Ethiopia's bloggers emerged refreshed from their long rainy season with a series of dazzling posts on everything from Somalia to stolen secondhand books.
For once there was no unifying theme – because there was just so much to catch up on as the sun came up after four months of torrential rain and dark grey skies.
Coffeechillisun got in early with a description of the new season's new police recruits, parading up and down the streets of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa in their new uniforms. In From zero to hero she wrote:
The fresh batch of graduates of the new Federal Police officers are out and about in dapper fresh khaki; the joke being that they are so young and skinny they have to sling their belts twice around their waists and get a muscle strain from having to lift their boots.
Seattle teen's opinion on Ethiopia, a welcome newcomer to the scene, gave us a rundown on the history of the sacred Ethiopian festival of Meskel, a celebration of the discovery of the true cross involving lots of daisies and bonfires which roughly coincides with the end of the rainy season.
Things We Should Have Written Down, part-written by an American in Addis, described a typical working day in the capital in A Day in the Life, One Year On:
8:12. Walking towards 22 Mazoria junction, banana and orange packed snugly in my bag. Old man drunk on tej (honey wine) from the night before stumbles in front of me, his harsh breath the final push I need to fully wake. “Hey, white!” Who, me? “Yes!” Hello. “I like fuck American bitches!” That’s nice. I’m happy for you, Drunk Tej Man…
11:45. To lunch with three friends. We order the usual, tibs firfir and tibs. Basically, a lot of meat. And some injera. For the second time today, a drunk man starts yelling at me. This time I can’t understand what he’s saying and so plow deeper into my meal. My companions laugh. What'd he say? I ask. “He's so drunk, we couldn’t even understand him. But you were white, and that pissed him off.”
I Was Just Thinking reflected on the moral dilemma facing lovers of secondhand books in Ethiopia in Of buying stolen books:
Recently, I visited a ‘legal’ bookshop, which normally doesn’t sell used books. As I was searching for any newly published books, my eyes fell on several voluminous academic reference tomes. Amazed as to where they got them from and while leafing through I found that they were stolen from the reference section of the Kennedy Library.
ET Wonqette of Weichegud ET Politics announced she was launching the Ethiopian blogosphere's first book club – dedicated to the discussion of the country's No. 1 underground bestseller The Dawn of Freedom by imprisoned opposition leader Berhanu Nega. (GlobalVoices covered the excitement around the launch of the book back in August.)
In The Wonqville Book Club she wrote:
I have not found a place that is discussing “The Dawn of Freedom” so here goes a proposal: Starting in two weeks, this blog will attempt a discussion of Berhanu's book, chapter by chapter… Two weeks will give people who have not yet gotten the book yet to skedaddle to www.berhanunega.com and get a copy. Then join in. It is perhaps the book that will define a generation… set a new standard for political discourse, and maybe, hopefully be what helps us heal.
Hopefully, for all us non-Amharic speakers, the discussion will be liberally sprinkled with passages of the book translated into English.
Elsewhere, Ethiopia's growing band of outspoken political bloggers kept up their verbal assault on the ruling regime in Addis Ababa.
Urael reflected on his role as a blogger in Bloggers in Ethiopia, reminding us that a large number of anti-government websites still appear to be inaccessible in Addis Ababa:
I wished I was better informed about what’s going on. But that’s Ethiopian reality. I remember calling abroad to hear what was going on when the munitions depot exploded in 1991. But let me try to remain a pain in the ass for the Mafia Gang and their servants. Ethiomedia.com, Ethiolion.com, EthioDenhaag.com, Ethioforum.org, Debteraw.com, Nazret.com and others are all blocked because they bring more than news. They openly support the democratic movement and encourage the organization of resistance.
On the international front, the growing tension along Ethiopia's southern border with Somalia attracted many a link. …My Heart's in Accra summed up the latest developments in Neglected conflicts, counterbalanced (?) by more hopeful thoughts.