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Old 12-14-2011, 01:04 AM
 
Location: Macao
12,673 posts, read 18,861,966 times
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Default Everything you know about Ethiopia & Eritrea...

These are two very overlooked countries...but both are quite exotic, completely different from elsewhere in Africa, have a very long history and culture that goes very far back.

What do you know (or don't know) about Ethiopia and Eritrea...?

A much-needed thread on this part of the world.

Last edited by Tiger Beer; 12-14-2011 at 01:44 AM..
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:07 AM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
completely different from elsewhere in Asia,
Maybe because they are African countries.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:35 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,651 posts, read 7,103,456 times
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Had it been any other poster Tiger Beer, I would never have replied to this thread. I hold you in some small esteem.

I don't know much about either Ethiopia or Eritrea. Ten years ago I couldn't have picked out either one of them on a world map to save my life. But for the last four years I have been working for a business which employs many Horn of Africa people. They are really quite fascinating and I am often humbled in their presence.

I will reiterate just one story, part of which I squeezed out of a new employee just a month ago--and then I got laid off--so the details are not yet clear.

He is a very handsome 32 year old Eritrean. A custodian in a retirement community. We smoke outside squatting on the curb, I give him cigarettes.

His English is sketchy but he is still very eloquent, he has been in America for a year and a half. I ask him how he came to be a custodian in our lovely community.

He tells me his story. At 18 he was kidnapped at gunpoint by the Eritrean militsia and forced into service where he was abused and underfed. After 7 years he escaped by boat to Yemen. In Yemen he was able to acquire documents of Ethiopian citizenship and he then went to Dubai where he worked in the [slave labor] construction industry for 4 years. In Dubai he got a tourist visa and went to Brazil. He took a bus from Brazil to Venezuela, where he threw away the Ethiopian passport. After this he had no documents of any kind whatsoever. Nothing.

From Venezuela to Columbia, from Colombia to Panama by boat, from Panama to Honduras, Guatemala to Mexico, crossed into Texas from Mexico on foot. Made his way to Seattle and applied for asylum which was granted.

This man who mops floors for a living went half way across the world on his wits and his will, without language fluency or a single document to his name--and now has a full time job where he is well respected and will undoubtedly rise into better things.

Tiger Beer, you and I have both been expats, you will have to concede that these are extraordinary people with superb survival skills. I_am_in_awe.

The Horn of Africa is from whence modern humans arose and then fanned out across the earth. Their language is one of the most ancient. They are an amazing people.

It is terrible to see their current circumstance to be so dire. Heartbreaking.
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:16 AM
 
Location: Macao
12,673 posts, read 18,861,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Had it been any other poster Tiger Beer, I would never have replied to this thread. I hold you in some small esteem.

I don't know much about either Ethiopia or Eritrea. Ten years ago I couldn't have picked out either one of them on a world map to save my life. But for the last four years I have been working for a business which employs many Horn of Africa people. They are really quite fascinating and I am often humbled in their presence.

I will reiterate just one story, part of which I squeezed out of a new employee just a month ago--and then I got laid off--so the details are not yet clear.

He is a very handsome 32 year old Eritrean. A custodian in a retirement community. We smoke outside squatting on the curb, I give him cigarettes.

His English is sketchy but he is still very eloquent, he has been in America for a year and a half. I ask him how he came to be a custodian in our lovely community.

He tells me his story. At 18 he was kidnapped at gunpoint by the Eritrean militsia and forced into service where he was abused and underfed. After 7 years he escaped by boat to Yemen. In Yemen he was able to acquire documents of Ethiopian citizenship and he then went to Dubai where he worked in the [slave labor] construction industry for 4 years. In Dubai he got a tourist visa and went to Brazil. He took a bus from Brazil to Venezuela, where he threw away the Ethiopian passport. After this he had no documents of any kind whatsoever. Nothing.

From Venezuela to Columbia, from Colombia to Panama by boat, from Panama to Honduras, Guatemala to Mexico, crossed into Texas from Mexico on foot. Made his way to Seattle and applied for asylum which was granted.

This man who mops floors for a living went half way across the world on his wits and his will, without language fluency or a single document to his name--and now has a full time job where he is well respected and will undoubtedly rise into better things.

