Once upon a Sene...
The dryness of the past two weeks has been a matter of life and death. Literally. Lost two uncles and gained a sibling. The joy of a baby girl was something the whole family has been expecting but the death of my two uncles, who happen to be brothers, in less than a month time has been quite the shock. Even the thought of death, it is the most inevitable, never mind when some one is so frail, yet its human nature to try and avoid it at any cost. The older uncle fell ill not too long ago. He had gone to the states for medical treatment and he passed on while he was there. It took a little over a week for his body to get shipped. Only part of the family knew about his death at the time and did not want the news get out until the body got home fearing the unpleasant anticipation especially with in the elders. So for most of us, it was a double dose of “unsettle calmness”. His younger brother followed a week after the funeral, he was actually the one that wasn’t doing so well for so long, then again, burying two brothers in a matter of a week ain’t the most ideal.
Although life and death lie on opposite sides of the spectrum, they share so many things in common; one of them being the social gathering. It’s during this times you witness the real Ethiopian socio-cultural bond, especially how our society is very occasion oriented. During the mourning sessions, usually the week of the funeral you should expect to find 50 or more people sitting in a tent pitched for this purpose. A lot happens under the canvas, you meet relatives you never knew existed, you form new bonds and if you are lucky you find the love of your life. There will be bundles of people engaged in epic chats with their head ducked towards the chatterer in turn. It’s like a bazaar of conversations – gossip, legend, tragedy, politics, you name it - you just go around until you find the one that suits you, some times pitching in your own tales.
Besides that, we are approaching the end of Sene now (a month in the Ethiopian calendar that falls in June and July). Sene holds a special position in the life of Ethiopians, by now farmers are ready to sow their seeds after tilling their land, students are anticipating the summer break (although it’s actually winter here) that begins at the end of the month and it is budget closing time for governmental organizations. When we were grade school kids, we had a saying that went “Sene selasa ye’aleka mesa” (Sene thirty class monitors lunch). Basically it implies that on that day, Sene 30 (July 7), which is the last day of school, you settle your beef with the class-monitors who throughout the year exposed your misbehaviors to the homeroom teacher; mesa (lunch) being a metaphor for some good old thrashing. It was a curse to be elected a class monitor for that dreadful day will come.
Thanks to the uberly delayed election results, we will have an extra special Sene 30 this year. The NEBE has been promising the final election results the day after Sene 30 – Hamle 1 (July 8). Considering the number of disputed constituencies and the amount the NEBE managed to investigate so far, I wouldn’t be a tiny bit surprised if they hit the snooze button again.
Taking a very daring assumption that it won’t be delayed further more, thinking about what’s in store after that will dehydrate ones brain. Granted! the patience we are witnessing in most Ethiopians who believe the elections are rigged but would rather wait until the final results to have their say is.... truly something. After all, in regular times there isn’t enuf patience in the country to go around for all 70 million of us, most wouldn’t think about driving their car on the shoulder to over take the one doing a 100 in front of them.
As far as I understand from all those hours spent under the canvas, the result of the elections is irrelevant in how things might turn out. Right now, people are fed up with the current regime whose spite based policy of how to run a country has become soooo clear. Beside, the demagogues with in the EPRDF have seen how much they are loathed by the public, there is no other miracle behind the puny amount of shameful votes they got. so if this people are allowed to stay another five years in power, it will make the past fourteen agonizing years look like – ehhhm…if I may borrow a word from our ever so insightful information minister Bereket ‘Baghdad Bob’ Simon on his comment about the relation of their ethio-interhamwe to the Rwandan genocide – “childsplay” DAN DAN DAN!.
So this Sene 30 means a hell of a lot. it’s a day of anticipation and mental preparation For those who are ready to pay the sacrifice and for those who have no care if the sky comes falling down (Boleans, I am gazing your way when I say this) it’s a day of shopping frenzy for supplies to last them for the coming times, who surely don’t wanna spend another extended strike with out their precious…..KinChe.
All I know is that it’s going to be a trashing of a life time for all of us.
anyhu, i guess this means i am still in charge of this blog. i hope there were no coups in my absence ‘cause I still have so much to blog about, like my brief detention by the military. gonna go hydrate my brain first.