Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Admittedly: “የወሬ የለውም ፍሬ!” And so shall we all shut up our mouths. Keep quiet! ጸጥ፣ ረጭ! በቃ? One may ask however: What is the purpose of our mouth then? To which a simple answer may suggest itself: just to let food and drink pass through. But is this the true sense of the saying? Of course not.

What then do they mean when they say: “የወሬ የለውም ፍሬ”? It is quite simple. To be sure, by “ወሬ” they do not mean any talk whatsoever; rather, they seem to refer to a specific kind of talk: to an “idle talk” (የሥራ-ፈት፣ ሥረ-አስፈች ወሬ!). For, in so far as the matter under discussion is either not known at all or deliberately covered over in idle talk, there can be no fruit to be obtained from it (ፍሬ የለውም). It indeed is doomed even from the get go to remain ineffective . What can idle talk help us gain other than killing our precious time?

Let’s therefore leave such kind of ineffective and fruitless talk behind and engage in an effective and fruitful kind of talk, in a kind of genuine discourse I am trying to evoke here (call it dialogue, colloquy or whatever), in a conversation, the first condition of which is ensuring that the other person is with us, all the more so as we perceive ourselves to be members of the one and same Tewahedo family.

Monday, February 1, 2010

dialogue, even better, colloquy

How to characterize the type of discussion between members of the same family? I know that there is much competition and controversy going on… And I am aware that some people of good will are very much worried about it; they sure are trying to do something about it… In their list of possible solutions for the problems, such people put “dialogue” at the very top… I appreciate their insights and would even like to join in their efforts to persistently call for a break with monologue, a monologue, that is, where everyone wants to speak and to listen to him/herself.

Yet, a fine nuance here: I believe the nature of conversation should not be perceived as an encounter, a confrontation, a face-off (ግጥሚያ፣ ፍልሚያ፣ ፍጥጫ)… After all, we are members of the same family. (Aren’t we? ረ በቤተክርስቲያን አምላክ! ረ በኢትዮጵያ አምላክ! ረ በወላዲተ-አምላክ!) We walk under the same sun, within the same horizon. Or so do I believe… Hence my preference to speak of "colloquy" (የእስ-በስ ውይይት) over "dialogue" (የእስ-ከሌላ ውይይት)…

With this, however, I am not undermining the difference of opinions… I am only insisting that we might discuss our differences in a less confrontational manner...

Above all, every one of us must in fact be reminded as to the nature and position of the sun under whose light we are walking.