Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ethiopian night life...Addis Ababa

Ethiopians love the night life. Addis Ababa is a party-goers’ paradise. Add those two together and you’ll have the perfect formula for a dusk-till-dawn jamboree. There are bars, pubs and clubs all over the city that cater to every customer’s taste and style. The beauty of it all is that it is easy on the pocket.

Although watering-holes rise and fall with the fads of the moment, here are a few current not-to-be-missed ones:

• Beer Garden Inn
Located in the Bole Medhanealem area, this is the place to start the evening off at. With a choice of beers that is mind boggling; the place is reminiscent of taverns in folklore.

• Black Rose
Need a cozy place to sit and chat while downing a cold St. George beer? The Black Rose on Bole Road is the place. The music is wonderful. It’s a favorite with the local and expat communities.

• Harlem Jazz
This place is for jazz and reggae lovers. There are live bands with the sweetest Caribbean and black tunes. The place starts to jump after 23:00. Every few hours a bonfire is lit, so enjoy a breather during the breaks. The location is right at the end of Bole Road.

• Club Alize
More live shows? From classics to Ethiopian folk to oldies to reggae and rock anything goes here. A walking distance from Harlem Jazz...but up a level.

• Club Illusion
This is the place to end it all. The DJs keep the beat, and the crowd, pumping till dawn. The crowd is on the dance floor, not the bar, here. It's right next to the Ambassador Theater, and like all secret goody-spots it's down in the basement.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ethiopia…Keeping the Faith

                “The Book of Eli” and “Legion” are two amazing movies. Watch them back to back and you are thrown into deep self-scrutiny.  It’s almost 4 hours of staring at the screen, but never are you let to wander away from the story. If one really watches the movie with all senses opened, never are you far from the guilt. It is the audience, each and every one of us that is the cause today of what the stories tell us will happen tomorrow. They are stories of how man loses faith and succumbs to greed. Or keeps faith and is saved.

                In “The Book of Eli” it is faith that keeps the story going from one end to the other, literally. And in “Legion” it is the lack of faith and the eventual discovery of it that is at the heart of the story. The first is of a man named Eli trying to restore the old civilization and re-introduce faith into a world that has been forsaken and destroyed. And in the second it is because of faith that the world is saved from total annihilation. Anymore said, and this article becomes a spoiler.

 Critics have said that the movies looked like computer games or that it was all too surreal to be capturing and were actually turn-offs. And it’s certain that there will be some religious people that will be offended by one or another part of the movies.But let us look at some quotes from the movies:

  •        From “The Book of Eli”
o   “People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn’t. “

  •           From “Legion”
o   Gabriel: “I would not have shown you such mercy.”
o   Michael: “That is why you failed.”

That being said, the main question remains, is it true? Have we all lost the faith? Is faith dead? Are we getting too greedy? Will the lack of our faith be the end of us? Are we becoming too proud? Can we ignore the fact that whether theologically or scientifically we are paying dearly for our sins? Can we ignore the floods and the earthquakes? …  Or are there people that still keep the faith?

The faith is still strong in one country. There are still people who fear God in this country. They still mention God at least once a day when they answer the question “How did you spend the night?” or “Good morning.” The answer is more than likely to be “Egziabher Yimesgen!” which means “May God be Praised!” This land has people that thank God for the needs they have had fulfilled and not for the wants that remain unanswered. These people have absolute faith that they sometimes follow the rules without even understanding it. This type of faith is of the purest one, for it is blind. This land is Ethiopia and the people, Ethiopians.

While there is no evidence that Atheists exist in Ethiopia, the power of faith is abundant everywhere and can be seen without too much scrutiny. From the people who though poorer than dirt, yet give to an even less fortunate soul, to the passerby, upon seeing a church doesn’t pass without obeisance and paying respect. It is in the knowledge that man will be paid back in a hundred fold for each and every favor he does on earth. It’s in the love and brotherhood, in a country where Muslims and Christians live side by side in peace and respect. It’s in a land where religion is a big issue, but not the difference of one’s religion from another’s. It’s the faith one has in his religion that makes it all right about the others’. It is in the tears of millions that are shed at the loss of a few.

Like Eli said: “He just led me there…” Ethiopia is being led out into the light. We need to keep the faith. We must know that it is the faith that has helped us survive. And the day we lose the faith is the day we will fall.

We can all learn a lesson from these two movies, and they are worth an investment of both time and money. It’s the simple things that restore faith, and it’s the simple things that show us whether we have, or not, lost our way.

We need to keep the faith.