Ban OMN media for inciting Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia and Hold Its Director Jawar Mohammed Responsible
- The Honorable Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General
- The Honorable William Barr, United States Attorney General
- Senator Amy Klobuchar, United States Senator, Minnesota
- Senator Tina Smith, United States Senator, Minnesota
- Mr. Rodolphe Belmer, Eutelsat, CEO
- Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc. CEO
- Ms. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube, CEOMr.
- Jack Dorsey, Twitter, CEO
UPDATE 2:We are back again to report another round of ethnic and religious based attack! This time using the tragic murder of Hachalu Hundessa, a renowned Oromo singer and activist in Addis Ababa as a pretext! Merely hours after the news that Hachalu was murdered, countless social media accounts started broadcasting genocidal calls [SE16, SE17]! Radical Oromos across the globe beseech-ed their followers the Qerroos in Ethiopia, specifically in the so-called Oromo Region, but also in Addis Ababa, Harar and Diredawa to go out in force and burn Neftegnas (Amharas) alive, in areas like Bale and Arsi, the call was to kill Christians [SE18]! 240 souls fell victim to this round of genocidal attack! They didn't just die! They were killed horrifically! A nine months pregnant woman was chastised, prodded and physically abused which injured her to death in Shashemene! Her crime! Being an Orthodox Christian and an Amhara! Her kilers pronounced "An Orthodox Chrisian and Amhara baby will not be born in Oromia Region". Within 24 hours of the news of the death of Hachalu, OMN started broadcasting the usual "Kill all 'Sefaris'" message! But still even 2 years on from our warning of the grave situation to humanity! Nothing has been done! In fact, between this and the last attack, Jawar Mohammed proclaimed that he abandoned his US citizenship and joined a political party in Ethiopia, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), and started his election campaign illegally before the time that was allowed to campaign as per the election rules of the country. But no one stopped him! His campaigns were marred with divisive speeches! He was grooming the youth for such attacks even before we knew when it will happen! In a surprising turn of events, two US senators from Minnesota actually wrote a supporting letter on behalf of him to the State Department. It is really baffling how elected officials will stand with someone who renounced his/her citizenship and is running for a political office in another country. The support letter came because Jawar Mohammed is now taken into custody by the Ethiopian government, not for political reasons but because he was at the site of the crime scene where a law enforcement personnel was shot to death as his armed body guards confronted Police in Addis Ababa, during the preparations of Hachallu's funeral ceremony. Jawar and his body guards were trying to forcibly decide where Hachalu will be buried, regardless of what his parents wanted to do. His supporters are now trying to make it look like his detainment is political! The Ethiopian government however took under custody other prominent politicians, journalists and activists along with Jawar Mohammed, even if they have nothing to do with the event. This new development ascertains to us that the frequent genocide that seems to consistently take place is happening with the blessing of certain elements within the government itself! No other explanation why the government would arrest notable people who were warning about the genocide along with persons of interest like Jawar Mohammed who are actually amid the whole havoc (July 2020 - Round 3 attack).
UPDATE 1: Ever-since, we have issued this petition on September 2018, nothing of significance was done to stop Mr. Jawar Mohammed and the OMN. In fact, he was given a 24/7 protection by the Ethiopian government itself! Following, a temporary tiff between Mr. Jawar Mohammed and the Government, his security was removed without informing him prior to informing him he claimed. What followed was him posting a panicked message on his social media accounts that led to literal massacre of 97 people [SE15]! His followers targeted Amharas, Gamos, Wolaitas and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC) followers, even Oromo Orthodox Christians were not spared even if Jawar's followers the Qerroos claim to represent Oromo people. This happened while we Ethiopians were still reeling from the attack on Gamos that happened in September 2018 in Burayu in close proximity to the capital city Addis Ababa. No justice has been served with regards to both rounds of ethnic and religious attacks! (October, 2019- Round 2 attack)
Oromo Media Network (OMN) is a news organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. OMN is consistently airing programs that label the non-Oromo speaking natives of Oromia region of Ethiopia as well as the majority residents of Addis Ababa Ethiopia as "Menelik Sefari" meaning aliens/ settlers of Menelik, a king who ruled Ethiopia some 100 years ago. This labeling of non-Oromo speakers sends a direct message to their followers, the Oromo extremist self ruling mob that refer to themselves as "Quero/ Qeerroo". The message OMN sends propels these self-proclaimed “Qeerroo” to cause violent expulsion of the so labeled "aliens" from the self-claimed “land of Oromo”.
