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Humanity before Ethnicity

SMNE Articles and Opinions - 2011

Mr. Obang Metho is the primary author of these articles, but many are also written with the collaboration of other members of the SMNE team.

December 15, 2011
Our Muslim and Christian leaders must stand up for higher principles and avoid greater disaster!
The SMNE has been alerted to a serious issue affecting Christians and Muslims in the village of Qoto Baloso, Silte province of Ethiopia. Reports allege that Christian’s church was burned down on 29 November 2011 by Muslim students, accompanied by Muslim police officials. The students were shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great"). Is it really a Christian and Muslim conflict or just another TPLF/EPRDF power scheme?      read ...

December 13, 2011

Yenesew Gebre

Remembering that the December 13 Massacre of the Anuak is Going On Throughout Ethiopia!
(Ottawa)--December 13-15th, 2011 marks the eighth anniversary of the Anuak genocide that began with the brutal massacre of 424 Anuak leaders and young students in less than three days, but continued for another two years. Up to 1,500 more were killed, many more atrocities were committed and the limited infrastructure of the region was significantly destroyed. Today we clearly understand that the TPLF/EPRDF’s intent was to take over control of the land, water, oil and natural resources from the Anuak and other indigenous people in the region—the Nuer, the Majanger, the Opo and the Komi.  read...

November 30, 2011
Truth, Reconciliation and Justice Charged with Terrorism in Ethiopia
Now we all know “Truth”, “Reconciliation” and “Justice” are not really people; but if they were, the Meles regime would certainly arrest them and charge them as terrorists. These principles stand as the most dangerous of all opponents to a regime based on lies, hate and oppression. Perhaps this is why our executive director Mr. Obang Metho was recently charged with “terrorism” by the Meles regime under their new and extremely vague anti-terrorism law that has been used as a tool to silence voices of freedom and has been widely criticized by human rights groups.      read ...

Amharic Text
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November 16, 2011

Yenesew Gebre
Mr. Yenesew Gebre

The Shocking Death of Yenesew Gebre Brings to Light the Extreme Desperation of Ethiopians
We in the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia are shocked to hear of the death of Yenesew Gebre, a 29-nine year old Ethiopian teacher from southwest Ethiopia who took his own life this week when he set himself on fire in the town of Dawro, Waka, Southern Ethiopia, after confronting government officials at a public meeting. It gives heartbreaking testimony to the unbearable pain he and others have suffered under the brutal and oppressive rule of the Meles Zenawi-controlled EPRDF regime.      read ...

Amharic Text
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November 16, 2011
Dessalegn Rahmato
LAND TO INVESTORS: Large-Scale Land Transfers in Ethiopia
Forum for Social Studies - Addis Abba
read ...

October 14, 2011

Obang Metho
Obang Metho speaking in Geneva

Obang Addresses 27th International North South Media Forum
“Is The World Shifting? - The BRICS: Power and Limits”
As a leader of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, a social justice movement whose mission is to bring lasting change to Ethiopia and beyond, my quick answer is “YES” in this global world where economic, financial, political, ideological, security and social interests have created both new partnerships and at times, competing interests. What results will have enormous consequences down the line; particularly as powerful countries, like those of the BRICS, seek land, resources and other opportunities beyond their borders.    read ...

October 5, 2011
Rejecting the TPLF/EPRDF’s Game-playing with Our Lives
Ethiopian strongman, Meles Zenawi, is going wild. His “security forces” are rounding up everyone and putting them in jail, using politically-driven anti-terrorism laws to absurdly justify arresting some of the country’s finest citizens, like Woubishet Taye, Reyot Alemu, Bekele Gerba, Olbana Lelisa, Debebe Eshetu, Eskinder Nega and Andualem Aragie, the two Swedish journalists, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, people who have nothing to do with terrorism. This is not new, but what is different now is how the veil of deception and cover-up has abruptly fallen, revealing a hard-core dictator who can tolerate no challenge to his authority.    read ...

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September 17, 2011

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September 12, 2011
Warmest greetings to fellow Ethiopians for a Happy New Year.
We in the SMNE want to extend our warmest greetings to our fellow Ethiopians for a Happy New Year. The “better year” for which we are hoping, will not be possible without our commitment to making changes. In fact, without such changes, Ethiopia faces the possibility of implosion and disintegration. We must face the fact that right now, Ethiopia is dying—literally, as a people, and figuratively, as a nation. If we do not face the desperate urgency of our crisis, we will be so disconnected from reality that we will be unwilling or unmotivated to take action to save the life of this people and nation!   read ...

