He has authored nine books, including two in which he contributed chapters. It is already available online via MeshCart and will be officially released this week. Book signing events are scheduled in Washington D. The book has been widely promoted on social media. His fans and detractors are waiting to see what Tesfaye has written about this time. Among the Oromo he is hailed as a hero.
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He has authored nine books, including two in which he contributed chapters. It is already available online via MeshCart and will be officially released this week. Book signing events are scheduled in Washington D. The book has been widely promoted on social media.
His fans and detractors are waiting to see what Tesfaye has written about this time. Among the Oromo he is hailed as a hero. His decision last month to become Oromo and change his name as per Mogaassa custom has endeared him even more to his many Oromo fans.
Tesfaye is keenly aware of this charge. Tesfaye has found a niche, focusing on untold stories and uncovering hitherto falsified historical accounts. From its title, Ye Jamila Inat gives the impression that the book is about Muslim socio-political problems in Ethiopia. In the book Tesfaye recounts her Muslim background and also tells us her given name was Jemila. Tesfaye adds that Haileselassie, who had Oromo, Muslim and Gurage background, hid or disowned his family roots to protect his throne and to be accepted into the Orthodox Amhara-dominated system.
Tesfaye is a political writer and keen observer of Oromo-Ethiopian politics. The book also spills the dirty secrets of other past Ethiopian leaders: from relationship to awful deeds they committed against the masses to stay on power. There are also a few chapters dealing with the relationship between church and state.
In one instance, Tesfaye writes about how the official state religion, the Orthodox Church, passed a decree urging people to fast Wednesdays and Fridays and how that was later changed to Saturdays by another decree from the Catholic Church.
It underscores the trials and psychological trauma the people of Ethiopia endured in the name of religion. And the violent history of forced conversion and expansion of religion, both Islam and Christianity, to Ethiopia. It made me question not only the faith of those leaders but also why God allowed them to do those things.
It is these kinds of perennial questions and the war between the two churches that forced Abba Zerayakob to take refuge in the forest, according to Tesfaye. While there, Zerayakob prayed and questioned God, searching for answers. He wanted to understand which God is the real God, who he was praying to, who gave him wisdom, why he was there, etc.
Zerayakob hated humans because of their inability to question. He was angry about the fact that people believed they knew a lot and did not want to explore more. After years of contemplation, Zerayakob came to a conclusion that others believed their religion was the right one, much the same way he thought about his own. He subsequently gave up christianity and a religious life.
Overall, Tesfaye has ably and artistically weaved so many historical events into such a short book. Ye Jamila Inat is a snapshot of historical accounts, culture and indigenous knowledge, life in exile, ethnic tension and politics in Ethiopia.
Those who read and liked his previous works would greatly enjoy reading this book. Tesfaye is one among those who are curious about the other side of the Ethiopian history.
It is also clear that history books are open ended and inconclusive even in countries that developed a culture of documenting and writing well ahead of Ethiopia. In this respect, Ye Jamila Inat will be a great addition to many contemporary works about Ethiopia by historians, writers, film producers, artists and so on. As such, instead of trying to suppress a voice different from that which we have been led to believe, it will be better to interrogate both sides of the Ethiopian story so as to use it to understand the past.
That is the only way we can shape our future and not repeat the ugly mistakes of yesteryears. Ye Jamila Inat.
Tesfaye Gebre Kidan
My e-Shoe Box February 26, at pm 59 comments. For some reason, that felt important. It felt like a truth that needs to be told. He is an Eritrean who had a fall out with the Ethiopian government when the two countries went to war a decade or so ago!
Ye Jamila Inat and other tales by Tesfaye Gebreab
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