John 9:31 We Know That God Does Not Listen to Sinners: Senator Inhofe prays with Abiy Ahmed
by Elias Dawit 06-02-21
As Ethiopian and Eritrean troops ravage Tigray—murdering civilians, raping women and girls, looting homes and destroying hospitals, schools and churches—Senator James Inhofe solemnly knelt down in prayer with the perpetrator of these crimes against humanity, Abiy Ahmed.
What was Senator Inhofe thinking as he bowed his head and spoke to our Creator? Was he thinking about his granddaughter, Zegeta, born in Ethiopia but raised in the U.S. as a privileged child of a prominent and wealthy Oklahoma family? Was he thinking to himself, there but for the grace of God, his beloved granddaughter might be Tigrayan. Was he wondering if she had not been welcomed into the Inhofe family, could Zegeta be one of the tens of thousands of Tigrayan girls who were gang-raped by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers? Could she have been physically and spiritually violated and then cast aside as just another collateral damage in an unjust and unmerciful war against the Tigrayan people?
Or perhaps his Zegeta could be one of the millions of Tigrayans starving from months of food scarcity? Was he thinking she could have been murdered in Axum when hundreds of Tigrayans were gunned downed down by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers during a celebration of Mary, mother of Jesus. Perhaps he imagined her ill with no access to a clinic or medicines—all destroyed and looted by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers.
Could Zegeta be one of the millions of displaced people, walking endless miles in search of safety from the invading forces? Could Zegeta be languishing in a blue-tarped shelter in one of the refugee camps in Sudan, waiting for the war to end. Perhaps she would have been alone, her family dead from guns, drones or starvation, with her childhood cut short like millions of children who are suffering untold traumas for being born Tigrayan.
What was Senator Inhofe thinking when he denounced the TPLF on the Senate floor as “terrorists?” Was he thinking about his close friendship with Prime Minister Meles a founder and leader of the TPLF along with his wife, Azeb Mesfin? Did he recall the statement he made about the TPLF leader when he died? He said:
“ Today I join the people of Ethiopia in mourning the passing of my friend, Prime Minister Meles. I have known him and First Lady Azeb Mesfin for close to a decade, and so I am especially sad for Azeb and their family during this time of loss.
“Meles and Azeb fought the Derg’s murderous rule from the bush in the 1980s as guerrilla fighters with prices on their heads, and finally overthrew them in 1991. He led his nation through a difficult transition period and then was elected Prime Minister. In the succeeding years he brought peace, stability and prosperity to his people.
“Meles was a great friend to the U.S., especially after the attacks of 9/11 when his government worked closely with our armed forces to prevent the spread of radical Islamic Fundamentalism to the African continent through the Horn of Africa.
“He was a great friend and a great leader. His passing is a huge loss for Africa. I send my heartfelt condolences to Azeb and their children. Kay and I are praying for them during this difficult time.”
Was Meles “a friend and a great leader” or a terrorist?
Politics brings out the best and worst in people. For decades, Senator Inhofe placed his bet on Meles and the TPLF to, in his own words, bring “peace, stability and prosperity” to the Ethiopian people.
And then he changed his mind.
When Meles died, he left a power vacuum that could not be filled by his insipid successor, Hailemariam Dessalegn. Despite his professed admiration for Meles, Senator Inhofe was never comfortable with the agnosticism of Ethiopia’s leadership under the TPLF. Meles was a product of his generation. His religion was the people. His spirituality was reflected in his desire to improve the lives of Ethiopia’s peasant population—long used to a peasant’s existence as nasty, brutish and short.
Finding an opening through the evangelical network, Senator Inhofe chose Abiy Ahmed—vain, egotistical and empty of everything but the desire for power. And in his single-minded desire for power, Abiy Ahmed, self-proclaimed evangelical Christian, follower of Christ, has chosen the darkness over the light.
Senator Inhofe seems to have made his choice as well. He has chosen war over peace. He has chosen the quest for power over feeding the Ethiopian people. He has chosen authoritarianism over democracy. He has chosen evil over good.
Senator Inhofe will go home now and embrace his granddaughter. Perhaps he will bring her a traditional dress or a gold cross. He will tell her about how he prayed with Abiy Ahmed. Will he see the children of Tigray in his granddaughter’s face? Or will he turn away, unwilling to see what is in front of him?