Thursday, May 25, 2006

The “not so” Great Firewall of Ethiopia (or is it?)

Meles and Co. controlled ETC is acting like a 10year old who just learned how to use magnifying glass to torture bugs.There are rumors that the Chinese are involved in this censorship fiasco, which I highly doubt. To my knowledge, the Chinese are the best in the business. The Great Fire Wall of China, although not perfect, it the biggest attempt to filter web content in a country with the second largest internet access. To say china is involved in this half-arsed censorship (see comments on previous post) is an insult. Computer savvy friends tell me “the ethionet server can be hacked with a pocket calculator”.

Reporters with out Borders have asked for an explanation from the government. heh! I will give my first born if they get a straight answer.

In any case, now that it’s official that bloggers (and now chatters) have been added to EPRDF’s long list of “enemies of the constitution”, what’s to stop them from rounding us up (of course, those of us blogging form mother land)? What are the chances that the fact I can post this entry with out a problem but can’t read blogger blogs is a trap? Perhaps now is a good time to skim through RSF’s Handbook for bloggers and cyber descendents. if it’s too late for that, like me - i used my gut instincts when I started blogging not to mention being political or irreverent to tyrants wasn’t my reason - It’s time to start pondering plan B.

  1. Always keep a large towel and flip-flops nearby;
  2. Practice how to take beating;
  3. Familiarize your self with the rules of ‘Yeshama’; and
  4. Send a nice photo to Ethan Zuckerman to make a badge that reads ‘Free so-and-so…’

Am I scared? a lil’bit. I have had a run-in with their goons before and it wasn’t what you would call an enchanting experience. but who would turn down a chance to chat with Birhanu Nega about his future plans for the City?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Breaking News: Antiterrorism taskforce cracks mystery blast case

May 19, 2005 (ADDIS ABABA) -After extensive investigation of last Friday’s ninetuple bomb explosions in the capital, the Federal Police Antiterrorism Taskforce today announced that they have linked the incident to a group that calls itself Blogger. The “anti-peace element” has been operating in clandestine to prevent peace prevailing in the country and undermine the constitution.

The taskforce cracked the case after discovering that ‘blog’ actually means ‘bomb’. According to Federal Police Commissioner Workineh Gebeyhu, who explained the process of the investigation told Walta that the words ‘blog’ and ‘bomb’ start with the letter “B” and suspiciously have four letters each. He also added that “’blogger’ is just another way of saying ‘bomber’”. He emphasized that it required the taskforce to work day and night to solve the case.

A press release from the prime minister’s office stated that “the government will not tolerate those who want to disrupt the peace in unconstitutional ways!” PM Meles congratulated the taskforce for the swift investigation adding that he will extend his hands to those who brought the perpetrators to justice.

Addis Ababa residents who we spoke to today expressed their confidence towards the taskforce and the government in bringing criminals to justice. Ato G/Senay Tolosa from Mercato area said that he expects the government to take all necessary means to protect the constitution from “anti-peace particles” adding that “antipeace particles ate his peas”. W/O Minyelushal Kebede form Shiro Meda expressed her appreciation to the task force and hopes that the price of peas stabilizes now that the “anti-peace” elements have been apprehended.

To prevent further atrocities, the group’s official outlet known as has now been blocked. From now on bloggers can only commit more heinous crimes only through web based proxy servers that let them remain anonymous.

Based on their accomplishment, the taskforce is now looking into the alleged financing of genocide through the Gene Bank.

Monday, May 15, 2006

put yo hands up in da air

The Hand

The hand is a very handy thing to have.
The hand can be used to handle things like handbags and hand tools
Hand tools are used to make handcrafts.
“if they don’t find you handsome, at least they should find you handy”
One can lend a hand to some one in need
Lending a hand to someone in need is nice

On the other hand, not all hands are good

A handful of people have the upper hand
Upper hands avoid hand to hand combat
Instead they give hand-jobs to get extra hands
The extra hands are always at hand for the upper hands
They raise their hands when the upper hands want them to
Those hands also get other hands to place hand grenades
Giving handjob to get a hand is bad
Neither is trading your dignity for a handjob
Improper handling of the hand is called mishandling
this is an example of mihandlling.....