September 9, 2011
Congratulatory Letter from Mr. Obang Metho to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the people of the Republic of South Sudan
I want to extend my warmest greetings and congratulations to the people of the now independent Republic of South Sudan on the birth of your new nation on July 9, 2011 after years of oppression, war, death and the dispersion of the people to all parts of the world. With great regret, I had to decline the wonderful invitation to attend the celebration in Juba this past July; but yet, I still wanted to share with you my great joy at this remarkable achievement after over thirty years of civil war.   read ...

August 28, 2011

Obang Metho speaking in Las Vegas

Obang Addresses Ethiopians in Las Vegas, Nevada: “The Ethiopian Holodomor—Death by Hunger—in the Ogaden and Beyond”
Today I am here to speak about hunger in Ethiopia; not hunger caused by the worst drought in sixty years, but manmade hunger or hunger that could have been avoided by a legitimate government that was accountable to the people. Worse yet, what we may be seeing is a famine-genocide; intentionally planned and carried out by Meles and his regime in order to punish, weaken and eliminate the people of the Ogaden and beyond in order to gain access to their natural resources. The drought has exacerbated an already desperate situation.     read ...




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August 12, 2011

Ato Gebremedhin Araya speaking

Experiencing the Joy of “Ethiopian Community” in Australia
Australia is home to many Ethiopians who have come from all parts of our mother country. During my recent visit there, I had the joy of experiencing what it might be like in Ethiopia to have real community where acceptance was not based on ethnicity, religion, politics, viewpoint, age, gender or any other differences because I saw it demonstrated over and over again in Australia during my recent trip there.      read ...

July 26, 2011

Obang Metho

Mr. Obang Addresses Ethiopian community in Melbourne, Australia
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit rankings, Melbourne is the second most livable city in the world... But right now, Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa is one of the most unlivable places in the world. No wonder so many of us Ethiopians have left the country and are scattered throughout the world; not by choice, but in an attempt to find the safety, sustenance, freedom, justice and opportunity outside the country that was not available inside. Even though Ethiopians risk death, human trafficking, detentions and extreme hardship—sometimes for years—many Ethiopians back home; especially the young, would rather go abroad to live if they had the chance than face such a bleak future.     read ...

July 17, 2011
Mr. Obang Addresses Ethiopian community in Geneva, Switzerland
By measurements of most any index of well being, Ethiopia remains near the bottom of every one. Life for the majority of Ethiopians has not improved regardless of what regime has been in power. Most Ethiopians continue to live under oppression, marginalization, poverty and limited opportunity. In 2011, many in the prime of their lives are actually worse off than their parents were fifty years ago. What should be our response to this? I focus on nine points.     read ...

July 15, 2011
MUST-WATCH VIDEO: EPRDF Delegation Fumbles on UN Human Rights Committee’s Questions
Have you ever wished you could put some heat on the Ethiopian regime of Meles Zenawi by asking them some very direct and confrontive questions about the repressive and brutal measures used by this authoritarian government that has brought so much pain and suffering to the people?     read and view...

July 13, 2011
The Great Ethiopian Land Grab
We begin our series on the phenomenon which is generally referred to as “Land Grab” in Africa.... Our guests on today’s program on AfrobeaRadio on WBAI, joining us on the phone are, Mr. Obang Metho and Mr. Abdikarim Rabi.    read and listen...

July 11, 2011
Mr. Obang’s statement to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights, at the 102nd session of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva
Despite EPRDF’s many public declarations of commitment to the respect of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and sustainable development, Ethiopians are at greater risk today than ever before; not only due to the regime’s serial perpetration of acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other human rights atrocities; but because the EPRDF has purged the country of most independent institutions of Ethiopian civil society, monopolized institutions of power within the country and pursued the acquisition of economic resources at the expense of the vast majority of impoverished people.      read ...

