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

October 15, 2009

Do You Remember Seleda.com?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Habesha Diaspora @ 9:10 am
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seleda header

Or are you too young to have taken an interest in that site?  I remember discovering Seleda.com by accident as a junior in college.  At that point in my life I had grown up very isolated from the habesha community.  In fact I made my first habesha friend as a sophomore at that university – this was the first time I was around another habesha who was anywhere near my age.  We are still close friends today almost 10 years later.  But I digress, Seleda, right?

Discovering Seleda was like being given a window into a world I didn’t even know I longed for.  It meant reading well written and humerous analyses of typical life happenings except it was through OUR lens! Written in a mix of English and Amarigna just like I speak!  The intelligent humor, sophistication, tenderness, and vulnerability with which the authors discussed life, love, hurt, death, longing for home, making a path in the diaspora, and trying to figure it all out was affirming, inspiring, comforting, and like having a piece of home.  Efoy – I said- lelam inde ene yemichigir ale leka.  The best part was that it appeared like the writers had a couple years on me so they provided a glimpse of what might come next in my life and struggles.  It felt like I was given a crystal ball to anticipate and prepare for what may come in my future.  I am the talak between my sister and I and it often felt like I was given the job of explorer who had to go out and forge a road that my sister could later possibly follow with more ease (should she so choose.)  Dad often called me the guinnea pig and trailblazer of the family because my parents learned parenting by trial and error of raising me…you can imagine what that could have been like.  Through Seleda I found my examples to look up to.  I found a place where I could see what normal angst is and how to traverse common pitfalls of life.

Well, I have good news – Seleda is back better than ever at http://www.seleda.com/sep00/index.shtml. I am happy to say they are as  witty, interesting, and humerous as ever.  To make their return even more meaningful for me, if you read the piece In Search of My Identity in the Diaspora by Teninet Bereket you will find some thoughts that very much fall in line with the concepts of this book project.

Enjoy.

PS:  Here is a reprint of a previous Seleda piece that readers of this blog might relate to even more:  http://www.seleda.com/sep00/how.shtml

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August 31, 2009

Sample Writing

Just for discussion, inspiration, etc. I thought people could share work they have done in the past. These are just for sharing and will not be considered for the book (those will need to be formally submitted.) Book submissions of course do not have to be exactly like pieces here:

Here is a piece written by my sister Liya:

ethio kids on stage

spaceball

Habeshannete Kurate- on being Ethiopian
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 8:56pm

My colors bleed together
behind this distorted glass
a dimension of my self
stuffing towels into cracks
to fend off shinkurt, berbere
until it is time to feast on
“Erre”… “ewa!”
no licking fingers at this table
no singing at this table
no eating alone at this table
No one left behind
at this table
decorated in elaborate Meskeloch
a luxury woven into everyday
jewelry, hats, shirts, bedsheets, art
everyday.
You musn’t forget Egzihaber Yimesgen
Until the cross burns a place in you
You see the cross at the road between
here and there pointing with all its fingers
Left and Right and Heaven and Hell
Egzihaber Yirdachu, Ye Hagere Lijoch
They will dance a place into eternity
Laugh and praise their way into history
Break bread
at a Crossed place

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