The Minnesota Ethiopian Communities Discussion Forum is a group formed by individuals from various ethnic (Oromos, Amaras, Sidamas, Kembatas, etc.), religious (Protestants, Orthodox, Muslims, etc.) and civic communities living in Minnesota. The Forum is not a political organization. It is, rather, a civic organization that advocates for reconciliation, peace, justice and equality for all Ethiopians.
The forum held a public gathering on October 7, 2017, in which Abagedas, priests, pastors, elders and members of the different ethnic, religious and civic communities mentioned above met to discuss the current volatile situation in Ethiopia. The gathering also discussed the state of relations among Ethiopians residing in Minnesota.
Attendees noted that while the gathering was taking place, Ethiopians at home were suffering from manmade starvation, repression of democratic and civil rights, jailing, merciless killings of thousands and displacement of tens of thousands of civilians in the country, all of which was orchestrated by the very government which is supposed to prevent such acts. The brutality of government forces is nowhere more vivid than in the eastern part of the country where the government deliberately instigated ethnic clashes between the Oromo and Ethiopian Somali peoples resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives and the displacement of tens of thousands.
It is with this background that we, the representatives of the various communities in the Twin Cities, agreed to pass the following resolutions. We, the participants of this gathering, resolve:
1. To gather together to express our concerns and restlessness, regarding the atrocities being committed by the EPRDF government against all Ethiopians, particularly the deliberate promotion of conflicts between the Oromo and Somali people and to give our unconditional support for all Ethiopians struggling for democracy and justice.
2. To express our dismay at the EPRDF’s displacement of the people in Gondar and southern Ethiopia as well as its policies that discourage age-old inter-ethnic marriages and friendships.
3. To show solidarity by providing material support and advocating for the release of jailed political leaders, journalists and thousands of activists who did nothing unlawful besides calling for justice and freedom.
4. To stay together and show our solidarity with our people as they endure suffering while seeking peace, justice and equality. We express our condolences for those who lost their lives while seeking justice and democracy and ask that justice be served against the perpetrators of the crimes.
5. To identify and then narrow down our differences through dialogue, and whenever possible, to put aside our irreconcilable differences and focus on issues that are reconcilable and unifying.
6. To condemn the government’s violations of human rights, its encouragement of ethnic clashes and the brutality of the army against the civilians.
7. To call upon all our compatriots across the world to follow in our footsteps and start dialogues on how to get rid of this undemocratic government as well as on how to transition to democracy peacefully and live together in peace and harmony.
8. To call upon our people at home to recognize that the animosity is between the Ethiopian peoples and the oppressive government, but not among the peoples themselves, and to condemn and defuse EPRDF’s repugnant attempt to create hatred and animosity among people of different ethnic groups.
Let’s do all that we can to unite our people so that they might live together in peace, equality, fraternity and prosperity.