May 26, 2005


Cats. I hate cats (Just like Indiana Jones hates snakes and his father hates rats). Dang cats. Ethiopian cat futures took an ever more dangerous dip last night when my wife and I returned from a work dinner to find our living room absolutely reeking of cat urine. The second we opened the door, the assault on our senses was so severe that I briefly considered spending the night in the car which is suffering from some lingering spilled food smell; but nonetheless, it was far preferable to the house. The maid, fearing she might be charged with gross negligence, pleaded innocence. I knew this was just an act, having seen her rush to the bathroom on one occasion at the smell of some dog leftovers.

I’m turning into Dave Berry. Each of my writings includes something about bodily functions. For now they are exclusively focused on the animal kingdom, but I can see how the jump would be easy. Anyway, it was just another straw on the camel’s back as far as our own cat is concerned. They are just too wild here.

Have you ever seen “Wayne’s World”? If not “Wayne’s World”, then you’ve certainly seen some of those kung fu movies dubbed from Chinese to English where the actor's mouths are moving, but the sounds aren’t matching the words. Check out the following Ethiopian proverb that was cited in a newspaper article yesterday about the elections. The title of the article was “Gomez, Carter, please speak the truth or shut up, go home!” The article is about the elections, with the author particularly concerned that neither the European Union observer Anna Gomez, or the Carter Center observer Jimmy Carter, were accurate in how they portrayed the election.

To support his argument, the author cites the ancient proverb “Lekabari Aredut!” which is then defined as “A person who heard the death of a person from other sources reporting to the one who actually attended the funeral." I’m sure that something is lost in the translation because I have no idea what that means. More importantly though, how can those two words equate to 21 words when translated into English. I know Amharic “packs a punch; ” lots of meaning is loaded into short words, just like Chinese. But that seems to be a bit of a stretch. Anyone who can translate that proverb and give the rest of us an explanation in the context of this article will be awarded five bonus points. Ah, heck, I’m feeling generous – ten bonus points! (Hogwart’s Championship is within your grasp – please specify whether the points should go to Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slitheren, or our heroes, Griffendor).

In election news, other than the above puzzling proverb, I can’t say that I know of much that’s happening. The full results haven’t been announced and there’s apparently talk of a national strike by the opposition depending on the outcome. That could be a problem (no internet for weeks – aagh). As of yet, though, all remains calm. We’ll just have to wait and see. I think the full results are announced the first weekend in June. Gotta restock any supplies that have been getting low.


Blogger baseless said...

so finally i get to comment on this blog... been wanting to drop a line for a while now, especially since i read up _every day_, but having to sign up for a blogger account to simlpy say "dude, you crack me up!" had me resisting. at any rate, i see that you have indirectly mentioned me in your post yesterday, as one of those who link to your blog, and hope that my actions will contribute to propelling your writing career...

11:32 AM  
Blogger Selam said...

Leqebari Aredut:
Qebari: person who attends(ed) a funeral
Mardat: the act of telling a person that a certain person (usually close) has passed away, almost always after the funeral--(I am not sure if there’s an equivalent word in English). It is the culture in Ethiopia (in both the Christian and Muslim religions) that a person is buried soon after he/she passes away and so, if a close relative is not in the vicinity, he/she would not have the chance to attend the funeral. (BTW, missing a relative’s funeral is a big thing). Breaking bad news (especially to do with death) is not something taken lightly in Ethiopian culture—it requires a lot of preparation: choice of setting, arrangements for temporary shelter for the wake, etc. Hence the proverb: going through all that is required to ‘mardat’ a person but finding out that he/she already knew for a fact because he/she actually had attended the funeral [and shared the pain, sadness, etc. with the other attendees].
So what do you think of my 200 word explanation?:-)

1:29 PM  
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5:11 AM  

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