Tiger Beer, you and I have both been expats, you will have to concede that these are extraordinary people with superb survival skills. I_am_in_awe.

The Horn of Africa is from whence modern humans arose and then fanned out across the earth. Their language is one of the most ancient. They are an amazing people.

It is terrible to see their current circumstance to be so dire. Heartbreaking.
Thanks for the compliment, and great contribution as well.

That's been my observation of every Ethiopian/Eritrean I've met, although I haven't met relatively few. But just very interesting people with very interesting lives. A certain regal-ness as well.
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:34 AM
 
Location: rain city
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For reasons unknown to me, Seattle is chock full of Somalis, Ethiopians, and Eritreans. Unfortunately it is not possible to ask around as to why there are so many of these east Africans here, as it would strongly be considered to be 'politically incorrect'. (I've tried)

In the workplace they do a fantastic job. One wonders, seeing them in the hallways, what each of their stories are and who they are.

They seem very successful. And they get nowhere near the respect they deserve. Americans just.don't.care.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Europe
6,059 posts, read 5,199,697 times
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My limited knowledge of Ethiopia came first from learning about Haile Selassie in high school, and the teacher expanded on the brief bit about his appearance at the League of Nations by resurrecting a folder of photos from an old National Geographic which were devoted to his coronation as emperor. It was an eye-opener as my idea of Africa at that time was limited to the implemetation of Apartheid in the Union of South Africa as presented in a Catholic magazine my parents received, and American films that ran a rather limited gamut from Trader Horn to Tarzan.

My aunt loaned me her copy of The Blue Nile, which had a considerable and fascinating portion devoted to the ursurper emperor Theodore. And much later when I became interested in the origins of Christianity I came across St. Mark, the Copts and thus, much about Ethiopia. Their religious tradition and art are a wonder.

In the 70s there was an Ethiopian restaurant in the next street called, appropriately enough, The Blue Nile.

Finally, in the 80s I had the opportunity to meet and know an Ethiopian Coptic priest. AIDS was raging in NYC - a disease at that time confined to gay men and blacks, and throughout the US the most virulent homophobic campaigns were being enthusiastically waged, and with virtually no opposition, by Christian religious groups.

A group gay men in NYC had began soliciting donations to provide a shelter for those gay men who had found themselves ejected from their jobs and apartments, and were in some cases dying in the street - one literally freezing winter morning as I arrived at work on East 24th St., the police had just taken away the dead body of a white young man in his 20s marked with tell-tale KS lesions, who had died in the doorway during the night. This group, with the help of the City, managed to purchase an abandoned hotel for the purpose. Their search for a clergyman who would act as a chaplain to the residents did not fare well. The Catholic priests approached ran afoul of a tangled skein of objections from their superiors, and those Protestants solicited danced a wary dance because of their fear of what their congregations would say.

Enter Father Peter, a gentle, compassionate Coptic priest who had no qualms. He was as exotic to the life experience of the residents as if he had come from the moon, but this loving, giving man became as beloved as he was loving. And, ironically I think, his highly religious, conservative congregation of Ethiopian immigrants not only had no objections to his work, when he invited the staff and residents to visit his congregation for a celebration of the Coptic liturgy they were greeted not only with warm hospitality but actual physical embraces.......this at a time when Ryan White's pastor would not even shake his hand in church.

What very little respect I have left for American Christians and their Christianity is due in very, very large measure to this immigrant Ethiopian Coptic priest.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
4,964 posts, read 3,251,402 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Had it been any other poster Tiger Beer, I would never have replied to this thread. I hold you in some small esteem.

I don't know much about either Ethiopia or Eritrea. Ten years ago I couldn't have picked out either one of them on a world map to save my life. But for the last four years I have been working for a business which employs many Horn of Africa people. They are really quite fascinating and I am often humbled in their presence.

I will reiterate just one story, part of which I squeezed out of a new employee just a month ago--and then I got laid off--so the details are not yet clear.

He is a very handsome 32 year old Eritrean. A custodian in a retirement community. We smoke outside squatting on the curb, I give him cigarettes.

