April 13th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

(This is an article I wrote on April 4 2007. I have amended it to reflect the current situation )

Enkuwan Le Berhane Tensayewu Adderesachu!” (Happy Easter)

How the word “Easter” came into being has its own history. Eastern is also known as “Passover” (Fassika in Amharic).

Fassika is a holiday that commemorates the day the Israelites were freed from the bondage of Egypt. For more than 400 years they were oppressed and afflicted by Egyptians. It is with the leadership of Moses and the Power of the Almighty God that they got their freedom.

Ten plagues were sent by God on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. In the last plague the angel of death came into the land of Egypt and killed the entire first born of each household except those who put a stain of blood on their door. Those with blood on their door were passed over. Hence the word “Passover” or “Fassika”.

Since then, for generations, the Israelites kept celebrating “Fassika” every year. It was during such celebration, two thousand years ago, that our Lord Jesus Christ laid down his life for all humanity on the cross.

Therefore we are celebrating two precious holidays at one time: The freedom of the people of God from bondage of Egypt and the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over death. (His resurrection)

As we celebrate Fassika and Tensae let not the holidays be only rituals. Let us explore the meaning of “Fassika” and “Tensae” in our life.


Fassika is a historic illustration of the wrath of God against injustice. For Fassika to happen Moses, Joshua, Miriam, Aaron and many more brave and god-fearing Israelites were needed. God does not want to give freedom without the involvement of men. One of the attributes of the Almighty God is that He works in us and with us.

I believe Ethiopia has a new “Moses” – Birtukan Mideksa. She is currently and unjustly incarcerated in Kaliti Prison. She is guided by spiritual values and believes Ethiopia’s problems are spiritual ones (hate racism, selfishness, bitterness, despair…) that can be solved only by spiritual solutions (Love, unity, peace, tolerance, dialogue, non-violence…). She believes in Peaceful struggle and the power of the people, and is showing us the way of peace by sacrificing her life and leading by example. She is not only talking the talk but she is also walking the walk.

Dr Golto Aila eloquently expressed the courage and bravery of Birtukan Mideksa and asked “where everybody else is” this way:

“This is a young mother, who put her life on the line for Ethiopia, after experiencing the insults hurled at innocent Ethiopians by a lawless regime, while she was a judge. She fought along side men (who have since abandoned her) for justice and freedom in her country and landed in jail for nearly two years! After coming out, and following the destruction of her party abroad, she returned home, picked up the pieces and re-built a formidable instrument for democracy in Ethiopia! Sensing the danger, the power in Ethiopia (he meant the EPRDF), grabbed her from the street and hurled her back into a hole they call prison for no apparent reason! My question is – Where is the Ethiopia for which this lady has offered herself to be humiliated and tortured? In our culture, we are known to fight and die for our women and our children. Women and children die in Ethiopia more than most places on this planet, on the watch of a dictator whose single purpose in life appears to be the destruction of our Motherland and our people!”

I believe Ethiopians need to be proud of this “Aung San Suu Kyi” of Ethiopia. They need to thank God for He has given them such outstanding and visionary leader. I believe God has already started the journey of freedom in Ethiopia. The fact Ethiopia has Birtukan Mideksa, is by itself a sign of God’s touch.

As we celebrate Fassika, let us remember that the freedom we need to get is not necessarily from dictatorial and ethnocentric policies of the EPRDF. What we need is to be free from ourselves, for we are our also our own enemies.

If we clean up our mess and come together as one force, and if we take off the clothes of fear, forcing dictators to respect the will of the people would have been a cakewalk. We were not able to guarantee the rule of law and the respect of human right, and establish a democratic system in our land, not because dictators are strong. It is because we are divided and imprisoned by FEAR.

It is time to get our deliverance from our own bondage. Making fun dictators and cursing them day and night is not solution. It is time to declare “FASSIKA” in our life, in our thinking and in our strategies. It is time to be free from FEAR, DIVISION, HATE, and BITTERNESS AND RIGIDITY.


As we celebrate “Tensae” let us also remember what happened to our Lord Jesus Christ at the Calgary. Our Lord Jesus understands pain and suffering for He has seen it himself.

There used to be thousands following him when he was doing miracles. However, on that Friday of Seqlet (crucifixion) no one was by him. Jesus understands the feeling of being betrayed and being accused with false and fabricated charges. He preached the message of love and peace. He preached the good news that leads people to eternal life. However, He was accused of “treason” and “Inciting violence” against Cesar.

Aren’t these accusations familiar, these days in Ethiopia? Isn’t Birtukan Mideksa being accused of inciting violence when she launched a peaceful and non-violent struggle? Isn’t she jailed, shamefully accused of treason, when in fact she stood for justice and called for all Ethiopians to come together and build a United, prosperous and democratic Ethiopia?

Yes, there was a Friday. On that Friday there were storms and heavy rains. There were thunders and everybody was crying. All followers of our Lord Jesus were desperate and scattered all over the places. They were all frightened. They thought our Lord Jesus, with all his power, would deliver them from the Romans. They were expecting big phenomena. Unfortunately, to their surprises, the Lord Jesus was taken away from them. He was crucified on the cross. He died .

Similarly, after the May 2005 election, many thought peace and democracy would be established in Ethiopia for always. When the CUD leaders were released after an 18 month mediation efforts by elders, many thought the regime would undo its mistakes and clear up the path of democracy again. Many thought Ethiopia would not be drained downward towards self destruction and blood would no longer be shed like sacrificial lamb. Many thought the law would rule and citizens’ right would be respected. Many thought there would be a new beginning.

Unfortunately what we see in Ethiopia is not what was hoped for. What was seen is a revolutionary democracy that is based on the “us versus them” politics. What was seen is the constitution being grossly defied by authorities. What were seen are complete disregard of humanity and the rule of law. What was seen is a 78 years father being beaten up by animalistic security forces. What was seen is a bright, visionary, patriotic woman being dragged down like a serial killer by 10 officers to the notorious prison and locked up in solitary confinement in a two meter by two meter cell, and treated worse than murderders and rapists. What was seen is a politics of lies and arrogance.

Yes today it is “Friday” in Ethiopia. Today the light is not seen. Today only thunders and bad news are heard and only see storms and images of dead civilians are seen. Yes, today it is Friday.

However, I have good news. As our Lord Jesus has risen from the dead, there will be resurrection of Ethiopia. There will be “Tensae” of Ethiopia. All the discouraging events that are seen now are temporary. God has remembered Ethiopia. The great and courageous, selfless leader, Birtukan Mideksa will be released. Sunday, the day of freedom, happiness and a new beginning will surely come.

It is not time to give room for despair. Let there be hope and let the focus be on the struggle in a united front. Let all be in their own term the second and third Birtukan Mideksas. If all do their part with all diligence and courage, Sunday will come very soon.

The current leaders of EPRDF have been repeatedly asked to come to their senses and do the right thing. They have been asked to open the door for peace and reconciliation. Unfortunately, so far they have chosen to rule with arrogance and empty pride.

Let us send a clear message to the dictators of Arat Kilo and their cadres that there are millions of Birtukan Mideksas. Let the world hears that Ethiopians will not let the destiny of their country be determined by none other than themselves.

Are you ready? Would you want to be one of the millions? Please come forth and say:” NO” to silence.

Birtukan Mideksa understands very well that it is Friday today. She knew it was Friday two years ago. However, in faith, she saw Sunday ahead of us and took herself into the future. “Sunlight has come to Ethiopia. Darkness is no more” she said.

Yes indeed, Sunday is coming. Yes indeed, Darkness is no more!

May you have a Happy Tensae!

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