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SELEDA Salutes

by: B. Makonnen

Lots of people, lots of places:

    Puzzled look and silence.

Lots of people, lots of places:

    Your country has the most beautiful women in the world.

Lots of people, lots of places:

    Ohhh Ethiopia, really.....after which follows some long story about how they spent time in some other African country doing whatever and blah blah blah. 

Lots of places, lots of people:

    Ohhh Ethiopian, really, do you know so and so?

Walking to the movies, uniformed street sweeper in South Beach, Florida:

    I knew you was from the islands girl. I knew it.  Do they have more pretty girls like you over there?

Meeting with one of my neighbors for the first time in Austin, Texas:

    Effiofia?  Where is that? Somewhere in Africa?

Random stranger on a street in Manhattan:

    I knew you were either from Ethiopia or Urethria?  Ain't I right?  You still got famine over there or are y'all doing all right now?

Talking to a cab driver in Rio de Janeiro:

    Ethiopia, you guys are good runners.  Yeah, I always watch you in races.  There is Haile Gebremariam and the woman Fatuma (of course with great mispronunciation, but he at least knew the names).  Yeah, I love running.  Do you run?  You know we say here that you guys are good runners because you always have to run away from the lions........HA HA HA HA.

A woman I meet for the first time at a party in Austin, Texas:

    Ohhh Ethiopia, do you practice genital mutilation there?

Ethiopian convenient store worker:

  Nesh inde, ennenma tiq'ur messelshiN.

Early eighties, I am a little over ten years old exiting a Thrifty's in Los Angeles, double scoops of ice cream in hand.  Three very tall, bearded, dreadlocked, Jamaican men dressed like diaq'ons from church:

    No reply, as I watched with my mouth open, they, all three, bowed down to the ground.  I walk away, with my friends asking me what the hell just happened.

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