Mr. Obang Metho will be speaking in Melbourne, Australia on a working tour.
Mr. Obang Metho will discuss land grabs in Ethiopia and the ongoing Human Rights situation in Ethiopia. The grabbing of fertile land going on in Ethiopia is not just rhetoric, fear mongering or in one’s imagination; but instead, it is real and happening at a ferocious pace all over Ethiopian and Africa. It will change Ethiopia forever and the major damage has already been done. These opaque transactions, which essentially give title to Ethiopian land for up to 99 years, are being done without consultation with those people most affected.  Unless Ethiopians people and peace loving people throughout the world act quickly to stop this, we will not reverse the major damage.      read ...

July 5, 2011
Emerging Truth Changing Power Balance in Ethiopia

Obang Metho

Ethiopia has become a land where Truth is the most feared and hated enemy of the TPLF/EPRDF. Regime supporters, from the top offices of Meles to the rural officials at the kebele level, have gone to great extremes of deception and injustice in order to repress truth, in any form, as well as to punish truth-tellers, by any means necessary.      read ...



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June 21, 2011
Obang’s Address to Deustche Welle Global Media Forum: Human Rights and Globalization—Challenges to the Media

Obang Metho
Obang Metho addressing the
Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum

My talk will focus on Ethiopia and how the risks to the indigenous people are increasing as a result of the new global thirst for resources; however, I will be emphasizing how the real threat to indigenous populations is raised exponentially in countries where governments fail to protect their own people; particularly the indigenous and other vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, in Ethiopia, the regime’s corruption, brutality and outrageous complicity in the exploitation of the people has led to extraordinary levels of endangerment and without intervention the future looks bleak.        read ...



June 16, 2011
Electrical Blackout as US Secretary of State Clinton Addresses the African Union in Ethiopia

Hillary Clinton
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

Was it mere coincidence or purposeful sabotage that caused an electrical blackout to occur just as United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was addressing the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this past Monday as part of her African tour? As she began the topic of democracy, suddenly the lights went out and stayed out for nearly eight minutes before generators were turned on. Coincidence? Maybe, but some politically savvy Ethiopians viewed it as a veiled attempt to undermine the Secretary’s strong speech in support of democratic rights—a message that this regime would censor if they had the chance.       read ...

June 15, 2011
Open Letter to the People of India, a Day Light Robbery in Ethiopia: “Doing Business” With African dictators
“If it is unacceptable for Ethiopians to go to India, China or Saudi Arabia and clear their land without consulting the people, it is unacceptable here. We are human too and we care about the future of our children like everyone else...my message to the foreign investors is, listen to the owners of the land!” (An Anuak man from the Gambella region of southwestern Ethiopia)
read ...

June 8, 2011
Joint Report from Oakland Institute and SMNE Sounds Alarm on Foreign Agri-Investments in Food Insecure Ethiopia

Land to be cleared
Land to be cleared

The Oakland Institute and the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia announce the June 8, 2011 release of their joint report on Ethiopia; part of the OI’s more comprehensive report on “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa.”   The report on Ethiopia is the outcome of an extensive in-country study in Ethiopia of what is commonly called “land-grabs”—government executed land investment deals with foreign investors that give them the rights to some of the most fertile, water-accessible land in Ethiopia for up to 99 years at prices as low as $1.19 (USD) per hectare; all done without consulting the people.     read ...

Download Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa

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June 8, 2011
Understanding Land Investment Deals in Ethiopia:
SMNE Independent Commentary on Report Regarding Political Impact and Recommendations

Displaced People
Families displaced by land acquisition

The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia and the Oakland Institute have jointly published a comprehensive report: Understanding Land Investment Deals in Ethiopia, which resulted from extensive research and an in-country assessment of the new phenomena of the explosion of land investment deals within Ethiopia.     read ...




May 13, 2011
Open Letter to Ethiopian religious leaders and community leaders.

Church and Mosque

Dear Ethiopian religious leaders and community leaders,
We in the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia are appealing to you on behalf of the countless Ethiopian refugees throughout the world who are undergoing severe hardship or peril as they seek safety, freedom and justice outside of our mother country of Ethiopia. 

These are our sons, our daughters, our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our community members, our leaders—our people.  How many parents will or already have received a letter like the following:     read...

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May 11, 2011
Major Loopholes in Land Lease Contracts Raise Many Questions

Norway Image

The Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development recently released the Land Rent Contractual Agreements for land leases between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) and twenty-four companies or individuals; now available for downloading from the SMNE’s website. This comes after many months of frustration among those seeking to find out the exact terms of these previously opaque deals; yet, seeing them now only raises more questions!     read... 


