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Prophetic words of Sebhat and Meles

Prophetic words of Sebhat and Meles

Kalayu Abrha 02-11-21

Sebhat Nega has been critical of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as a religious hand of right-wing Amhara nationalism. He was cursed and insulted using all abusive words in the dictionary. He was demonized to the extent that when he was chained as if he is in a physical position to punch the security guards on the face and melt into the crowd, no one had the decency to disapprove the mishandling of an infirm old man. Sebhat Nega was not a heretic; simply put, he was foretelling how the Church is going to encourage, support, and bless the gross violations of all of the Ten Commandments in Tigray, ironically the original home of Orthodox Christianity for Ethiopia. What do I mean by all the Ten Commandments are violated? The first four are directly and directly related to the worship of God: No other gods, no idols, no naming the Lord in vain, and observe Sabbath. The remaining six pertain to how we as human beings need to frame our relations in social life.

In the war in Tigray that I dub "Black November" Six of the Ten Commandments are violated: Don't kill, Don't steal, Don't commit adultery, Don't lie, Don't covet, and Honor parents. The Ten Commandments cannot be half empty or half full. It can only be either full or empty. If half of it is violated the rest half cannot be honored. Someone who kills, steals, lies, covets, disrespects mothers and fathers, and commits adultery cannot be a genuine believer of God. Following the violation of the Six Commandment the Four Commandments are automatically violated. The Fourth Commandment (Sabbath) is being violated because all the Six violations are also done on Sabbath (Sunday in this case). In a court of law, a criminal is not only the one who commits the crime but also includes anyone who collaborated by approving, encouraging, and blessing the perpetrator. Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the criminal by collaboration. I am not sparing Protestant and Catholic Churches and Muslim leaders in Ethiopia. They have done no less harm. I am focused on the Orthodox Church because Tigray is over 95 % Orthodox Christian. The history of Christianity has shown that Church leaders kill or let be killed if their members become "heretics". Tigray is the most ardent adherent of Orthodox Christianity. If someone is to be punished for heresy it must be the Synod and the politically radicalized extremist gang called Mahbere "kidusan".

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Meles had also his words about the flag immortalized by the current invasion of Tigray. Meles as a young leader of Ethiopia, in 1991, had his wisdom on the Imperial flag of Ethiopia. He did not curse it; he only told the truth. He said, "the flag is a piece of cloth; it is what it represents that makes it a flag". The storm of accusation that followed did not mind reading or hear the second part of the statement. No human being can deny that flag is made of textile material that can be purchased. No state on this planet got its flag from the heavens. After the design pieces are stitched together people attach a particular value to it. These could be democratic values, imperial ambitions, ethnic uniqueness, historical origin, and vision for the future, etc.

The plain three strips (green, yellow, and red) have been used for more than half a century. Although what the colors represent has nothing wrong with it the way the flag is used raises serious questions. If one uses a white flag representing peace to lead a savage war, is this flag to be respected or hated? The answer is clear; the victims hate it although normally people love white color. Mind you, it is not the white cloth, but the war mongering mission it represents that is a critical criterion for evaluating its merit. The way the three-strip had been used, in the Abyssinian annexation of non-Abyssinians and what it represented in Tigray and Eritrea during the armed struggle, fills victims with dread, hate and bitterness at the first sight of the flag. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church had adopted that flag as its own during the Monarchy when the supreme head of the Church was the King. This implies Church doctrines and Monarchial politics were one and the same. After the demise of the Monarch, when Church and State became officially separated, the Church continued to use the flag although it had no legal right to do so. During the Derg, the flag also belonged to Muslims, Protestants and Catholics as citizens. Ethiopian Orthodox Church had no right to monopolize it. Beyond this, a religious institution will be in a strange position to use a flag which is used in politics and diplomacy. It is not the job of a Church to involve in politics. There is another side to this. Unfortunately, the flag led repressive armies into battle against liberation fighters, atrocities committed while the flag is hoisted on tanks and tagged on the chests of atrocious troops. No one can deny the horror that is felt in the minds of victims. With this bad perception on the flag borne by the original victims and their descendants the Church must have avoided its implied collaboration. The Church was expected to be for all; but it happened that it has children and stepchildren. That may be the reason why it did not care to change its flag. Is a flag necessary for a religious institution? Christianity has the same mission in all states in the world. A flag is needed only if there is a difference, like in national interest and territorial integrity in politics. Religion has no boundaries.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has found it almost impossible to detach itself from the former Amhara-centered polity. This is disappointing to its followers who suffered from oppression with its blessing. The continued use of the three-strip flag by the Orthodox Church brought it to an awkward position when Amhara nationalists used it for their supremacist agenda. The flag had ceased to serve as an Ethiopian flag three decades ago. A new Federal flag with some emblem to represent diversity, was officially adopted. The Church is embroiled dangerously in the fight between Amhara-based unitary statehood and Federalism. In the war in Tigray, Sebhat and Meles are connected. The Orthodox Church gave its blessing to the atrocities against its own followers because it is swallowed whole by Amhara nationalism. The three-strip flag was hoisted by the invading troops on their trucks as a reminder of the Derg-regime, even worse. The three colours are beautiful; but what is done under them in Tigray makes them the ugliest colours of all!

Tigray will Win!


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