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Humanity before Ethnicity


August 3, 2010



I am writing this letter on behalf of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE),1 a grassroots social justice movement of diverse Ethiopians, working to bring freedom, justice, democracy, the rule of law, equality, civility, reconciliation and the respect for human and civil rights to Ethiopia.

Reading the many hate-filled and inflammatory articles by Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, where he “sympathetically” aligns with one group as he viciously attacks others, has left us with no choice but to alert and warn the public and supporting websites. We ask all to refuse to promote these kinds of vicious personal attacks on individuals, ethnicities and religious groups that may incite ethnic and religious based violence in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. We are now taking action in reporting this to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and looking for other international bodies who may take action against promulgators of this kind of incendiary hate speech.

I am addressing this letter to all Oromo , (the recent focus of these writings), other Ethiopians, those in the Horn of Africa and other Africans; as well as websites such as the American Chronicle, Buzzle.com and Ethiopian News at Google.com—all of which have posted some of these vitriolic articles. We are calling on every civilized human being who does not support the incitement of genocide, ethnic hatred, religious intolerance and the dehumanization of others, to oppose the publication of these and other such writings.

If you are a decision-maker, responsible for posting these articles on your website, please remove all such hate-filled articles or links to these articles from your websites and refrain from future postings of similar material.

Some of these noxious articles have been posted on the mainstream Ethiopian News site of Google.com and we can no longer remain silent! Africans are tired of outsiders, such as Dr. Megalommatis, fomenting hate among Africans. I know I speak for many other Africans as well when I say, “We do not trust your intentions!”

Did you ever wonder how and why Dr. Megalommatis manages to write article after article claiming love for the Oromo—with 22 articles focused on just the Oromos in only the last month—or other “subjugated people” of Ethiopia as he labels them; while claiming deep hatred, almost exclusively directed against the Amhara, who he calls “beasts”—with 34 articles in the last month, where he viciously blasts Amhara and/or “Fake Ethiopia?” Why is he spending so much time and effort on stirring up such anger? Is he being paid for it and if so, by whom?

Look at just a few of the titles from his recent articles in July alone:
  • Oromos Reject the CIA-Imposed Invitation of Freemason, Zionist Ambassador Shinn in OSA Conference July 27, 2010
  • Keep Terrorist Berhanu Nega Out of OSA Conference & Put a Tombstone on Fake Ethiopia, Oromos Demand July 24, 2010
  • Committed to Continuing the Ethiopian Genocides, Berhanu Nega Has No Place in an Oromo Conference July 23, 2010
  • Overwhelming Oromo Reaction Against CIA-planned Amharization of OSA: No to Racist Ethiopianist Dogma
  • OLF and Oromos Incompatible with Amhara Racist Ethio-fascist Opposition Ginbot, Kinijit, SMNE July 16, 2010
  • Fake Ethiopia Cannot Be United: the Abyssinian Elites´ Barbarism Rejected by Subjugated Nations VI July 14, 2010
  • Irreconcilable Gap Heralding the End of Fake Ethiopia: Oromo Culture vs. Abyssinian Barbarism V July 13, 2010
  • Nile Politics: Tyrannized Oromos Side with Egypt to Break Down Habesha State of Fake Ethiopia II July 07, 2010
  • Nile Politics: Tyrannized Oromos Prefer Egypt, Being Ready to Let Fake Ethiopia Drop Dead July 07, 2010
  • Egypt and Sudan Concerned with Oromos Reaching out for Support against Abyssinia (Fake Ethiopia) July 02, 2010
  • Could Dr. Megalommatis’ be trying to break apart any of our efforts towards building unity as a means to achieve a very different goal that would bring further pain, suffering and destruction to all of us? Look at this statement in a recent article to see how Dr. Megalommatis is encouraging Oromos to merge with Sudan:

    The Oromos and particularly the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) must immediately denounce the filthy rumors spread by the aforementioned Amhara failures about eventual deliberations having taken place between the Oromo and Amhara opposition parties. …. Beyond that, the OLF and all the Oromos must understand that they will face only further disasters if they don´t come up as soon as possible with a realistic plan for Oromia´s liberation. ONLF and the Oromos must enter into cooperation with Sudan and, following a successful rebellion, merge with Sudan in a vast Kushitic state that will span from the borders of Egypt to the Somali frontier.

