ACADEMIC PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS’ LIVES: NEGOTIATING THE BORDERLINES by ASHENAFI ALEMU ABOYE B.A., Addis Ababa University, 2004M.A., Addis Ababa University, 2011A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Educational Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) April, 2019 © Ashenafi Alemu Aboye, 2019 The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, the dissertation entitled: Academic public in-tellectuals’ lives: Negotiating the borderlines Submitted by Ashenafi Alemu Aboye in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies Examining Committee: Professor Amy Scott Metcalfe _____________________________________________________________ Supervisor Professor Marlene Asselin _____________________________________________________________ Supervisory Committee Member Professor Samuel Rocha _____________________________________________________________ Supervisory Committee Member Professor Handel Wright _____________________________________________________________ University Examiner Professor Teresa Dobson _______________________________________________________________ University Examiner ii Abstract This study presents the life stories of four selected Ethiopian public intellectuals among the diaspora. The overall study is presented in a form of fictionalized narrative based on the en-tire life experiences of the intellectuals. It is framed using the political economy of Ethiopian higher education as its context. Using fictionalized narratives in educational research is a rela-tively recent phenomenon. In the larger debate of the fact-fiction distinction (Brockmeier, 2013), the notion of panfictionality suggests that it is hardly possible to draw a hard and fast dividing line between representations that are labeled as fact and fiction (Brockmeier, 2013). This allows for the possibility of presenting real-life stories in a form of fiction. The intellectuals in this study are selected because they had worked in the academy in Ethiopia, are currently employed in a tenure-track position in North America, and are engaged in addressing the public both as an aca-demic as well as public figure. They were asked to participate in the life story interviews which are informed by the notions of public intellectuals and Jakobson’s (2012) symmetric-criticality framework. Interview transcripts were sent back to the participants for accuracy and validity. The author’s subjectivity, positionality, and other ethical issues are addressed to meet institutional requirements. The fictionalized characters narrate stories related to academic free-dom, public intellectualism, and speech and silence. They narrate vibrant stories. They tell their stories and speak out about issues that matter to them. !iii Lay Summary This study presents the stories of four selected Ethiopian intellectuals in North America. The intellectuals are selected because they had worked in the academy in Ethiopia, are currently employed as academics in North America, are engaged in speaking for the people. To collect their stories, the researcher used life story interviews. The researcher sent the written versions of the interviews back to the participants to check its accuracy, and presentation of the stories as told by themselves. The researcher used the historical contexts of the time the intellectuals lived in Ethiopia and the development of higher education in the country as a context to the story. The researcher’s world views, experiences, and perspectives are acknowledged in this work. The re-searcher observed all institutional requirements and procedures that are deemed necessary to en-sure the ethical conduct of the research. The fictionalized characters narrate vibrant stories and their inevitable memories from their past. They reflect on diverse interrelated academic and po-litical issues throughout the story. !iv Preface This dissertation is original, unpublished, and independent work by the author. UBC’s Behavioral Research Ethics Board (BREB) provided ethical clearance for this study (approval certificate number: H16-02350). !v Table of Contents Abstract iii .........................................................................................................................................Lay summary iv ................................................................................................................................Preface v ............................................................................................................................................Table of contents vi ...........................................................................................................................List of figures ix ................................................................................................................................Acknowledgements x ........................................................................................................................Dedication xiii ...................................................................................................................................Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study 1 .........................................................................................1.1 Background to the topic 1 .................................................................................................1.2 Research Purpose and Questions 4 ...................................................................................1.3 Research Context 8 ...........................................................................................................1.4 Limitations 8 .....................................................................................................................1.5 A Note on Subjectivity 8 ...................................................................................................1.6 Researcher’s Positionality 11 ............................................................................................1.7 Overview of the Dissertation 13 .......................................................................................Chapter 2: Conceptualizing the “intellectual” 16 .........................................................................2.1 Intellectual: Meaning, Origin, and Role 16 .....................................................................2.2 Public Intellectual: A Sub Category? 22 ........................................................................... 2.2.1 The “public” in public intellectual 23 ......................................................................... 2.2.2 The role of public intellectuals 26 ...............................................................................2.3 Public Intellectuals and Public Language 28 ...................................................................2.4 The ‘Declinist’ Narrative 32 ..............................................................................................2.5 Public Intellectualism and Academic Freedom 36 ............................................................2.6 Summary 44 ..................................................................................................................... Chapter 3: The Political Economy of Higher Education in Ethiopia 47 ..................................3.1 Conceptualizing Knowledge Production 48 .....................................................................3.2 ‘Glonacal' Patterns of Knowledge Production 49 ............................................................!vi 3.2.1 The Political Economy of Knowledge Production in Ethiopia 53 ...........................188.8.131.52 The monarchical regime (1930- 1974) 55 .........................................................A. Physical expansion 56 ................................................................................................B. Enrolment of students 57 ............................................................................................C. University governance, academic freedom, and knowledge production 57 ...............184.108.40.206. The socialist (Derg) regime (1974-1991) 63 ....................................................A. Physical expansion 63 ................................................................................................B. Enrolment of students 64 ............................................................................................C. University governance, academic freedom, and knowledge production 65 ..............220.127.116.11 The revolutionary-democratic regime (1991 to present) 68 ............................A. Physical expansion 69 ................................................................................................B. Enrolment of students 72 ............................................................................................C. University governance, academic freedom, and knowledge production 75 ..............3.3 Summary 80 ......................................................................................................................Chapter 4: Narratology in Educational Research: A Focus on Panfictionality 84 .....................4.1 Inter-disciplinarity in Narratology and Educational Studies Research 84 .........................4.2 Panfictionality as the Epicentre 89 ....................................................................................4.3 Panfictionality as a Pre-modern Postmodern 89 ................................................................4.4 Panfictionality for Parallax 93 ..........................................................................................4.5 Ethical Issues in Collecting Narrative Data 97 .................................................................4.6 Between the Real and the Imaginative- A Fictionalizing Process 102 .............................4.7 Summary 104 ....................................................................................................................Chapter 5: Between Speech and Silence (Intersecting Stories) 108 .............................................Introduction 109 ....................................................................................................................A random trip 112 .................................................................................................................Con-fere together 127 ...........................................................................................................Bloody February 130 ............................................................................................................The Game of the Strong 137 .................................................................................................!vii It makes a great point! 144 ...................................................................................................How come? 164 ....................................................................................................................Woman Work 172 .................................................................................................................Sheriff - Sheriff - SHERIFF 177 ...........................................................................................Enat Ultimate Kitchen 201 ...................................................................................................Gold or pedagogy? 215 .........................................................................................................Love-exist-think 226 .............................................................................................................Doctor of Story Telling! 239 .................................................................................................Endnotes..…. 265 ..............................................................................................................................References 270 ...................................................................................................................................!viii List of figures Figure 1. Expansion of higher education institutions in Ethiopia 70 .............................................Figure 2. Trends of enrollment in higher education institutions in Ethiopia 73 ............................!ix Acknowledgements I find it hardly possible to imagine the materialization of my thoughts into a dissertation without the constant support and encouragement of my supervisor Professor Amy Scott Met-calfe. ‘Thank you’ would never suffice to acknowledge the commitment and relentless effort Pro-fessor Metcalfe made to ensure the successful completion of my studies. Professor Metcalfe took extra steps, unusual for most academics I have ever known, in leading me to the fruition of my project. I am fortunate and very grateful to have the opportunity to work with Professor Met-calfe. My supervisory committee members Dr. Marlene Asselin and Dr. Samuel Rocha also de-serve special acknowledgment. I am delighted by the opportunity to work with Dr. Rocha and to explore his collections of classical works in the Humanities from which I benefited a lot. I am very grateful for the support and care Dr. Asselin provided me with during my academic journeys at UBC. It would have been less comfortable to conduct this study without Dr. Asselin’s exper-tise, experience, knowledge of and acquaintance with the context I discussed in this work. Thank you Professor André Elias Mazawi for the passionate love and ongoing support. Thank you Pro-fessors Claudia Ruitenberg, Handle Wright, and Jennifer Chan for imparting your wisdom. Spe-cial thanks go to my parents and my siblings for inculcating in me the idea of courage, en-durance, and faith since my childhood. My intellectual debt is also to Professor Dennis Carlson and Beulah Downing, and Professor Andrew Carlson and Krista Magaw who made enormous contributions to ensure the coming to fruition of my plans during my time as a Ph.D. student. I !x would like to offer my special thanks to the study participants for their willingness to take part in interviews and for working with me in checking the facts and editing the interview transcripts. I acknowledge that I was given a one-year full scholarship in my first year of study and partial financial support in the second year of my study from the University of British Columbia's (UBC) Faculty of Education. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to UBC alumni Dr. Gloria Kendi Borona and Dr. Jeong Ja for their willingness to mentor me as a junior Ph.D. student. Dr. Kapil Regime and Dr. Sharon Stein, faculty members in the Department of Educational Studies (EDST), should be thanked for their support and intellectual conversations during my Ph.D. stud-ies. I thank Erin Williams for copy editing chapters two and three at their early stage. I also thank my entire Ph.D. cohort. Special thanks go to Caroline Locher-Lo and Nadia Mallay for their hos-pitality and sharing their immense life experiences, and Dale McCartney, Stephanie Glick, Suke Padam and Mary Costandy for the wonderful social in Vancouver. I am grateful to all staff mem-bers in EDST, namely Shermila Salgadoe, Sandra Abah, and Alexandra Wozny who made relent-less efforts to make my Ph.D. journey enjoyable and smooth. I want to express my appreciation to all students and staff I met at the Graduate Student Society (GSS) of the University of British Columbia, specially Taran Dhilion, John Ede, Teilhard Paradella, Jun Sian Lee, Philip Karangou, and Keskine Okuowope. I thank my friends Addyson Frattura-Kampschroer, Ahmed Deddo, Dessie Tegegne, Dr. Fitsum Tariku, Dr. Antew Dejene, Kidus Yosef, Neila Miled, Marjann Abdolahi, Mateus Hernan-dez, Ms. Marian Dodds, and Ms. Alganesh Asgedom, Taha Vosta, and Wondimu Geda for their tremendous support and community and social connections. Even though they departed this life, I am morally obliged to mention my ‘uncle’ Mr. Zewdie Feyissa, and my grade eight English !xi teacher Mr. Tesfaye Aklog for instilling in me the dream that I can be an educator. Rest in Peace! I acknowledge that the onto-epistemic perspectives from indigenous contexts greatly influenced my worldview. I would, therefore, like to thank the hospitable Musqueam First Nation, and the Squamish First Nation People for welcoming me to live and study on their unceded territory. !xii Dedication To My Mother Yeshi Maru Senbete !xiii Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study 1.1 Background to the Topic Intellectuals are a specific segment of a society who contribute to the betterment and bet-ter understanding of the human condition. In spite of common knowledge about such contribu-tions of the intellectual, scholars argue that intellectuals’ future is at stake and they are in decline (Carroll, 2008; Jennings, 2008; Kling 2006; Miller, 2006; Schalk, 1997). For instance, Kling (2006) argues that the intellectual will soon “wither away” (p. 164). Similarly, Etzioni (2006) argues that such a being is “an endangered species” (p. 1). Embarking on Foucault’s (1988) no-tion of the non-existence of “such animal” (p. 325), Carroll (2008) also contends that it is not yet known what the end of the intellectual will be. Recognizing the open-ended nature of such multi-farious arguments, a further study into some of the issues related to the intellectual, and the exis-tential threats to the intellectual, will ensure the continuity of academic conversations about intel-lectuals. In a more specific context, studies about intellectuals from the Global South, where the intellectual is in danger, would add multiple perspectives to illumine readers and researchers in this area. Studies related to the public intellectual in the Global South are rarely available. Howev-er, a number of studies that address issues related to academics and/or academic freedom in higher education institutions relate to the current study with the implicit understanding that some academics are themselves intellectuals. Most of the studies related to academics in Ethiopia pri-marily focus on academic freedom and the compliance of higher education institutions with in-ternational frameworks and conventions such as the 1997 United Nations Educational, Scientific !1 and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Recommendation which outlines the duties and respon-sibilities of academics in the higher education sectors (Assefa, 2008; Degefa, 2015). Other stud-ies explore academics’ perception of academic freedom qualitatively (Degefa, 2015), and institu-tional barriers and issues related to collegiality that undermine academic freedom (Ayalew, 2011). In contrast to these, studies that embark on the personal life experiences and individual stories of intellectuals from the Global South, specifically Ethiopia, are rarely available. The per-sonal perspectives of intellectuals regarding various issues ranging from academic freedom to the practical aspects of the public-intellectual engagement are missing from the arrays of literature that are available under the label of educational studies. It is hardly possible to find such studies that document why academics play the role of public intellectuals, why they challenge a status quo and what their experiences look like in such engagements in Ethiopia. My focus on intellectuals from Ethiopia is not only because of my knowledge about the context in which intellectuals in Ethiopia operate, but also due to the historically antagonistic relation between academic intellectuals and the political elites in the country. Moreover, the re-searcher’s positionality which is discussed in section 1.6 of this dissertation also dictates the choice to study the situation of Ethiopian intellectuals than approaching the issue of intellectuals in an overarching manner, including African intellectuals in other countries or black African in-tellectuals in exile in the United States and/or Canada. Scholars argue that higher education in Ethiopia has a history of over sixteen centuries of highly organized religious education by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) (Saint, 2004; Wagaw, 1979 as cited in Telila, 2010). They extend the historical location of the emergence of !2 higher education in the religious tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC). This leads to a possible conclusion that the public intellectual tradition also existed in Ethiopia long before the introduction of the Western idea of the university. In any case, the public intellectual identity entails the task of speaking truth to power and challenging the existing political system. Such a conception of the intellectual still persists. A potential context in which public intellectuals operate is the political economy of knowledge production. The political economy of knowledge production in Ethiopian higher edu-cation system, similar to the reality of the situation in most of the universities in Africa, is char-acterized by inherent complexities which are the result of the influences and pressures exerted by “Glonacal” (Marginson & Rhoades, 2002, p. 281) political and economic institutions. That means, higher education institution exists in, interacts with, and is influenced by three simultane-ously significant dimensions of global, national, and local forces. It is also characterized by trends emerging from the inevitable interactions with such institutions, and related praxis within and beyond the historical context and geographic boundary of the country (Austin & Jones, 2016). At all times, Ethiopian higher education institutions and intellectuals couldn’t escape the inevitable pressures that emerge from coercive regimes, global trends, and cultural dynamics, among others. Similarly, almost all contemporary regimes in Ethiopia encountered resistance from the intellectuals for challenging and meddling with academia. The political-economy of higher education in the country sheds light on such encounters and the context under which aca-demics discharge their duties. Therefore, this study locates the notion and practice of public in-!3 tellectualism in Ethiopia within the country’s contemporary political economy of knowledge production as a context. Mindful of these, the current study specifically focuses on the lived experiences of acad-emic public intellectuals whose personal life stories offer perspectives on the situation of acade-mics, the role of academic public intellectuals, and the challenges they face in committing their lives to their public-intellectual calling. Unlike most of the narrative inquiries that rely on the thematic analysis of narrative data or fictional re-presentation of such data, the current study con-joins narrative research practices in educational research with a concept in literary narratology, which is termed as panfictionality to re-tell the stories of the research participants. The study builds upon existing studies pertinent to higher education in the country while focusing on a small portion of academics who are qualified to be called and hence referred herein to as acade-mic public intellectuals. 1.2 Research Purpose and Questions A vast literature can be garnered about the lived experiences and the challenges of West-ern intellectuals. This suggests that what the Western academic public intellectuals’ experienced in exercising their conscience is well documented. In stark contrast to this, research about intel-lectuals from the Global South and their lived experiences is rarely available. Few studies have examined the situation of African public intellectuals in different contexts (Adem, 2010; Mkan-dawire, 2005; Zeleza, 2006). Some of these are interdisciplinary studies which discuss the intel-lectual in relation to pan Africanism, nationalism, and gender (Mkandawire, 2005; Semela, 2017); others are biographical (Adem, 2010). Zeleza (2006) discusses African diaspora in the !4 United States and “the roles academic diaspora play and can play in African knowledge produc-tion” (p. 209). An interesting perspective worth noting in relation to African diaspora in the Unit-ed States is their representation. Black intellectuals are very small in number in the academy in the United States. For ex-ample, there were only 6.1 percent black faculty members (40, 369 out of the total 707, 345 full-time instructional staff members with faculty status) in 2016 (The Chronicle of Higher Educa-tion, 2018, p. 20). African intellectuals within African continent are represented by a dim stat-uette, if anything; and they exist in institutions where intellectual freedom is combating with “the dual tyranny- domestic tyranny and Eurocentrism of academic culture” (Mazrui, 1978, p. 260). While discussing the Third World intellectuals and their dwindling faith in the ideals of universal intellectual community, Beteille (1980) argues that these intellectuals “confront the re-alities of the distributions of power among nations and reflect on the realities of academic colo-nialism” (p. 4). The reality of the situation is somewhat similar for Ethiopian intellectuals among the diaspora in the sense that they also belong to visible minorities, and they operate in academic environments that are primarily Eurocentric, among others. Studies about Ethiopian higher education institutions and academics fall short of provid-ing a clear picture of the individual life experiences of intellectuals. Such studies focus on the administrative and/or governance issues that relate to academia, among others (Akalu, 2014; Alemayyehw, 1969; Alemu, 2008; Areaya, 2010; Assefa, 2008; Degefa, 2015; Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016; Kenaw, 2003; Molla, 2018). They are not directly related to individual academics’ entire life experiences. Thus, they are detached from lived experiences of individual academics; they lack the human element. It is high time we need to listen to the personal stories of academic !5 public intellectuals in order to understand what it feels like to engage in the (academic) public sphere and beyond. Discussing the public engagement of academics necessitates a particular study that takes into account the real-life experiences of public intellectuals who are also renowned academics. Such discussions about the engagement of Ethiopian academic public intellectuals both in academic and public life would require to reflexively engage in meaning-making, con-strue life events and relationships. It helps to bring the voices and experiences of such individu-als to the attention of academics in the Global North and offer additional perspectives in keeping the conversations about public intellectualism going. Mazrui (1978) argues for studies focusing on the intellectuals in the Global South. He argues that these studies are essential for the intellectuals in the Global North as well as in the Global South because there are values such as intellectual freedom which are upheld by intellec-tuals across cultures. He contends “When intellectual freedom is suppressed in one part of the world, there may be repercussions from intellectuals in other parts of the world” (Mazrui, 1978, p. 357). It is in such connections that the significance of this study about the intellectuals in the Global South is justified from Western intellectuals’ perspectives. Mazrui (1978) also argues for the solidarity of intellectuals across continents in what he calls “pan-intellectualism” (p. 360). This study offers an opportunity for higher education scholars and researchers to enhance their understanding of what it feels like to be an academic public intellectual from the Global South. The current research aims to understand intellectuals’ perspectives on various academic and and public engagements, and various socio-cultural and political contexts that initiate such engagements of individuals. It presents the realities of academic public intellectuals in a form of !6 fictionalized stories to shed light on their life experiences, the challenges they face as well as the values they uphold. In classifying different types of educational research, Coe (2017) notes that the aim of educational research can be described as ideographic, a term which refers to the “aim to understand and explain what is unique and distinctive about a particular context, case or indi-vidual” (p. 10). As a research based on the life experiences of selected intellectuals, this study is ideographic. It aims not only to explain what is unique about the particular context from which intellectuals of the Global South emerge but also to understand the uniqueness of their experi-ence in a form of fictionalized narrative. To achieve this, the study is launched with a general in-vitation requesting participants to tell their life stories as a public intellectual, how they devel-oped a public intellectual identity and what their lived experiences as a public intellectual looks like. The study is guided by the following research questions: How do academic public intel-lectuals from Ethiopia negotiate the personal, the social and the political of their particular con-text in between the Global North and the Global South? How does their public engagement in-teract with academic freedom? In this study, I desire to understand the views of academic public intellectuals about crucial issues such as the role of the intellectual, what drives their public intel-lectual engagement, and how intellectuals see their entitlement to speak out or remain silent about issues that matter most to them and/or their society. I ask participants to tell me why they speak to people as a public intellectual. I ask their views about academic freedom, tenure, speech and silence and whether these issues enabled or prevented their public intellectual engagement from their location as tenured academics in the universities in the Global North. !7 1.3 Research Context This dissertation research is framed taking the contemporary political economy of Ethiopian higher education sector as its context. In line with this, the research will make frequent reference to Ethiopia’s contemporary history, Ethiopian higher education, and engagement in knowledge production as a way to allude to the general context in which public intellectuals en-act, live and re-live their own personal stories. As a fiction-based research, the narration of the lived experiences of the intellectuals will also provide readers with historical and socio-political contexts and perspectives relevant to the stories. 1.4 Limitations This research presents the lived experiences of four Ethiopian academic public intellectu-als living in North America: a female professor and three male professors, all of whom are facul-ty members in tenure-track positions. The researcher recognizes the limitations and risks in-volved in broader generalizations that are based on the real-life situation of such a small number of individuals. It is hardly possible to take such stories for granted as stories that perfectly repli-cate the experiences of all Ethiopian intellectuals as well as all intellectuals of the Global South in exile. However, the stories presented here provide perspectives of at least some public intel-lectuals’ lives and the realities of their situations in the particular context under discussion. 1.5 A Note on Subjectivity As an ethical commitment to the study, the researcher ought to recognize his/her subjec-tive position. This might be because subjectivity “influences how researchers’ interpret their re-search” (Luis & Barton, 2002, p. 2). The researcher is encouraged to reflect on his or her subjec-tivity, as it provides the opportunity “to reflect on whether it facilitates or impedes objective !8 comprehension” (Ratner, 2002, p. 3). Personal narratives are valued for accommodating subjec-tivity, for “their rootedness in time, place and personal experience in their perspective-ridden character” (Personal Narratives Group, 1989b, pp. 263-264 as cited in Riessman, 1993, p. 5). Subjectivity is all about “how one experiences the world as a subject in that world” (Cos-ta & Matzner, 2007, p. 36). It is also related to the concept of self, the latter being defined as “an unfolding reflective awareness of being in the world including a sense of one’s past and the fu-ture” (Ochs & Capps, 1996, p. 21). As an awareness of one’s being in the world across time, sub-jectivity is then “a source of knowledge” (Bruce, 2008, p. 8). Meanwhile, Zahavi (2006) equates subjectivity with ‘self-construction’ (p. 105), Costa and Matzner (2007) consider subjectivity as overlapping with the notion of the self. I engage in reflecting on my own subjectivity to provide readers with some ideas about my own positionality and how it shapes the current study. This is is presented in section 1.6 of this chapter. Most im-portantly, I consider my research participants’ perspective as their subjectivity, and hence as “a source of knowledge” (Bruce, 2008, p. 8) about how they experienced the world. To allow my study participants engagement in unlimited self-expression, I opt for the Personal Experience Narrative as my approach. The Personal Experience Narrative helps researchers to accommodate multiple levels of subjectivity. In line with this, it is essential to note that scholars also draw at-tention to the possibility that researchers can learn from their research participants (Holstein & Gubrium, 1995, as cited in Atkinson, 1998). This reinforces the notion of subjectivity as a source of knowledge (Bruce, 2008). !9 In view of the myriad possibilities of seeing and interpreting the world, it is essential to recognize the complexity of human subjectivity and recall that “Human beings are always in process, existing in multiple places of present experience, and in complex relation to the past and future” (Josselson 1995, p. 37 as cited in Bruce, 2008, p. 8). This allows for insight into “alterna-tive ways (for example, culturally distinct or gender-specific ways) of being, doing, thinking, and knowing” (Bruce, 2008, p. 8). The current study makes use of the Personal Experience narrative in its specific form: the life-story interview (Atkinson, 1998)— to come up with stories of public intellectuals which is a subjective re-creation and re-telling of the past in the light of one’s identi-ty and positionality (Ochs & Capps, 1996). Subjectivity allows the participants to have their sto-ries heard. It opens up an opportunity to represent the voices of academic public intellectuals from the Global South. My subjectivity as a researcher also shaped the final posture of this dissertation beginning from a selection of the research agenda up until the weaving of the stories of the research partici-pants in its current form. In addition to my belief that Ethiopian intellectuals are marginalized, I remain of the opinion that existing types of research in general fail to provide a holistic account of the lives and experiences of individuals, in this case Ethiopian academics. Even though a number of studies generate statistical evidence and numerical data about issues related to acade-mics, including the frequency of violations of academic freedom, salary issues, expansion of higher education and its impact on the quality of performance of the teaching personnel (Alemu, 2008; Assefa, 2008; Degefa, 2015; Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016; Teferra, 2004, 2007; World Bank, 2003, 2010; Yimam, 2008), none of them provide an overarching and storied account of the challenges intellectuals face every day. !10 In addition to my view of the existing research as indicated above, I should also acknowl-edge that my earlier training in English language and literature, and my appreciation for post-colonial African literary works visibly influenced the final outcome of the work, as can be seen in the way the stories in this study are presented, among others. It has also influenced the way I understand the place of storytelling in educational research. These issues influenced me to con-sider employing the notion of panfictionality for it allows researchers to come up with such a dissertation which compels readers to favor subjective understanding and interpretation of sto-ries. Unlike qualitative thematic analysis or other quantitative studies, the narration of the stories and lived experiences in this work affirms the notion of subjectivity in telling, re-telling and in-terpreting stories. Readers also add another subjective perspective in their reading and interpreta-tion of the stories of the intellectuals presented in this work. As a result, this work involves mul-tiple and potentially infinite levels of subjectivity. 1.6 Researcher’s Positionality Researchers should also engage in reflexivity of their positionality, a broader concept which enfolds subjectivity itself (Luis & Barton, 2002). Researchers are able to “bring honesty to the fore” and gain control over self-serving tendencies “through systematic, ongoing reflexivity” (Bishop & Shepherd, 2011, p. 1283). Reflexivity as “a process of self-examination” (Russell & Kelly, 2002, p. 3) helps researchers form clear thoughts about their po-sitionality. Positionality is a "knower's specific position in any context as defined by race, gen-der, class, and other socially significant dimensions" (Maher & Tetreault, 1994, p. 22 as cited in Luis & Barton, 2002, p. 3) and a physical location described by the margin/centre binaries (Hooks, 1984, as cited in Luis & Barton, 2002, p. 3). !11 I struggle to locate myself in terms of the margin vs. centre continuum. On the one hand, I feel I am capable of speaking about intellectual life in the Global South because I was an acad-emic until I moved to North America. On the other hand, I feel that I am not qualified to speak of such matters with my limited life experience while working at a university in Ethiopia. Perhaps, this is due to my being an early career professional, feeling less secure to discuss sensitive issues, or suspecting that my views might not be representative. On the contrary, due to my experience working in different academic and administrative positions, I would also dare place myself in the centre. I now feel that I was in a privileged position within the academy. My thoughts also oscillate back and forth as I think of myself in terms of the insider/outsider perspective. As a per-son who belongs to a country, I may appear an insider who can critically reflect a lot on real-life issues. I am living and studying in Canada now, and my outlook, which is the way I see and evaluate the external world, might have changed after having been influenced by my exposure to Western thought as well as my epistemic uncertainties. My view of the position of academics in Ethiopia is that they are located at the margins of the society. As a member of the academic community, I noticed that academics were considered less influential members of the society compared to other white-collar professionals who are em-ployed in the industries other than the higher education sector. They were rarely heard by their own academic administrators as well as political elites. The cultural productions regarding the life of the intellectual is full of unfavorable portrayals. I was not pleased by the local cultural productions and the narratives about the intellectual in the creative arts. This might be due to my belief that discourses emerging in Ethiopia that undermine intellectuals and academic career in general seem to perpetuate the marginalization of the intellectual in the country. Even though it is !12 still unknown to me whether the local cultural production of such works is deliberate or inadver-tent, a number of works of art in Amharic portrayed a very contested representation of the intel-lectual. For example, in the Amharic novel entitled ራማቶሃራ /Rämätohärä/ (ይስማእከ ወርቁ ፡ 2002) and in some locally produced movies, some of the major characters who are academics were portrayed as incompetent, poor, unethical, and mere political coteries. In general, narratives that disrespect local intellectuals and their contributions to the society are growing. Such representations create unfair and undermining representations of the intellectual class. I believe that this is a dangerous path for a poor nation like Ethiopia to follow, and the cost and unfavorable outcome down the road will be unbearable. This might be one of the reasons why I became eager to focus on the lives and experiences of academics and academic public in-tellectuals. My subjectivity may also have dictated my choice of the research area. In general, my experience, my identity, my location, and my citizenship status as an African international stu-dent, and my experience as a black person and as a guest on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish First Nations may have strengthened my interest and inclination to study the lives and ex-periences of Ethiopian diaspora intellectuals. 1.7 Overview of the Dissertation The sections so far introduced the overall idea of the dissertation. In Chapter two, I dis-cuss the notion of the intellectual and proceed to the explication of the term public intellectual. I touch upon different views about the idea of the public intellectual in order to conceptualize what the term represents. I discuss some of the basic conceptions of the term intellectual to capture the core meaning of the term as well as the semantic constituents of the term public !13 intellectual. These discussions clarify the meaning of the term in the context I intend to use in this study. This will be followed by the “declinist narrative”, a plethora of arguments which state that such a being is disappearing from the face of the earth. I will then relate the idea of public intellectualism and academic freedom to affirm the social status of my research participants as academic public intellectuals. In Chapter three, I present the political economy of higher education in Ethiopia which is a historical analysis of the developments in the sector. This is because the intellectuals whose experiences and life stories are dealt with in this study are originally from Ethiopia even though they are currently employed in North America. In this literature review, I discuss the political economy of knowledge production in terms of higher education expansion, enrollment, academic freedom and governance in the country. I relate the discussion with the situation of intellectuals and how this interacts with the political developments in three regimes in the country, namely the Monarchical regime (1930-1974), the Socialist/Derg regime (1974-1991), and the current Revo-lutionary ‘Democratic’ regime (1991 to present). This is then used as a context to the stories that will be developed latter based on the life story interviews with the participants of the study. It is essential to note that the political economy of higher education is used as context in which acad-emic public intellectuals operate. In Chapter four, I introduce Panfictionality, a concept in literary narratology, as an ap-proach to conduct educational research in the form of fiction. In this section, I make the case that what is termed as fiction-based research actually existed long before its emergence in education-al research in the mode educational researchers claim it to date. I advance the argument that pan-!14 fictionality, though considered by critiques as a postmodern exercise, existed much earlier in the Greek intellectual tradition, in the days of Plato and Aristotle. I draw on earlier works to strengthen the multidisciplinary approach in educational research and the possibility of adopting literary frameworks from narratology to educational studies research. I then argue for the conve-nience of narratology in general, and panfictionality in particular, to present stories that are gar-nered through the life story interview. Chapter five presents the intersecting personal life stories which are written based on the life story interviews I conducted with four academic public intellectuals in the United States and Canada. I will leave the interpretation and evaluation of the story open to my readers, with ac-knowledgment of the complexities of the issues discussed in the narration as well as the intricate web of incidents and emotions, both personal and social, and my own subjectivity and positional-ity entangled and interwoven in the story in some way. There is variation in the narration and in-terpretation of particular perspectives and view points from which the stories are told, be it at the level of the participating characters or the narrators (Jahn, 2017). Taking the fact that people “live stories all the time” (Leggo, 2012, p. xiii) into account, it seems unfair to infer conclusions about the lives and experience of others. The readers of a particular story understand and inter-pret the story as well as connect with the story on different planes of interpretations. I believe that any writer who endeavors to provide readers with conclusions about particular stories ven-tures on the risk of dismissing the feelings and emotional attachments as articulated by the story tellers. For that reason, I do not offer any conclusion to the dissertation in a formal sense, but rather leave the reader to consider implications for this research beyond the present document.!15 Chapter 2: Conceptualizing the “Intellectual” 2.1 Intellectual: Meaning, Origin, and Role It is a challenging task to venture on exploring the etymology and semantics of the term intellectual. As Peter Allan (1987) puts it, “the idea of “an intellectual” has remained so fuzzy, ill-defined, and contentious as to be of markedly limited value in the field of cultural history” and it will continue to be so (as cited in Collini, 2006, p. 16). It is challenging for intellectuals themselves to succinctly define who they are and to clearly explain “their role and relevance in a world of increasing pressures” (Elmeaza, 2014, p. 1). This section lays the basis for the concep-tual clarity of the term, while simultaneously recognizing that “there is no end” to how to define intellectuals (Howe, 2006, p. 71). It then develops the idea that public intellectualism and acad-emic freedom are logically and conceptually related. McGowan (2002) argues that the concept of the intellectual emerged in different times, in different places, and in different contexts. This has resulted in a varying fluid understanding of what intellectuals are—understandings by intellectuals themselves and by others. The term ‘in-tellectual’ has multiple meanings and is characterized by ambiguities and “shifts in meaning across time and context” (Jennings, 2008). The term refers to “men and women given to the ex-ercise of the intellect, but also prone to periodic intervention in public life” (Schalk, 1997, p. 273). There is considerable overlap, particularly in the literature related to intellectuals, between “the terms ‘intellectual’, ‘writer’, and, ‘academic’. A much higher proportion of the individuals who can be described with the label ‘intellectual’ are tenured academics” (Small, 2002, p. 2). As it is the intention of this chapter to establish the nexus between public intellectualism and acad-!16 emic freedom, the semantic gravitation of the term ‘intellectual’ to academics is essential to this study and is discussed in detail in the subsequent sections in this chapter. As a way of entering into the discussion, however, it is essential to briefly touch on the historical origins of the term. A number of writers agree that the term Intellectual first emerged in France during the time of the Dreyfus Affair as a charge against the ‘Dreyfusards’ (Brouwer & Squires, 2006; Jakobson, 2012; Jennings & Kemp-Welch, 1997; McGowan, 2002; Schalk, 1997). ‘Dreyfusards’ is a term developed in France to represent a group of people who advocated for the innocence of Captain Dreyfus. Captain Alfred Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment for an alleged treason when in fact he was innocent. The trial took six years since 1894 and the intellec-tuals, including famous writers such as Emily Zola, joined the circle of protest. The nation was divided into two and the military tried to rescind and suppress the intellectuals’ movement. The people who fought for Captain Dreyfus, and others who advocate for a similar cause, are since then called Dreyfusards (Jennings & Kemp-Welch, 1997; McGowan, 2002). Even though the term Dreyfusards was used with negative connotation, the Dreyfusards attributed fa-vorable qualities to the term, and hence, its use as a specific lexicon to represent individuals of intellect (Elmeaza, 2014; Fleck, Hess & Lyon, 2009; Jakobson, 2012). They reversed the nega-tive connotation of the term “in a classic gesture of resistance, [and] had re-appropriated the in-tended insult, making it a honorific title” (Jakobson, 2012, p. 71). Despite the emergence of the intellectual during the time of the