Haile Gebre Selassie (1973), one of the world’s best long-distance runners ever, has written the preface. He and his wife Alem have a foundation to support youngsters in their sport career. In his preface Haile Gebre Selassie writes that Ethiopia Footsteps in Dust and Gold does not bring the standard image of Ethiopia as a country of famine and poverty but shows the other side:
‘In Ethiopia everybody is on foot. As a child I ran every day ten kilometres to school and back home, unaware that running was going to be my future and not knowing that I was going to be successful. But by racing alone I could not help solving the problems of my country, which touch me deeply.
In my present, privileged position I keep looking for possibilities to fight poverty and diseases. Thanks to increasing (international) attention and initiatives the situation in my country is improving. Slowly, but surely.
For many this is a well-known story. Ethiopia happens to have the image of hunger, heat and scarcity. But this vision alone wrongs my country. Because, above all, it is a great country with an inexhaustible richness of people, history, culture and nature.
I am pleased therefore to be able to draw your attention to Ethiopia: Footsteps in Dust and Gold. The makers of this book have created a stunning stage to show the other side of my country. It shows above all beauty. It shows how strength and vulnerability, dust and gold go together. Hand in hand. For centuries, and in numerous ways.’
Haile Gebre Selassie