Ethiopia: Comment on "Assimilation and land grabbing...." the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s leadership in Gambella

Posted to the web on August 26, 2010

From: Dechasa Debele (
Sent: Thu 8/26/10 12:03 PM
Subject: Comment on your news 'Assimilation and land grabbing....'

A few points about your news entitled ‘Assimilation and Land Grabbing by Ethiopian Orthodox in Gambella Region is in its Climax’ and consisted of a mixed up ideas.

  1. Land grabbing in Gambella is the one undertaken by the name of foreign investors, not by the church. I can mention Saudi Star Agricultural Development and Bangalore- based Karuturi Global Ltd., among many others, which are currently operating in Gambella. These are devastating the resource base of the region, be it forests, biodiversity, water resources,…whatever you call it.  If you are keen enough, oppose that one! If you want to read about the concept of land grabbing my recommendation is 'Land grab or development opportunity? agricultural investment and international land deals in Africa' you can get it on FAO website.
  2. About genocide: Yes there were genocidal action in Gambella, which will never be forgotten by the genuine Ethiopians. But that was not the action of the Orthodox church; but rather that of the government. Put your focus on the genocidal Meles! In fact, I am not saying that top leaders of the church are free from politics, like top leaders of all other religions in Ethiopia. We have to fight that one. But the church followers, at home and abroad, are praying for the soul of the victims of genocidal attempt.
  3. Talking about biodiversity, water contamination, and others…is something different. You can air your concerns not to build the church on that mountain, and urge them to look for other alternatives. It is not wise to express your hatred on the Orthodox church.
  4. Do not forget that the Ethiopian Orthodox church is number one in conserving biodiversity. You can simply look the reserved forest covers in compounds of the Orthodox churches in any parts of the country. This includes desert areas where you cannot find a single tree except in Church compounds. I can give you a number of research articles testifying the contribution of the church in conserving forest and natural resources, if you want.
  5. Orthox church by no means forces followers to become an Orthodox believers, unlike other ‘churches’. The church does not deceive people to make them a follower by giving them benefits, aids, salvage closes,…unlike other ‘churches’. Orthodox church does not urge the people to abandon their ‘unique religious believes’ to put it as you mention. It is individual’s own right to decide freely on his religious affairs.
  6. Remember that there are significant portion of the people of Gambella following Orthodox Christianity. Hence, you cannot call on all Gambella people for your nonsense protest.
  7. Mixing ethnicity, religious, and politics is Weyanes strategy. Tell us if you are a supporter of Meles regime.
  8. We, Ethiopians (Gambella, Amhara, Oromo, …), want unity. Whether you like it or not, that will happen sooner or later.
Towards united Ethiopia! Get rid of Ethnic politics

Dechasa Debele

Here is response to Dechasa Debele by Anyuak Media Team:

Sent: Thu 8/27/10 6:03 PM
To: Dechasa Debele (
Subject: Comment on your news 'Assimilation and land grabbing....'

On behalf of the Anyuak Media Team, we would like to thank you for your comment on the article titled “Assimilation and Land Grabbing by Ethiopian Orthodox in Gambella Region is in its Climax that was posted on the Anyuakmedia website on August 26th, 2010. In your comment, you defended the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as one of the best religions in the world, preserver of biodiversity, and environment oriented religion. We agree with you.

However, you assertions do not have correlation with what the followers of the Orthodox Church in Gambella are doing. The Orthodox Church version in Gambella is not what you have described in your comment. We do not hate Orthodox Church-but what its followers are doing to Gambella Cultural Mountain. There are Orthodox Church believers in Gambella region, but what the members of the Church are doing to the environment deters Gambellians from the Orthodox Church belief.

If the Orthodox Church goes ahead with their plan, the dwindling of Orthodox Church memberships that has been going on in recent years will be spread into Gambella. We all know that the Orthodox Church is losing their believers in high rate throughout the country. Orthodox Church declining of the members has something to do with their activities and hypocritical faith which you did not reveal in your comment. The Orthodox Church has to explore the shifts taking place in the Ethiopia religious landscape. We suggest you check on what is happening to the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia on the following website:

We also agree with you when stated that the foreign investors are the one grabbing the land in the region, and Meles’ regime is the perpetrator of the 2003 genocide in the region. We are aware of that! Genuine citizens like you and us are concerned about the heinous crimes Meles’ regime is committing in our country. If you are a real Orthodox Church believer, and not nominal Orthodox Church Christian, you should join us to fight those “Orthodox Church Christian” in Gambella who are destroying the region’s biodiversities, and carrying out genocide.

In sum, we are not against the unity of Ethiopians, not supporters of the current regime, and not ethnocentric either. The supporters of the Meles’ regime are the portion of “Orthodox Church” members who have taken part in the 2003 Genocide; ethnocentric people and anti-biodiversities in the region are the people who want to build the Church on the top of the Mountain when there is abandon land. We would like to remind you that Gambellians are more supporters of the Ethiopia unity than any ethnic group in the country. They do not claim Gambella as an independent from Ethiopia like Oromo people who claim Oromo land to be an independent from Ethiopia. Let’s join our struggles to fight the people who are destroying our culture, unity, way of lives, and environment.

Anyuak Media Team.

More information about the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church’s (EOTC) leadership:

  1. Ethiopian Orthodox Christians boycotting alms
  2. Tagay Gebremedhin loyalists are accusing Abune Samuel, who was arbitrarily ousted last year
  3. Is the Orthodox Church losing ground?











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