Dreyfusards as discussed above, sociologists argue that the notion of the intellectual was known even in the early eighteen century (Coser, 1965; McGowan, 2002). In the same line of thought, Fleck, Hess, and Lyon (2009) caution readers not to assume that there were no intellectuals before the Dreyfus Affair; it !17 is the existence of the term, not the individuals nor the intellectual tradition, that was non-exis-tent before this time. It is also essential to note that some writers like Beteille (1980) state that intellectuals are “a modern phenomenon, and they come into their own with the beginning of modern history” (Beteille, 1980, p. 26). In the light of the Dreyfus Affair, what constitutes the core of the definition is intellectuals’ and writers’ “action of intervening in politics” (Jennings & Kemp-Welch, 1997, p. 7). The term ‘intellectual’ also refers to “a person having a powerful and trained intellect who is inclined to the activities and/or pleasures of the intellect” and has a “passion” (Lyon, 2009, p. 70) for scholarship and reasoning. The aforementioned discussions of the intellectual revolve around two essential elements: the idea of intellect, knowing, and rationality; and/or pas-sion and engagement. In the same line of thought, Stein (2013) contends that understanding the term intellectual to mean someone who uses his/her intellect sounds both logical and at the same time problematic for the simple reason that it puts everyone in the intellectual category. As a re-sult, understanding intellectuals as people who are “passionate thinkers” would help us better identify the individuals to whom we are referring because such individuals possess not only in-tellectual rigor in their thinking, but also passion that pushes them “to share the excitement of their ideas with others” (Stein, 2013, p. 14). Passion and intellect, according to Stein (2013), are the two inseparable attributes of intellectuals. The function of the intellectual is to critique as an “alienated critic…guardian and gatekeeper” (Epstein, 2006, p. 189). Gramsci (1992) argues that every social group has its own particular category of intellec-tuals. In Prison Notebooks, he explicitly states “By intellectuals, one must understand not [only] those ranks commonly referred to by this term, but generally the whole social mass that exercises !18 an organizational function in the broad sense” (Gramsci, 1992, p. 133). He thus challenges the categorization of intellectuals. Unless it is a matter of the extent to which one contributes intel-lectually, everybody appears to be intellectual in some way, and thus no one would be excluded from the category. The possibility of the non-intellectual dwindles in Gramscian conception of the intellectual. Thus, Gramsci’s (1992) argument leads to the conclusion that all people are in-tellectuals. Gramsci (1992) also stresses, however, that all people do not do the function of intellec-tuals. Beteille (1980) states that being an intellectual can be viewed as a “special or unusual gift,” as well as a “general or universal feature of the human condition” (p. 25). The later claim herein certainly relates to Gramsci’s notion of all individuals being intellectuals. In fact, Gramsci’s def-inition of intellectual introduced readers to the idea of organic and traditional intellectuals, which is foundational to conceptualizing intellectuals in different roles and contexts. Other writ-ers also advanced similar arguments which state that intellectual activity used to happen in churches and mosques, and many other traditions which are manifest in many ways, even in present-day secular universities (Sassower, 2014). Related literature and theories also demon-strate that the concept of the intellectual is discussed more comfortably in terms of the role of the subjects, the actions to be performed by a small segment of the society who are known to be in-tellectuals. This tendency to focus on the role and function of intellectuals in defining who intel-lectuals are leads to the conclusion that the term intellectual evolved to embrace different but overlapping meanings throughout history. Two basic conceptions of the intellectual are worth mentioning in this regard: the concep-tual and the sociological (Beteille, 1980). The former refers to “a certain quality of the mind…to !19 what people, or certain kinds of people are,” whereas the latter refers to “certain occupational roles, or certain aspects of the division of labor” (Beteille, 1980, p. 25). The sociological concep-tion of the intellectual refers to individuals who are engaged in non-manual labour and perform mental or intellectual duties. These categories refer to the many millions of people in the modern societies (Beteille, 1980; Collini, 2002) who are graduates from higher learning institutions. In addition to them, a third category and conception of the intellectual, termed as the cultural con-ception, coexists with the former two and “designates those figures who, on the basis of some recognized standing … are also accorded the opportunity to address a wider audience on matters of general concern” (Collini, 2002, p. 209). The cultural category of the intellectual seems representative of what we refer to as “pub-lic intellectuals,” which will be discussed separately in section 2.2 of this chapter. The political sense of the intellectual, the fourth conception, stresses the intervention in politics, and the fifth sense of the term refers to the free intellectual as someone who is self employed and independent (Collini, 2006; Coser, 1965; Jakobson, 2012). Despite the conceptual clarity these categories of-fer, no one of these terms is exclusive of the others and they “are often used together” (Jakobson, 2012, p. 63). Thus, it is hardly possible to draw a hard and fast dividing line between the five categories of intellectuals mentioned above. It is common among intellectuals themselves to discuss intellectual identities by the role performed by individuals who are considered intellectuals. In this sense, the concern of intellec-tuals consists of “the content of intellectual activities, their originality and their excellence” (Beteille, 1980, p. 25). Bauman (1987) suggests that the function of the intellectual is to “bring[ing] the project of modernity towards its fulfillment” (p. 192). There is a departure in !20 the understanding of the role of the intellectual today. The renowned role of the intellectual of our time is that of an “‘interpreter’ and provider of ‘moral clarity’” (Sandhu, 2007, p. 2). Said (1994) advances a notion of intellectuals as people who distance themselves from conventions. The contribution by Edward Said is probably a ground-breaking one in discussing the role of the intellectual. Elmeaza (2014) argues that “Said’s model has set the standard, as to label someone an intellectual” (p. xvi). However, let us defer Said’s expounding until the forth-coming section, where the role of the (public) intellectual will be dealt with. It seems that Said’s (1994) notion of the intellectual refers to the public intellectual in the conceptual sense of the term or the cultural sense of the term, which involves achievement in a specific field and en-gagement in addressing the public on issues of general concern (Collini, 2002; Jakobson, 2014). Unlike those who define intellectuals by the roles they play, Furedi (2004) argues that intellectuals are not defined by the jobs they do, but rather by their manners, the way they act, and how they perceive themselves. In discussing about intellectuals, Furedi (2004) puts more emphasis on the values individuals uphold than the jobs they do.Thus, being an expert in a par-ticular academic discipline does not guarantee one will be an intellectual. Intellectuals must deploy their knowledge and skills beyond professional confines to comment on and challenge the political order and events of social significance (Furedi, 2004; McGowan, 2002). Thus, according to Furedi (2004), Einstein could not be considered an intel-lectual for having simply formulated universal theories of physics because he did not comment on political and social issues of significance in human life and history. Furedi (2004), like Coser (1965), recognizes intellectuals as people who are mentally distanced from the conventions and !21 pressures of everyday affairs, and considers them to be individuals who possess the desire to act in accordance with their beliefs rather than external influences and pressures. It may make sense to conclude that the term intellectual generally refers to individuals who possess “a certain quality of the mind” (Beteille, 1980, p. 25) such as having a “recognized standing in a creative, scholarly, or other non-instrumental activity” (Collini, 2002, p. 209). It refers to individuals who are passionate thinkers who excel in their intellectual rigor, who are “mentally distanced from conventions and pressures of everyday affairs” (Furedi, 2004, p. 33), and who can be labeled as either philosophers, thinkers, writers, academics, or all of these. They are also individuals who “live for different ideas,” (Furedi, 2004, p. 36), and who are an ‘inter-preter’ and provider of ‘moral clarity’” (Sandhu, 2007, p. 2). In general, to discuss intellectuals seems to be to discuss a particular segment of the society that is independent and recognized for its intellectual excellence and rigor, and to define these subjects by what they do in different so-cial contexts. 2.2 Public Intellectual: A Sub Category? The historical origins and meaning of the term intellectual are discussed above to serve as a springboard to discussing a subcategory of intellectual, the public intellectual. Here, the term intellectual appears more qualified when coupled with the word public, constituting two core el-ements which could possibly be conceived as two separate, as well as interrelated, qualities: pub-lic and intellectual. Thus, the questions What is public? and What is intellectual? require more deliberation. !22 Similar to the attempt to conceptualize the term intellectual, arriving at a succinct defini-tion of what public and public intellectual entail seems not straightforward. The notion of the public intellectual is characterized by “contextual dependencies on national and cultural tradi-tions,”, and “historical situatedness and gendered bias” (Wisselgren, 2009, p. 225-26). Dis-cussing the difficulty of putting the concept in a specific analytical framework, Posner (2013) states “The subject seems formless— the term itself, ‘Public intellectual,’ undefined” (p. 2). However, it is essential and helpful to look into the semantic core of these terms and the exis-tence of any potential conceptual and linguistic overlaps to elucidate the meaning of the term. 2.2.1 The “public” in public intellectual A public intellectual is a person who gives voice to those who lack access to the public arena to address their issues (Barlow, 2013). From this, it follows that the public intellectual is a person with access to a particular space, the public arena, also called the public sphere. He or she has the role of speaking on behalf of others who have no access to such a space, and in fact, pos-sesses the “intellect” that enables him or her to do this. The term public originated from the Greek polis which refers to “a separate sphere of ac-tivity” (Alexander, 2009, p. 19) that involves engagement in discourse, reasoning, argument and rhetoric, among others. Discussing the semantic possibilities of the term public, Lyon (2009) states that as an adjective the term constitutes something by/for a whole community/nation/peo-ple in general; it also refers to something which is “known, accessible to all, done in public”; and as a noun it stands for “a community, or nation or any section of the community considered in some way as an audience for information and communication” (Lyon, 2009, p.70). !23 In general, both etymological and semantic integrants of the term evoke such variants of public, as referring to majority, accessibility, and openness (Brouwer & Squires, 2006; Lyon, 2009). Such variants of meaning and reference to public suggest that the mention of ‘public’ does not always mean one and the same thing (Brouwer & Squires, 2006; Lyon, 2009). This leads to understanding the fluidity of the notions ‘public’, ’publicness’ and ‘public sphere’ (Ryan, 2003, as cited in Lyon, 2009, p. 70). In Britain, the idea of public relates not only to the notion of the public sphere but also to the emergence of “men of letters,” “scholars,” or “intellectuals.” Treat-ing the notion of public and public sphere as semantically equivalent, Lyon (2009) argues that the public sphere is a “fluid one with changing boundaries depending on the nature of particular economic and political processes, but also on the vagaries of fashion and culture” (p. 70). Elmeaza (2014) traces the notion and the emergence of the public sphere in the early 17th to late 18th centuries to “the Salons, the Coffee houses, Royal societies, the literary or table soci-eties, literary journalism” (p. 1), where the exchange of ideas and intellectual debate used to take place. This was followed by the Victorian period in which men of letters, also called literary men or scholars, gained prominence. Elmeaza (2014) also posits a utilitarian view of men of letters who “were basically (a) generalists, their frame of mind is not far from the Victorians’ who were believed to be fact oriented thus they (b) valued knowledge for a purpose” (p. 22). These individuals were known as “moralists, cultural guides and spokesmen for the pub-lic”; they were also known for their moral function, which has greater significance for their soci-ety (Elmeaza, 2014, p. 24). However, shifts occurred in the public sphere due to the rise of the “welfare state of mass democracy,” the emergence of consumer culture shifting the trend from the “rational-critically debating public to a consuming public” in a culture of commodification of !24 knowledge, and “a tendency of professionalism and specialisation” (Elmeaza, 2014, pp. 35-37), which was seen in the growth of science and the emergence of the university. From the beginning of the 19th century onwards, the rise of the university and the development of science, along with the aspiration to build a scientific community/nation, brought about intellectuals of special-ization in the sciences. The heyday of the men of letters had to shift and men of letters them-selves had to question their relationship with their public. Mindful of the origin of the terms public and public sphere and their relationship with the intellectual, a further look into endeavors by other scholars to conceptualize, define, and opera-tionalize the public intellectual is crucial. Collini (2002) defends the ‘public’ role of the intellec-tual as embedded and inseparable from the very essence of being an intellectual. As a result, speaking of such a role of the intellectual is “pleonastic” for the simple reason that “in so far as individuals occupy the role of the intellectual, they are by definition playing a “public role” (Collini, 2002, p. 209). Thus, being an intellectual involves not only talent and creativity but also close connection with a particular audience, and hence, the notion of the public. The no-tion of a wider audience suggests multiple publics moving the discussion from “public” to “publics.” It is not uncommon to find the notion of public as referring to the middle and upper class policy makers, administrators, and professionals. Such an understanding casts aside local com-munities (Brouwer & Squires, 2006; Cushman, 2006). This makes definitions of the public intel-lectual “problematic” (Cushman, 2006, p. 101). However, the notion of the plural, publics, leads to the notion of multiple publics at various levels and locations which in turn opens up the oppor-!25 tunity to “better recognize and affirm the meaningful work that scholars do for local, particular communities” (Cushman, 2006, p. 101). The term public intellectual is a “modern invention” (Brouwer & Squires, 2006, p. 33) and “a fairly recent addition to the vocabulary of cultural debate” (Small, 2002, p. 1). It is often used “interchangeably with classical intellectuals” (Melzer, 2003, as cited in Wisselgren, 2009, p. 226). As a result, it is sometimes challenging to make a clear distinction between public intellec-tuals and the classical conception of intellectuals from the definitions provided by scholars in this area (Wisselgren, 2009, p. 226). Said (2008) also underscores that “the word intellectual unfail-ingly carries with it some residue of the public realm” (p. 20). Thus, it follows that “the notion of the ‘public intellectual’ is redundant, as forms of intellectual production are invariably conduct-ed, produced, and consumed for a literal or imagined ‘public’” (Hill, 2012, p. 155). Clearly, public engagement is an attribute that makes intellectuals public, and public in-tellectuals are those “subspecies of [these] intellectuals, those who believe in the possibility of dialogue with the public” (Stein, 2013, p. 15). In general, it can be argued that an orientation to-ward the “public realm” (to use Habermasian terminology) is an inherent quality of the intellec-tual, and that the notion of public(s) has a bearing on and direct relevance for the public role of the intellectual, as will be discussed below. 2.2.2 The role of public intellectuals It may rightly be questioned why we need to discuss the public role of the (public) intel-lectual as a self-standing entity when it is possible to consider it as being part and parcel of the discussion about the public in public intellectuals. One should be cognizant of the overlap, both !26 linguistic and conceptual, in the notion of the intellectual and the public, as well as the overlap of the intellectual and public intellectual, which is highlighted in the earlier discussions (Collini, 2006; Melzer, 2003, as cited in Wisselgren, 2009; Said, 1994). A look into the role of the intellectual can still be justified in view of the fact that there has been “not enough stock of the image, the signature, the actual intervention and performance” of the intellectual despite “the outpouring of studies about the intellectual” (Said, 1994, p. 10). In fact, this claim is also part and parcel of the interest in researching the current situation of public intellectuals and their challenges, commitments, hindrances and prospects in the practical world. Be that as it may, Hill (2012) operationalizes the term public intellectual to refer to “an individual whose intellectual production is articulated to a non-academic community” (Hill, 2012, p. 155). This conception of the term alludes to intellectuals’ role in addressing the “non-academic community” as one’s public. This foregrounds the idea of accessibility on the presump-tion that the academic community, which could be considered the default public of the intellectu-al, is able to grasp what one offers as the “intellectual production” of one’s intellectual labor. Thus, the role of the public intellectual should be to reach a non-academic public in an accessible language. Otherwise, it could be argued that the role of the intellectual is to address communities in the “civil sphere” (Alexander, 2009, p. 19), beyond academia. In addition to such issues relat-ed to language and/or accessibility of public-intellectual thought, which will be dealt with in the next section of this chapter, there are a plethora of similar conceptions worth looking at to cap-ture the diverse roles of the public intellectual. The (public) intellectual should be the kind of person to defend “innocent victims like Dreyfus” (Howe, 2006, p. 73). Such a person is regarded as “ a moral conscience of the !27 society” (Brouwer & Squires, 2006, p. 31). The very term public intellectual affirms the notion of “engaged intellectuals,” ascertaining engagement in political affairs and criticism of nations (Brouwer & Squires, 2006, p. 33). In the same line of thought, Said (1994) has pointed to “ques-tioning authority” as the main intellectual activity of our time (p. 67). However, Said (1994) also states that “This doesn’t always mean a matter of being a critic of government policy” (Said, 1994, p. 17). These ideas elicit the issue of location, the insider vs. outsider controversy, of the intel-lectual who is engaged in the task of questioning and critiquing authority in any socio-cultural and political context. Reflecting on Said’s (1994) seminal work, Representation of the Intellec-tual, Nagy-Zekmi and Hollis (2012) contend that Edward Said “conceives the role of public in-tellectual as an ‘outsider’ and ‘amateur’ and ‘disturber of the status quo’” (p. 5). Said (1994) himself states that the task of the intellectual is “to unearth the forgotten, to make connections that were denied, to cite alternative courses of action that could have avoided war and its atten-dant goal of human destruction”(p. 17). The notions of “non-academic community” (Hill, 2012), language, and “civil sphere” (Alexander, 2009, p. 19), along with the idea of reaching a public in a clear language, necessitate a discussion which looks into the link between public intellectualism and language. This is dealt with in the following section. 2.3 Public Intellectuals and Public Language A public intellectual can be understood as “a person who seeks communication with a broader audience with the aim of raising the collective, critical consciousness” (Comer & Jensen, !28 2012, p. 135). Such an intellectual “work(s) with and on behalf of a public or group of publics for social and political effect in a language that is understandable to the average person” (Young, 2007, p. 13). She or he works “to convey the importance and complexity of those ideas in an ac-cessible language” (Spizzirri, 2003, as cited in Kushins, 2006). To work with the broader audi-ence, the public intellectual should consider usage of a language that appeals to all audiences in-volved. Such a language should by default transcend specific discursive practices and discipli-nary boundaries that draw the lines between people as professionals belonging to specific groups and societies, and those who fall outside of such circles. Intellectuals who address a specific academic public may exercise exclusionary discur-sive practices, as they are speaking to a limited public in their area of specialization. In this sense, save the notion of the generalist public intellectual who endeavors to reach a wider public beyond professional domains and academic discursive practices (Jakobson, 2012), the intellectu-al employ specific jargon and disciplinary clichés which require not only particular familiarity to decipher the meanings of such jargons, but also professional authority and membership to re-spond to. Certainly, such an individual “who work[s] in any field connected either with the pro-duction or distribution of knowledge is an intellectual in Gramsci’s sense” (Said, 1994, p. 4). There is no doubt that these (specific) intellectuals contribute to the sphere of knowledge and also address specific publicus. The problem, however, lies not in the issue of the intellect but in the issue of accessibility and intelligibility of the content they are referring to. Such intellectu-als “speak and deal [in] a language that had become specialized and usable by other members of the same field, specialized experts addressing other specialized experts in a lingua franca largely unintelligible to unspecialized people” (Said, 1994, p. 7). In this sense, the intellectual’s contri-!29 butions to the sphere of knowledge can hardly serve the purpose of universal improvement of the human condition without simultaneously excluding a large portion of the “unspecialized public” (Said, 1994, p. 7). In Fearless Speech, Michael Foucault (Foucault & Pearson, 2001) advances a similar ar-gument regarding the issue of language. In what he refers to as parrhesia (i.e., to say everything, free speech), he states “the speaker is supposed to give a complete and exact account of what he has in mind so that the audience is able to comprehend exactly what the speaker thinks” (Fou-cault & Pearson, 2001, p. 12). Foucault also argues that the speaker should be very straightfor-ward in the selection and use of the forms of expression, and without any preference or inclina-tion to employ “rhetorical forms” (Foucault & Pearson, 2001, p. 12) that may preclude the poten-tial meaning of the speaker’s opinion. With reference to the role of the public intellectual, it is not only the language through which the public intellectual speaks to people that matters most. Taking as given the role of the public intellectual to question authority, it is also essential to consider the issue of language in speaking truth to power and challenging authority. Related to this, Said (1994) portrays the intel-lectual as “the author of a language that tries to speak the truth to power”(p. xiv). I am obliged to further quote at length another example from Said’s (1994) Reith lecture, which clearly illus-trates an issue that may very well demonstrate the notion of unintelligibility to the unspecialized public. Said was approached by an older graduate student at Columbia, an AirForce veteran who wanted to join a seminar with limited enrolment. Said (1994) states, “I shall never forget the shock I received when in responding to my insistent question, ‘What did you actually do in the airforce?’ he replied, ‘Target acquisition’. It took me several more minutes to figure out that he was a bombardier whose job it was, well, to !30 bomb, but he had coated it in a professional language that in certain way means to ex-clude and mystify” (p. 63). In a graduate seminar on October 19, 2015, at the Department of Educational Studies of the University of British Columbia, Professor Ali A. Abdi said that this incident is “the act of humanizing the dehumanizing act of mass killing.” This would epitomize the need to consider the issue of language to speak to power and authority as well as to the public with out concealing anything. Similarly, Posner (2013) suggests that readers regard the contribution of academic pub-lic intellectuals as “modest extension of academic work (for example, translating it into language that the lay public can understand)” (Posner, 2013, p. 6). The issue of translation relates with the issue of language and/or clarity of ideas when they are presented to the lay public. This notion of translation as establishing clarity while addressing the public also implies the role of the public intellectual as interpreter of concepts, ideas and knowledge to the vast public (Bauman, 1987; Posner, 2013; Sandhu, 2007). Thus, in addressing the public and/or authority, and thereby per-forming the role of a public intellectual, the public intellectual should climb the double helix of clarity, clearly communicating ideas to reach both the unspecialized people as well as the pecu-liar power and authority. Discussions pertinent to the notion of the public intellectual are challenged by some scholars who look at the issue through the gender lens. These scholars argue that such issues evoke the image of the public intellectual tradition as a masculine territory. For instance, Sandhu (2007) states “Women still have to battle with the powerful degree of hegemony between sup-posedly unrelated social and political spheres that together ensure … patriarchal privilege” (p. 51). Similarly, in an article entitled “Can Women be Intellectuals?”, Evans (2009) argues that in !31 spite of the empowerment of women in gaining access to education, the professions and the vote and legal autonomy, knowledge production is still carried out with gender difference taken into account. 2.4 The ‘Declinist’ Narrative A number of writers argue that public intellectuals are in decline (Carroll, 2008; Etzioni, 2006; Jennings, 2008; Miller, 2006; Posner, 2013; Schalk, 1997). These writers argue that the public intellectuals are ‘ending,’ ‘disappeared,’ ‘at risk,’ ‘endangered,’ and ‘are the kiss of death,’ (Etzioni, 2006, p. 13). Miller (2006) even goes so far as to advance the argument that the word intellectual itself “has become a bit moldy” (p. 195). Similar studies about public intellectuals reiterate the decline and/or disappearance of intellectuals. For instance, Small (2008) argues the literature about public intellectuals shows two essential issues: it is basically characterized by the declinist narratives, and it urges us all to look for signs of their re-emergence. The decline of the intellectual is often echoed both by the “conservative anti-intellectu-als” and intellectuals alike (Carroll, 2008, p. 107). It is not uncommon to see intellectuals arguing in a way that is inimical to the situation of intellectuals. For instance, George Orwell, who is himself an “extreme intellectual and violent anti-intellectual” (Collini, 2002, p. 203), is known most for his writings that appear to be critical of intellectuals. In view of this, Collini (2002) as-serts “nearly all extended attacks on intellectuals as a category are by those who, in at least some senses of the term, would have to be classified as other intellectuals” (p. 204). Similarly, there are African intellectuals, though very limited in number, who level severe criticism against their fel-low intellectuals. For instance, Ayittey (2006) criticizes African intellectuals for “dismissing the indigenous system as ‘backward’ and ‘archaic’ ”(p. 308) !32 In an interview first published in Le Monde on April 6-7, 1980, Foucault denies the exis-tence of such a figure, and he mentions that he “has never met an intellectual because the intel-lectual is a mythical figure rather than a real person, a rhetorical abstraction and personification of a national or universal subject” (Foucault, 1988, p. 324). In mystifying the intellectual in this way, Foucault is hiding his own intellectual identity to allow “discourse to function on its own” (Carroll, 2008, p. 107) rather than to identify oneself with such a being. Coser (1965) argues that independent intellectuals, who are generalist (public) intellectu-als, are declining in number compared to salaried intellectuals and academic men which is partly due to the “academization of intellect in America”(p. 263). In a more deliberative way, Jennings (2008) notes two important developments in the United States that justify the notion of intellec-tuals’ decline. First, independent intellectuals are increasingly moving into the academy, leaving “their urban habitats for the university campus” (Jennings, 2008, p. 117). The consequence of this movement is the birth of intellectuals who are more concerned about specialization and pro-fessionalization in academic disciplines, which in turn has brought about “depolitization” and “careerism.” Second, the newly emerging intellectuals are academics who are productive in a very specific disciplinary inquiry, and turn away from social responsibilities and engagements in universal issues that matter to humanity. Pondering whether intellectuals are a ‘dying species,’ Schalk (1997) contends “the de-cline of belief in universals is most likely permanent” (p. 283). In the light of Jennings’ (2008) idea of growing specialisation and careerism, and Schalk's (1997) notion of the likelihood of permanence of dwindling universal notion of truth above, it is possible to hold the view that the declinist narrative seems to represent the notion of the declining generalist independent public !33 intellectual. This runs parallel with the flourishing of specialized public intellectuals in the acad-emy. Another important development to justify the notion of intellectuals’ decline is the emer-gence of multiculturalism. The birth of the intellectual is related with the era of modernity and enlightenment. This is, however, being contested in the postmodern era, particularly in the light of multiculturalism, in which thinkers of the multicultural tradition are persistently engaged in questioning authority and therefore also questioning the “authority of the intellectual” (Jennings, 2008, p. 117). Of the explanations that justify the decline of the intellectual, three reasons remain “re-markably stable across time and cultural barriers” (Jakobson, 2012, pp. 70-71). These are: (1) “media promotion of superficiality, celebrity culture and commercialism,” (2) “snobbism and reclusion of scholars and scientists and the growing incomprehensibility of their discourse,” and (3) “the purported decline of the universal standards and value with which intellectuals are ex-pected to engage” (Jakobson, 2012, pp. 70-71). In another scene, the declinist discourse is also accompanied by the “always peculiarly anti-intellectual” view of countries, termed the universal provincialism (Jakobson, 2012, p. 72). Jakobson (2012) states that intellectuals of almost all countries complain about the anti-intellec-tual culture of their respective countries. This, argues Jakobson (2012), is best explained by the Bourdieusian school as intellectual intervention “facing with the constraints of national context,” the former being internationalism outright (Jakobson, 2012, p. 72). In Africa, the situation of the intellectual is characterized by a rise, decline, and revival (Mazrui, 2005). Many factors con-tributed to the revival of the intellectual in African continent. According to Mazrui (2005), the !34 pro-democracy movements, flourishing radio stations and newspapers that published voices of dissent, and the end of the Cold War were some of the factors that played key roles in the revival of the African intellectual. At the end of the Cold War, Western countries supporting African dic-tators, as long as the dictators were anti-communists, turned their face to the emerging pro-democracy forces. At the far end of the ‘declinist’ spectrum is a different perspective, which challenges the notion of intellectuals’ decline. Scholars in this school of thought argue that there is in fact a de-cline and even a disappearance of intellectuals in the left wing following the fall of communism and leftist ideologies. However, to equate the decline and even disappearance of intellectuals from the left as the disappearance of all intellectuals and social critics from the face of the earth is not only to engage in hasty generalization, but also “to mistake a political shift for a sociologi-cal trend” (Starr, 1995). There is hardly sufficient quantitative evidence to show that there is a declining number of public intellectuals. Such intellectuals “have hardly vanished” (Etzioni, 2006, p. 15). Another assertion is that technological developments, the internet, and online publishing opportunities have contributed to the decline of the intellectual. “The growth of online venues has stimulated rather than retarded the quality and diversity of public intellectuals” (Drezner, 2009, p. 49). Despite the arguments that account for the decline of the intellectual, it seems probable that it is rather the scope of their public sphere rather than the number of intellectuals that is de-clining. This might be a result of, but not limited to, the dynamism in the medium through which they reach the public and engage in the public sphere. No doubt, both the generalist as well as the specialized public intellectual reach their target public through language, though by using differ-!35 ent outlets. Academics may use journals and books, reporters and editors may use newspapers and magazines, and comedians and film makers may use audio-visual outlets to reach a particu-lar public. Such outlets are characterized by fragmentation and differentiation as a result of the growth of technology and multiple options through which intellectuals can reach their publics. These things considered, it seems reasonable to note that “Public intellectuals have far from dis-appeared” (Etzioni, 2006, p. 21). However, the reality of the situations manifest in recent history shows intellectuals still face challenges and apparent limitations when they assume the role of challenging orthodoxy and addressing the wider public. Kling (2006) notes “economically the intellectual is better fed, better housed and more elegantly pampered than ever before’’ (p. 164). However, it does not mean that there is no threat to the actual function of intellectuals and their contributions to society. In the light of the chal-lenges that emerge from “technology, science, mathematics and expertness,” the intellectual “will not be abolished, he will wither away” (Kling, 2006, p. 164). Similarly, independent intel-lectuals are in decline as more and more intellectual youth are monopolized by the universities. This results in ‘‘academization of the intellegentia'’ and ‘’a future without independent intellec-tuals’’ (Jacoby, 2006, p. 171). These suggest the compelling circumstances intellectuals are ex-pected to find themselves in. Referring to Foucault’s notion of non-existence of “such [an] ani-mal” called an intellectual, Carroll (2008) contends that it is not yet known what the end of the intellectual will be. 2.5 Public Intellectualism and Academic Freedom The literature related to intellectuals is discussed in the earlier parts of this chapter, rang-ing from the origins of the intellectual to the public intellectual ideals and the declinist narrative !36 of the intellectual. This section advances the argument that public intellectualism and academic freedom are related and overlapping concepts. It establishes the nexus between public intellectu-alism and academic freedom. It seeks theoretical affinities and overlaps between theories of (academic) freedom and public intellectualism. In general, this section recognizes academics as public intellectuals and the theoretical convergence of public intellectualism and academic free-dom as inevitable. To begin with, the political economy of higher education—the context in which academic freedom is necessitated—serves as a background to this argument. Therefore, an at-a-glance look at the higher education trend might be of some help. It is certain that there is a phenomenal in-crease in enrolment and expansion in the political economy of knowledge production. Parallel to this global trend, increasing demand for productivity of academics has resulted in “the public moralist of old [giving] way to the disciplinary specialist,” which makes universities “an emerg-ing academic public sphere” (Jennings, 2008, p. 122). This assertion offers, on the one hand, a sense of “the public moralist” (Jennings, 2008) as an intellectual in decline, and on the other, it heralds the notion of the disciplinary specialists (academics) as emerging intellectuals. This fol-lows from a recognition of the academy itself as a public sphere (Dobrin, 2006; Jennings, 2008). Similarly, academics are recognized as a category of intellectuals in the prevailing proliferation of the intellectual which includes such labels as academic intellectuals, scientific intellectuals, unattached intellectuals, and intellectuals in power, among others (Coser, 1965). A more common cultural trend in the United States is that of recognizing the term intel-lectual as referring primarily to “college professors” (Collini, 2002, p. 210) whose engagement is limited to the academic public sphere. In contrast, the term public intellectual is employed to !37 designate only those (academic) intellectuals who step outside the academic public sphere to “address a non-specialist public on matters of general concern” (Collini, 2002, p. 210). In this sense, the generalist academic is referred to as a public intellectual implying that being an acad-emic is not a sufficient condition to be a public intellectual (Coser, 1965; Beteille, 1980). The notion of academics as (generalist) public intellectuals suggests the notion of the in-tellect as a capacity to detach oneself from the immediate and the momentary and to commit oneself to comprehensive values transcending traditional or occupational engagement (Coser, 1965). Similarly, Crain argues “[n]owadays, the term public intellectual merely refers to an acad-emic in his capacity as a moon-lighter” (as cited in Comer & Jensen, 2012, p. 139), implying that reaching the general public is an additional duty or second calling of academics above and be-yond their engagement in the academic world. Such conceptualization of academics as generalist public intellectuals is, however, con-tested for it may project a sense of the impossibility of the emergence and existence of generalist public intellectuals beyond universities’ frontiers (Comer & Jensen, 2012). In contrast, most of the intellectuals in the academy are specific public intellectuals, also referred to as “safe special-ist[s]” (Posner, 2013, p. 5), who operate within the frontiers of specific disciplinary specializa-tions. Notwithstanding such perspectives, scholars argue that the modern university hosts “no-table public intellectuals” (Dallyn, Marinetto & Cederstrom, 2015, p. 1034). Regardless of whether they are engaged in the academy where they are regularly address-ing specific disciplinary audience or committed to “values transcending traditional or occupa-tional involvement” (Beteille, 1980, p. 29), academics are public intellectuals (Posner, 2013). They have a particular public to address within and/or beyond the university as well as their dis-!38 cipline. Posner (2013) takes the idea even further to advance the argument that “The general and the special critics overlap” (p. 10). Despite the dual understandings of the public such as the gen-eral as well as the specific public, which help to establish the notion of academics as public intel-lectuals, Wright (2012) contends that the idea of academics as public intellectuals “is not univer-sally embraced” (p. 51). Thus, academics are “de facto or potential public intellectuals” (Wright, 2012, p. 51). This claim is also reminiscent of the notion that all academics are not default public intellectuals. It is probably due to such reasons that Posner (2013) opts for “distinguished acad-emics” (p. 6) while discussing the notion of the public intellectual. No doubt, academics have a target public, at least within their professional boundaries. It thus necessarily follows that all academics are public intellectuals but only some of them are generalist public intellectuals. Academics need academic freedom to properly conduct their du-ties. By way of transitivity logic, it necessarily follows that academic public intellectuals need academic freedom, for they belong to a universal set of academics. Thus, the academic public intellectual is at the interface of public intellectualism and academic freedom. By virtue of being an academic, a public intellectual is in a privileged position to address the general public on issues of general concern using academic freedom and one’s location in the university as an “intellectual institution” (Beteille, 1980) and safe space which is “ safeguarded against the unstable outside world” (Preez, 2012, p. 59). For the engagement of academics in the generalist public intellectual exercise, safety emerges not only from one’s physical location of being in a safe space (Preez, 2012), but also from the right granted through tenure. Public intel-lectualism and academic freedom are therefore related deductively by way of a transitivity logic. !39 Tenure is “a guarantee of appointment until the age of retirement” (Brown & Curland, 1993, p. 325). It provides intellectuals with academic freedom, which in turn enables these intel-lectuals to engage in extramural activities and generalist public intellectual praxis. However, ten-ure is under attack in the current neoliberal era. For some writers, tenure itself appears to be con-ceptually problematic, financially unjustifiable, and resulting in the inefficiency of academics (Ceci, Williams, & Muller-Jhonson, 2006); for others, it is a crucial instrument to defend acade-mic freedom because “academic freedom will be jeopardized” in the absence of tenure (Chemerinsky, 1998, p. 640). Another way to establish the nexus between public intellectualism and academic freedom is the symmetric criticality framework (Jakobson, 2012) and its relationship and convergence with the theory of academic freedom. Collini (2006) argues for a similar concept while referring to the intellectual as someone who “is going beyond his special activity and speaking out on a matter of general interest” (p. 61). This highlights the notion of generalist academics who go be-yond disciplinary frontiers and specific audiences, unlike specific intellectuals who are commit-ted to knowledge production and engagement with specific academic publics. The following ex-ample – “An atomic physicist is not an intellectual just because he’s good at questioning the pa-pers of his colleagues but only when he signs a petition against nuclear testing” (Jakobson, 2012, p. 79) – would illuminate such engagement of the academic as a generalist public intellectual. Departing from this interpretation, Jakobson (2012) argues for the self-referential tenden-cy of symmetric criticality. Thus, Jakobson’s (2012) notion of symmetric criticality and interpre-tation of the atomic physicist example through the symmetric criticality lens is focused on know-ing one’s engagement, what one is doing, and reflecting on the rationale for why it is done. In-!40 stead of the specific vs. generalist frame, Jakobson (2012) advances a line of thought which fa-vors looking inward and reflecting on the subject and the rationale of intellectual engagement. In this sense, symmetric criticality is an act of inward reflexivity, and “self referentiality” (Jakob-son, 2012, p. 79), which offers the opportunity to question one’s own performativity as a public intellectual. The object of public intellectual praxis in this sense is academic culture and academics’ engagement in “reflection upon academic culture from within” (Hopper, 1995, p. 58). Symmetric criticality is co-opted in this study both as a self-referentiality and as a generalist performativity of academics who engage in issues of general concern. Both self-referentiality and generalist per-formativity require a considerable degree of autonomy, freedom, and intellect. Recognizing that the subject who engages in symmetric criticism is an academic, I consider academic freedom as a necessary condition for public intellectual praxis. Based on this, I argue that the academic public intellectual ought to be a generalist public intellectual in order to address both the specific acad-emic society as well as the general public beyond disciplinary frontiers if s/he is entitled to acad-emic freedom. This is possible wherever academic freedom is the underpinning principle of learning institutions. Public intellectuals in Africa, as elsewhere, have intellectual debt to their society. The life and works of the famous Kenyan intellectual giant Ali Mazrui implicitly suggests the role of the African public intellectual as an individual “who interpret the world with intellectual consisten-cy” (Adem, 2010, p. 197). His life and scholarships can be taken as a representation of the African intellectual’s responsibilities not only in defining the future of Africa and African identi-ty but also positioning Africa’s locational coordinates in the global intellectual arena such as al-!41 ternative knowledge production. It can be taken as an intellectual exercise ventured forth to lead the masses towards a better living condition. While discussing the formation of the intellectual in South African liberation movement, Suttner (2005) implicitly states the same understanding of the intellectual as an interpreter who “provide meaning to situations, guidelines for escaping from oppression as well as visions of alternative social conditions” (p. 118). Similarly, Soyinka’s (1965) narration of the challenges and aspirations of five intellectuals in his novel entitled The Interpreters, along with the very title of the novel itself, could be taken as another evidence to back up the representation of the African intellectual as an interpreter. In Ethiopia, studies that directly entertain the issue of the public intellectual are rarely available. Zewde's (2002) Pioneers of Change in Ethiopia profiles the life and contributions of early twentieth century Ethiopian intellectuals. His work is a historical analysis and documenta-tion of the first generation and second generation intellectuals who studied abroad and returned back home to take various political appointments and administrative positions. In fact, some of the intellectuals discussed in Pioneers of Change in Ethiopia (Zewde, 2002) also played the role of a public intellectual in the sense of the term used in this dissertation. For instance, Tayya and Hiruy were mentioned to be “critical of Emperor Yohannes for his forcible conversion of Mus-lims” (Zewde, 2002, p. 135). Zewde (2002) also mentioned the case of Masala Tebaba Walda-Ab, a woman from western Wallaga, who challenged the attitude towards women and gender is-sues in a series of articles published on Berhanena Selam: the then state-owned newspaper, in 1929. She challenged gender issues, advocated for girls’ education, and argued that central to the emancipation of women is “the enlightenment of their husbands” (Zewde, 2002, p. 137). !42 Even though Zewde (2002) presents the intellectuals in modern Ethiopia, these individu-als were returnees from studying abroad, almost all of them were appointed by the emperors of their time for administrative or other ministerial positions, and in most cases they were pro-gov-ernment. They were not academics, and therefore they were not exercising academic rights and freedom to challenge the status quo. There were not even western-style higher education institu-tions in the country during their time. As a result, the intellectuals discussed in Pioneers of Change (Zewde, 2002) do not qualify as academic public intellectuals even when they played a similar role of challenging the status quo. The idea of the Ethiopian intellectual as an interpreter is discussed by Zewde (2002) in its literal sense where the intellectuals play the role of “interme-diaries between the Ethiopian rulers and the foreigners”(pp. 182-183) specially in translating and interpreting French, Italian and English. In the recent history and current political atmosphere, there are compelling circumstances such as frequent violations of human rights, the neglect of constitutional rights of people, land grabbing and dispossession of people from their ancestral lands, state coercion and control of academia all of which require Ethiopian academics to delve into the role of a generalist academic public intellectual. These are clearly additional responsibilities on top of the unquestionable moral obligation of the African intellectual towards educating, decolonizing the mind, and cul-turally emancipating the people. Given academic public intellectuals entitlement to self-expression and academic freedom, there is a need for such intellectuals to act as generalist public intellectuals. Intellectual activities can neither be understood nor exist separate from “the contexts of social arrangement in which they take place” (Beteille, 1980, p. 25). Because this dissertation presents the case of Ethiopian !43 academic public intellectuals, it is necessary to discuss the contexts from which these intellectu-als emerged as an academic public intellectual and the social arrangements that compelled, in-spired, motivated, or obliged them to answer their calling as a public intellectual. As a result, chapter three presents a historical analysis of the political economy of higher education in Ethio-pia, which provides readers with a clear picture regarding the political atmosphere, socio—cul-tural dynamics and the state of academic freedom in the country. 