M F”, we all rebuked him without hesitation, no one felt petty for the landlords who behaved like that one in America from us anymore.

But a few years later, I understood the crux of the matters behind those sanctions imposed by landlords on their premises in the Windy City of Chicago: they were about the unwanted excessive disturbances, by children, pets; crying, noising around; running loose in the buildings causing other tenants who go to work on second or third shifts restlessness, tired on their jobs. Now I am the one before everyone else who says; I don’t like it, please tone down, I don’t want it here, or there. Please remove it from here. I have replaced the words, how come, why with don’ts. I am acculturated, completely submerged up to my neck? with "individualism" as culture; voluntarily I obtained. Hey, friends; I am not a fan of sociologists, but I tend to agree with one thing with them as peopled grow older they tend to harbor conservatism; are more concern about the responsibility, accountability, peace, security, stability on life matters.

Just the other day, as I was walking to the grocery I saw two homeless couples walking by with loaded travel baggies packed on their backs with dogs, or rather two dogs I should say, I looked at them seriously, observed a lots of things about the wasted lives. I said to myself gracious! Why would a government allowed such people to own pets when they don’t take care of themselves, had no place to stay, These days my friends I also think men or women who have not been responsible in their lives should be allowed to have kids. Why should we the tax payers be forced through draconian laws to share their burden?

 I think these are mistake done by people involved knowing perfectly well society can just embraced their wrongful deeds without them being punished for their wrong behaviors. How can someone stay on welfare for 10 years, expected jobs deliverance? What can one expect from Welfare queen or king. The late president of the United States Mr. Roland Reagan once said what can one expect from welfare queen who drove around with a Cadillac car drawing hundred thousand dollars in very state she registered in, expect her to work. It cannot be specially when a country allowed wrong behaviors like to thrive.

 It was true then, now but people hated Ronald Reagan for saying what he said. He was accused of racism. But there is something just I do not understand about critics in America; oftentimes they are quick to jumping on the bandwagon of a ready fighting horse, blaming, accusing other of racism, instead of looking deep into what being said by their leaders. Reagan could be a racist but he was also our leader with responsibility for all. What he spoke about was not racism, It was about being responsible accountable for our lives. To understand him well one must look into the history of America, its system.

 I put it to you this way, America is the only country on earth where one would fit in regardless of social barriers preventing anyone from moving forward in life, Here one can become someone else if one work harder enough, one could make his/her dreams come true. It had a system that welcome who ever you are to participate in the building of this great society by working hard for yourselves. The system give you more incentive in any case you had difficulty in doing what you suppose to be doing for yourselves in the milking and honeying vastly provided wealth by the country.

A lots of refugees came here in the 90s. they were all from East Africa; where I came from, But prior to their arrival there were few East African expatriates residing in Minnesota. The arrival of huge number of them added the dimension of power demographically. It delighted us see our number increases.They were all from such countries as Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia. Unlike those of us who came here decades ago, with nobody to ask for information about the what about of the country, the  refugees who came here in the nineties were lucky one because they had us here already established in Minnesota. 

We had shown plenty, provided them with all available tools, including information about where to fish, where to not fish in the river, to paraphrase differently in the "lovely state of Minnesota", I could say many of them were happy to see us helping them, indeed it was our pleasure to helping them too. our meetings had encouraged many embarked on the journey to fulfilling American dream: job security, home for stability, lastly the pursuit of happiness, A substantial numbers of them have attended their dreams. But few not many are still locked up to welfare system, did not tried hard enough to break up the cycle of dependency. The American dreams they had dreamed about while in the refugee camps are still lingering in their heads unfulfilled, without results, They have done nothing to improve themselves, were still trapped in the continuous cycle of dreams.They fell to understand that a dream is just a dream, not an actual reality.

The Current Trumpits of politics in Ethiopia

I believe the snowballing events have been amazing so far. It has been good news to begin with, 2018: the downfall of the authoritarian reg...