Open Letter to Jawar Mohammed

10 mins read

by MeKonnen H. Birru, PhD
Charles Dickens in his book Hard Times wrote ‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, Sir!”

A year or two ago I heard a couple of ESAT journalists introduced you as ‘young and intellectual’. I was excited first because such adjectives mean to me courage, reasoning and facts. Unfortunately, I found none of them in you rather you are small, illiterate, prejudice, and very narrow.

In 1940’s Hitler used Jews as a scapegoat for the loss of World War I, and labeled them as disloyal and not true Germans and decided to wipe them out. It is and was nothing but hate! I smell the same in you. In Rwanda, More than half a million our African brothers and sisters were killed because of hate. Very recently, we witnessed the same tragedy in Europe. The same hate flame is burning in Nigeria and Syria so many have preached such evil doctrine of racial and religious purity and cause unimaginable sorrow and horror in humanity. You, sir, are trying to play your evil share and I urge you to stop!

In 1991, I was one of the nine thousand Ethiopian college and university students who volunteered to go to Belati Airborne Military Training Center. I lived, trained, laughed, and cried with so many of my fellow Ethiopians; not as Oromo, Amhara, Muslim, or Christian. It was though and dangerous but beautiful. Every single night in Belati, we used to sing and discuss about Ethiopia, our motherland.


In Kenya, as refugee, so many of as spent difficult time. The summer rain was powerful. Showing in deluge the whole day, it also beat down heavily during the night. The firewood we used for cooking our food got soaked through with water and we found themselves in severe problems. We were compelled to eat raw the soybeans and corn flour we had been given the second time from the European aid organization. Most of us had become pale and hollow in the face, and only our noses remained peaked as a monument. With hunger and cold becoming our fate, many of us to rack with cough. However, in that foggy and rainy difficult time, I used to feel warm and happy because I was among my brothers. We were comforted by love: Love of each other, love of history, love of courage, and more than all love of our motherland, Ethiopia. Hence, on July 25, 1991, so many of us decided to go back to our home, Ethiopia. Same day, I wrote the following Journal while sitting on a rock in Moyale, Ethiopia. I want you to read it, sir.

July 25, 1991 Moyale, Ethiopia

Today, when I saw in front of me a wide, watercolor painted steel door, a shiver went through my spine. My head felt giddy. I was moved with so strange a feeling. Something inside made me cry; “You, motherland!” called out in a raised voice. Although I didn’t set my foot in it yet, I said, when I saw the hampering door at the gate of the Ethio-Kenyan Boarder, “there’s nothing like freedom. We undesirable of the time! – We, to whom he meaning of freedom has become out of tour depth – ! We, rich with honorable history – ! We, proud of wonderful heritages –! We the riffraff, who do not feel proud of being the off springs of the honorable country, Ethiopia –! We are the dead and buried, who have died not only once but repeatedly time and again!” I said, now coming back to set foot in it from my refugee’s life

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Crossing the gate, I came to the road, which had been made of asphalt from Addis Ababa all the way to the order point where I was now, and there I stood on my bended knees. As though I were at the gate of a church, I made the sign of the cross and raising my hand to the high sky, said, “You Ethiopia! In keeping with my solemn words, I’ve come back to you – stretch out your hands to accept me!” and got on my feet.

“Do you have anything for sale?” a short, thickest Ethiopian woman asked me, her eyes pointing to my clothes and blanket, bundled in my suitcase.

“I’ve nothing,” I said, looking her in the eyes. I missed greatly everything that smelt of Ethiopian’s – Ethiopian complexion, Ethiopian cultures, the Ethiopian…

“Then what’s it that you carried?”

“It’s some property,” I said with a smile

“Do you have money?

“I’ve two Birr”

“Don’t you have other than that?”

“I don’t” I answered, staring her deeply.

“Follow me.” She said, walking forward; going into the downtown from the boarder point, there were modern build at each side of the road to the upward stretch of the narrow asphalt road. The varicolored bars that had mushroomed in town could meet the eye everywhere.

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“Sit down here.”She said, directing me to a bench at the same time looking at me with a turning face. In that much plastered, two-roomed house, I sat on a bench in the main room.

I ate the Teff injera and its complementary, shiro wot, greedily. “Ah, everything of the motherland gets missed!” I said. I had felt at the beginning that nothing would make my belly fill, but here now I felt satiated not yet having gone through half of what she put on the table.

