May 20, 2005


Okay, okay, okay. Where were we my dear readers? What’s happening outside of the blogosphere. I just had a revelation – the word “blogosphere” is going to become incredibly annoying within six months. Perhaps it already has in certain corners of the world. Just like “solutions” and “synerigies," blogosphere is sure to go the way of other annoying buzzwords that, once discarded by Microsoft, are scooped up by the word vultures and perpetuated until even they can no longer handle the stench of what they are producing.

I prefer to think of myself as a “web-journalist” and I write a web-journal. How about “wej”? I need to put more thought into this, but I think I could be on the verge of a breakthrough. Maybe “web-journal/journalist” is a little snooty sounding, but I’m willing to put up with that so I no longer have to use the word “blogosphere/blog."

All goes well in the great city of Addis. Right now, the opposition and ruling parties are making claims as to the number of seats each garnered. Amusingly, the total they have come up with exceeds the total number of seats in parliament. That’s for the Electoral Board to figure out. The Carter Center and another international observer both certified the election as largely above-the-boards.

I have to say that, at least from everything I’ve seen, all is calm in Addis. I didn’t even think about the election on my way to work this morning and the presence of police on the streets has diminished considerably. Maybe everyone is just waiting until the official results are announced, but things do seem okay, at least in Addis.

Ethiopia has potential right now to make considerable steps towards democracy. With the opposition claiming 200 seats and the ruling party somewhere over 300, that could be a fairly democratic system if it in fact holds. That’s the big question! Will those numbers actually hold when the official results are announced. The other big question is will a true democratic process continue after the election or will there be antagonism between opposition and ruling parties.

It’s interesting to think about democracy in the context of what I’ve seen here. As much as I can talk and think bad things about President Bush and his cronies in Congress, it’s really not that big of a deal. I guess I have faith that the system will work out and my life isn’t so bad under these guys, even if sometimes I fear that they may be leading us down a road that we might not come back from. But you can worry about anything. Based on the U.S.’s history, I assume that mature political leadership will return to Washington D.C. and the rest of the nation and that maybe, at least for the relevant period in my life, we may address some of the inequities that have been in place or building for awhile. Though President Bush may have made things a little worse, it’s probably within an acceptable range.

Being here is a bit different – especially the demonstration of 2 million people expressing their views peacefully. I wasn’t actually at the rally for the opposition, but I saw pictures. Wall to wall people throughout Meskal Square and into the surrounding roads. I was at work during the day of that demonstration and though I got nowhere near Meskal Square, throughout the day, there were people do the “V for Victory” sign which is the sign of the opposition, honking their horns, and being generally boisterous. It was exciting and seemingly innocent. The ruling party was no slouch, either. Shortly before the opposition’s demonstration, the ruling party assembled close to a million people in the same location.

In other news, work continues to go well. I’m working with my good friend Dr. W – we have a nice time trying to get things done on the same project. We’ve actually accomplished quite a lot and have probably achieved better results than if we were working alone. That said, we do have times for the occasional goofing around. It’s a bit like being back in high school with your buddies. Nice.

In the search for more material, I’ve been following the story about Newsweek’s unintended (?) incitement of the Arab World. The particular issue that has piqued me has been the insistence of Bush Administration officials in revealing the source of the claim that interrogators had flushed a Koran down the toilet. Where was this Presidential curiosity or indignation when Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA operative in response to her husband, Joseph Wilson, who undermined the Bush Administration’s claims about Iraq’s WMDs in an article in the New York Times. Where was the outrage then, the calls for heads.

This has happened to me a number of times – I get an idea like the above one and am so sure it’s correct even though the rest of the media is not picking up on it. Usually, there’s a good reason the rest of the media isn’t picking up on it – the ideas are usually ancillary. Hopefully, I have this one right.

Keep up the indignation, keep rocking, keep on rocking in the free world. That’s what you’ve got to do. This is the Addis Ababa Rocking Fun Zone signing off.


Blogger Couch Potato said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

6:01 PM  

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