April 28, 2011
Dropping Off Ethiopian Refugees in Deserted Areas at Night by Norwegian Police is Not a Solution

Norway Image

Norway gives generously to refugee assistance throughout the world so what was going on in Norway on April 26th when at 10:30 PM, Norwegian police picked up sixty-three Ethiopian asylum seekers from an Oslo city “camp,” where they had been staying pending a decision on their asylum case, and transported them to five different isolated areas outside of Oslo and simply left them there?       read... 


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April 27, 2011
Petition to support the Open Letter to the UNHCR Commissioner António Guterres Regarding the Plight of Ethiopian Refugees in Japan, Norway, Sweden and Beyond    
Click here to sign the petition

April 23, 2011
Open Letter to UNHCR Commissioner António Guterres
Dear Commissioner António Guterres:
On behalf of Ethiopian refugees seeking asylum, we in the SMNE call on the UNHCR and host countries to quickly address the urgent matters that are now threatening the lives and security of Ethiopian refugees throughout the world, particularly those facing deportation as they will be unable to protect themselves from persecution should they be forcibly returned to Ethiopia. We strongly hold that the UNHCR and host countries should ensure their right to international protection and seek permanent solutions to their predicament.      read... 

April 18, 2011

View latest video about SMNE on YouTube





April 10, 2011
Open Letter to Mr. Haile Mariam Dessalegn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia
On behalf of the Anuak Community Association of North America (ACANA), the Anuak Women’s Association, the Anuak Youth Association, the Anuak Community in Kenya, the Anuak Community in Sudan, the Anuak Community in Canada, the Anuak Churches Council in USA, the Anuak Community in Australia, the Anuak Community in Europe and Anuak Justice Council (AJC), together, we are writing this notice of intended action to you in defense of the Anuak and other people of Gambella, whose land is being forcibly taken from them.      read... 

April 9, 2011
Open Letter to Ethiopian Delegates Planning to Defect in North America
As you embark on a North American tour of 14 cities to lure members from the Diaspora to invest in the TPLF/EPRDF’s Growth and Transformation Plan, we are aware of the strong possibility that some, or even many of you within the ranks of the government’s 52-person delegation sent on this campaign, will attempt to defect while you have this opportunity to seek asylum in either Canada or the United States.    read... 

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April 5, 2011
Obang’s Address to Norwegian Politicians, Policy-Makers and Refugee Advocates Related to Ambiguous Status of Ethiopians in Norway!

Obang in Norway

I want to thank the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) for inviting me to speak here today on the subject of "Human Rights and the Political Climate in Ethiopia." It is a topic of significant importance to the 160 or more Ethiopian refugees now living in Norway whose fate will soon be decided as to whether or not they will be deported back to Ethiopia after living many years in Norway without clear resident status. I thank you for your dedicated work in helping these Ethiopians who are hoping to be granted permanent asylum status and protection in Norway.    read... 

March 25, 2011
Robbery of Land and Resources Incites Mounting Call to End Meles Regime!


Meles and his TPLF regime are their own worst enemies. As they attempt to hang on to power, they are fomenting large-scale rebellion against their own iron-fisted rule and seem incapable of altering their self-destructive path. Meles knows his time is coming to an end as his survival instincts sound out loud alarms to the rising danger of an entire nation of discontented people.    read... 


March 21, 2011
Ethiopia at centre of global farmland rush

Rain Forest

It's the deal of the century: £150 a week to lease more than 2,500 sq km (1,000 sq miles) of virgin, fertile land – an area the size of Dorset – for 50 years. Bangalore-based food company Karuturi Global says it had not even seen the land when it was offered by the Ethiopian government with tax breaks thrown in.    read...

Ethiopia's land rush: Feeding the world
John Vidal reports from Ethiopia's remote Gambella region, where foreign investors are pouring in to exploit land the government has cleared of people    read...

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March 3, 2011

Rain Forest

Nineteen Ethiopians Released from Detention in Mexico!
Nineteen Ethiopians were finally released on Friday, February 25, 2010 from the Tapachula Detention Center in southeastern Chiapas, Mexico after being held for as long as five months; significantly beyond the 90 day international legal limit for such detentions; after which detainees must either be deported or released.    read... 

