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This image has floated around social media, and even though a white person is used for the “Ethiopians,” given how few Ethiopians manage to get their side across in Western media, I still think it’s fitting

If you’re an ally of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people, you might feel pretty frustrated about now. I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re wasting time on the wrong battles.

The TPLF has managed to play the Western media like a fiddle. It began the conflict, boasting through its sock puppets like Kjetil Tronvoll that “battle hardened troops” would make for a long fight. And the media ate that up. Those same troops were humiliated in a couple of months, but then the spin masters moved the conversation to “When would the Abiy government…

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Today, there are news websites full of Debretsion Gebremichael’s statement from an audio recording — even without confirmation whether he’s still alive or when it was made — and I feel I have to say something.

That’s because I’ve seen even intelligent, reasonable people with good intentions and hearts sharing and retweeting this thing and passing it along, without thinking it through. And it is revolting to me that the headlines of the big media are “‘Genocidal war’ waged in Ethiopia region, says ex-leader” [BBC] and that he “vows extended resistance.” [Reuters]

Once again, despite the complexities of the situation…

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A country’s soul is more than its borders, its current government, its debt and exports.

You won’t kill its soul with false narratives, academic journal articles and insults on social media.

Ethiopia is ancient, bigger than the whispers and the noise, replenished by its own resources and faiths, its people’s remarkable ingenuity and courage, its diversity and its unity.

Ethiopia goes on because its people believe in it.


I have now read my umpteenth article that pushes an alternative reality that one of the oldest nations in Africa is somehow a fiction.

You could fill up a whole day…

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Evelyn Waugh would have a field day with what’s happening in Ethiopia right now. The talented author of Brideshead Revisited and Scoop was a racist little creep sent out by a rightwing, pro-Fascist newspaper in 1935 to cover Mussolini’s invasion. Just to give you an idea of the man, he wrote home to a friend, “I have got to hate the ethiopians more each day goodness they are lousy & i hope the organmen gas them to buggery [sic].”

Then as now, the government in Addis Ababa didn’t want the horror or embarrassment of a foreign correspondent getting killed at…

Ask folks who were there in the 1970s and managed to survive the ordeal about the Derg. Ask them about the horrible misery caused by a cult of Marxist psychopaths, the slaughter of innocents and the rapes committed. A British ambassador to Ethiopia was once asked who introduced Communism into Ethiopia, whether it was Chinese or Russian agents. “There was no need,” he replied. “The revolution was largely brought about by British and American Communist school teachers and university lecturers.”

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It makes sense. It’s hard to convey just how powerful an influence Western teachers can have in the developing world…

If you want to know the history of modern journalism in Africa, it starts with “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?” A news article about one white guy going off to find another white guy, a missionary, in what today is Tanzania. In the newspaper account, the Africans were pretty much scenery.

The situation did not get better with time. The correspondents who showed up to cover Ethiopia’s confrontation with Italy in 1935 were disappointed when talks at the League of Nations dragged on and the shooting wouldn’t start. They were pissed off that there was no spectacle, so most of them…

People have sent me the clips and ask me about the video in Seattle, showing the clash between Diaspora protesters for Oromo nationalism versus those who still believe in a united Ethiopia. Jeez, as if I have answers.

No, I won’t link it here. It’s ugly, uglier than the video of the clash in Calgary. If you’re going to ask me, okay, I’ll give you my thoughts, but you may not like them.

First: the labeling. It is incredibly counter-productive and dangerous to label the protesters, even those in this incident as Islamist. Yeah, yeah, yeah — please save it…

So a while before I wrote this, BBC World just gave maybe five to seven minutes to the 166 reported dead so far from the violent protests. A smart, young Ethiopian reporter, Zecharias Zelalem, presented the facts without bias and as candidly as possible, pointing out that free and open journalism isn’t being allowed to operate in the country. He did his best. And because it’s damn television, of course, there was no effort on the producers’ part to ask him proper follow-up questions and get to any depth. The whole segment ended on an easy throwaway of “ethnic violence.”…

The Amateurs Portraying Themselves as Publishing Sages

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Jeff Pearce (bald guy) responding to an audience question and blathering on, seated with the University of Toronto Theatre Erindale’s cast of the 2015 adaptation of How to Make Love in a Canoe: Sex in Canada

A few years ago, when it looked like I might get some mild career traction in terms of screenwriting, I managed to have a phone conversation with a large literary agency in Toronto. As a prospective agent chirped all kinds of advice for me (but I hadn’t signed with her yet), she urged me to go out and get books by Syd Field.

And then my heart sank, and I knew I could never have this person as my agent. Because it was clear she didn’t know a goddamn thing about writing and quite possibly the movie business.

For those…

Part Two

Okay, you might ask, it’s easy enough to bash Red Sea Diving Resort for its cultural deafness and white savior tropes, but what do you got instead? Well, any of you who have read my posts before probably know I have worked with others over the past couple of years to try to get Prevail adapted into a documentary and one day, a feature film.

For those of you who don’t know Prevail, you can buy the book here. Very quickly: in 1935, Ethiopia had to defend itself with spears and antique rifles against a modern invasion by…

Jeff Pearce

Writer person. Books - Prevail, The Karma Booth, Gangs in Canada; in June 2021, Winged Bull, a bio of Henry Layard, the Victorian era’s Indiana Jones.

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