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To: Mandefro

From: Alemé

Selam, Mandisha. Sorry it took me so long to respond, but life in sidet makes allowances for no one, not even Seleda. I'm glad the Editors were kind enough to let us take longer to deliver these LDs. Me, I was expecting one of those Qarya Tfi messages from their Mail Editor (isn't s/he one of the scariest people you've ever been exposed to?! I pray daily that I don't find one of my silly emails on the Mail Editor s/hit list!).

So, now that we've spent a week together in the pool (my skin is getting rather wrinkled), have you changed your mind about us not being on opposite sides, or will I have to find yet another path of least resistance? Answer carefully, 'cuz those paths are getting hard to find. YlQun's let's find some classes we can both be part of, or better yet, ones we both don't belong to, so that we can sit here and point fingers, and giggle senselessly -- we're not doing nearly enough of that.

How about a swim across to the other side of the ocean to start the search process? Have you been to Addis Abeba lately? There is something beautiful about going home, so I thank my stars every time I am able to go. But there's a part of me that dies every time I see how things have changed, and people with them, since when I was a kid. There is a certain voracious appetite for THINGS as opposed to ideas or goals, but then I look around here and we're no different, either. So we can both be part of the QraQmbo class -- having come of age in a time of deprivation makes all of us seek to accumulate stuff, as if to prove we still exist. And it can't be just any, it has to be stuff that will catch the eyes of others just like us. The car (lately, the four-by-four is the "must have" here and over yonder, too, but let's not forget the old Honda/Toyota standbys), the clothes, the leather furniture, the right companion. Sadly, as you get older, it still continues ... the right spouse, the house, the kids and even the household help. Some get it all; some have to be content with just some...others steal to get it...still others work around the clock to have it but then never enjoy it...there are those who get it only to pass it on to more voracious family members or in-laws or hangers-on. Tegebku yemil Tefa!

No? Then how about something more upbeat? I don't get an overwhelming sense that any of us is supremely happy. Tell me, is there a FindQdQ yalu Happy Class somewhere? Because God knows that's the one I want to enroll in -- even if it means I have to grow up and conform to some pre-determined norm. YIKES! Did I just say that? I plead that the court strike that last sentence on the grounds that it may come back to haunt me. Moving right along...

Wanna be Class Alba? I first typed No Class and realized that may not be something we want to be known as: "Hey, there goes that No Class guy !" :-) Join me in this class-free life, where we somehow not only step outside the boundaries that society puts around us but also peek around the blinders that don't allow us to see what's out there -- beyond the accepted and the acceptable. The silly Americans are no exception...aside from the No Class variety where their membership could be convincingly argued, they are as full of class as any other feudal system based on the toil of the disenfranchised and the downtrodd...oops, there's that Ma-lE Tnat creeping in again. Disregard. So, being free of categories would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Or will we be lost forever wandering around in the fog looking for some boundaries? Too risky. Next up...

We could join the very well attended Le'nE Class of the superbly selfish -- the membership is quite vibrant both here and back home. Very little is sacred except money -- they'd sell their souls and yours, too, at a two-for-one sale if they thought they'd gain something for it. They are the parasites that have fattened up over the past two decades -- who sneer at anything remotely resembling ideals or principles, and who'll step on anyone to get where they want to go, even when it's not necessary. This mercenary crowd scares the living daylights out of me -- hey, maybe we can sic the Seleda Mail Editor on them!? Now that's a warm, comforting thought...

Oh, woe! None of this seems remotely fun! Where can I find a class to really inspire us? I don't dare look to our elder brothers or sisters for this -- poor lost souls, they're even more lost than we are. Nor do I seek the help of our parents, still hankering for the glory days that have long since gone. Our grandparents would be the most realistic advisers having gone through a few upheavals themselves and survived relatively intact; unfortunately mine can't help us much from the Beyond. If yours are still around, maybe they could send a few tips?

Instead, my hope is in the younger generation that I see in the US...those in their late teens and twenties who seem to have gained little of the fatality of our parents, less of the depression of our older siblings, some of the cynicism of our crowd (may I include you in my crowd?) but few of our self-destructive tendencies. They mostly live in the moment -- TODAY. Those who seem to have it figured out are striding along confidently, their love of the "home" country unhindered by mournful memories (and I'll admit, often untainted by reality), their acceptance of life here untouched by bitterness or regret. They are masters of the new media, merging the confidence of knowing they come from proud origins but seeing no reason not to strive for great things here. They talk confidently of things they can do to help their people back home, and actually seem to believe they can make a difference. Maybe they have solutions for us -- maybe it's time to learn from the younger ones, huh?

I leave it to you, my friend...and in the meantime, how about some tea? I take two sugars, thanks.


