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Archive for April, 2012

30 April Is International Jazz Day

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 30, 2012

Ethiopian Jazz by Wudasse Band — EteMete (Darling)

Gregory Porter – On My Way To Harlem

According to UNESCO, the international community proclaimed 30 April as “International Jazz Day”. The Day is intended to raise awareness in the international community of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people. Many governments, civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens currently engaged in the promotion of jazz music will embrace the opportunity to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies.

Why International Jazz Day?

  • Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance;
  • Jazz is a vector of freedom of expression;
  • Jazz is a symbol of unity and peace;
  • Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities;
  • Jazz fosters gender equality;
  • Jazz reinforces the role youth play for social change;
  • Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones;
  • Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies.


Source: UNESCO


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Addis Bus Burst Into Flame

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 29, 2012


The above “hot” video footage is taken for the very first time in Addis Abeba Transit Service history

Good old Addis Abeba “Anbesa / Lion” Bus was burst into flame on the ‘Ring Road’. The fire had been caused by an electrical fault on the bus — 35 terrified passengers were ordered of the bus, incredibly, there were no fatalities and no injuries. Passengers were saying the driver saw a spark. He got everybody off the bus and within minutes it was ablaze for about half an hour. Emergency services were called and firemen were able to control the blaze within 30 minutes.



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Farewell Intercourse Law: Egypt Drafts Measure To Allow Husbands To Have Sex With Dead Wives

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 26, 2012

Ed’s note: This is outrageous, disgusting, sickening.

Persecution of women and minority Christians is intensifying, Egypt and Iran are aiding Sudan to bomb Christian South Sudan, (please watch this horrific video here ) Egypt just canceled gas supply deal with Israel, and the US State Department approved a $ 1.3 Billion in military aid to Egypt – with the statement and continuing military and other assistance to Egypt is rewarded for the extraordinary progress the country has made since the overthrow last year of its autocratic president, Hosni Mubarak. Egypt has elected a new Parliament in a vote widely seen as free and fair, and it has scheduled a presidential election in May, with a runoff to follow in June.

We’ve seen more progress in 16 months than we’ve seen in 60 years,” that is what the senior State Department official said.

Free and fair election” Were there neutral observers like in sub-Saharan Africa or Eastern European countries? Just overnight, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco have become one of the freest nations on the planet? The world upside down – I better start a pig farm close to the sources of the Nile in Ethiopia!

A DRAFT Egyptian law that would allow a husband to have sex with the corpse of his wife up to six hours after her death is being contested by a national woman’s group, reports al Arabiya News.

The proposal, dubbed the ‘Farewell Intercourse’ law, is currently going through the majority Islamist parliament. Fighting it is the National Council for Women (NCW), which says the law “marginalises” and “undermines” the status of women in Egypt.

The group is also contesting another draft law that would permit a 14-year-old girl to marry. Currently the age limit is 16.

Egyptian journalist and TV anchor, Jaber al-Qarmouty, lent his support to the NCW protest. “It is a catastrophe to give the husband such a right! Has the Islamic trend reached that far? Is there really a draft law in this regard? Are there people thinking in this manner?” he asked.

He was not alone in finding the proposal unbelievable. On Twitter, several users have asked whether it is a hoax. But reputable Egyptian news sites continue to report the story.


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Losing My Religion – Reformation To Blame?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 21, 2012


Belief in God is slowly declining in most countries around the world, according to a new poll, but the truest of the true believers can still be found in developing countries, Orthodox and Catholic societies.

The “Beliefs about God Across Time and Countries” report, released 18 April 2012 by researchers at the University of Chicago, found the Philippines to be the country with the highest proportion of believers, where 94 per cent of Filipinos said they were strong believers who had always believed. At the opposite end, at just 13 per cent, was the former East Germany, Religion News Service reports.

“The Philippines is both developing and Catholic,” said Tom W. Smith, who directs the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. “Religion, which is mainly Catholic, is very emotionally strong there.”

The report covered data from 30 countries that participated in at least two surveys in 1991, 1998 or 2008. In 29 of the 30 countries surveyed in 2008, belief increased with age: Belief in God was highest for those ages 68 or older (43 per cent), compared to 23 per cent of those younger than 28.

While overall belief in God has decreased in most parts of the world, three countries — Israel, Russia and Slovenia — saw increases. The report said religious belief had “slowly eroded” since the 1950s in most countries of the world.

The percentage of believers in the former East Germany is lower than anywhere else. Although, the after effects of the communist society in East Germany are still being felt all over Eastern Germany more than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the main culprit of religious illiteracy there could only be found in the Reformation of Martin Luther, and in the self-worshiping materialistic ethic of Bismarck’s Prussia.

