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A Step Towards Sanity: Maimire Mennasemay

February 16, 2023

When the politicization of ethnicity and the politicization of religion meet and start feeding on each other, a society spins out of control; it goes over the precipice of blind violence  and uncontrollable destruction from which it takes decades if not centuries to recover.

Consider the European Wars of Religion that lasted from the 16th to the early 18th century. The religious conflicts between Catholics and the supporters of the Reformation were intertwined with political and territorial ambitions. In Germany alone, a third of the population was killed in these wars, which is, as historians point out, almost twice the mortality rate of the First World War!

The effort to create in Ethiopia an ethnicity based Orthodox Täwahedo Synod in February 2023 was interlocked with political and territorial  objectives. It was a dangerous mix of ethnic politics and religion. There were ominous signs that Ethiopia may be marching towards the precipice of an ethno-religious conflict. Religious emotions were boiling over. Some, and sadly the rebel Bishops, were working hard to ethnicize and politicize these religious emotions. Fortunately, the threat of a devastating ethno-religious turmoil was  nipped in the bud.

Since this conflict was in part of a religious nature, we might as well refer to a passage from the Bible, “Render therefore to all their due. …Honour to whom honour is due.” (Romans 13:7). That is, we have to give credit where credit is due. The February 15, 2023 statement of the Holy Synod explicitly recognizes the constructive role PM Abiy Ahmad played in the peaceful resolution of the conflict, all the while respecting the Church’s independence, rules and regulations. We have thus to give credit where credit is due and thank the Prime Minister for having facilitated the resolution of the conflict.

Above all, we should be thankful for the calm, the humility, the steadfastness of the Holy Synod in its defense of the integrity of the Church and her teachings, and its generosity towards the rebel bishops. We must also be thankful for the courage the rebel Bishops showed in finally recognizing the unholiness of their acts, in repenting, and in coming back with humility into the fold of the Holy Synod. The reconciliation rolled back the dark clouds of a devastating ethno-religious conflict hovering over Ethiopia.

Would it that the PM’s constructive role in the resolution of this conflict, coming on the heels of the establishment of peace in Northern Ethiopia, be a harbinger of a peaceful life for Ethiopians, particularly in the Oromia kilil? Innocent Ethiopians–women, children, the elderly, farmers, traders, manual and office workers—are killed daily in this kilil for no other reason than their ethnicity or politics. That this madness should stop is the demand of all Ethiopians.

The PM has in his powers to bring this political insanity to an end. After having brought peace to Northern Ethiopia and played a constructive role in the resolution of the conflict between the rebel bishops and the Holy Synod, Ethiopians expect him now to roll up his sleeves and put himself to the task of putting an end to the senseless bloodletting and destruction in the Oromia kilil.

For the last few years, the hope for an alternative Ethiopia that lit up in 2018 has been receding and the darkness of despair spreading. Prime Minister Abiy has now the occasion to reverse this trend by grasping and accelerating the momentum for peace that he has created. He must mobilize the peace dividends of the end of the war in Tigray and of the nipping in the bud of a catastrophic ethno-religious conflict and use them to end the ethnic killings, persecution, dispossession, and uprooting of innocent Ethiopians in the Oromia kilil.

It appears there are forces and individuals in the government and the political party the PM has created (The Prosperity Party) who are committed to promoting ethnic interests and goals that are inimical to peace and unity in Ethiopia. It is obvious that they are subverting and derailing his publicly claimed pursuit of peace and unity. The Prime Minister should infer from the support Ethiopians gave him in the recent war and from the recognition he has received from the Holy Synod for the good work he has done that Ethiopians will always support his struggles against ethno-centric forces. The PM should mobilize and activate this support to bring peace and unity to Ethiopia.

He would then be building on his recent successes in peace-making and reconciliation. He would be fulfilling the many bright promises he has made to Ethiopians in his numerous talks and speeches, many of which are infused with patriotic sentiments. In bringing peace and unity to Ethiopia, he will be truthful to himself for he would be acting and living in ways that are in harmony with his proclaimed philosophy of Mädämer.

After his double success in peace-making, Ethiopians are now watching him, hoping that his actions will allow them to believe that hope will eventually triumph over despair.


Maimire Mennasemay, Ph.D. Scholar in Residence, Humanities/Philosophy Department, Dawson College, Montreal, Canada. mmennasemay@dawsoncollege.qc.ca

Ethiopia: Between Hope and Despair! Maimire Mennasemay

The Post-War Benefits of TPLF’s Aggression : Maimire Mennasemay


  1. I saw this on a postcard: “Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds!” About 75% of Ethiopia’s population is under 45 and what the Self-serving Activists in various hats/cloaks teach them is Growing Weeds.

    Ethiopia with its 86 ethnics is hard to administer let alone topped up with COVID, West’s embargo/sanctions, Birr devaluation, TPLF-OLA Proxy Wars wreaking havoc, drought…

    Well, Abba Sawiros is Amara and doesn’t speak Affan Oromo. His father is the founder of one of the monasteries. One needn’t be Oromo to right EOTC’s age-old wrongs. The EOTC had the time and the resources to preach the Bible in all the 86 ethnic languages.

    The Synod is mostly Amara since the dawn of Orthodox Christianity in Ethiopia. Worse, Mahbere-Qidusan has become Amara Supremacist Institute in Orthodox Christian hat! Should any ethnic advance & assert its hegemony over the 85 others posing as X/Y/Z?

    Ethiopia is a country of 86 ethnics each with its language, culture, etc. NONE of them is a Second Class Citizen or Step Child! So, they are ALL entitled to equal rights: justice, education, health care, etc. Till when should we keep kicking the can down the road?

      • Alemu, here is what I answered your Bigot Twin on Borkena:

        I am a NON-BIGOT AMARA and a CIVIL Orthodox Christian. I have NOTHING in common with Amara-Orthodox like you. I don’t believe in imposing Amara hegemony on the other 85 ethnics using one guise or another. I am against orchestrating tragedy, getting people killed, and turning around to blame Abiy to score political points.

        Ethiopia is a country of 86 ethnics each with its language, culture, etc. NONE of them is a Second Class Citizen. Ethiopia doesn’t have any Step Children! Hence, they are ALL entitled to EQUAL rights under the law: education, justice, health care, etc. I also believe that the Synod should have rebuked Abba Mathias for siding with TPLF.

        Consequently, no ethnic should be allowed to advance & assert its hegemony over others posing as an activist wearing various hats & cloaks: Ethnic Associations, Human Rights Advocates, Religious Organizations, self-appointed Journalists/Media, etc. Mahbere-Qidusan has turned in to an Amara Extremist in Orthodox Hat!

    • QUOTE: “Opportunist scholars like you are the enemy of Ethiopia who are covering Abiy,s evil act “UNQUOTE

      Humble Innocent Reaction
      Would Ethiopia better off by eradicating all modern schools so that there will be NO MORE Ethiopian scholars on Ethiopian soils??? Would that make Ethiopia the ENVY of other countries???

    • I agree with Getnet. Anybody who thinks that Abiy Ahmed is a peace maker needs to have his head examined. This intelectual opportunism at its worst.


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