2.6 Summary The literature regarding intellectuals shows that conceptualization of the term resonates with the meaning of who they are and what they do—their identities and their performances. It also depicts the challenges for intellectuals themselves to explicitly define who they are, “their role and relevance in a world of increasing pressures” (Elmeaza, 2014, p. 1). Others contend that intellectual is a term that has multiple meanings characterized by ambiguities, and “shifts in meaning across time and context” (Jennings, 2008). However, most writers agree that the term intellectual emerged in relation to the Dreyfus Affair in France (Elmeaza, 2014; Fleck, Hess & Lyon, 2009; Jakobson, 2012). It is “a fairly recent addition to the vocabulary of cultural debate” (Small, 2002, p. 1) and a “modern invention” (Brouwer & Squires, 2006, p. 33). It is hardly possible to locate a clear distinction between public intellectuals and a classical concep-tion of intellectuals from the definitions provided by scholars of interest in this area (Wisselgren, 2009, p. 226). For this reason, scholars such as Said (2008) underscore that “the word intellectual unfailingly carries with it some residue of the public realm” (p. 20). A public intellectual is regarded as “a moral conscience of the society” (Brouwer & Squires, 2006, p. 31). The very term public intellectual affirms the notion of “engaged intellectu-!44 als,” while ascertaining their engagement in political affairs and criticism of nations (Brouwer & Squires, 2006, p. 33). In the same line of thought, Said (1994) has pointed to “questioning au-thority” as the main intellectual activity of our time (p. 67). However, he also states “This doesn’t always mean a matter of being a critic of government policy” (p. 17). Understanding public intellectualism as a necessary engagement with a public, scholars caution the need “to convey the importance and complexity of those ideas in an accessible language” (Spizzirri, 2003, as cited in Kushins, 2006). Other writers suggest that the role of the intellectual in general and the public intellectual in particular is that of an interpreter (Bauman, 1987; Posner, 2013) Whereas a number of writers argue that the public intellectual is in decline (Carroll, 2008; Etzioni, 2006; Jennings, 2008; Miller, 2006; Posner, 2013; Schalk, 1997), others contend that it is hardly possible to advance such arguments, as it is practically impossible to provide quantita-tive evidence of such decline nor predict the end of the intellectual, specially amidst growing di-versification of technology to reach the public (Carroll, 2008; Drezner, 2009; Etzioni, 2006). The situation of the east African intellectual is characterized by “a rise, and decline of African intel-lectuals” (Mazrui, 2005, p. 58) which is due to the local political contexts and global dynamics related to the end of the Cold War era. The ideas of public intellectualism and academic freedom seem to be conceptually related and overlapping. By virtue of being an academic, the intellectual is in a privileged position to address a particular public using academic freedom and one’s location in the university as an “in-tellectual institution” (Beteille, 1980) and a “safe space” (Preez, 2012, p. 59). Because of certain entitlements that come with tenure (Chemerinsky, 1998), an academic public intellectual is in a !45 privileged location not only to address the public within the university and specific disciplinary community but also to speak to the lay people and challenge a status quo. !46 Chapter 3: The Political Economy of Higher Education in Ethiopia Discussions pertinent to the life of the mind and related intellectual activities without any considerations of their location would rarely provide a succinct representation and a clear idea of their development and evolution. It would result in a blurred account of the roles of these intel-lectuals in their society. It is iterated in the previous chapter that intellectual activities could hard-ly exist separate from the contexts in which they take place (Beteille, 1980). Similarly, Wissel-gren (2009) touches upon the notion of the (public) intellectual as characterized by “contextual dependencies on national and cultural traditions” and “historical situatedness and gendered bias” (pp. 225-226). I thus, remain of the opinion that to discuss the lives and experiences of Ethiopian intellectuals, it is essential to understand the political economy of higher education in Ethiopia, specifically the trends and trajectories in knowledge production and how these inter-relate and interact with the larger sociopolitical context and historical developments of the higher education sector itself (Asgedom, 2017; Molla, 2018). In this chapter, I therefore review the contemporary political economy of knowledge pro-duction in Ethiopian higher education. The chapter will engage in an historical analysis of the developments in Ethiopian higher education since the 1950s to provide readers with a general picture of the contemporary trends in the sector, and the existing dynamics of knowledge produc-tion, using a political economy approach to offer a context for the story. This section also pro-vides multiplicity of perspectives and complexities in the country’s higher education sector in general. The chapter makes frequent reference to Ethiopia’s contemporary history and Ethiopian higher education as a way to allude to the general conception of higher education and its nexus with political ideologies that either undermine or reinforce knowledge production. !47 3.1 Conceptualizing Knowledge Production Discussions about the political economy of knowledge production relate to the often con-tested, conceptually vague and wider terrains of knowledge, knowledge production, and higher education and their nexus with global and local actors who have vested interests in the higher education sector. Whereas, some writers treat the terms “knowledge production” and “research” as synonymous (Collins, 2013; Hanafi & Arvantis, 2015), Kyvak (2000) distinguishes between teaching, enlightenment of the public and knowledge production. In this understanding, knowl-edge production consists of “basic research, applied research, development work, publishing, networking” and enlightenment of the public consists of “dissemination of research, public dis-course” (Kyvak, 2000, as cited in Smeby, 2003, p. 131). Machlup (2014), meanwhile, proposes six categories of knowledge production, which include “education, research and development, artistic creation and communication, media of communication, information services, and infor-mation machines” (pp. 232-34). It is not uncommon to find studies that apply the term research and knowledge production interchangeably with the tendency of implying their synonymous status. However, it is possible to advance an argument that knowledge production also includes education and training in addi-tion to the primary preoccupation with research as its core element. Academics train students to do what faculty members do, to engage in societal problem solving, and “at best to transfer prob-lem solving skills” to societies that create the universities (Verharen, 2012, p. 11). In the light of the above, this chapter therefore treats education and research as a part and parcel of knowledge production. !48 3.2 ‘Glonacal' Patterns of Knowledge Production The idea of knowledge production relates to that of the university because “the task of knowledge production and dissemination is primarily the responsibility of universities” (Molla, 2014, p. 237). In Africa, universities, which have some of the continent’s most highly skilled in-dividuals and intellectuals, are the major centers of knowledge production, especially given the underdevelopment and small number of research centers beyond university campuses (Collins, 2013; Teferra, 2007). These universities and other centers of higher education learning, although they are contested terrains, are one of the few “knowledge industries” which are directly in-volved in the production of knowledge as their commodity (Gibbons et al, 2010, p. 85). Knowledge production in Africa is influenced by global trends and local expectations. It is under direct and frequent pressures to respond to various stakeholders. It is challenged with accommodating global imperatives from highly influential “stakeholders” such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (Robertson, 2009; Teferra, 2004; Teferra, 2009), dealing with unfavorable state intervention (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2015; Moja, 2004), and embracing tensions from the market as well as from within itself (Moja, 2004; Teferra, 2004; Teferra, 2009). A recommendation by the World Bank, which seems out of touch with the realities on the ground, required African countries to cut funding to higher education (Teferra, 2009). The implementation of this recommendation impacted progress in the sector significantly and slowed the development of the sector leading to its "historic collapse” (Robertson, 2009, p. 114). In a stark contrast to the trends discussed earlier, recently emerging global trends brought a state of dynamism in the political economy of knowledge production. For instance, demo-!49 graphic change – namely, a growth in the number of young people – has led to the massification of higher education institutions in many regions in the world including the Sub Saharan Africa (Gibbons et al, 2010; Uvalic-Trumbic, 2009; Wolhuter & Wiseman, 2013). This has been cou-pled with a shift in the policy orientation of the World Bank which is one of the prime financiers of the higher education sector (Teferra, 2009). There has been a global explosion of student en-rolment in higher education institutions everywhere, particularly among women. African higher education shows a similar trend of significant rise in enrolment. The continent experienced in-crease in enrolment from 100,000 students to 1.5 million in the two decades between 1970 to 1990, respectively (López Segrera, 2010). Similarly, the dramatic rise in enrolment continued to increase from 6.0 million to 9.3 million between 2000 and 2006 which is projected to increase even further to reach approximately 20 million students in 2015 across the continent (World Bank, 2010). Other characteristics of the political economy of knowledge production include the “mas-sification of research” (Gibbons et al, 2010, p. 83), global student mobility, the marketization and commodification of knowledge, and brain-drain (Collins, 2013). Amidst these waves of constant change, higher education institutions face challenges in their decision making and are impelled to consider their roles and future directions. Similar to the trends in other parts of the world, Ethiopian higher education has undergone dramatic expansion in enrolment (Akalu, 2014; Reis-berg & Rumbley, 2010; Saint, 2004; Tessema, 2009; Van Deuren, Kahsu, Mohammed, & Woldie, 2016). In addition to the influences that result from neoliberal ideology, the political economy of higher education and its role as a site of knowledge production is also significantly influenced by its relationship with different political and economic actors, such as the state, global and local !50 funding organizations, and the ideological orientations and sense of academic freedom of the in-tellectuals and higher education institutions themselves (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016). Within the global context, Africa has “the most marginalized and the least competitive higher education system internationally” (Teferra, 2009, p. 156), and thus its contribution to global knowledge production is insignificant (Gilliard, Hassan & Waas, 2005 as cited in Nyan-choga, 2014). Zegeye and Vambe (2006) argue that “the underdevelopment of African knowl-edge production and publishing has a historical explanation”(p. 344), a claim which may imply the influences from colonization of the continent, among others. Current knowledge production from the higher education sector of the continent is dependent on funding from the Global North (Nyanchoga, 2014; Robertson, 2009). As a challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa, Teferra (2014) men-tions “a lack of national policy on or political commitment to research and inadequate capacity to cope with the rising demand”( p. 18). Similarly, Musiige and Maassen (2015) concur with this view, noting that “academic research intensity and productivity in sub-Saharan African universi-ties lags considerably behind university academic research output in the rest of the world” (p. 63), due to lack of sustainable budget allocation for research. Other researchers have identified additional factors impacting the state of knowledge production in Africa. For instance, Harle (2010) argues that eroded culture of research, less em-phasis given to the postgraduate research and education as well as “needs of researchers in the immediate post-Ph.D. years” greatly impact knowledge production on the continent (p. 88). Still other scholars have pointed to the issue of ethical conduct in research as influencing knowledge production in Africa, a region where research ethics “has received only patchy attention,” much like in many other “‘developing’ countries” (Benatar, 2002, p. 1138). !51 Not all of Africa’s deficiencies in knowledge production, however, can be attributed to African researchers themselves. For example, much of the research that is conducted in develop-ing countries is done through the North-South collaboration, and yet the funding process often does not include African researchers in the “priority setting” phase (Edejer, 1999, p. 23). Such research funding generally comes “with thick strings attached,” a condition that automatically calls into question the probity of the African researchers (Zeleza, 2006, p. 92). This has a clear connection to the idea of knowledge and what counts as knowledge in the political economy of knowledge production in Africa. A separate issue is the growing concern with how to balance the “preservation of local knowledge systems” with the need to focus on “the adoption of global knowledge systems, knowledge production and knowledge dissemination” (Zeleza, 2006). Since the establishment of the continent’s higher education system, “African universities [have been] consumers of knowl-edge produced in developed countries” (Taylor, 2012, p. 91), rather than its producers. More-over, because these universities operate in European languages, they “tend to be cut off from in-digenous African society and communities” (Wolhuter & Wiseman, 2013, p. 12). As a result, academics in Africa have to face the challenges and dilemmas of engaging in the pursuit of knowledge through western epistemology and methodology while simultaneously embracing in-digenous knowledge and culture (Poloma & Szelényi, 2018). In line with this, Zegeye and Vambe (2006) also argue that African intellectuals are discouraged to use knowledge produced by African intellectuals. As a result, it is important to note that some African intellectuals them-selves are also accountable for discouraging or dismissing African indigenous epistemologies (Ayittey, 2006; Poloma & Szelényi, 2018). !52 Academics in Africa must operate and succeed in academic contexts which unfairly ne-glect indigenous ways of knowing, and promote the de-Africanization of education and culture (Ferede, & Haile, 2015; Semela, 2014). This is a difficult, and sometimes unattainable, choice for African researchers to make. It is therefore inevitable that many African intellectuals experi-ence de-culturalization, a state of being forced to leave one’s native culture (Nyanchoga, 2014). In line with this, it is also essential to note that “European scholars do not feel compelled to use sources of African knowledge when they write about Africa” (Zegeye & Vambe, 2006, p. 343). In fact, higher education in Africa itself is a legacy of colonization (Ferede & Haile, 2015), both instilled and “stifled by nationalism” (Mamdani, 2008, p. 6). For example, participating in it de-mands that one leaves one’s identity, language and cultural heritage aside (Nyanchoga, 2014). Moreover, it is characterized by a poor rate of employment, brain drain (Wolhuter & Wiseman, 2013; Zeleza, 2006), and a lack of academic freedom, all of which are hindrances to knowledge production on the continent. The situation in Ethiopian higher education system is no different from what is mentioned above. 3.2.1 The Political Economy of Knowledge Production in Ethiopia The context of knowledge production in Ethiopian higher education institutions is not an exception to the aforementioned continental trends, despite its unique and specific historical real-ities and cultural contexts and dynamics. Nonetheless, the complexities of the issue and the sig-nificance of the subject requires the use of a clearly defined terminology and lexicon, which is by itself problematic. Thus, discussing the political economy of knowledge production requires us to define, at least in operational terms, what the term higher education embraces. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), higher edu-!53 cation refers to “programs of study, training or training for research at the post-secondary level provided by universities or other educational establishments that are approved as institutions of higher education by the competent state authorities, and/or through recognized accreditation sys-tems” (UNESCO, 1997). This definition not only mentions the role of higher education institu-tions in study and research, but also recognizes the role of the state in the establishment and ap-proval of higher education institutions. The Ethiopian Higher Education Proclamation defines “higher education” as meaning “education in the arts and sciences offered to undergraduates and graduate students who attend degree programs” (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2009). In this sense, higher educa-tion embraces only universities and colleges that award bachelor’s degrees and above, and that are mandated to engage in education, training, service and inquiry. The current study also refers to such institutions as higher education institutions (HEIs). The history of higher education in Ethiopia dates back to the sixth century, a period of highly organized religious education by the Orthodox Church (Wagaw, 1979, as cited in Telila, 2010, p. 56). Also, unlike other sub-Saharan nations, Ethiopia was not colonized even though Italy invaded and partially occupied the country’s Northern region during the “scramble for Africa,” the roughly three decades from the 1880s to the start of the first world war (WWI), when European powers raced to claim parts of the continent for themselves. Despite having largely been spared this European imposition, modern higher education in Ethiopia is clearly modeled after the Western university model. The following section reviews the political economy of knowledge production in Ethio-pia in three regimes: the Monarchical regime (1930- 1974), the Socialist regime(1974-1991), and !54 the current revolutionary ‘democratic’ regime (1991 to present), all of which are part of Ethio-pia’s contemporary history. Researchers who studied the various issues related to the develop-ment of higher education in Ethiopia applied historical analysis and classification of various trends parallel with political change and development in the country (Asgedom, 2007; Assefa, 2008; Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2015; Semela, 2014). The periodization I use in this chapter is not different. However, I opt for this approach based on my understanding that all the three regimes developed their own educational policies which are removed and replaced by different policies in the subsequent regimes. Moreover, due to significant differences in terms of ideological orientations of the political elites as well as global actors such as changes from the end of colonialism to socialism, and the emergence of America as a super power at the end of the Cold War era, it seems more appropriate to approach such periodization in order to understand the higher education dynamics. 18.104.22.168 The monarchical regime (1930- 1974) Modern higher education started in Ethiopia in 1950 during the regime of Emperor Haile Selassie. Before this time, only a small number of elites were sent to Europe and North America for higher education. The education that was available within Ethiopia was focused on the prima-ry- and secondary-school levels (Asgedom, 2007). On March, 20, 1950, the Emperor decreed the establishment of Trinity College, which later changed its name to the University College of Ad-dis Ababa (UCAA). This college began operating with just 30 students, seven faculty members and two administrators (Burke, 1960, as cited in Asgedom, 2007, p. 102). At this time, the em-peror appointed Canadian Jesuit Dr. Lucien Matte as the founding president of the university col-lege. !55 Because, as noted above, Ethiopia is the only country that was not colonized by Euro-peans (Altbach, 2007; Asgedom, 2007), the University College of Addis Ababa is a unique case of African higher education in that it began to operate in a liberated, uncolonized geography, de-spite the inevitable influences from “the educational philosophy and practices of its predominant-ly French Canadian Jesuit staff” (Abebe, 1991, as cited in Asgedom, 2007, p. 103). Unlike the other colonized African nations, Ethiopia’s higher education system was not launched as “a for-eign implant imposed by colonial interests” (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016, p. 7). A. Physical expansion The University College of Addis Ababa was the first higher learning centre in the country and it expanded and diversified its disciplines in the following years. It also established other colleges in remote areas of the country which started functioning as satellite campuses. The Col-lege of Engineering in Addis Ababa was started in 1952, followed by the Institute of Building Technology. The later was established after two years by an agreement between the Ethiopian Government and the Swedish Government. The Haromaya College of Agriculture was founded in the same year as the College of Engineering through a joint arrangement between the Imperial Ethiopia and the United States. Similarly, a Public Health College was established in 1954 at Gondar, the historic city of the country, in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). These historical trends show the involvement of foreign governments and international organizations in launching the modern higher education system in the country (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016). Moreover, they strengthen the notion that the country endeavors to achieve devel-!56 opment “by emulation” (Clapham, 2006, p. 149). Ethiopia attempts to develop by imitating other developed countries, an effort which always ends up unsuccessfully. The notion of imitating de-velopment trajectories of other nations also signals the marginalization of indigenous ways of knowing in the higher education of the country (Semela, 2014). B. Enrolment of students The University College of Addis Ababa started operation in 1950 with 30 students. By 1960 the number of students reached 426, 45 of whom were women. Fifty (50) of the 426 stu-dents came from 14 foreign countries including Tanganyika, Kenya, Greece, India, United King-dom, United States, and Yugoslavia. At about the same time, there were about 600 fee paying evening students who received no living allowance (Bantley, 1950, as cited in Asgedom, 2007). The university college used to cover the costs of all international students who were enrolled at this time, as Ethiopia was prosperous. Enrolment of international students was not conceived in the current sense of market-led internationalization and student mobility. In fact, the small num-ber of local students might have also been another reason to financially support international stu-dents as there is no financial pressure in running the university in the first few years of launch-ing. C. University governance, academic freedom, and knowledge production The governance of the University College of Addis Ababa included the Emperor as a Chancellor and appointed members of the university board who were also government officials and ministers including Minister of Defense, and Minister of Justice. In contrast to the University College of Addis Ababa, the other colleges and institutes were governed by respective ministries !57 which means Colleges of Health Sciences were supposed to be led by Ministry of Health, and the College of Agriculture was supposed to be led by Ministry of Agriculture, and the like (Asge-dom, 2007). As such, higher education of the period was characterized by external governance (Austin & Jones, 2016) and steering and state control (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016). Despite the political structure of the board during the Emperor’s time, the university col-lege faculty and students enjoyed relative degree of academic freedom and institutional autono-my which significantly contributed to knowledge production (Asgedom, 2007; Yimam, 2008). The university college was characterized by multifarious student voices and student organiza-tions and engagement in different societies such as “the Ethnological Society, the Debating Soci-ety, the Poetry (writers) Club, the Drama Society, the Glee Club, the Society of Artists, the Pho-tography Club, the Radio Club” (UCAA, 1962, as cited in Asgedom, 2007, p. 104). These soci-eties have publications of their own and engagement in the societies is considered not as extra-curricular but as co-curricular activities (Asgedom, 2007). It could be argued that students of this time were acting as public intellectuals speaking “for the people”. They engaged in awareness-raising of the society against economic marginal-ization and the extreme gaps in living standards between the feudal lords and the masses. They demanded equality of nations and nationalities and the right of the farmers to land, hence their movement was named after the famous slogan “Land to the tiller!”. Reflecting on his visit of the university in 1973, the famous public intellectual Ali Mazrui states that the students had “pro-found and understandable dissatisfaction with the Ethiopian imperial system as they knew it” (Mazrui, 1978, p. 262). They were also influential as well as threats to the imperial govern-!58 ment due to their voices and connections with diaspora Ethiopians. According to Asgedom (2007), student publications greatly influenced public opinion during this time. These influences finally aggravated the grievance of the people, which was joined by the military to lead to de-throning of the king. Although there were some limitations on academic freedom, the existing literature shows hardly any severe measures taken against intellectuals to the extent of being ex-istential threat to them. Unlike the 1950s and 1960s, substantial attacks on the intellectuals of the country was also inflicted from the Italian invaders. In a lecture at the Library of Congress’ African and Mid-dle Eastern division, Dr. Aklilu Habte discusses that Italians interrupted the development of edu-cation during their five years of occupation of the country (Library of Congress, 2010). He also describes the then massacre perpetuated against the intellectuals of the country saying, “the Ital-ians decimated, handpicked, and killed the few educated Ethiopians [that] had been trained be-fore the war”. This had decelerated knowledge production. It also slowed down the moderniza-tion of the country (Library of Congress, 2010). The state of knowledge production of academic intellectuals in Haile Selassie’s regime was in a better condition compared to the subsequent regime. At that time, Imperial Ethiopia was “a unitary state” and the political situation of the day encouraged knowledge disseminations that favored respect of the King, Christian religious tradition, and unity of the country (Asgedom, 2007; Yimam, 2008). Publication of academics in this period was relatively greater than that of the later socialist Derg era in numbers. Asgedom (2007) argues that 62 articles were published during the imperial regime compared to only six articles during the Derg period (1978-1989). !59 In an interview on Sheger FM radio, Professor Mesfin mentions the appearance of the Emperor to Teferi Mekonen School to listen to grievances of students—a remarkable contrast to experiences of present day students who witness random killings and disappearances in many of the university premises across the country (Birru, 2014). Yimam (2008) also offers a historical account of academic freedom which implies the tolerance of the Imperial regime in its openness to criticism as well as in creating conducive academic environment which was capable of chal-lenging political institutions, as well as social and cultural practices. It is, however, essential to note that Haile Selassie’s regime was not a bed of roses for academics engaged in knowledge production. Gemeda (2008) argues “issues surrounding the freedom to conduct research, [to] openly criticize institutional practices, and [to] publish didn’t surface”(p. 66). This is, according to Gemeda (2008), because of too much dependence on expa-triate academics during the first few years of the introduction of higher education. In line with this, it is essential to note that although there was a dwindling pattern of publications by Ethiopi-an academics, original research from and about Ethiopia were sustainably produced and pub-lished by expatriate faculties both in the Imperial and the socialist regime. The significant contributions of such scholars as Professor Richard Pankhurst and the late Professor Claude Sumner in the field of Social Sciences and the Humanities are worth noting. According to Bekele (2017), Professor Pankhrust committed all his academic life and career to Ethiopian studies with over 500 scholarly publications. Bekele (2017) states “Twenty five of them are books based on research” (p. 256). Similarly, Claude Sumner is noted for his signifi-cant contribution in the collection, documentation and analysis of Oromo proverbs, and his in-!60 troduction of classical Ethiopian philosophy to the English speaking world. Mennasemay (2012) argues “No other scholar has contributed so much to making Ethiopian philosophical thinking and wisdom known to the world” like Professor Claude Sumner (pp. 200-202). Such enormous and sustained engagement of expatriate academics in knowledge productions from and about Ethiopia might either be due to the fact that the political system of the nation hadn’t put as much pressure and control on the freedom of thought and self-expression of expatriate staffs as it does on native intellectuals. It might also be due to academic culture of knowledge production and experiences of the expatriate staff to commit themselves more than the native intellectuals’ prac-tice. External influences such as influences from religious institutions were not thoroughly discussed in the literature of knowledge production for this period. There were, however, unfore-seen influences and contributions that shaped the academic and research culture at this time. The role of missionaries in the national integration project of the emperor which later led to the trans-lation of the bible into Afan Oromo, and their policy of using local indigenous languages in schools and religious centers were worth mentioning (Wolyie Hussein 1, 2008; Smith, 2013). The use of some languages such as Afan Oromo were later restricted to only the oral form by imperial decree as it was considered threat to the imperial regime (Smith, 2013). Until the early 1970s it was prohibited to write, teach, and broadcast using Afan Oromo (Tegegne, 2016). These restrictions and suppression of other national languages “became a primary source of resentment” for speakers of indigenous languages other than Amharic (Smith, 2013, p. 102). As a result, the attempt to bring vernacular languages and indigenous epistemologies to the uni-!61 versities didn’t succeed, and they were not made any part of university education. Significant knowledge production occurred in literature, history, and religious catechism of the Orthodox church. Most of these publications were in Amharic except for some religious scripts in Geez, a forerunner of Amharic and currently a ‘dead-language’ limited to the monasteries and cathedrals (Asgedom, 2007). International organizations had a role in the political economy of knowledge production since the inception of higher education in Ethiopia. For instance, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) were financing agencies in the education sector in the country along with the Ameri-can Peace Corps (Alemayyehw, 1969). These organizations influenced higher education in dif-ferent ways from setting enrolment targets to deciding the content of curricula. In fact, more em-phasis was given to primary and secondary enrolment in this period which is also reflected in the recommendations and rhetoric of UNESCO at this time. Negash (2006) also mentions World Bank and UNESCO as partners of the country influencing the education sector at this time. To sum up, the imperial regime occupies significant historical landscape in the introduc-tion and development of higher education in Ethiopia. It laid the foundation for contemporary knowledge production in the nation despite “minimal growth in higher education” (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016, p. 16). !62 22.214.171.124 The Socialist (Derg) Regime (1974-1991)The political economy of higher education and the related knowledge production took a totally different configuration upon the coming to power of the socialist regime in 1974 (Semela, 2014). First of all, the Addis Ababa University College students’ protest was one of the reasons for the dethroning of the king, a starter of the revolution with the optimism of a socially just society that would enjoy freedom, human rights, and empowerment. However, it left the university itself to be seen in hostile terms and distrustful eyes of political elites up until now. In addition to this, the change in curriculum, and the deteriorated state of academic freedom contributed to decreased involvement of intellectuals in knowledge production (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016; Girma, 2013; Kenaw, 2003). The literature on the then situation of the country is indicative of the fact that this time is probably the worst in terms of academic freedom and knowledge production. According to Girma (2013) the nation witnessed “the withering of intellectual life, an isolated educational system and a soaring brain drain.” ( p. 84). A. Physical expansion The Ethiopian higher education sector didn’t enjoy noteworthy physical expansion during the socialist regime. It used to have “only two universities for much of the 20th century” (Reis-berg & Rumbley, 2015, p. 23). Apart from the Haile Selassie I University College, the country upgraded “one of its public colleges to a university status- and it had maintained only two public universities and a small number of public colleges” in the subsequent years up until 2000 (Akalu, 2014, p. 401). But, some writers argue that Ethiopia had three universities for this period taking Asmara University, an institution founded in now seceded and independent Eritrea's capital city- !63 Asmara (Alemu, 2014). Moreover, there were no private higher education institutions for this period because of the Marxists-Leninist ideology the country subscribed to, prohibiting private ownership and accumulation of wealth (Akalu, 2014). Thus, the physical expansion of knowl-edge centres was stale for much of the period with its own implications to and far reaching con-sequences on enrolment, knowledge production and dissemination. This is also directly related to the poor economic performance of the country in this period, coupled with political instability and natural disaster. Compared to the monarchical period which witnessed high gross domestic production (GDP) growth and per cent per capita, the economic performance of the military regime declined for the period 1974-91 (Geda & Berhanu, 1960). There were new schools and institutes such as the Institute of Language Studies, School of Information Studies for Africa, and School of Grad-uate Studies that were launched on the premises of Addis Ababa University (Gemeda, 2008, p. 69). In fact, the regime didn’t totally ignore the relevance of education. This can also be observed in the due emphasis given “to the provision of universal polytechnic education and to a curricu-lum that would enhance integration into the world of labor” (Negash, 1990 as cited in Ge-bremeskel & Feleke, 2016, p. 7). This clearly shows, on the one hand, the shift in focus from a degree offering education to a system of acquiring technical and vocational skills and, on the other hand, to the economic and “discursive” influences (Molla, 2014) from other countries, es-pecially from those in the Communist Bloc which espoused similar anti-capitalist ideologies. B. Enrolment of students !64 For the years between 1970 to 1992, which almost approximately coincides with the so-cialist regime in Ethiopia, student enrolment increased from 7 million to 30 million in develop-ing countries and from 28 million to 65 million across the world (UNESCO, as cited in Hoffman, 1996, p. 84). Ethiopian students’ enrolment increased from 6,474 in 1973-74 to 17,707 in 1989 (Wagaw, 1990 as cited in Gemeda, 2008). The data cited above shows threefold increase in about fifteen years which is an increase of approximately six thousand in about five years. Although this may be true, the above trend in Ethiopia might have been small or it may have stood in a stark contrast to the parallel rate of increase in other developing countries. According to Asgedom (2007), enrolment of students had “drastically gone down by nearly 50 percent as a result of dropout, killing, imprisonment and joining the freedom fighters” (p. 159), an argument which may have considered possible projections of the expected enrolment scenario amidst war and political instability. In addition to this, the higher education system of the country was also threatened from intense brain drain and return of expatriate staffs back to their home country due to insecure working atmosphere (Gemeda, 2008). This all had a bearing on the knowledge production and the status of higher education in the country. C. University governance, academic freedom, and knowledge production Epistemic governance is an essential aspect of knowledge production in universities. It is “the legislative authority vested in management organs of the university to make decisions about fundamental policies and practices” (Ogachi, 2011, p. 36). Governance of higher education insti-tutions during the socialist regime was characterized by intense external control by the state and university administrators. Academic leaders were appointed based on political loyalty rather than !65 merit (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016; Gemeda, 2008). Moreover, the professoriate were marginal-ized from participation in decision-making processes. Some of the moves by the regime were too immobilizing as they involved “security surveillance, repression of dissent, mandated courses on Marxism” in addition to prohibition of academic appointment and promotion (Saint, 2004, p. 84). As a result, the regime created the conditions for “the de-professionalizing of teaching” (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016, p. 11). Gemeda (2008) states that two models of the university are generally visible across coun-tries: the university in Western industrialized countries which is characterized by institutional autonomy and prevailing market principles and the Soviet Model of robust involvement of polit-ical powers in decision making, student allocation, and staff censorship. Ethiopian higher educa-tion in this period was thus modeled after the later which had clearly negatively influenced knowledge production (Asgedom, 2007; Gemeda, 2008; Semela, 2014). The Soviet model which was based upon the “philosophy of dialectical materialism…was characterized by censorship, embracing atheism” (Asgedom, 2007, p. 154). A rather challenging step that hampered the intellectual climate prevailed as soon as a new proclamation 109/69 of 1977 was declared which “brought all the institutions of higher education under central control of a government branch, accountable to the Council of Ministers” (Asgedom, 2007, p. 151). In addition to organizational structural change, the proclamation required academics to conduct their duties in accordance with the principle of “scientific socialism” (Asgedom, 2007, p. 151). Following this, academics were required to design courses that espoused Marxist-Leninist ideol-ogy and to publicize the ideologies of the regime. As a result, universities had to work deceptive-!66 ly by changing the course titles so as to reflect loyalty to the Marxist ideology while leaving the content untouched and being accommodative of diverse views and philosophies (Kenaw, 2003). All these indicate that the regime was coercive in its approach and treatment of academia and higher education in general (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016; Semela, 2014). This influ-enced the relevance and scope of knowledge produced during the regime. Asgedom (2007) sub-stantiates this claim by noting the drop in the number of articles contributed to the Ethiopian Journal of Education from over 60 in the monarchical regime to less than ten in the socialist regime. The decline in knowledge production in the Derg regime is attributed not only to the censorship and pressures from Marxist-Leninist ideology but also to the hostile and threatening political atmosphere which included the mass killing of the youth and the educated class (Ge-bremeskel & Feleke, 2016; Kissi, 2006; Semela, 2014). The ‘Politicide' of the educated class and the intellectuals can be explained as a reaction to the intellectuals’ protest against the regime and its policies of land ownership. Many lives were lost as a result of the “mass extermination of the educated” (Semela, 2014, p. 125). Part of the hostility resulted from intellectuals themselves turning against each other because of lack of agreement and inability to solve differences through discussion. Kissi (2006) argues: “Their killers were possibly their own colleagues with whom they had disagreed on aspects of Marxist ideology” (p. 243). The deteriorating status of academic freedom, ‘politicide' of the educated class, extreme control and dictatorship, along with the decline in the economic performance of the country, re-sulted in a record high brain drain (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016; Kissi, 2006; Library of Con-!67 gress, 2010; Semela, 2014). According to Getahun (2006), visible differences can be seen in the patterns of brain drain between the imperial and socialist regimes. During the imperial regime, with a total number of 1046 students in the USA, Ethiopia stood the third in Africa for sending students abroad with only three non-returnees being reported for the period between 1970 to 1974. After the Red Terror during the 1977-78, however, the country suffered a mass exodus of intellectuals to the United States (Getahun, 2006, pp. 170-172). The unfavorable political atmosphere significantly influenced knowledge production. It also perpetuated other factors that had long term negative impacts on knowledge production such as the brain drain and the declining educational quality. The survival of the knowledge producers themselves was at stake. In 1991, the Derg Regime collapsed. Guerrilla fighters won the war due to the global shift in power, specifically the emergence of the West as dominant powers, and the fall of the Soviet empire. Without the military and financial support it used to enjoy from the Eastern Block, and global financial crises which hit Sub-Saharan Africa catalyzed the end of the regime, the Derg could not survive. The political economy of knowledge production appeared to emerge in a dif-ferent track along with a new political ideology and statehood that appears to grapple with the ‘'Glonacal'' pressures and challenges in the new context. 126.96.36.199 The Revolutionary-Democratic Regime (1991 to present) The Revolutionary-Democratic regime emerged following the collapse of the Socialist regime, the Derg. