Archbishop Michael is a member of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. He now serves as the Archbishop of the Dioceses of South Gondar, Amhara Region, Ethiopia.

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Archbishop Michael

He used to live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for many years (more than 18 years according to a source) before he went back to Ethiopia for good after #AbiyAhmed came to power in 2018. He reportedly often travels to Canada for various reasons including visiting his former residence church.

The Archbishop who according the same source is a naturalized Canadian citizen was in Canada recently. During his time in Canada between June and September this year, he was hospitalized for undisclosed illness.

It was reported by the state media of the Amhara Region, the second largest region in Ethiopia, that the Archbishop led the celebration of the annual feast of Meskel (commemoration feast of the finding of the True Holy Cross of Christ) in his dioceses in the city of Debre Tabor.

In his public address to the faithful referring to #TigrayForces he said the following in the Amharic language:

We will be better off if Satan rules over #Ethiopia compared when it is ruled by the invader or terrorist group or translated in English as junta. Because Satan fears God and Satan honors God. So no matter what it takes they should not be allowed to rule Ethiopia given their deeds are worse than Satan. After living in exile for 27 years, we are not going to let ourselves to be exiled for 27 years again.  Therefore, we will assist by praying so that you the respected faithful, and clerical scholars through your prayers, and the members of the military and security using your usual heroism can safeguard our Church and our country. I urge you to be courageous.“

Archbishop Michael speaking at Meskel Celebration in Debre Tabor, South Gondar, Amhara region on Sept 27, 2021 (from Amhara Media Corporation)

Archbishop Michael is, however, not the first person to directly or indirectly use words like satan or devil in relation to Tigray forces. Daniel Kibret was one of the first to do so in less than a week after the start of the Tigray War on Nov 4 2020.

Daniel Kibret is a deacon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church known for the past three decades for his sermons and his writings. He is a household name even beyond the faithful of the Church. He has been serving as advisor of Abiy Ahmed on social matters since 2018. Prior to that during PM Hailemariam Dessalegn’s time, Daniel Kibret served as a board member of the state Ethiopian Press Agency, a position he still holds. He was also working closely with the office of the then Addis Ababa Masterplan Project office on social aspects. Opposition to the project was a key element in the Oromo protest that eventually helped Abiy Ahmed to assume power.

Daniel Kibret has recently joined the House of Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia as an MP following the June 2021 election.

On Nov 9 2020, Daniel Kibret posted the following on this personal Facebook page in the Amharic language.

“I have read in history about all the wars Ethiopia has fought since the old testament time. I have, however, never seen the kind of atrocities of these days under which the Ethiopian army has been humiliated by its own side [referring to Tigray Forces]. We might hear and see it [what has happened] in detail soon. Their deed makes Satan look better (literally Satan tastes better ). “

#DanielKibret’s post on his personal Facebook page on Nov 9 2020 in the Amharic language.

Daniel Kibret received US government’s condemnation for his recent speech where where used ‘weed’, and ‘satan’ to refer to Tigray forces. He was speaking why “they should be the last of their kind” and why “they should be erased from history and from the minds of Ethiopians”.

Daniel Kibret, Abiy Ahmed’s advisor speaking on Sept 15 2021 in the presence Amhara region President Agegnehu Teshager and Addis Ababa Mayor Adanech Abiebie

Archbishop Michael’s and Daniel Kibret’s comparison of Tigray forces to Satan is yet another dangerous labeling being used to mobilize the rest of the country against Tigray given over 97% of Ethiopia’s population belongs to the three Abrahamic religions where the teaching about Satan has a prominent place.

Prominent media and political figures in the government are following suit of this trend of hate speech.

UMD Media

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