Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Let me point of the truths of Ras Zacka's post since folks seem to be too caught up in BS to actually read his words.
He mentioned that HIM is the father figure of Africans, both at home and abroad, and this is absolute truth. If Ethiopians don't want to be a part of this, fine and dandy, but you can't close pandora's box after the lid is lifted, and HIM campaigned tirelessly across Africa and the African diaspora for decades building tangible links, founding Churches and sociocultural and political institutions like the Ethiopian World Federation. This is HIM legacy, and literally HH Yesehaq is the pioneer of this movement being the first Ethiopian Bishop sent outside of Africa, specifically to the Diaspora under HIM personal orders. This is our history, we venerate it as highly as Ethiopians venerate the memory of our dear Saint Abba Selama, who brought Orthodox Light to Ethiopia, and HH Yesehaq and many other dear elders of the Tewahedo Church equally brought this light to we in the Americas who had not such foundation in Orthodox, nor any access to Baptism or Communion. Further, it spreads across Africa, as one of my favorite Ethiopian priests is tirelessly on the move across Africa visiting and preaching and organizing within Ethiopian parishes for Ethiopian expats across Africa and also for African converts. The Greek Patriarch in Alexandria can make all the claims to Africa HH wants, but Africa is rightfully under African's jurisdiction, and that is the Coptic and Tewahedo Church, and our Tewahedo clergy are making many moves across the African continent to bolster Orthodox.
As I pointed out before, Ethiopia has been a symbol for Africans in the diaspora since Abyssinian days, and HIM legacy is to expand this tangibly, directly, and I couldn't make this history up if I tried. We're not doing anything new, since the 400s the Ethiopian Church and conversion into it has been the way in which indigenous Ethiopians conform and are adopted into the pluralistic Ethiopian society. Amharic is almost more so a culture than a race, and it is adopted through life in the Church, which has been Ethiopia's primary mode of cultural transmission. We in Rastafari, are merely jumping on board with an ancient tradition. Are we trying to politicize the Church, quite the opposite, we are trying through the Church to get entirely out of politricks.
The brother mentioned spies and assassinations, and if any Ethiopians here deny or keep quiet about these matters, it is only because they know the gravity of the situation. Rastafari is a movement that from its very conception has been antagonized, demonized, and targeted for destruction by incarceration, misinformation, and at worse assassination. This is why we don't write our history in books, it has never been safe. Today, we are becoming some kind of threat to the Ethiopian government, which routinely uses assassination and corruption to thwart its internal enemies in Ethiopia, and we Rastafari are falling under that least because we are unapologetic monarchists, and as much as sistern like Hiwot want to deny it, the desire for a return to the cultural pride and fellowship of a common Ethiopian identity which the Emperors provided as a symbol is so palpable its dense, after all, this ethnic federalism has only further divided what the Derg left of that regal Ethiopian civilization of old. Today, Ethiopians are as divided as ever, and if they don't want to admit it that is fine, but their political divisions bleed into our Rastafari organizations and communities. As the Bro mentioned, exiled priests and clergy of the EOTC are victims of slander, abuse, and even physical harm by supporters of the current Ethiopian regime. This is a dangerous fact which we here in this exile community are concretely aware of. We pray for the safety our priests and community every day, because it is literally more dangerous than folks might understand, but as we say in Rastafari, "Who feels it knows it."
He mentioned the good Rastafari people do for Ethiopia, we are school teachers, civic leaders, and other kinds of NGO operators within Ethiopia, why do we get disrespected while non-Orthodox Doctors Without Borders or the Red Cross are idealized while we are demonized for mutual efforts in the same direction? HIM assigned Rastafari people a mission, to help Ethiopia, and we continue it with our blood, sweat and tears. If any Ethiopians disagree with us, fine for them, but we will not let that stop us from continuing our mission. We are not against Ethiopia, neither are we trying to shape Ethiopia in our image, but we are not foreign colonizers, were a sincere converts and adoptees, and we wish Ethiopians would accept us as readily as we Americans accept Ethiopians in our communities as expats. It is only fair isn't it?
Now as to the brothers comments about Ethiopians taking communion, or development projects in Shashamane, those are his personal opinions and he is entitled for them to be respected, even if folks disagree, and personally, as an active member of an Ethiopian parish, I agree that folks need to up their game in regards to receiving Qurban, this is a matter of prayer however, not arguments. The drama and danger of the Derg era, I feel, has scarred and scared Ethiopians away from Communion, when historically this was not the case. It is the first words of our Liturgy to say,"If there is anyone of the faithful that hath entered the Church at the time of Mass and has not received the Holy Communion, let him be driven out of the Church."
I would never tell ANYONE they need to take Communion, but I would pray that EVERYONE takes it as often as God provides for them. When I go to Coptic parish, the ENTIRE Church communes together, where as when I commune in the Ethiopian Church, I am literally one of only a dozen men out of hundreds of regular attendees who do such. Surely Ras Zacka is correct to assume there is something wrong with this picture.
In regards to the comments about Ethiopian kids here in the US, that is spot on. I am currently working with my priests and the Education Steering Committee to redesign our curriculum and to retool our program, specifically to address the crucial issues about this generation gap that is growing. My priests simply ADORE the efforts of the THREE Rastafari people who work within our program, and they see the fruit that we are building mutually as a parish community. My students and their families adore me and our efforts, and we know the struggle is real. Ethiopian-American kids are in danger of dropping the Church, and with the rise of the Pentes, this is an existential threat to the Church even in Ethiopia. So we can either dismiss Ras Zacka's comments as unrealistic, or we can deal with reality and tackle these complex issues in our Church.
Further, this was also part of HH Abune Yesehaq's personal campaigns, to reform Sunday School, to openly recruit and include the growing generations into the Church, and to include English and other translations to make it very clear for coming generations who may speak Amharic, but do not use it as an intellectual language because many of these young Ethiopians have been taught in school strictly in English. They need the help, I can vouch for this from my tangible experience with the young Ethiopians in under my instruction. We learn mutually from each other, something some folks here on this forum just can't seem to understand or agree with, but reality speaks for itself, and we the workers will not be discouraged by the doubting Thomases and the nay-sayers.