Neither Here Nor There: Perspectives on Identity by the Young Eritrean and Ethiopian Diaspora in America

October 9, 2009

Extended Deadline

Filed under: Uncategorized — Habesha Diaspora @ 10:22 am


Due to numerous requests, the deadline for submissions in this book project has been extended to December 31st, 2009.

I am reminded of my freshman seminar class at the University I work at. There is this moment after a question is posed to the group of 30 or so students when they all gaze at the person who has asked them the question; a dead stare encompassed by wide occasionally blinking eyes that makes one question the academic vigor with which the university’s selection process was conducted. I know you guys are smart, I see your test scores and resumes! Why am I getting a vacant stare now? Has it really been that long since I was on the other side of the desk being asked a question that drew a blank for me?

Well, my question for you is: why haven’t I heard your voice? I see the number of hits to this page, but we’ve only heard from a handful of you. Here is the list that I’ve come up with:

– You don’t think you have anything important to say

– You keep saying “Yeah, I want to do that!” but never get around to it because of a busy schedule

– You are just shy

Well, even if you don’t think what you have to say is important, say it any way! You might not think so, but someone else might be moved by what you have to say. Or you may trigger someone else to say something insightful, or not, as well. That is the definition of dialogue. It doesn’t always have to be brilliant, but if it starts and continues it will rise and ebb like waves on the beach.

A busy schedule- I mean. I understand this one, actually. Life is busy here in the states. So how important is your identity to you? How important is it to you to help someone find their identity?

If you’re shy, there is this fancy little thing called a “pen name.” You can make it up. Call yourself Queen Elizabeth if you must. Then you can say whatever you like without fear of judgement or retaliation to your person.

Am I on point or way off? If you have not made a comment yet on this blog… I implore you! I am very interested in your opinion and response to my question: where are the voices?



  1. As I read Liya’s post I am brought back to my college classes. I was one of the shy ones that did not like to speak up in class. I am also reminded that once class let out there was a gaggle of conversation on the topic out the door and on the way to the next class.

    Back to the book project – I know many of you are discussing this project in all it’s possibilities (the good, the bad, and the ugly.) We ask that you let your voice be heard whether by leaving comments on this site (THANKS TO THOSE WHO HAVE!!) or through a submission. Your feedback will inspire others to contribute as well. Your feedback will also help us make this a better final product!!

    I thank you in advance šŸ™‚


    Comment by Habesha Diaspora — October 9, 2009 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  2. I already submitted my project but reading your post Liya it got me all scared that you were ready to kick my A$$ so I decided to make a comment. LMAO….

    Seriously though, people just think about yourself when you were younger and had questions and issues that you couldn’t understand or relate too because of all these new experiences that you are faced with. You could have even thought that you were the only one feeling this way and felt you were the problem. Just put yourself in that position again and how you didn’t have anybody to turn to or even talk to but this project gives you the opportunity to share your experience and advice so you can help others that are probably in need of some guidance or in need of belongingness; this is your chance to make sure that is not going to happen to other young Habesha kids these days.

    BTW………Everyone that is putting this together Kudos to you all.

    Comment by Henock — October 9, 2009 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  3. Thanks Hen – you hit the nail on the head. Your point is exactly what got me thinking about this.

    As for the Kudos – we couldn’t do this without people like you. šŸ™‚

    Comment by Habesha Diaspora — October 9, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  4. lmbo… awww I’m sorry. Don’t worry I would never beat you up. haha! But your comment made my day. Thank you so much for your courage!!!

    Comment by Liya — October 14, 2009 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

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