"ma" to "ba": a time-space syndrome.

For the benefit of a few I rehash below what most of you know only to well. So, let me begin, with the story of the 60's in Australia.

Before and during the 1960's Australia paid people to come from Europe and settle in Australia. An Indian, who traveled to Great Britain, married a Brit and both decided to settle in Australia. While in Australia, the Indian visited different realtors in an attempt to buy a plot of land but none too successfully. When his white wife visited the realtors she was shown different plots and at quite reasonable prices. In the evening when the couple determined which plot to buy, the Indian is supposed to have said the following.  You see my dear the Australian mind like the Australian land is vacant but fenced.  Of course those days were in the past.  The Ethiopians had a different set of experiences.

During the Second World War an Ethiopian notable, Dej. H, who served as a "baldera" to a British Captain who took a garrison from Addis to Nairobi, apparently had an astounding experience. When the captain asked how far Nairobi was, Dej. H had told him that it was just across the mountains. After traversing several mountains the captain wished to assess the time left for travel, and inquired of Dej. H if returning to Addis would take longer time than proceeding to Nairobi. Dej. H replied that it depended on what he wanted to do.  If he wanted to return to Addis, Addis is closer.  However, if he wanted to proceed to Nairobi, then Nairobi is shorter. The story indicates that Dej. H saw the will of a person as the measure of the time-space syndrome.

In an earlier period, two high-ranking military leaders of Ethiopia of the late 1890's are said to have quipped to each other about a place as follows. One of them, (Dej. BAN) referred to a place as "yetemarknebet", while the other (Fit. HG) corrected him and suggested that he refer to it as "yetebarknebt".  Dej, BAN was laughing about the days while they were kids, while Fit. HG was emphasizing the contributions they made to Ethiopia. Hence the change from "ma" to "ba" encapsulates the time dependency of attitudes as exemplified in the story of the Ethiopian notable.

And so it is when we try to learn from Ethiopians that had seen it all.

HG, 6/15/06/