public diplomacy

ከትላንት ወዲያ

Conversation with a ፈረንጅ at the bus stop:


“is there instability in your country?” instability being the polite word for “war”

“I was waiting for you to ask about that and about famines…we are doing better than before in both respects…if you come to Etyopia, you could see both high rises and beggars…the population is over 90 million…even now we have been having a drought…some part of the population may be facing food shortage but that does not mean the whole of it starving….”

“has your family been affected by the drought?”


“I am glad to hear that your family is doing fine”



English oral proficiency test for TA (teaching assistantship) purposes. Role play: I am supposed to argue in favor of a school lunch program for children from low-income families.

My shitty argument:

  • Biochemistry tells that most of the food (glucose) that we take in is consumed by the brain. The brain cannot function on an empty stomach
  • Coming as I do from Etyopia, I have seen a lot of children unable to realize their full potential at school because they would be lucky to get even one decent meal a day

ይቅር ይበለኝ! ሀገሬን ጥያቄ ሲከብደኝ አድበስብሼ ለማለፍ እንደምሳሌ ተጠቀምኩባት:: In the hope they will eat my answer up since ያው አንድ ጊዜ ስማችን ስለጠፋ::

ለማንኛውም ክፉውንና ደጉን, የሰራነውን ያልሰራነውን እና የምንሰራውን እያሰብን እንዲህ እንላለን:



አንደኛውን ዓመት በማስመልከት

ይህን ልዩ የበዓል ፕሮግራም ስፖንሰር (ንጉሡ ነው ወይስ ሰራዊቱ “ሰ” በነገራችን ላይ?) አድርጎ ያቀረበላችሁ ቃሊቲ ብረታ ብረት ፋብሪካ ነው:: ለምን? እኔንጃ!

  • እንዲያው ምን ባደርግ ነው አሜሪካ አሜሪካ መሽተት የምችለው? And I mean that in the most literal sense. Don’t go thinking about skunks now; I would like to believe of myself as a metro-sexual, although it does not seem that way. Rather, I am talking about that smell/close family of smells that we detect on and associate with ከውጭ ከመጣ ሰው ጋር::  ይባስ ብሎ ባለፈው ሹራቤ ላይ mercaptoethanol ተረጨብኝ::
  • I have come to see that a dishwasher is the epitome of “all sound and fury, signifying nothing”. ሲጮህና ሲንኳኳ ከርሞ ታጥቦ የተሰጠውን ዕቃ እንኳ ማጽዳት አይችልም::  On the other hand, I can’t fail but be impressed by scrubbing bubbles: now that is superpowers. ደግሞ “ሸፋዳ” የሚለውን ቃል እዚህ ጽሁፍ ውስጥ መጠቀም ካለብን I guess the onus has got to fall on automatic sliding doors. Curb your enthusiasm, will ya? I am just passing by.
  • I have lost some weight and I plan to take full advantage of it. ቤት ስሄድ ሆድ ለማባባት ወፍሬ ስመለስ ደግሞ to confound expectations
  • Things I want to say when I am in ኢትዮጵያ: “ሴቶቻችሁ እንዴት ቆንጆ ሆነዋል ባክህ?!”; point to a random G+several floors and “አሁን ይህን ለመሰራት ምን ያህል ብር ይፈጅ ይሆን?”
  • It ain’t fun, going legit. Microsoft deactivated my Office, is asking me to pay 99.99. How can I be sure that all proceeds go to the Bill and Melinda foundation?
  • Speaking of Bill, fucking Dish kept breaking up. Hardly watched 30 minutes of Bill Maher’s comeback episode
  • Sometimes it’s nice to go where everybody knows your name; and pronounce it right.
  • My brother says to me “A ና F ለመስጠት ከሆነ ባትመጣ ይሻላል” Goes on to mention how Makerere’s scientists managed to change waste matter to fuel. አዬ! Makerere 3rd in Africa, እኛ ፩፮ኛ, እንዴት ታወዳድረናለህ? This despite the comments made by the president of our university when he got wind of the rankings: “THEን ፩፮ ጊዜ ልቾ  በሉት! ከአንድ አስከ አስርማ አናጣም!” All things considered, my heart is so full of hope for the future and my eyes full of sleep at present. Weariness.
  • Weariness keeping me from reading as much as I would like to. Seminal publications on Science, The Economist, Playboy,…  I wish I spent much less time wandering aimlessly across  the internet.
  • I have become/continued to be so error-prone. ሰው ከስህተቱ ይማራል ይባላል ስህተት ከኔ ሊማር ምንም አልቀረውም::
  • I still can’t wrap my head around how geek glasses came to be all the rage. Makes one a believer in the human capacity to change (to the starting point) I am wearing glasses with the thickest frames since 11th grade. I lost my old one to the water.
  • My boy getting mad poonanny; a dedication for him:

ቆይ ግን አስቴር ካቡ ላይ “…እሸው የኔ ጌታ…” ነው የምትለው?

አልጠረጠርንም እንደምትርቂን

German beers drunk. Now ready to tumble into bed. Coming as it did at the end of the week on which I finished Stalingrad, I just know it is not going to end well for the Germans.

We will see tomorrow.



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