(click image to enlarge your penis)

now sing with me…..

we will follow him
Follow him what ever he may vote for
There isn't a scandal too deep
A burden so high it can keep us away

We must follow him
Ever since he touched our genitals, we knew
That near him we always must be
And nothing can keep him from us
He is our destiny

We love him, we love him, we love him
And what he votes, we'll follow, we'll follow, we'll follow
He'll always be our true love, our true love, our true love
From 1991 until forever, forever, forever Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Egoportal’s non-Daily Recipe

Revolutionary Terrorism a la Meles

“A meal fit for the 77th wealthiest human”

Preparation time : 14 years

Can serve : “the smaller the company, the higher the gluttony”


o 70 million serfs

o simulated democracy made from Maoist ideology as per Albanian revolutionists specification

o nonexistent 7% annual economic growth

o assorted oppositions

o armed drones

o A border dispute with a neighboring country

o Donors with various interests (national security, natural resources, a progressive mate, good-do-ers)


- Slow roast the serfs by adding ethnic hatred, famine, poverty, and inept governance

- Marinate Border dispute with a neighboring country (the longer the better)

- Add simulated democracy, assorted oppositions, & nonexistent 7% annual GDP growth and Tenderize donors to extract juices

- remove lumpy opposition as they might make the donor tenderizing process difficult

- If serfs start turning reddish add some armed drones

- Leave the donors that are not being tenderized and work on ones with higher interest.

- If tenderizing still difficult increase the heat using prospects of greasy natural resources and threat of a ‘clandestine terrorist group’.

- if still difficult throw in some bombs courtesy of the marinated border dispute and lumpy opposition


- While still roasting, pour a wee amount of donor juice on the serfs to cool down, Garnish with anti terrorism task force and serve on government controlled media, save for later.

- Pour the remaining donor juice in a foreign safe-heaven and enjoy at your will.

Bon appétit!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Who said they never listen

The gradual progression of bomb incidents from night time to day time indicates that the EPRDF government is responding to critics.

When the first two bombs exploded in the middle of the night causing very little damage, no one paid attention ‘cause everyone knew who was behind it. next followed the story of diffusing grenades found in rubbish bins and street corners. we just assumed those grenade belonged to members of the (excessively) armed forces who couldn’t bear all the ammo weight in the scorching addis sun and decided to ditch some of the load.

Now the bombs have started exploding in day light. Still no one claims responsibility and public opinion remains the same. Perhaps more comical.

Reuter’s coverage

“The explosion was caused by a bomb planted in a flower pot outside”

Restaurant Manager

Suspect #1 GLF (Gardeners Liberation Front) the shear wielding, dirt loving, flower smelling menaces

"Luckily none of the restaurant staff were injured except four pedestrians,"

Restaurant Manager

Ya…those no good….non-spending…mooching pedestrians

Walta’s Coverage

“The Commission condemned the acts of what it termed anti-peace forces who have conspired to create the impression that peace does not prevail in the capital city”

Motive: peace must not prevail in the capital city

Analysis: who could possibly benefit from chaos?

Conclusion: it doesn’t need one

Word of advice to the FPATT (Federal Police Anti Terrorism Taskforce “we put the ERROR back into terrorism”) the only incident that is going to convince me that there is a “clandestine terrorist group” in our capital city is if a bomb explodes during an EPRDF central committee meeting leaving no survivors.

p.s. I appreciate every one who commented and emailed me on my failure as Prophet of Change. My whine barrel has plenty more disappointments.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

H5N1 is welcome in Ethiopia

Photo: rift valley birds frolicking with domestic cattle in a wetland near Lake Chamo.

A few months ago I was at a governmental office on work related visit. The time was around when all government offices were undergoing evaluation and “reshuffling” of workers. While waiting for the official I was there to see, I witnessed this conversation between two secretaries:

ጸሀፊ 1 :የሰራተኞች ግምገማ ሪፖርት ወጣ አሉ”

[S1: “the new employee evaluation reports are here”]

ጸሀፊ 2 :ተይኝ ባክሽ ሰምቻለሁ”

[S2: “leave me alone, I have already heard about it”]

ጸሀፊ 1 :ሌላስ ምን ሰማሽ?”

[S1: “what else have you heard?”]

ጸሀፊ 2 (እያለቀሰች):“ምነው ይሔ በዜና እሚወራው የወፍ በሽታ ገብቶ ሁላችንን በጨረሰን”

[S2 (bursting into tears): “I wish this bird disease they talk of on the news comes and wipes us all out”]

From her wish, I gathered the report doesn’t hold much promise for her future job security. On the other hand, her wish could come true. Unofficial reports of dead birds are coming from some rift valley areas. The Great African rift valley, which Ethiopia is part of, is classified by the WHO as having a ‘high risk of avian flu infection’ due to it’s established migratory bird destination. The Ethiopian ministry of agriculture claims that bird flu has not surfaced in Ethiopia, the press release also said the testing kit arrived just last Sunday.

