Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Omo

My sister lived for several years in Ethiopia and because of that, there is a special place in my heart for this country. The Omo is a group of people comprised of several different tribes, a group that is rich in tradition, tradition that goes back thousands of years.

Tourists have 'discovered' these people and because of that, the culture there is on the verge of being destroyed. For some reason, whenever something unique and beautiful in its diversity becomes known, it inadvertently becomes destroyed. I hope that doesn't happen in this case because it would be such a beauty lost.

These people have not as much as a mirror to admire their human art, so it all goes on faith that whoever is decorating their bodies, embellished with uncovered pigments from the earth and wild flowers, is creating unique works of art on a human canvas.



  1. Saw a TV programme on this lot many moons ago. Well enjoyed it. Good luck to the Omo's eh?

    Have you heard about that new tribe of Pygmies recently discovered living in Zambia in an area of very high Pampas Grass?...they're called the Foocarewe tribe as they spend all day jumping up and down shouting "Where the fuck are we?"....

    oh dear...I'll get me coat....

  2. Hahahahhaa!!! Four, I am sooo naive. I got all excited to hear about this new Pygmy group and was just about to google it. Good lord, I'm glad you aren't trying to sell me a bridge; i probably would have offered to buy it...And no, do not get your coat! I love to have you drop by and visit me. xoxo

    This Omo tribe really touches me and I am so afraid people will go in and try to modernize them. Addas Ababa has become incredibly westernized and, tho there is still quite a bit of African culture there, it definitely has lost a lot of its native charm. These Omo people wouldn't know what hit them. They would be powerless against change brought in. In some photos I've seen of them, they look very unhappy with tourists focusing on them...unhappy and confused. At least in the photos in this video, they seem proud to show off their art.

  3. Hi, I am going to write more on the Goodreads site about this video but I quickly wanted to respond here... when I was a young punk rocker I had a profound realization that indigenous peoples, first nations, aboriginals ware actually the original punk rockers. They never stopped being who they were by joining the corporate mainstream or entered the world outside punk rock.

    Punk rock has as it's belief system a do-it-yourself ethos, a rejection of corporate mentality, a hands on work ethic, stripped down style, anti-establishment, immediacy and primary experience. All of these ethics are manifested with indigenous peoples!

    To me the indigenous peoples of the world, my own indigenous history as a Canadian, hit me with a force that these peoples have never "sold out". They have always made things that relate to their immediate experience without trying to fit into mainstream culture. I am nothing but humbled at their authenticity as punk rockers.

    I think in europe it is easy to forget that indigenous peopels were there first. They were killed off or assimilated into mainstream culture...whereas in North America we have also killed off the indigenous peopels alomost...but not quite. They still live here. Still amking their art and trying to find a way to survive despite the forces to make them corporate beings and mainstream.

    I tend to react strongly when I hear about people complaining about immigrants or having intolerance for other cultures...because the settlers here were immigrants and did not respect the customs of the peoples who were here first. Many North Americans are intolerant of immigrants who wear religious clothing or ritualized garments, like Indian turbans, or burkas...yet...we have been free to wear our own clothes and eat our own foods and make our mainstream dominant culture be tolerated by others who were here first.

    I don't believe we can save the Omo people, or any of the indigenous peoples of the world and allow them to survive until we learn to tolerate people who look different in our own modern cities and neighbourhoods.

  4. Absolutely tru Candy, on all accounts! But I think the Omos will not allow themselves to be modernized. I saw a video where tourists were wandering amongst them and the Omos were not too happy about it.

  5. Well, I don't think I would want to date one of them, ha ha ha. A remote tribe was recently discovered in South America, a plane flew over them and got some pictures.

    They were jumping up and down shaking spears and yelling, "Stay the fuck away from us".

    I've pretty much forgotten what I knew about Ethiopia, guess I'd better brush up a bit.

  6. It's quite a country. And I hope the Omos tell the tourists to stay away from them, too.

  7. Sadly, christians think that it's their duty to go civilize folks like that. For example the American natives didn't have a good enough homeland security department and got whipped by terrorists, our ancestors.

    Anyway you look at it, christians are terrorists.

  8. In looking at their exploding population numbers I see that they are just making more problems for themselves.

  9. I read Addis Ababa is now at over 4 million population. What a shame. Did you see the video 'Addis Ababa' over at youtube? It so Westernized that its sickening.

  10. Hi from 27th Street. I've linked to you over at my place. Cheers.

  11. Whatever it is, it goes down better with a little beer.

  12. Mister Anchovy, welcome!!!!

    Billy, have one for me, okay? (I take it you saw the Addis Ababa video about beer?)

  13. This may be absurd, but when I watched your video, I thought of all the pictures of woodland fairies I saw as a kid. They're beautiful people, no doubt, and the body art is beautiful on them. No one else can wear it that well. I know little to nothing about Ethiopia besides its archaeological importance- you know, the dead stuff. I think now I'll take a look and learn about the living. *smiles

  14. You are correct, Anon. There is something quite mystical about this human art.

    btw, now that you've posted, I was able to add you to my blog list; I searched and searched for your blog but could not find it. Thanks!


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