By Belayneh Abate
As we speak, millions of people are dying from earthquakes, fires, floods, diseases, hunger, and bullets of barbarians. Statistical estimates show that human life expectancy ranges from 50 to 84 years depending on the race and the parts of the world people are living in. For some, the 34 years life expectancy difference between the poorest and the richest nations may look long, but it is petite and lapses very quick.
In layman terms, “life is short” and no one is spared from death and subsequent poverty of going naked to a grave or crematory. Within this short life period, humans should live free and happily with their God given rights as humans, not as dogs, pigs, or donkeys. Humans are created as sophisticated rational and social beings and they should live keeping these unique traits.
To live free and happy, humans should be able to use their eyes to see whatever they want to watch, their ears to hear whatever they want to listen, their noses to smell whatever they want to smell, their tongues to taste whatever they want to taste, and their brains to think and express themselves without any interference of barbarians. Barbarians succeed in coercing people to live the lives of sub-humans ONLY when people fail to free themselves from fear of death and poverty as well as boundless lusts. When people emancipate themselves from fear of these inevitable human fates, the barbarians dissipate fast like the summer noon fogs.
The crucial step in attaining freedom and a real happy life is liberating self from fear of the foreseeable death and poverty. Teaching about the inevitability of death, the bible in Genesis 3:19 instructs that “In the sweat of thy faces shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (ቁልጭ ባለ አማርኛ “አፈር ነህና ወደ አፈር ትመለሳለህ!). Similarly, “Memento mori”, was the pre-Christianity and early post-Christianity stoic philosophers’ reflection on human life. Memento mori literally means remember you are mortal (አስታውስ ሞት አለ! ሞትን አታመልጥም).
We do not have to be religious thinkers or philosophers to comprehend that we humans are mortals. However, we often fail to realize that we voluntarily give away our freedoms for fear of dying, dying that we will NEVER escape how hard and how many times we attempt to hide or run away from it.
Socrates was asked to sell his freedom and avoid death. To escape death, he was given the option of denouncing his teachings or residing in exile. However, the sage chose his liberty over escaping the inevitable death. He stated to his killers that they could not harm him (meaning his virtue and character) at all by putting his body on death chamber. His accusers and killers never existed forever, and in fact some of them died right after he became a martyr. The sage’s wisdom still shines but the wicked acts of his moron killers still stink nastier than street carcasses.
Similarly, the Ethiopian Abune Petros and Abune Michael could have escaped death temporarily by selling their freedom of preaching their people to fight the invaders and defend sovereignty, culture, and religions. Patriarch Abune Tewoflos could have survived his death in prison and prolong his earthly life for a few years if he was willing to sell the church’s doctrine and canon like some of the bishops and the patriarchs who came after him have been doing it. However, these martyrs chose God and their God given freedom over the death that they could never have escaped forever by any means.
Contrary to these martyrs, there were national traitors who sold their people’s freedom for money and other treats to prolong their lives just for a few more years. However, these traitors perished like blood sucking cockroaches not long after the ascent of our martyrs to the kingdom of heavens. The wisdom of Abune Petros et al will continue to shine, glorified by God and millions while the traitors’ betrayal will continue to stink, condemned by the Almighty and the coming generations.
Like the teachings of the inevitability of death, the bible warns about the futility of wealth in Matthew 19:23-26 : “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again, I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (ባለጠጋ መንግስተ ሰማያትን ተሚገባ ግመል በመርፌ ቀዳዳ ቢገባ ይቀላል፡፡)
Despite these teachings, some rich men in Ethiopia accumulate wealth bribing the barbarian rulers and betraying God and the very people that nurtured them. Shamelessly, then, the corrupt rich men establish churches in towns, and build their future graves in Debre-Libanos thinking that they will ascend to the kingdom of heaven by bribing Christos with the money they accumulate through endless corruptions. Bribing God this way, of course, will never work and the corrupt rich men will never enter to the earthly happy kingdom let alone to the kingdom of heaven. It is not only the sky that punishes the corrupt wealthy in hell, but also the Earth that observes how far these corrupt rich men sell their freedom, and the peoples’ God given freedoms to accumulate wealth.
To amass wealth, the wealthy people drop their freedom like dog’s feces and lick the blood-soaked feet of barbarian rulers. After accumulating wealth, the rich men become prisoners of fear, fear of losing whatever they stockpiled and of course fear of death. In Ethiopia, it is not uncommon to observe that the corrupt richmen establishing two or three layer of security guards to escape death and robberies. But these corrupt rich men do not entirely thrust their guards, and they frequently wake up at night to check whether their well-fed security guards are asleep or doing their duties. In other words, the role turns around and the corrupt rich men serve as guards to their own security guards. Furthermore, these corrupt wealthy people live in a constant fear of the barbaric rulers and do whatever the barbarians order them to do including paying large sums of bribes, and even wiping out their noses when they sneeze.
Just like other countries who suffer from the brutal ruling of barbarians, there are two groups of Ethiopians currently living in the country or overseas. The first group consists of the chosen ones who are determined to live as humans emancipating themselves from fear of death and poverty as well as infinite lusts. The second group consists of majority of us who have decided to live like pigs, dogs, and donkeys because we are lifetime prisoners of fear of death, poverty, and uncontrollable lusts.
We should realize that our freedoms and the rights to live happy lives are snatched by our fear of death and poverty, not by the beasty and coward barbarians. Their excellencies Ato Tadios Tantu and Eskinder Nega have been living in full blown freedom for long because they are not afraid of death or poverty. In fact, their souls have achieved their God given freedom so far by scarifying their wealth, comfort, health and even their families like Socrates and the Saint Antonius (the first Christian monk) did. Many generations of millions of Fanos have been living as free men because they have been liberating themselves from the fear of death and poverty that paralyzes and compels people to live the lives of dogs, pigs, and donkeys.
We should understand that barbarians evaporate fast like the small puddles of the Sahara desert as soon as people free themselves from the fear of inevitable death and poverty. Freedom reigns ONLY when people liberate themselves from FEAR of an inevitable death and poverty as well as boundless lusts! Thank you.
The writer can be reached at email@example.com
September 9, 2023