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March 1, 2011
Urgent Appeal to Human Rights Advocates and Leaders of the Peoples’ Movement in Libya: Ethiopians stranded in Libya; especially in Benghazi, need your protection!
We in the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia stand in full solidarity with the people of Libya who have risen up to demand freedom, justice, peace, equality, respect for human rights and opportunity after living under the brutal and repressive regime of Col Muammar Gaddafi for forty-two years!  read...  

February 16, 2011
Environmental Impact Warnings Ignored in Gambella Land Grabs

Rain Forest

The Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) is ignoring objections from Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis, from the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia (EPA) and from the indigenous Mazenger people of Gambella, to the clearing of 5,000 hectares of ancient forests in the Godere District, located at the headwaters of five critical rivers in the Nile Basin that are major tributaries to the White Nile.  read...   


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February 11, 2011
Ethiopians Rejoice in the Egyptian Peoples’ Victory Over Mubarak as the Momentum for Regime Change Ignites Ethiopia!
As Egyptians rejoice the end of the Hosni Mubarak regime after thirty years of repressive and corrupt rule, we, the freedom-loving people of Ethiopia celebrate this victory of the people after standing with them in full solidarity in their pursuit of freedom over the last eighteen days and nights. We are inspired by the courage, sacrifice and determination they have demonstrated and are saddened by the needless loss of lives among the protestors; killed for merely exercising the universal right to peacefully protest. Yet, their deaths have not been in vain as hope is reignited among the people of other repressed countries; not only countries in the Middle East, but also in Africa.  Ethiopia is one of them!   read...

February 8, 2011
Ethiopians: Let us Prepare Ourselves Before the Peoples’ Revolution to Oust an Ethiopian Dictator Reaches Ethiopia (Part II)
Since we released the first half of this series , unrest continues to shake the very foundations of increasing numbers of countries throughout the world as ordinary people rise up for the first time in many years to resist their dictatorial leaders. Inevitably, the same will take place in Ethiopia; it is just a matter of time. We strongly believe that when it does, actions taken or not taken by some key groups of Ethiopians could alter the outcome for good or bad.  read...   

February 5, 2011
Ethiopians: Let us Prepare Ourselves Before the Peoples’ Revolution to Oust an Ethiopian Dictator Reaches Ethiopia (Part I)
For thousands of years, life in Egypt has been greatly sustained and nurtured by the Nile waters coming from the rivers of Ethiopia and beyond; flowing through the beautiful land we all share. The Nile is like the blood of our shared humanity that passes through the veins of every human being; preserving life through generations past, present and future.  read...   

February 3, 2011
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February 2, 2011
Protests in the Arab world - We want your opinion
The world is keenly watching the rapid developments in the Arab streets caused by popular and brave demand by regular citizens to put an end to dictatorship and corruption in their respective countries. This inevitable revolt has made dictators like Meles Zenawi very uneasy. SMNE is also following developments very closely. To that end, we would also like to hear your opinion on the survey we have put together on our website regarding the ramifications of these revolts to our country and our struggle against tyranny as a whole.
Please fill out the survey at http://solidaritymovement.net/smneSurvey.cfm  

January 30, 2011
We Ethiopians must begin mobilizing! It is time to take action if we are to join in the peoples’ movements for freedom, now spreading among nations where autocratic rulers and their regimes, like Meles Zenawi and the EPRDF, have repressed their citizens for so many years. If there were a list of people most desperate for such change, Ethiopians would surely be near the top of the list.  read...   

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January 22, 2011
Will Ethiopians Join in the People’s Movement for Change as it Blows from North Africa?
All eyes are on Tunisia right now following the startling news of the peoples’ uprising that ousted their iron-fisted president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, after being in power for twenty-three years. It has sent shockwaves of fear to other strongmen throughout Africa, the Middle East and the world; all who are rightfully worried that their own subjugated people will similarly rise up against them.  read...   

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January 3, 2011
Public Backlash Against Forced Evictions from Land a Certainty!
The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia has recently acquired the Ethiopian government’s official report, “Villagization Program Action Plan,” which gives many specific details of their plan to resettle 49 villages in Gambella Peoples National Regional State in the upcoming months and year. A total of 45,000 households will be targeted to move from homes and land occupied for generations. This totals approximately 225,000 people according to government calculations of five members per household.   
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         read report(pdf)...

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