Playing with fire as EPRDF pries in religious and ethnic affairs By Robele Ababya
Weird Sunday mass at the Palace
This article is prompted by The Horn Times News breaking news dated 03 Feb 2013 titled: “Ethiopia: ‘Judas of Wollayta’ shattered as pagan TPLF warlords cancelled his bizarre Sunday mass” written by Ethiopian heroic fighter for freedom – resident of South Africa.
Article 27 of the TPLF-imposed constitution stipulates a secular Ethiopian state; it permits freedoms of conscience, expression, association, and religion among others in conformity with United Nations Declaration on Universal Human Rights. It is therefore discriminatory and wrong for the PM taking advantage of his political position to allow members of his Pentecostal church to hold mass at the Palace built at the expense of the Ethiopian people to run their national affairs.
It is to be recalled that Ethiopian leaders in the past worshipped in churches in sharp contrast to the venue in Menilik Palace deliberately chosen by Prime Minister (PM) Hailemariam Desalegn partly to sow discord among Ethiopians and partly to be build his power base. This constitutes utter lack of sensitivity to the 90 million multicultural citizens of Ethiopia of various creeds that the PM is supposed to represent impartially. Is the PM fit to rule?
The stance of the PM carries a double-edged sword, division along ethnic and religious lines both leading to internecine carnage. This is the demonic legacy of the late tyrant Meles Zenawi that the PM has publicly vowed to perpetuate intact.
Followers of Orthodox Tewahedo Christians and Muslim faiths constitute 77% of the Ethiopian people; the latter have shown determined and sustained demand for the respect of their right to elect their leaders freely at Mosques without government interference as stipulated in the constitution standing bravely for their right for over a year. Tewahedo Christians should match the bravery of their Muslim citizens and forge unity to force the brutal EPRDF regime to respect its own constitution.
Unfortunately the Holy Synod in Addis Ababa is in leadership crisis and is therefore impotent to rally Christians and demand government involvement in religious such as forcefully spearheading the replacement process for the late illegitimate Patriarch Aba Paulos. This pathetic situation has to change by the demand of the faithful in Addis Ababa noting that the proportion of the followers of the Orthodox faith has fallen from 60% to 45% in the last 21 years owing to the split of the Holy Synod.
Need for Ethiopian secular state
The Moslem Brotherhood is accused of hijacking the Egyptian revolution of the people, opposition political parties, and activists for change to a democratic dispensation. Egyptians are back in their hundreds of thousands to Tahrir Square in Cairo and other major cities in protest. Leaders in the opposition are calling on President Morsi for a dialogue aimed at establishing a national unity government in order to check popular unrest, stabilize the country, and taste the fruit of the revolution in a secular democratic state. President Morsi is in deep political trouble owing to economic decline and social unrest.
Ethiopian Christians and Muslims should enter into covenant to struggle for a secular democratic state in which freedom of conscience is inviolable. In doing so they are advised to take into consideration the current Egyptian predicament and the following narration on religion and ideology.
1.By visiting Google readers will, in an article posted by Scott From South Cackalacky dated 10/17/2009, find that “Christianity and Religion Have Caused More Deaths Than Anything Else in History”. The author argues on the basis of the Holy Bible and history that “Religion and ideology are secondary causes of war and the primary cause of war is sin”, vide:-
• “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”,
• “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander”, (Matthew 15:19).
• “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
• “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5)
2.By visiting Google under the title “Is religion the cause of most wars?” readers will find the argument that the primary cause of war is “our wicked hearts; religion and ideology are simply the means through which we exercise the wickedness in our hearts.” It is further stressed that “… true religion keeps fallen humanity in check; without it, wickedness and sin would reign supreme.”
Historical tells us that non-Christian wars caused the death of 90 million compared to 6 million deaths attributed to Christian wars, vide:-
“By all accounts, the 20th century was one of the bloodiest centuries in human history. Two major world wars, which had nothing at all to do with religion, the Jewish Holocaust, and the Communist Revolutions in Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Cuba, have accounted for anywhere between 50-70 million deaths (some estimate upwards to 100 million). The one thing these conflicts and genocides have in common is that fact that they were ideological, not religious, in nature. We could easily make the case that more people have died throughout human history due to ideology than to religion. Communist ideology necessitates ruling over others. Nazi ideology necessitates elimination of “inferior” races. These two ideologies alone account for the death of millions, and religion had nothing to do with it. In fact, communism is by definition an atheistic ideology.”
