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Dispatches from the Colder War
By: GT

Press Release from Sara Girma ------- Monday, March 11, 2002
Ten-year old Sara Girma just learned today that she has gotten straight As again for the sixth quarter in a row, proving yet again her intellectual, as well as overall, superiority among the children in the Teferra household. Eight-year old Sammy Girma, as is typical of him, could barely muster one A, and that was in Art, which, as everyone knows, is a course for dummies who can color within the lines.
"I am really proud of you," Girma Teferra said in response to this momentous occasion, confirming his belief that Sara is indeed vastly superior to her good-for-nothing brother. Sara was beginning to become concerned with "Daddy," as he is otherwise known, and his recent trips to the park with Sammy, believing that there might have been a shift in the power balance between the two siblings. Daddy's comments today reaffirmed his commitment to Sara as the better child.
Demonstrating the expectations she has of her gifted daughter, Blaine Mekonnen noted, "I expect no less of you. You have always done well. Keep up the good work." It won't be long before Ms. Mekonnen begins inviting Sara to her book club meetings and/or archaeology digs.
This latest development demonstrates that Sara Girma's sphere of influence is indisputably strong over the key area of intelligence and academic achievement among the Girma children. Respected neighborhood pundit Rahel Mesfin commented, "Now that your superiority has been confirmed, Sara, lets play with our dolls." All agree that Sara richly deserved the accolades heaped upon her today by Daddy and Mommy and that she more than earned this opportunity to play.

Press Release from Sammy Girma ------- Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Sources close to Sara Girma have confirmed to Sammy Girma that Sara smells. This revelation comes as no shock to Sammy Girma, as he had long suspected that she was a smelly jerk.
Sammy has mounted a vigorous and responsible campaign in the past few months to educate the public, and specifically his parents, about Sara's smelliness because he sees a direct link between the smelliness and Sara's jerkiness. "The fact that she is smelly and a jerk is no coincidence," Sammy noted.
The confirmation today of at least Sara's smelliness and jerkiness came from a respected source who was very close to her. The source who wished to remain anonymous but goes by the initials "R.M.," provided vivid detail, over Snoopy snow cones, about both how and why Sara smells. The conclusions R.M. had reached were uncannily similar to the facts Sammy had been disseminating as part of his campaign.
Mom, as she is properly known (not "Mommy," as the afore-mentioned smelly jerk calls her), commented, "Sammy, I don't know about that." Mom's uncertainty clearly demonstrates her concern that Sara's smelliness and jerkiness may be tearing apart the fabric of an otherwise happy home.
"Be nice to your sister," noted Dad, demonstrating a touching sympathy for his smelly jerk daughter, but perhaps underestimating the extent to which Sara's smelliness and jerkiness can, and will, be ultimately problematic. "I understand where Dad is coming from in some respects," Sammy said later, "But we cannot trivialize this issue because whether or not one is a smelly jerk is really about freedom and whether you support democracy."

Press Release from Sara Girma ------- Friday, March 29, 2002
Daddy reaffirmed today the primary place Sara has in his heart by hugging her first after coming home from work.
Breezing by Sammy Girma, Daddy wrapped his arm around Sara in a moment that demonstrated to everyone in the family where his priorities lie. Sammy, playing Madden 2002 at the time on the family's Playstation 2, was oblivious to the slight, but in the end his ignorance will provide no shelter from the unavoidable truth that, among the Teferra children, he places a distant second.
Sara asked esteemed former secretary of state Henry Kissinger for his thoughts about the conflict in a question and answer session after a presentation he gave at Sara's school earlier today about the new World Order. "It is all about coming to the negotiating table and coming to some sort of lasting agreement, with both sides making sacrifices and commitments. The most important question you will have to ask yourselves at the outset is, of course, what shape will that table be? I like triangular tables because they are pointy. Square tables are even pointier. Frankly speaking, there is something menacing about circular tables."
Press Release from Sammy Girma ------ Sunday, March 31, 2002
Sammy Girma demonstrated why his yellow belt in karate was so richly deserved as he delivered a punishing blow to Sara Girma after a heated dispute over the last of the orange juice.
"What have you done?" Dad yelled, clearly marveling at the skill and beautiful savagery of Sammy's blow to Sara's shoulder. Rather than respond, Sara wept uncontrollably and effectively conceded defeat. As Master Chang has said many a time to his prize pupil, "Most defeat comes from a weakness of the heart and the mind." Those words, as they relate to Sara Girma, could not be any more true.
Sent to his room to meditate on what he had done, Sammy concluded that his growing physical superiority just might alter the balance of power among the Girma children, tipping it irreversibly in his favor. The stoic "Teddy," Sammy's bedtime companion of the past five years, provided his usual silent support in his typical best friend/bear-like way.
Mom, at a book club meeting, was unavailable for comment.

Press Release from Sara Girma ------- Sunday March 31, 2002
Daddy affirmed commitment to pacifism and Sara's superiority today, while issuing a stern rebuke Sammy Girma for an act of wanton savagery.
Sara was maliciously attacked earlier today by Sammy after she had staked a legitimate to the last of the orange juice. As recounted in numerous Discovery Channel shows Sara has watched, inferior creatures tend to be more territorial and prone to lashing out violently when they feel threatened. The threat here is clearly the esteem in which Daddy and Mommy hold Sara and her exemplary juice acquisition and drinking skills.
"Apologize to your sister," Daddy demanded, "what you did was wrong and inexcusable. I don't know what has gotten into your guys lately." After giving a tepid apology and an unconvincing explanation, Sammy was sent into confinement for an indefinite term.
In an unrelated development, Rahel Mesfin recanted comments she made about Sara earlier this month. Angry that Sara had made a date to play with Maria Ramirez and did not invite her, Mesfin said that she made comments in anger about Sara that were not true. "I was mad," Mesfin explained. Sara accepted her apology, and both pledged to work towards strengthening the friendship between these crucial allies.