The six states that make up former East Germany which have the highest percentage of atheists (52 percent of respondents), compared with Western part of Germany, have all originally Protestant background. In Western Germany, predominantly Catholic, only 10.3 percent of those who responded were atheists.

“Countries with high atheism (and low strong belief) tend to be ex-socialist states and countries in northwest Europe,” writes study author Tom W. Smith. “Countries with low atheism and high strong belief tend to be Catholic societies, especially in the developing world, plus the United States, Israel, and Orthodox Cyprus.”

Yet, unlike East Germany, former communist states like Russia, Slovenia or China do have a growing numbers of Christian believers. In fact, China will be the largest Christian nation of the World in a couple of years.

So, what do atheist regions like East Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark all have in common? Protestantism and Prussian way of life.


Download the full report here




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The 10 Most Marvelous Monasteries of Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 21, 2012

1. Waldeba Monastery

2. Debre Libanos Monastery

3. Debre Damo Monastery

4. Abba Giorgis Monastery

5. Lake Tana Monasteries

6. Lake Ziway Monasteries

7. Lake Hayq Estifanos Monastery

8.  Mehur Eyesus / Debre Besrat Monasteries

9. Getesemani Nunnery

10. Asebot Monastery

Additional reading…

Axum & Lalibela — Bedrock of Art and Faith


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Africa‘s Huge Hidden Ground Water Resources

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 21, 2012


Another reason for Ethiopia to tell Egypt to drill a well in the desert, or digg down into its pockets to pay for the precious Nile Water


Solutions to resolve the world’s water crisis may lay hidden underground. More than half the world’s population already depends on groundwater that is pumped from the pore spaces of rock formations, known as aquifers, which lie hidden below the Earth’s surface.

Scientists now say that Africa is sitting on a vast reservoir of groundwater.

Researchers from the British Geological Survey and University College London argue that the total volume of water in aquifers underground is 100 times the amount found on the surface.

The team have produced the most detailed map yet of the scale and potential of this hidden resource.


Continue reading…


Quantitative maps of groundwater resources in Africa




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The Tenth Saint

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 19, 2012


by D. J. Niko

In her first novel, D. J. Niko establishes Sarah Weston as an appealing character who can easily be carried through the two additional novels already under contract. A fine addition to the growing genre of archeological thrillers, “The Tenth Saint” benefits from Niko’s persuasive handling of Sarah’s tenacious personality, the remote and exotic Ethiopian setting, conspiracy theories, and romance. Somewhat less persuasive is the time travel element, but that, too, remains at least intriguing.

Born to wealth and privilege, Cambridge University archeologist Sarah Weston has long shed any debutante sensibilities she may have had. As she leads her research team in a remote mountain area, the ancient kingdom of Aksum, Ethiopia, Sarah faces physical risk and hardship unflinchingly. Unexpectedly, she comes across a sealed tomb and unusual inscriptions.

Assisted by American anthropologist Daniel Madigan, she strives to translate the inscriptions and identify the tomb – which is somehow connected with the Coptic Christians and their saintly mystics. The clues take them to Addis Ababa, monasteries in Lalibela (a holy city), and to an underground library housing a codex that is the key to the mysteries of the past – and possibly to those of the future.

Ms. Niko’s narration alternates between the ongoing present that traces Sarah’s hazardous investigation and a remote past (4th century CE) in which an individual at first unidentified and suffering from amnesia is eventually revealed to be the tenth saint of Coptic tradition. He is a Caucasian westerner named Gabriel who has somehow turned up all but entombed under desert sands. Discovered and nursed to health by Bedouins, he becomes part of their community, mastering their medicinal lore. After five years, it becomes clear that he must move on to pursue his gradually revealed mission.

The messages left behind by Gabriel – and echoed by a 14th-century letter which is given to Sarah in Paris – involve poetic prophecies of an apocalypse brought on by human endeavors. There are references, in particular, not only to climate change but also to dangerous initiatives to control its consequences. While some would wish the apocalyptic vision revealed, others would wish that it remain hidden. Powerful vested interests, including those of Sarah’s father, are at work. What Sarah and Daniel discover brings them many more enemies than friends. . .

