The teachings and conceptual world of the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church have greatly influenced the
culture of Christian Ethiopians. This applies to
classical literature, visual arts, architecture and
The classic literature was written in the church
language ge'ez, originally spoken in the Kingdom of
Aksum (see Ancient History). This literature reached its
peak during the 1300s. Then came its most famous work,
Kebra Negast (Kings of glory). It tells the legend of
King Solomon, the queen of Sheba and their son Menelik
I, who is said to have founded an Ethiopian kingship.
Latest population statistics of Ethiopia, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Ethiopia's modern literature is mainly written in
Amharic. Among the 20th century writers are Mekonnin
Indalkachew, Birhanu Zerihun and Baalu Girma. More
contemporary are the two American-Ethiopian writers
Abraham Verghese, whose debut novel "Cut for Stone" came
out in Swedish in 2009, and Maaza Mengiste whose "Under
the Lion's Eye", about the last Emperor's fall, came out
in Swedish in 2010.
The visual arts have been heavily influenced by
Byzantine culture and have long depicted only Christian
religious motifs. For the past hundred years, artists
have broken with this tradition and have, among other
things, depicted Ethiopian rulers and famous field
teams. A popular painting has also been developed. The
sculptures adhere to the style of painting. The same
style also characterizes the metal crafts and jewelery
art, which have ancient traditions.
Church building dates back to the 300s. The famous
rock churches of Lalibela, from the early 13th century,
have been carved directly from the rock. One of the most
important architectural works is a 21 meter high obelisk
in Aksum. Ethiopia in 2005 recovered another, 24 meters
high obelisk, which the Italian occupation troops had
stolen in 1937 and brought to Rome. For nearly 70 years,
Ethiopians had to fight before the war was returned to
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Ethiopia. Artists and albums are also included.
Traditional music is dominated by the music of the
Orthodox Church. Ethiopian church music consists of
unanimous alternating song with clapping and sometimes
dancing. Among the Amharas are wandering troubadours,
Ethiopia also produces modern popular music with
foreign influences. Among the biggest artists is singer
and reggae star Teddy Afro (who is actually called
Tewodro's Kassahun). His music was banned in state media
since the opposition used one of his songs in the
election campaign in 2005. Later, he was convicted of
his refusal to prison for an infectious accident.
Continued violence requires over 60 lives
The EU calls for an independent inquiry to curb the violence between the
Oromo and Somali people. According to officials, at least 61 people have been
killed in new outbreaks during the past week. Both sides accuse each other of
having started the violence that originated in ground fighting. In a televised
speech to the nation, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn laments the violence
and calls them "mass murder".
The Oromo-Somali conflict flares up again
State media reports that more than 20 people have been killed in new fighting
between the Oromo and Somali people over the past week. In September, hundreds
of people were killed and tens of thousands were fled when the most serious
fighting in several years erupted on the border between the states of Oromia and
Somali. The conflict concerns who is entitled to the land along the border
between the states.
New protests in the Oromia region
New protests against the government are breaking out in the Oromia region and
are reported to last about a week. Protesters fire vehicles, among other things,
and security forces respond violently. Civilians should have been hit according
to the analysis service Global Insight Daily Analysis, which, however, does not
mention any figures of possibly killed or injured.
The currency is devalued
Danmarks Nationalbank devalues the currency birr by 15 percent. At the same
time, the key rate is raised by 7 percentage points to 7 percent. According to
the bank, this is done to control inflationary pressure and promote exports. In
September, the inflation rate was 10.8 percent on an annual basis. Ethiopia has
one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with an estimated growth of 9
percent for the financial year 2016-2017. The growth is largely due to large
public investments in hydropower and other infrastructure.
The President of Parliament resigns
The Speaker of Parliament's lower house, Abadula Gemeda, announces his
resignation. Gemeda is a high ranking member of the Oromo People's Democratic
Organization (OPDO), which is one of the four parties within the ruling EPRDF.
He explains the departure with the lack of respect he believes the EPRDF has
shown the Oromo people and OPDO in connection with the unrest in 2015 and 2016.
New battles between Oromo and Somali
A two-week outbreak of violence between the Oromo and Somali people,
according to the authorities, requires hundreds of lives and sends tens of
thousands of people to flight. A government spokesman said the fighting was
triggered when security forces from the Somali region on September 11 intervened
and killed two officials in the Oromia region. The battles are the most serious
in several years. Oromo and Somali have for years disputed who owns the
agricultural land along the border between the regions (see also August
Bloody battles in Oromia
About 65 people are killed in clashes in the Oromia region between local
armed groups and special police from the Somali neighboring region. The conflict
between the country's two largest ethnic groups, Oromo and Somali, has increased
in frequency and intensity during the year. The battles that are now erupting
continue for several days. The conflict concerns who has the right to use the
land in disputed areas along the border between the regions.
The state of emergency claimed
With reference to the stabilization of the situation in the country, the
authorities repeal the exceptions laws that have prevailed since October 2016.
6.5 years in prison for opposition politicians
Yonatan Tesfaye, former spokesman for the Blue Party, is sentenced to six and
a half years in prison for "encouraging terrorism". He has been detained since
December 2015, when he was arrested after accusing the government of using
Facebook for "using violence against the people instead of engaging in peaceful
discussions with the public".
Ethiopian head of WHO
Ethiopia's former Health Minister Tedros Adhanom is elected head of the World
Health Organization WHO. On July 1, he succeeds Margaret Chan. The important UN
body has long been considered in need of reform. WHO has received harsh
criticism for its late actions during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa from
The UN calls for releases
UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein calls on the Ethiopian
government to release prisoners and reduce the use of anti-terror laws. Zeid
says that the mass arrests following the unrest in 2016 raise doubts that
everyone is really guilty of crime. He also questions the prosecutor's motives
for routinely invoking anti-terror laws against bloggers and opposition
activists. Zeid also regrets that he was not allowed to visit the places where
Exception laws are extended
Approves the extension of the state of emergency declared in October by a
further four months; The Minister of Defense says it should allow the
authorities to "completely restore peace and order".
Garbage buries slum area
11th of March
An entire slum area is buried by garbage when Ethiopia's largest landfill in
Koshe in Addis Ababa crashes. After four days, 113 people are reported to have
been found dead. According to the Minister of Communications, most victims are
women. The government promises that the survivors will get new housing in a
The government is prosecuting three opposition activists for rioting for
riots, destruction of property and coup preparation. The only one to stand trial
is Merera Gudina, who was arrested in December after a trip to Europe. The two
others, Jawar Mohammed and Berhanu Negra, live in exile. Negra is already
sentenced to death after another trial. All are active in the rights of the
Ten thousand prisoners are pardoned
State media reports that about 10,000 of the documented 11,000 prisoners
detained in Oromia during the state of emergency have been pardoned.