South Asian Views On Global News - Update 24X7

On Christmas, an atheist’s prayer for the people of strife-torn Lalibela in Ethiopia


This Christmas, my thoughts are with the people of Lalibela in Ethiopia, especially Adane Tadesse. I met Tadesse in September 2018 and have been in touch with him ever since. The flight from Addis Ababa takes barely an hour in a propeller plane. Tadesse was there to drive us from the airport to Lalibela, a small town at an elevation of a little more than 8,000 feet.

The road passes by fields of wheat and barley and a grain we do not recognise. Tadesse stops the car so we can take a close look at the teff, a gluten-free cereal and one of the earliest plants domesticated. It is from teff that injera – a flatbread – is made. He also points out flowering aloe vera plants.

We were not in Lalibela for Christmas but for Meskel. Meskel means “cross” in Amharic and the festival commemorates the discovery by Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, of the cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. It is in Lalibela that I hoped to see a glimpse of Christianity as it was practiced before it became associated with colonialism. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the few Christian churches in sub-Saharan Africa…

Read more

Replica of Print on your device!

CLICK & Send us 'hi' for Free Subscription

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept

gtag('set', {'user_id': 'USER_ID'}); // Set the user ID using signed-in user_id.