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An appeal on behalf of Ethiopian human rights activists,

An appeal on behalf of Ethiopian human rights activists, Ato Obang Metho

September 15, 2008

Dear Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopians,

Humanity before Ethnicity! No one will be free until we all are free! Do Your Dirsha—or do your part!

Have you heard these statements coming from one of our Ethiopian human rights activists, Ato Obang Metho?

Do you agree with him on these principles?

Are you willing to do your dirsha—your share?

If so, we invite you to be part of Do Your DIRSHA’s effort to help raise support for Obang Metho and the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia that Obang Metho and the Solidarity committee have organized as a means to bring Ethiopians from diverse groups together to work towards bringing new life and change to Ethiopia.

The Do Your Dirsha group is made up of a small number of Ethiopians who have organized an effort to support the work of Ato Obang Metho. We are now making an appeal to others of you who also may have been inspired or encouraged by his efforts to bring unity, vision and change to Ethiopia.

As most of you know, Ato Obang first became involved in Ethiopian human rights when he responded to the human rights atrocities committed against the Anuak; however, his compassion for the hurting was not limited to only those from his own ethnic group. Early on, Obang called on Ethiopians from diverse groups to “care about” other Ethiopians because as he has said many times,, “they [other Ethiopians] are all our people and part of the greater family of Ethiopians.”

His speeches, articles and comments regularly focus on issues of national concern, believing that solutions for one ethnic group will never be lasting if we do not mend the divisions in our society and learn to work together to advance the cause of freedom, human rights, equality, justice and reconciliation.

Our Do Your DIRSHA group formed after Ato Metho went to the European Union Parliamentary meeting in Germany in 2007. At that time, he called on Ethiopians to “do our part—our dirsha share.” Some of us were inspired by this call and reached out to other friends from the US and Canada to decide what to do. Without Obang knowing it, we took the challenge and formed this support group, Do Your DIRSHA, with the goal of supporting the work he was doing for the Ethiopian people as a whole.

Ato Obang was bringing a unique voice and direction to the struggle that had not been heard before and we did not want him to quit for lack of funds.

We decided to each contribute what we could on a regular basis, whether it was $50 or a $100. Even though there were only a few people, we started contributing and additionally, also raised money for an air ticket enabling Obang to travel to Washington D.C.

This is our “dirsha,” even though it is not even close to what is needed to push this movement ahead to success. That is why we are now appealing to other Ethiopians to do your part if you want to make sure that Obang and this movement have the means to continue the work.

Ato Obang is already doing “his dirsha and has been doing so at great personal sacrifice, especially since he has had to give up other opportunities in his life—that many of us enjoy—that could have given him much more financial security, like what he had prior to the Gambella massacre. Instead, he has left that behind for this bigger cause where he is working for the betterment of all Ethiopians back home.

We know that Obang receives many calls from Ethiopians, encouraging him to continue and to not give up his work, but if we do not do “our dirsha or share,” he will not have the means to “drive” the movement, just like a car without gas will stay stuck in the same place. No matter how much the driver wants to get to his destination, the car will not move without the fuel.

We know that Senator Barack Obama has been a source of inspiration and hope to many Ethiopians, but he could never run his presidential campaign without financial contributions from supporters. We Ethiopians are starting to understand this and are forming support groups for our presidential candidates of choice—Obama or McCain. Our Do Your DIRSHA group has already contributed to Obama’s campaign, but we keep receiving regular calls from the Obama camp asking for additional support. In the same way, we must expect to pay something towards our own freedom movement in Ethiopia and for the support of people like Obang who has been working for us.

To learn more about Obang’s work please see the link: in English or in Amharic

If we don’t support this kind of work and Obang does not get the funding he needs, he may not be able to continue to do this work.

How many Ethiopians now know Obang and about his human rights work and believe what he is doing is unique and strategic to our struggle? If you want him to be able to continue, he cannot do it without support. Please, right now, get out your checkbook and contribute $50, $100 or more or less, as you are able on a monthly basis or as a quarterly or one-time donation, mailing it to the Anuak Justice Council, PO Box 1597, Spokane, WA 99210, U.S.A. You can also go to PayPal and contribute online.

For some, you might want to join our Do Your DIRSHA group or form your own. In your community, find three or four of you and make a commitment and do it. Others might be able to hold a fundraiser. If you would like to explore the possibility of having a certain set amount of support taken directly from your account, please contact us:, the Do Your Dirsha group for assistance. As mentioned previously, the money given is to advocate to free and ease the suffering of the people of Ethiopia, among which are our own families. Donations are tax-deductible.

If you have questions about financial accountability, we will tell you that our financial statement has been very clear from the beginning of the AJC. We place a high value on maintaining the highest ethical standards for any funds received. This effort requires widespread support. It does not have to be much, but together, we can accomplish goals that are otherwise impossible. Whatever help you can contribute is appreciated.

If you have questions, please contact us at:

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