Beyond what can be seen – Waltenegus Dargie

April 9th, 2010 Print Print Email Email


If it be, Why seems it so particular with thee?


Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not ‘seems.’
‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected ‘havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

William Shakespear

Any one how lived in Europe for a while understands how much damage has been committed in the past in the Name of God. It is now very difficult to freely express one’s love for and belief in God. Not because the people are secular or intolerant of religion. In fact, in Germany, where I am living, the majority believe in God – despite everything. Yet most feel uncomfortable with the Church because of the burden of the past.

In the past, pastors and bishops came in the Name of the Lord to preach for decades oppression; submission to tyranny; and obedience to hate. Weeks after weeks the Church provided platforms to wolves in sheep skins who shackled the courage; attacked the commonsense; and robbed the charity of the innumerable masses during the Nazi regime.

This is not to imply that there were no people like Dietrich Bonheoffer who resisted and confronted Evil and laid down their life like John the Baptist. But the world remembers them less often. The wound inflicted by the formers is too painful; does not heal easily… still bleeds, settling down deep within one’s conscience an undying and bottomless guilt …

While this is sad, there is a lesson for the contemporary Church to learn. How should spiritual people deal with conflict; how should they mediate and establish peace between enemies? Jesus clearly encourages the children of God to establish peace. He calls them blessed. And it is unforgivable if the Church sits idle while many suffer; disappointment reigns; and peace between brothers becomes unattainable.

Regardless of the method chosen, however, those who go about in the name of God should pay the utmost care not to hurt the oppressed; the neglected; the lonely; and the disadvantaged. Because, if two unequal forces meet in the arena of struggle for power, it is very likely that the canny hearted and the calculative fighter can take advantage of any opportunity, including the pure intention of those who try to establish peace.

Coming to the specific purpose of this long and tedious introduction, I was troubled by a pastor who went to visit Birtukan Mideksa on Easter Day in Kaliti prison. Needless to say, this pastor went with all good intentions. But I was troubled by the whole show of public display. I wish he was going in his own name, for the message he was sending to the entire world was a very wrong one! What he was saying was that all was well with Birtukan; that she was enjoying a cosy and comfortable setting in which a traditional Coffee ceremony was taking place; that she was healthy, and all that was talked about her was a mere lie!! The message was intended to those who walk by sight; by what they see. So everything was purposefully organised for their consumption.

But this perfect organisation of sights reveals nothing. Does it tell us about her internal state, her heart-brokenness, her loneliness, her longing, fear, confusion, rage, disappointment? Even physically speaking, does the appearance and movement of her body as shown on TV tell us that all is well with her; that she is fine, healthy; that she has not been mistreated or unfairly handled?

Falsehood and superficiality defeats God’s purpose and inflicts pain on those who love God and provokes contempt in those who don’t.

While I respect his service and good intentions, what the pastor displayed on that Easter day he has not learned it from His master. For God is the God of Elijah who prevailed over Ahab; Jeremiah who resisted Zedekiah’s wilful and cowardice decisions; and John the Baptist who, not fearing the sword that was stretched before him, told the ruthless kind that he was in the wrong.

  1. aha!
    | #1

    This one of the few articles, supporting its premise with a logical conclusion, albeit narrowly focused over a single incident of imprisonement and a visit by a pastor to prison cell. The whole of Ethiopia is a gigantic prison for the silent majority of Ethiopians held at gun point by security forces and police forces against their ability to speak against the regime, to organize and asemble to own property anywhere in Ethiopia, or with their own “Kilil”, living serfdom, ethnic fedreralism and seccessionism, where individuals are incarcerated without grand jury decision. They have a choice to flee the country, if they can manage, draining the country of its educated human resources
    Those who remain are put into cells (single/large cells), making up panels of cells and and the panels making up large prison/concentration camp complexes as modules, wasting the peoples tax money on keeping these modules, to say the least of imprisoning individuals without pre-trial and susequent trial and denying them of their individual freedom, and to say the least of its ability to radicalize and institutionalize the public into ethnic and seccessionist politics of separate but equal fourteen Killils for its own divide and rule policy in a colonialist style and induce the loyalist opposition paties to follow suit with those policies is further disturbing.

