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Harari Basket Proposal
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:31 pm Reply with quote
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Written for Malasay Readers - The Harari Festival Organizers 2007 - Families and Friends of Harar.

Sallam Aleikum!

Congratulations to everyone involved in the upcoming Festival that will be held in Harar in July 2007. It clearly indicates the rebirth of a nation that has undergone generations of abuse and neglect.

It was during a wedding that I attended in Baltimore in December of last year that I first became aware of the traditional Harari basket. I was astounded to learn that this simple basket is perhaps one of the sole repositories of Harari culture and tradition, second only to the Harari language.

Several people informed me that if read properly the symbols woven into these baskets could reveal many aspects of Harari culture -however few people retain the knowledge of how to translate this symbolism, and even fewer have the skill to weave these baskets.

It was also brought to my attention that many people in Harar when in need of money take the baskets that have been handed down through countless generations to the marketplace and sell them to European tourists for little or nothing. They were too proud to ask for help, so they sold their precious baskets, and these treasures are now lost forever.

In view of this dire situation I humbly propose that a few interested and like minded brothers and sisters encourage the creation of a FOUNDATION TO SAVE THE HARARI BASKET AND BASKET WEAVERS.

It would be the duty of The Foundation to rescue the Basket Weavers and install their knowledge in the Foundation in an effort to make, teach, demonstrate, exhibit and propagate Harari Culture. Also interview, photograph and record the history of the baskets from those craftsmen and women who are still alive, to be archived in the library of the foundation. Video, audio, & written files to be considered for future publication as a source of revenue to perpetuate the Foundation.

To make it known throughout the community at large that the Foundation would buy any baskets that towns people wanted to sell. therebye rescuing both the baskets and the owner

The Foundation could also encourage the Public Schools to incorporate Harari basket weaving in their curriculum to insure that future generations of Traditional Basket weavers exist to carry on the traditions.

The Foundation could house and exhibit these baskets to the advantage of tourism, as a sort of Museum and registered market of Harari culture. Photographs could be taken and sold as postcards, posters, or framed in the same way as calligraphy.

Most cultures national and regional have one particular art form that distinguishes them from all others, and is looked upon as one of the highest forms of art of that culture. Take For instance the renowned Persian Carpet (rug) that can sell sometimes for millions of dollars and have a prominent place in most art galleries,and museums throughout the world. Many authoritative Books have been written about them and collectors invest large sums of money to acquire them. The Harari basket should be held in that same high regard.

The Aesthetics of the Harari basket should be taken seriously by Government and Civic leaders as well as artisans, educators, historians, tradespeople and the general public as an important Ethiopian National Treasure.

Religion, Language and Art are the three highest aspects of any culture. As long as they thrive the culture survives.

"May Allah grant us the wisdom to act responsibly in this matter"
Sallam Aleikum!
Hajj D.A. Haroon.

~ If not us, who? If not now, when? ~
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Harari Basket Proposal
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