Continue reading…

Part One

Part Two




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Little Known Key Event In World History

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 19, 2012

Himyar, modern Yemen during the 6th Century was an area where Christianity, Judaism and paganism competed for religious allegiance and where Ethiopia, Persia and the eastern Roman Empire competed for political advantage. The kingdom of Abyssinia– Axum – had a presence on the Arabian coast from the 3rd century. In the early 300s, they invaded Himyar in the Yemeni region, holding it until 378. Between 320-360, Axum became Christian under King Ezanes. During the 6th Century Christianity had become fairly widespread in Yemen but encountered strong opposition from the region’s long-established Jewish community and from local nationalists. In 521 A.D. the Christian Ma’adikarib Ya’fur became king and, supported by the Aksumites, began a series of military expeditions against the Central Arabian tribes in order to reinforce his power and prepare a war against the Lakhmids of al-Hira (or Nasrids, Northern Arabian vassals of the Sasanians). After his death, the Judaist Yusuf As’ar Yath’ar ascended to the throne, mortal enemy of the Aksumites and their Christian allies. In 523 Yusuf Asar Dhu Nuwas (518-525) (also known as Masruq) King of the Himyar and a recent convert to Judaism, (it is believed his mother was a Jewish slave girl) began removing foreign influences from his realm and some Roman and Axumite merchants were killed. Whether he planned to establish an explicitly Jewish state is debatable — many of his followers were pagan or Nestorian — but most of his enemies were Christian, and his war to establish Himyar’s full independence from Axum took on a distinctly religious character and into confluct with the regions Christians and Axumite.

The king of Axum, Ela Atzheba (Ela-Asbeha) also known as Elesboas (in Malalas), Hellesthaeus (in Procopius) and sometimes as Kaleb which was his Christian name, sent an army to Yemen to punish Dhu-Nuwas driving him in to the hills, but once Ela-Asbeha’s army retired he regains his kingdom and in retaliation Churches are burned and Arab Christian civilians are massacred, most famously at Nagran; In October of 523 believing the Najran Christians collaborated with the Axumites Dhu-Nuwas tears down all their churches and burns alive those who refuse to apostatize. These martyrs are commemorated in the liturgies of the Greek, Latin and Oriental Churches. Dhu Nuwas is said to have justified such atrocities by referring to the horrendous persecution of Jews in the Roman Empire.

It appears that a Christian from Najran escaped and brought news of the massacre to Ela Atzheba along with a half-burnt copy of the Gospel. Ela-Asbeha outraged by the actions of Dhu Nuwas was determined to return to Yemen and had the troops with which to intervene but no ship transports; he got in touch with Byzantine emperor Justin I through the patriarch of Alexandria, Timothy III. It should be noted that Ela Atzheba was of Orthodox Tewahedo and Timothy Coptic Orthodox Christian faiths whereas Justin was a devout Chalcedonian, nevertheless Justin offered the use of 60 ships for the Ethiopian army (Although his support was provided officially to protect the persecuted Christians of Yemen, it is probably more likely that it was an attempt to control one of the passages of goods from India destined to Byzantium.). The campaigns which Caleb (Ela Atzheba) led in person and under the spiritual guidance of the celebrated Axumite monk Pantaleon were eventually victorious in a great battle on the seashore at Zabid, where Dhu Nuwas himself fell in the surf. Once Dhu-Nuwas was dead South Arabia was turned into a province of the Axumite monarchy. 

News of the Ethiopian emperor’s rescue of the Christians of Himyar spread throughout the Orthodox world, and Caleb (who eventually abdicated his throne to become a monk, sending his gold crown to be kept near the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem) is venerated as a saint not only in the Ethiopian Church but also, as St. Ellasbaan (i.e. Ella Asbeha), by the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics. South Arabia, however, remained a restless province, and Caleb soon granted it de facto independence under the Christian prince Abraha who between 535-570 was the most powerful man in Yemen. In, the year of Muhammad’s birth, Abraha’s army elephant corps attacked Mecca, giving that famous year the name “Year of the Elephant” in Arab history. Another Islamic echo of the wars of Caleb may be in Sura 85 of the Koran, which describes how those who burn the Saints burn themselves; this is thought by many commentators to refer to Dhu Nuwas and the Martyrs of Nagran.

The Axumite viceroy, Abraha invasion of Mecca, is eventual stopped by pestilence which wipes out his army. Still, by 575 he was enough of a threat that Mecca had to ask Persia for assistance, at which point they lost their independence to Persian dominance. Around this time Abu Morra Sayf b. Dhu Yazan of the royal Himyarite house asked for an external intervention to overthrow the Christian/Aksumites. The Byzantines and the Lakhmids refused to send their troops but not the Persians bringing about the first encounter between Persia and Africa during the reign of Khusru (Khosrow) I when he expelled the Christian Aksumites (or Abyssinians) from Yemen in c. 570 A.D. According to al-Tabari, Khosrow I Anoshirvan armed eight ships with eight hundred released Daylamite prisoners, leaded by a certain Vahrez [Exactly as for many other Sasanian names, it is not clear if this was a personal name or a high-rank title, and with this army he defeated ‘Abraha’s son Masruq. Sayf b. Dhu Yazan was proclaimed chief of the reign, now a Sasanian protectorate known as Samaran, but after few years he died during a revolt that probably happened between 575 and 578. Vahrez intervened once more but this time with a more numerous army.