    While the public anger, although subdued is geared towards that, there is no concerted effort by religious factions openly condemning at least the massive incarceration in Ethiopia, because they are under strict control by the regime. Anyone who has been incarcerated once or twice, has that understanding of inner turmoil of emotions in addition to torture beyond that what can be seen, especially in total confinement.
    Therefore, if we only focus on the whole prison system, pull our collective anger towards the bigger picture of iprisonement and unite on a common goals and strategies for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, we can overpower the current regime to free the individuals from the prison cells and from the giagantic prison camp of the silent majority, superceding ethnic and seccessionist rights, which may be expressed in a freely developing mosiac of cultures and languages, devoid of ethnic boundries.

  2. Assta B. Gettu
    | #2

    Time has changed: for some Ethiopians for good or better but for the others for bad or worse.

    For example, some of the Tegarues who used to have one inferior meal a day could have now meals every single hour if not every minute because of the immense wealth the Oromos, the Amharas, and the other Ethiopian tribes have involuntarily offered them without a fight. Of course, one cannot fight a hungry mob; let the mob alone take what the mob wants to take, and let the Oromos, the Amharas, and the other tribes save their own lives rather than their own properties from the hands of the well-armed young and old Tegarues. The lucky ones, indeed, have saved their lives by fleeing their country or hiding in some of the Ethiopian monasteries or in the Semen Mountains while others have been perished or jailed for life.

    No one ever thinks such people, the Tegarues, who were poor are now rich, who were weak are now strong, who were powerless are now very powerful, who never smiled are now smiling, giggling, singing, whistling, and relaxing, who used to sleep in a mud house are now sleeping in the Menelik II palace, who used to travel miles and miles bare-footed are now, some of them, the owners of shoe factories, who used to ride bald-backed donkeys are now driving brand new cars, and who used to confine to one wife are now having multitude of wives as the result of their inflated wealth they have stolen from the rest of the Ethiopian people.

    How much time has changed for these particular groups of people who care nothing about anything and have no qualms or conscience when they rob or steal the other Ethiopians’ property, and God knows for how long they are going to survive on stolen money? Two of the Ten Commandments say: “Don’t steal, don’t kill,” but it looks the two of them have fallen on the deaf ears of some of the Tegarues who confess they belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, the Church that is under their man, Aba Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church at home. This Tigrean Patriarch himself has become the first wealthy patriarch in the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church; like some of the Tegarues he has become reach by selling the ancient holy artifacts of the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and he has never been caught because Meles Seitanawi, his hometown friend, has protected him from being audited, and there is no whistleblowers in Ethiopia to expose some one’s theft or evil conduct as far as it is done with the knowledge of Meles’ under cover agents.

    Most of these agents are the Tegarues who communicate on daily basis with their master, Meles Seitanawi and with his wife, Jezebel (Azeb) in a language the majority of Ethiopians do not know; only six percent of Ethiopians speak Tigrigna, and Tigrigna has become the language of the thieves and the criminals Meles, Jezebel, Aba Paulos, and Al Amoudi.

    In the middle of all these thefts, crimes, poverty, disease, injustices, and many other social, political, and ethical ills, Ethiopia mourns for her oppressed, mistreated, and often neglected children – the Oromos, the Amharas, the Gurages, and the Ethiopian Somalis; while she rejoices on the happy faces of her other children – the Tegarues – she is sick of them for crimes they have committed against their Amhara and Oromo brothers and sisters, and she is on the verge of cursing or excluding them from inheriting her God-given properties such as her gold, her fertile land, and her other abundant mineral resources. She is now patiently waiting how this coming May 23rd Election her children will fare; however, if she sees the Tegarues cheat on this Election for the second time, she has determined to throw them out of her house and to confiscate their properties and render them motherless and penniless for ever and ever. She has been patient with them for almost twenty years and repeatedly advised them not to be selfish but to share the wealth with their her other sons and daughters – the Amharas, the Oromos, the Gurages, the Somalis…, but they have refused to listen to her; however, as a mother, Ethiopia has to be fair for all her children, and she does not want to see some of her children go hungry to bed while some of her rebellious sons and daughters are properly fed and do not know what to do with their wealth they have amassed by robbing their own brothers and sisters of the Amhara people, the Oromo people and some of the other Ethiopia’s children.

    Yes, time has changed: the Emperor is gone; Mengistu Haile Mariam is gone, many other Ethiopian heroes are gone, and, of course, Meles and his death squad will also be gone very soon for good or bad, but no one stops Ethiopia to be born again and bring new, unselfish children to this world of ours.

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