Ethiopia and the Oxford Dictionary. Can we stop crying yet?

What’s the big deal with Oxford Dictionary using Ethiopia in its entry on famine? It was one of those stories we used to get told from the time we were kids – like the lemlem aferachin one. Why do Ethiopians talk about it again and again and again?

Is Oxford Dictionary God’s word?

The wise Oxford Dictionary.

I couldn’t find the famine definition that makes everyone’s hair stand. I can’t be bothered to search harder for it. But here is another one from Oxford which I was able to find easily.

Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, having a recorded civilization that dates from the 2nd millennium bc . Little known to Europeans until the late 19th century, it was invaded and conquered by Italy in 1935. The emperor Haile Selassie was restored by the British in 1941 and ruled until overthrown in a Marxist coup in 1974. The subsequent period was marked by civil war, fighting against separatist guerrillas in Eritrea and Tigray, and by repeated famines; after the fall of the government in 1991 a multiparty system was adopted.

An Ethiopian can easily look at this and go nuts. Our rich history our tradition and all the like..very little trace of it here…oh this is not right. Well, if we have something more to say let us write about it in any way we can. We can’t ask someone else to do our job. We have here chosen to blog. I feel great about this blog. Rather than burning inside, I can talk about what I make of the controversial dam projects, Osama’s killing, what I cooked, or whatever the heck I want to let out.

Owning the narrative.

What I hope is for other people to get into the habit of generating content that reflects their own perspective.

Here is one definition.

Oxford Dictionary is a dictionary written somewhere in the UK. It is probably an old dictionary. It comes with colourful binding and various sizes.

Would anyone from Oxford Dictionary come here and correct me? No! They have better things to do.

Go get your own stick.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nathan
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 18:06:15

    I don’t know but it seems like too much for me to put as example on the dictionary. The reason I said this because once you put it on the dictionary every one will see that country as failure through out the generation. That happened kinda long time and also there are lots of good things happened in Ethiopia.


    • getere
      Jun 26, 2013 @ 21:31:42

      That’s true Nathan. But you are still doing what I think is a mistake – being hung up with it. Why waste our time discussing a dictionary someone else wrote? It will hurt our image but the root of the problem is not the fact that they put our country in a dictionary like this. The issue is there were hungry Ethiopians and there still are. It is only when we fix this problem and we stand on our feet that wrong perceptions get replaced by good ones. I’m labouring the point because I still see Ethiopians worrying too much about our image. We will be wasting our time if we keep correcting Oxford Dictionary, BBC and CNN. The best way to improve our image is to improve what we are.


  2. the big man
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 14:13:45

    I LOVE DOGS!! 🙂


  3. tibebe
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 16:09:00

    as a teacher, i am a firm believer in giving relevant examples.


    • getere
      Jun 26, 2013 @ 21:33:14

      😀 i must have missed this. amedam. antema bektfo yadek gurage min ylhal 😀


      • Anonymous
        Jul 15, 2015 @ 12:30:49

        I thought “getere” was the thoughtful person trying to convince readers/commenters to not waste their time worrying about image. Here is being thoughtless insulting a user. His last comment toward “tibebe” shows his incompetence. Therefore, one can conclude that his argument wasn’t right in the first place.


        • geTere
          Jul 17, 2015 @ 19:12:14

          Hi Anonymous. I see where you’re coming from. Thank you for bringing it up. Gurage was not intended as an insult. Gurages are Gurage, Amharas Amhara, Tigres Tigre, and Ethiopians are so Ethiopian. The names describe physical locations, culture, history, language and so forth. I think we should be free to call them up and appreciate them. Gurages make excellent kitfo. “Ye Tigre shro doron yasnqal”. Have you tried “ye Oromo qibe”? How about “ye Wolloye mar”? And we geTere’s enjoy qolo. Have a look around. You will find the blog refreshing.


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