Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Protests Over B's Ethiopia Visit

Beyonce Knowles
Beyonce performed to 5,000 screaming fans (bbc)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Students at Ethiopia's top religious college are protesting the close ties between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the government, alleged restrictions on their speech — and Beyonce's recent meeting with their patriarch.

The 26-year-old singer met with the Ethiopian patriarch, Abune Paulos, before performing in skimpy sequined outfits as part of celebrations of the country's millennium, which fell in September, according to the church's calendar.

Daniel Techale, a 28-year-old Theological College of the Holy Trinity alumnus who lives at the college, said about 30 of his friends had been hospitalized after a hunger strike they began Sunday.

He said students were upset by the closeness of the church to the ruling party and restrictions on their speech, but were also upset over the Beyonce-Paulos meeting.

"She provoked the whole situation," he said, accusing the patriarch of "practically a nonreligious act. It's unacceptable, or inappropriate, to say the least."

Authorities were trying to persuade the students to end their hunger strike, he said.

The college has 196 students training to work at the church, although not as clergymen.

The Orthodox Church is Ethiopia's largest, claiming 45 million out of 77 million citizens as members. It is considered to be very close to the government.

College official Bedilu Assefa confirmed that students had complained, but said: "What they have done is they have raised some administrative issues regarding food and clinical facilities. Nobody has protested against Beyonce. Never."

Not all the protesters were concerned with the singer, or even politics. Student Kinetibebeu Assefa, 25, said that he had joined the protest to demand an improvement in cafeteria food and the firing of some college officials.

"There is no problem with Beyonce," he said. "But the (cafeteria) food is poisoned."

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Anonymous said...

This is funny. Some diaspora Ethiopians who hate the current Ethiopian government are spinning everything to give the country a bad name. Yes there was a hunger strike at a college but it has nothing to do with Beyonce. She is a performer and Ethiopians are very tollerant about peoples right to behave and act the way they want. We beleive that it is upto GOD and not people to judge others. This is not something new but a culture of centuries.
It is sad to see the such a twisted news in western media.
I consider myself a devaut Christian and I love Beyonce as a hard working woman. We have to understand that GOD loves us all and wants us to love one another.
Proud Ethiopian

Anonymous said...

This is by far the most embarassing thing the church has done!!! The patriarch makes ethiopian orthodox haymanot look stupid. Egziabher yikir yibelew.

abesha negna said...

I respect the views of the students, but i strongly disagree with them. There is much to protest about in Ethiopia than Beyonce's meeting or short dress. It is sad in a way, they sounded like an extremists. Ethiopians has so far remained a classic example to the outside world on how different religions can coexist. Hope it stays that way