July 20, 2013 (The Gulele Post) — In recent weeks, several video clips from my speeches at various events have been systematically edited to present a narrative that portrays me in the worst moral and political light. The latest of these doctored videos are pieced together to create the impression that I was advocating violence against Christians in Ethiopia. Needless to say, this is a calculated and horrendous political strategy so commonplace in the Ethiopian political landscape. Let me say as clearly as I can: I find such views so revolting and so repugnant that it has no place in any civil political discourse. Whatever motivated those who engaged in EPRDF style character assassination, this past week has given us an impeccable evidence about the state of our media and the place of truth, and journalistic ethics in their operations. It is also ironic that many of the individuals and groups engaged in this propaganda are the same people who went a long way to disparage me as ’naïve’, ‘spineless’, and ‘passivist’ for writing and speaking about nonviolence. Given the sensitivity of the issue and the malicious manner in which these videos were edited and presented, I want to take this opportunity to explain the context in which that particular speech was delivered.
On May 25, 2013, I was invited to speak at a town hall gathering organized by Risala International, a consortium of three Minnesota-based mosques. There were several prominent spiritual and secular leaders from various communities in North America. Present were also representatives from the Minnesota delegation to the U.S. congress. Based on my own observation and the organizers account, the audience consisted of Muslim Oromos, non-Muslim Oromos, non-Oromo Muslims, and Ethiopians of other faiths.
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