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, the party ruling the country since the downfall of the Derg, is a coalition of four major parties which claim a wider !68 peasant base to lead the country. As can be seen in the forthcoming discussion, global political ideologies and economic orientations directly influenced the ideology of the regime which has in turn influenced the political economy of knowledge production in the country. Major trends in the higher education sector of this period are dramatic expansion of higher education both in terms of enrolment and physical infrastructure, repression of academic freedom, state interfer-ence in the governance of higher education, and brain drain, with visible influences from global actors, among others. A. Physical expansion The higher education system had only two universities during the socialist regime which also served the country for about a decade after the fall of that regime. However, dramatic expan-sion of the higher education sector is witnessed since 2003 (Akalu, 2014; Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016; World Bank, 2003). Up to 2003, which can be considered as the first phase of higher edu-cation expansion in this regime, most of the colleges and teacher training institutes were upgrad-ed to university level. New universities were opened in the following phase of expansion in the subsequent years (World Bank, 2003). It is also essential to note that there were about 37 private higher education institutions up to 2003 (World Bank, 2003) which later grew to 60 (Reisberg & Rumbley, 2015) and now reached 98 (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016). However, only one of these institutions is being approved and recognized by the Ministry of Education as a university. The following figure summarizes the general trend in the expansion of state-owned higher education institutions. !69 Figure 1. Expansion of higher Education in Ethiopia Sources: Alemu (2014); Gebremeskel & Feleke (2016); World Bank (2003) As can be seen in the figure above, the number of universities remain the same for much of the period until the turn of the millennium, slightly increases to six in 2003 and shows a sharp increase in the past decade. There are plans to further build 11 higher learning centres making the total number of higher education institutions to rise up to 44 (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016). It is clear that the dramatic expansion in the higher education sector has its own bearings on knowledge production. First, the physical expansion was not accompanied by the development of human power needed to run these institutions. Having highly skilled faculties is always the prob-lem. The regime had to recruit Nigerian academics (Jaide, 2006), followed by an influx of Indian academics (Thubauville, 2014). Some academics from Canada and the U.S. also volunteered al-though not in a constant and sustained manner. North American volunteer academics are not however engaged directly in teaching and research. Most of them serve as trainers and consul-!70 tants to the Ministry of Education and in some cases as heads of particular units such as Quality Assurance and Enhancement or English Language Improvement Centres in different universities The newly established colleges and most of the departments therein are staffed with re-cent graduates who had neither the qualifications nor experience necessary to equip them with teaching in graduate programs or engaging in research. Studies also show that the expansion of higher education institutions adversely affects the working conditions of academics in some of the institutions in the country (Alemu, 2008). Academics are obliged to work under deteriorating working conditions which are characterized by absence of basic facilities, office spaces, access to educational inputs and funds for research and professional development. Despite minimum requirements set to serve as a benchmark for the establishment of new higher education institutions, some of the new institutions were launched “without necessarily fulfilling the requirements” set by the Ministry of Education itself (Areaya, 2010, p. 99). This may substantiate Akalu’s (2014) description of the current expansion as “ideologically driven” (pp. 394-395), which describes the deliberate move of the regime to expand the sector and claim the result as one of the major successes of the regime in almost every political cam-paign and in its planned, deliberate, and sustained public relations activities. The dramatic physi-cal expansion of higher education institutions is also accompanied by geometric rise in enrol-ment of students as can be seen in the forthcoming paragraphs. It is obvious that the national interest of a nation determines its policies and the models it follows in its higher education and other public sectors. Due to the interaction of national inter-ests and international influences, Ethiopia had adopted and/or imitated particular university mod-!71 els at different times. As discussed in section 188.8.131.52 of this chapter, the socialist regime imitated the Soviet model of the university. In contrast to this, the current federal democratic regime ad-vocates the “instrumental development” model of the university which regards the university as “a producer of appropriately skilled professionals and applied knowledge” (Maassen & Cloete, 2009, p. 13). In line with this, the country has currently adopted 70/30 enrolment model which requires universities to admit 70 per cent of their newly joining students in the Science, Technol-ogy, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and the remaining 30 per cent in the fields of Social Science and the Humanities (Teshome, 2007, as cited in Rainer & Ashcroft, 2011). B. Enrolment of students The enrolment of students illustrates the dramatic expansion of Ethiopian higher educa-tion. Studies show that higher education enrolment in the country is expanding at the rate of geometric progression of student numbers in the current regime. The number of students who were enrolled in the then Addis Ababa University College, the only higher learning institution in Ethiopia six decades ago, were only 30 (Asgedom, 2007). This number has now risen to a sum total of half a million across all the institutions in the country (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016). As can be seen in the figure below, the number of students studying in higher education exploded at the turn of the millennium. The total number of students rose up to 147,954 in 2002, almost twice the number in 1992, and increased to a total number of 180, 286 in 2006 (World Bank, 2010, p. 32). The figure also shows that the number of students over the next decade shot up dramatically reaching a total of 600,000 in 2012 (Ayalew, as cited inTeferra, 2014). !72 ! Figure 2.Trends of enrollment in higher education institutions in Ethiopia Sources: Akalu (2014);Asgedom (2007); Saint (2004);Teferra (2014),World Bank (2010) Higher education institutions all over the country enrolled a total of 788,033 students in undergraduate programs both in Government and Non-Government institutions in 2016/17 which shows the continuing growth in enrolment (Ministry of Education, 2017, p. 135). Out of these, female students comprise 281,429 (35.7%) (Ministry of Education, 2017, p. 135). Enrolment of female students is slightly improved compared to 18 per cent of 58,025 total higher education enrolment in 2006/2007 (Ministry of Education, 2008, p. 11). Due to neoliberal ideological posi-tioning and global trends in higher education, the country also encouraged privatization of higher education which has contributed to the dramatic increase in enrolment of students. Twenty-one per cent of the higher education enrolment is covered by 37 private higher education institutions (World Bank, 2003, p. 7). In general, improved equity in enrolment is observed gender wise with !73 increased enrolment of girls both in private and public institutions. Even though this is attributed to the affirmative action by the government, the issue of gender equity requires more effort due to increased attrition rate of female students joining universities (Teferra & Altbach, 2004). The trend saw significant changes in this pattern which coincides with the change in the regime in the country, accompanied by the population expulsion in the country and changes in the global trend of higher education. It is rather challenging to identify a single significant vari-able to which to attribute the current dramatic rise in enrolment. It might be conceptualized as an outcome of both “an important policy objective” and an “ideologically driven” decision by the political elites of the vanguard party (Akalu, 2014, p. 398). In the same line of thought, Akalu (2014) also argues: “Official discursive practices in Ethiopia also relate higher education expansion to economic growth, poverty reduction and pro-duction of high-level workforce” (pp. 401-402). Increased external aid might have also con-tributed to the unrestricted growth in student enrolment as well as physical expansion of the in-stitutions in the country. For instance, Ethiopia is one of the only four African countries that re-ceived significant amount of external aid (US$11.3 million) in 2001-2006 (World Bank, 2010, p. 96). Expansion of Ethiopian higher education in the current regime is described and viewed by scholars in the field of higher education in many ways which mostly sound unfavorable. For example, it is described as “ambitious” (Saint, 2004, p. 109), “intoxicating" (Reisberg & Rumb-ley, 2010, p. 23), “aggressive” (Akalu, 2014, pp. 394-395), and politically “ideologically driven” (Akalu, 2014, p. 411). The rapid rise in enrolment figures in the country may conjure the !74 image of over-peopled universities and crowded classrooms across the institutions in the country. The figures in the literature may also resonate with untenable enrolment. However, enrolment cannot be a problem in a citrus paribus assumption. For example, four percent of African young adults are enrolled in higher education compared to the six per cent enrolment for all the devel-oping countries, and 60 per cent enrolment for industrialized countries which clearly shows that any country in Africa has way more to go in terms of enrolment (Bollag, 2004). However, the impact of enrolment on the knowledge production of academics is indisputable. The universities in such contexts tend to leverage their existing resources, including their teaching personnel, to meet the demands of the growing influx of students. They force academics to work in institutional atmospheres that are short of basic facilities (Alemu, 2008) and require academics to be “devoted to the task of teaching and administrative duties” (Tessema, 2009, p. 32). Tessema (2009) also argues that such “massive” universities expose educators to “de-profes-sionalisation, “peripheralization”, and “silencing”, among others. Teferra (2007) advances a similar compelling argument which states: “As enrolments escalated, teaching loads have in-creased significantly, consequently chipping away the requisite time and commitment available for research” (p. 562). C. University governance, academic freedom, and knowledge production University governance and academic freedom are very much interrelated entities. Their (con)vergence on multifarious university affairs greatly impacts knowledge production. Austin and Jones (2016) conceive governance as “relational context between governments and universi-ties” (p.13). Operating in the context of “ideologically driven” expansion (Akalu, 2014, p. 411), !75 the relation of universities and the government in recent Ethiopia is neither free nor frictionless for academics to inculcate talent and produce knowledges that inform and influence the nation. Higher education is “too much politicized” (Library of Congress, 2010). The federal government is the major source of funding for the universities in Ethiopia. It has a “dominant role” (Gebremeskel & Feleke, 2016, p. 13) in financing higher education. In spite of this, higher education is grappling with inadequate budget to finance the various needs of a newly burgeoning higher education system (Reisberg & Rumbley, 2010, as cited in Akalu, 2014, p. 404). As a result of this, hardly any significant improvement is observed in the already dwindling research culture. To fill such gaps, the government “instituted ‘graduate tax’” (Bollag, 2004, p. 13) to be paid by students upon employment following the recommendations from the World Bank. Despite the revenue generated from graduate tax, lack of funding remains a major problem universities face to engage their academics in knowledge production in a sustainable manner. Academics are neither able to access reputable journals nor participate in international conferences (Alemu, 2014). As a result, they are hardly able to professionally develop them-selves and engage in knowledge production on equal standing with professionals in other corners of the world. These situations appears to be in line with the situation of other universities in the continent (Teferra & Altbach, 2004). Some academics engage in collaborative research with academics in the Global North. However, such engagements are influenced by two major factors. First of all, the idea comes from those who solicit funding for the research and clearly it is the researchers from the Global North who bring substantial funds to particular research. In most cases, African researchers in !76 such contexts have no say in “priority setting” (Edejer, 1999, p. 438) as to what ought to be re-searched. This leaves research partnerships skewed, perpetuating hierarchical epistemic privilege of the North. Secondly, even such engagements in research are not available to all intellectuals in the country. It usually depends on the particular discipline; in most cases global partnerships in research are most common in medical and health sciences with significant financing by pharma-ceutical and health companies from the Global North. The early 1990s was a period of transition following the downfall of the socialist regime. The country had to start from scratch in every organizational aspect including financing, staffing, organizing of major institutions including the universities. The very limited financial resources were accompanied by significant brain drain and declining knowledge production. The brain drain appears to emerge in three patterns. Some academics quit jobs for better salary and incen-tives in the private sector, and some were unable to resist the allure from high pay in non-gov-ernmental organizations. Still others left for to economically better-off African countries. For instance, a number of experienced faculties from Addis Ababa University are employed in the University of Botswana (Teferra & Altbach, 2004). Highly talented intellectuals who would have significantly contributed to the knowledge production in the country also left Ethiopia for U.S.A and Europe. “Today there are more Ethiopian professionals, including MDs, working in the United States than in Ethiopia” (Getahun, 2006, p. 257). Despite the massive influx of students in all the university in the country, individual uni-versities are not empowered to set their own admission requirements. According to Areaya (2010), “It is the Federal Ministry of Education that recruits and determines the number of regu-!77 lar students to be admitted” (p. 103). Research by Gebremeskel and Feleke (2016) also strength-ens this idea and indicates that the government uses top-down approach and institutional self-governance is simply unthinkable. No institution is entitled to elect its presidents. Moreover, all academic leadership posts above deanship are approved by the respective board members who are known for political affil-iation. Moreover, the historic experience of the student movement in the imperial regime, which had fueled a nation-wide protest leading to the dethroning of the king in 1974, is still in the ac-tive memory of the current political leaders who were also students in those days. That memory by itself might have contributed towards suspicion of intellectuals and the universities. Thus the possibility of academic epistemic governance that encourage free inquiry and knowledge produc-tion is unlikely. Such a relationship filled with suspicion might incite the need to interrogate the status of academic freedom and its contribution to knowledge production. Ethiopia has a negative score card for academic freedom, freedom of thought and free-dom of expression in any context. Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch, 2015a, 2015b, 2008), Scholars at Risk (2018), and Amnesty International (2018) reports are all full of accounts of violations of basic rights by the state (Akker, 2002). The discomfort and suspicious attitudes of politicians have contributed to the declining status of academic freedom in the country. Intel-lectuals who speak their mind, who publish scientific findings on issues that matter to the them-selves or the society, and those who communicate their findings and recommendations to their target publics are exposed to imminent risk from the state. For instance, Professor Berhanu Nega and Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam were imprisoned after addressing students about academic !78 freedom. They were arrested despite the fact that “they spoke in the same way that any academic would have done about the importance of freedom of expression and the pursuit of knowledge” (Akker, 2002, p. 45). In 1993, forty-two professors were dismissed from Addis Ababa University, an institu-tion considered the flagship university of the country, for the purported claim that they used the institution as a breeding ground for their own political ideologies (Yimam, 2008, p. 53). The Ethiopian Teachers’ Association was closed and Dr. Taye Woldesemayat, who was a well known critic of the government and the leader of the association, was jailed for alleged conspiracy against the government (Milkias, 2006). Recently, Zone Nine Bloggers, six young writers and three journalists, were jailed for blogging “on events of interest for young Ethiopians” (Human Rights Watch, 2015b). Most of the time, journalists, academics and bloggers who stand at the polar end of the current ideology are often charged with the new “Anti-Terrorism Law” which is the legacy of the country’s partnership with and the political muscle of the West flexed on poor nations. This shows that freedom of thought and freedom of expression, the pre-conditions for knowledge production, are at stake. Academics find themselves unable to freely engage in knowledge production without risking incarceration or worse. Students often stage protests which are followed by military and police officers’ use of excessive force. For instance, Addis Ababa University students’ protest against Eritrean referen-dum in 1993 (Yimam, 2008) resulted in security forces firing live ammunition which took the lives of many students. Similarly, students’ protest on issues of ethnic dignity and religious af-fairs in 2007 (Yimam, 2008) were all accompanied by brutal repressions. The recent nationwide !79 Oromo students’ protest against political marginalization, dispossession from indigenous ances-tral land, and debarment from enjoying language rights (Human Rights Watch, 2015a) were all accompanied by brutal repressions resulting in imprisonment, killing and violations of human rights of students, faculty members and other citizens of the country in general. The threat to academic freedom doesn’t emanate solely from the relation of universities and the state. For instance, Ayalew (2011) provides a different perspective in her study of the peer review mechanisms at Addis Ababa University and argues that “peer review mechanisms in academic institutions constrain the production of knowledge and hence undermine academic freedom” (p. 91). It is hardly possible to sustain knowledge production and free inquiry in such a climate hostile to intellectuals and their critical inquiries. 3.3 Summary This section examines the political economy of knowledge production and issues related to higher education as they relate to the often contested, conceptually vague and wider terrains of knowledge, knowledge production and higher education, and their relations to global and local actors who have vested interest in the higher education sector. In an attempt to describe the contemporary political economy of knowledge production, this chapter highlights the major trends in higher education in Ethiopia by tracking the higher education dynamics along the lines of expansion, academic freedom, governance, and involve-ment of civil societies and international organizations. It traces the existing patterns and praxis in three regimes beginning from 1950 to the present, taking the role of the state, international and !80 local organizations and their relations with knowledge production into account. The role of lan-guage is also highlighted as a cross-cutting issue to provide readers with some idea of the current linguistic and epistemic landscapes and issues in the country. The historical trends in the three regimes show that higher education is characterized by coercive isomorphism which is “external pressure, usually from governmental laws and regula-tions or other social groups, to conform and adapt” (Austin & Jones, 2016, p. 25). All the three regimes were high handed and academic freedom remained tenuous. The university in the Imper-ial regime was governed by the Emperor as a Chancellor and various ministers making the board. Relative academic freedom and academic autonomy of the early days of the university were later eroded, student publications became more critical of the monarchy, and leaders of the student protest were gunned down (Asgedom, 2007). The socialist regime was also high-handed, imposing Marxist-Leninist ideology on acad-emics to embrace like religion (Gemeda, 2008; Kenaw, 2003; Library of Congress, 2010). Publi-cations and student enrolments decreased and the epoch was characterized by record-high brain-drain (Asgedom, 2007). Threats to the life and engagement of academics were also emerging from within academia, and intellectuals turned hostile against their colleagues who embraced different political ideologies or agenda (Kissi, 2006). The combined effect of these trends result-ed in infinitesimal knowledge production. Despite being primarily the result of protests by stu-dents who were later engaged in the guerrilla fight, the Revolutionary Democratic regime didn’t offer higher education with freedom of thought. !81 Higher education in the Revolutionary Democratic regime is characterized by dramatic expansion and enrolment which might be attributed to demographic pressures, influences from International Organizations such as the World Bank as well as the political-ideological orienta-tions of the ruling party. Improvement in the gender gap in enrolment is observed in this regime despite the increased attrition of female students who joined universities (Teferra & Altbach, 2004). However, both academic freedom and knowledge production in this regime were far be-low the standard (Assefa, 2008; Yimam, 2008; Gemeda, 2008). Frequent student protests staged in university premises, brutal measures taken by the po-lice, dismissing professors without legitimate grounds, and threats to tenure are the major chal-lenges to the current knowledge production of the country (Yimam, 2008). Moreover, low salary and benefit, academics working to make ends meet to improve livelihood, increased pressure from teaching loads, “routinization, de-professionalization and sidestepping” of intellectuals, and brain drain significantly contribute to diminishing knowledge production of the country (Asge-dom, 2007; Human Rights Watch, 2015; Tessema, 2009; World Bank, 2003). The political economy of knowledge production in the country is influenced by external organizations, particularly the World Bank, and its policy and knowledge sharing rhetorics (Mol-la, 2014; Teferra, 2004). Visible attempts and positive influences from civil societies show their potential to contribute to knowledge production but this is hampered by state control and bureau-cratic bottlenecks (Milkias, 2006). In general, the contemporary political economy of knowledge production in Ethiopian higher education system can be understood as having inherent complexi-ties that emerge from ‘'Glonacal'' political and economic institutions, trends emerging from the !82 inevitable interactions with such institutions, and related praxis within and beyond the historical context and geographic borders of the country. Thus, this writer concludes that the contemporary political economy of knowledge production in the country has left knowledge production and related academic intellectual praxis in a weakened condition. !83 Chapter 4: Narratology in Educational Research: A Focus on Panfictionality 4.1 Inter-disciplinarity in Narratology and Educational Studies Research It is not uncommon these days to come across research conducted in the form of fictional narrative. In fact, conducting research in the form of narrative non-fiction is becoming “a global academic movement” (Goodal, 2008, p. 11). Since I began thinking about how best to research the life experiences of academic public intellectuals, I became convinced that using literary tex-tual and analytical tools from the field of narratology would be the most effective method to present the stories of such intellectuals. In line with this, I pondered over questions such as: Oth-er than narrative inquiry, what other types of narrative approaches can be used effectively in edu-cational research, in this case, to presenting the stories of public intellectuals and their experi-ences? In what ways can such approach(es) be suited to my study? A review of the relevant lit-erature helped me come up with some answers to these questions. To position my work in the broader field of literary studies and the humanities, I scrutinize and discuss narratology in the following section. The study of fictional narratives and their structures, also referred to as narratology, evolved with a focus on the textual and structural analysis of fictional stories due to influences from the French formalist and structural linguistic schools of thought. Kindt (2009) states that the emergence of the ‘narrative’ or ‘narrativist turn’ followed this development in the humanities and prompted another development to “remodel narrative theory as a foundational discipline for the humanities” (Kindt, 2009, p. 39). Along these lines, the multidisciplinary nature of narrative representation emerged, and more researchers from other social science disciplines such as psy-!84 chology began using it (Heinen & Sommer, 2009, pp. 1-11). Narratology has, in its broadest sense, evolved and contributed to the development of theories of narratives. However, other in-terdisciplinary studies and cognitive sciences “displaced the more text oriented classical narra-tology” (Hatavara, Hydén, & Hyvärinen, 2013, p. 4). A possible explanation for this “displacement” of classical narratology and its emerging interdisciplinary posture is the growing focus and inclination of other disciplines toward the “features and functions of narrative” (Becker & Quasthaff, 2004, p. 6). It is important to note that narratology and narrative are related in that the latter is the object of study of the former, and hence, narratology can be conceived as “the theory and study of narrative and narrative structure and the ways they affect our perception” (Czarniawska, 2010, p. 58). It bears mentioning that despite the interest of researchers from other disciplines to deploy literary narratological frame-works in various contexts, the use of narratology—its application, conception, and integration in interdisciplinary field—has been limited (Cortazzi, 1993; Heinen & Sommer, 2009). According to Heinen & Sommer (2009), there are three reasons for the lack of interdisci-plinarity in Narratology itself. First, there is variation in “the epistemological status of narra-tives” (Heinen & Sommer, 2009, p. 3). Whereas narratology is primarily interested in the univer-sal feature of narratives, other disciplines are interested in narratological frameworks more as a means to study narrativity and narrative features than as an end in and of itself. Second, it is as-sumed that the frameworks developed for the analysis of imaginative stories "cannot be trans-ferred to the analysis of non-fictional story telling without some serious modification” (Heinen & Sommer, 2009, p. 3). Third, most narratologists are closely affiliated with specific disciplines within the realm of the humanities, such as linguistics. By the same token, most researchers from !85 other social science and humanities disciplines with interest in narratology are minorities within their disciplines. Despite these limitations, there is some room for applicability of textual narratology to disciplines other than literary ones because “narratology has an excellent knowledge base when it comes to narrative” (Heinen & Sommer, 2009, p. 3). In an attempt to locate the precursors of narrative research in social sciences, Squire, Andrews and Tamboukou (2008) suggest two paral-lel developments. The first was the “post-war rise of humanist approaches within western sociol-ogy and psychology,” and the second is “Russian structuralist and, later French poststructuralist (Barthes, 1977; Culler, 2002; Genette, 1979; Todorov, 1990), postmodern (Foucault, 1972; Ly-otard, 1984), psychoanalytic (Lacan, 1977) and deconstructionist (Derrida, 1977) approaches to narrative within the humanities” (as cited in Squire, Andrews & Tamboukou, 2008, p. 1). Clearly, those that are part of the second development are related to significant developments of narrative studies in the humanities (i.e narratology). Even though the use of narratology in the study of narratives in real-life contexts is not frequently thought about, both narratology and narrative inquiry are interdisciplinary (Heinen, 2009); they can both be used in research across disciplines in social sciences as well as the hu-manities because they share narratives as their common object of study (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Czarniawska, 2010). Moreover, cross-disciplinary interest in narratives is growing (Cor-tazzi, 1993; Riessman & Quinney, 2005), which implicates the potential multi-locations of narra-tology in qualitative research settings. Clandinin and Connelly made considerable progress in developing the idea of narrative inquiry in research into educational contexts, especially drawing on the work of John Dewy (Clandinin, 2013; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Connelly & Clan-!86 dinin, 1990). Their arguments focus on narratives in real-life settings without having much to say about the “fictionality” or the fiction-like nature of the way narratives are organized and told. Building on these previous works are questions about mapping the contours of real-life narratives and imaginative narratives (or fiction) in educational research settings. In addition, one could also ask whether it is possible to integrate the notion of narratives in educational research with the narratives in literary studies. If so, how can issues of interdisicplinarity and borrowing analytical frameworks from literary analysis and other types of qualitative research that engage with narratives be reconciled? Indeed, scholars have argued that narrative research in education does not readily integrate theories and perspectives from disciplines outside education (Cortazzi, 1993; Kim, 2008). Cortazzi (1993) states that “it seems unwise, and wasteful, for those engaged in narrative study in education to ignore work done in other disciplines” (p. 2). As such, the evolving con-cepts of narratology support the notion of using narratology in research other than the study of literary texts. One such concept is the recognition of narratology as “the theory and study of nar-rative and narrative structure” (Czarniawska, 2010, p. 58) which allows for the integration of two different intellectual exercises, namely, the study of narrative and the study of narrative structure. Similarly, Prince (2008) sees narratology as an “equivalent to narrative studies, that it is more methodologically varied, contextually engaged, hermeneutically oriented than it was, and that it devotes much of its energy to interpretation” (p. 120). Both variations of the term imply the in-terdisciplinary nature of narratology and its possible use in educational studies. !87 Mindful of variations in how the term “narratology” is used, another step to validate its application in qualitative research beyond the frontiers of literary-textual analysis begins with a close look at the development and evolution of plural narratologies. Narratology has evolved from the study of literary narratives, also termed classical or structural narratology, to a multi-disciplinary narratology, also termed postclassical narratologies. The use of the plural, narra-tologies, signals the possibilities for proliferation that occurred in narratological exercises in the past few decades (Biwu, 2015; Gymnich, 2013; Heinen & Sommer, 2009; Prince, 2008). The rationale for the evolution of narratology into (postclassical) narratologies is the in-clusion of context in structural/classical narratology for the analysis of narratives (Dires, 2014; Gymnich, 2013). The latter includes, but is not limited to, terms such as contextual narratology, cognitive narratology, and postcolonial narratology (Gymnich, 2013). In the same line of thought, Herman and Vervaeck, (2005) argue that “post-classical narrative theories “insist that a text always functions in a context” (as cited in Dires, 2014, p. 27). The mobile nature of narra-tives (Hyvärinen, Hatavara, & Hyden, 2013) adds a different perspective that could illuminate the desire to apply narratological frameworks and analytical tools in the examination of stories in social research contexts in general, and educational studies in particular. Narratives travel. They travel between fiction and non-fiction (Brockmeier, 2013); they travel from text to body (Eakin, 2013), they travel from body to storytelling (Hyden, 2013), and across disciplines (Hyvärinen, 2013). The “traveling concepts of narratives” (Hyvärinen, Hatavara, & Hyden, 2013) may sug-gest the application of narratology to qualitative research settings on the basis of simple transitiv-ity logic, that if the use of narratological frameworks is viable in analyzing narratives in fiction, it should also be viable in analyzing narratives in educational contexts because narratives travel. !88 4.2 Panfictionality as the Epicentre The discussions so far establish the use of narratology in educational studies. They sug-gest the nexus between narratology and educational research as a practical possibility. A specific aspect in narratology which is the basis for the current work is panfictionality. Panfictionality (Jahn, 2017, N184.108.40.206) is a notion that contests and crumbles the very existence of a hard and fast dividing line between fiction and non-fiction. It is “the destabilization of the borderline between fiction and nonfiction” (Ryan, 1997, p. 165). Last but not least, the interdisciplinary nature of educational research invites the use and adaptability of narratology, specifically panfictionality, and other frameworks. Bridges (2017) also affirms the openness of educational research and states that “we can apply a wide range of disciplines, methods, and forms of representation … drawn in particular from the humanities and social sciences” (p. 15). I decipher panfictionality as the epicentre between narratology/narrative research and educational studies/research. 4.3 Panfictionality as a Pre-modern Postmodern The notion of panfictionality flourished as a postmodern exercise of critiques. For in-stance, Ryan (1977) challenged and subverted the established tradition of the fact-fiction distinc-tion and promoted the notion of panfictionality. Other studies entertained similar notions, and asserted that “literary narrative is a construct broadly similar to other forms of narrative” (Cor-tazzi, 1993, p. 98). This harkens back to the claim that the application of literary models to narra-tives of personal experience “would offer useful insights” (Cortazzi, 1993, p. 98). In the same line of argument, Shenhav (2015) contends that fiction “can refer to something ‘real’; it’s real in the context of the possible worlds” (p. 54). The claim that “narratology is concerned with all !89 types of narratives, literary and non-literary, fictional and non-fictional, verbal and non-verbal” (Jahn, 2017, N2.2.2) further strengthens the use of literary textual tools in educational research. Another perspective that unifies narratives in social and literary studies and promotes the fluid nature of narratives is the conception of narratives as representation, or meaning-making (Ryan, 2007, as cited in Brockmeier, 2013, p. 124). Brockmeier (2013) envisions the notion of narrative as representation, and argues for a “narrative hermenutics,” which is “conceiving of narratives as forms of action and interaction” (p. 124). In this sense, it is hardly possible to figure out whether a given representation is purely fact or fiction (Brockmeier, 2013; Jahn, 2017). This leads to the possibility that the fact-fiction distinction dwindles in the study of narratives and nar-ratology. Brockmeier (2013) dismantles the binary opposition of fact vs. fiction to reach a com-pelling argument for “the very same interpretative operations at the core of both literary and everyday processes of narrative meaning construction” (as cited in Hatavara, Hydén & Hyväri-nen, 2013, p. 7). This argument sounds like another compelling perspective in this regard be-cause there are not separate ways to understand fictional stories and non-fictional narratives. We understand and interpret fictional stories and narratives using the same linguistic as well as intel-lectual capability. We identify with characters in fiction as well as individuals in real-life situa-tions by being exposed to their stories. The similarities in the ways we understand fictional stories and real-life interactions could also justify the use of inputs from narratology into the studies of real-life narratives (Hatavara, Hydén, & Hyvärinen, 2013, p. 4). Czarniawska articulates the absence of any clear !90 distinction between fact and fiction (as cited in Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 11) in response to the “dichotomy of these two concepts” (Ryan, 1997, p. 165). Such distinctions are often “mud-dled” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 179), and they are “matters of disguise, of fictionalizing” (Blaise, as cited in Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 181). These thoughts could be taken as an exercise to amalgamate real-life experiences and imaginative stories in a form of “a unified field theory” (Eakin, 2013, p. 91). Such narratives are not separate from the wider social contexts in which they are generated. Bell (2003) recognizes “‘story’ in the spoken and written utterances of individual human beings” and discerns narratives “to refer to broader societal pat-terns of meaning” (p. 97). It is essential to focus on panfictionality to locate the roots of fiction-based research in educational studies. A number of scholars apply and discuss fiction-based research using a vari-ety of names, such as fiction-based research (Bridges, 2017; Clough, 2002; Dunlop, 1999; Leavy, 2015, 2018), fictional-critical writing (Bolton, 1994), non-fiction novel (Zipfel, 2005), creative non-fiction (Heyne, 2001; Sinner, 2013; Sinner, Hasebe-Ludt, Leggo, 2018). Likewise, the origin of the concept can be located in the wider domain of the “science of narrative,” called narratol-ogy (Jahn, 2017). Panfictionality is certainly traced back to the days of Plato and Aristotle. Locating the roots of panficitionality, as an alternative conceptualization of what is termed as fiction-based research, beyond a specific disciplinary exercise offers double perspectives for researchers inter-ested in the historical origin of the concept. It provides a clear background to the place and con-tribution of the humanities in educational research and re-creates the interdisciplinarity of narra-!91 tology, which has already been discussed by scholars in the field. It also affirms the in-terdisciplinary nature of educational research itself because educational research utilizes various tools and concepts from the humanities, among other disciplines. The introduction to this chapter touched upon narratology to reinforce this claim. Panfictionality had existed in the Greek tradition even though it is also an emerging trend that has existed in educational studies research under such names as fiction-based research or creative non-fiction. The Aesop Romance, for example, is an anonymously written fictional biog-raphy from the first century CE (Hansen, 1998). Staes (2014) provides us with an interesting ar-gument that “crossings of the border between fiction and nonfiction are the result of both author intention and reader reception” (p. 177). In the light of the traveling concept of narratives (Brockmeier, 2013; Hyvärinen, 2013; Hyvärinen, Hatavara, & Hydén, 2013), narratives may emerge in a new form which mingles the fictional and the real stories. Stories in societies that are primarily reliant on oral traditions are always evolving as they are passed on to the subsequent generations. Therefore, I would reiterate that, even though it is framed as a postmodern exercise, panfictionality existed early on. It is pre-modern. It existed long before the creation and/or ap-propriation of fiction-based research as a method in educational studies, among others. It is, I would prefer to say, the pre-modern postmodern. Finally, even though a number of scholars ar-gue for panfictionality in view of the blurry line between fiction and non-fiction, it is also essen-tial to keep in mind that there are still scholars like Lehman at the other end of the argument, who assert that “the ‘boundary’ between fiction and nonfiction matters” (Heyne, 2001, p. 324). !92 4.4 Panfictionality for Parallax Panfictionality is an essential aspect of narratology which helped me develop the life sto-ry research of academic public intellectuals. I use panfictionality as a synonym for fiction-based research. However, I favor the term panfictionality because it carries with it the meaning of being in-between fiction and real. One limitation of narrative inquiry research within the social sci-ences and educational studies is the specificity of research questions and research traditions in general, which conceals a number of other ‘truths’ and perspectives. A limitation of such research is its focus on a single or specific problem, which results in leaving other sides of a story in the opaque shadow of history. Another challenge in conducting research in this form is its prescrip-tive nature. Much research poses a particular question and then provides a prescription to resolv-ing the problem. It is not uncommon to come up with a conclusion to a research project that is followed by a set of recommendations. Moreover, research in its ‘traditional’ sense identifies gaps in evidence and interpretations to be explored further by other researchers. In contrast, the convenience of panfictionality is its parallax. Panfictionality promotes the presentation of the real in the form of the imaginative (i.e. fiction) due to fiction’s rich literary attributes in presenting stories. With its creative touch, fic-tion-based research allows “the exercise of the imagination…to fill in the gaps in evidence” (Bridges, 2017, p. 255). Clough (2002) summarizes the whole praxis as follows: “The fictionalisation of educational experience offers researchers the opportunity to import fragments of data from various real events in order to speak to the heart of social consciousness- thus providing the protection of anonymity to the re-search participants without stripping away the rawness of real happenings” (p. 8). !93 It also allows the writer to navigate and conjoin the private and personal aspects of life which are beyond conventional evidence-based knowledge (Bridges, 2017). What fiction-based research provides both readers and writers is the opportunity for different perspectives or unique ways of reading a text. I refer to this as parallax. Leavy (2018) states that fiction “lessens the power differential between text and reader” (p. 190). It engages readers actively in its dialogue, it authorizes entry into the otherwise “inaccessible possible worlds” and draws on “genuine human experience” (Leavy, 2018, pp. 190-191). In addition to addressing a particular research question, panfictionality is the best way to establish parallax in research. When the outcome of research is told as something which is wo-ven into fiction, it provides the reader or the research participants with the elasticity for parallax. Story telling has emancipative power, it has immense potential to give voice to the voiceless, and is “vital for minorities in political discussion” (Hatavara, Hydén, & Hyvärinen, 2013, p. 3). It gives everyone the opportunity to see particular events and perspectives from different points of view (Bolton, 1994; Bridges, 2017; Leavy, 2018). Both at the fictional level and the real-world level, it duly represents the research participants’ perspectives, including the researcher. Panfic-tionality incorporates the writer’s perspective, or authorial voice, and it assumes implied as well as real target readers (Jahn, 2017). In this sense, it is a rich means of representation, especially in deliberately establishing voice and point-of-view, among other attributes. Beyond these narratological resources, the fictional representation of stories provides flexibility to explore infinite levels of meaning and perspectives (Leavy, 2018; Bridges, 2017). This is another way of understanding narratology in general, and panfictionality in particular, as !94 a convenient way of ensuring parallax. In using such approaches in research, the attempt of the writer should be to provide readers with a holistic view of the stories, with multiplicities of per-spectives, from which the readers themselves draw their own interpretations. In line with this, if the representation of the story offers the story a context, the fictional nature of the story leaves room for multiple interpretations of the text along with context (Bolton, 1994; Bridges, 2017). Bolton (1994) also states that this mode of research “leaves gaps for the reader to fill in and rais-es questions through the unresolved plurality of its meanings” (p. 56). What appeals to me about this approach, however, is its openness to liberate oppressed voices, silenced narratives, and buried stories, which might be of interest to researchers who seek to explore the entirety of a situation. The potential to liberate such voices and dig out silenced narratives is another perspective which confirms to the notion of parallax as a convenient feature of this approach. It showcases forgotten stories, and it gives voice to unheard individuals from the margins of the story. In this case, the context refers not only to the historical context of the story tellers’ past, but also the moment in which the past is recollected. If this is the case, the writer could discover her own turn in the story, as she relates to it, and do at least some justice to what the writer feels has been denied or omitted. It is essential to note, however, that such a work is not purely fictional and thus does not allow the writer to deny the evidence from the ‘data’. Erben (1980) argues for the need to “fix the imagination in empirical resources - it cannot be allowed free reign and take unwarranted lib-erties with the lives of subjects” (as cited in Bridges, 2017, p. 260). Along the same lines of thought, it is less likely that such academic endeavors to tell stories escape firmly established in-!95 stitutional expectations and structural arrangements. The absence of such institutional norms would make such work less of a dissertation. Had it not been for such cases, it would have been sufficient to tell only the stories in which the writer is interested. As such, it is essential to reflect on what kind of procedures should be followed while working on these types of stories. Before delving into the procedures that I attend to in the research process, I would like to articulate my views of writing and how I approach writing as an intellectual exercise. In an interview, Dyson- the famous Hip-Hop public intellectual, argues for the signifi-cance of writing in the light of public intellectual engagement (Dobrin, 2006). He states the rela-tional continuum that writing forms between the past and the present where it serves as a "con-nection between previous cultures and contemporary ones, and a way, of course, of reinventing the very character and texture of experience in the light of one’s own writing” (Dobrin, 2006, p. 113). I envision writing as freedom. Writing becomes freedom when a person is able to write what matters to him/her. Writing becomes freedom when a person is able to listen inward and dig down to what is ingrained within oneself. It becomes freedom when the person is able to have a say; it becomes freedom when writing helps a person empower oneself to move from “invisibili-ty” to meaningful presence. Writing is the materiality of a desire—a desire to liberate oneself or others. Writing is a desideratum to demand justice. It becomes absolute freedom when a person writes fiction because writing fiction entails interminable choices, choices ranging from linguis-tic combinations of words to the selection of historical facts and claims. In the current writing, I write with the aforementioned sense of writing as freedom. How-ever, I also recognize the responsibility I should assume which is entailed in such a scholarly !96 work. I believe that I should respect the interests and self-portrayals of the fictionalized ‘charac-ters’ from whose commitments in participating in this research I have greatly benefited. These obligations propel my pen into reflecting on my subjectivity and positionality to help me figure out how these might shape my writing as a dialogical practice. Even though it is an academic ex-ercise, I acknowledge that I couldn’t escape the practical dilemma that arises from subjectivity as discussed in the first chapter, in sections 1.5 and 1.6. 