Letter offers solidarity with Ethiopians

A group from the Tigrayan diaspora in North America protest about the conflict in Ethiopia, near the State Department, on Dec. 22 in Washington, D.C. Officials in Ethiopia have arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared thousands of ethnic Tigrayans who recently were deported from Saudi Arabia, a new Human Rights Watch report said Jan. 5. — Alex Brandon/AP A group from the Tigrayan diaspora in North America protest about the conflict in Ethiopia, near the State Department, on Dec. 22 in Washington, D.C. Officials in Ethiopia have arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared thousands of ethnic Tigrayans who recently were deported from Saudi Arabia, a new Human Rights Watch report said Jan. 5. — Alex Brandon/AP

Dozens of people — including U.S. and Canadian Mennonite conference leaders, seminary staff and students — signed a letter of support for Anabaptists in Ethiopia in December.

“We hear from many conflicting ­reports that you are going through troubled times: the COVID-19 pandemic, the war, social unrest and division, and the resulting suffering of death, destruction, displacement, ­famine and inflation resulting in economic upheaval and poverty,” the letter says.

“We want to assure you of our love and concern, and our prayers. You are a part with us of the universal body of Christ, and where one member suffers, the whole body suffers together with it.”

The letter commends the Meserete Kristos Church — the Anabaptist conference in Ethiopia —for its outreach to churches in the war-torn Tigray region.

“Your extensive efforts in the cause of justice and peace have been remarkable!” the letter says.

The writers criticize “international news sources and Western governments,” which, they say, “tend to tell unbalanced and inaccurate stories and often pursue policies that help to exacerbate the conflict and that help to promote Western interests rather than concern for conflict resolution.”

The Anabaptist/Mennonite community, however, puts Christ’s kingdom ahead of loyalty to any government, the letter says.

“Where you may find our nation’s governmental actions lacking in understanding, or unsympathetic, or hostile to your nation’s problems, we are seeking the welfare of a different kingdom without national boundaries,” the letter says.

The writers say they are praying for improvement in the pandemic and ­political conditions so that “we can come to enjoy Ethiopian coffee, delicious Ethiopian food and, most important, worship the Prince of Peace together.”

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