My Dear Ethiopians,
It is very difficult to promise; but I would like to do some story telling for young Ethiopians every other week.
But before I begin, I need the cooperation of parents to translate the story from this English into the Ethiopian language. Twice, I had encountered some embarrassing experience on the VOA Amharic program:
l. An Ethiopian girl living in America was awarded SEED's prize for entering Harvard. Through-out the interview, she answered the questions in English.
2. Another Ethiopian little girl received the American President's prize for her brilliance. She also answered everything in English while the interviewer was talking in Ethiopian. But why this, when we Ethiopians are by nature brilliant in learning more than one language at home or abroad. Hence I beg parents to translate our stories on the dining table on Sunday evening to the Ethiopian language the family thinks the child can communicate with Ethiopians East to West, North to South. Here is our story.
Today's Story will be about "Arada"
In this historical Arada there is always division of specialty. There is the wing specializing in the sell of animal products, paulty, the wild animals skin market, the food market and of course the wine and bear (Tela) market. In Arada there were also houses where food and drink is sold. These are not very big because it was less gentlemanly act to eat and drink in the public market places in Arada. However, there were many people who ate and got drunk in the public Arada inns. Inside these public houses there were the meetings of eyes of beautiful women with young men. But this was done in an extreme secretive style.
The above being the old picture of Arada before the coming of Menilek. And after Menilek, since he is the engineer of the modern Ethiopia Arada got a chief known as 'Negadras', and rules and regulations were written how to control every public act legally. And since the top part of Arada is visible from the Menilek Palace, the emperor loved to watch at Arada through his field glasses. When the market is full, and the people are dressed in snow white 'shama' Menilek used to thank his God with the pleasure of the sight. And when the market is sick, he used to order his men to open the palace stores and 'gebeyawun yaTegbu neber.' For good or for bad that Emperor used to send his spies to check every good and bad condition of the market. But the Emperor's spies were ordered to walk in the market with their hat on their head. And on their hat there was legible writing: 'yemngst misTr zebegna' (Government Secret Agents!). When the secret agents walked through the crowd, people used to stop their talk against the emperor.
One time the official secret agents came to the market with a new tax proclamation. The king's speaker took his place on the highest ladder and began to read: 'Awaj awaj awaj, yedebelo qedaj, yalsemaw lalsemaw yasema' and read a new tax was ordered to be collected from everyone who used the Arada market. After listening everything the people lost control and shouted: "Mekari yelelew negus yalandamet ayneges". Through his field glass the Emperor has seen the unexpected public commotion. When the king's agents reach the palace and kissed the ground to report what they have witnessed the emperor shouted and ordered additional tax after one week. When that week ended and the yet additional tax was announced. The Ethiopians heard everything silently without any word being expressed, completed their business and left. When the secret men reached the palace: Menilek said: "now it is extremely dangerous, when Ethiopians are silent like this, it is a sign of difficulty which could be uncontrollable. It is only healthy when Ethiopians express their anger." And he ordered to cancel the second tax order and only the first tax was expected from the public.
When the people are silent in Harar, especially when a new cruel governor is sent from the Emperor, the old ones go to their homes without a word. And late in the after noon they make a gathering over 'hoja' or call it tea; the tchat in their mouth, drinking the hoja with milk, they start blessing the new cruel ruler: "Let this new Boss of us be extremely happy and satisfied. Let him quickly reach the point of his complete satisfaction: "May Rebi Khegna haqubsu, may defe haqufu, qufe haUtalu, Utale hakufu." Since Dr. Getatchew Haile has advised us to learn a little Oromo, let us by ourselves understand the translation.
Just like Menilek, if the governor is good and not bad to understand the will of the people, if the governor is polite, and not arrogant to care for the future of he will wisely recorrect his steps and care to be really honest to Ethiopians. But Menilek with all the human limitations he was extraordinary; for Menilek did not come from one race but from Ethiopian races and to name them briefly from an Amhara father and an Oromo mother. And the mix of the North and the South is always spotlessly brilliant. And that is how Menilek succeeded to be the latest Ethiopian engineer as well, briefly almost every morning not only he watched through his field glass at Arada, to everyday measure the satisfaction of the close-by people but every morning he used to walk through the city workshops mainly situated at today's 'Amst Kilo' or on the place of the today's Faculty of Technology; touching every other item gold or brass, technical items or whatsoever, admiring, and advising how to improve the item for the common use of the people.
Humble instructions to the Ethiopian parents: I feel there are mistakes in the above story, please translate them by correcting the mistakes to the Ethiopian youth.
Etiopiacn lezelaalem tnur,