53 minutes | Mar 3rd 2021

The Bloody Conflict Dividing Ethiopia’s Christians

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.In 2019, prime minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee noted that he had given amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinued media censorship, fought against corruption, and legalized previously outlawed opposition groups. Ahmed also received attention for his religious reconciliation work which included mending a split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and bringing together Christians and Muslims. The son of a Muslim father and Orthodox mother, Abiy is a Protestant Pentecostal, or “Pentay,” like many Ethiopian politicians.But, as of late, things have been tense. CNN recently reported that scores of people were murdered last November by whom survivors believe are soldiers from nearby Eritrea, whose presence they blame on the Ethiopian government. The massacre occurred in the Tigray region, the northern part of the country and one which shares a border with Eritrea. It came just weeks after the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front attacked Ethiopian military forces and the central government responded violently in return.Ethiopia has a long and extensive Christian history. The second country in the world to officially adopt Christianity, for 15 centuries, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has survived estrangement from Rome, the spread of Islam, and repeated colonialization attempts. There’s also millions of people, like Abiy, who identify as Protestant.Desta Heliso was born and raised in Ethiopia and has served as lecturer and director of the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology. He currently resides in London but continues to coordinate the Centre for Ancient Christianity and Ethiopian Studies at EGST in Addis Ababa. He is also a fellow of the Center for Early African Christianity and a visiting lecturer at the London School of Theology.Heliso joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen this week to discuss this tragic and fraught conflict and to offer a robust picture of what Christianity looks like where more than 40 percent of the country identifies as Ethiopian Orthodox and nearly 25 percent as Protestant.What is Quick to Listen? Read moreRate Quick to Listen on Apple PodcastsFollow the podcast on TwitterFollow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted OlsenFollow our guest on Twitter: Desta HelisoMusic by SweepsQuick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt LinderThe transcript is edited by Yvonne Su and Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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