By Fikru Helebo
I am thankful to God for His Providence on this Thanksgiving holiday in the US, but I am especially thankful today to read a statement (“The Truth Will Set You Free“) on the current crisis in Ethiopia that was made by the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia a week ago today. Speaking out against the government’s cruel suppression of its political opponents the Bishops said: “In situations of such a social distress we cannot remain silent lest we appear to be indifferent in front of the suffering of our people.” Thank you, the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia, for recognizing the gravity of the crisis in Ethiopia for what it is and for breaking the silence that has gripped the religious institutions of the nation in the aftermath of the fraudulent elections of May 15, 2005. Here is the crux of the statement:
It is not unusual that public discontent be peacefully manifested through demonstrations, strikes and other social expressions. It also happens frequently that some individuals take advantage of those situations in order to create disorder and violence. This is one of the reasons why the forces of public order exist in order to control such reactions. What is a source of preoccupation is that while public disorders can be successfully controlled by the police without resorting to violence, this was not the case in the recent events. Human peace has to be restored through the respect of human rights. “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32)
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece titled “Religion and Politics” urging people of faith to step in and provide a much needed leadership in this gloomy atmosphere where the protagonists in the Ethiopian political arena have failed to deliver. The Ethiopian nation desperately needs a sense of common purpose and destiny, and I hope the other religious leaders in the country will follow in the foot steps of the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia and provide some hope for a nation that badly needs it.
Here is the link for the Bishops statement in Amharic.