Since the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974
Massive civil unrest prior to the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution culminated in the voluntary resignation of the cabinet of Prime Minister Aklilu Haptewold. It was a bloodless change to the credit of the Monarch refusing to use force to silence mutinous soldiers and dissident students.
Unfortunately, copycats of communist ideology hijacked the peaceful change and engendered a bloody theatre of war in which millions of able-bodied, most of them children of peasants of tender age lost their lives not to mention the tens of thousands wounded or disabled. This has been and still is the results of the sad saga of misplaced communist ideology that the Ethiopian Marxist-Leninists were forcing to impose on an agrarian feudal society.
The vestiges of the ideology are still resisting change enamored to their reckless adventure unaware that the issue in the 21st century is respect for human rights and building a free society with zero tolerance for corruption. They should apologize for their past mistakes and genuinely unite in order to shorten the days of TPLF in power.
At this juncture it is fair to note and express high appreciation for G-7 for becoming a strong voice for the voiceless; for its incisive research vividly exposing to the world the multiple ills of the minority TPLF genocidal thugs; for its convincing Editorial dated February 02, 2013 titled “ትግሉ የሚጠይቀውን መሰዋእትነት ለመክፈል እኛም ዝግጁዎች ነን!” (We too are ready to pay the sacrifice that the struggle requires).This inclusive Editorial is commendably is different from the divisive motto “Proletarian Internationalism” adopted by the Derg regime and other Marxist-Leninist groups which glorified only the working class.
EPRDF’s ‘Defense Force Week’
In regard to the ongoing show of force staged by the repressive TPLF regime I say:-
•The mighty former superpower the USSR disintegrated due to internal contradiction and popular anger over bad governance and corruption;
•The leaders of the new superpower China are worried that corruption threatens to topple the government and the Communist Party of China.
President Museveni of Uganda is spearheading the fight against rampant corruption in his country and he is getting thumbs up from donors like the European Union, and overwhelming support of Ugandans.
But the EPRDF PM, acting under duress by TPLF top thugs, is desperately playing with fire by displaying military muscle, pitting Orthodox Christians against Muslims to ignite violence, and playing the vicious ethnic card to prevent united opposition.
Salient points to note in conclusion
There is no doubt that “the 20th century was one of the bloodiest centuries in human history”; 90 million lives were lost due to ideological wars, 15 times more than for religious wars estimated at Six (6) million. These destructive wars will have no place in the 21st century where the quest for moral rearmament, respect for universal human rights, rule of law, tackling youth unemployment and zero tolerance for corruption in a free democratic society will take the center-stage;
Both the capitalist and the communist systems, the latter at a high human cost, have produced enormous wealth but concentrated in few hands in each case. The people in both systems in this information age are increasingly angry at the irrational wealth distribution. This corrupt situation is untenable!
It is incumbent upon us Ethiopians in the Diaspora to do our best in bolstering opposition political parties at home. The recent call by the UDJP to contribute to its campaign to raise one million Birr in four months is justified in the face of its inability to print its newspaper at printing press anywhere in Ethiopia. I hereby commit to contribute.
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians and Muslims constituting 77% of the Ethiopia population, should as a matter of urgency bolster unity and mutual trust and work together in fighting for their rights and not to fall prey to the plot of the misruling divisive regime;
Ethiopia is a multicultural society comprising nations and nationalities. By default the kind of federal system of government should be one that would emulate the US system of federal arrangement, which has stood the test of time. The destructive ethnic-based federalism of EPRDF regime playing with fire is a detrimental example to other African states and must be stopped;
The plight of the masses has been articulated and recorded more than sufficient number of times to warrant action in unison to bring down the repressive ruling regime.
The Almighty God has done His part leaving to us what we in the opposition can do to remove the divisive regime from power.
Release all political prisoners including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba, Reeyot Alemu, Leaders of the Ethiopian Muslims et al!
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!