    We should be extremely cautious of this man’s motives; for he— or someone else he may be representing — may actually be trying to stir up ethnic hatred and violence in order to prevent unity among the people of Ethiopia. This is actually a crime to promote such ethnically-based violence against another group under international human rights law because it is no different than what Hitler and the Nazis promoted against the Jews and what was done in the Rwanda genocide. If anything like this leads to ethnic-cleansing, this man may be held accountable for fomenting and inciting the killing. All his articles will be used as evidence against him.

    It is apparent that the goal of these articles is meant to lead to a fragmented, divided or even disintegrated Ethiopia, incapable of standing up for itself. This gives opportunity to both insiders and Ethiopian outsiders to exploit Ethiopian water, land, natural resources and the people. We should question as to whether or not he could he be hired by opportunists in Egypt, in the Sudan or even by the Meles-controlled TPLF to prevent Ethiopians from coming together as one strong Ethiopia. An Ethiopia where ethnicity, region, religion and culture are less important than putting humanity first, is a threat to dividers of people and their interests.

    It seems like every time there are efforts to unify, we suddenly see some vitriolic article by this man, attacking those involved. Then, it is posted on websites like Google Ethiopian News, along with mostly articles from Ethiopian government-sponsored websites like Walta Information Center. It all makes one suspect that someone is pushing, from either inside of Google or from the outside, in promoting the Meles regime’s spin on the news and with it, Dr. Megalommatis’ destructive voice.

    If there are people doing this, they are also responsible for allowing the dissemination of hate speech by this man! It is against the law in America to foment hatred and any websites, including Google, American Chronicle and Buzzle.com should be confronted and if they do not know about this, should immediately remove all links to his writings. If some continue to post these articles, it could be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

    How can anyone explain Google’s posting of many “pro-government” articles along with Dr. Megalommatis’ articles that overwhelmingly promote hate, attacks on unity building, inflammatory accusations which could easily incite violence or genocide, the degradation of political figures and the dehumanization of individuals or large groups of people based on race, ethnicity or religion, while often overlooking many other newsworthy articles and reports regarding Ethiopia?

    Is Google’s top-management staff aware of how they are being used to promote genocide? Why would Google, the American Chronicle and Buzzle.com put this kind of hate speech on the Internet in violation of U.S. laws? These articles are not acceptable! This man should be found legally accountable, including for defamation of character.

    The correlation in timing between various efforts at unity building and these attacks by Dr. Megalommatis’ is really quite interesting. This was also the case when I happened to be the target about two years ago when I extended the following invitation to Ethiopians regarding Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) : “On Saturday, August 30, 2008, I, Obang Metho, and other peace loving Ethiopians, will be hosting a Symposium on: “Where Do We Go From Here?” This is the next step towards the formation of a Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia.”

    At the time we had rented a room at the Unification Church in Washington D.C., a site where countless Ethiopian, African and African-American meetings are held due to its inexpensive room rental rates. I had no other involvement with this church; however, Dr. Megalommatis seized on the opportunity to defame my Christian faith—the foundation of which was instilled in me at a young age by my Christian upbringing—even accusing me of receiving Korean funding. I chose to ignore it at the time because the accusations were so baseless; however, even now there would be easy grounds for a defamation lawsuit against him.

