23 October 2016

Ethiopia: Merits of Myth

opinion

It is myth that stand the world. Myth doesn't emerge out of a vacuum it has its own base. The existence of countries is also the reflection of this reality. Israelis people were dispersed throughout the world and they made exodus or a journey of conspiracy and found their nation based on the order of the myth. The chronicle or glory of kings of Ethiopia (Abyssinia) also narrates about the history of Ethiopian ancient kings and their power during their reign. Moreover the myth that narrates the story about the relation between King Solomon and the Queen Sheba is the bridge that relive and strengthens the tie between Ethiopia and Israel. Assuming this, the two nations have envisaged consolidating their relationship especially in literature, which is one of the channels, via which, flows myth.

Recently, a programme which revolves around integration and strengthening of Ethio-Israel ties in literature was held at the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage Hall. Executives from Israel Embassy, members of Ethiopian Writers Association, media partners and the art family were in attendance at opening event, Ethiopian Writers Association President Dr. Mussie Yakob said, the relation between the two countries goes 3,000 years back. The two countries have been enjoying religious, cultural and historical ties for a long period of time. Though the nations had only a religious tie at first, later the relation had grown to an overall cooperation in various areas of interest including the administrative structure. He said that in the religious sector, the nations have been exchanging cultural features through literature. The ancient Ethiopian parchments mainly deals with Christianity and Israel. Therefore, while translating the Bible and deepening their faith Ethiopians were understanding the culture of Israelis as well. The occurrence of this happening is mainly due to literature. Therefore, to renovate the country's bilateral relation in literature, the Ethiopian Writers Association is on the right track, Dr. Mussie said.

A Memorandum of Understanding MoU, due to be signed between the two writers associations is also under preparation. It is believed to consolidate the countries' bilateral tie in the literature sphere. It will facilitate conditions which allows Ethiopian writers go to Israel for training and reciprocally the Israeli writers to observe ours and to share their experiences. The MoU is highly hoped to be instrumental in the development of literature among the countries.

Beside facilitating such opportunities that would enable members to draw lessons from the international literature community, the Ethiopian Writers Association (EWA) is organizing various programmes that are mainly concerned on ennobling writers, promoting readership and commemorating nation's literature icons. According to Dr. Mussie the association has been engaged in providing annual training on the craft of literature for junior writers. It has been also organizing panel discussions in which a certain literary piece is criticized by book reviewers or writers. Reader also have their say on the matter. Recently, the government has given the association a 3,000 square meter land. As such it is gearing up to construct a Headquarter of African Writers' Association.

Therefore, the consolidation of the association is very supportive in the development of art and culture not only in Ethiopia but also beyond.

Expressing his belief Dr. Mussie noted "Literature is the door-gate to display nation's feature to the rest of the world."

On the occasion Prof. Haggai Erlich from Tel-Avive University presented a paper on the historical ties between Ethiopia and Israel. He stressed mainly on the two people's each others' perception. As to him, Ethiopians views Israel as their own blessed country and land of hope. On the other hand, for a long period of time Israel has been a strategic partner of Ethiopia. Israel has been supporting Ethiopia through agriculture, army, education and so on.

The translation piece of the Kibre Negest (the book relating about the glory of Ethiopian kings), which is translated recently by a Professor from Tel-Aviv University was sold out like a hot cake to get out of market soon. He believed that the Bete-Israelise has a great emotion to dig out their roots. And they need also to do that, for the reason that they have a quest for recognizing identity. Therefore, to escape out from this societal crisis they need to investigate their origin in order to develop self confidence.

According to his observation, most of the 1960 and 70s Ethiopian newspapers were published placing focus on the unfolding pertaining to the relation with Israel and some of the points were certainly focused on the political affairs in Israel. The news and articles revolved more on this spheres and their main cause was the effect of the religious contact.

After making a wide research and observation he wrote a book which narrates about the lifelong national sacrifice and patriotic zeal of Ras Alula Engida or Alula Abanega. And the book had got a great appreciation from the then Chief of the Nation, Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam.

"In 1970s, Addis Ababa was a big village not a big city. However, today Addis has hopped on the citadel of affluence boasting of concrete jungles. Nation's construction skills are growing parallel with the town's development."

He believed that today's world is shrinking into a global village. Economic transaction is also displaying a similar trend and the two countries need also strengthen their ties in all facets of life. This will help the two nations to keep up and transform their inter-religious and historical ties into multipurpose collaboration.

Tal Ben-Ari Yaalon is a Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Ethiopia. She is among the embassy workers, who are actively engaging in facilitating the opportunities for the close contact among the nations' writers associations. She said that literature has been the main tread in consolidating the relation among the two countries. It directly correlates to the bible in general and the story of contact between King Solomon and Queen of Sheba in particular.

She also said that the two countries have been cementing their bilateral ties in the art of literature for a long period of time. Today, Ethiopia and Israel envisages tightening up their bond and creating a close relation using their literature through nations writers associations.

Therefore, to continue our journey as a sovereign and visionary state, our country needs to develop its historical myth through various mechanisms and mainly via literature. We need to keep on sensitizing the legendary myth of our forefathers to the new generation so as to help the youth to develop self esteem and patriotism. On the other hand we could develop our art especially the literature sphere using past features of the nation for creativity or a standing point. Is is also a better alternative taking bilateral ties to new heights and sharing experience with the developed friendly countries.

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