I think for those of us outside of Ethiopia have a certain melancholic stigma attached to the impoverished third world nation. Famine, pestilence, poverty, and homelessness are certainly words that many people have come to associate with Ethiopia. Those who have been born and raised there, come to live and work there, or have family or close friends in the nation that can help them understand that while all is not well in Ethiopia, all is still certainly not lost.
At first glance, this looks like a relatively ordinary picture of two cute little African girls, but under the surface, I think it stands out very strongly, particularly in the political and social climate that the world has been sitting under for the past twenty years (or since the aftermath of World War Two or even since the crusades if you want to trace it back further). This poignant image comes to us from Adam Jones, so a big thank you to him!
The above image is that of a young Christian and Muslim girl in Ethiopia clearly smiling and being generally friendly with one another. Now I can’t really speak for how friendly people are with one another when they belong to a different religion in most of the nations on the planet, but seriously, this does my heart good to see people of different faiths actually getting along amicably. I would love for all of the politicians, policy makers, lobbyists, business men, and even terrorists (sometimes they are a combination of these titles) to see photos like that before they start considering war and violence as an option to obtain the goals they covet so greatly. At the very least, Ethiopia’s culture is not devoid of open-mindedness and isn’t suffering from the illness of ignorance as much as many places (to be fair, we’re all ignorant sometimes, but at least let’s be honest about it and try to be more like those little girls!)
Now I’m not convinced that what could be the single most important religious artifact in all of Judeo-Christianity is to be found in one little church in Ethiopia, but I certainly can’t discount it entirely. I’m curious if the Vatican or Jewish religious leaders have investigated this claim, but if there is undeniable physical evidence of a covenant between God and human beings the implications would be monumentally world changing (to say the least!) Now that aside, the very least we can say about Ethiopia’s moral and religious fiber is unquestionable. I’m thinking about visiting Ethiopia, if I ever have the chance anyway, if nothing else just to see the beautiful architecture, culture, and of course, the exotic plant life such as the tree in the photo below.
This is not the kind of tree you’ll see children trying to climb very often. I don’t think those are very good load bearing branches, not to mention how spiny the greenery is! This image is © to A. Davey.