Writing the actual text of a book, I think, is only half of the job; the other half is giving it a fitting title. When I decided to use the word Fetena –which, in the Amharic language, means a challenge, or a test, or an exam– as the title of my book, I had to consider several factors that compel me to write inquisitive verses. To me, the word is embedded with several meaningful ideas that are the very characteristics of human existence. Our individual or communal life is full of challenges that, more often than not, make us stronger and wiser; at least all of us hope that this would be the case. Since we are living in an era filled with contradictory phenomena and a plethora of conflicting views, every individual is subjected to various forms of challenges both in the physical world and within the realms of the human psyche. By choosing fetena, my intention is not only to express my personal observation of the numerous challenges of our time, but also to project a positive world outlook that gives hope to the coming generation. As an Ethiopian who grew up under a dictatorial military regime, I was always fascinated with (angered would be more appropriate) the type of ideology and systems of government that our leaders adopted and imposed on a traditional population that they mercilessly exploited and weakened. The people’s resilience, however, never ceased to amaze me despite the horror stories of injustice and human suffering that we Ethiopians –and the international community– became so accustomed to hearing.

It may be the multiple trips that I made to several famine- and drought-affected regions in Ethiopia, but, I think, Ethiopia’s chronic hunger problem is the most difficult challenge that we have to resolve urgently. The challenge is increasingly complicated due to debilitating economic and political injustices, lack of accountability, and inept government policies. Any attempt aimed at resolving the hunger problem without addressing these issues will not yield a viable solution. Indeed, the challenge is enormous; are we ready to meet it with a firm resolve?