4.5 Ethical Issues in Collecting Narrative Data One of the challenges in narrative research emerges from the issue of ethics. Narrative research is relational, dialogic, and collaborative, and requires the researcher “to imagine re-search ethics in respectful, relational, and transformative ways” (Craig & Huber, 2007, p. 270). Even though researchers seek ethics approval from institutions prior to engaging in the actual inquiry, ethical concerns are not a one-time issue for the narrative inquirer, and these concerns “shift and change as we move through an inquiry” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 170). It is indubitable that the traditional procedures benefit the researcher from a legal perspectives. How-ever, ethical procedures in narrative inquiry require “different agreements” (Craig & Huber, 2007, p. 270) than the established standards of procedures in medical and health sciences. This is because prior submission to an ethics protocol and approval prior to engagement in narrative in-quiry goes “against the relational negotiation that is part of narrative inquiry” (Clandinin & Con-nelly, 2000, p. 170). In dealing with personal narratives, it is also essential to give primacy to the human be-ing, the teller of the story, rather than to the story being told (Atkinson, 1998, p. 62). Researchers !97 should not place “themselves at the epicentre of their research interpretations” (Bishop & Shep-herd, 2011, p. 1283). It is the responsibility of the researcher “to consider the interests, rights, and privacy of the person telling his or her story above anyone else’s” (Atkinson, 1998, p. 37). The teller of the story ought to have “the right to remain anonymous”(Atkinson, 1998, p. 38) and at the same time the right to decide whether and when one’s name becomes public. Ethical issues also include “Everything you do in relation to the interview, from what you tell the person you are doing and why, to what happens to it and who has access to it” (Jackson, 1987, as cited in Atkinson, 1998, p. 37). Narrative inquiry in general and life story narratives in particular should be a “collaborative effort” (Atkinson, 1998, p. 37; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 20) and an entirely voluntary activity to the extent that the teller of the story is empowered to refuse to respond to any of the questions as well as to end the interview at any point (Atkinson, 1998, pp. 37-38). To ensure that the current study meets the expected ethical requirements, I submitted the proposal for this study to the Behavioral Research Ethics Board of the University of British Co-lumbia (UBC). The proposal passed through a rigorous ethics review by the Board and was ap-proved and recognized under Ethics Approval Certificate number H16-02350. Participants were given pseudonyms during the interviews as well as in the fictionalizing process. The names were given to the participants following their approval. Three of the participants chose Ethiopian proper names which are totally different from their own names. One of the participants didn’t want to pick a specific name. As a result, I picked a name randomly to represent the person. All historical incidents mentioned during the interview were documented and made part of the narra-!98 tion of the stories. I also referred to books and journal articles by expert authorities to understand historical contexts that were discussed by the research participants. I formulated and chronologi-cally developed the entire story of the participants, where necessary, “by editing and re-shaping what is told, and turning it into a hybrid story, ‘a false document’” (Behar, 1993, as cited in Riessman, 1993, p. 13). Interest in engaging in narrative research should emerge from the appreciation of subjec-tivity and the uniqueness of narratives of individuals. Evidently, such an engagement requires interaction with the subject, be it in the form of an interview, the study of biography or other rel-evant ‘field texts.’ This calls for understanding what ‘data’ (what Clandinin & Connelly’s (2000) refer to as field text) means in narrative inquiry and how such data ought to be gathered and ana-lyzed systematically. The challenge in conducting qualitative narrative research is the nature of narrative data being “susceptible to endless interpretation” and its inability to offer “automatic starting or fin-ishing points” and “overall rules about suitable materials or modes of investigation” (Squire, An-drews & Tamboukou, 2008, p. 1). In spite of this, the advantage in using narratives in research includes, but not limited to the structure and function of stories. It includes the possibility of lo-cating multiple voices in a work (Jahn, 2017). Leavy (2018) argues for the accessibility of schol-arship to the public. According to Leavy (2018), while traditional knowledge production and circulation in academic journals is full of jargon and accessible to limited audience, fiction is accessible to the vast majority and it can be “crafted to suite those [particular] audiences” (p. 192). Also, qualita-!99 tive narrative research has significant potential to explore “how narratives are silenced, contested or accepted and what, if any, effects they have” (Squire, Andrews & Tamboukou, 2008, p. 2). Moreover, the unique features of stories being “the most accessible, the most readily understood and the most flexible vernacular method of conducting and circulating research” make them in-creasingly preferred in educational research settings (Sinner, Hasebe-Ludt, Leggo, 2018, p. 167). In the earlier discussions in this chapter regarding the potential of narratology in qualita-tive research settings, it is pointed out that narratives are “elicited through interviews” (Holstein & Gubrium, 2012, p. 1). It is these narratives that are to be woven by the researcher into fiction. It thus follows that it is possible to regard personal experience narratives as data (Riessman, 1993) and the interview as a “data collection tool in narrative inquiry” (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990, p. 5), or “the working method of the life story” (Atkinson, 2007, p. 238) to generate such data. Personal experience narrative, even though its precise definition is contentious, stands for “extended speech acts about substantial or compelling aspects of life” (Holstein & Gubrium, 2012, p. 1). It consists of “talk organized around consequential events’’(Riessman, 1993, p. 1). A focus on and inclination towards personal experience narratives, aside from being a means to connect and contest the fact-fiction distinction, is justified based on two rationales. First of all, it is convenient to conduct the current research, which looks into the personal experi-ences of academic public intellectuals in the Global South. The convenience of personal experi-ence narratives to accommodate subjectivity, human agency, and imagination is another valida-tion of this choice (Atkinson, 1998; Riessman, 1993). For these reasons, the personal experience narrative seems well-suited to collect stories for the intended project. It is important to make ex-!100 plicit that in engaging in personal experience narratives, the researcher in this study is engaged in a specific form of the personal experience narrative, which is the life-story interview (Atkinson, 1998). Preference to use the life story interview as a “data collection” tool is also necessitated due its suitability for studying “not only one life across time but also how individual life interacts with the whole” (Atkinson, 1998, p. 4). This matches perfectly with the use of the notion of pan-fictionality as an approach to present the stories of the research participants. I designed the questions for the life story interview based on the sample questions and guidance provided in Atkinson (1998). I chose the open-ended style in order to address the entire life experiences of the study participants and to allow for in-depth narration of their experiences at a given point in time. I interviewed each of the study participants for approximately an hour and a half. I travelled to the places where the study participants live. Two of the study partici-pants preferred to have the interview in their private libraries. As a result, I had to stay a couple of days with the families of these individuals to conduct the interview in their private work space. I used Olympus digital voice recorder WS-852 device to record the interviews in mp3 format. In regards to language, three of the study participants preferred the interview be conduct-ed in Amharic. One of them expressed interest to be interviewed in English. In the first three cas-es of the interviews conducted in Amharic, on average I transcribed and translated 30-35 pages of interview data. A similar length of interview with the fourth study participant was transcribed as well. All the translated as well as the transcribed versions of the ‘field text” were sent back to the study participants by email. The study participants commented on the diction, grammar and !101 suitability of the translation of some concepts. Some participants removed, edited and changed their responses which they felt sounded strange when it appeared on the transcribed version of the document. All the study participants sent back the edited version of the document and they confirmed that the transcribed version represents their stories as told by themselves during the interview sessions. All the four participants signed and submitted the consent form which was sent to them along with the invitation letter early on. 4.6 Between the Real and the Imaginative- a Fictionalizing Process Stories of individuals are fictionalized “to make connections between the life worlds de-picted in personal narratives and larger social structures” (Riessman, 2008, p. 76). Iser (1977) (as cited in Leavy, 2015, p. 57) and Leavy (2018, pp. 194-205) suggest a three-stages procedure to fictionalize stories. These are: selection, combination, and self-disclosure. Selection is the process of collecting a social reality and turning it into a fictional production. Combination is building the selected items into a narrative. The final stage, self-disclosure, or revealing, is all about presenting the work as fiction. Leavy (2018) states that the self-disclosure stage is a straight forward declaration of a work labeling it as a novel or a short story. It is possible to regard the outcome of the life story interview as a stand-alone, self-suffi-cient narrative without any need for analysis, as in the case of fiction. It is also possible to em-ploy theories so as “to acknowledge and highlight some of the shared narrative threads” which could possibly connect this study “with ongoing conversation in the field” (Bell, 2003, p. 107). Atkinson (2007) also confirms that a text produced through the life story interview “can stand on its own, as any other text, or that it can be examined through the lens of any theory or research !102 question applied to it” ( p. 224). By themselves, stories are atheoretical in that there is no story-teller who tells one’s story with reference to particular theories, “yet there can be much meaning expressed in the story, and any theory that fits can be applied to it” (Atkinson, 2007, p. 234). This tendency of approaching narratives through a theoretical lens is common in narrative research that employs thematic analysis of personal life stories. In line with this, Riessman (2008) notes that “prior theory serves as a resource for interpretation” (p. 73). I engaged in the fictionalization process while using the life story interview documents. The documents profile the lives and experiences of the participants, as well as their identity de-velopment as academic public intellectuals. I did not analyze the stories based on any theoretical or conceptual guidelines for fear that such a practice would likely decontextualize the stories from the real-life experiences. Moreover, I do favor the act of “seeking meaning in the stories themselves” (Berger & Quinney, 2005, p. 9), and leaving it open to the readers than providing them with the meaning or interpretation of the stories in a separate chapter. The stories from the interview document are written in chronological order except in some cases where I used flash-backs to relate the stories with significant historical incidents. I acknowledge that I developed some of the life story interview questions following in-depth readings about such topics as public intellectualism and symmetric-criticality framework as discussed in the second chapter of this dissertation which deals with public intellectualism. Instead of adhering to particular theories, I opted to develop a conceptual framework to form a clear thought of what I mean by public intellectuals and on what basis I would rationally, and fairly, select individuals and invite them to engage in life storytelling. It is essential to iterate that !103 the participants in this study were selected because they were academics with experience being a faculty member in Ethiopia, currently working in a tenured position in the universities in United States or Canada, and are known for addressing the general public beyond their disciplinary fron-tiers. After identifying one of the study participants through my professional contacts, all the oth-er participants were identified following the recommendation by the study participant who was interviewed before them. 4.7 Summary Research in the form of narrative non-fiction is flourishing as “a global academic move-ment” (Goodal, 2008, p. 11). A possible approach in using narrative non-fiction in educational studies research is through the application of narratology. Narratology can be used as an in-terdisciplinary tool due to a growing focus in other disciplines toward the “features and functions of narrative” (Becker & Quasthaff, 2004, p. 6). It bears mentioning that the use of narratology in educational studies has been limited (Cortazzi, 1993, p. 84; Heinen & Sommer, 2009). Applications of narratology in qualitative research relates with the development and evo-lution of plural narratologies. Narratology has evolved from the study of literary narratives to a multidisciplinary narratologies. This shows the possibilities for proliferation that has occurred and will continue to occur in narratological exercises (Biwu, 2015; Gymnich, 2013; Heinen & Sommer, 2009; Prince, 2008). Narratives travel “between fiction and non-fiction” (Brockmeier, 2013), “from text to body” (Eakin, 2013), “from body to story,” and across disciplines (Brock-meier, 2013; Ritivoi, 2013; Ritivoi as cited in Hyavarna, Hatavara, & Hyden, 2013, pp. 2-9). This mobile nature of narratives also justifies the use of narratological frameworks from literary !104 narratology as viable in analyzing narratives in educational contexts (Brockmeier, 2013; Ritivoi, 2013). A specific aspect of narratology, termed as panfictionality, makes the nexus between nar-ratology and educational research a practical possibility. Panfictionality (Jahn, 2017, N220.127.116.11) is a claim that challenges the existence of any distinction between fiction and non-fiction. It is “the destabilization of the borderline between fiction and nonfiction” (Ryan, 1997, p. 165). I decipher panfictionality as the epicentre between narratology/narrative research and educational studies/research. This is because panfictionality, when integrated with other elements of narratology such as story development strategies, is adoptable to study real-life narratives in educational studies research. Some critiques claim that the notion of panfictionality is a postmodern exercise. For ex-ample, some writers and critics challenge the established tradition of the fact-fiction distinction (Czarniawska as cited in Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Ryan, 1977). and promoted the notion of panfictionality. In the same line of argument, Shenhav (2015) contends that fiction “can refer to something ‘real’; it’s real in the context of the possible worlds” (p. 54). It is essential to focus on panfictionality to locate the roots of fiction-based research in educational studies.The practice of fictionalizing real-life stories and events is exercised under different names such as fiction-based research (Borton, 1994; Bridges, 2017; Clough, 2002; Dunlop, 1999; Leavy, 2015, 2018; ), fic-tional-critical writing (Bolton, 1994), non-fiction novel (Zipfel, 2005), creative non-fiction (Heyne, 2001; Sinner, 2013; Sinner, Hasebe-Ludt, Leggo, 2018). In spite of these, the actual ori-!105 gin of the concept is deeply rooted in the wider domain of the “science of narrative,” called nar-ratology (Jahn, 2017). Panficitionality, a concept which is currently practiced by the name fiction-based re-search, affirms the interdisciplinary nature of educational research itself as the latter utilizes con-cepts from the humanities. Panfictionality, as a concept of being in-between fiction and real, is a useful tool to tell the life stories and experiences of real-life individuals. Panfictionality promotes the presentation of the real in the form of the imaginative (i.e. fiction) because of fiction’s rich literary attributes in presenting stories. With its creative touch, fiction-based research allows “the exercise of the imagination…..to fill in the gaps in evidence” (Bridges, 2017, p. 255). What fiction-based research provides both readers and writers is the opportunity for dif-ferent perspectives or unique ways of reading a text. I refer to this as parallax. Fiction based re-search engages readers actively in its dialogue, it authorizes entry into the otherwise “inaccessi-ble possible worlds” and draws on “genuine human experience” (Leavy, 2018, pp. 190-191). Panfictionality is the best way to establish parallax in research. When the outcome of research is told as something which is woven into fiction, it provides the reader or the research participants with the elasticity for parallax. It gives everyone the opportunity to see particular events and per-spectives from multiple points of view (Bolton, 1994; Bridges, 2017; Leavy, 2018). Panfictional-ity incorporates the writer’s perspective, or authorial voice, and it assumes implied as well as real target readers (Jahn, 2017). In this sense, it is a rich means of representation, especially in delib-erately establishing voice and point-of-view, among other attributes. !106 To collect the stories of the study participants, I used the personal experience narrative, specifically the life-story interview (Atkinson, 1998; Holstein & Gubrium, 2012). In the fiction-alization process, the stories of individuals are used “to make connections between the life worlds depicted in personal narratives and larger social structures” (Riessman, 2008, p. 76). Iser (1977) and Leavy (2015, pp. 57-58; 2018, p. 194-205) suggest a three-stage procedure to fiction-alize stories. These are: selection, combination, and self-disclosure. Selection is the process of collecting a social reality and turning it into a fictional production. Combination is building the selected items into a narrative. The final stage, self-disclosure, or revealing, is all about present-ing the work as fiction. However, recognizing that the stories in this work are not purely fiction-al, the following section presents the entire narration as intersecting stories than a novel because the later sounds more like a label for a creative work of art. !107 Chapter 5: Between Speech and Silence (Intersecting Stories) We are awash in stories. We live stories all the time. We attend to the stories of others. We linger in the stories of dreams, imagination, fantasy, and memory. We read stories in school and at home; we hear stories from friends and strangers; we view stories on television and the Internet and movie screens; we understand the past in terms of stories, just as we seek to understand the future in stories. (Leggo, 2012, p. xiii) !108 Introduction The story in the following section is written based on the real-life experiences of Ethiopi-an academics in North America. The real-life stories of four academics in tenure track employ-ment in the United States and Canada were collected in a form of the life story interview. The narration presents the real lives and encounters of Ethiopian intellectuals and how they negotiat-ed the social and the political spaces in their personal and professional development. It presents their life journeys both in Ethiopia and in the North America. The concept of panfictionality is employed in developing the story for it allows writers to integrate real life events as well as imaginative stories. In relation to this, there are a number of fictional characters that are created to give life to the stories and to offer logical coherence and progression to the narration. Most of the specific places mentioned in the story are not related to the interview partici-pants. The conferences discussed in the story are also fictional. The individuals in this story are given pseudonyms, and they are created as fictional characters. To locate the story in the larger field of educational research, issues pertinent to academic freedom, speech and silence are blended with the notion of public-intellectual praxis. As the intellectuals in this story are renowned academics in exile, most of their reflections revolve around historical events of the past and issues and experiences related to political developments in Ethiopia, specially from the 1960s onwards, and their emergence as Ethiopian public intellectuals among the diaspora in North America. The participants in this study mentioned the names of some individuals who are known to them in real life. The following names refer to real individuals and thus, they are not fictional characters. Prof. Rindleshort, Dr. Hamlin, Professor Merera Gudina, Professor Berhanu Nega, !109 Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam, Dr. Lucien Matte were professors at Addis Ababa University. Marathoner Abebe Bikila is mentioned by a character in the story. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mari-am, Emperor Haile Selassie, President John F. Kennedy, and President Richard Nixon were also mentioned by the characters as these characters were reflecting on the political developments during their time in Ethiopia. James Baldwin (1984) states “One writes out of one thing only—one’s own experience” (p. 7). It is essential to note that beyond the stories of the intellectuals, my view of the academy and my own personal experience while working as one of the administrative as well as teaching personnel in Ethiopia has also left its own imprints in weaving the stories in this form. As a result, this work incorporates the worldview of the researcher. This is addressed in the introduction section of the dissertation where conceptual issues about a researcher’s subjectivity and positionality are discussed. For the sake of clarity, I present brief explanations of some claims, unusual expressions, quotes, and assertions and provide readers with the sources for such items in the endnote. I iterate that there is no conclusion and/or epilogue in this work. Understanding the text of a story as a self-sufficient and stand-alone entity, it is essential to recognize the exclusion of a concluding section as a necessary norm of a text. There is variation in the narration and interpre-tation of particular perspectives and view points from which the stories are told, be it at the level of the participating characters or the narrators (Jahn, 2017). With the understanding that people “live stories all the time” (Leggo, 2012, p. xiii), it also seems unfair to infer conclusions about the lives and experience of others. I believe that anyone who endeavors to provide readers with conclusions about particular stories ventures on the risk of dismissing the feelings and emotional !110 attachments as articulated by the story tellers. Conclusions and interpretations should, therefore be left to the readers who will have their own response to the work. !111 A random trip A long time ago, a man was born in an affluent community, a community full of stories and histories. The man was born on a land endowed with stories and histories. Some of those 1stories and histories were married, others divorced, some intimate and others distant, some vicar-ious and others vacuous. He used to learn histories and used to listen to stories at his mother’s feet, a mother who always aspires to bestow her son with the gift of telling stories and listening to them as well. On his travels in North America a winter ago, this man decided to keep a diary to share with his mother the histories he learned and the stories he heard. He had started docu-menting his travels and encounters in North America on a tiny diary gilded with gold to keep track of events and tell the stories to her accurately. It was very unfortunate; however, that the man lost that diary on a short trip. The diary and those stories tattooed in the diary were lost somewhere on his journey. The man witnessed that he had lost the diary a day after his first trip was concluded. The first mea-sure the man took was to call the airline. The person on the other side of the phone told the man !112 to go to the reception desk and speak with someone at an American Airlines office in person. His assumption was somebody might have found the diary and had generously turned it in. He did as he was told to do. He went to the office and requested for the missing item. But, it is not turned in to the lost and found section of the airline. The man waited for a day more, with some hope and eagerness that he will get the diary back. The man was certain that he will find the diary be-cause he believed that nobody will be interested in the strange stories and the crabbed writings. The man felt that people do not listen to stories these days. Stories are progressively marginal-ized. They are denied of their educational significance. They are considered as only echoing the past and those who do stories are perceived to be either the old or the less equipped with tech-nologies. In fact, even if stories are regards as pedagogically significant, it is not an easy deal to sift through stories, to tell stories that matter, to take narrative risk and to attend to counter-narra-tives. The gentleman’s diary consisted of misplaced stories, and displaced narratives. However, it was so precious for a man like him who is addicted to stories and who learned knowing from his mother by way of storytelling than any other thing. After exhausting all alternatives to locate this diary, the last option the man could resort to would be but to dream about it. The man had to rehearse and retrieve at least some portion of the contents from his memory. He had to take note of whatever pops-up in his mind. The man should see if he could be able to brainstorm the major issues he had tattooed on the white pages of that lovely diary. It was a struggle to find those sto-ries, to locate the lost but not found stories, and to possess the lost stories. Here is the thing- No two words will be exactly alike if somebody utters them at different times. No two stories will be exactly alike if somebody tells them at different times, too. The man decided to stay in silence and ruminate over each of the events and rewrite them afresh, regardless. Of all the days he lived in North America, of all the events he tattooed on his diary, of all the weeks he walked on the land of the Coast Salish People, the First Nations, Inuit and Métis , 2of all the conversations he had with people on the lands of Ioway, Kickapoo, Mascouten, Pi-ankashaw, Potawatomi, Sauk, Shawnee, Wea, and Winnebago , of all shines of the sun on the 3!113 lands of the Shawnee natives, the Chippewa natives, the Ojibwa natives, the Delaware natives, the Wyandot natives, the Eel River natives, the Kaskaskia natives, and the Iroquois natives , of 4all the butterflies he watched on the lands of the Saanich Nation of Coast Salish peoples, the Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsartlip, Tseycum, Pauquachin, Scia'new, Tsawout and T'Sou-ke Nations , 5those stories in the crabbed writings were unforgettable. The stories endure because he came across unforgettable people from his motherland who were willing to tell their stories on a father land. He came across people whose stories he could hardly forget, specially the stories of the people he spoke with in those five days of a week-long trip. He thus decided to remember, retell and re-make those stories he lost with his diary in an effort to share some of the events in his beautiful days. The man had a clear scene of the inci-dents, his travels and some of his conversations in his mind. *** It all started on the first day of the first month of the Year of the Rooster- 2017. Rooster is a Chinese symbol of honesty, fortune, luck and protection. The man felt that it’s a great fortune to listen to stories. He also felt that some miraculous spirit stood to protect him as he walked on those lands of the silent people, the hospitable people. He felt fortune and luck and protection as he was preparing to cross the border to the south. On that day, the man was preparing to go to the Airport. He was so depressed on that day. He turned on his CD player in his bedroom to grab the wheels of his random thoughts. He had already known that a CD containing Ahmed’s album was already inside the player. The famous Tizita- which means Songs of Recollection- by the Ethiopi-an singer Mahmoud Ahmed, a slow genre about the past, memory, departure and death, was fill-ing the air in the room. This slow vocal which is basically a reflection on departure metaphorical-ly equates departure with the largest and longest river ever known to Africans and the Middle Eastern people. The chorus of the lyric rhythmically rehash the same theme: Is there Nile after we crossed Nile?! Aren’t Death and Departure just One?! How come Death and Departure are One? !114 But that Death is finer, and even better For it is known surer! That in it, there is no return! It is true! In a departure, one knows where one begins, it is known for certain. But, any-one cannot be certain about their return. I knew where I started my departure. I flew, but I had never known for certain where I would end, and even when. I was like the homeless wanderer, the risk-taking adventurer. Suddenly, the man had to quit deliberating on these issues and going down those lines of Ahmed. He called a cab which would drive him to the nearest Skytrain station. Mornings are not as busy as nights for cab drivers in this town. At daytime, they grab any opportunity coming their way. In a few minutes, the cab was parked outside. The man noticed the yellow nose of the vehi-cle as he looked through the window. The man left home right away. As he entered into the cab, it started to rain. The man was hearing the thrumming on the roof of the cab. It took the cab dri-ver only about five minutes to drop the man to the nearest Skytrain station. The man paid the fare from a credit card. The amount the man paid matches the figures that appear on the indicator me-ter just above the rear-view mirror. The driver asked, “Have you ever used a yellow cab before?” The message was clear to the passenger. The fuel keeps the tires moving, the tips keep the driver smiling. The man saluted the driver with a smile. “Oh, yes. Thank you very much. Have a won-derful day and wish me a nice trip!” The man closed the door behind him. He run towards the escalator and in minutes he found himself in a sky train. As soon as he got onto the Skytrain, he saw many people with huge luggage. Most of them speak a different tongue than the man had ever heard of. He could guess they were speaking some languages from Europe. On average, a stop took a minute and in about eight or so minutes, the man arrived at his destination and he got off the skytrain. The man had no luggage to grapple with. Only his back-!115 pack and a tiny laptop. It was such an easy trip. The sliding doors by the entrance of the Airport were very welcoming. They swung open opposite sides to let him in. They neither smiled nor twisted their face. They reflected back his own image, an adventurer’s face. To the gentleman he saw in the glass, he said “Have a nice trip!” Then, a generous escalator carried him down the floor without asking him where he was heading to. As he was rushing, a very young man stopped in front of him to let the man walk past him. Polite gesture! The man moved his neck and made a gesture like Mr. Bean to say Thank you! He then reached at the machines where he had to check his documentations. These machines are not usually welcoming. They are not as welcoming as the sliding glass doors. They are too demanding. They asked him his passport, his name, his ticket number, his destination. But, that was not the problem. After someone answers all these questions, these machines usually flash the unfavorable statement, “We cannot process your information. Please talk to the clerk on the nearest counter!” The man walked past a couple of travelers and a polite woman asked him, “How may I help you?” He showed his passport and his ticket. The woman generously printed out another similar ticket. Once the man grabbed the ticket, he had to rush to a gate labelled Gate C - ALL IN-TERNATIONAL DEPARTURES. “C is a bad score. Why should I go through this?” The man was murmuring to himself. He remembered his college days, his friends, and their discussions about grades. The man couldn’t forget one of his friends who was always certain that he will score “C” even if he is not working as hard as the man. This friend of him used to say, “Why do you worry? Do you always need to spend your time in the library? Don’t you know that C is your right? It is your citizenship right. “C” as in “Citizen." He saw more crowds lining up at Gate C than the main entrance. He did line up as well. There were young security officers dressed in black, with black steel-toed shoes, and black ra-dios on their waist. One of the security officers standing by the entrance looked at the man from head to toe. The man said to himself, “Maybe this is how to wish someone a nice trip when you !116 are an officer." Before the man got the chance to utter a sentence to himself, one of the security officers approached him. The officer said, “Hi, would you please follow me?” “Ok, but …er….why?” “I am sorry, we are going to do a body search, pat-down procedures, you know!” “Ok. But, why do you pick only me? As far as I can see, you are not asking others to follow you, right?” “Oh, Sorry. But, we have to do a random search” “Excuse me, what does RANDOM mean?” “Sorry for this but it is just a Random Check. You know security concerns and er…..” “Aha, Random means a security threat” “Oh, no. Please don’t take me like that” “So, tell me what random means because I don’t know the meaning in the context you are using it.” The officer kept quiet. “Or, that might mean some bodies like me?!” Before the officer gave the man any answer, another gentleman led the person to a corner where two officers were waiting for him to do pat-down procedures. But, one of the officers looked at the face of the man and asked the man to show his travel documents. The officer checked the Identification Card which shows the actual status of the man. The officer felt un-comfortable to further upsetting the man. He said, “Sorry for the inconvenience but you are good to go." For the first time, the man came to know how just some identification cards mitigate risk in some circumstances like this one. The man went down the hall to the main gate where he had to board the plane. He was singing “Death is better than Departure!” A hostess, with the looks and smiles of a nice woman, greeted the man at the entrance to the plane. The man affirmed to himself that she is indeed nice. He wished she were as good as nice. Who knows, maybe she is! Who knows! Good and nice are different things. Maybe, they are inversely proportional in some places. He smiled. He walked past some seats and he reached !117 half way through the airplane. He ended up right at the waist of the plane. He then followed a gentleman in front of him while locating the specific number of his seat from the ticket on his hand. The man walked a bit and he realized the person in front of him was also going to sit either with him or very close. The old man took a while to put his carry-on into the slot above. As soon as the old man sat by the aisle, the man located his seat which is next to the old man. The man had to bother the old man to let him walk past the old man who sat by the aisle. The man was talking to himself, “I don’t usually like sitting by the aisles. These seats by the windows are my favorite spots. But, the windows were probably built by a greedy person who does not want travelers to see the whole world out there. Maybe! Some of them are the size of a well-built gentleman’s palm. Why don’t they build these windows huge? Why don’t they allow people to see the world out there? The man was thinking about these issues. The man remembered he had put his earphone in his shirt’s pocket. Before he plugged in his earphone, the old white man sitting by his right side sent a radiant smile. The man smiled back. The man felt life for the first time since he left his home this morning. This seems like a real smile. His face was blooming like the popcorns Ethiopian mother’s make for coffee times. Genuine smiles wishing everybody a nice flight. The old man turned his face to the man and said, “Hey, welcome” “Thank you." “Single flight or connections?” “No, just one stretch." “Aha! Mine is a single trip, too." “Oh, cool. We go together then." “Yeah." “Where are you from?” !118 The man had been tired of this question. He was not interested to answer this question. Is it really an easy question? Where are you from? What would be the best answer to this? Where can a man be from? From mother’s womb? From mother earth? From motherland? Or, maybe from mother country? Is this a rhetorical question that seeks no answer or that has the answer in it? Or, maybe it has a different semantic significance to tell someone about somebody else? The man didn’t respond immediately. He breathed a sigh. He responded after a while. “Did you ask where I am going?” “I can guess you are tired of this question. Sometimes people ask where you are from and you may get offended. I know. People don’t know how to handle difference. As a young man, it might be upsetting for you to answer that question on many occasions." The man barely wanted to talk. The old man understood the man. “You know…er… when you get older, you want to socialize more, and you regret all the times you spent alone and in silence." “I see”, replied the man. He then remembered an interesting story. It’s written in a book entitled “….because, they said, I was lazy. What they meant by lazy was that I used too many contrac-tions: for instance, I would not write out in full the words cannot and will not, but instead con-tracted them to can’t and won’t” by Lydia Davis. The man remembered that the story in the men-tioned book happened in an airport lounge where a woman asks another, “Is that a new sweater?” and the conversation ended with a brief answer, “It is not." The man was smiling and decided to extend the conversation whatever the outcome might be. Suddenly, the old man smiled and turned his face again to speak with the man. The old man asked a reverse question, this time with a sparkling smile “Where am I going?” At this time, the question asked by the old man confused the man. Was he asking I or himself? The man hesitated. After a brief silence, the man decided to answer. It is clear that the man wanted to talk to somebody. “I don’t know. Maybe you are on some business trip? Or visiting your families somewhere in the States?” !119 “Well. I am going to attend a conference and meet my colleagues from many years back. What about you?” “Same here." While answering, the man noticed that the person is easy-going and there are a thousand little smiles everywhere on his face. “I am curious. What is your conference about?” the old man asked the man by his side. “It is about higher education”, replied the man. “Highly likely, we are going to the same conference." “Is that? The Higher Education Stakeholders’ Conference?” “Yes, right!” confirmed the old man. “What a coincidence! I am so glad I met someone from the start of my trip." “I will introduce you with my friends. I can tell that you had lived somewhere in Africa?!” added the old man. “Yes, my skin tells. Well, actually, as the saying goes, a leopard cannot hide its spots!”. “I lived in East Africa for over two decades, but that was long ago! Maybe you were not born at that time!” The gentleman smiled. He then introduced himself. “I am Professor William. “W” as in Whiskey!” The man in turn told Professor William his name. But, it was an unusual name and the man felt it might be difficult to pronounce for individuals from a different culture. The old man was able to catch only the first two sounds of the name. They both became even more excited as soon as they got to know each other! At this time, all passengers were in and seated, the hostess started speak-ing. Everyone interrupted their conversations for a second. The nice old man kept quiet for a while, too. The plane started rushing on the ground in preparation for take-off. Soon followed the in-flight passenger announcement. Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Tantoo Cardinal and I’m your chief flight attendant for today. On behalf of Captain George Vancouver and the entire crew, welcome aboard. This is Air Cana-da AC 665, direct flight from Vancouver. Our flight will be non-stop and it will last 7:00 hours !120 and 59 minutes. We will be flying at an altitude of 4500 ft. and a ground speed of 28 miles an hour south of the border. It was a nice quick introduction. The man, however, felt that something might be missing from the usual introductions and welcome addresses he came to know. The current announce-ment didn’t have any acknowledgement of the land. He smiled as he spoke with himself. It was a silent smile. As the plane took off, everyone started to feel as if the elevation were snatching their hearts from them. The announcement was over and the plane was floating on the flat air at the mentioned altitude. The man resumed the conversation with the gentleman who introduced him-self as Professor William. The man then turned his face to the window at his left-hand side. After a while, the man noticed that Professor William was also staring through the window. The man was paying attention to how the white, shiny, soft clouds and the dark, heavy, rain clouds mingle, and divorce, spontaneously. And then, they mingle, and divorce, and divorce, and divorce. The man was speaking to himself, The clouds mingle and disperse as frequent as the rate of divorce in the town. “Are you enjoying the view?" Professor William asked. “Oh, yes! We were in the middle of a conversation and you said you will introduce me to some people, right?” the man asked. “eh… I have some colleagues coming from all over the world, and the other end of the continent. Some of them might even be from your place. My former colleague is a professor and she will also be there. If we meet her, she will inspire you, you will educate yourself from listening to her stories”, said Professor William. “Can you tell me more about her?" The man was eager. This woman might be the one about whom the person heard of repeatedly. “Actually, it should be far better if she tells her story but she is not that kind of person. I mean she is modest. I also believe that I am not good at telling stories but I can tell some of her stories. In fact, her stories are my stories. They are our stories. We are all interrelated like the roots of the trees underneath. Our stories have that visceral nature. But it is not visible for us at all times. If !121 you hear her stories, they will remain in you. They will also be part of your story because you spent part of your life listening to them. This is what I learned from my former colleagues in Ethiopia. Hold on, if you have time I will tell you a lot more. Or, maybe you will tell me a lot more?” “Oh, no. I want to listen. I have nothing to tell as such. I might be a good listener. In fact, I have some passion for stories. I mean listening to stories." “Why are you so enthusiastic about stories?” Professor William asked. “I don’t really know the answer. Maybe that is because I belong to a traditional story telling community. But, it is certainly because I believe that, to use Margaret Atwood’s words, ‘In the end, we will all become stories." “That is it. We are on the same page. You see. Let me continue. It was a long time ago. I am sure that is before you came to visit this world [smile]. Approximately 45 years ago, I went to the Eastern part of Africa. The purpose of my trip was to research the dead languages of the Afro-Asiatic family. In North America, the average youth think that the whole world speaks either English, Mandarin or one of the popular European languages. It was fascinating to discover that almost every country in Africa has no less than 25 languages. For example, Ethiopia has 90 lan-guages, Sudan has 75 languages, and Kenya has 68 languages . While I was conducting a basic 6survey of Afro-Asiatic languages in the Horn of Africa, I met a woman from the States. That happened by the time I travelled to a rural community to collect linguistic data. She used to work for a non-governmental organization. We eventually ended up in a lifetime relationship. I used to visit her often. “She was working for a non-profit in the rural areas of Ethiopia. The place was not far from the capital city, not even an hour drive but it looks like a very remote area, even today. The last time I visited the place was six years ago. Despite significant economic developments in the country in general, this place didn't change markedly. The people were economically marginalized. So, in this place, there was a small health post and my wife used to supervise volunteers and mobilize resources donated by non-profit organizations. In this health centre, a woman, a local school teacher, give birth to two daughters. One of these two daughters is now a scientist and she resides here in the United States. Her name is Professor Mulu. The other daughter is an engineer and she !122 leads a huge firm in Cape Town. My partner befriended the mother of the two daughters and we used to visit the mother quite often for as long as we lived in Ethiopia. The mother was a gener-ous woman, determined and strong, creative and kind. You will find one in a million who is as strong and passionate as her. I am surprised how fast the time goes. It goes like anything. It is about four decades since her birth now." “I see”, the man confirmed. Professor William continued, “So, the scholar I mentioned to you, I knew her since her birth. I never expected this to happen but time goes like anything and she is now a mother and, I would say, she is my colleague. So, she is one of those daughters I mentioned. She is also a pub-lic figure and I bet you know her, or have heard a lot about her either from your own friends or from the media." “Her name is familiar. I didn’t know much about her. But, I sent her an email and requested a brief meeting, if possible. I am not sure whether it will happen, though." “We will see.” “Maybe this trip is a good opportunity to connect with people like her”, the man replied. “Where are you going to stay for the conference?” Professor William asked. “I booked a place through AirBnB .” 