This propaganda of OMN [SE1, SE2] alienating non Oromo speaking Ethiopian citizens has incited ethnic based violence in the past. Recently, on Sunday September 16, 2018 the “Qeerroo” extremists have murdered non-Oromo speaking men, women and children in the suburbs of Addis Ababa - majority of them in towns of Burayu, Asko and Ashewa Meda [SE3, SE4] as a result of the toxic rhetoric that was fueled by OMN and its director Jawar Mohammed. Thousands are displaced from their villages and are being sheltered in Addis Ababa public facilities like schools. The form of killings included beheading, hacking with machetes and blunt objects as evidenced via digital social media and corroborated by credible news sources [SE5]. This cruelty has shocked the Ethiopian people as a whole [SE6] and has a potential to lead the country to ethnic clashes that will not be easily resolved. Priority must be given to stop the hatred propaganda by OMN news media who are playing a role similar to the role RTLM radio has played in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide [SE7].
The current leaders of Ethiopian government are not seen taking the necessary action to control the crisis [SE8,SE9, SE10]. In the meantime OMN is airing hatred propaganda with no accountability.
The executive director of OMN Mr. Jawar Mohammed is a US resident living in Minnesota. Even though the “Qeerroo” have no officially known organizational structure they regard Jawar Mohammed as their leader by which he prides himself with. On August 13, 2018 the “Qeerroo” mob lynched a young man in the town center of Shashemene, Ethiopia accusing him of “conspiring to assassinate Jawar Mohammed” [SE11]. Jawar Mohammed has held several rallies in Minnesota during which he was recorded making hate speech chanting “Ethiopia out of Oromia”; “The region I am from is 99% Muslim Oromos. If anyone else dares to raise his head up we will slash his head with Mencha” (“Mencha” is a type of Machete). Such hate rhetoric has the potential to drive people into ethnic and religious clashes. On one occasion, Jawar Mohammed made such hate rhetoric in the US WHERE the American flag stands behind the podium [SE1]. On the week of September 16, 2018 the young kids he indoctrinated with hate did just that in the suburbs of Addis Ababa.
The capital city Addis Ababa is the melting pot of Ethiopia. People from all regions of Ethiopia have a stake in Addis Ababa mainly because it is home to their loved ones, close family, relatives or friends. Most recently, including this week, OMN is heavily engaged in propaganda type programs that claim Addis Ababa as Oromos’ only. OMN programs are busy trying to justify that claim with filtered interviews of extremists claiming that “they have paid enough blood while protesting for their claim on Addis Ababa so Oromos deserve Addis Ababa” despite the fact that the oromo protests was only and directed against displacing farmers around the city limits not about the ownership of the city [SE12]. This has already sparked anger and tension in the residents of Addis Ababa.
The more days pass by as we bystanders do nothing, we are allowing ourselves to witness another tragedy of the kind of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide in Ethiopia. The Rwandan Genocide was started by labeling people as "Cockroaches" (insects encroaching into spaces). The propaganda and terror advanced by OMN and Jawar Mohammed against non-Oromos is shockingly following a similar pattern. Similar to RTLM radio fanning the "cockroaches" label, the OMN has made it a standard to refer to the residents of Addis Ababa as "SEFARI" (alien settlers). Similar to the Interhamwe who did the unthinkable, “Qeerroo” are unofficially organized, unregistered, and hence, unaccounted youth extremists of exclusively one ethnic composition who are directed by OMN broadcasts and OMN manager's Jawar Mohammed Facebook posts. Jawar has proudly declared that he will unleash the “Qeerroo” against Addis Ababa residents if they elect a non-Oromo in the next election. In an interview with OMN TV, he said, “ I am tired of telling the Qeerroo to calm down. I will tell Qeerroo to finish the job” [SE13 beginning the 36th minute].
