Obang urges love over hate as film premiers in L.A.

Congressman Chris Smith and AJC head Obang Metho at the US Congress in March 2006 (Photo: ECTV)
LOS ANGELES - An Ethiopian who produced a documentary film about the atrocities based on the Gambella Genocide said the message of the film was to tell the truth and not answer violence with violence.

Obang Metho, director of the Anuak Justice Council (AJC) who produced the film jointly with Saskatchewan University, told the audience at UCLA that he was an adherent of a non-violent form of struggle for the respect of human rights, and is opposed to revenge or hate-filled response to the government or to any ethnic group in Ethiopia.

"What we will see is very disturbing the purpose of which is to show what is going on in Ethiopia but I do not want anyone to use it as a reason for violence or any aciton that would result in the loss of innocent life," Obang said.

After the massacre of the Anuak that began on December 13, 2003, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was publicly interviewed early in 2004 about the killing of the Anuak. He called the massacre of the Anuak a fiction. He could have called it something tragic or terrible, but instead, he denied that it ever occurred. It is because of this denial of the truth that this documentary was produced to provide visual and credible evidence of a government cover-up of the massacre of the Anuak, the AJC director told the audience.

Guest speaker Al Mariam, a Los Angeles-based law professor, said Obang was in the company of millions of his Ethiopian compatriots who fight for the reign of justice and the respect of human rights in Ethiopia.

Prof. Al Mariam said government atrocities committed against the Anuak were no secret as they were being reported by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the U.S. State Department Human Rights Department.

On January 25, 2005, Genocide Watch reported the EPRDF government had killed as many as 2, 500 Anuak in the Gambella region.

Both speakers questioned how the Prime Minister was a US partner in the fight against terrorism although he was on record for terrorizing the Ethiopian people.

Prof. Al Mariam once again reminded Ethiopian Americans and other guests in the audience of how Meles Zenawi was expending Ethiopian tax-payers' money on U.S. lobbying firms.

"Democracy is about to be betrayed yet again. This time the cost of betrayal is $600,000 to the lobby firm of DLA Piper.The Ethiopian people look to us in America, in Europe and wherever else on earth we have been scattered by the winds of oppression and persecution. And so we face the question, how do we 'unbetray' democracy?" Al Mariam asked.

He cited several options one of which is to reach out to congresspersons before the fate of HR 5680 is frozen in the interest of those representing the tyrant in Ethiopia.

The speeches are available in pdf format:

1. Obang Metho Report
2. Al Mariam Report

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