The H5N1 has already been confirmed in Egypt and Nigeria. The rest of the countries in between, especially those within the great African rift valley, have not reported any infections. yet! If you naively assume a semi-straight migratory path between Egypt and Nigeria you will see that the volatile Dafrur region and Chad-Sudan border are in the way. Considering the present situation in those places, a bunch of dead birds are the last of their issues. In fact some would be pleased with an extra hand to make their genocidal wet dreams come true.

Prophet of Change

Sometimes I forget how vulnerable my schedule is and keep piling one initiative on top of the other. My egoportal is suffering as a result. That being, I have said very little about my socio-work life on this blog.

My situation is a bit hard to explain with out getting in to the past 25years of my life so I will spare you the details. I belong to a family construction business that my father sees as his other offspring. In some ways I am privileged to have a job lined up before I even moved here. In the family business, I am in charge of operations, which involves coordinating different departments to get work going smoothly. In Ethiopia, this task is even harder than it sounds. People avoid responsibility like the plague and they manage to do so by doing the least possible work and giving little care to what they actually do. For this very reason, problems are an every day occurrence and most of my time is spent solving operational problems and petty personal differences between workers rather than doing progressive work. And when faced with continuous problems, it doesn’t leave me much time for the rest of my ambition. My brain gets too tired to even think about it. The very few times like right-now where I say ‘fuck it!’ and spend it surfing the net, blogging or fiddling with new software have dwindled with the undertaking of more and more responsibilities. At the moment I have reached a point where I can’t even separate my work life with the rest. As george costanza would say “my worlds have collided”.

To tell it as a fable. The life of many Ethiopians is akin to members of a fire brigade in a town prone to fire. When they are done with one fire they are immediately off to the next, if they happen to have a fire free day, they are to worn out even make love to their spouses. For them, if it is not putting out fires then it’s not worth doing.

My original plan was to change the work atitude of people. If everyone is encouraged to do their job properly and efficiently, then there is no need for me to solve problems, which will have given me more free time to a point I planned to liberate mine and everyone else’s Saturdays. Joining the rest of society that enjoys a two day weekend. Now I am just glad a day goes by with out something going pear shaped.

My father, who is a workaholic and successful at it, thinks I have lost in touch with reality. He told me once “if I want to be ‘ye’lewt hawaria’ (prophet of change) then I should do it on my own time and not waste others”. For him, years of working like a fire man has left him incapable of compromising and has him deal with the loafers in more autocratic ways. Mean while most people are better-off when dealt with harshly. When you try and show them the better way, they automatically assume that you are trying to exploit them. Trying to run a semi-decent work pace, while being a prophet of change has become a dilemma

A year into professional work life and I am already tied of it. Not just that but I am looking for ways to ditch it. In modern society, retiring is withdrawing from active life after you are drained of your youthful juices. I want to retire with my juices intact so that I can do more of what I enjoy.


The comments on this Meskel Square post might shade more light on what I am ranting about

Ishmael and My Ishmael by Daniel Queen will have you question your role in civilization.

Tom Hodgkinson is my guru of idleness. Read The virtue of idleness for his humorous take on this social abnorm.

TOE 08 – Connections and TOE 16 - Head full of Ideas assure me that I am not the only one.

The music of Nick Drake and Tom Waits give me strength at times like this

p.s. Revolutions per Beats is off to a good start and still needs your contribution

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Public Announcement #2

“Dir Biyabir Anbesa Yasir “

This just occurred to me.

Hitherto I have kept this blog personal; to keep my word I will keep it this way.

In the mean time, blogs like aqumada are flourishing with so much literary goodness and we need more and more like his.

I am starting a new blog called Revolutions Per Beat solely for the arts specifically music. It’s not actually new. When I registered RpB back in MAY 2005, it was meant to be a sister blog project for the radio show I was hosting back then. When I left Alternative Thursdays, I dropped the idea as a hole up to now.

Unlike, Satisfy my Ego, RpB is open to anyone who wants to contribute:

Reviews of CDs and Concerts (in
Ethiopia or abroad)
Any work related afro/Ethiopian music scene.

Anyone who is interested email me - mcminale at gmail dot com

In accordance I am posting ‘a tale of two festivals’ on the RpB.

ps. I will need some help with HTML