Politics is the art of division; that is why it is so hard to find politicians who speak to our humanity and seek unity. All too often, those who take the mantle of leadership do so by picking up the baton of polarization and splintering our communities apart. There is a reason why so many Ethiopians are loath to partake in political discussions, doing so only ensures headaches and screaming matches.
There is one exception to this rule and he goes by the name of Obang Metho; not only does he refuse to dive into the toxic pool of zeregnenet (tribalism), he makes it his purpose to vehemently speak against ethnocentrism and instead stands up for the noble ideal of Ethiopiawinet. But then again, Obang is not a politician; he is more of our collective conscience who reminds us that we are better together and that the only way we can heal our nation is through collective effort and shared journeys.
It does not escape the mind that Obang does not look like the “typical Ethiopian”, when he speaks Amharic, he usually induces double-takes from those who don’t know him. To his great credit, instead of harboring resentment and trafficking in the blame game that one too many firebrands endeavor in, he just smiles and patiently introduces himself. It does not take long to realize that Obang is through and through Ethiopian; the soul of hospitality and kindness that is endemic of our culture lives in abundance in his heart.
Obang is the founder and executive director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, where he has spent more than a decade speaking against the partitioning of Ethiopia along ethnic lines and instead advocating on behalf of our common struggles and our connective hopes. Instead of pouring fuel on the fire of separatism that is threatening to unleash strife upon Ethiopia, Obang continually evokes love and forgiveness to forge a new path forward for our nation.
Given the toxic nature of our politics back home and throughout the “diaspora”, it is indeed rare to find a voice who speaks to our oneness. Obang does not take the easy way out by speaking to one crowd and demonizing the other, he walks the harder path by encouraging all who are able to listen that truth and reconciliation is the only way for us to emerge from the shadows of factionalism. His tireless dedication to ONE ETHIOPIA earned him a well-deserved recognition from the Bego Sew Organization last week.
When Obang speaks of human rights, he does not do so through the blinders of ethnicity. When Obang demands justice, he does so for all Ethiopians. When Obang says he wants a free Ethiopia, he wishes it for all of us irrespective of our identities. Many people who scream and shout about justice in Ethiopia should emulate the spirit of togetherness that is at the core of Obang’s mission..@ObangMetho is proof that #Ethiopiawinet is not about politics nor about ethnicity but about the heart and the spirit of love that is supreme to all other laws and the only way for #Ethiopia to find redemption. Click To Tweet
Though others who preach animosity and peddle ethnic grievances garner a bigger audience, Obang makes a bigger impact because his campaign is inclusive and his quest for justice is universal.
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