November 25, 523 – Crucial Day in History

A historical look at the birth of Islam

If I were a theologian, my idea of Valhalla would be something like a villa in Languedoc, an endless supply of red, a smoke (I assume that won’t be a problem in the afterlife) and a good history book.

Among my favourite authors is Tom Holland, whose previous publications Rubicon, Persian Fire and Millennium have accompanied me on those increasingly rare periods of relaxation abroad.

Holland writes about antiquity with great flair and authority, capturing the sense of struggle, anxiety and desperation that often overshadowed great men and great civilisations as they battled for supremacy (and anyone who doubts Steven Pinker’s thesis that we are all getting nicer and less violent should study ancient history more closely).

Holland’s latest, In the Shadow of the Sword, takes a look at a period of antiquity, the 6th and 7th centuries, that has fallen to the very back of the western mind, largely because for our ancestors the light of civilisation had gone out (or had not yet been switched on); in the eastern Mediterranean and Near East, however, the Roman Empire continued much as normal, although now centred in Constantinople and speaking Greek. During this period the Romans battled for supremacy with the Persian Empire, occasionally fighting ferociously in Mesopotamia or Syria but more often in a state of uneasy truce.

But Holland’s latest book is interesting in a different way, for as Charles Moore noted on Monday, it delves into a seriously controversial area – the birth of Islam.

The Near East at the time was a fascinating hodge-podge of different faiths; Holland opens the narrative with the story of Yusuf As’ar Yath’ar, an Arab king who defeated the Christians in the Najran region by the Red Sea – the twist being that Yath’ar was not Muslim but Jewish, and there were communities of both living in Arabia at the time.

And sometimes the dividing line between the faiths was unclear. Further north in modern-day Iraq, where Jews had lived for a millennium and Christians for several centuries, there were Jews who still prayed to Jesus and Christians who practised Jewish rites. Iran itself was Zoroastrian, the world’s oldest major religion: although today rather tiny (Freddie Mercury is perhaps the only Zoroastrian many of us could name) it was to influence Islam heavily, as Holland points out. Another even smaller group, the Samaritans (so small in number that they’ve been forced to marry out for genetic reasons) were still a significant force at this time, before their strength was broken by two failed uprisings.

Further out in the wilds of Arabia there were all sorts of pagans, some of who worshipped cubes (which seems to have been a particular thing with Arabs at the time).

And it was out of this wilderness that came one of the world’s great religions, whose followers would in a short space of time conquer an empire from Spain to central Asia, and whose scholars would form a coherent religion that has flourished to this day.

And yet from a historical point of view the study of Islam and its founder is problematic. The oldest biographies of Mohammed, in the form we have them, date back to more than two centuries after his death, and despite the diligent work of Al-Bukhari, who is said to have collected 600,000 supposed sayings of the prophet and dismissed all but 7,225, the religion is as vulnerable to higher criticism as Judaism and Christianity.

That criticism, which began with historians such as Edward Gibbon and accelerated in 1863 when Ernest Renan published a biography of Jesus that treated his subject as a man, leading one critic to describe it as a “new crucifixion of Our Lord”, has been irreversible.

Yet while in the 18th century Muslim jurists concluded that the “gate of interpretation” was closed because all there was to learn had been learned, by the late 19th century Western scholars such as Ignác Goldziher also began to ask questions about Islam, especially about the hadiths, the collection of sayings that made up the Sunna, or Islamic law – a question that Muslim scholars had asked a thousand years before (concluding that many were fakes).

And in the past four decades Islam has come under a far more rigorous microscope. In 1950 the German professor Joseph Schacht wrote that: “We must abandon the gratuitous assumptions that there existed originally an authentic core of information going back to the time of the Prophet.”

Instead, as Holland concludes, many of the inventions of Islam already existed at the time it arose. It seems unlikely that Mecca, so biographers of Mohammed say, was a pagan city, devoid of any Jewish or Christian presence, in a great desert. This would indeed make the rise of fully-fledged monotheism there, complete with references to Abraham, Moses and Jesus, a miracle. As Holland writes:

Continue reading…

A ‘brave’ telling of the Koran’s human stories

Well, this pivotal historical time should not be considered ‘brave’, particularly, when most of these narratives are accepted and acknowledged as historical facts among Ethiopian theologians and historians.

