by Gosaye Ethiopia Movement
On his recent article on EthioMedia website about mixed ethnicity; Mr. Solomon Regassa explained the various problems facing millions of mixed Ethiopians and how we can politically organize ourselves to address them. We, at Gosaye Ethiopia Movement (GEM) and activists worldwide supporting our cause, highly appreciate the recent interest among many scholars and writers alike, regarding the plight of “mixed” or “ethnic Ethiopians.”
But We were forced to respond to Mr. Solomon’s article because of his misrepresentation of what our GEM organization stands for. Whether unknowingly or by mistake, Mr. Solomon falsely claimed that our GEM organization is against ethnic-based politics and claimed that GEM dismisses ethnic organizations in Ethiopia. However, this is far from the truth. Yes, we do support “challenging the (TPLF) system that forces people to pick just one ethnic heritage,” as Mr. Solomon suggested. But GEM does NOT seek to dismiss or vilify any ethnic-based politics or groups. In fact, one of the main goals of the GEM movement is to make people aware and proud of their diverse ethnic heritage in Ethiopia. In our case, we want mixed-Ethiopians to be proud of their multiple ethnic heritages, instead of choosing only one side of their mother or father, i.e. maternal or paternal side.
So GEM does not reject ethnic-based groups. In fact, we have publicly supported Oromo, Sidama and other ethnic organizations before. We also recently published a statement denouncing the illegal imprisonment of Oromo opposition leader Dr. Merera Gudina.
We have even applauded the rise of the new Amhara nationalists. We believe in the principles of collective rights and federalism, in any form, as long as there is equality or one group does not oppress another group. Unfortunately, mixed ethnic Ethiopians have been systematically marginalized by the current TPLF regime and by many opposition groups. So We must stand up for our rights while also defending the rights of Oromos, Amharas, Tigrayans and other single-ethnic identities.
As Mixed-Ethiopians, we are “Ethnic Ethiopians” since both our tribe and our country is Ethiopia. Mixed-Ethiopians share common values of multiculturalism, multilingualism and other progressive principles, while united psychologically, socially and politically as well as sharing intertwined destiny as “Ethnic Ethiopians.” Mixed-Ethiopians have common homeland, historical experience and national consciousness.
We hope that more and more Ethiopians will begin to embrace their multi-ethnicity and avoid choosing only one part from their whole identity. We believe mixed ethnic Ethiopians are the largest ethnic group in our country, therefore we are the silent majority.
Over the last centuries; oppressive and undemocratic Ethiopian governments as well as single-tribe based narrow opposition movements have forced millions of mixed-Ethiopians to abandon their full identity and adopt a new single-tribe identity. With the help of the Ethiopian people, the GEM and other advocacy groups hope to reverse this trend to save our identity and protect our collective rights.
GEM activists currently operate in dozens of colleges and schools through out Ethiopia. Our goal is to empower mixed-Ethiopians and restore our Ethiopian ethnicity. We welcome more Ethiopians to join our new movement online on Facebook or support our cause by opening new branches or chapters inside Ethiopia and worldwide.