The Mail

We summoned our collective zar's and braced ourselves to tackle the June Mail. (As it happens our zar's were feeling particularly restless, so we were primed for mischief.)

At first glance it seemed that this month's mail was, well, odes to Sofanit and Awraris, our June Life Diarist... The feckless zar's started feeling veeerry dejected. (They thrive on criticisms and debasements… Dysfunction runs rampant around here.)

One after the other, Awraris this… Sofanit that…tata eko new

Fekade from Boston threw out this morsel of poignancy, which, by the way, very much startles the zar's : "On reading [Life Diaries] the first time, I 'miskin'-ed Awraris and Sofanit. How can Ethiopians be this 'disconnected' from the community at large?…Baletfa abesha parties? Baltefa the Mecca of Ethiopianwinet that is DC?? On reading it a second time though, Sofanit's conclusion about there being a deeper, SPIRITUAL connection to Ethiopia halted my ego trip. A lot of us have neglected to take on and make that connection. (Mine I chose to neglect, therefore making the errors my ways even more egregious.) Whatever "connection" I had concocted, (staying in touch with friends; surrounding myself with Ethiopian accoutrements/literature/my precious mesob) suddenly felt very shallow. Realizing that I was way behind Awraris and Sofanit (the "miskin ferenjies") when it comes to a deeper sense of identity was a HUGE blow to my ego. I'm not sure if I should be thanking SELEDA for this enlightenment or, ende feredebatchew, employing the Yeneta you mentioned in an earlier issue to put a digimt on you."

Uh, if we may be so bold as to choose our own fate, Fekade, may we suggest Option #1. From what we can gather, the wait list to put a digimit on us is rather daunting. You have journeys to take; you are pressed for time… No?

[Note to ourselves: check on exactly how long the digimt line is.]

Accepting the task of further confusing the now glib zar's, Meseret continued to fuel the erudition train. "Like Awraris, after X (it's impolite to count after ten) number of years away from Ethiopia, I thought I would buckle down to full-fledged ferenge-ization. But, his question 'Why do we always want to come back home?' kept resonating in my ears. I, too, have long been out of love with Ethiopia after she broke my heart during those horrific times. So, WHY do I keep wanting to come back home? I guess home will always be home, warts and all. If Sofanit's grandmother can forgive Ethiopia, the least I could do is try."

Humm. Is that Meseret we see standing right behind Fekade from Boston on the digimt line? Why, yes! Yes it is!

Just as we thought the zar's would not be getting any exercise, we got B. Adagne's message. "Would it be uncouth of me to ask SELEDA editors to act as my conduits in asking the hand of Sofanit," he queried with enviable difret. "What a gal! What fire! Ereg, ereg!"


And we would be delighted to play cyber-aTabashoch, B. But may we first offer the following to help you endear yourself even more: start off by calling her "One helluva broad!" She'd like that. While you're at it, offer a dawari--goats, sheep, whatever. We're certain guys who send moshlaka editors as cyber-shimagelays would so enchant her. Compose a letter, (make sure you include directions to your house) and… duck!

(In case we never mentioned it, ludicrousness runs even more rampant around here.)

Thankfully, Lillu Tesfa has better command over her facilities than we do. "OK. I really only meant to just GLANCE at SELEDA, skim it quickly and get back to work. One hour later, I find myself writing in a comment to you. I started with the Life Diaries section…I felt I had stumbled upon a couple of kindred spirits, both of whom imbued me with a sense of 'lekas le bichaye aydelehum.' After being mired in endless electronic diatribe on Ethiopian politics - or what passes for it these days - which leaves me feeling like an impotent fist and somehow sullied- SELEDA is to me like a much needed breath of Spearmint-fresh air. Did I say thank you already??"

People...make way… make way…one person on the 'Thank You' line.