“Thank you very much indeed.” I said; stretch out my hand to give her the two Birr.

She gave me a smile, “ I don’t want it. I won’t accept money from you. I know where you coming from. I know why you here. You and the likes of you are true Ethiopians. I too have a brother, a blood brother I mean. But you too are my brother, Ethiopian brother. “She said, pushing aside my money held hand.

Tears gathered on the edges of my eyes. My inner feelings, which I had never been able to understand, now seemed to me to get the gist of something. Moving my lips, I said to myself, “Ethiopian. Ethiopia, the sign of fellow feeling,… loving one another,… benevolence, … the sign of all good things, … Ethiopian” then I said to her, “I again thank you very much, I’ll never forget you…You are my sister” and took her hands in mine to say good bye to her; my Ethiopian sister. It was almost twenty years ago, in the month of July.

Now, too, Jawar; I need not a hate monger, but an Ethiopian brother.

Long live mother Ethiopia.

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  1. We all should not give any attention to Jawar Mohamed. This man is confussed and also has identity problem.He is also has two faceses and dance with different music.htid egyptian man doesnt represent Muslims or Oromo.

  2. fact,everything that guy said is the fact.if you bad mouth the amhara in debarek,do you expect flower no they give to you bullet.the same goes to oromo.I am not oromo,every goverment except derge based on ethincity.Tell me if it is wrong.all long woyanne were right about build a better ethiopia,we should acknowlege our past and reconcile.just fucken do tell me nothing happen.dont expect every ethiopian to proud of the history of ethiopia.for amhara and tigre may be all glory for rest were absuletly dominance.for instance remember what minilek said and done,what yohannes did to muslim ethiopians.For northern these two king are hero,for the rest might not.You guys celebrate their legacy while others curse them.if muslims said we were not treat fairly and equally in past,lets work together to build fair and equal treatment to all.we may forgive but never forget.

  3. Mr. Ja-war,

    Mr. Jawwar maybe under educated and inexperienced and some times hollow emotional, but that does’t mean he is without a point and indeed he may grow to be serious challenge to Amhara’s historical socio cultural domination over oromos. So far from what I heard is that mr. Jawar totally disrespectful to the Amharas born to rule mentality and he is demanding all oromos to stand up against their oppressors/Amharas. Indeed, it is logical and democratically rational demand, this is why a lot of Amharas filled with hate red toward this young man.
    Mr. Jawar’s followers also demanding voiding of of Amharas minority language as Ethiopias official language and demanding oromos majority language to be Ethiopias official language. Yes, it makes sense 100000 percent, why should Ethiopias majority forced to speak Amharas minority language ?

  4. Islamist Jawar speaks only to Muslims/Islam, oromos must grow smart think big instead of their narrow Islamist agenda.

  5. …..indeed, it is sad story.

    JAWAR hatred toward Amharas is personal, Jawar’s mother used to work for Amhara house hold, till one day got raped by the relative of her Amhara employer, in the result Jawar was born and raised by his grand father, his grandfather was right wing Islamist who molded jawar to be what he is today.

  6. Mr. You suffer of Oromoo phobia. Second you envy because Jawar get acceptance more than you!!! Third he disclosed your grad fathers and fathers atrocities. Finally you and the people like you are.not different from Wayane because fabricated false documentary films and arrested many innocent people. Like Wayane you and others Amhara elites fabricated false documentary films and accusing innocent people. So what is different between you and Wayane ? You hate Wayane because you lost power. No more power for you on Oromoo , Ogaden, Sidama and other southern nations. No old Ethiopia!!! It’s o ver 22 years ago!!! Oromoo is first!!! Sooner or later you will practically.

  7. I really was hoping Juwar, like Obang, a unifying factor for the new 21 century Ethiopia who can take us beyoung ethnicity and religion. Sadly this young Oromo is carried away by hate and wish to be the “founding father of little oromia”.

    He was preaching ethnic poletics and now he goes down to religion devision. Clearly now we can see what he will do to Oromo christians if we let him form his ‘mini-nation’. He wants to form ‘little Iraq’ where people kill each other based on religion and ethnic ‘purity’, who is more Oromo?? More muslim?? That is how a mind of division works, it doesn’t stop dividing!!!

