Yoga Journal Pose of the Day

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

borders


November 2008:

When I revisited this photo the other day, it made me laugh at my naive enthusiasm. You see, I can see the road in the photo that leads from the top of Entoto, northward. There is a boundary at the top of Entoto, a boundary that marks the beginning of Oromo territory to the north of Addis. And that road, in the photo above, is already in Oromo Territory.

Where the road crosses into Oromo Territory, there is a check point. But I, on one of the occasions we had to cross here, didn't really notice the armed guards (yeah, I know: again!). I was thinking simply, "a boundary", like state lines, or crossing into another province in Canada. Sometimes we even have a colourful billboard at the border: "Rah Rah, and all that." But farthest from my mind was that it might be a hostile border!

However, as soon as my companions mildly suggested that taking photos of the border might not be a good idea, I noticed the armed guards! One of my friends teased me saying, he made it a habit not to photograph people carrying guns!

I remembered other "border crossings" in other parts of Ethiopia. The shared histories of the Amharas, Oromo people and other ethnic groups in Ethiopia does not mean that things are all that friendly between them. They may be a united front to outsiders, but there are hostilities within the nation. Of the many political groups who represent the interests of the Oromo people, some are in direct opposition to the current Tigray-led government and human rights groups have condemned the government's persecution of the Oromo people on many occasions.

So, even though the guards looked rather relaxed, even sleepy, I put my camera away!

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