To: Aleméwa

From: Mandefro

Tea (or coffee in my case) sounded like a good idea. However, after the taxonomic exercise that you did with "Class" in your last entry, the left part of my brain took over and started to break down everything in sight. Suddenly, your most courteous suggestion for us to take tea (I could tell that you believe yourself to be the middle class of tea drinkers as you didn't ask for berad shaye or high tea) and your request for two sugars transformed itself into a rather complicated demand.

Do you take powder, granulated or cube sugar? Brown or white sugar? Cane, corn, malt, fruit or beet sugar? Raw, bleached or processed sugar? Fake or real or? I began to think of the possible combinations of the types of sugar listed above. All of sudden, I thought it would be easier to select the winning lotto number (or for the camel to squeeze through the eye of the needle) rather than choose the kind of sugar you wanted to have with your tea.

Unfortunately, tea may have to wait until we solve this Class thing.

Now where to start? Of one thing I am sure. Unlike you, I am not as ready to accept the dulled Excalibur from my elders, nor am I ready to hand over my sharpened magic sword to the younger generation who have not yet sufficiently toned their arm muscles and spent the night alone in the forest.

I am in my prime. My Excalibur sparkles and glistens as I wield it to and fro between the sunlight and moonbeam. As I turn and look back, I can chuckle at the folly of my younger siblings, flailing their arms and attempting to strike the hyena with a thousand and one blows. As I turn and look forward, I can empathize with the frustrations of my elders who know what to do with Excalibur but do not have the strength to make that one, efficient and effective lunge.

Now, Alemina, let me make the much vaunted lunge to solve this class thing for once and for all.

I don't know about FindQdQ yalu (that maybe asking much, even from Excalibur) but I believe three things-Moderation, Understanding and Decisiveness [MUD]-need to be in place to secure the harmony that you sought in your last entry. All three have been missing from our collective lives for quite some time.

Let you and I conduct the MUD test on the different types of classes that you mentioned. The QraQmbo class that you eloquently described have clearly slipped and received an "F" in the Moderation test. Let's not bother to apply the other two tests.

We'll skip the FindQdQ yalu Happy Class for now. I, like you, do not know where to find them as a Class. I've come across random specimens but I have not been able to determine a pattern. Maybe, I'm approaching the search wrong. I wonder if it would help if we engaged a mechanical engineer? A TenQway? A neurologist? We'll keep trying.

Moving right along to the Class Alba. Ever since we stopped picking berries from the vines in Wendo Genet and spearing buffaloes in the Omo Valley in order to survive, some type of organization has been necessary to regulate the destructive parts of our wefefEnet. If we apply MUD on the Alba I think we'll slip and trip all over the place. Most members of this class OD on Understanding & Decisiveness and have dangerously low levels of Moderation. That is definitely a problem. If a powerful member understands only him/herself and is decisive for his/her own needs the rest of the group won't be Class Alba no mo'.

The Le'nE Class is second cousin to the QraQmbo Class. Their difference? Members of the QraQmbo Class collect not just for themselves but also for their loved ones. Members of the Le'nE Class have mutated into collecting, no grabbing things, just for themselves. The former is an environmental hazard, the later a humanity TenQ. Should we move right along?


I just realized that you switched the categories from Class to Generation immediately after the Le'nE class.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap........Hmmmm.

It's all right. We can still apply the MUD test on Generations just as we did on Classes.

75+ Years Old: Most score A on the MUD test. They are seasoned survivors of the two most turbulent periods of our century (the Fascist Invasion & Occupation and the Revolution). We could definitely learn much from them about MUD and other sticky topics. However, it is too risky to put everything in their hands. Nature knows good things when she sees 'em. She could be a tad impatient and call them before the completion of our project.

60-75 Years Old: The majority score B+ on Moderation and Understanding. However, their GPA is brought down to a C because of the D- they received in Decisiveness. Since they (I'm referring to the educated ones) received their privilege (education and good jobs) mostly on a silver plate they weren't decisive enough with their seniors or juniors. They should have asserted themselves more and demanded greater responsibilities from their seniors while keeping their younger siblings in check. As they saying isat lij amed. [I realize I am being harsh but some kind of reckoning need to take place.]

45-60 Years Old: F in Moderation, C+ in Understanding and A+ on Decisiveness (In other words, the elixir of disaster). I've already ragged on them in my earlier entries so I will move on.

30-45 Years Old: The mixture is boiling and bubbling in the caldron. I am in the concoction myself so I will wait for self-assessment until I move to the next phase (45 to 60), or will await judgement by other generations. Of one thing, I am sure. It is imperative for us to have a solid understanding of the successes and the failures of the generations that preceded us in order to score well on the MUD test. If we succeed, then the generation behind us (18-30 Year Olds) will not be naive enough to think (as our immediate predecessors) that they've invented the wheel.

Over to you,


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