    Now it is time to deny him any Ethiopian medrek, then he will be nobody as he and his OLF was before!! They have to remember that they came to the front page because they said they have changed and will work on solving humanity problem in Ethiopia not Ethnicisim. Once OLF always OLF, they can’t change!!! The virus is incurable. So it is time for pro-Ethiopia Oromos to shine out and stop these ethnocentered-wahabists. We don’t want any extrimisim in Ethiopia, be it poletical, religious or ethnic

  8. he exposed his true colour . he wrote,acted and played a drama for him self as warrior of reedom democracy and equal right. How ever he was a political islamist all along . His hidden goal was to turn ethiopia in to the Islamic state. He wants to settle an old score and avenge a humilating deafit that his forfaters suffered in the hands of brave Ethiopians who choose to defend there coutry above any religion or creed .the idiot wants to give creadit to islamic religion for the scuccess of Oromo quenquest of Ethiopia. That is an insult to Gada system ,the genious of Oromo generals.this bafoon is bold to speak that Islam is a unifaing factor to Oromos . Islam destroyed,maimed and commited a jenocide in large parts of the oromo population who were not willing to convert .

  9. Mr. PhD, you find Jawwar small, illiterate, prejudice and narrow, because he spoke his mind. What kind of humble you are? Do not think that desperate Ethiopiawinet will be built on such story, but facts on ground. I thought PhD is from knowledge, but I can see another …….

  10. I am deeply saddened by the war over identity and what, one should be loyal to first and so on and so forth. Before offering my opinion on the Ethiopian identity and ethnic identity, I want to toghch just briefly on some widely known forms of identities for the benefit of the worrying parities over the issue.

    While I recognise the impossibility of listing ways in which people want to identify themselves, I will try to shade lights on some forms of identities and how we should go about them. They are citizenship, ethnic, gender, birthplace, professional and membership of any particular group of people often referred to by their collective identities. Identities associated with gender, birth place and ethnicity normally stay the same while other forms of identities change from time to time. One can change his/her professional title through career changes and educational development. However, it is impossible to change identities associated with birthplace, ethnicity and gender.

    Formation of citizenship identity

    Citizenship identity normally comes out of marital contract drawn in the form of constition as a supermen law of any given county but only by the free will of the majority of the population in that country.

    Coming to the question of wether one should put his/her citizenship or ethnic identity first, I want the readers to take a closer look at the hypothetical example of American citizen of Cuban origin walking in the street of little Havana in USA. This person may tell you the he/she is an American first. If you go past two blocks and I ask another American citizen of Cuban origin, he /she may tell you that he. / she Cuban first. Therefore, the question of giving priority to one form of identify over the other is personal choice. For me, my national identity and citizenship identity are both equally important and no one has the right to ask me to favor one over the other.

  11. Jawar, also affectionately known as Flash Jawar is a young man who enjoys the lime light. Microphone is power and can be addictive. It gives some people a sense of euphoria. You can be a microphone junky.History is not just dates and events. It is also intentions and contexts. You can produce 1000s of headline grabbing accounts from Ethiopian History. Through out history countries have been built by war and peace. Look at the wars between communities in Southern Ethiopia and the Southern/Eastern Sudan over cattle and grazing land as a microcosm of our History. Neighbouring people and communities have been at logger head since the beginning of man kind and the sense of territory and community appeared. Lots and lots of atrocities have been made in different eras and countries. We all have to acknowledge the excesses of our forefathers. I do not think it serves the future if we keep on bringing the agenda of hate at the forefront. Most of all Jawar, do not make religion a divisive weapon. Please do not highjack religion to suit your cause. Religion in the wrong hands is a dangerous weapon difficult to put back. Look what a seemingly small difference in the details of Islam is producing in Africa, middle east and Asia. Flash Jawar, please use the microphone you like most, very responsibly. Formulate your thought properly before you grab the microphone.Placard politics is not always good as it lacks depth. Do not sell wholesale hate. There are millions of people in every community who deserve your love. The deeds of forefathers should not be used to peddle compound hate by anyone. The politics of revenge should have no place in the 21st century.

  12. Great mind speakes about Idea,but Little mind and little Web site’s(Zehabesha) preaches about Individual. Jawar go on….enemy will never tells u’r good things!! Fucken neftegna will eradicate u from oromia ass all beggar

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