    It was an abrupt change for Dr. Megalommatis who began by avidly supporting me and my work with the Anuak Justice Council in 2007, work which began following the genocide of the Anuak in 2003-2006; however, when I started reaching out to other Ethiopians in an effort to bring diverse people together in a solidarity movement, he began to viciously attack me through websites like the American Chronicle, Buzzle.com and Afroarticles.com . At the beginning, I had talked to him personally as he wanted to interview me; even confiding in me that his position at American Chronicle was precarious because others had complained about his writing. Even now, I have kept all his contact information, with his address and telephone number in Egypt.

    Many other Ethiopians have been attacked as well like Abebe Gellew, Abrahai Belai and many more. Now, Berhanu Nega, Jawar Siraj Mohammed and former U.S. Ambassador David Shinn are all targets as co-speakers at the recently held Oromo Study Association conference (OSA) at Howard University in Washington D.C.; and it could not be uglier as they each have received a full dose of bigoted, vicious and degrading verbal abuse; clearly meant to incite hate, fear, division and violence.

    Here is what he says about Berhanu Nega, even going so far as absurdly accusing him of genocidal goals.

    “As an Ethiopianist, racist, colonialist and undemocratic politician, Berhanu Nega, member of the racist Amhara political party Ginbot 7, has expressed a commitment to annihilating the Oromo nation and all the other subjugated nations of Abyssinia (fake Ethiopia).”

    Look at this appalling example of how he attacked Berhanu Nega’s entire ethnic group, the Gurage.

    “Worse, the Gurages themselves have chosen the role of the traitor, the enemy, the adversary of the Oromos and the other Kushitic nations. To avoid becoming a minority in an independent Oromia, the Gurages struck an evil alliance with the Amhara invaders. For more than a century, the iniquitous, treacherous and perfidious Gurages did their ingenious best to serve like slaves the racist, evil, and utterly Satanic project "Ethiopia" which is the world´s most criminal plan ever devised with respect to amalgamation, assimilation and elimination of numerous innocent nations within the Amhara incest...

    They remained a formless material, faceless stuff good enough for the genocidal machine named ´Ethiopia´. In fact, there is no nation of Gurages. The term is a meaningless name – umbrella of few, uncivil and uncivilized tribes who failed to reach the level of being conscious of their own identity.

    There is no Oromo I have ever heard who is filled with such hatred towards other human beings! Any civilized human being would be outraged by this kind of language. This man needs professional help! The Oromo and all the others portrayed by this man as subjugated, should not see him as a friend of any Ethiopian or African group. Instead, it is a way to divide Africans once again so we end up killing each other with outsiders like him, cheering us on, like what is done during a “cock fight” when two roosters fight to each other to their death. Instead, the problem of Ethiopia must be solved by Ethiopians. We do not need this kind of language. I call on over 80 different ethnic groups within Ethiopia to denounce this kind of talk.

    “Any discussion with the alien, bestial supporters of Ethiopianism constitutes a form of national suicide for the Oromos. For the survival of the gravely targeted Oromo nation, every Oromo patriot must be mobilized and unreservedly carry out all that it takes in order to irrevocably eliminate the criminal beasts that desecrate the land of Oromia. Every Ethiopianist, as an inhuman racist worse than a Nazi German soldier, deserves a bullet in his head.

    For the liberation of Oromia, every gangster of the type of Berhanu Nega, must be forced to either departure from Oromia or death. No one can be pacifist when one´s country is occupied and one´s nation is threatened by inhuman beasts with a most systematic plan of extinction. The idea that Oromia will be peacefully liberated is part of the Oromo Genocide – as a lie and misconception deliberately diffused among the Oromos by the Amhara, Tigray and Gurage Ethiopianists and their colonial masters….”

    Dr. Megalommatis goes on to call Oromos to, “to close the mouth of the few Oromo renegades”…who he calls “morally deficient, mentally sick, corrupt and mendacious persons” … “filthy pseudo-intellectuals [who] do not only fail to be proper Oromos but they also deprive themselves from any trace of human identity, becoming the sole recipient of rightful disdain from the part of the entire Oromo nation.”