His English is sketchy but he is still very eloquent, he has been in America for a year and a half. I ask him how he came to be a custodian in our lovely community.

He tells me his story. At 18 he was kidnapped at gunpoint by the Eritrean militsia and forced into service where he was abused and underfed. After 7 years he escaped by boat to Yemen. In Yemen he was able to acquire documents of Ethiopian citizenship and he then went to Dubai where he worked in the [slave labor] construction industry for 4 years. In Dubai he got a tourist visa and went to Brazil. He took a bus from Brazil to Venezuela, where he threw away the Ethiopian passport. After this he had no documents of any kind whatsoever. Nothing.

From Venezuela to Columbia, from Colombia to Panama by boat, from Panama to Honduras, Guatemala to Mexico, crossed into Texas from Mexico on foot. Made his way to Seattle and applied for asylum which was granted.

This man who mops floors for a living went half way across the world on his wits and his will, without language fluency or a single document to his name--and now has a full time job where he is well respected and will undoubtedly rise into better things.

Tiger Beer, you and I have both been expats, you will have to concede that these are extraordinary people with superb survival skills. I_am_in_awe.

The Horn of Africa is from whence modern humans arose and then fanned out across the earth. Their language is one of the most ancient. They are an amazing people.

It is terrible to see their current circumstance to be so dire. Heartbreaking.

wow, amazing story!!
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:42 PM
 
189 posts, read 288,331 times
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Not looking on wikipedia.

I know both are in East Africa, and both are Muslim countries.
I know Adis Ababa is Ethiopia's capital.
When I think of Ethiopia, an stunning gorgeous African supermodel comes to mind and I don't know why.
Unfortunately, I don't know much about Eritrea.

So is Djibouti. This should be Eritrea and Djibouti. These 2 countries, I know nothing of.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Macao
12,673 posts, read 18,861,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choroneko View Post
Not looking on wikipedia.

I know both are in East Africa, and both are Muslim countries.
I know Adis Ababa is Ethiopia's capital.
When I think of Ethiopia, an stunning gorgeous African supermodel comes to mind and I don't know why.
Unfortunately, I don't know much about Eritrea.

So is Djibouti. This should be Eritrea and Djibouti. These 2 countries, I know nothing of.
You're right about Djibouti. Also beautiful people, I think I've heard of at least one major supermodel coming out of there. However, Djibouti is 94% Muslim.

Nothing wrong with that in itself, but just seems more inaccessable because of it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Lake Forest, CA
1,797 posts, read 5,092,202 times
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Without looking at any other web source or book, here are a few of my thoughts on the two lands beginning with E on the Eastern horn of Africa.

Eritrea was not an independent country until a couple of decades ago, after they fought a war of liberation against Ethiopia in the 1960s and 70s. As a former resident of the East Bay area in northern cal, I remember seeing some ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front) posters about this in various bookstores and coffee shops in Berkeley and Oakland in that era.

It is pretty common historical knowledge that in the 1930s Italy under Il Duce (Mussolini) invaded much of the eastern horn of Africa including Ethiopia / Eritrea and tried to set up a colonial empire there until Mussolini's downfall near the end of WW2 in 1945. Consider this, just 15 years later the 1960 Olympics Games were hosted in Rome. Picture a low ranking policeman from Ethiopia, Abebe Bakila running barefoot through the streets of Rome during the Olympic marathon. Imagine Bakila heading into the Olympic stadium in Rome with the rest of the field not even in sight when he crossed the finish line. Without a doubt an epic moment not only in sports, because he was the first black African to win a gold medal, but as a way to turn the tables around on the past. It was probably one of the most celebrated events in the history of 20th century Ethiopia, which is a good thing because the 20th century had a lot more bad times in that part of the world.

When I ran in cross country in high school (late 1960s), there was a poster of Bakila on the wall in the classroom of the teacher who was also our coach. The message of the poster was simple - look at the determination of this guy who had almost nothing in his favor. That is how I learned the story of Bakila and it has stuck with me since then.

Today it is almost assumed that in most long distance running events involving international runners, somebody from the highlands of East Africa will be one of the leading contenders. Before Bakila came along, that was not the case.
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