The “Telegraph’s” Charles Moore reviews “In the Shadow of the Sword” by Tom Holland (Little, Brown)

Most of the attention given to this book so far has, rightly, been favourable. But it has skirted round the key point. Tom Holland is attempting to show that much of what Muslims believe about the Koran is incorrect. Since their belief is rigorously literal – they hold that the Koran is the uncreated word of God recited (the word Koran means “recitation”) directly through the mouth of Mohammed – any Muslim who accepted Holland’s evidence would have to reconsider many aspects of his faith.

This painful process of textual inquiry into scripture has been well known to Christians since the 19th century, when the Bible came under similar scrutiny. It has caused anguish, but many have been able to reconcile their faith with the discoveries of scholarship. No such process has taken place in Islam. Indeed, the suppression of questioning has actually got worse. Until 1924, for example, seven different versions of the text were considered canonical, so areas of doubt were implicitly acknowledged. Now there is only one normative text, and it is inconsistent in many particulars, but Muslims dare not say so. Holland is being brave.

Before any zealot starts threatening him, it is worth saying something about his motive. Holland has clearly not written with an animus against Islam. He does permit himself some amusing acerbities – such as why people started to teach that Mohammed used a toothbrush – but this is not a polemical work promoting Judaism, Christianity or atheism against Islam, or saying that Muslims are liars. It is a work of history, trying to tell the truth, as modern historians understand that fraught concept.

Historical truth is closely related to the idea of context, and therefore clashes with the Muslim view that the Koran came, as Holland puts it, like “lightning from a clear blue sky”. The right context, he argues, is not a lonely revelation in desert obscurity. It is the period in which the Persian and Roman empires came to an end.

To Holland, it is significant that no biographies of Mohammed survive from before the ninth century (he is believed to have died in 632), and that the stories of his life became more detailed the longer the elapse of time from his death. The Koran itself says very little about the Prophet – he is mentioned only four times – so almost everything that Muslims believe about him comes from poor, later evidence. As Holland says, it is rather as if we were to study the two world wars without any eyewitness accounts at all.

Soure: The Telegraph


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Ethiopian Orthodox Church Celebrates Easter

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 16, 2012

Typical beef sitting of Ethiopia — Delicious, yummy, yum, yum!

Seattle Fasika

The mothers’ choir sings at St. Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church, near Seattle’s Judkins Park, in the early morning hours Sunday, April 15, 2012 celebrating Easter. More than a 1,000 people attended the service, worshipping inside the church, in a tent and in the parking lot. Many wore traditional white shawls, while the service was delivered in Amharic and Ge’ez, an ancient language once used in Ethiopia that is now only used in church

Continue reading…

Cramming on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre’s roof for Ethiopian Easter Mass

Photo: Courtesy of Israeli photographer, Ouria Tadmor

The Israeli police do not blink an eye when our party of one Ethiopian and four Europeans turns the corner opposite the door to a Coptic Orthodox chapel and slide through the entrance to the courtyard of the hermitage. Here priests are already conducting the service in a rectangular tent made of panels of clear and flowered plastic. The Greeks and Armenians require impossible-to- obtain passes to attend Easter Mass below in the church; the Ethiopians welcome all to the roof until packed to capacity.

Continue reading…

Orthodox Holy Week and Paschal Snaps Worldwide – 2012

Faithfuls returning from Palm Sunday liturgy at Bole Medhanealem Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Addis Abeba

Continue reading…

Scenes From Fasika at St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Toronto


Continue reading…



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Fasika (Easter) In Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 12, 2012


Church of St Mary of Zion , Axum – photo by M.Torres, via

The solemn liturgical service of Good Friday is attended by thousands of believers. There is a sense of sorrow and desolation. All the symbols, images and instruments used in the passion of the Saviour are publicly exhibited in the church.

Men and women go to church to prostrate themselves, remaining there from early morning till 3 p.m. the hour of the death of Jesus Christ. Believers confess their greater and lesser offenses to the confessor or sit reading their Psalter. It is believed that on

Good Friday blood fell from Christ on the cross and dripped into the grave of Adam beneath and there rose up from the dead about 500 people; the thief on the left was sent into darkness but the one on the right went before Adam into Paradise.

On this Friday the Devil was bound with cords and Christ descending to purgatory (seol) sent forth to paradise all the souls that were in darkness (Seol). Good Friday is a special day for confession.

Why The Good Thief Was Pardoned


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