    He then states that “the greatest concern of all Oromos” is the “immediate elimination of this academic garbage”… “because the elimination of the internal enemy and the treacherous apostasy will clear the way for the forthcoming thunderous explosion of the entire Orono Nation and the inevitable exemplary destruction of the Amhara incest.”

    Following this introduction, he then includes an article in refutation of Jawar Siraj Mohammed, whose own article supported Berhanu’s participation at the conference.

    He basically praises “every Oromo, who demolishes the pseudo-arguments of the bribed [for which he fails to give any proof] apologist, [referring to Jawar] every Oromo who denounces the disreputable attitude of Berhanu Nega´s slave, every Oromo who repudiates the vicious anti-Oromoness of the Washington-based trash, offers a great service to the Oromo Nation and to the entire Mankind.”

    He then warns, “It is therefore advisable to dispatch the message to the Freemason Zionist Jewish ambassador Shinn and his slave Berhanu Nega that the OSA cannot guarantee their security due to the widely diffused rage among the Oromos because of the impossible and impermissible invitation.

    This sounds like a hate speech from Hitler himself. He ends with making only slightly veiled threats of harm against the U.S. and “pseudo-Oromo supporters of Ethiopianism”: “Oromia will be independent when the US will be disintegrated and the trashy, pseudo-Oromo supporters of Ethiopianism will perish in Washington D.C.”

    This promotion of “us” versus “them” thinking, accompanied by the promotion of hatred and violence against “dehumanized others” is defined by Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch in Eight Stages of Genocide as being part of the eight stages that can lead to genocide. Neither Berhanu nor any other individual, Ethiopian/group or non-Ethiopian individual or group deserves this kind of dehumanization!

    Berhanu is us. The Gurage are us. Jawar, the Oromo, the Amhara, the Tigrayans, the Afar, the Anuak, the Berta, the Omo, the Kichepo, the Konso, the Koore, the Kunama, the Kwama, the Majangir, the Mursi, the Nyangatom, the Nuer, then Qemant, the Shabo, the Shita, the Sidama, the Tsamai, the Welayta ,the Weyto, the Yem ,the Zay or any other person or group within Ethiopia, in the Horn, as well as in Africa and beyond are us! Neither can we tolerate this kind of degradation towards any human being like David Shinn, whose Jewish religion is then denounced:

    “Judaism cannot be classified as a great religion; it is not….”, then calling it, “the insignificant religious byproduct of the Ancient Hebrew Religion that was rejected by Jesus himself, and the majority of the Jews of his time.”

    It is unacceptable. This is what we mean when we say no one is free until all are free. We cannot be silent about his hatred towards any one these people.

    I call on OSA, the OLF and all the Oromo organizations and other ethnic groups who this man have mentioned in his writing to come out and denounce, condemn and reject what looks like a plot to stir up genocide in Africa.

    Who Stands to Benefit?

    Who stands to gain from creating greater hostility and irreconcilable differences between the Oromo and the Amhara?

    I suspect that the main beneficiaries of this plan might be some in Egypt and Sudan and also the current TPLF/EPRDF government of Meles Zenawi. Here is why. Egypt and Sudan can keep its majority control of the Nile River water by preventing a stronger, more united Ethiopia from emerging and asserting its rights to utilize greater portions of the 85% of the Nile-destined waters that originate in Ethiopia.

    In one article, he viciously accuses the “terrorist state of Abyssinia (fake Ethiopia)” of “mounting a Nile waters conspiracy against Sudan and Egypt”… saying it “constitutes the threat no 1 for all East African peoples and the regional stability.” He points to his take on the solution when he says, “The sooner fake Ethiopia is dissolved and dismantled, the better for the regional stability.”

    He is not alone. Philippe Heilberg, chairman of New York-based Jarch Capital (also linked to Jarch Management Group) is another kind of opportunist who could benefit from a weak and divided Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Horn of Africa. He has leased some 400,000 hectares of land in Southern Sudan. In an interview with the Financial Times in 2009 they reported: “He [Mr. Heilberg] believes that several African states, Sudan included, but possibly also Nigeria, Ethiopia and Somalia, are likely to break apart in the next few years, and that the political and legal risks he is taking will be amply rewarded.”

