Finally, after 55 days, the fasting period has come to an end. Lovers
of raw meat are back to their normal behaviour of hosting and attending
get-togethers on weekends. Many have taken up chatting and making a big deal
about eating meat raw, as opposed to the latest fashion of becoming vegan, or
Others have started bragging about becoming vegan. If someone complains
about any internal ailment or anything related to obesity, rest assured that
vegans within earshot will start enjoying the sound of their own voices and
laugh at their own jokes that will not made even feeble heads smile, let alone
However, raw meat eaters are not a bit moved by such arguments.
This kind of argument is vehemently rejected by the tall and stout
Ashenafi Sime, 68, a former employee of the Science & Technology Commission and
a veteran raw meat consumer.
Given the level of poverty in this country, talking about the benefits
of being a vegetarian is the same as the fox which upon failing to reach the
juicy grapes hanging a little too high for him, calls the grapes “sour,”
“You should know our people very well before you take their words for
granted,” he said. “An Abyssinian believes that nobody would care to verify
facts and figures and generally states anything that comes into his mind knowing
that she can get away with it.”
Ashenafi took the argument a step further. Those who disseminate
information about the disadvantages of eating raw meat could be shrewd people
whose intentions are to scare off potential consumers for demand to decrease and
themselves to benefit from the stabilised prices, he argued.
Meat lovers tend to consider the issue a matter of human rights. Not
only do they eat whatever they have, but they also invite others to join them.
Apparently banking on this, there seems to be no shortage of loiterers
around butcheries and groceries these days.
One such a fellow was encountered last week at a butchery in Addisu
Gebeya, located on Gojam Road around Piazza. For a lack of space, the table had
to be shared with a fellow who was already there with a half-empty glass of wine
in front of him.
He offered a warm greeting, as if he was an acquaintance, and tried to
engage in topical conversation. However, unsure of where this contact with a
stranger could lead, his attempts were rebuffed.
When the chunk, which was supposed to weigh two kilogrammes, was served
with the burning pepper sauce and all, it looked far too small. The waiter was
even quizzed on her certainty that it was the correct order. It was
disappointing as, indeed, it was.
For fear of the evil eye the fellow was invited to join in the meal. “Enibla,”
someone said, expecting the invitation not to be taken seriously, as is often
There is usually some kind of superstitious rationalising in urging
people in the vicinity to share meat from the same plate, no matter who the
stranger may be. Ethiopians take pride in the culture of sharing food,
particularly in eating raw meat.
If a person insists that the person sitting next to him should taste at
least a mouthful, then one may believe that the invitation was not altruistic.
It is more likely a result of superstition, which can be diffused by eating
Prior to mouthing a slice, people tend to cut a small bit of meat and
drop it on the floor where it is trodden into the floor in the belief that the
demons resulting from the evil eye are pacified that way. While this can be
hilarious to see, there was nothing to laugh about in this particular case.
The fellow joined the party and started cutting off big chunks of meat,
which he devoured greedily. Even worse, the fellow did not even appreciate the
gesture showed to him.
It was later learned that he was an “amora,” a nickname given to such
seamless men who have made a habit out of taking advantage of the general
tendency to invite others to share food with strangers.
It would have been funny, only if one could stretch one’s perception of
humour that far.
This behaviour is reminiscent of that of crows or vultures who scavenge
for food, instead of killing their own. Friends of nature may feel unhappy to
hear these intruders called vultures or crows as the birds are social and do
humans a good turn by cleaning dead, rotten bodies.
However, these intruders have no shame in making themselves a part of a
group. They seem to thrive at wedding ceremonies and funeral lunches where they
are free to eat and drink to their heart’s content.