Tuesday, September 15, 2009


For decades, Ethiopia has been affected by famine and conflict. During 2009, there have been various reports of internal displacement resulting from conflicts and human rights violations perpetuated by the army and groups opposed to the government. The ongoing conflict in the Somali Region between the army and the Ogaden National Liberation Front, and in the south and southwest of the country with the Oromo Liberation Front, both pose serious security, humanitarian and protection challenges. The impact on civilians has been likened to that of Darfur.

Jack Reeves, the author of the poem below, Ecce Resurrectio!, lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1989-91; he was there during the revolution which overthrew the oppressive and brutal communist government. He obtained the first amateur radio license (ET2A) issued in the country since Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974. http://hamgallery.com/qsl/country/Ethiopia/et2a.htm

by Jack Reeves

Oh Cush! Ancient land,
Time-sculpted, in time frozen;
Rugged, majestic land--
Land of man’s first dim dreams.

Burnt-face, sensual-eyed seductress.
Your stars, brilliant, burning in heaven’s pitch canopy,
Glint ‘round Axum’s hallowed steles,
Penetrating to the altar of Lalibela’s rock soul.

Long Entoto’s hills ululate Meskel’s message:
The True Cross has been found!
Alas, Addis--beautiful flower, must you chant only the dirge
of death? “Ecce Homo, Ecce Homo.”

Blue Nile, Bale Mountains,
That awesome rift rending the land are guardians,
Imprisoning your grave sacrament,
Revered only by a forgotten people forgetful of time.

Oh Ethiopia! My mad mistress!
Come down from your cross!
You’ve lived death too long!

Beyond your suffering,

Ecce Resurrectio!

1. Cush. The ancient name of Ethiopia.
2. Land of man’s first dim dreams: The early humanoid “Lucy” was
   found in Ethiopia.
3. Burnt-face. The name Ethiopian derives from the Arabic-Amharic
   (related to Hebrew and Aramaic) word for “burnt-face.”
4. Axum’s hallowed steles. The sacred Coptic Christian center in
   northern Ethiopia, marked by steles or obelisks.
5. Lalibela. The sacred shrine/church hollowed out of rock at
   Lalibela, near Axum.
6. Entoto. The hills outside Addis Ababa.
7. Meskel. The Easter season, celebrating also the finding of the
   True Cross.
8. Addis Ababa. The capital, often called Addis, meaning
   “beautiful flower.”
9. Ecce Homo. From the Latin/Vulgate translation of the New
   Testament. Pontius Pilate (Roman procurator of Judea; tried and
   condemned Jesus) delivered Jesus before the crowd and said,
   Ecce homo, “Behold the man.”
10. Blue Nile, Bale (Bah-lay) Mountains, awesome rift (the Great
    Rift Valley, where northeastern Africa is breaking away from
    the continent).
11. Ecce resurrectio! Behold resurrection!


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