    He told them, “If you bet right on the shifting of sovereignty then you are on the ground floor. I am constantly looking at the map and looking if there is any value,” he said, adding that he was also in contact with rebels in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, dissidents in Ethiopia and the government of the breakaway state of Somaliland, among others.”

    There are obviously those who could benefit if the Oromo or other “dissidents” contributed to a fragmented Ethiopia; however, all of us also know that the Oromo, as the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, could also use its size to collaborate with others within or outside of Ethiopia in bringing about not a fragmented and weakened Ethiopia, but through a strong, united front, it could bring about a more just, free and equal society for all Ethiopians and those in the Horn of Africa! A unified Oromo movement that would join with other Ethiopians has always been a primary fear to the Meles regime; therefore, the Meles regime can also greatly benefit by Dr. Megalommatis’ efforts to sustain or worsen ethnic divisions so as to prevent collaboration—particularly military collaboration between the OLF and Ginbot-7 in bringing down the TPLF regime.

    However, if the Oromos were deceived into falling into the traps set by those wanting their own self-interests, the real losers would not only be the Oromo, but also all the peace, justice and freedom loving people of the country and beyond. Dr. Megalommatis actually tries to get the Oromo to re-align with Sudan and Egypt and to amicably part ways with Asmara; encouraging this through promising the possibility of arming them with guns. However, it is very possible that Meles is part of these “little private chats” with cronies who may all be trying to cleverly defeat their own and each other’s enemies simultaneously. These are tactics used by terrorists. Please read the following proposition offered in one of Dr. Megalommatis’ articles:

    “For OLF there is no purpose in being further based in Asmara; if the cooperation with Eritrea was not successful enough to help the OLF launch a guerilla in 50 different points throughout Occupied Oromia on the day of the recent electoral parody, this means that OLF and Eritrea must part friendly.

    Khartoum and Cairo can offer a far more effective support to the OLF, and the liberation of Oromia will be effectuated with 300,000 guns in the hands of the clandestine Oromos.

    OLF has to explain this reality to Khartoum and Cairo, adding that only the rise of Oromia will facilitate Sudan´s and Egypt´s positions within the context of the Nile basin. OLF and all the Oromos must convince Khartoum and Cairo that every word uttered by the filthy lips of the pseudo-diplomats of fake Ethiopia is a lie. Behind the lies of the Abyssinian diplomats is hidden their vicious hatred of Sudan, Egypt and Islam.

    Furthermore, the OLF and all the Oromos must plainly unveil to the Sudanese and Egyptians the evil hatred that resides in the poisoned hearts of the paranoid Amhara and Tigray beasts against Sudan, Egypt and Islam.

    From this writing, he reveals what he, or those he represents, most wants from this support of the Oromo—which does not come without a cost attached to it. In exchange for this support, it is expected that “the Oromo will facilitate Sudan’s and Egypt’s positions within the context of the Nile basin.” In other words is this why he is trying to stir up anger from within Ethiopia?

    Ethiopians; especially the Oromos and other marginalized people he claims to support, should be the first to condemn anyone from using our name to advance their own foreign self-interests while ignoring the probable serious consequences to our lives. If people start to kill each other, this man will not have to fear for his own life or safety or that his family members die, but many of us will. The reason Africa does not move on is because of people like this who want us divided. They want us to kill each other so we can remain weak and injured; making it easier for others to rob us of our natural resources; just like what has been going on forever on this continent. Never has there been a greater fever for our water , land, resources and strategic position than now in both Ethiopia, Southern Sudan and in the Horn of Africa!