Press Release from Sammy Girma ------- Monday April 8, 2002
Dad and Mom revealed exciting news today that the baby Mom is going to have in June is another boy, providing Sammy hope for an alliance that would allow him and the new arrival maximum access to his parents love and attention.

"Mom and Dad have indicated that babies require a lot of time and attention," Sammy noted, "an alliance with this baby will not only help me maintain my status in the family, but possibly enhance it. The fact that he is a boy will make the forging of an alliance easier."
The good news came on a day where Sammy demonstrated his unmatched athletic prowess by scoring three goals for the Meadowbrook Red Wings 7-8 year-old boys soccer team, leading them to an 9-8 come from behind victory. Dad congratulated him by taking him out for ice cream afterwards, something that he notably has not done with Sara since her mediocre violin recital last fall, which was roundly panned by most critics, including Teddy and Sammy's imaginary friend Afreworkie, the talking spider.

Confidential Memorandum of Understanding between Sara and Sammy Girma ------- Wednesday June 5, 2002
In light of the developments of June 3, 2002, Sara and Sammy Girma (collectively, "the Parties") recognize that it is necessary to join forces and work together to combat a new scourge that threatens to undermine our position and prestige within the Girma family. The Teferra family is now facing the growing threat of the spread of "Beniyamism," a movement that has begun to infect the Teferra household and must be neutralized as quickly as possible. After consulting with their cousin, respected neighborhood elder and "cool crowd" eight grader Thomas Woldemariam, and taking advantage of the wisdom and experience with such matters that he has accumulated over the years, the Parties have come to the following agreement.

Background: On June 3, 2002, Blaine/Mommy/Mom gave birth to the Parties' new collective enemy. Despite weighing only 7.5 pounds and being only 22 inches long, the new arrival in the Girma household, Beniyam, is an eating, pooping and yelling machine that has drastically altered a carefully crafted balance of power between Girma/Dad/Daddy, Blaine/Mommy/Mom, Sara and Sammy.

Beniyam makes constant and harmful demands on Sara and Sammy's parents such as: (i) waking up repeatedly during the night and demanding food, (ii) vainly making cute faces and gurgling noises during the course of endless attempts to garner the parent's attention, and (iii) unfairly demanding the attention of the Parties' parents' friends, who previously doted over the Parties in an appropriate, reasonable and appreciated manner.

Objectives: Weakened by a lack of sleep and/or Beniyam's manipulative charm, it would be easy for the Parties' parents to be lulled into a false belief that Beniyam is somehow better than the other children in the Teferra household. Beniyamism cannot be understated or underestimated and must be addressed immediately; it poses a clear and imminent threat to the stability of both the Teferra household and the neighborhood as a whole. Beniyam's arrival marks the beginning of extraordinary times requiring the Parties' to take extraordinary steps.
The Parties agree to take necessary steps to:

  1. Strengthen their positions as the children of choice in the Teferra household; and
  2. Limit the spread of Beniyamism, which threatens to undermine peace and stability in the Teferra household.

Covenants and Promises: The Parties agree as follows:

  1. The Parties pledge to do nothing which undermines their respective standings with their parents. While it is as yet undecided which of the Parties is superior, it is clear that Beniyam is inferior to both of them, and his efforts to destabilize the Girma family with his constant demands and forced co-dependency must be neutralized. Such neutralization can only take play if both Parties are in a position of strength.
  2. The Parties agree to begin a policy of constructive engagement, offering to help Girma/Dad/Daddy and Blaine/Mommy/Mom feed, clean up and otherwise take care of Beniyam. By doing so, the Parties seek to show how indispensable they are to the household, while pointing out -- through their actions -- how dispensable Beniyam is. To that end, the parties shall supplement this policy of constructive engagement with a public relations campaign aimed at demonstrating how much better the family would be if they traded Beniyam for a bike (Sammy's preference) or a hardbound set of the Lord of the Rings books (Sara's preference).
  3. The Parties agree to provide various forms of assistance to one another in order to bolster their position within the household. To that end, Sara will assist Sammy with his homework, and Sammy will help Sara develop her athletic skills. The collective objective is to make both better and more competitive against the growing threat posed by Beniyamism.

While delegating Beniyam to a lesser position is the short-term goal of this agreement, the Parties' longer-term goals remain the same as they were before Beniyam's arrival: to establish and maintain a position of superiority among the children of the Teferra household. Nothing in this agreement is intended to abrogate any previous positions taken by either of the Parties nor is it meant to be a tacit approval of any one of the Parties' previous statements of positions on any issues. Upon satisfactory completion of the objectives laid out in this memorandum, to be confirmed in a final review by Ms. Mesfin and Mr. Woldemariam, the obligations and promises in this memorandum will cease to be operative and the Parties' status will revert to as they were as of June 2, 2002.

With these steps, the Parties hope to restore some stability to the Teferra household and a sense of normalcy. It is with trepidation that the Parties take this grave step, but the Benyaminist threat is great, and the Parties' cause is just. The Teferra family has entered a daunting new era, and it is the Parties hope that this Memorandum of Understanding is step back in the right direction.

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