7“You must be very smart. At your age, I didn’t even know the internet.” “ Was it not discovered by then?” “I mean things are changing so fast and people are also learning these gadgets so fast. Now, you carry the whole library, your family photo album, and your favorite songs in one of those ‘little toys’ . Technology is good; it makes your life easy, but it also has its own limitations. I have a 8son. And he spends all his day sitting in front of the computer or watching television. He had lost interest in going to school and I don’t know what to do. I wanted to give him some time and see what will happen. Technology spoiled him. Don’t rely much on it, anyway. I mean if you do not allow it to control you, it is fair enough.” The man nodded in silent agreement. !123 “I told you early on that I was a linguist. I lived in three different countries and I met people from all over the world, all kinds of people. That experience made me to value communication. I am always eager to learn about cultures and ideas of people. I am always fascinated to learn about the worldview of people from other cultures. I research language dynamics and culturally dis-placed or dislocated people. That is actually the main reason why I am invited to attend this con-ference and speak at a session. The organizers invited me to deliver a speech about diaspora and linguistic identity. It might be a bit related to people like you who are not born here. The issue revolves around narratives of international migrants and their experiences.” The man was pleased about the conversation. He said “I am pleased to talk to someone on such a long trip”, trying to encourage the old man to educate him more. It took approximately half an hour to see the hostess bring some cookies and water for everyone. She then started inviting everyone to order food and drinks or to buy earphones. The man thanked her for the water and cookies. The man then swung his head to confirm that he is not in need of buying anything now. The screen in front of him was blank. After a few minutes, the man turned on the screen and started watching a movie. In the middle of watching the movie, the man felt he was exhausted and took a short nap. He noticed that the plane was descending in preparation for landing at the heart of the city. The man looked through the window again. He noticed that the lights from the streets, the headlights from cars moving smoothly on the wide roads, the lights that struggle to escape from inside of the buildings through glass windows, and the lights from the houses and their surround-ing fences made the city glare like a piece of metal in a furnace. It was a nice view. The man felt that it took a shorter time than he expected to cross the border and be in another city or in another country. Sometimes crossing borders is that easy!, the man told himself. As the plane started descending, he felt that little pain again. His heart was aching as if something were trying to snatch it out of his ribs. The same feeling he had by the time the plane !124 took off for this trip about eight hours ago. The same feeling he had experienced by the time he knew that his separation from his mother was certain. It was the same feeling that he felt when he knew he will not see her every day for many more years to come. That same feeling came again, with its little pain, and more aching memory. Everyone stretched their body and started collecting their backpacks and mini-luggage. The man had already activated the international roaming system on his phone. He was certain that it could enable to stay connected with friends and families. He gave his phone number to the old man he met on the trip. He wanted to be out of this flying metallic cylinder immediately. He felt the urge to walk on mother earth who will never say “I am tired of carrying you.” The man looked at his brief notes at a glance: Leave the airport, take a cab, call the number you found from AirBnB, get at your room, take shower, sleep well, wake up early, be at the Convention Centre at 07:00 AM. The man said to himself, “I certainly will!!” As soon as he started walking out of the airport, he noticed two military personnel with automatic guns. They had advanced military gear all around their duty belt. The man looked down at his shoes as if the personnel were not looking at him if he were not looking at them. The man told himself, “eh, I don’t like to have a look at these things!” One of the personnel approached the man with a smile. “Where are you going, sir!” “Visiting my families.” “Do you have a piece of photo ID?” “Yes, I have my passport!” “Awesome.” While one of the officers was flipping through the pages of the passport, the man asked the other officer a question with a scared tone of voice that gets interrupted after every utterance. “Sir, is …there…any problem?” “No, it is just a random check.” !125 “Thank you, sir!” A random check, a random trip, a random search…uhh. The man collected his passport and then, he walked out of the airport to a pickup location for a cab ride to a random house that he had picked from AirBnB. !126 Con-fere together The next morning, the man woke up early. He smiled as he looked at the rays of sun en-tering into his room through the window blind. He grabbed a shower, quickly changed his cloth, and left his room immediately. It was con-fer-ence day one! The man reached at the Convention Centre exactly on the dot. It was impossible to miss the conference venue due to the bright and well-decorated conference entrance gates with a visible Welcome sign. Each letter of the sign were printed with one of the colors in a rainbow, and different from the color of the next letter. Very visible arrows at the right and at the left of the welcome sign were directing people to the registration desk, conference venues, and restrooms. The man followed the arrow to the registra-tion desk and in few meters he noticed the volunteers welcoming every conference attendant with a smile and peaceful look. At the registration desk, the bags filled with books, gifts, free lunch tickets, and beautiful and bright name tags, made everyone feel like very important persons. As soon as the man ap-proached the entrance to the main ballroom, he spotted Professor William. Behind him, a dark-!127 skinned Abyssinian man was standing relaxed in his black suits and was conversing with some-body standing with him. The pace with which the man identified the person was amazing. The saying “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” is absolutely true. The 9man only had the chance to look at his miniature photo, a thumbnail attached to an email ad-dress; he now identified the person from a reasonable distance. That is Dr. Cherinet. He walked closer to Dr. Cherinet and started speaking with him. “Hello! You must be Dr. Cherinet, right? I am the man who requested to speak to you at this con-ference.” “Oh, yes. I recognized you. How are you?” “Very good. Thank you!” “In-de-min naw?” Cherinet repeated the greeting in Amharic. It was like the professor is reminding the man that he is welcome to speak an Ethiopian Lan-guage. The man smiled and he felt so excited. “Do you know each other?” the man asked while looking at Professor William. Professor William was also standing right by the side of Professor Cherinet. “What a coincidence! We met on the plane yesterday and we had a nice trip together. I was telling him I am going to introduce him to you and your friends. Here you go! What was that saying again?” asked Professor William. The man kept quiet. Professor Cherinet interjected, “ ‘Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?’ Well, this is a mere saying for us but it is also documented. I have to think a lot about it, or what it means. That saying could refer to the diversity of the people. As it has biblical allusion, I don’t think it is only about the physical appearance of the people. But, it gives a somewhat similar sense. Maybe we are one of the oldest most diverse nation in the continent, and of course, you can easily spot our dark skin.” They briefly discussed how long the man planned to stay in the city !128 “Well, tomorrow afternoon, I will have some time left aside for you. We can have some time to chat at the patio of my room. The view is also enjoyable. Professor Mulu knows about your ar-rival and she will talk to you soon” said Dr. Cherinet. “I don’t know Professor Mulu before. Are you colleagues?” the man asked with excitement. “No, not really. I came here to attend this conference. For Mulu, this is her home institution, I mean this is her place and she can help you a lot more. We can arrange any other meetings if you have plans to visit my hometown.” The man nodded in agreement. Professor William interrupted the conversations and added, “She is a bit busy but she will come sometime today and she will meet you. Ask her to visit her office or to arrange some time to speak with you.” The man agreed. Dr. Cherinet had informed Mulu about an Ethiopian coming to attend the conference. That strengthened the request the man sent to Mulu herself by email. After such brief conversations, everybody walked into the ballroom to attend the opening ses-sion. !129 Bloody February Some memories are good, some memories are bad, and others are inevitable. That was the most ferocious of all times. That was also the most sailent of times. Elders call it the time of Red Terror. The Ethiopian Red Terror, also known locally as Key Shibir, was the brutal killing of innocent civilians and politically active young people all over the country. It was the time when the earth turned deaf to the cries of women. That was the time when the blessed land of the Cush was inundated with the blood of its youth. That was the time everyone had heard guns blown al-!130 most every minute. That was the time when the sky turned blood red, and the earth smelt of hu-man carcasses. This is a real incident, permanently tattooed in the hearts of our mothers. It happened in the driest February. Its frost was piercing the legs of the barefooted farmers walk-ing on the grass. It’s a month full of stories of bloodshed. Those killings and the related stories left red scars in the hearts of millions of Ethiopian mothers until today. It sometimes feels that the people still have intergenerational trauma. Due to this, many people discourage their family members from engagement in politics and other activism. The incident that left millions in the streets is still in the active memory of the people. In rural areas, people adopted a proverb remi-niscent of the issue. They say, “Don’t go first, you will end up all blood.” The number of people who lost their lives during this incident is no less than 500,000 . The incident resulted in the mi10 -gration of highly skilled intellectuals and entrepreneurs. It was indeed a bloody February, Feb-ruary 1976! Since then, fear pervaded Ethiopia, and repression created a culture of resistance . 11 In 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie was dethroned in a military coup. His successor, Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam came to power. Colonel Haile Mariam was a person in charge of the mil-itary. He was the chair of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territor-ial Army. This committee was a Provisional Military Council (locally known as the Derg- mean-ing committee). It was established to pave the way for a peaceful transition to a democratic gov-ernment. Haile Mariam snatched the revolution and denied the people of their hopes. The coun-try fell under his gattling guns and crushing grips. But, political leadership was not a bed of roses for him. Haile Mariam faced resistance from many citizens and political organizations. He faced strong resistance from the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party. He also faced another equally strong opposition from the All Ethiopian Socialist Movement (AESM). The Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party (EPRP) was the first modern political party in the country. The All Ethiopi-an Socialist Movement (AESM) was a similar Marxist-Leninist ideologue which also advocated for the dethroning of the king. Due to their rivalry position, Mengistu declared the EPRP as counterrevolutionaries and reactionaries. He declared war against EPRP in his speech and motto "Death to Counterrevolu-!131 tionaries! Death to EPRP!.” He designed a strategy to arm civilians who will be in charge of tracking “reactionaries”. Yet, the EPRP managed to infiltrate these defense squads. This enabled them to emerge as a strong opposition with arms in big cities including Addis Ababa. Moreover, the remaining military team bought the agenda of the All Ethiopian Socialist Movement than the Military Council. The Derg was against any political movement. The indisposed rivalry between the two parties fueled the mass killings all over the country. These situations resulted in everyone killing everybody else. Sudden disappearances were common. Random killings of men, con-scienceless kidnappings of women, and gunshot happened every day. There was no one to hold the cold-blooded soldiers accountable for torturing citizens to death. Historians had said a lot about this. Every historian claimed their own arguments to de-scribe the suffering of Ethiopians. Elders and religious people of Ethiopia still believe that the religious Emperor Haile Selassie might have cursed the people. Even today, some of the elderly argue that Ethiopians are suffering because of the curse. The King, who was once worshipped as a saint beyond the borders of the country, might have dropped black tears before his death. El-ders say, “Black tears, tears of innocence, tears of suffering, had flown as far as the thrones of the Abrahamic God.” The elders knew that no Abyssinian ruler showed a grace closer to that of the Emperor. No successor earned a dignity as towering as Haile Selassie’s all over the world. They also preserve His majesty’s curse in their orator as: O’ thou land, Had I done evil to you-- let it be, But, had I wished to you the heavenly Grace, Had I prayed day and night, And served your people and your church, Let the Angels and Saints, In whose names I fed the poor, Judge you! You are my Queen, You my land, !132 Let you see the evil, the worst of times, And judge my character hence. Rachel, the widow of a decent administrative clerk, could do nothing but migrate to her relatives in Addis Ababa in the aftermath of the Red Terror. Rachel had cried a lot and she didn't even hold a funeral ceremony for her husband. Under the military regime, it was unthinkable to have a proper funeral for one's relatives. One thing that clearly manifested the barbarity of the Derg was its violation of a sacred culture of the people: prohibiting families to bury their dead. Insult added to injury, the Derg used to force people pay for the bullets their loved once were killed with. Mulu always remembers an article by a political scientist who stated it well. “In Ethiopia, there are three cultural meanings of burial and public mourning: (1) burying the dead, and knowing their grave, brings closure to the living; (2) a grave is the site of the home of the de-ceased; and (3), a grave is the site of the memory of the deceased” . People in old age wish to 12die in the land of their birth. Even some people in diaspora send the bodies of their deceased back home if most of the families are not living with them. It has a special value. It is a relief. Mulu still feels the pains every time she remembered that she was denied of her right to bury her dad. She feels her heart ache when she remembers that she has no place to go to and put the flowers in the graveyard. They deprived her of her rights to think of her dad in silent prayers. They deprived her of that silent spiritual connection. That was not the closure she wished to have. It had always kept her in grief. Mulu had known that running away was the only option for her mom. Rachel, her mom, took nothing, not even her purse, by the time she left home. She only carried her daughters, the oldest on her back and the youngest on her arms, to avoid losing them in the darkness. In the dense of the darkness that protected them from the bullets, she walked out barefoot. The next day she was in the capital, Addis Ababa. Mulu, her first daughter, didn't remember the details of what !133 actually happened. But, she had a faint memory of the darkness and the night when her mom car-ried her and run away in the night. It was a very scary scene. People were killing their own brothers on a blurred ideological fault line. The saddest part was that it had nothing to do with most of the lost lives. It had nothing to do with them. Truth be told, there is no evil than this. The nation still couldn’t settle the prob-lem of brothers at war. Many intellectuals, merchants, and expatriate academics had also left the country as the environment was not safe for them. Rachel moved to Addis. It had been a somehow difficult transition. Rachel was a well-trained teacher. In spite of this, she could not manage to join the public schools in Addis Ababa because of the bureaucracy. At that time, her daughter Mulu was a small girl, and her younger sister was four years younger than Mulu. Later, Rachel managed to send Mulu to a boarding school because of security concerns. The best alternative to hide her daughter from ‘evil eyes’ and gunshots was only to send her to the boarding school. But, Rachel couldn’t afford to send the younger daughter to school until she settled well in Addis. The military had shot Rachel’s hus-band dead during this massive bloodshed in the country. It was a painful part of the history of the nation and the wounds from it has not yet dried. Mulu grew up with her mother. Rachel played the greatest role in helping her daughter achieve her dreams. Mulu had never hesitated to men-tion the mentorship she earned from her mother. In fact, the religious education and sense of morality both her mom and her dad inculcated in her greatly contributed to who she is today. Mulu often attests, “My parents helped me to come to really know God.” Of all the school teachers, Rachel was a very strong person. She was diligent, faithful and an optimist. She was so diligent that she used to believe the work as an end in itself. She also valued education. She had encouraged her daughters to pursue their studies and reach at better levels. She raised her kids decently. She raised them in such a way that they would be respectful persons to anyone they come across in life. Now a public figure in the States, Mulu was once in-terviewed on a local radio program and she attested to this. !134 “I earned my personalities, ethics, and attributes, my relationship and respect to others, and all those things from my families. These are precious gifts from my mother.” Her families wanted her to accomplish the highest possible in everything. They didn’t influence her to be an academic or otherwise. By the time she went to college, they wanted her to perform like one of the best students. She also attested to this in every of her conversations with everyone by saying: “When I was in high school, they used to encourage me to be the top student at my school. By the time I had to choose a college, they wanted me to go to the best college. They nev-er influenced me to pick a specific discipline. Never did they advise me to be a doctor or an en-gineer; they had never influenced me to pursue a specific career. They believed in me, they trust-ed that my choices and my own decisions work for me.” Telling about these things, Mulu usually gets immersed in her past. She usually enters into an indescribable state of recollection. Her mind departs her physical presence. It carries her into unforgettable past. She has a faint but lingering memory of unforgivable past. She remem-bers how her mother saved her life. She could never forget how her mother ran like a fugitive, carrying her and her sister. She struggles with tears and continues telling her stories. In such situ-ations, she doesn't speak from the position of answering a question. She leaps into the past, she speaks from a re-lived past in recollection. It is hardly possible to find an Ethiopian who haven’t heard similar stories of a mother. While watching news from Ethiopia, which she used to do reg-ularly for sometime at her early career, she remembers those mothers. She remembers those mothers and their grief when the media presents the news of killing, violence, student protests or the police officers use of excessive force to disperse a crowd. Such was a story of those mothers, and it still is in some ways a story of Ethiopian mothers today. Sometimes, Mulu feels inspired by the strength of these mothers, but what they endured also turns to be frustrating her. !135 A couple of days ago, Mulu just noticed a reminder from her computer’s icalendar. She had an email some months ago from an Ethiopian man who will be visiting her home institution and attending a conference hosted by her institution. The person would be attending the confer-ence hosted by her home institution tomorrow. She knew that the man expressed his excitement to speak with her. She felt that this might be somebody who is passionate about the stories of in-dividuals like her. In fact, she is a mother, a successful academic, a public intellectual, an opti-mist soul and a black woman. She succeeded after experiencing multifarious challenges. None of those identity descriptors captures the challenges she endured. If it is not exciting to speak with a scholar like her, what else will be? The request to speak to her had also left her dumbfounded. A man, listening to a woman, while she is telling her stories? She felt that these things are loosely connected and she couldn’t get any sense of it. !136 The Game of the Strong That morning, the leader of the institution delivered the opening speech for the confer-ence. The ballroom was crowded with people from all corners of the world. This was then fol-lowed by a panel discussion by promising young scholars from some major institutions in the States. It was an interesting discussion about knowledge production across the Globe which turned at the end to a sort of argument whether knowledge liberates people or not. Then, a short health break followed before participants dispersed into the rooms prepared for the parallel ses-sions. The man walked to grab a cup of coffee by the corner of the lobby. He disappeared into the crowd and reached at what he needed. While he was stirring his coffee, a person behind called out his name. It was Dr. Cherinet. The man turned back and said, “Oh, you are here” “Aha…It is coffee”, smiled the man. “I know”, assured Dr. Cherinet. !137 “By the way, I heard about you a year ago, that was six months before I received your email.” “Really?" the man asked in surprise. “Yes. And I learned that you are interested in stories, right?” “Yes, I am.” “Well, I am an educator. I like stories but I don’t like snippets- those minuscules of stories, and I would like to introduce myself fully.” “You are not from the elevator speech era?" the man smiled. Dr. Cherinet smiled back. “Of course I am not. I am much older than I look. Texting is for the new generation. I think this generation is a ‘victim’ of texting than typing, short jargons than long sentences, shortcuts than efforts, full of information than more of knowledge, abundance of opinions than depth of investigative journalism, learning the postmodern way than the past in the modern way,” Dr. Cherinet continued. “By the way, I don’t like asking people incessant questions to make con-versations feel like harder talk. Don’t worry, I will not ask you who you are and all that. After all, we belong to different countries. By now, you know that I am an American and you are…er…maybe a Canadian?” Dr. Cherinet smiled. “No, I am not.” “You have to learn to say it. Come on!” “No, honestly, I am not an American. Nor am I a Canadian. Would you like to check my ID card?” “No, no, no! No way. Take it easy! Actually, there is a huge controversy and significant research related to this issue. The diaspora is usually troubled to claim their citizenship even when they are citizens. There is a feeling of place-less-ness among many people. We will talk about it later.” The man agreed. He added, “Ok. Actually these things are nominal. Aren’t we all human beings? Aren’t we one and the same only by the virtue of being human?” “Totally!” Dr. Cherinet confirmed. They kept on sipping their coffee while talking. Dr. Cherinet started telling his stories to the man. “I AM what I tell people I AM. I am happy to tell all about my stories” Dr. Cherinet started. “That is great!” The man replied in excitement. Dr. Cherinet continued telling his stories. !138 “My parents departed this life a decade ago. However, they were born, had lived, worked and led all their life in Ethiopia until their final days when they rested in peace. For most of their time, including the time I was born and grew up, my parents lived in Ethiopia, surrounded by my aunties, my siblings and other relatives. My family didn’t pursue their education further, espe-cially, my mother. My mother was the elder in her family of four men and six women and she never attended school. Even though she didn’t go to school, she was smart and served the neigh-bors as their trusted self-made accountant at a time when the neighborhood knew very little about banking. “She was a kind of mother who used to encourage her kids to go to school despite her own illiteracy. A few of her siblings, the boys in particular, were able to go to school because she stayed at home to help her mom in most household chores. She sacrificed her opportunity to go to school to free her siblings to go to school. We, her kids, achieved this level of education be-cause of her constant encouragement while we were young. Our uncle, who was an employed professional, was also able to go to school because mom took care of the house chores and other issues. Our uncle was also keen and supportive of us in our elementary school days. We very of-ten heard his encouraging words, at times demanding that we attend and stay in school. Both of them were worthy of special praise for the successful efforts they made to make us who we are now. “You know there was no such commonly established tradition especially within families who are not well educated. They sure want the best for their child but they used to think that it would suffice if their kids attend school and be able to join the educated circle. Most of the time, in our country, when kids are sent to school, the expectation is that the kids will grow up, ac-complish their studies, get a job and lead a decent life. I recall some differences from our neigh-borhood though. Even though some of the kids from our nearest neighborhood had started school early, it was not a significant number of them who were able to make it through. A good number dropped out of school, a few struggled, and some remained behind. Looking at it that way, I !139 think those families who had not themselves had that opportunity but pushed their children to stay in and finish their schooling, including mine, must be admired. “Well, my parents did not live together past my seven or eight years of age. My mother had to bear the brunt of caring and supporting me and my younger brother through high school. It was not easy for her had it not been for our uncle who helped her throughout. At that time, one of the handful of high schools was opened near our house. Most of the high schools were state-owned boarding schools. So, when I joined the boarding high school, matters became less stress-ful and the focus was more on education. Those are incidents that are stick to my memory amid adversities- fortunately without leaving lasting consequences. “Was it only you who was sent to school?" the man asked Dr. Cherinet. “One of my siblings chose not to go to school. Girls were less encouraged to go to school at that time. Most of them were not educated. Things might have changed these days. Well, all of us lived together when we were kids. After the separation of our family, we grew up with our mom, supervised and supported by our uncle as well. He treated us like his own children; he played the role of a dad. By the time we joined high school, we had to leave families. I and my friends joined a boarding school. We used to visit our relatives occasionally, and especially during sum-mertime. The influence we got in high school was mostly from our peers and school teachers “My school is called Medhanealem Secondary School (Holy Savior Secondary School). It was comparable to those best schools like Teferi Mekonnen and General Wingate Schools. Medhanealem was one of the earliest high school in the country. I used to take part in the school’s volleyball team. I used to have special interest in soccer, and Holy Savior had the strongest participation in soccer. There was also a College in the city and it was one of our strong competitors.” He continued, “I can’t tell you in words the emotional attachment and feeling there was among us and it was a special kind of memory.” !140 As he spoke, he was moved by the memories of the day. His voice increased slowly, his eyes widened in excitement. He felt as if it were the moment his team won a trophy. “We were all so eager that our team and school had good scores and became the leading in soccer. It never faded from memory. “Don’t think I had an active role in soccer though”, Dr. Cherinet looked at the man. The man smiled. “Because I don’t like running, I used to be a goalkeeper. Just standing at a spot was easier for me”, the man smiled while remembering his own high school days, too. “I was neither midfielder, nor goalkeeper or defender. I was just a great fan, expressing feelings in soccer. But, I was an active player in the Volleyball team. Volleyball was not well known all over the place like soccer. However, I had a more emotional attachment to VolleyBall than any other game. We used to beat the College team quite often. But, we lost a few times. One of our student poets, Kiyya, a well recognized poet in the school, used to help us ease the stress of a loss in the game by reading a poem in the dining hall such as the following: Volleyball, Volleyball What is this Volleyball, The game of the strong Is after all …. football 13 “I was slim and fit since the beginning and interest in athletics has helped me maintain that stature. I was actually proportionally slim and fit, I still make the effort to keep up that. My family-- my wife, and my daughters, all try but they have to fight additional burden of their genes”, Dr. Cherinet smiled. At this time, the man showed a somewhat confused look. Dr. Cher-inet said, “I mean they try to shape up. They try to be physically fit. But, I think mine is mostly genetic, we make the same efforts, but I think that nature’s dominance is strong on them. !141 “In terms of disposition, I was mostly reserved. For example, I used to take part in any event after I thought about it for a while, and even now at my old age, I do not rush to a decision unless there is urgency. At my workplace, when I call staff for a meeting, I always endeavor to capture their thoughts, feelings, and viewpoints, and weigh it in terms of its positive and negative outcome or in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. I then make efforts to coordinate this with my own thoughts, feelings and beliefs for harmonized and stronger outcome or viable decision.” “Were you an administrator?" the man asked. “Well, we may talk more about it later but briefly touching on it now. I worked as a faculty member in the United States for many years, with mentoring and supervision of students along-side. It was like becoming a spiritual father for the students.” The man interrupted. “Usually people who go through college became somewhat indif-ferent to such values. But, that is my observation. Am I right?” Dr. Cherinet said, “That is true, but not always true. Well, since the day we moved to the United States, I and my family joined other Ethiopians in the community to establish a parish church. “During my early career back home, I was focused on my studies. I grew up with the sense that I could get to some point and then upgrade even further. I was given an opportunity to work as a junior health professional in my college for three years and then I went to a newly es-tablished Health Centre in a remote area. Even though the centre I served at was in a small town, I was not disappointed because of the opportunity. I had to be practicing and translating the knowledge I garnered at the college. After my practice and service in the rural area, I was given the opportunity to study abroad, following which I returned back home and served in academic as well as administrative positions. “While in high school, I was interested to join the Agricultural College. Later on, my in-terest in the Health Sciences grew, and I liked the opportunity to train people and to help people who are in need of medical attention. That is how I started my professional career and it hap-!142 pened at the College of Public Health. The college just started operation in the same year I joined upper secondary.” “Oh, Really?" the man was excited to hear how old the college was. “Yes. You see I am telling you how old I am.”, Dr. Cherinet laughed. Dr. Cherinet interrupted telling his stories. And, suddenly, they both noticed that the crowd was thinning and people were going back to the parallel sessions. The man enjoyed listen-ing to the stories Dr. Cherinet kept telling him. For someone looking at them from a reasonable distance, both individuals looked like close relatives consulting each other on some serious mat-ters. Both didn’t feel that fifteen minutes were past while they were standing at the same spot. They noticed that they were almost the last ones except some people coming from the washroom. They both had their coffee mugs in their hands. They were immersed in the conversation and both didn’t notice that the coffee in their mugs already got colder. They left their half-full mugs on the nearest table and rushed to different rooms to attend sessions of their preference. While rushing, Dr. Cherinet said, “We will continue later!” The man smiled and said, “In the afternoon break!” !143 It makes a great point! Morning sessions ended successfully. At noon, lunch was served for all participants. The man lined up at the table to grab his meal. He didn’t have specific diet preference. He no-ticed that some con-ference participants were so worried as to what to eat, some were looking for gluten free meals, others were locating pure vegan dishes. He picked a traditional Caesar salad sauce for an appetizer, and a Chicken Supreme stuffed with Westphalian Ham, and Gruyere Cheese accompanied by a White Wine Apricot Cheese. At the end of the buffet, desserts of all kinds were left for everyone to enjoy. The man skipped the desserts and stretched his hand to grab a glass of water. As soon as he exited the line, he noticed Dr. Cherinet right in front of him with some small pieces of fried red salmon and green vegetables. Both of them had decided to continue their conversations during health breaks between parallel sessions. Both wanted to make the most out of this opportunity. The man smiled and Dr. Cherinet asked whether the man was alone. Then, they agreed to sit at the patio and have brief conversations. “Don’t you have to join your colleagues?" the man asked with respect. “Don’t worry! Everyone is a colleague.” Dr. Cherinet made a great point. !144 The man was excited and thanked Dr. Cherinet for the opportunity. Most of the partici-pants returned back to the ballroom with their meals. Only a couple were by the huge fancy patio and they look like tourists. This flat roof patio at the west side of the building was a comfortable space to taste the silence of the exterior. Black-eyed Susan flowers climbing the right side of the wall appeared like a child’s ear that were alert to listen to what the people by the patio were talking about. Tiny black speakers at the corners of the flat roof released soft music that paints memories of every listener on the silence by the patio. The gentlemen took a corner by the patio and started conversations while having their lunch. The soft wind coming from south and the gray color of the water they faced made the scene special. Every time the soft whisper of the wind swirled on their forehead and made its way through their ears and nostrils, they felt they couldn’t tell the difference as to whether the moisture they felt was actually the air or the water. The whisper of the wind and the moisture were mingled in one to caress their face softly and delight everyone by the patio. And like a spice on a soup was the background music. While listening to Dr. Cherinet, the man was taken slowly by the soft background music. Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis was playing. Suddenly, the music was switched from Live at the Acropolis to Nostalgia, another song in the same album. And again, there was another shorter interruption and Yanni started speaking with soft rhythm. The man remembered his college life where he used to listen to Yanni. He used to listen to Live at the Acropolis while they worked on assignments, or when they read A Concise Intro-duction to the Questions that Matter. Now again, he is listening to Live at the Acropolis while asking Dr. Cherinet about his views on questions that matter. !145 Yanni’s speech was as soft and melodic as Nostalgia itself. In the speech, he mentioned about an astronaut. He said, A little while back I was watching an interview with one of the astronauts from the Space Shuttle and in this interview he was describing his experiences while he was orbiting the planet and he was saying ‘How beautiful Earth looks from above!’ and he said that, much to his surprise, when he was going over Europe, he found that he was having a hard time telling the countries apart from each other. He said, the reason for that was, that the lines in the maps are not in the ground, it makes a great point: these lines really don't exist. They´re made up completely and we perpetuate in the illusion that somehow we´re all different from each other and I think the world would be a much better place if someday we stop pretending that these lines exist and we concentrate in our similarities rather than in our dif-ferences. And I just want to remember one more thing that everything great that has ever happened to humanity since the beginning, has begun as a single thought in someone's mind and if anyone of us is capable of such a great thought then all of us have the same capacity, capability, because we are all the same. Because the man used to listen to Yanni time and again, he was able to rehearse the speech at the same pace, without missing a word. The man was taken back to his special days. He remembered everything and suddenly quit his conversation with Dr. Cherinet. He gazed at the dish and started rehearsing with Yanni again, the same words, the same pace, the sameness. The man told himself, “How wonderful it is to hear those words again!” The man felt that the world would feel more like a prison full of inmates if it had not been for artists, singers and philosophers who entertain thoughts like this. Suddenly, Dr. Cherinet struck a conversation. “We can talk while eating, right?” “Of course. That is why I wanted to have this time with you. I am enjoying listening to your sto-ries”, the man confirmed. “The song you heard last is the one which is called Nostalgia, right?” Dr. Cherinet asked. !146 The man anticipated that Dr. Cherinet might have noticed the emotional attachment the man demonstrated with the composition. The man answered, “Well, yes, but it is not only for the song that I like it. Yanni plays keyboard, piano and classical and world music and he blends them all. I like that sound which comes as one from all those different sounds. And in all the sounds from different instruments, I challenge myself with some attempt to listen to the silences in between. I also challenge myself to understand the oneness of the sounds that come from different instruments. How they are composed to make one whole music is impressive. Chaos comes to order, randomness becomes one-ness and this delights the soul. That might be what he meant by ‘It makes a great point!’ ” the man told Dr. Cherinet . “You are wise.” Dr. Cherinet complemented the man. “Maybe. Actually, I am more interested to learn from experience, to know the paths you took, the things you experienced in life.” “And I am more interested in narrating, I am homo narran . In my college, we were the third 14batch of students since the establishment of the college. The college was established in partner-ship with the Ethiopian government, American government, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO). These four or-gans established the college in partnership. It was a college that used to train Health Officers, Nurses, Sanitarians and Laboratory Technicians. There were two cohorts before my batch. I joined a four-year program. The different categories of students were trained as a team with a plan that they will be working together in health centers. This was one of the reasons I liked life in the college. Secondly, the feeling that I will be able to graduate from this program and earn a livelihood to help myself and others was strong in me and I believe many of those students who had joined the program had similar mindsets. “We were in the boarding school as high school students. So, we were used to living in groups and we liked it by then. Living in dormitories on campus had its own advantages. The campus was not far from our parents. It used to provide students with meals as well as monthly stipend. We also had several diverse entertainment programs such as drama and movies and de-!147 bates and soccer games in which the college team was outshining three of city wide teams. The staff in the college were very helpful and tried to make us feel comfortable besides educating and training us. That’s because they thought we were far away from our homes, and homesickness was a problem for many of us. So, we had a very vibrant group of students performing drama on campus.” “Drama in a Health College?” the man burst in surprise. “Oh, yeah! Why are you surprised? Didn’t you watch the news about Ethiopian performers yes-terday?” Dr. Cherinet interrupted eating his meal. “No, I didn’t watch any news yesterday. I was quite a bit tired.”, the man replied. “Ok. Check it out later. Your artists are in Greece to perform.” “Really?” “Yeah. Art belongs to us!” After saying this, Dr. Cherinet resumed cutting the salmon into pieces. “Let me ask you, Dr. Cherinet. Greece, drama, Ethiopians…. is it a good combination?” “Why not? You know even the name of your country is originally from Greek.” “I heard that but I don’t know the details.”, the man tilted his head. “Well, it is originally a Greek word, aithiopia, from aitho, “I burn”, and ops, “face”. It would hence mean the land of black people. Ethiopia is recognized as the land of the Cush, maybe be-cause of this.”, Dr. Cherinet explained. The man remembered the Greek Mythology, and the story of Andromeda in his high school classes. “So, you know that the Greeks seek er…”, Dr. Cherinet was checking on the man. “Art!” the man interjected immediately, “No.