The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

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        Sunday, September 30, 2007
        Nigerian scam going holy
        Somehow my e-mail address is one of the targets of the on-going Nigerian scam. I thought by now the scammers will be tired of this because EVERYBODY knows about it. But, no. They are going more sophisticated, don't get tired of it and now they are with the UN under the leadership of a Reverend! It's getting very amusing.

        Here is what I received...

        Attention: The Beneficiary,


        We are delegated from the United Nations to Bank of American to pay 100 Nigerian 419 scam victims $3.5 million each, you are listed and approved for this payments as one of the scammed victims, get back to us as soon as possible for the immediate payments of your $3.5 million compensations funds.

        On this faithful recommendations, I want you to know that during the last UN meetings held at Abuja, Nigeria, it was alarmed so much by the rest of the world in the meetings on the lose of funds by various foreigners to the scams artists operating in syndicates all over the world today, in other to retain the good image of the country, the president of the Country is now paying 100 victims of this operators $3.5 million each, Due to the corrupt and inefficient banking systems in Nigeria, the payments are to be paid by Pacific Finance Company Plc under funding assistance by the Central Bank of Nigeria According to the number of applicants at hand ,80 beneficiaries has been paid, half of the victims are from the United States and Asia, we still have more 20 left to be paid the compensations of $3.5 million each only.

        Your particulars was mentioned by one of the syndicates who was arrested in Imo State Nigeria as one of their victims of the operations, you are hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this message to him [hopefully, he's not a reader of this blogsite] for any reason for whatsoever, the US secret service is already on trace of the criminal.[That explains the two buff guys in black outside my house] For more vital information, you will receive your compensations payments via a DRAFT PAYMENTS and not a WIRE TRANSFERS; I shall feed you with further modalities as soon as I hear from you.

        Yours faithfully,
        Rev.Father Anthony M. Ani,
        De-facto Chief Compensation Officer,
        United Nations Compensation Committee,
        (United nations Anti-fraud Comm)

        I'm enjoying these e-mails.
        posted by Fikirte @ 4:35 PM   0 comments Digg!
        Thursday, September 20, 2007
        Whose tree is it anyway?

        It is tolerance month at the school of my children. My daughter's class has been studying tolerance in all its forms and shapes. We've been busy creating posters, collecting quotes and definitions. This afternoon when she came back with more tolerance homework, both of us were... well, intolerant saying "we get it. We have to be tolerant..."

        In the aftermath of the Jena, Louisiana saga, now I understand why it's extremely important to draw the message of tolerance home. The earlier we start hammering the message, the better I believe. I am convinced because of this. Working in an anti-racism organization in Europe, I was shocked to learn that the EU didn't have a law protecting its citizens against discrimination based on racism until 2000. Article 13 (the anti-racism clause) was adopted in the EU discrimination law with much drama, lobbying and bickering. Organizations like mine were crossing the Atlantic to take lessons from "the Americans".

        Now in the US, I learn that just having a law against discrimination is not enough. What happened in Jena, Louisiana is really the Katrina of race problems in the US. The DA of Louisiana doesn't see noose hanging by white kids to make a point against black kids is not a race issue. Whether the law is clear or not about the racist intentions of a bunch of white kids hanging nooses on a tree to intimidate a bunch of black kids shouldn't be the issue. The issue, as I see it, is that racial tension is barely under a very thin surface despite laws and political correctness in the US.

        So, my two cents - educate, educate and educate.

        "It is thus tolerance that is the source of peace, and intolerance that is the source of disorder and squabbling." -- Pierre Bayle

        "The highest result of education is tolerance." -- Helen Keller

        "Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." -- John F. Kennedy

        Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired. -- Robert F. Kennedy

        "If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace." -- Franklin D.Roosevelt
        I think that's enough.

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        posted by Fikirte @ 9:11 PM   0 comments Digg!
        Things that tickle me - names out of Ethiopia
        There is nothing as entertaining as the names that certain groups of people in Ethiopia get.
        Diaspora: those from US, Europe, Australia - the West
        Elfora: those from Gulf countries like Dubai, Kuwait ..... (ELFORA is an
        Ethiopian company exporting chicken, beef, mutton to gulf countries.)
        Balestra (leaf spring of a car) Ethiopians who
        cling to the diaspora & elfora till their dollar runs out.

