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Bluetooth or Prayer

By Mitiku Adisu

When you saw your elders mumbling you knew they were in the middle of offering a prayer. You did not want to interrupt; you respectfully stepped aside. This was before the 1974 Ethiopian revolution outlawed prayer and such altogether. No one had the courage then to admit prayer was the one thing revolutionists could not control and hence dreaded the most.

At the height of the revolution you came across more and more people talking to themselves. It could be some were faking it. You did not want to take chances; you moved over pretending to have not noticed or heard a thing. Present-day Ethiopia has fewer and fewer of its elder citizens around. Now a youthful generation is torn between the past and the future or perhaps wedged between a whisper and a noise.

In America you often saw a silhouette of a lone figure seated on a park bench or taking a casual stroll. As you drew closer you heard what sounded like a faint conversation. Could this be some prayer or a reincarnation of the 1970s “self-talk?” You got closer; and just when you thought you have figured it out you discover the fellow was on a Bluetooth.

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