…Wisdom!” “You are quoting the Bible, right?” asked the man. Dr. Cherinet confirmed. “So, it says the Greeks seek after Art.” “But the English bible I used to read says the Greeks seek after wisdom. Perhaps, it is an issue of translation.”, Dr. Cherinet resolved the issue in an attempt to continue the conversation. !148 “I see.”, the man acknowledged. “Your artists are in Greece to perform ‘the last years of the philosopher Socrates, his trial and final days’ ” “Very interesting!” replied the man, suddenly cautious. “Back to my point, we took turns to prepare and stage entertaining as well as educational dramas. Nursing students participated actively in shows, talent contests and performances.” “But, it is not like this nowadays. How do you see the inclusion of drama and art in general in health education?" asked the man as it sounded strange for him to learn this fact. “I think, when conjoined with other studies, it enriches educational experience”, said Dr. Cher-inet soothingly, as he was speaking from experience. “Otherwise?" the man asked in a way that feels as if he were opposing the claim. “Otherwise, the experience will be shallow. So, we used to borrow movies from our expatriate instructors and the entertainment committee organized to run it for all students. Some students were good at taking the lead in organizing these programs including soccer games.” “But, how come you were able to stage drama in college? At that time? How about the politics?" the man couldn’t believe what he was hearing. These are impossible in the colleges in Ethiopia at present. If they are organized, they will certainly be politicized right away and it is risky. “This was during the time of the Emperor. The drama didn't have any political content. In the Medical School in Addis, we took creative writing class for one semester. There was an American English language instructor. I used to like his class very much. This instructor im-pressed me very much. One day, he asked us to write a story and it was around the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Most of the students in the class wrote about John F. Kennedy. Only very few students wrote stories on other topics. A few essays were read in class, and the instructor was impressed that so many students wrote essays in favor of the late president while that same day outside the campus on Arat Kilo Street, many students were protesting against the Ethiopian government, and their own King.” !149 “Wasn’t the protest before the troubled month? I mean February?" the man asked to have a clear understanding about the past. “Yes! That was before the Bloody February, a troubled month in Ethiopian history. Stu-dent protest started around 1962, it became a nation-wide protest later on. There were more fre-quent student protests against the imperial regime in 1963. It was really a paradox. I mean, we were all discussing Kennedy as being a very good president and his being nice and all that but out of the university premises, just in few meters difference, was a protest against a friend of Kennedy”, Dr. Cherinet smiled. He could hardly forget those days. “At that time, there was an American mission not too far from the college and they let us borrow their movie collections. Some of the expatriate staff had some collections as well. Do you know those old Western movies? I still watch those movies every now and then. The movies were not necessarily spiritual. They also had educational themes, historical and entertaining as well.” “What other things were interesting and unforgettable from your college life?" asked the man “We had a very vibrant college life. We used to get training on how to travel on horse-back, and mules, and how to fix and drive cars, too. The training was provided anticipating in advance the possibility that we may serve in rural areas. No training was more helpful than the one that conjoined context and phenomena. And the impact even went beyond the services we were expected to provide. We didn’t count years in schools only focusing on reading.” While listening to Dr. Cherinet and looking deep into his sparkling eyes, the man noticed the grace and the satisfaction on his face. Dr. Cherinet continued telling his stories with delight. The man felt that Dr. Cherinet was right to identify himself as a homo narran. !150 “Our college was blessed, I would say, with international faculty who not only gave us good education but also made life in our youth enjoyable. Some of our professors were also renowned public intellectuals.” “Like you are now?” the man remarked bravely. “Err…I don’t mean that. Am I?" Dr. Cherinet was modest. “Well, it is obvious”, the man persisted. Dr. Cherinet didn’t answer immediately. He gazed at the last slice of the fried salmon on his plate. He then looked at the man and said, “To be a public intellectual, is it an open vacancy or a life calling? Or, putting it the other way, is every academic a public intellectual by default? I am aware that people refer to me as a public intellectual. However, I think my contribution and en-gagement in public issues, issues that matter to the vast majority of our community, I mean be-yond knowledge production that attends to academic procedures, is minimal. Professor Kidus probably makes the best or ideal candidate of such a being. I mean err…he is the one I mention as such a being from the diaspora community.” The man grabbed the glass of water in front of him and struggled to recall the appearance of Professor Kidus. Dr. Cherinet was thinking about an interview Professor Kidus had with a journalist some years back. *** This is Professor Kidus. Thank you very much for joining us Kidus. I really appreciate for speaking to us and coming all the way to our studio. Alright! Hello listeners, this is a quick introduction, Professor Kidus was born and grew up in Addis Ababa. He belongs to a well-known business family. His father was a renowned businessman whom Queen Elizabeth met during her visit to Ethiopia. Kidus is an all time media guru, a high profile aca-demic public intellectual, and the listener of the BBC since the age of thirteen. Thank you gain. Professor Kidus. Please tell us about your parents, to begin our discussion. Tell us about your mother and your father, and their life?! !151 Thank you again for your invitation. My mother studied up to eighth grade but you know women used to get married early and she was married to my father by the time she was seventeen. The journalist interrupted. She stressed, “Seventeen?” Her tone of voice was raised as if she were listening to some horrible news. Kidus had to repeat. “Yes, seventeen, and she had to quit school right after that. My dad studied up to grade eight. He was seven or eight years of age by the time Italians occupied the country. It is not far. It is a re-cent history. He used to tutor me about history every day, so during those five years when Italians were preparing to occupy the country, the kids of those landlords, I mean the elites, were forced to study Italian in the schools and he too studied Italian. I like my parents, they were very humble and decent. They were unique because individuals in other places, I mean within the country, were cor-rupt and they were looting the property of the country but my parents lived with their integrity intact. We were not poor; we had a huge area of land to till or rent until the Derg arrived and expropriated it because of its socialist/communist ideology. Using the resources we had, my mother was in charge of helping over a dozen of individuals, including poorest neighbors and families of my great grandpar-ents. This was her voluntary, I would say public, service. My mom was known all over the place for her kindness, for her sense of equality, justice, and generosity. During the Derg era, when there was a wide search of the houses of every individual for weapon and political publications, our house was not searched. The people used to call my mother Mother Teresa. All my life, and later, it became part of my duty to voice to my people and my coun-try. This happened primarily due to the influences from my mother. I have indescribable love to my country. I feel the need to speak for my country, defend the poor, and be voice to the voiceless- oth-erwise I have no other self-interest. My dad had a vested interest in education. He always used to encourage us, myself and my siblings, to go to school and educate ourselves. He used to follow-up on us. He sent us to the best school in town. His was a very positive influence towards our education. Our life was intertwined with our neighbors. Our poorest relatives used to come and visit us often and they always felt at home and comfortable to stay at our home. When there were holidays, we were encouraged to visit our poorest relatives; we didn’t go to the rich relatives. My parents were encouraging us to know the other side of life as lived by the majority and to respect and socialize with poor relatives despite our social status and elevated living standard. Both my mom and my dad believe that there is no differ-!152 ence between human beings and that we are all the same creatures despite our social conditions. We stood with the poor and we were known for that. What was your condition during the 1974 revolution? What do you remember? At my very tender age, during 1974, we were sent to a campaign by the government. It was the time for me to join Addis Ababa University but I was not able to join. It was closed. I remember that soldiers were chasing the youth and we, as young students, used to watch over the fence what was going on out there. Some of my friends lost their lives in that incident. I was not a member of any of the political parties, I was not mature enough for that, but some of my young friends were killed and they departed this life too early. But, you could do nothing because it was something that happened all over the nation and err…. It is the saddest part really and it is one of the major reasons why the country is still in such a turmoil. How do you end up as a renowned academic-public intellectual? I was very much interested in education, and in my life, I changed my mind as to what I should study about three or so times. I was interested to be a Medical Doctor until the age of 13 or 14 and then from grade 9 to 11, I became interested in farming and agriculture. This was my interest un-til the Derg expropriated our land. By the time I reached grade 11, all of a sudden I changed my mind and something that I didn’t recognize happened. I was a good reader since my childhood and I had never missed current affairs and you know, at that time, there was this shortwave radio and I used to listen to the BBC radio. My dad used to bring Italian and French Newspapers home. We were not good at these languages. However, we used to understand the content just by looking at the pictures. So, I noticed that I was more inclined towards administrative and foreign policy issues. I was in fact deserving to join Black Lions, the best Medical School in the country, because at that time the requirement was having very good matriculation score in the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate Examination (ESLCE). But, I chose to study one of the fields in the social sciences. I joined College of Social Science at Addis Ababa University on my own, no one forced me to pursue my studies in this field. So, this is how I started to pursue my studies at the level of Bachelor of Arts. You told me already that you used to spend your time playing. How was your appearance like at that time? Were you athletic, well-built or how do you describe yourself? !153 I used to play soccer. At school, I was an outfield player. I was sweeper. This position is rather more fluid than that of other defenders who man-mark their designated opponents . When 15you are a sweeper, you have to ‘sweep up’ the ball if an opponent manages to breach the defensive line. You also need to defend your team. I was very good in defending the team and I never let a ball roll past me. This is fabulous. Probably you would be named after Eric Bailly if you were playing these days, right? I think so, but now I am not much into it. Got it. So, by the time there was the political turmoil, during the socialist regime, what hap-pened to you? Where did you go? By then, everybody was prohibited from going to the university and colleges. By that time, we went to Addis Ababa University, and they sent us back home before we even visited what the campus looked like. Then there was the national campaign. The government sent students to rural areas to teach reading and computing to the farmers in remote areas. That incident created the oppor-tunity for me to know my country. They sent us to Tigray, the northern part of Ethiopia, and we had even heard guns blowing when the fighters formed the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) par-ty, now the leading political party in the country for over twenty-five years. We had no idea, we had never left home, we were very decent, with no experience at all. It was like separating a newly born and a mother, and you know they were thinking like they were punishing us, city boys, and those from the elite family, so they assigned as to the remote borders, I was able to learn all about my country very well since then. So, you knew what was going on around? Of course. When the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) was fighting with the socialist Derg, I was in Tigray. That was also the time when the war between Derg and the Ethiopian Democratic Union [EDU] broke out. What were you doing there….? !154 It was somewhat strange. We were expected to teach people literacy, expropriate houses, huts, and other properties. The rent at that time was like 75 cents per month for a hut and it dropped to 35 cents. I was one of the youngest students in the campaign. It was a bit of early age to be a high school graduate at that time. University students and instructors were used to be assigned to different posts as supervisors and we used to patrol together, register properties and expropriate them. We used to post “These properties are nationalized!” on the houses and other properties. They used to say that it is Marxism. You “nationalize” private properties and pass it over to the poor. The regime used stu-dents as instruments to implement this policy. All these happened during the Derg era, right? I can tell you the year, it was 1974. We were ordered to gather at Jan Meda- you know this is the vast sports ground near the palace. Major national and religious celebrations and sports competi-tions are held at this place. As we gathered there, they told us that it is a month of campaign and they provided us with khaki uniforms, and mottos. Following this, they threw us as far away as possible, Tigray. So, I was assigned to a remote district past Adwa town. At an average distance of 70 kilome-tres South of this area, we had witnessed different factions fighting conventional wars, Eritrea was a walking distance from this place. I think it is a border between Eritrea and Ethiopia?! It is. But, Eritrea was just a region in Ethiopia. I was able to witness the love and kindness of Tigrayan mothers just like the Amhara mothers. I had traveled to Wallo, I knew Gondar to some ex-tent, poverty is the same regardless of location and I am surprised how much faithful people were. So, what was the difference? Or, what was difficult and what did you notice at that time? Leave the politics aside, I am telling you. People are just people, all poor, they treated us like one of their kids and they made coffee for us, prepared food for us and the mothers used to say, “These are innocent kids from Addis, they are innocent.” They dropped their tears when they saw us depart, they cooked for us in the mornings, they fed us. So, I have a lot of memories from these old days, good memories, of course. In the late 1970s, I joined the College of Social Sciences and the Humanities. The political tension was unyielding, Derg was establishing itself firmly, there was no academic freedom, there was more pressure, and in !155 this situation, I received my Bachelor of Arts degree. Everybody knew that there was no freedom. As soon as the Red Terror was over, Derg won the battle in the major cities, and as time went by, some of those in prison were released and even individuals who were much older than my age group start-ed attending college with us. Many cadres were released despite a number of those from All Ethiopi-an Socialist Movement (AESM) and Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party (EPRP) lost their lives. And what were your worst memories in college? I remember lack of resources specially books. While we were students, we had to register and wait for our turn to read a book. At that time, a single book was assigned for 30-40 students. Until the pages of the book become dog-eared and torn into pieces, we had to line up to get it and read it. Re-source was meagre. But, the new generation has no clue about this. A lot of improvements are there now. For the younger generation, the story, the problem, and the context are all different. I see. Tell me how you advanced in your professional career. There was economic recession during the Derg regime. My mom was the most generous per-son on earth. She used to feed all our relatives and neighbors. I had seen my parents suffering from lack of resources and income to sustain this practice. I saw it with my naked eyes when everything was meagre, money was inadequate. By the time I was a second-year student, I started working to help my parents. I searched for a summer job and finally, I was able to secure one in a humanitarian organization. Before my employment as a graduate assistant, I was already offered a full-time em-ployment by the organization. I kept the consult of my dad. I asked him which one would be better for my future. He told me that if I get employment at the university, the institution could help to pur-sue my studies further in Masters and Ph.D. Programs. Moreover, he told me that there will be no hassle as I will be spending my time with books and I will have more freedom. I was very much in-terested to teach and I agreed. I accepted the job offer as a graduate assistant. How comfortable was academia in challenging some issues? I mean in Ethiopian context? You would be surprised that the university had been like an island. Even though it had no gun, it was always speaking to power. For example, during the Derg regime, academics challenged the proposal to collaborate with USSR, and what socialism meant as an ideology. Academia raised issues that were not discussed beyond the campus premises. Academics were criticizing the govern-ment but without going to the extreme, otherwise it will have consequences. !156 What is most difficult for an academic turned public intellectual? In general, academics are not good people to dissemble. Dissembling, pretending .There is something that you believe is right, and there is the policy of the government, you strive to imple-ment policies. There are times you go against some ideologues and “policies”. And then, there is this issue of academic freedom. I collaborated with a number of international scholars who came to Ethiopia to conduct research. As a result, I think I somehow developed a unique view of academic freedom which is the ability to exercise what you believe in, to express your feelings and thoughts freely, without any fear or intimidation, of course in a disciplined way. What people often neglect, as I see it, is that academic freedom also means the willingness to listen and respect the other side with good intentions; you don’t necessarily have to accept but you should be able to listen, respect, not underestimate, and make the other idea respected to the extent that you need your ideas be respected. I live in the United States now and there is certainly a tremendous degree of freedom in this country. In a way, it is limited here, too. What is beneficial here is that once you are established, you will have a permanent salary, especially if you are tenured. But, hold on, there is no more tenure these days. Farewell to tenure! The American system cannot be taken as a model to advocate for aca-demic freedom in a sense that if you are not in the tenure track employment, you will certainly have to deal with a lot of stuff, like too much workload. The system is simply made to garner profit. So, it is increasingly tormenting the life of the mind and progressively silencing intellectuals. Who will speak to challenge the status quo before tenure? In contrast, in countries like Ethiopia, poverty is an issue, faculty do not even have decent housing. Of course, the respect we earn if somebody men-tioned teaching as their profession was tremendous, at least until I left the country. That is missing here. So, in general what factor contributed for building your identity as an academic public intel-lectual? Well, it is hardly possible to pick a single factor. There are intricacies of factors that are attributed to this. It is more personal and less political. In my case, it started from being a defender in the soccer field. It developed by looking at my mother helping the poor, speaking for them, and empowering them. But, my field of study also contributed a part. Thank you so much, Professor Kidus, and I hope you will join us for another interview soon. !157 Thank you! *** Dr. Cherinet remembered the interview Dr. Kidus had with the media. At the end of the interview, Dr. Cherinet had felt that Dr. Kidus is indeed a real public intellectual and his stories and even his parents’ stories augment the issue. Dr. Cherinet looked the man into his eyes and continued the conversation. “I don’t remember but I heard this man speak his life stories somewhere and I was so impressed. I think it was on TedTalk?!. Oh no! Memory is failing me. I think it was on BBC Outlook. Yes, I am sure it is. Because the reason he was interviewed was he was recommended as the life-time listener of the BBC radio in addition to being their frequent interviewee. I heard it while I was doing my second postdoctoral research in Singapore”, Dr. Cherinet affirmed. “Was Professor Kidus famous all over the place even at that time?" the man asked in dis-belief. Dr. Cherinet reassured. “Yes, indeed. That is why it sounds quite logical to call such a person a public intellectual, and he is always on the media. Coming back to my professors, some were well recognized. We had very international staff. Our dean was from China, assigned to the position by the World Health Organization (WHO). A few other instructors were also assigned by the WHO to the college. There were a few Ethiopians and American nurses. There were no Ethiopian professors. Doctors were mainly German citizens. Ethiopian professors emerged right after I graduated and started working there as a faculty because the programs were expanding.” The man queried why there were no Ethiopian professors at that time. Dr. Cherinet men-tioned that higher education was a relatively new phenomena in the country some 60-70 years ago. Moreover, he also told the man that the revolution and anti-intellectual climate also con-tributed to the significant loss of the country’s brainpower. !158 Dr. Cherinet mentioned, “Some of my professors are still alive and active as academic public intellectuals in the country. The university turned out to be a political stronghold for pro-testers.” In fact, Dr. Cherinet was critical of the situation. Looking back at it, he feels where the loose end lied. He said, “Well, many people bought the ideals of socialism and communism without challenging the ideas sufficiently well. It was almost that way, we started to hear about it here and there and later on, it had overflown and exploded.” “Why was Ethiopian socialism or our revolution rather different and too destructive?” the man was wondering. “You see we always imitate; we fall prone to our own imitation of foreign politics and many other aspects of life. We just ignore what we have in our hands. We don’t value what we have. My grandmother always have this proverb that she rehearses, ‘A gold in a palm feels like a copper!’ You don’t value it when you own it.” Dr. Cherinet was opening his palm while saying the proverb as if he were going to perform some magic to show a gold turn into copper in his palms. Dr. Cherinet continued, “I think a scholar named Clapham researched about this feature 16of emulation as our weak part. You can search more about it, if you are interested” “Sure, I will”, the man confirmed. “By the way, I had worked as a faculty member for so long. I very well knew the feelings of the students. There were some student leaders who were organizing and pushing those ideas forward. Well, as it gained momentum, I myself was inclined to it and was interested in some way. But this is a secret, you don’t have to tell to anyone,” smiled Dr. Cherinet. The man smiled back. “Some of our colleagues were selected from each college in the country. They were invited to visit China in 1973 for experience sharing visit. By the way, Nixon was the American President !159 and he also visited China a few months before this trip. They say he was the first sitting Ameri-can President to visit China.” “Faculty members who returned from this visit were not excited about what they saw in China. They mentioned that the efforts made to empower the ordinary Chinese were very limit-ed. Upon their return, some faculty members delivered a positive and supportive speech about their visit. It was expected of them to allure students, get more fans of this ideology. China is still ruled by the Communist Party of China and it owns the system until today. I said nothing about these issues. I didn’t discuss as to how the ideology didn’t work in Ethiopian context. I told you before that I am not a public intellectual. You see now? I lack the courage to confront life head-on.” Then, Dr. Cherinet breathed deeply. The man nodded in agreement. Dr. Cherinet continued. “We imitated socialism, and we failed! We imitated communism, and failed. Now, we are trying to imitate American democracy, and the election system, and we always end up killing each other. Sometimes, I end up in surprise as to how things play out and how things change with time. Even though the Socialist government of Ethiopia is long gone, I think Ethiopia is still in the same route. We pretend we have multi-party system, but deep inside, the government models the Chinese system. We had strong men, they jailed all the socialist witches, they promised the people that democracy and human rights will flourish. In the past two decades, nothing is changed. Well, that is not the issue to talk about now but that is somehow related with my story.” The man felt a twist in the gut. Rarely do Ethiopian diaspora in the United States com-ment on current issues in Ethiopian politics in such a straightforward manner, specially in issues related to internal political affairs. Both of them finished their meals. Dr. Cherinet wanted to use the bathroom and told the man he will see him at the lobby area. “Afternoon sessions are challenging”, Dr. Cherinet smiled. !160 “I ate too much while speaking with you, I am feeling the weight of the food and that is trigger-ing my sleep-mode button”, the man smiled. After a while, both Dr. Cherinet and the man met by the lobby area. They decided to grab hot beverages before they go back to the afternoon session. *** Close to an hour and a half were spent in parallel sessions. As soon as the first half of the afternoon session was over, almost all participants gathered at the lobby area for a coffee break. The man also walked to the lobby area. The area was crowded with the voices and conversations of conference participants. The clatters of mugs and glasses and spoons along with the sounds of people talking to each other makes the lobby area feel like an open Christmas market. Professor William was probably the tallest of all the conference participants. The man spotted Professor William from afar and walked closer to him. “Hey you! How is it going?" Professor William asked with his shiny smiles. “It is good!” “Are you meeting new people? Did you talk to them?" Professor William asked. “Somehow!” “Don’t be silent! Everybody is a colleague here. And you are in a conference. Conference is all about con-ference-ing: Coming together, consulting each other, isn’t it? “ The man nodded in agreement! “So, you have to meet people and consult with others.” The man agreed. Before he spoke a word in his turn, the man noticed a woman getting out of the elevator at the right corner of the hall. She walked towards their direction with grace and smile. It was Professor Mulu. Mulu is a medium woman with a young-looking chubby face. Her spotless dark skin and her very white teeth radiate rays of hope all around the place. She walks upright, with confidence and clear vision, in a very respectful way. She walked towards the people gathering around the coffee table. She walked slowly as if she were careful to avoid the noise from her steps. Profes-sor William smiled and greeted her with respect. !161 “Professor Mulu!” He called her name out as if stage leaders call young students’ names during an annual high school students’ award ceremony, asking everyone to be ready to clasp their hands. He referred to the man as a gentleman. He then informed Mulu that this gentleman flew with him last night. And that he came to be a friend of Professor William's friends. Mulu had spotted the man right away. Thanks to the internet, everybody’s face is on the intangible book- facebook, no more hidden from anyone anymore. The man and Mulu greeted each other and had a brief conversation. She called the man by his name. They were conversing with each other as if they had known each other before. So now, Professor William concluded that Dr. Cherinet had already introduced the gentleman to Mulu. Mulu confirmed same. Mulu had her office on the seventh floor. It was unfortunately the busiest day for her. She appeared at the lobby for a brief introduction with the man. They both agreed to set at 05:00 PM at the same place. The rest of that afternoon passed like a blink of an eye. Usually, the first day of a confer-ence passes like a fleeting moment. Around 05:00 pm, everybody gathered for conversations and snacks at the same place in the lobby. The man kept looking for Mulu as per their appointment. Mulu returned back to the lobby area on the dot. This time, she carried her notebook and keysets on the one hand and her golden quilted bag on the other. As she approached the man, they slipped into a conversation immediately. “I am back again. I hope you enjoyed the conversations. How long will you stay in this city?” “May be for four days but I may extend my stay, if necessary.” “Where do you stay?” !162 “I am currently staying at somebody’s house.” “Do you know them before?” “No, I found about their place on AirBnB and we had some email exchanges. I booked it and I arrived yesterday” “I see…hmmm. Why don’t you stay at my place?” “I prefer to stay at my room” “I know you have already paid for it but there is a single guest room which we usually keep for friends visiting us. Also, my eldest daughter may not even be at home today, she has her friend’s birthday party. My family would love to have guests and if you do not mind, we can do most of the conversations while riding home as well.” Mulu offered this opportunity to the man in an overly polite way, as she usually is. She was almost imploring the man. “Ok, but I have already dropped my luggage there and….” “I guess it wouldn’t be more than ten minutes drive from here to collect your luggage. I know you will not say ‘yes’ right away. I am well aware of our culture.” They both smiled. It was a brief conversation, it was also sort of argument. Maybe the man shouldn't have insisted. He should have said “yes” right away. Mulu smiled. Her eyes be-came brighter as he confirmed to stay at her place. She emphasized the “yesssss” while she was walking to the parking lot behind the conference venue. For anyone listening to her murmur, it sounded as if Mulu were rehearsing a line from e.e.cumming’s poem to herself “yes is a pleasant country” . Yes, indeed yes is pleasant! 17!163 How come? Mulu and the man walked out of the convention centre. As they were walking to her car, she told the man that the building was primarily built for the purpose of a hotel. The hotel was not profiting much because of its location and the university bought the building and relocated some departments and administrative offices. Only the convention centre belongs to the first owners of the building now and the university sometimes hosts small conferences and faculty gatherings in this convention centre. As they approached her car, Mulu remembered the email request she received from the man a long time ago. She didn’t know why the man wanted to speak to her even though he men-tioned that he wanted to speak with her and listen to her stories. She was however certain that the !164 questions the man is going to ask will not be as technical as derivatives, calculus, or incidence proportion. It will not be as difficult as measuring death rates and its causes in a community. Mulu has never thought of telling her stories to anyone. She was wondering whether her stories are worth telling and who should tell her stories, too. Mulu came from a rural family, religious in tradition, and very humble. She is well-man-nered and decent. Since her childhood, her parents advised her that her work should tell about her, and about who she is. They used to tell her that telling one's own stories is self-aggrandize-ment. Mulu believes that others can tell who she is and her story is not only what she tells. Rather, her story is the sum total of what she tells herself, what she tells others, and what others tell her. For Mulu, what others tell her about her stories is the least reliable. This is because oth-ers are as humble as she is and they always care about her emotions and feelings. Maybe, they are cautious not to be like the emperor-has-no-clothes kid. She also feels that what she tells oth-ers about herself is less acceptable. This is so because her stories are at odds with what most people characterize of a woman in this society. How come a woman tells her story to others? How come? She has never heard of that. She asked the man if he has ever heard of a woman telling her own story in his society or on the national television. She meant that is rarely the case. It is a wonder that a man wanted to learn about a woman’s stories, her stories. It is another wonder that he crossed the border to do this. For her, it sounds strange, though it is true. Well, it is not only in Ethiopian society, but even here in the States, she rarely hears of such a thing. In fact, there are some vocal women who speak about difficult knowledge. Some women took those disturbing knowledges and truth to stages. Among such knowledges are race relations, indigenous issues, and the Black Lives movement. They do rarely get attention, she meant they are minorities, they are invisible. She told the man about these thoughts. “What do you mean by invisible?” the man interrupted and asked her. !165 “So, I am not visible, I mean er....you never care. I mean you see but you do not notice. This is something some people have internalized. It is an entrenched culture. You do not pay at-tention.....but it may not be intentional…. At least, I don't have to judge.” “I see”, the man replied. He also remembered his own observation of some issues in re-lation to this. Some years back, the man was attending a conference for educators. Back then, a professor who chairs the association was leading a panel discussion. As a chair, the professor stood in the middle of the audience, and four other professors were on a stage, all of them were females. While facilitating the discussion, the chair forgot to invite the fourth panelist. This fourth professor, who was a black professor, had to raise her hand, and remind the chair that she was not given a chance . It was shocking for a handful of the participants. The majority were not 18able to see what happened. They were not able to see how some participants, if not the forgotten panelist, felt about the issue. “So, you come all the way here primarily to learn about my stories?” Mulu asked for con-firmation. “Of course!” the man confirmed. Mulu then said, “I have to figure out two things” “Yes, indeed, I came to speak with you. I am just curious…what do you need to figure out?” “First, I have to figure out how relevant my story is going to be; and second, I have to figure out what I can tell about myself. Is it helpful to tell anything about myself? I prefer to act than to tell. Unfortunately, the world tells a lot and acts little. So many stories told are not conjoined with action when they should have been used as a starting point to improve the betterment of a soci-ety.” “I see. But, what if I throw some questions to begin with and leave it open-ended so that you can tell whatever you want?" !166 She suggested, “Ok, but the good thing that might be convincing, and beneficial for you is to ask others about me. And it should be without asking me about it, whatever it is.” She could sense the man is going to ask her dozens of questions. Mulu and the man reached at her car. They sat in the car for a while before they start their journey. They got into heated debate about the relevance of her stories. The man said, “Well, what others tell me about you matters as well. But now, I want you to tell me your own story. I want it to hear from you. If I ask others to tell me about you, it is no different from listening to them while they are riding the metro, and I sit behind them and listen to what they say. It will only become their impression of your story.” “I see. Well, then who speaks doesn't matter. It doesn't change who I am. It will never stop me from laboring the whole day. It will never ease my burden. I am used to spending the whole day in labor.” “It matters, and, that is one of the reasons why I am here- to speak with individuals like you!” the man stressed. It seems that Mulu is finally convinced. “Well, I agree. Like I said before, I usually prefer to act, than to tell. I can keep quiet and do my work. I earn enough to live and it is very comfort-able for my flesh and blood. But, sometimes I don’t want to be like the mule in the tales told by our grandparents, as you know. "When I was a kid, my grandmother used to tell me tales. One day, she introduced me with the famous proverb about the mule. A mule was grazing in the farm land, and it was a green pasture. The mule grazed as much as it can and then when its stomach was full, it sat on the grass. It was unable to move with the stomach full and bloating. Then, the mule prayed “Let no grass grow if I die!” That is too egoist and egotist! I couldn’t be any more satisfied in that kind of life. I have to think of others. If I speak, it is to speak and act for the good of others. I am be-!167 cause We are . You see, that is the meaning of genuine life for us, and the successful life as de19 -fined by our culture, not by our colleagues. “Culturally speaking, we are not invested in individual life style. We feel it doesn’t work in our context. It does never hold our attention if we succeed or accumulate wealth while our loved ones as well as our people are suffering. That is why I sometimes speak out loud. Other-wise, my profession has less to do with other issues, like for example politics. In fact, that hap-pens very rarely. I usually prefer to be silent, as I told you before. Maybe it is my silence that makes what I speak exaggerated when I speak or when I “break” the silence. I mean I am not al-ways speaking, I am not the regular critique, though.” It was quarter past five when both Mulu and the man leave the site and the man didn't really know where they were heading. “I was planning to call a cab or book a Uber to return to my den after my conversations with you”, said the man. “I know but why? I mean if there are people to stay with, you don’t have to spend your money, and it is not good to stay alone, you never know” “Of course, you are right and it is true”, the man confirmed. There was silence for a moment. They left the parking lot and in a blink of an eye they joined the huge traffic on the main street. “I know the area but to be precise, can you tell me the exact address?" Mulu asked. The man agreed. He pulled out his phone and read the postal code for her. She fed it in the navi-gating machine. The screen posed up the direction and the best route to the destination. As the navigation machine started to speak the directions, Mulu smiled and appreciated “her friend” Siri. Siri, the GPS Girl, is very good at Geography, always telling people where their destina-tion is, and when to make left or right turns. These days, it is getting harder to differentiate real !168 and artificial intelligence. They reached at the destination. The man collected his travel packs immediately. They turned back east on the highway again. Mulu hoped that the man had enjoyed the view. She told the man to fasten his seatbelt, and not to worry if she kept quiet in the middle of the ride as she might need more concentration some times. They drove such a long distance from the centre. But, as they took the highway, it did not take much longer. It was an interesting ride. All vehicles were super fast, running like a bullet, heading east. Only some trucks were coming to the city, everybody was leaving. Some drove fast. Others sped medium. Most vehicles were running in the left and middle lanes, and sometimes some of them changed lanes with earlier signals through their tail lights. Some sports cars roared by their side, changed lanes, and disappeared into the invisible distance. All the vehicles flew down the street like a silent stream. All maintained distance. Some rode past them, others followed. They all had their own speed. Mulu started the conversation again. “So this is my life, I did this for over two decades. Maybe your seat is not comfortable. Sorry, today I took my daughter’s car.” “It is good. I am comfortable with it”, the man replied. At this time, while Mulu was changing the gear, the man heard a sound like a dry rusty metal cracking beneath his seats. This made the man remember his dad, and the old white Peugeot 404 car his dad used to own and drop the man everyday to school and even to college. It was an old car, used over 25 years, driven over 200,000 kms. But, his dad was a rich businessman and the only person who owned that private car. Only very few people succeed to own that kind of car as a fruit of their labor, and they used to be considered as rich for owning that. The man remembered that Mulu had mentioned this car belonged to her daughter. He then asked, “Did you say you have a daughter?!” “Yes, I do. I am a mother of three children. You will see two of them tonight. The oldest may not be at home. She goes to college, and sometimes she comes to visit me, sometimes she visits her friends, and you know…” !169 In approximately 40 minutes, they arrived at her place. Mulu had let him get off the car until she got it parked properly at the rear of the house because she shouldn’t block her husband in the morning. They entered the house from a dark basement which looked like an abandoned grave. The basement was full of equipment, tools to fix vehicles, winter tires, mountain bikes and small bikes for kids. They walked up the stair and reached at a spacious clean state-of-the-art living room filled with expensive furniture and big frames on the walls with pictures in bright colors. There was nobody in the living room. Mulu told the man to have a sit on the couch facing the television. She then went up stairs. The man could see part of the room upstairs. He was able to see a leather couch and a huge LCD screen, among others. He heard the sound of a baby girl. “Mamy!” the baby called out. “Sweetie, did you eat something? “Yep!” “Where is your dad?” “Dad is taking some nap. And Robel is also sleeping by his side.” “I see. What about you?” “I am waiting for you!” Mulu came down stairs with her kid in her arms. “Honey, come let me introduce you to my guest”, she was kissing Angela on her cheek while walking down stairs. Angela is a very beautiful kid, with her glowing eyes and her red cheek like a delicate rose. “He is my cousin and he came from Ethiopia.” “Mamy, I didn see’im in the photo abum. You’ve a new cousin?!” What a brilliant kid!, the man said to himself. He interrupted their conversation and waived at the kid. “Hi, baby, your mom is my professor, ok!” Angela stretched her hand with a little shrug as if she were saying no to an invitation. “I am Angela!” Angela wanted the man call her by her name. “Ok. Hereafter, I will call you Angela!” replied the man. Mulu went back upstairs to check on the other kid and her husband. !170 Angela followed her upstairs. After a while, Mulu returned back to the living room. She opened her laptop while talking to the man sitting parallel. Angela returned. She rushed down the stairs. “Mamy, you alwaysh open your laptop. You don play wish me? Should I sleep befole you come?” Mulu smiled. She could do nothing now than answer the call. Mulu remembered her packed to-do lists and her busy life both at home and at school. She then turned to the man and said, “it is not easy to be a mother as well as an educator.” She had been silent for a moment thinking what to do first. She remembered Maya Angelou’s Work which coincides with her mo-ment very well. !171 Woman Work by Maya Angelou 20I've got the children to tend The clothes to mend The floor to mop The food to shop Then the chicken to fry The baby to dry I got company to feed The garden to weed I've got shirts to press The tots to dress The can to be cut I gotta clean up this hut Then see about the sick And the cotton to pick. Shine on me, sunshine !172 Rain on me, rain Fall softly, dewdrops And cool my brow again. Storm, blow me from here With your fiercest wind Let me float across the sky 'Til I can rest again. Fall gently, snowflakes Cover me with white Cold icy kisses and Let me rest tonight. Sun, rain, curving sky Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone Star shine, moon glow You're all that I can call my own. Mulu is a successful woman. However, she often says that her success is not hard work but it is hard labor . The man asked her what the difference between hard work and hard labor 21are. She mentioned that work is the way one defines oneself, one's identity ties and one's dreams. Work is a contemporary identity which defines who one is, who one is not and who one wants to be. It is what one does to earn money. It relates with the institutions formed by fallible human beings. In most cases, work is parochial. It is si’ra (Amharic- paid work), usually profession. Mulu is totally influenced by the concept of work from her origin’s culture. Thus, she is against work. For her, work is the product of modernity. It is something that belongs to the carnal world. It lacks spirit. When her colleagues talk about work, she tells them that it is that concept of work which spoiled the world. It is work that created the wall between gender, and also race. It is a way that !173 helps divisive institutions continue to exist with all their bias and stereotypes. Some works are done by some people; others are not allowed to engage in such activities. For example, she men-tioned that she is working as a professor but it must be a miracle that a only black woman is there as a professor. Something women of her likes from this place were not able to be. She said that she was the only black female professor who, by some miracle, joined this group and it feels as if other people were not able to do intellectual work. She didn’t say intellectual labor. Mulu believes that work organizes society into some form of social class. It opens access for some and it marginalizes others. At this time, the man remembered what the famous father of peace once mentioned about work. Nelson Mandela, in his book A Long Walk to Freedom, stated he has to silence himself to submit the moment he saw a black pilot on his way from Sudan to Ethiopia. “How could a black man fly an airplane? But a moment later I caught myself: I had fallen into the apartheid mind-set” says Mandela. In fact, Mulu is correct. Work perpetuates the apartheid mind-set. It affirms coloniality, it inculcates annihilative warrant to colonial arrange-ments of social hierarchy. For her, Labor is given. It is given for humans to be like Adam. You labor all your life time until you lose all your energy. You have to eat the fruits of your labor. So, one's labor is enough to feed oneself. As a result, there is no greed in labor. There is neither con-scienceless competition nor greed. In labor, there is only minimal concept of work where one does something. And, one should not necessarily be employed. Some spiritual educators tell sto-ries of the first man who ate the fruits of his labor. In fact, not only the first man but the first woman was also eating the fruits of her labor. At least, we cannot justify that the first woman was a burden on the first man. Mulu mentioned that she had to do something everyday-- be it at home or at office. Be-cause of this, people identify her as a hard worker. It is not the work or the type of work that mat-ter most to her. She has to see herself in labor. In labor, there is work, hard work, but not greed. When she goes back home with no energy left in her, with no space to ruminate over depressing thoughts, she feels satisfied. Then, a silence for a moment is like a statement that concludes her chapter of the day. She does so many things at a time. She is in charge of the labor work. She al-!174 ways does the intellectual labor. She volunteers with poor people. She visits poor fellows as if each day were her last day on earth. When she returns back home, she still has to do something; these keep her moving forward and delighted. Mulu believes that it is not fair for an academic to stay in her office and just write journal articles. That is sometimes too technical. It is like when someone sitting in the Pre-Medicine class listens to the nomenclature of organs, all of them only in Greek or Latin. Or, it is like sitting in one of the traditional learning centres in rural Gondar, she could hardly hear anything except very young students rehearse the holy books in Geez- a dead language used only for liturgy where the parishioner have no access to the content, the same text repeated everyday until they learn all of it in their words. And all that has nothing to do with what is going on out there. She thinks that the intellectual needs to look at her environment. She should look at her place, the people in the place, those far removed from the place, those who live in the place but are made invisible in the place. She says that this place has a lot to tell. She wants to do something at least in the place she is, in the academia. That begins in silence. Just to give the opportunity for the surrounding to be listened and for her to stay silent. She often says, “I see how my young colleagues struggle to meet the requirements of ten-ure. I am an obstacle for them as I keep implementing very demanding structures, rules, and pro-cedures. Those rules in no way prove the intelligence or kindness of my humane colleagues. That is it. Working against these ‘traditions’ will continue to be part of my activism. Dismantling those tight rules and rigid institutional practices should be our responsibility. They deprive young academics from growth and professional development. Charity begins at home. Justice begins from the place where you are.” She worked on her laptop for no less than half an hour. Then, she interrupted her work to prepare light dinner for all. Her husband came to the main floor, everybody shared the meal and watched news, followed by brief conversations in-between, before going to bed. “I can brew tea if anyone wants to have one!” Mulu looked at everyone around her. !175 She was not tired but she felt that everybody wanted to sleep. None of them wanted anything any more. The man felt fatigued, maybe from the long trip to Mulu’s house plus his flight yesterday. His eyes looked smaller. He had reduced attention to the surrounding. Mulu showed the man his bedroom, and the bathroom adjacent to it. Then, everybody went to their bedrooms. The night passed with peace and delight. !176 Sheriff - Sheriff - SHERIFF Friday morning, the man woke up early. As he went to the living room, he noticed that Mulu was working on her laptop. She asked, “Did you get a good sleep?” The man confirmed and he said he liked the silence of the place. She told the man they will be leaving in half an hour and they will grab light breakfast on their way. She went upstairs to just say goodbye to her fami-ly and they left home. The cruise faced west towards the centre of the city. The man hadn't had the chance to see the surrounding last night as it was getting darker. Now, here is a clear sky. The sun is shining !177 hope on the green pasture, the dark soil seems content with the energy the sun provides with. They had to drive such a long distance. They drove approximately fifteen kilometers. At the exit of the town, they reached at a vibrant village with coffee shops and mini markets all around. They drove past a farmers’ market and Mulu backed up in a spot to park the car. They got out of the car to get their breakfast from a modest cafe. Both grabbed coffee to keep them awake. They both know that they were sons and daughters of farmers, or some of their relatives were farmers, if not their parents. And coffee was a major source of foreign currency, specially by the time Mulu was in her high school. Things might have changed now. They or-dered light breakfast and in a while they were back to their Tin Lizzie with the coffee half-full in their mugs. Mulu resumed the conversation while driving. The first sip of the coffee had sharpened her sight. It seems her body is stimulated with more energy. “Well, in this part of the world, there is no cooking in early mornings. The passionate Ethiopian mother waking up everyone in a fami-ly to feed them what she cooked early in the morning is no more existent in North America.” They both smiled. For as long as they lived back home, they both had their mothers cooked for them every morning before they leave home. They rode in silence for a few moments as she was changing gears and speeding. The man mentioned, “Well, actually I like cooking, it is a healthy way of eating what you want to. I can also see that you cannot afford the time. Your home is here and you work in the next town.” A bit of silence reigned supreme as soon as they moved into the highway. Their cruise sprinted like a jet into the asphalt, many vehicles passed by them. Some were very threatening with their roars. They were passing close by Mulu's car with their engines releasing out a puff. It were as if the vehicles attempted to pull Mulu's cruise out of the lane. “So, this is your routine?!” !178 “Oh, yeah.” “Everyday one hundred kilometers? Wow, I have never been in this kind of situation, except in the cross-country buses. It is somehow frustrating or unbearable for someone like me.” The man felt that she is rather amazing, and strong in a strange way. “Maybe”, Mulu hesitated momentarily. She had to focus more on her driving. She said, “The fuel keeps the vehicle running and it is not really challenging as such. Ma-chines are machines. Of course, I also come up with road rage sometimes, ranging from er...you know there are some drivers who worry about other people’s driving skills but I just smile and move on, eh…”, Mulu cracked a small smile and then slipped into her silence. Then followed the roars of SUVs, Chevs, Minivans, and Enclaves followed. After almost every five kilometres, there were officers stopping some drivers. On one of the instances, they watched an officer standing by his white SUV. A SHERIFF printed in blue on the side makes the car unique. The traffic slowed a bit because of the heavy jam ahead. The delay offered the man the opportunity to see a white man in his uniform. The man was all muscles and was huge. He stopped a black woman, an African American. She was sitting in her vehicle and remained look-ing through the wing mirror as if she were evaluating the officer. Then, Mulu’s vehicle sprinted for approximately four to five kilometres. A similar scene, another SHERIFF, another black woman, a similar looking huge man. The only difference they noticed this time was that the woman was a bit older and overweight. “Well, if you had stayed for that many years across the Coast, you must have become familiar with these issues. I mean you might have heard a lot." “Somewhat. But, I am still learning how things work and I usually prefer to be silent” “Silence is Gold! My mom used to say.” “Why were all the persons stopped African American women? “Do you mean stopped by the SHERIFFs?” !179 “Oh, you call them SHERIFF?! Ah, English! I learned the word police. A colleague from UK taught me the word Police officer long before I moved to Canada. My Canadian colleagues prefer just the word Officer. Now, I am learning SHERIFF!” “Place not only makes people, it also makes language, you know!” “I see. Then, what do you think is the reason why they are being stopped?” “Maybe for excess speed, or maybe they were picked for a ….er….a random check. But, well, it is a long story.” A random check! That word conjured the pictures of those two women at the airport checkpoints in the man’s earlier trip. Those women picked him and told him it was a random check. He kept silent with thoughts about meaning-making roaming in his head. A racer roared at their vehicle as if it were ready for a bout with Mulu’s small vehicle. The wind from the other car passing by them blew as if it were threatening the auto to get off the asphalt road. The man woke up from the silence, his mind returned to an active state, but Mulu still kept quiet and focused on the road. She stared at the front, in the lane, into the distance as if she were watching the stars on the black sky as she used to do in her college Pre Medicine class years. There was a thick silence again. She was speeding up, injecting more gas, while looking through the windshield as if she were diving into the future. It was somehow strange and uncom-fortable for the man to witness all sorts of driving--excessive driving, competitive driving, unsafe driving, risky driving, erratic driving, furious driving, defensive driving, negligent driving, reck-less driving, all happening simultaneously. They noticed it was all done by men, black, white, Mexican, African, American, young, mature, working class, middle class and the like. For an ex-ternal eye, it might appear like the officers might have had mistaken those women when they stopped them. !180 Mulu and the man watched them all. The women were doing urban driving, pleasant dri-ving, skillful driving, extra-careful driving and normal driving. Driving is freedom. It is one manifestation of freedom of movement. In this part of the world, it is a means of earning one’s livelihood. It is how one gets to a place to labor the whole day, and come back home with smile. It is a means to visit one’s families and friends, lovers and suitors. One can guess what it means when a SHERIFF stops a person for an hour from such trips, let alone the tickets, warnings, an-noyance and even risks to one's life at such particular moments. Anyway, Mulu never had that experience except once in a summer. She thinks she is invisible to the SHERIFFs. Mulu was fo-cused on her driving, her acceleration, and how long it took her to make it to office the day be-fore. She suddenly transited from the world of thought to the world of real. She looked over her shoulder to the man on the passenger’s seat. “I should drive five times faster than Abebe Bikila, you know” . 