Abune Mekarios calls on Ethiopians to pray for Yenesew Gebre


Senior leader of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Abune Mekarios has called on Ethiopians to prayer for Yenesew Gebre, the Ethiopian teacher who burned himself to death to protest Meles Zenawi regime’s injustice (ESAT – 18 Nov. 2011). Listen below:


8 thoughts on “Abune Mekarios calls on Ethiopians to pray for Yenesew Gebre

  1. Assta B. Gettu on

    With all my respect to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Father, Abune Mekarios in exile, Yenesew Gebre did not die for a good cause to liberate Ethiopia: he died to release himself from the circumstances almost unbearable for many Ethiopians, young and old, educated and uneducated, Northerners and Southerners, Christians and Muslims; however, most Ethiopians have stood up against the injustices they have been confronting daily for over twenty years without complaining too much; at least they have not reached to the degree of burning themselves to death. The action Yenesew Gebre had taken should be dissuaded by his holiness Abune Mekarios and he must never encourage other Ethiopians to emulate such suicidal behaviors from Yenesew Gebre who might have copycatted from Muhammed Al Bouazizi who burned himself to death in Tunisia when he could not find a job to feed himself.

    Self-immolation like a moth that makes endless circles around porch lights and burns itself to death has never been one of the tenets of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church as far as I know. A proud person fights to the end and be killed by his enemies but never kills himself/herself. None of the Apostles or the prophets had ever killed themselves for the severities of the persecutions they had suffered until their enemies finally killed them or died natural deaths.

    The Apostle Paul never attempted to destroy himself as Yenesew Gebre did, despite the many sufferings Paul had received as he described:

    “I have worked much harder, been in prison more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, and I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked” (2nd Corinthians 11:23-27).

    Indeed there are many Ethiopians who have been facing the same thing the Apostle Paul had faced long time ago, but none of them have attempted to kill themselves because killing oneself is unethical and solves nothing but leaves sorrow and tragedy to the living. Jesus himself could have avoided death on the cross by obeying the devil, who told him to throw himself down the cliffs, but Jesus did not do it; he waited and taught thousands of people to believe in him and in his Father who sent him for a purpose – to save those who accepted his message. On the other hand, Judah hanged himself on a tree and ended his life as Ahithophel did long time ago; therefore, killing oneself serves no purpose at all.

  2. bekalu walelign on

    Why is ESAT not identifying Abune Makrios as a member of the Holy Synod in Exile, headed by Patriarch Abund Merkorios? I don’t understand this. Abune Mekarios was appointed as a Bishop by the Patriarch and is as a member of the Holy Synod in exile. This need to be clarified so the readers know that Abba Makarios does not belong to the illegal Synod in Ethiopia, headed by a political appointee– Abune Pawlos or Abba Gebremedhine.

  3. Zekarias on

    On some level Assta B. Gettu’s comments are valid to the extent he condemns self killing in the manner Yenesew Gebre did. This I agree from the perspective of authectic christanity.

    But, to say that Yenesew Gebre did not die for his country is incorrect. If Yenesew Gebre jsut wanted to end his life because lief has become difficult, he could have done it on a number of ways. Or he could have left the country as millions of us have done. From what I have read and from the circumstances, he has done it to make a bold statement that ‘It is better to die than live ‘ under Woyane.

    Assta B. Gettu’s comment , on another level, seems to suggest to Ethiopians to just play dead and be brutalized by Woyane regime. How about peacefully protesting against the regime? Is that something that should be enecourages? What does Assta B. Gettu’s thinks?

  4. Zekarias on

    Abune Mekarios has called on Ethiopians to prayer for Yenesew Gebre. On Abune Merkario’s call I have this to say. We should pray for Yenesew Gebre’s relatives for God to comfort them through this difficult period. There is no benefit in praying for Yenesew Gebre as he has gone from this world. We should also pray for Ethiopia so that God would show mercy to us and remove the Woyane regime and we do not have other Yenesew Gebre’s whose life is cut short because of the injustice of Woyane.

  5. Assta B. Gettu on

    Dear Zekarias #4,

    Method of burning oneself to death to achieve one’s own goal has no place in the hearts of the Ethiopian Christians. Certainly, there are some exceptions to the rule of ending one’s own life.

    For example, when Saul, king of Israel, didn’t want to be captured and killed by the uncircumcised Philistines, he took his own sword, fell on it, and killed himself (1st Samuel 31:4-5).

    When Emperor Tewodros of Ethiopia, the great unifier, killed himself, he shot himself because he didn’t want to be taken as a prisoner by a British invader, Napier, so that the British could witness the bravery of the Ethiopian people.

    On the other hand, when Yenesew Gebre burned himself to death, what kind of message is he sending to the Ethiopian young people? His death is not bravery! His death is not martyrdom because he didn’t die in a battlefield, defending his country against foreign enemies.

    Mahatama Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t burn themselves for the injustices thy witnessed in their countries; they rather struggled and fought hard using none-violence techniques, and they finally achieved their goals. In our modern time, Dalai Lama of Tibet and Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma have not yet burned themselves to death, but they are still fighting to bring democracy to their respective countries.

    Quick death is not preferable to perseverance, resilience, and to facing hardship for a long time. In fact, it was our Lord Jesus Christ who said: “…but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). Had Yenesew Gebre stood up for a long time, he could have achieved his dreams what ever his dreams were, or he could have never achieved them, but at least he could have enjoyed the sun shine, the air, and the other free gifts of God we all are taking for granted. I do not advise any young Ethiopians to follow the bad example of Yenesew Gebre.

    May the Almighty God forgive his soul!

  6. hag`ere on

    Assta B. Gettu,
    You said it all! I totally agree with you.
    Solomon Erased my comment when I said the same.
    I think he give up, bec he couldn’t escape the reality.

  7. Assta B. Gettu on

    Dear hagére #7,

    Too bad Solomon discarded your comment; please, try again and post it. I do not know who this Solomon is; the only person I know on this web site is Elias Kifle, the chief editor, and whenever I have some grievances about the Ethiopian Review, I directly address them to my friend, Elias Kifle.

    Don’t be discouraged and don’t stop commenting and posting your comment!

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