Ermias' account of dealing with the loss of his brother in "My Story" garnered mail such as this. "…[T]he best piece was My Story --exceptionally beautifully written and so vulnerable, particularly for a man," wrote Lilly from D.C. "Although i have never lost a sibling, and don't even want to think about it, I could certainly relate to the emotions. Kudos again. You certainly have my number with this e-zine… I'm just starved for this type of stuff...there's obviously no accounting for taste." None at all. We prove that everyday when we try to eat enjera with peanut butter. Don't ask for elucidation.

Yonatan, who we will assume has all his tastes accounted for, also had Qum neger to dole out, this time about Selemon Getachew's piece, "On Art and Math". "'Endet bigemitun new? Ahoon man yemoot, who are they trying to convince math is art, ' was what was going through my mind when I started reading Jebdu. It turned out that Selemon's article was one of the most enjoyable things I've read in a looong time. I think we, SELEDA-addicts, and not you, SELEDA editors, should be asking "Min gud wist geban?"

In the same vein, Michael S. intoned, "GOLF? If I wasn't trying impress my girlfriend's brother, I would have 'ere wodezia'ed the golf and Ethiopian professionals article from the get-go. But you sly SELEDA people had me not only wholly enjoying it, but ruminating on how many of us are out there doing so much outside of the 'normal abesha realm.' Hope you keep up the career stuff as well as all the cornocopia of musings that are uniquely SELEDA. At least no one can say you are boring." No, they can't. "Pedantic ye azawintoch kibeb"? Yes. "Negeregna secret society"? Several times. Boring? At least not to our faces… we don't think. Ah, maybe once or twice.

"I hate math.. I don't care for art, and I think I would readily go through a rejuvenating "be berebere metaten" session before I watch a second of golf," snapped illegitimate SELEDA soul mate, Hebret, effectively knocking the wind out of us. (Guess if you're going to Qelb megfef, you might as well do it one sentence.) "So why I am reading SELEDA beginning to bitter end? Front to back? Again and again? I am in deep, guys." (Ahh.. the ol' switcheroo. Talk among yourselves while we scrape our self-esteems off the floor.)

Meeeeaanwhile, Kuribachew, (and we are thinking, nah, can't be a pseudonym) summarized the general sentiment from Ethiopian women on the men's rejoinder to Battle of the Sexes. "M'ts! Ay yewendoch neger. That was all they could come up with? Demo, "man ansola megfef astemarachiew?…"!! While they get Great Distinction marks for top- notch "mooartegna"-ness, we say their lame come back deserves only a passing grade." (And that, Kuri, is assuming you were grading on a curve.)

Speaking of failing grades, that's what SELEDA friend and Ashkormami #1, Metchal Z.,would have gotten if he were ever accepted into the Kidist Mariam School of Charm and Etiquette. His brusque salvo on June's Top Ten list reads, "[It] was interesting. Can I be honest? It sucked. Sorry…" Ye dagna yaleh! Demo, 'sorry'! No, really. Tell us what you really thought.

Fortunately for us, the Kidist Mariam School of Charm and Etiquette has gentlemen in its midst. Captain of the Debate Team and Crushed Ego Tegagn Extraordinaire, Admas, came to our rescue. Prefacing that he missed David Letterman to read SELEDA, he let us know that "[Your] Top Ten topped his. Especially asking for the scenic drive to Merkato. Must be the ever greenery of "Chat Sefer" or the coreographed medosha beats of old shoe repair shops. Hummm. Brings back sweet memories of my childhood." Yep! Definitely someone who passed the "Advanced Theory in Irony and Sarcasm" class at the venerable KMSCE.

Continuing with our deleterious habit of running metaphors to the ground… The Valedictorian of the Class of '99 at KMSCE would no doubt be Sewit A., whose ye temare sew observations more than made up for Metchal's dereliction. "What can you say about SELEDA? What can't you say?… Ah, the clarity of style, the humor, the sarcasm. Besmeab, besmeab, gedelachugne… Be assured of my highest regards." Thank you, Sewit. (By the way, SELEDA will be funding all of Sewit's post-graduate work at the Giorgis School of Advanced Studies in Supportive and Encouraging Behavioral Sciences.)