We the signers of this petition believe that United States shall not serve as a breeding ground for indoctrination of ethnic hatred as ratified in S.1158 - Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 [SE14]. By signing this petition we are asking for the Attorney General of the State of Minnesota and the US Attorney general to initiate the necessary legal procedures to revoke the license of OMN for broadcasting hate and instigating violence. We also plead that your office hold OMN’s executive director Jawar Mohammed accountable for inciting ethnic violence before more lives are lost. We hereby request Eutelsat to discontinue their hosting service to OMN until they explicitly agree to moderate their programming. We are also asking for Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to remove all content that incites violence and ensure that they regularly monitor the official OMN and that of Jawar Mohammed’s accounts for programming and content that incites violence. We believe in freedom of speech but we also strongly believe no one has the right to be shielded from the consequences of their actions that is causing mass murder and violence while using USA as a safe haven. We plead with all of you to save lives by acting now!
We are aware that “Qeerroo”, in Oromo language simply means “youth”, and that there were legitimate peaceful protesters that resisted the illegal land grab policy of the repressive regime in the past five years. Only a few months have elapsed since the government was forced to initiate a reform due to protests and upheavals across the whole country as a result of resistance of the people of Ethiopia from all ethnicities and walks of life. In a very disappointing turn of events, this promising reform has been hijacked by extremist groups of all kinds of motives. The three main actors are: 1) separatist and ethnonationalist groups like TPLF and OLF that tirelessly worked for about 50 years to drag the country into never ending ethnic clashes, 2) extremists who now call themselves “Qeerroo” hijacking the peaceful Oromo protesters movement to terrorise the nation in the name of Oromo people, 3) media like OMN and personalities like Jawar who garnered acclaim and popularity by reporting on the public’s struggle against the repressive regime, who then used their newly gained fame to further their own agenda of fanning ethnic clashes to the end of creating a separate nation without the consent of the people of Ethiopia. Additional to inciting ethnic violence against non-Oromos through its hate rhetoric, OMN also involves in fabricating a series of fake news that creates more inter-ethnic clashes among the other ethnicities of Ethiopia, hoping for proxy wars across the nation to further their dream of realizing an independent ‘Oromiya’. For the purpose of this petition we declare that when we refer to “Qeerroo”, we are referring to the Oromo extremist mob that hijacked the movement, not the larger Oromo community in general.
Supporting Evidence [SE]
SE1: Video: Jawar inciting religious violence 2013
SE2: Video: Jawar inciting ethnic violence 2019 [starting 1:05 minutes]:
SE3: Reuters: Article “At least 23 die in weekend of Ethiopia ethnic violence” Sept. 17, 2018.
SE4: AP: Article “Deadly ethnic-based attacks erupt near Ethiopia’s capital”, September 16, 2018
SE5: Navva.org: Article “Oromo Ethno-nationalist attack is said to be motivated by ethnic cleansing”, September 16, 2018
SE6: Abbay Media: Video showing Addis Ababa residents showing their concern and demanding justice on a rally held on September 17, 2018
SE7: Concordia University: Newsletter, “Rwanda radio transcripts; the role of radio”
SE8: Amnesty International: Article, “Ethiopia: Investigate police conduct after deaths of five people protesting ethnic clashes” 17 September 2018.
SE9: Borkena: Article, “Only 1,700 displaced people returned to their places in Burayu” September 22, 2018
SE10 :The Guardian, “Shadow falls over Ethiopia reforms as warnings of crisis go unheeded” March 14, 2019
SE11: Africanews: Article, “Ethiopian activists condemn mob action, violence during rally in Oromia” August 14, 2018
SE12: OMN: News segment, March 19, 2019
SE13: OMN: Interview, February 6, 2019
SE14: Congress.gov: Bill, “S.1158 - Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018”https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1158
SE 15: The October Terror: Pictures of the horror that followed Jawar's message on his face book account, sent by eye witnesses. Please scroll to the end of the article to see the images. Warning: viewer discretion reqired, images are extremely horrific.
SE16: Borkena:Ethiopia’s social media captures Oromo xenophobia killings Live, July 3, 2020
SE17: Links to different videos showing consistent genocidal calls made from all over the world before and during the July 2020 attacks. There are also links to state-based and other private media reports in Ethiopia on the accounts of victims.
SE18: Genocide of Orthodox Christians and Minorities in Ethiopia, July 14, 2020