January 19, 2006
Calm down, it's Timket
In the hope of bring back a bit of 'love, peace and understanding' to the site, I have posted some photos of this morning's Timket celebrations on Flickr. Thousands of people walked to Jan Meda, a large piece of open ground in Addis Ababa, to celebrate the Ethiopian Orthodox Church's Festival of the Epiphany.
There the crowds looked on, chanting and dancing, as brightly-robed bishops and priests paraded with their Tabots – symbolic representations of the Ark of the Covenant that lie at the heart of every Ethiopian Orthodox church. Similar celebrations took place across the country.
The umbrellas were bright, the crowds were joyful and I won a religious magazine in a tombola-style raffle. What more could you ask for?
(The headline, by the way, is borrowed from a series of very bad adverts that ran - or may still be running - on UK TV. 'Calm down, it's a commercial,' was the catchphrase. I am sure you all picked up the reference.)
UPDATE JAN 20: It looks as though things weren't quite so joyful and peaceful outside the epicentre of the Timket ceebrations in Jan Meda where I was happily taking photos. Today's Sub-Saharan Informer has the full report:
Ethiopian religious day marred by violence
Over a dozen people were wounded and an unknown number arrested yesterday as clashes between rioters and federal police interrupted celebrations for the Christian holiday, Timket (Epiphany) in Ethiopia's story.
Doctors at Menelik and Yekatit hospitals confirmed that three and ten people, respectively, had been admitted to their emergency rooms, including two from gunshot wounds...
Protesters appeared to initiate the throwing of stones, but as the unrest spread and the situation became more chaotic, soldiers from the federal police were also seen throwing rocks.
At approximately 11:30 am, two people were shot and wounded amidst a large crowd near Addis Ababa University at Sidist Kilo. Reporters for SSI were no more than five meters away from a man shot in the leg.
Now that is about as close to the frontline as you can get.
Posted by aheavens at January 19, 2006 12:19 PM
Were you tied at the Jan Meda? Didn't you learn that the federal police killed a kid near sidist kilo while they tried to disperse demonstrators who were chanting "Yifetu".
At st John church hundreds were beaten, some wounded and the church was packed with peoples crying for Addis and their country. Poor ferenj!
Posted by: Abi at January 19, 2006 3:33 PM
I heard two protestors were shot at afincho bir.some at ayer tena were singing "ale gena.. ale gena negem ale gena". The city is becoming ungovernable for meles.
Posted by: eyob at January 19, 2006 3:40 PM
It's sad to see that you joined Associated Press, Reuters, BBC, CNN and other foreigners in covering up the atrocities in Ethiopia. Why are you not reporting about the brutal beatings of children, women and the elderely by the Federal Police? You are a disgrace to your profession of journalism.
Posted by: Yonas at January 19, 2006 6:10 PM
Wow! You got some awesome shots and the colours are amazing. Makes me wish I was there.
To the other Yonas: Calm down dear, it's only politics. (JOKE!)
Posted by: Yonas at January 19, 2006 10:30 PM
People, don't you realize that this is Andrew's PERSONAL space, and that he is free to do and post about anything he wants to report??!?! If you want to hear about afincho ber and "ale gena", go read about it at another outpost like Ethiopian Review, as I am sure they have heard about it too. Andrew is merely posting things he saw where he was at, and is not a reporter you hired or expect to go around and be your own eyes. Why don't ya'll go to those other places and post your own reports?
Jeez, some people need a chill pill or two.
Posted by: biruk at January 19, 2006 11:17 PM
Hi Abi, Yonas and other Internet Politicians,
If you are really concerned with the current situation in Ethiopia, why do not you move your ass and make your own reports or check other web sites obsessed with dirty politics?
I find it very silly that you expect Andrew or others to serve you with disgraceful miseries of our people at your table.
Please, shut up and read whatever you get at the mercy of Andrew and the likes.
Posted by: DsgNews at January 20, 2006 12:55 AM
Listen to yourself, "Please, shut up and read whatever you get at the mercy of Andrew and the likes."
I guess the likes include Meles among others. Well, my friend, Ethiopians do not want any more to be at a mercy of anyone - Meles or any ferenj. In this case, Andrew is painting a selected picture of Addis Timket. When anyone is painting a picture that are far from the reality, we will remind them of their digression - proportionally.
If there has been a killing and a beating, Andrew owes it to his conscience to report it. If he has not heard of it, what is wrong to let him know what happened in other part of town he did not visit or chose to ignore when he knew about it.
My friend, Dsgnews, this is how it is going to be in Ethiopia from here on - too many eyes to watch, ears to hear and mouths to speak. get used to it!
Posted by: selam at January 20, 2006 2:02 AM
Thanks for the nice pictures. Not touching Ethiopian politics with "ten foot pole". Wise! why? here... www.newstatesman.com/200601090005
for those you wondering why Andrew is not posting Eyewitness account about the political situation, he has answered that in three points on his "Where is the politics?" Dec 30, 2005 post.