22 The man smiled, “What does that mean?” Mulu turned her neck back to the front facing the black asphalt. After a brief silence, she said, “It usually takes me an hour to reach at my office.” “The same every day?” the man asked. “Almost the same but sometimes even shorter if I leave early before all people leave their home at the same time, we call it rush hours. Well, if I drive with the speed of our marathoner Abebe Bikila, it will take us the whole morning to reach at our destination,” she smiled. They joined a more populated traffic. They entered into the city. In a quarter of an hour, they reached at the university endowment land where there is free parking for employees. A stream of thought run through the head of the man. Universities own land. Where do they get it from? Whose land is it? Who gave them this land? Mulu entered the basement of the building with the man. They then exited at the first floor where they met two security officers. The security officers greeted them with a smile of in-nocence. !181 Mulu told the man that he should sign off on the guest book and the security officers will give him a visitor’s badge. “Prof., is he your brother?" one of the peace officers asked. “No, he is one of my relatives visiting me for a couple of days and he wants to see what my of-fice looks like.” “Oh, cool. Welcome!” “Well-stay! Thank you!” “Would you please fill in your information here, sir?” the officer asked the man. While the man was filling his name on the log book, Mulu interrupted him and said, “Ok, I am a bit in a hurry, finish from here and as soon as you are done, come to the 7th floor. As you exit the elevator, right in front of you, you will find my office and you will see the administrative as-sistant in front of you. She will let you know what to do, ok?” The man nodded in agreement. He heard the words of encouragement she threw before she got into the elevator. She then disappeared from the area in a blink of an eye. Mulu is multi-lingual. She speaks a number of Ethiopian and European languages. In the diaspora, nobody knows her identity. She belongs to everyone’s circle but she never identifies herself with any group. She is a friend of everyone but she has no single best friend to spend much of her time with . She never identifies herself as belonging to a particular ethnic group or religion unlike 23some members of the Ethiopian diaspora who seek comfort to stay with people who belong to a religious or an ethnic group. The officers provided the man with a visitor’s badge. Before he proceed to the elevator, the man felt the urge to tell the security officers what his name means and how they should pro-nounce it. Names come from the mouth of Angels , his ancestors’ proverb tells. All Ethiopian 24proper names have meanings. They must have meanings. Name is very important, how you say it matters. You name something if it belongs to you. You name it, you claim it, it belongs to you. Suddenly, these streams of thought took the man back to some of his experiences somewhere. !182 *** A long time ago, in one of his good old days, one of his professors invited the man for a lunch in a restaurant downtown. The man was lining up to order his meal. He approached the waiter at the cash register. The waiter took his order. The waiter then asked his name. The man told his name to the waiter. The waiter had difficulty to pronounce the name of this man. It is a new name from a different culture. It is normal to have difficulties to pronounce new names, re-gardless. But, the waiter told the man that he should find another name. The man repeated the same name. Then, the waiter shouted at the man and asked him to tell the man an English name. The waiter repeated, “Don’t you have an English name?” The man was rather offended. The man told the waiter, “You are not as welcoming as the city. If you can’t say my name, I will tell you a number to represent my name. That is my fa-vorite number, but I don’t have to change my name for a lunch, remember I am paying for it. The name you want to hear might be more difficult if you see it from my perspective.” The waiter wanted to reply, he started his speech saying, “Look, ….” The man interrupt-ed him, and as it was Christmas season, he said, “Is this very Christmassy?” The waiter took the number and turned his face right away. The man was the only person to be served like that. That was an experience he encountered back then when he was new to the city he lived in for a decade. *** As time goes by, the man noticed that many immigrants are forced to change their names willy-nilly. Some have double or triple- hyphenated names. Dominant cultures give people new identities. They impose new hyphenated names. Migrants in such cultures struggle to fit in. They struggle to show their strife in a concrete way. They should win the trust and the confi-dence of the host culture by showing their strife to fit in by changing their names, among others. For some people, however, their names bear their culture. It carries with it memories of parents, and mothers who sacrifices their lives to raise their kids. The name bears the memory of the !183 mothers who uttered the names to call their kid for the rest of their life. It represents what they wished for their kids. It represents the mothers' struggles to protect, and to keep these lives alive. Its meaning is by itself the marriage of a story and a memory, a seal on a child bearer’s experi-ence which is a confrontation of life and death, hope and despair all at once For the man, to change his name means to conspire to erase those stories of a caring mother. It is agreeing to a conspiracy to neglect mothers who bear and rear their sons in pain, not in privilege. It feels like a conspiracy not to acknowledge those mothers who escaped rains of bullets with their kids in their arms. When their men carried guns on their shoulders, the mothers carried souls to save from the bullets, and the named these souls in such terrible times. The man should take refuge in subterfuge only in dreams. It is impossible to engage in self-deception. The elevator took the man to the seventh floor. As soon as he exited the elevator, he no-ticed the secretary. She sat on a white rotating chair, her hands on a white keyboard, and her eye staring on a white watch on the wall. A white printer with some printed out white sheet was put by her left side. Across from her seat, her white wool-blend peacoat hang on the plastic hanger fixed on the wall. The man greeted the secretary with a perfectly polite and respectful tone. The lady was expecting a guest to arrive. She’s already informed. Pointing at an armchair in front of her, she said, “Please have a sit! Mulu is having a guest and she will be free in about fifteen min-utes. Do you like something to drink?” The man replied with a smile, “Thank you so much, I already had coffee after breakfast!.” He sat by the nearest chair waiting for the person speaking with Mulu to leave. The guest left Mulu's office after about half an hour. Mulu appeared, and she walked the guest out of the office. She apologised because the man had to wait for so long to speak with her. Now, it is his turn. He has as long as he could stay plus a twenty minutes tip for waiting the other guest to leave her office. Mulu asked the man if he would like to drink something so that she will request her assistant to grab one for him. Yet, !184 the man didn’t want to take any. Mulu then mentioned that the man might be silent or shy. But in United States, silence may not be encouraged. People interpret silence in contrast to what is known in Mulu's home culture. It might even turn out to be embarrassing for some people. They slipped into serious conversations from there. “I needed some silent space to handle your request. I have no clue about telling stories. I don’t know where to start telling my stories. I only know that I am a woman. I sit in this office. It is very clean, fabulous, fancy whimsy office. The wall, the white board, the projector, the sits, the floor, the elevator, my papers, my iOS, my iPad, my keyboard, my notebook, my cellphone, my wallets-- everything in this room looks nice-- isn’t it? And I am a tiny (in)visible woman, sur-rounded by all these expensive glittering stuff. This is not to blame. Yet, it is an illustration of how I feel about being here, about my identity and my (dis)-location. It is about what my sur-rounding tells”, she interrupted playing with the mouse on her right hand side and looked at the man. The man nodded, he then remarked, “Maybe, these things are reminiscent of the perma-nence of privilege or its depth?” Mulu agreed. “There is such an enormous privilege that some own in plenty. Some inter-nalized it in-depth. Women like I are (in)visible. I am lucky but I cannot say I am privileged.” The man nodded listening to her expressions. Mulu said, “I am telling you this is the truth, my everyday truth, my lifetime truth, and it cannot be otherwise.” “By the way, how... do ...you recognize…….. me? Before asking a…. woman to tell her stories, you …..must recognize her, you must…..you must recognize something about her. Isn’t it? How come a man seeks to know a story….the story of such a woman? Does it make sense?" Mulu opined. !185 The man didn’t reply. He felt uncomfortable to say anything. Rather, he encouraged him-self to stay silent. “The first time I read the email about your visit, I was stunned. I felt this must be a mis-take because this has never happened in years.” “May I ask why? Is that because it came from someone you have never known or con-nected to in anyway?" the man asked in disbelief. “I mean nobody asked me to tell them my stories. I have lived here for such a long time. Many people come to interview me, but it is about Science. It is about what I produced with my colleagues.” “Perhaps, they wanted primarily to hear your opinion about some issues and learn from you and to learn from your wisdom. Also, some people want to mention public figures like you as their evidence or professional authority, isn’t it?" the man added. “Maybe it is. But, that doesn’t matter to me. My main goal is to help my kids become who they want to be. I hope you don’t misunderstand me.” “Not at all, please”, the man assured her. Mulu continued the conversation. “My mother spent all her life, she invested all her wealth to nurture what is deep in me. That was the desire to become a medical doctor and save lives in an emergency room. I was able to do that, that was the greatest success. Now, I need nothing more. My daughters; they are my resemblance, they are my portraits, they are just my photos, they are my second souls. They are my halfs and they are my grace. To be honest, at this level, they are what I worry about-- my kids. I don't care about my story as much.” !186 The man was listening to her in surprise. His ears were upright like the big ears of an ex-cited jenny on a green pasture in a summer day. Mulu continued telling her stories. “If you are asking me to speak about myself, you must also be ready and prepared to lis-ten to what I say. Some of it might not be interesting. Please interrupt my ramblings if it is not useful in anyway or if it doesn’t fit what you think.” Suddenly, she showed a confused look. She hesitated for a while. She was not certain where to start telling her stories. Where would you start if someone ask you to tell your stories? It is a sweet challenge. “I am still thinking about what I am going to tell and to share with you. After all, who speaks? I have seen in this part of the world time and again that a woman is good for walking with her man. Some of the men might feel that it adds a grace for them. Or, it might be the case that the women subconsciously internalized this. Many might have internalized that it is her duty to follow him, and to accompany him, while he is walking on the red carpet. Black or white, it is the same. Anyway, I am not certain as to what you intend to do with my stories. But, within an hour, I willingly breathe out what I lived, I observed and I accumulated for years. I don’t think I am going to tell you any different story than the ones you lived and experienced every day, al-right?" Mulu commented. The man smiled as an assurance to her. She then continued. “The places I lived at influenced my sense of myself. They shaped my preferences and my position at home and at my workplace. The stories I heard since my childhood, while grow-ing under the feet of my beloved mother, had influences in me. My mother was a school teacher. She used to have two months off when schools are closed in July and August, the season of heavy rain and clouds that leave all our village in flood. “At such seasons, my mother used to take us, myself and my sister, to a rural area a bit far from our place. There, we used to see our uncle farming in the land. And his wife cooking his !187 lunch and taking it to the farm for him and her only son. Then, she will never come back until it is dusk. They had to work on the farm inherited from her parents. My uncle had to plough by hand. That is, he had to command and ‘push’ a pair of oxen yoked together and being worked on a field which is the size of trice a football field. That takes at least two months to make it all done. He must turn all the soil upside down and the inner wet part must be exposed before dispersing the seeds in parallel like those writings of a kid in a lined exercise books. Farmers life down there is really hard. “As a kid, it was very exciting for me to see that those seeds he threw into the mud get rotten. They disappear from sight. For weeks, they would be hit by heavy rain, and sometimes snow. Then comes September, when the rain stops. The sky becomes clearer. And all the area turns green. Those seeds regenerate, they reproduce life. They re-produce faith, and hope grows in plenty. It is not only my uncle who did that. It is also his wife who did collect and burn the weeds and clear the farmland with him manually. “She had helped her husband by cleaning grain, spreading vegetables, and pounding grain. She had also helped him winnowing, which is very hard to do. I grew up seeing such women working as hard as their men. On top of this, the house chores, cooking and caring for children rests upon the shoulder of women in our society. I know farmers’ life's hard and women’s life in that context is the hardest.” “Very true”, the man admitted. Mulu grew up in a religious tradition. Because she was sent to a boarding school, she had led an independent life, and she used to decide most of the things by herself especially from the age of 14 onwards. All decisions were made by herself, she was by her own. Achieving high school was the most interesting part she remembers. But, she didn't have such a thing to remem-ber as a worst part. The political turmoil and the later Red Terror had started right before she joined high school. Her mother wouldn’t have sent her to the boarding school if it had been a !188 normal situation because it is just unaffordable. In those bad old days, she was goal-oriented, so-ciable, assertive and used to like playing in the field as well. She had played soccer, but she was not athletic, she was rather slim. Mulu was one of the top scorers by the time she joined the uni-versity. Mulu remembered her transition from high school to college life. It remained one of the most memorable parts of her life. She remembered her outstanding performance at college, com-pared to her girl friends. She thought that it was so because of her accumulated experience at the boarding school. She knew what to expect in college because she had learned the art of living with people. She already knew what it feels like sharing bedrooms and bathrooms in dormitories. It was a new experience for many students. Because of this, Mulu had a little more advantage and confidence compared to other students. College life left her with a lot of memories. There were sometimes when she ended up smiling as she remembered some part of it. Her college library was far from the dormitories. The main road that gets into the heart of the city separates the campus into two like a septum. The dormitories with dining halls and cafeterias were located south of the road. The library was in the main campus by the north side of the road where there were classrooms and laboratories. In the utter darkness, there was nothing one could see. Mulu hardly forgets the darkness of the nights. They were completely dark every night, and she could count all the stars that were glittering be-cause of the darkness of the sky. There was electricity, but the streets had no sufficient lights, not like the towns in North America. She used to stay up late studying in the libraries, and it was typ-ical of many Pre-Medicine students to do so. During her time, most of her professors were German citizens. They were very good per-sonalities. There were also some Ethiopian professors. Mulu was not happy about her Ethiopian professors. All of them were males and, especially when she considers it in the light of the situa-tion in the States, she feels that it was not encouraging. When she remembers them, she always says, “Usually you know they focus on your faults. They point out more of the mistakes you made !189 than the good things you did. Whether it is on assignment, or when you practice, in most cases harsh words are easier for them to utter.” In spite of this, Mulu also remembers that some of her Ethiopian professors were renowned public figures. Academic freedom was a luxury to think about by the time she was at college. Mulu re-members that her professors didn't enjoy such freedom. They had to think twice before they say anything, there was no freedom, they were fearful. Talking about issues out of professional boundaries was impossible. Questioning policy was unthinkable because of the dictatorship of the socialist regime. Mulu knew that only certain individuals had the privilege to speak. That was even possible as far as they remained appreciative of the political system. She said, “If you are a member of the Derg party, you enjoy the freedom to speak. You are a ‘policy maker’ in favor of the system, and you do not question the party line.” There was not even a single female professor by the time she studied her Bachelor of Medicine. During her postgraduate studies, there were two female Canadian Professors. An Ethiopi-an female professor joined the faculty later. Mulu remembered how challenging it was for a fe-male student in the colleges in Ethiopia. She said, “There were many layers of challenges. First, there is cultural pressure. People believe that women are unable to perform like their male coun-terparts. When you speak something, people would never take you serious. And there could also be sexuality issues. Every time you succeed, people interpret it as if you were able to achieve it only because you corrupt your male professors. And still others attempt sexual advance. Female students might experience sexual harassment and threats from their [male] professors.” She had overcome considerable challenges. She overcame many layers of challenges which she encountered as a female student. Later, she graduated from the College of Medical and Health Sciences. But, she didn’t become a faculty member right away. She had to go through all academic ranks in her profession. She also worked as a medical doctor for some time. Eventual-ly, she had to return back to Medical School for her graduate studies. !190 The graduate studies opened the opportunities for her to become a faculty member. Mulu said, “Teaching is my passion, and it is enjoyable. It makes me feel happy. Mentoring others, and seeing them grow is satisfying. As a medical doctor, my most important duties were bedside teaching, and patient follow-ups. Most of my patients had preventable diseases. I felt that it was important to focus on the prevention part. My duty other than teaching was the most difficult. The hierarchy, lack of resources, and lack of training made my work-place experience nerve-racking. In the academy, these were not an issue at all.” Most of the Ethiopian diaspora know Mulu. Every Ethiopian across the States know her as one of the very few influential and successful intellectuals. She is always the first-choice of the media to talk about issues related to women, health issues, and higher education dynamics and sometimes Ethiopian politics, among others. Everyone is interested to know her stories and how she carved a niche and developed an identity as an academic public intellectual. Her life tells how these crucial issues interact at the intersection of her identity, gender, and academic achievement. Yet, Mulu is also a silent person. Some months back, the man was talking about Mulu to an Ethiopian diaspora community member. Back then, the person told the man that that it must be a weird idea to want to speak to Mulu to listen to her stories.The man asked why and he was told that Mulu is crazy busy, she is as busy as bees and as silent as the Pacific Ocean. The man was not surprised as he was aware of her personality to some extent. Mulu believes that silence is the interstice between power and dissent. And it always speaks a lot more than speech. For her, speech entails action, hence, the notion speech-act. The moment one is vested in speech; there are limits to action as well. Power can stifle and reverse speech or the action empowered by the speech. In contrast, silence is universal and unpre-dictable. Silence is an infinite and powerful option and it has depth. But, speech is definitive. For her, silence is not an option; it is the universal set that includes all the options. Silence does never lead to dissent and it is as such tricky. Because power is violence at its other end, the fuzzy line between power and dissent is silence. !191 Mulu often says, “The line that separates power and its extreme form--violence--is also silence. That is, maybe, why we have that proverb ‘silence is gold’. Silence is the whole lot of liminal space between utterances or between sentences in print. You know, when you read a text, you see the sentences in black. People never notice the vacant spaces between the lines or out of the lines. Or, it is like the time between beats and pitches in music. It is the interlude between pressing a key and releasing your fingers before you proceed to the next key when you play a piano. That combination makes the music that you love and you entertain yourself. “It is not the sound of the music that matters. Actually, it is the proportion of the silence between the sounds that has pansophic quality. Silence is a resort to peace. It is surrender. It is the good will of the pacific to concede or to allow things to take their course. It is the courage to "speak" by denying a response to the irresponsible. It is a divine way of responding by rejecting response-ability; the later triggered by ir-responsible others. It might be good to speak-up and challenge dominant narratives in political lives”, she asserted. Mulu did never have the desire to challenge anyone. She had less interest to engage in the politics that victimized her. She had far less interest to speak in response to the system that con-tinued to perpetrate violence. The socio-political system gave everyone wounds which time could never heal for the rest of one’s life. She would prefer to remain silent. She would prefer being “devoid of meaning and sense, than diminish the lives and values of those “trapped in a cycle of violence .” 25 Mulu compares the nature of silence with that of freedom. For her, silence and speech are parallels to freedom and choice. Freedom is the infinite possibility to be whatever you want to. It is limitless-ness, but once a person makes a choice, that limitlessness comes to its limit. The coming to the limit materializes because of the infinite possibilities and limitless-ness. The infi-nite possibilities enable the subject to pick something. The later action in turn limits the earlier limitlessness. Seeing silence as the infinite potential, it is better to live with the potential to choose from infinite possibilities. It is not better to pick a possibility and limit the limitlessness. !192 The man and Mulu had interesting conversations. They shared in her stories. Her articu-lateness struck the man. He was awe-inspired by her perspectives. That feeling was followed by sort of guilt. The feeling of guilt came from his suspicion that he may not be able to tell her story as she had done it. She was telling her stories from within, from the heart, from deep inside. She was near crying. She was feeling the pains of the past. She was showing what it feels like to re-live that life, attesting to what it means to embrace all those ugly truth throughout her life. She believes that telling stories give one relief. Stories are told for younger people who seek to educate them-selves. It makes her feel the satisfaction from seeing the youth emerging as a knower, showing the interest to know, the willingness to commit some time to listen to stories, to be silent. For her, to know is to recognize and to educate oneself by listening to people like her. In two of her lan-guages, both Amharic and Afan Oromo, to know (trans. mawek, beekumsaa, respectively) has many meanings which are not limited to knowledge acquired from schools and books. It means to notice, to recognize, and to acknowledge. There are yet very few individuals who obtained this wealth. It is like wealth and most people do not possess it. This sometimes makes her feel frustrated. The problem of Western edu-cation is its lack of wholeness. It is not holistic. In a sense, it only focuses on schooling. Whereas the subject, the knowing being, is very important, Western education and culture rarely enables those in school to recognize others. It might be one reason why, according to her views, she is invisible, and so are so many colored people and all others who fall in the ‘Other’ category. Mulu shared these ideas with the man. As soon as she brought these thoughts to the fore, the man formed a perfectly clear idea about the issue. He immediately remembered the incident he noticed at a conference in which a black professor was neglected on a stage by her own colleagues. His idea of holistic knowledge resonated with her idea of knowledge as well. Suddenly, a roller-coaster of emotions took them !193 into a deafening silence. The man thought about the equilateral sense of knowledge as schooling, recognition, and acknowledgement. He felt there is indeed too much schooling which couldn’t result in the fruition of acknowledgement and recognition. “We fail to recognize”, the man whis-pered to himself. Suddenly, the man dropped his pen and the room was felt with the echo as it hit the floor. Mulu’s eyes left the papers from in front of her and started to look at what the man might have dropped. Both of them shared interesting stories and perspectives. Close to an hour was gone. Then, both of them had something else to do. Mulu had an appointment with a student. She needed the time to prepare some outlines for her discussion with her students who will be visit-ing her in few minutes. The man also remembered a session in the conference which he high-lighted on the print out of the schedule. He had already decided to attend the session. He left the room with mixed feelings. Right before the man left her office, Mulu promised to have lunch with him. She also hoped that Professor William and Dr. Cherinet would be able to join them as well. Mulu mentioned that Professor William also likes Ethiopian food! The man took the elevator to the ground floor. He rushed towards a conference room to join his highlighted session. Participants were attending the second session before morning breaks. It turned out to be the busiest Friday. After a while, people left parallel sessions for a health break. The man felt energetic and alert. He didn’t show any sign of fatigue on his face like those attendants who stayed in the conference rooms attending two sessions. However, he needed to have something in his mouth. He went for a dark roast coffee and a small wedge of pie. As he walked towards the coffee corner, the man noticed Cherinet from afar. He wanted to continue the conversations they started yesterday. Dr. Cherinet also saw the man from afar and sent a silent smile which, the man felt, was a confirmation to continue the conversations. “Hi!” “Good morning, Dr. Cherinet!” “Good morning to you! Are you enjoying the Conf.?” !194 “Absolutely! By the way, I was so excited hearing your stories. I learned a lot yesterday.” “Let us do like yesterday, talk over coffee but this time we should finish the coffee before it gets cold, ha ha. We talked a lot yesterday and you made me feel as if I were thirty years young.” “You still are!” “I was talking to you about my colleagues trip to China. That was where we stopped?" asked Dr. Cherinet. “Yeah! Exactly!” the man answered in surprise. “I do not believe in socialism. It might have worked for the Chinese. In fact, the situation in Chi-na at that time was known. I mean, even though socialism is credited to raise the living standard of all the people in that country, the poor remained poor, and in poor health, while those in high positions led a life of luxury. Honestly, I used to have this feeling that it is an ideology that is in favor of the poor and the lower class people. I was still thinking that this is a positive spirit and a god motivation to help and empower the poor. “Returnees reported that they observed the leaders were leading a life of luxury. Officials were wearing wool and silk and they ate varieties of high-quality food and drinks, the poor wore clothes similarly tailored. I remember the critiques by Professor Mesfin.” “What was unique about him?" the man asked. “I had known him since he was an early career academic. He was one of the very few critics of the government, and he still is. He has lived all his life criticising our governments from the religious to the traditional, from the Imperial to the Marxist and the so-called ‘Revolu-tionary Democratic’. He has always been speaking against authority”, replied Dr. Cherinet. “It always surprises me. How can a person consistently do that?” “I know it is not easy. I mean it is not as easy as some people conceive it”, Dr. Cherinet commented. !195 “I can guess that it is not easy. But, what do you mean when you say ‘not as easy as some people conceive it’?" asked the man. “It is obvious. It has risks in it. For example, he was always sent to jail, and released and sent back to jail. He was imprisoned for speaking at the university and he was also imprisoned for speaking in the prison, too. It feels like he is a lifetime prisoner by his own will. I sometimes feel like the college and the prison are no different for him.” Dr. Cherinet cleared his throat and continued, “At both places, he has no freedom, at both places he protests against power and hierarchy, at both places he is cheered, and at both places he is hated. At both places he is educating people, too.” The man thought for a moment and commented. “Well, he is one of the well-known Public Intel-lectuals. He recently received recognition from the Queen in U.K for something like a lifetime contribution?!” “What recognition is this? I mean he is already recognized by the people, his people!” commented Dr. Cherinet. The man smiled. He then continued, “What about the less talked about Dr. Merera Gudi-na?” “Both are faces of the academy, both are faces of the prison, both are symbols of the si-lenced. Both of them are known for advocating indigenous ways of knowing. For example, Pro-fessor Mesfin favors and claims the Orthodox Christian tradition as native to the land. Likewise, Professor Merera is usually inclined to local forms of governance, administration and social rela-tions which is usually based on the indigenous Oromo democratic forms of governance like the Geda system. Rarely did I hear about these scholars working on research projects funded by Western Universities or organizations. This makes them appear very similar in some way. Doesn’t it?" Dr. Cherinet fixed the man with a look. He then hesitated for a moment and com-mented, “Well, actually we are afraid to talk about some issues here, even after we became Americans. I think some haunting fear is following us everywhere and it might be due to the in-fluence of the Red Terror. We carry the stories with us. We travel with the memory of it. And the !196 new generation do the same. They carry the same memories, unpleasant memories of marginal-ization, and oppression. These things persist even today” The man was immersed in the story being told by Dr. Cherinet. He was not interested to interrupt Dr. Cherinet from telling the stories that travel with him. He kept nodding to indicate that he’s actually listening to Dr. Cherinet attentively. Dr. Cherinet continued. “On top of that, our culture conceals some people and some events in silence. Anyway, I don’t forget the extent to which the intellectuals exercised their freedom and challenged the status quo during my time.” “How was it like at that time? I mean how did they voice?" the man was just curious. Dr. Cherinet smiled. He said, “Let me give you one specific living example. Professor Mesfin was invited to offer a course at our college and was giving a talk on the geo-political and social history of the region to students, with the faculty attending as well. At that time, he said, ‘Our peasants, while living in a dilapidated hut, suffering from the cold weather, with the wind gust through the cracks of their wattle and daub, lie down to sleep on a cow hide, on the bare floor, and in the night, with no light in their huts, they say in their prayers, as they always faithfully do, Thanks God, Don’t make it any worse!...’ as if there were any life worse than this’. You might have heard of such satirical criticism from Prof. Mesfin in the past. Isn’t it politics, then?!” Dr. Cherinet flashed a smile at the man. Then, the man laughed and asked Dr. Cherinet, “What does that mean?” Dr. Cherinet continued the story. “It means they [the ruling class] had done nothing to improve the lives of the people. That speech was delivered for the students who love to listen to him. As one of the faculty members at that time, I had introduced him while he was there to deliver his speech to the students. Well, there was no such open trend during the imperial regime. Most of the people at that time, whether they were aware of the system of government or not, had just accepted it.” !197 “But, many people like the Emperor. Even my grandmother is poor but she always worship the Emperor. Could it be out of ignorance? I mean she was not educated, really”, asked the man. “I think it is not about schooling. I believe the Emperor had tried their best to improve the human condition at that time. Yet the level of education was quite low and progressive changes were remarkably slow. Later on, as the Emperor advanced in age, university students who were backed up by a few of their professors started criticising the system and the lack of progress. Pro-fessor Mesfin was among the few professors who believed that the country could have developed much faster than the system allowed.” The man was curious to learn what happened next in the socio-political arena of the country. Dr. Cherinet mentioned, “During the later years of the Derg regime, I settled here in the United States with my family and did not have a firsthand experience. We were, however, getting sufficient information all the time. We heard that no one was allowed to criticize the government and any attempt would cost one's life. Students and young men and women who showed dissent were taken to jail. They might even be killed and thousands have lost their lives. We heard that the whole country was possessed by an intense climate of fear. We knew the military government followed a ruthless dictatorial administration all along for 17 years that is all the time they stayed in power until 1990. “By the time I was there, the conditions were good but not that exciting. For example, it was a miracle to have a female professor in your program! There were almost none by the time I was a student”, Dr. Cherinet smiled. The man flashed a smile and stated, “Maybe everyone was too immersed in other busi-ness, and you didn’t look around?!” “Oh, no! Don’t be surprised if I tell you that there were only two female professors, both foreigners and only at Addis Ababa University. One of them, Prof. Rindleshort, was the head of !198 the division of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Another female professor, err…. yes, it was Dr. Ham-lin. Dr. Hamlin, her full name is Elinor Catherine Nicholson, is the founder of the Fistula Hospi-tal. Many Ethiopians know her for her work but most have no clue that she was indeed a faculty member. She is getting older now but she is still in Ethiopia. The world knows her. Both Dr. Hamlin and her husband, compassionate humane souls, used to teach in the Medical School. By the way, my daughter, Andromeda just joined Medical School in Cuba, and she is inspired by the works of Dr. Hamlin.” “Wow. Exciting!” “Indeed!” “What is her name again?” ”Andromeda . Don’t you know this name?” 26“I do in history classes but I don’t know the meaning. You know all our names have meanings.” “I do!” confirmed Dr. Cherinet. “This is a foreign name, maybe Greek. Right?” “No, it is Ethiopian name. It means ruler of men.” “I thought people in diaspora like to name their kids by a European. name I was expecting names like Hilary, Olivia, Kate, and so on and so forth.” “I didn’t. First of all, the whole idea of diaspora is messy. I don’t know why people, even intel-lectuals, generalize about diaspora. We are different like our faces. Anyway, the name is Ethiopi-an.” “Why do my history educators keep telling me that it is a Greek name? I studied Andromeda as a white woman in a school in Ethiopia”, said the man. “Not only historians, sometimes artists and painters do distort the reality. I know and I acknowl-edge the problem. The schools teach everything in English and everything as portrayed through the eyes of a European textbook writers. But, all the original antique texts in Geez and Amharic, and the transcriptions of rural folk literatures in other local languages are stored in European Museums. Many of Ethiopian cultural heritages and local knowledge productions were taken during the British Expeditions and Italian Occupations of the Northern Territory. I even wit-nessed Ethiopic Biblical Manuscripts during my visits of the Royal Library of Paris .” 27!199 “I see. But, I still feel that it is a European name. I mean when I hear it, it doesn’t seem to me like one of the names I know.” “No, I told you it is an Ethiopian name retained in Greek. You reminded me of a lesson about Greek Mythology. A long time ago, I did a course about paintings in antiquity. I just wanted to know about the antique paintings I used to see in an ancient monastery in rural Ethiopia. Then, I ended up in Greek Mythology. The ancient Greeks and Romans called all black Africans Aethiopes, or Ethiopians. The Greek poet Homer (c. 800 – c. 750 BC) represented Ethiopians with an elevated status, as fabulous, supernatural beings. He even acknowledged that Ethiopians were part of the Trojan war as they fought under their king Memnon on the side of the Trojans. But it is surprising that almost certainly Homer did not know the exact location of Ethiopia. And, Ethiopia was a term used to refer to all black Africa. The beautiful woman in Greek mythology, Andromeda, for example, nearly always portrayed as white in recent paintings, is actually Ethiopian.” “So, you are saying that Andromeda is not a white woman, right?” “Well, she is portrayed as a white woman in modern paintings. To re-present her representation should be the duty of the intellectuals.” “It is amazing. The marginalization and misrepresentation of women in our politics is not surprising as the muscular and masculine keep our politics in their grip since time immemorial. But, culture, religion, and even mythology, if they fail to do justice to our women…….”, the man paused in hesitation. Suddenly, Dr. Cherinet noticed that his cell phone was vibrating. It was ac-tually an incoming call. He had to leave the place to answer the call. He might want to speak pri-vate. As soon as Cherinet returned, they noticed that the time had gone. They had to return back to the conference room. “We shall talk more”, Dr. Cherinet remarked. The man asked if Dr. Cherinet would like to meet at the same time, there. Dr. Cherinet confirmed as they rushed to their preferred sessions. !200 Enat Ultimate Kitchen At lunch break, the man joined Professors William and Mulu at the lobby. Cherinet joined them, too. Professor William suggested going to the nearest Ethiopian Restaurant. Mulu’s predic-tion was correct. Mulu offered to give everyone a ride to the nearest Ethiopian restaurant called Enat Ultimate Kitchen. There are many Ethiopian restaurants in the United States . Some of 28!201 them have similar names. These include "Enat Kitchen", "Enat Breakfast", "Enatye Cafe and Restaurant", "Enat Fikir Breakfast.” Enat is an Amharic equivalent for mother. The conjugates enatye- my mother; enat fikir- mother love, and all those tell the place of mother in the hearts of Ethiopians. They may also tell mothers’ closeness to the art of cooking, among others. They ar-rived at the restaurant after approximately ten minutes drive. Ethiopian cuisine is unique in many ways. It is the most colorful meal that one could ever have. The brown spongy pancake comes with a variety of colorful sauce atop. A brick-red hot sauce made of pepper is in the centre. Yellow lentils cooked in red pepper are also included by the side. Green cabbage turned dark from intense cooking goes with the minced red meat cooked with natural butter on top. This is usually served with home-made white cheese by the side. Chicken stew with eggs and onion in red pepper is usually associated with holiday celebrations. One can also add scrambled gray injera, the soft spongy pancake, soaked in meat sauce to make a beige addition to the centre of the tray. In addition to all these colorful varieties, who wouldn't miss a dark roast coffee after a meal? And for people with wisdom, a yellow home-brewed tradi-tional beer from honey called Tej gives colorful possibilities on the tray. In Ethiopian cultures, eating alone is discouraged; everyone shares food together, usually on a big round tray. The circular shape of the pancake as well as the tray signals inclusion, unity and hospitality. All food is served on a big soft round pancake called injera. Everybody shares the plate and they eat all the food by hand. It is not Ethiopian culture to use utensils. It
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UBC Theses and Dissertations
Academic public intellectuals’ lives : negotiating the borderlines Ashenafi, Aboye Alemu 2019
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