On September 11 2007, or 1 Meskerem 2000, Ethiopia entered in its third millennium in accordance with the Ethiopian calendar, which is about seven years behind the Gregorian calendar. Ethiopian bloggers have devoted a great deal of attention to the event.
Ferenge Addis Blog offers quick explanation for new readers:
Ethiopia follows the Julian Calendar. It's the end of 1999 right now. The new year (2000) is on Wednesday, which makes our Sept 11 New Year's Eve of the Millennium. Got that?
He also writes about a Millenium giftfrom Ethiopian Telecommunication Corp.:
A millennium gift from ETC? Last night on my drive home my phone did the SMS chirp. Huh? I grabbed it and saw the following message:
Wish you happy Ethiopian Millennium!!! On the occasion of the Ethiopian Millennium SMS service will be launched shortly. Amare Amsalu, CEO, ETC.
With the calendar of events changing and security concerns in the capital reaching fever pitch, cancellation of events has become a cause for concern for some bloggers. Ethio-Zagol was particularly critical of the cancellation of the Ethiopian Great Run:
This event has in the past two years been one of the few opportunities for the stifled Addis Ababans to express their opposition towards the government. It is therefore no surprise that, with several parachute journalists who have little idea about what is going on in Ethiopia. (This report in Time magazine is a typical example) flocking to Addis to report about the millennium celebrations, the government cancelled what would potentially be an embarrassing event. But the great run isn't the only public event that is cancelled in the wake of the millennium. Here are the three that are on top of my head:
-Tewodros Kassahun's(Teddy Afro) concert at the Ghion hotel
-A millenium day music festival organized by TAAAF at the Meskel Square
-Ethiopian Women National Olympic Football Team's game against South Africa
Other bloggers frowns at what the government of Ethiopia is doing to the homeless and prostitutes in relation to the millennium. Addis journal writes:
Every journey across the city entails the inevitable encounter with these ‘anthropologically distinct people’ to borrow a certain writer’s description. Distinct through their wasted figure, bony faces and shabby clothes. Beggars of every description line up in the streets, traffic lights, church gates, and bus stations, some rolling up their sleeves to show their amputation and others delivering slogans and lengthy speeches, that seems to be taken from the radio.It is this scene that the apprehensive officials have decided to hide from the visitors view, at least till the end of the main festival and have started a sporadic sweeping campaigns targeting the homeless and the like. As inhuman as the measure are, they are done at night to evade scrutiny. The scraps of details about it that have emerged so far make up an incomplete picture. Police patrols, which are increasingly seen in abundance in the city, are busy rounding them up. Those who sleep in main parts of the city like the Ambassador Theatre, National Theater and Tikur Anbessa are easy targets. Where they are taking them isn’t clear but rumors abound that temporary shelters are set in the outskirts of the city. One unconfirmed story has it that they might be moved to Jan Meda where a tent would be built and food would be provided.
The last thing we want to see in the middle of our millennium celebration is poor people roaming through the streets of our beautiful capital city. Thankfully, the ever thoughtful government of ours has come up with a brilliant plan to deport those it believes are the poorest of the poor and do not deserve to be part of the celebration.
The same brilliant guys have also come up with the idea to postpone the Great Ethiopian Run.
For some the real business of the occasion is the dance. Abiy has something thing to say about one of the US-based local singer who is going to perform in the newly constructed concert hall:
Tewodros Taddesse, the renowned and the most charismatic Ethiopian musician, will be here to present concerts and to tour regional cities, it was learnt from Sol Advertising and promotion, organizer of the event. He will be back after 16 years of stay in America. He will also release a new song. Billboard on Bole Street having a picture of Tewodros with a phrase “I’m coming” is hyping up his home-coming.
Tewodros Taddesse is regarded as a role model by famous musicians of the time, including Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro). His music has won him wide acclaim and acceptance, especially his last album, “Zimta” (silence) made with a modern musical composition by Abegazu Kibrework.