Let's see… Voted "Most Likely to Succeed Because He Has Great Siblings" would be Nablis S., who only lost out to Admas for Homecoming King by a hair. "Is it my imagination or do y'all get better every time?" he asked. "Yihem hono, yemelekmew atint alegne." [Uh, oh.] "If I said anything close to 'Your cute feminist sisters at Smith' or 'Do feminists still get to do fun stuff…' to MY sister, it would not be my tires that she would be slashing." What, Nablis? Are you saying that feminists are not cute? Huh? Huh?

Safely ensconced on the KMSCE 8-Year-Graduation track would be our friend Selemon Getachew, who might have to extend that date a little longer lest he have to re-take "Purging Snippety Feelings and Returning to Nicety 101". "btw," he wrote, rendering Futile Punctuation 101. "why do u always insist on spelling seleda, SELEDA? is it a mehetsare-qal for Self Engrossed League of Esoteric Dollar Aspirants? either way, no amount of whiny insistence is gonna change my vow to never locate the caps lock key on keyboard. so there. seleda! wey eda!" (Hum, Selew… does your zar know our zar?)

Of course, our favorite letters are ones that have gracious suggestions and information snugly sewn in their gebers.

Tigist Seleshi approached the idea gebeta gingerly, literary gems safely Quatra. "Ethiopians like myself in the Diaspora appreciate what you are trying to do," she pointed out. "SELEDA offers what I am looking for--an intelligent forum on what life is like for Ethiopians in the Diaspora." And after levitating us with such mashmonmon, she then threw in the miriqquats…New feature ideas: roundtable discussions, a health section, a He said/She Said column… ere sintu tekotro. Thank you, Tigist. Er, you aren't by any chance looking for a day job running a cyber-negarit, are ya?

On Sofanit's inquiry into obtaining Qidasay tapes, Yitbarek Afere-Aine came swooping down in chivalrous stratagem. "There is a beautiful recording, on CD no less, with excellent liner notes to boot. The CD is entitled "L'EgliseOrthodoxe Ethiopienne de Jerusalem-L'Assomption a Dabra Gannat", recorded at Kidane Mihret in Jerusalem, and is a 'must own' for any self-respecting Ethiopian Orthodox. I'm not sure if it's still in production though. If it will help, here's the catalog number:C560027.28." Eh! Wey deginet! We will maraud our Blockbuster catalog. (Hopefully, the 'self-respecting' part is not a pre-requisite… because that could be a problem around here.)

Our the ever prickly issue of our use of English,--which some of you have corrected as being Amari-English, Guramayle, and even ferundoos--which is apparently still irking some of you. Selamawit's abetoota reads: "Although I look forward to the next new SELEDA, I have one suggestion… The content is great, BUT you may want to utilize every [day] English vocabulary in your writing. Sometimes I wonder, do the staff at SELEDA talk the same language that they write???" No, we don't Selamawit… mostly because we try not to talk to each other. When we do, well, we try to use monosyllabic curse words.

And, finally…

We were hoping no one would notice we were a day late with the June issue, and we deftly avoided mentioning it when we sent out mailers. But our buddy Daniel Yohannes was having none of that. "SELEDA… who needs a reminder from the editor when you got me? To be exact you were about 15 hours late," he reminded us. (Ouch! Yemin tsegur mesenteQ meta?) "You guys should think about doing this BI-monthly. It's OK to lose your day jobs as long as you have supporters like me. Remember, contribution to charity is itemizable." …Day jobs? What day jobs?

Oh, those day jobs.

Ah, perhaps we should go back to our day jobs. But first, we at SELEDA, ourselves KMSCE alums… (and one day we'll go into why we were unfairly kicked out right before graduation) would like to thank our esteemed readers for yet another great month of witty repartee, lucid thoughts and eloquent insights.

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See you in September.