By Dilwenberu Nega
Tigrai Online, July 19, 2013
Those who keep themselves abreast of British politics will find similarities of thought and action between Abba Girma’s conflict with a galaxy of Ethiopian political activists, and Britain’s Labour Party Leader, Ed Milliband’s current showdown with trade unions. Abba Girma is, of course the Priest-in charge of EOTC’s oldest church in Europe, London’s Church of St. Mary of Tsion, who has resisted to kow-tow to the hegemony of the exiled Derg and to Egypt’s proxy G7.
Britain’s main opposition, the Labour Party, is heavily funded by the trade unions. So powerful is their influence within the Labour Party that they not only play a vital role in shaping Labour party policies, but they also have the last word in the all important choice of the Party leader who might one day be UK’s Prime Minister. It is now an open secret that Ed Milliband had managed to snatch victory at the last leadership contest from his brother and former Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, precisely because of the trade union vote.
In short, the love of trade unions for the British Labour Party is conditional, and the money that they give to Labour has strings attached to it. It’s a classic case of scratch my back and I will scratch yours! Whereas the love we Orthodox Christians have for God is unconditional, and the money we give and the tithe we pay go towards doing God’s work – and not to line Abba Girma’s pockets. That is why I have decided to support Abba Girma’s “Neck-or-nothing-campaign” which is aimed at dying for what we think is right in God’s eyes and not in the eyes of the egg-throwing madding crowd. Democracy has never ruled in the House of the Lord. In this regard the church scholar, Merigata Alemayehu had hit the nail on its head when he told the fugleman of kakitocrats, Wondimu Mekonen, that the system of governance in the House of the Lord is Theocracy, and not Democracy.
Like British trade unions, Abba Girma’s egg-throwing opponents believe that money entitles them to play a vital role in policy matters, as well as to hire and fire a spiritual father. Simply stated what this gung-ho opposition is after is to replace Abba Girma with a prototype robot appropriately named “Birrhanu” (Amharic for Light of the BIRR) In order to get a sense of their action plan, please take time out for a little mental entertainment and ponder over a likely scenario: when G7’s political activist, Zelalem, realises that he has failed to convince Abba Girma to bankroll G7, he comes up with a ‘brilliant’ idea and achieves the full support of Abba’s opponents to buy Birrhanu – the first robot priest in the world! Attired in black, robot Birrhanu is programmed to perform three functions: to pray only for those who have got clearance from the political high command, not to pray for peace and prosperity in Ethiopia until such time Ethiopian political activists are in power in Addis and not to preside over funeral rites or memorial services of those who when alive had opposed G7’s controversial policy of becoming Eritrea and Egypt’s bootlicker.
In the so far four months’ crucible of St. Mary of Tsion, Abba Girma has emerged winner par excellence. His response to acts of hooliganism on the church has all along been tempered with a sense calm and forgiveness. His “Sermon on the doorstep” – in which he asked his supporters not to respond evil with evil has already made him a star on YouTube. All in all Abba Girma has faired much better than the herd of mostly trigger-happy Derg henchmen. Yet, a seemingly bookworm ardent critic of Abba Girma - who was his long-time cheer leader - Wondimu Mekonen seems to get a kick out of equating Abba Girma’s glorious deeds with those of Russia’s Rasputin. The analogy is not wrong, it is mistaken. For a start you don’t compare orange with apple. Secondly, the backdrop is different: where in London is the Court for the resplendence of Rasputin? Who are Ethiopia’s Nicholas II and Alexandra? Can there be a where there is no monarchy? If it is the wish of this all-things-to-all-men critic of Abba Girma dish out the character of Rasputin his best bet is the current Secretary General of the runaway Holy Synod based in Gonderville, USA, His Grace Arch Bishop Meke Tsadik I.
A cursory look at the history of the Court of Emperor Haile Selassie will bring out the Rasputin in Arch Bishop Melke Tsadik. This learned man of EOTC is a Gondaray by upbringing, education and sentiment. To him no one who is not from his ancestral home of Farta is worthy to serve EOTC, never mind of becoming the Patriarch of Ethiopia. To cut the long story short, the then Abba Melkesadik had managed to make his way to Haile Selassie’s court through his close relative, Belata Admassu Retta, Haile Selassie’s valet. Soon this monk from Farta won the heart and mind of Haile Selassie and succeeded to become the first man of the robe to become a member of what was then known as His Majesty’s Special Cabinet. This cunning monk soon wanted to link the military with the royalty in order to pre-empt a coup against the Neguse Negest. He very quickly arranged for the late Major General Nega Tegne to divorce his American wife and to remarry Haile Selassie’s grand daughter, Princess Hirut Desta. When the people revolt erupted, he and Blatte Admassu had arranged for five truck loads of armaments to be transported to Gondar, but the truck was stopped by the Derg and the two were thrown to jail. The Blatta was killed along with the 60 former officials while Melke Tsadik was released after 8 years. And here is the icing on the cake: in 1991 Mele Tsadik was in London en route to the US, and he was invited by the late Abba Yohanes to lead Sunday Eucharist. In his sermon he referred to Woyane as “sent from God!” Now it’s up to you, the reader of this script, to decide to which of the Ethiopian monks the nomenclature “Ethiopia’s Rasputin” must apply should: Abba Girma or Abba Melke Tsadik.
To me Abba Girma’s deeds are more akin to those of Thomas of London – Thomas Becket. According to Wikipedia, “He was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He got engaged in conflict with King Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the King in Canterbury Cathedral.” Today, the followers of two Kings – Mengistu Haile Mariam and Birhanu Nega – constantly harass Abba Girma with death threats, but Abba Girma has vowed “Neck on nothing!”
As he continues to plough ahead with what is right, and not who is right, Abba Girma can take comfort from the fact that God is always on the side of the humble and never on the side of the arrogant.
Abba Girma Kebede 2: madding crowd 0