Ethiopia’s Omo Valley | Africa’s Last Frontier, National Geographic Magazine

This is a fairly simple and sad story—a snapshot of cultures in southern Ethiopia that will disappear. The north-south axis of the story is the region’s life-sustaining Omo River, which will be choked by a dam in 2013. And the east-west axis of the story is the arms trade traveling across this area between Sudan and Somalia.  So in 2013 when the Gibe III dam goes online this culturally distinct area will be starving and heavily armed.

 The Omo River tribes are only 200,000 people standing in Ethiopia’s way of having steady electric power for 11 million.  Steady electric power equates directly to GDP growth and surprisingly often decreases population. When there is electricity, there is something else to do at …

Ethiopia’s Omo Valley | Africa’s Last Frontier, National Geographic Magazine

This is a fairly simple and sad story—a snapshot of cultures in southern Ethiopia that will disappear. The north-south axis of the story is the region’s life-sustaining Omo River, which will be choked by a dam in 2013. And the east-west axis of the story is the arms trade traveling across this area between Sudan and Somalia.  So in 2013 when the Gibe III dam goes online this culturally distinct area will be starving and heavily armed.

 The Omo River tribes are only 200,000 people standing in Ethiopia’s way of having steady electric power for 11 million.  Steady electric power equates directly to GDP growth and surprisingly often decreases population. When there is electricity, there is something else to do at night.  The dam that will provide electric power for Ethiopia will also choke off the food supply for these tribes that rely on flood recession agriculture. Because the arms trade between Sudan and Somalia goes directly across their territory, every grown man in this area owns an AK-47.  These cultures that include the last of stick fighting, bull jumping and lip plates, have always been ruled by ritual and revenge. These tribes were already killing each other across the river over cropland before their food source was stressed. 

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