"The main reason why I am not writing much about the political situation in Ethiopia right now is that I am not in Ethiopia right now. I am currently in the UK,... As I can't see the situation in Addis first hand, I can't really write about it."
-- he is now in Ethiopia
"Secondly, this isn't really a political blog. I have yet to publish a single political opinion on Meskel Square ... If you want badly-spelled entries from an occasionally-employed freelance journalist, stay here."
-- how about all, nothing is unpolitical in todays Ethiopia. Not writing about what an occasionally-employed freelance journalist see is a political un-writting on Meskel Square.
"Finally, if you really think that I am trying to "divert the main critical issue in Ethiopia" by writing about... then there is one simple thing you can do. Stop posting comments here and start you own.."
-- good point but too bitchy
So, Andrew, what was the deal before they put the stamp on your passport?
ps, I apologize for the long rant.
Posted by: addis at January 20, 2006 2:53 AM
Dear all, the reason why I didn't report on the shooting was that I didn't see it - despite being there at the scene. When I left (which was after the Abuna and all the Tabots had dispersed) it was all still calm and joyful as I describe in the post.
I only heard about the shooting last night. First I heard a rumour that people had been killed. Then I heard a more reliable report that only one person had been shot in the hip, and had survived.
I can't confirm either claim and I haven't got any concrete evidence to back them up. I still haven't seen anything.
On Meskel Square I will try to report on things I see - so that you can be sure they happened. If you want anything else - and I am starting to sound repetitive here - start your own blog.
Posted by: andrew at January 20, 2006 7:10 AM
Yeah, ok, but what was the deal for your to live and work here?
Fair enough it's your personal site, but you live amongst us, maybe you just haven't mixed properly with Addis Ababans to feel the sting of an arrested neighbour, a relative (well, obviously not)living in fear, a child without education because its parents are too afraid to send it to school on certain days.
And you have to be subjective and reflect true stories that have proof (or else you might as well be writing for ENA or the SUN back home), but somehow it dehumanises you and us.
Posted by: Dina at January 20, 2006 12:30 PM
Please stop bothering Andrew. Why do we want every one to be like ER? Don't we have enough of that on the other ET blogs. I only want to hear the truth...not a bunch of uncorroborated rumours. Andrew, please continue to write about what you see and nothing more. BTW, I liked your Ostrich story and the Timket pictures. Thanks.
Posted by: Queyi Qebero at January 20, 2006 4:26 PM
Andrew, this place is beautiful. I love that we can count on the TRUTH here and not bitter angry ethnic jargon. I get so sad when reading the comments that my people leave in your guestbook because more than anything, their anger and bitterness shines through. Sure they direct it at you sometimes. but I think the root cause is their disappointment at themselves for talking the easy way out and not going to help. for not doing anything but talk talk talk! And Type type type! There is so much to do there…So many ways to help there and give your coffee and whiskey money… leave the man alone and let him have his space.
Posted by: AA at January 20, 2006 4:39 PM
Andrew it was calm but not joyful. How could anybody be joyful with a hundred of federals around?
Posted by: Addis Ferengi at January 21, 2006 11:49 AM
AA- I take it by saying "there" you yourself are outside of Ethiopia- so maybe you come JOIN US here and see that we are trying to do something for OUR people without getting anyone shot, for us it would be easy to just blab and get some poor guy who cannot escape into trouble. We are not just talk talk talking and we're not just write write writing- we are bitter because sh** is happening, not because we have some hidden ethnic or otherwise agenda! Get yourself over here and see what you can do if you think you've gobbled up all the wisdom with a spoon!
This blog is degenerating into a taunting platform for pro-government idiots such as yourself masquerading as some restrained and moderate intellequal.
Posted by: Dina at January 23, 2006 6:35 AM
Dina… "For everything there is a season, and a time for every propose under heaven" (Eccl. 3:1), this is the man's blog...he tells his personal experiences and enjoys doing so. Sometimes it’s very much not to the liking of the government, I’m sure. but this is his space. This is not a newspaper. Get a grip and stop being such a fanatic!
Posted by: aa at January 23, 2006 9:57 PM
I think Afars are very gentle and beautiful people; they are not ferocious and deadly as it was narratted by people in the past. The Europeans who came with their guns and armies 500 and 600 years ago were more ferocious than the Afaris. They took our lands, killed our people and destroyed our governments all over Africa. Who was more ferocious than the pushy new imperialists of the 1890 Joe Chamberlin and Cecil Rhodes. Leave my people alone, please. Do not reinforce steryotyping as it used to be told in the past.If you do not stop saying that; you may watch for your groin. Africa has been bleeding since the arrival of the imperialists.
today is not any different. If Afras were killing for their territories Europeans were murdering for Bloody Diamond even tody. Good example, the son of Prime Minister Thacher of Enlgland.
Posted by: ciilaaloo Lakki at January 28, 2006 9:17 PM