        When I was in Ethiopia (zillion years ago it seems) AMCE was the name for
        Eritreans who grew up in Ethiopia (AMCE was the only car assembly company in Ethiopia)

        Just wondering who in the world comes up with such nick-names by itself is amusing.
        posted by Fikirte @ 7:13 PM   1 comments Digg!
        Wednesday, September 19, 2007
        Darfur on video
        Travis Fox, a video journalist has documented the heart-wrenching and worsening situation of Darfur refugees in Chad. Check out the panoramic pictures while you are at it.
        posted by Fikirte @ 7:52 PM   0 comments Digg!
        The ten cannots
        I wonder if William J. H. Boetcker had a vision of current global political, social and economic cock up when he came up with The Ten Cannots in 1916. Don't you think the world would have been a better place if the following are parts of each countries policy?
        • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
        • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
        • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
        • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
        • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
        • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
        • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
        • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
        • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
        • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
        posted by Fikirte @ 8:31 AM   0 comments Digg!
        Monday, September 17, 2007
        Abol buna - an alternative to Starbucks?
        Here is an Ethiopian-operated (plus a Walter) coffee company out of Maryland/Virginia.

        They promise organic, eco-friendly, shade grown coffee and dedication to fair trade. Although the names of the type of coffee they carry are exactly the same as Starbuck's - Sidamo, Harar & Yirgachefe - they are already my favourite source for Ethiopian coffee.

        (Thanks Selam!)

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        posted by Fikirte @ 6:33 AM   1 comments Digg!
        Tuesday, September 11, 2007
        Happy Millennium!
        I don't know how I got caught totally unprepared for the Millenium!!! How many people get a chance to celebrate two Millenuims and how come I don't even have the traditional brand new flowery dress and a new pair of shoes?

        Happy Ethiopian New Year and Millennium for those who stumble on my site and enjoy the following clip...

        This is my absolute favourite song of the old Millennium although sipping tej with a straw looks a bit strange :-D How fun!

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        posted by Fikirte @ 5:37 PM   0 comments Digg!
        Saturday, September 08, 2007
        The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
        Here is a new exciting book by an Ethiopian author, Dinaw Mengestu.

        "Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution after witnessing soldiers beat his father to the point of certain death, selling off his parents' jewelry to pay for passage to the United States. Now he finds himself running a grocery store in a poor African-American neighborhood in Washington, D.C. His only companions are two fellow African immigrants who share his feelings of frustration with and bitter nostalgia for their home continent. He realizes that his life has turned out completely different and far more isolated from the one he had imagined for himself years ago. Soon Sepha's neighborhood begins to change. Hope comes in the form of new neighbors-Judith and Naomi, a white woman and her biracial daughter-who become his friends and remind him of what having a family is like for the first time in years. But when the neighborhood's newfound calm is disturbed by a series of racial incidents, Sepha may lose everything all over again. Told in a haunting and powerful first-person narration that casts the streets of Washington, D.C., and Addis Ababa through Sepha's eyes, "The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears" is a deeply affecting and unforgettable debut novel about what it means to lose a family and a country-and what it takes to create a new home."

        This should be a good one and the reviews are promising. I'm planning to force my book club to do this book next by way of blackmailing - I do the reviews of each book and mainintain the blogsite so I should have a veto power of sorts....

        I'm glad that recently books (at least those I read) are discussing how much people lose when they leave their homeland - whatever the reason may be, escaping brutal regimes, death, poverty or a combination of all of these. Such authors are exposing how overrated the comment "you're lucky that you left your country and you're here" is. People forget or they have no clue that immigrants trade whatever they are fleeing from at home with intense loneliness, a clush of values and cultures and the struggle to "fit in" often at a cost. The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and now this book address that misunderstood concept.

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        posted by Fikirte @ 9:18 AM   1 comments Digg!
        Monday, September 03, 2007
        Music out of Nigeria
        Pammy at African Loft has a nice introductory interview with Nayo, a singer out of Nigeria. Nayo is already labelled as "soul queen". Watch the video below and you will know why.

        Sparrow is her new song that's coming out. NayoSparrow (snippet)

        Nayo is performing at the Ethiopian Embassy in London for the millennium celebration. Just a reminder: only 8 days for another chance to party like it's 1999 (and I still have no plans!?)

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        posted by Fikirte @ 1:18 PM   0 comments Digg!
        Sunday, September 02, 2007
        My favourite writer in Africa
        Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns was in Chad as a goodwill envoy for UNHCR.

        Photo lifted from his website)

        Here is a video diary of his trip. I'm very enthusiastic about this because judging from his books, particulary in A Thousand Splendid Suns, he is a special gift for depicting balance amidst doom and gloom. In the video clip he speaks about the resolve of people "particularly women" who became strong advocates of womens plight in Chad and Darfur. This is huge because normally we are bombarded by stories and images of victims as helpless beings desperately awaiting the help of others. I wondered before "Imagine where the world would be if our leaders and aid workers have such balanced view???" I'm wondering again, just imagine.

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        posted by Fikirte @ 9:24 PM   0 comments Digg!
        The face of VAW

        Kamilat - victim of acid burning The face of VAW - violence against women. It should and can be stopped with enough commitment. Helping one woman at a time is a start.
        Go to the blog
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