Cultural Appropriation

A debate about cultural appropriation recurs in literary circles. I recall Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s List, debating it to himself. What did he know about the Jews and what they had suffered? The book should be written by a Jew, he reasoned, in the same way that a First Nations author should have written …

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Meeting Feyisa Lilesa

One lonely Saturday afternoon in my apartment at the Bingham Academy compound, in Addis Abeba, I had reached that low point known to most writers. I had travelled to Ethiopia for several reasons, among them the yearning to find a story – a really good story. I hadn’t found it and soon I would be …

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Memories of Ethiopia

As I write this blog, Ethiopia is engaged in a civil war. By now the world will have heard of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Tigray, Mekelle, Sudan, Asmara and other names in the news. No matter how closely you follow the conflict from afar, you cannot be sure of the facts as they vary from …

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Make A Picture

The pilgrims, bundles on their backs, staffs prodding the track, walk with purpose. They are on their way to Lalibela, otherwise known in its northern Ethiopia location as the New Jerusalem or the Second Jerusalem. They make this journey a few times a year. Ethiopian Orthodox Christians from towns and villages are travelling, mostly on …

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First Impressions

Ethiopia is an ancient, enigmatic land, known for its endemic drought and famine, but also famous for its long distance runners. I knew this much when I went to the country in 2016, but nothing could have prepared me for the multitude of scenes that assault the senses as soon as the airport is left …

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