Cover Story

Ethiopia's new flowers

"Ethiopia's new flowers" Continued...

Issue: "Ethiopia's new flower," May 31, 2008

Those who criticize Ethiopia's government may face treason charges, as 131 journalists, politicians, and leaders of civil society did in 2005. But the quality of mercy produces fewer strains.

A final answer may be: Help Christian institutions survive the likely onslaught of Islam. In recent years in Ethiopia the competition has generally been peaceful, with one sheik financing construction of a park alongside Menelik II Avenue in Addis Ababa. (Menelik was the son of Solomon and, according to Ethiopian tradition, the Queen of Sheba.) But evidence of past aggression remains: About 40 miles south of Addis Ababa sits Adadi Mariam, an underground church carved out of stone some 600 years ago, with marks left by a 17th-century Muslim attack still apparent.

If Muslims now constitute half of Ethiopia's population, many observers forecast a more aggressive Islam, with radicals attempting to institute Shariah, or Islamic, law. Craig Hammon of CURE emphasizes the importance of humanitarian care, but he also refers to "the struggle going on between Islam and Christianity. . . . This is a strategic, pivotal country in which to serve Christ."

Fistula epidemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that over 2 million girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia suffer from fistula. One reason is that many are forced as adolescent girls into arranged marriages, with the expectation that they bear children well before their birth canals are fully developed. Another is the second-class citizenship of girls and women, who receive less than their share of even the small amount of medical care their societies can provide. Female genital mutilation, a custom in some cultures, also plays a role; WHO suggests the practice may increase the likelihood of fistula sevenfold.

Fistula is an unnecessary tragedy. Emergency obstetric care can prevent it, and simple surgery costing no more than $500 per woman can repair the condition over 90 percent of the time. The Hudson Institute's Michael Horowitz has proposed an anti-fistula campaign involving a consortium of U.S. medical schools that would involve the training of African physicians, nurses, and health educators; the rotation of U.S. surgeons and surgical residents to Africa; and the development of U.S.-African hospital collaborations.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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