Sunday, June 09, 2013

What have I been reading?

Before leaving for Ethiopia, I picked up several books on the country. So far I've read:
  • A History of Ethiopia (Updated Edition) This was a fairly academic history. After struggling through several chapters trying to get a visual map of the different tribes and dynasties involved, the modern history was much more relatable, if not cheerier.
  • The Emperor A journalist's lyrical account reconstructing the last days of the Imperial reign inside the palace in Addis Ababa. Most memorable part was looking up the journalist afterwards and seeing he'd been revealed to be a spy/collaborator with the Polish secret police.
Last weekend, I had lunch at Lime Tree, a very expat focused cafe (menu includes humus/mezza, Indian thalis, lots of sandwiches and pizza, plus they do Wok Wednesday and Tex-Mex Tuesdays/Thursdays). Afterwards, I stopped by the attached "BookWorld" and picked up some local English-language periodicals.

Having read through most of these on the trips to and from Awassa, I feel I've learned something about both 1) the local news environment and 2) current debates around the direction of Africa's economy and politics (there was a lot of Pan-Africanism talk, which links to the recent 50-year anniversary of the African Union, celebrated in Addis).

For now, though, you get the superficial descriptions I jotted down before making my way through these fine publications:
  • The Reporter Motto: Free Press Free Speech Free Spirit, Logo: "Rescue Press freedom from the hangman's noose" with aforementioned hangman, noose, victim, and stool being kicked away. Nothing in here actually felt too controversial
  • Ethiopian Weekly Press Digest Each section is split into "In government media" and "In private media"
  • ZOMA: Addis Ababa's Monthly Magazine This glossy seems to aim for the Lifestyle Magazine segment. Cover stories include "The African Union and the Changing Faces of Security Threats in Africa" and "Hip-Hop for Social Change"
  • Ethiopian Business Review Cover story : From Doom to Bloom, top bar: "The Man with 900 Million Dollar," touting an exclusive interview with the representative of the African Development Bank
For what it's worth, I've also been reading travel guides, briefing documents for work, lots of to feel connected, and--intermittently--Tony Judt's Thinking the Twentieth Century.

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