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Ethiopia: civil rights activist Obang facing threats

Obang Metho _ Ethiopia
Obang Metho (photo credit : EPA)

By Teshome Borago
Follow him on twitter@MTBorago
August 8, 2020

Obang Metho, one of the top civil rights activists in Ethiopia, is reportedly receiving death threats in Oromia after he condemned the latest mass killings of minorities in the region. Some observers say the government should provide Obang extra private security, considering the dangerous situation in the country.

Widely regarded as the MLK of Ethiopia, Obang has been a defender of human rights there for over 16 years, since the 2003 Anuak Genocide. In December that year, some civilian mobs in Gambella, together with security forces, targeted ethnic Anuak and massacred 424 of them.

Last month, Obang became the latest high profile Ethiopian to unequivocally condemn the religious and ethnic cleansings that occurred in Oromia after the June 30 assassination of musician Hacalu Hundessa. Over a hundred non-Oromos were killed by an Oromo mob while several Orthodox-Christian Oromos were also killed by Muslim Oromos. Obang warned that such mass killings will continue unless the drivers of nativism, extremism and tribalism are stopped in Ethiopia, including the infamous ethnic-federalism system. According to this system legalized since 1991, every ethnicity in Ethiopia must live in its own ethnic bloc or otherwise become a second class citizen upto quasi-citizenship.

Obang has repeatedly asked the Ethiopian government to outlaw the dangerous ethnic-federalism; in order to allow all Ethiopians the right to live anywhere or free movement of people nationwide.

“I am not scared,” said Obang, regarding the recent death threats he is facing. “I already died 16 years ago. Afterall, my reason to exist is to defend the human rights of all Ethiopians,” he added.

Obang is the founder of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), which is dedicated to unite Ethiopians by breaking ethnic and religious barriers. For over a decade, his advocacy was a major nuisance for the former rulers Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), damaging the TPLF diplomatically in the West as Obang was the face of Ethiopian human rights during several United States Congressional Hearings.

“Nobody with a conscience can deny the reoccurring ethnic cleansings taking place in Oromia,” Obang said. “As I have worked with many international human rights organizations before, I will continue to advocate and highlight the signs of genocide wherever they occur today.”

Obang also said he wants to raise more awareness for victims and organize marches for human rights; to support ethnic and religious minorities inside towns devastated by violence in Ethiopia.

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  1. Ethiopian MLK really? That is an insult to MLK. I am ethiopian and I am fairly Educated and I don’t even know what he did let alone to be MLK. May be he had a dream that one day Ethiopia to be a place were your ethnicity is respected and that your ideas and you would be judges by the content of your thoughts rather than by your ethnicity and political affiliation.
    You need to apologize to Dr. Martin Luther King dear. He is just another Abiy ahmeds pupet.

  2. I don’t think he deserves death threat…nobody deserves that for that matter….but the so called Obang mentioned here must be another person. The obang we know is a guy with twisted and totally baised mindset who he is trying all his best to satisfy his masters(naftegna group) at the expense of most ethnic groups in the country. Erasun kido lela lemamsel kemitateru sewoch wuste andu ena wanigna sewu new….in short, sorry to say this, he is trash and one of the unreliable individuals in the current Ethiopian political discourse….

    • Sick people like you with a twisted mind and savage history will only defame the name and character of Mr. Obang. Your primitive and savage history can not in any shape and form can give you the intellectual capacity to understand the causes for which Mr, Obang stands today. Barbarism, savagery and lawlessness is deeply imbedded in your culture as reflected in what your quero bastards do in Ethiopia at the moment.

  3. He is among the bright lights of Ethiopian politics at the moment. His courage, love to all Ethiopians irrespective of ethnicity or origin, standing for the rule of law and justice are exemplary.

    Not only that every effort should be made to protect him, but also he and his likes should be brought to the core of political leadership of the country.

    Shame to those who want to harm him! – Anyway, the pathetic OLFites and TPLFites know no shame!

  4. Question for Oromo nationalists –
    What is a pure Oromo? One who speaks the language? Or one who has an Oromo name?
    Or is there some biological evidence we have yet to find out?

  5. Those of you belittling Obang are failing to see the forest for the trees.

    There is an adage ‘ “different strokes for different folks” meaning different circumstances beget different approaches or put another way “to each his own way.” What fools we mortals be to equate the dictatorial and fractured environment that Obang struggles in versus the enlightened liberal democratic system that MLK campaigned in the USA.

    Anyways let’s compare the achievements that MLK is recognized for vs. Obang according to this rule:

    Achieved success using non-violent methods of protest – check Obang in his own way (clearly on the right side of history no matter the “zemene tebab” period we find ourselves in today)

    Struggled for basic civil rights of African Americans – Check Obang for human rights of all Ethiopians

    Became the symbol leader of African Americans – Check Obang for all Ethiopians who cherish “humanity before ethnicity” and “none of us is free until all of us are free”

    Led people in boycotts (e.g. the Montgomery Bus Boycott) – check Obang in his own way

    Led campaigns (e.g. the Birmingham Campaign) – check Obang in his own way

    Organized marches (e.g. the march on Washington) – check Obang in his own way
    Made fiery speeches (e.g. intensifying the Civil Rights Movement) – check Obang in his own way

    Received the Nobel Prize – check Obang in his own way (recipient of many awards including Person of the Year Award’ for his work in SMNE to advance humanity,truth national unity, freedom, justice, human rights, and equality in Ethiopia. Certainly has potential for more to come)

    You don’t need to be deceased, i.e. in the history books, to be a genuine hero.

    Woe the nations that lionizes the heroes of others while neglecting and trivializing its own.

  6. I was worried about the safety of this patriot countryman Obbo Obang since the murder of Hachalu. Notables outside the government apparatus should be protected. They could be used as another flint to spark widespread conflict and mayhem. These merchants of death and destruction will not stop at anything to spread uncontrollable chaos so they can carve out their own tailored fiefdoms. They will kill anyone including their mother if such savagery will get them what they want.

  7. Some Ethiopian people are out of their mind failing to understand that Ethiopia is one. Obang is a patriot and he doesn’t deserve nonsense from any deadwood out there

  8. This is the most open, and transparent opinion I read over the last quarter of century.Obang Metho, you are a wise person who have the same view of Ethiopian who cared about their country deeply but you put it in way most people understand. We need a lot of like mind people to establish a better country for all Ethiopian regardless of their ethnic origin. All Ethiopian at home and abroad we have to use our mind to better build a Country before we ran out of time.

  9. This is the most open, and transparent opinion I read over the last quarter of century. Obang Metho, you are a wise person who have the same view of Ethiopian who cared about their beloved country deeply but you expressed it in a way most people can understand relate to. We need a lot of like mind people to establish a better country for all Ethiopian regardless of their ethnic origin. All Ethiopian at home and abroad we have to use our mind to better build a Country before we ran out of time.


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