    For the Oromo, the Ogadeni, the Afar,the Agaw, the Amhara, the Anuak, the Argobba, the Awi, the Basketo, the Berta, the Daasanach, the Danta, the Donyiro, the Dorze, the Gamo, the Gedeo, the Gumuz, the Hadiya, the Hamer, the Kambaata us show to these people that we are one. He is not an Ethiopian and we do not need his “defense” of our interests when it may simply be another trap set to exploit us.

    We Ethiopians have much to connect us together. We share the same land, breathe the same air and drink from the same rivers. We recognize that there have been many cases of discrimination, oppression and grievances; including slavery where our own people played a role on their own or aligned with outsiders against other Africans; but we need to find ways to take responsibility in bringing reconciliation, harmony and a more inclusive and prosperous society or we all will lose for “no one is free until we all are free!”

    Let this kind of hatred toward one of us unify us against divisive efforts such as this. When he calls some of us “slaves” or when he calls Amhara, Tigrayan and Gurage “beasts” he is dehumanizing all of us in Africa. When one is attacked, we are all attacked. Let us not give these people room to label us for let us put “humanity before ethnicity” or any other difference. Only when we can live this out and resist those who try to demean each other, will we achieve freedom from our ugly past. We share the same blood and we are Ethiopian! If we do not unite, these kinds of people get a window to come in to destroy us. Let us say we have had enough of incendiary hate for he is no different than those he condemns and should be held accountable.

    Please, whether you are Oromo, EPRDF, Tigrayan, Gurage, OLF, ONLF, Sidamo Liberation Front, Afar Liberation Front or the Gambella Peoples’ Liberation Front or any other group, let us put our differences aside and let the dehumanization of one of us, or one of our ethnic groups, make us become a model of cohesion. We can do it. If we fail to value, love and respect each other, these kinds of individuals will continue to take advantage of our weakness or legitimate grievances. Our name should not be used to pass on this curse to the next generation. We are fellow human beings of value and worth, let us care about each other for it is the only way freedom-loving Ethiopians will break the chains of our tyranny; too often imposed on each other.

    What is being written is NOT about politics, but about the lack of respect and value given to the precious God-given humanity in all of us; including our Sudanese and Egyptian neighbors; all of whom should work towards regional integration that promotes the well being of all, for “no one is free until all are free!”

    As Jesus cautions the people in the Bible to not be “blind followers” of the wrong leaders as “…blind guides lead the blind into a pit;” while the Qur’an states,” Kind speech and forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury; and Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing.”

    Let us keep our eyes open to those who try to deceive us with flattering words accompanied by efforts to incite hatred. Instead, let us seek the “twins” of inner freedom of our souls—both repentance before God and others for what we ourselves have done, and forgiveness of others so we can be freed of any load of bitterness and anger that consumes us and limits our future. There may come a time when those who have committed crimes will be held accountable for what they have done, but in the meantime, do not give them the power to destroy your life, or the lives of others, now.

    May God heal all of us of any hatred and enmity between us and bring new hope of peace, love and mutual cooperation to Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa, Africa and beyond. May God bring new life and the spirit of love to all of us; lifting from us the heavy burden of hate, bitterness and grudges from past wrongs. May God also show his wonderful grace and mercy in touching the heart of Dr. Megalommatis and healing him from a hardened and bitter heart; making him a new man filled with love rather than hatred and peace rather than death.

    We, the precious people of Africa, have had enough suffering, misery and death at the hands of corrupt African tyrants and their opportunistic foreign partners who have colluded in keeping us weak, impoverished and divided; while enriching themselves with African resources. We may look helpless, but with God’s help and defense, nothing is impossible! May God raise up a new generation of true African leaders who will be genuine sons and daughters of Africa, ready to lead our beautiful continent with moral integrity, love of the people and a servant heart.

    Sincerely yours,
    Obang Metho;
    Executive Director of (SMNE)
    PO Box 50561
    Arlington, VA 22205
    Phone: (202) 725-1616
    Email: obang@solidaritymovement.org


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