Sunday, August 4, 2013

IN PRAISE OF ADDIS—A RISING CITY FULL OF CONTRADICTIONS


I had the opportunity to visit Addis Abeba for about five weeks between June 21st and July 27. What follows is a report to those who read my occasional essays on Ethiopian affairs.  In writing this essay, I make no charges that can’t be substantiated, no opinions are expressed that may be considered slanderous, and no praise is heaped that is either out of place or undeserved. For those who do not know me, I am a professor by occupation but consider my self a romanticist by philosophy and inclination. As a result, I write these essays with the belief that while they may provide an insight into the potential for loss and/or difficulty; they may at the same time point out the path for potential gain to all.

 What Is In A Name?

 Call it ‘Finfine’, ‘Sheger’ or just simply and affectionately   ‘Addis’, Addis Abeba is a city with hubris, faith, hope, chaos, vibrancy, order, and a great deal of skepticism. It resembles a giant construction site, dug up everywhere, with no one eager to clean up the mess. Yet, no one in their right mind is willing to abandon or disclaim it, no matter their troubles, so they embrace it—warts and all! Addis is like a magnificently written poem transforming its meaning with each line—one line an expression of joy and ecstasy, the next of anguish and frustration, the next of hope and progress, the next of achievement and success, the next of failure and decay, and the next of hopeful exuberance and joyful embrace.  In short, Addis is a city of a mixture of brilliance, belligerence, plight as well as some wild excess.  Read  more...

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