Ethiopian People-to-People Forum
On Our Future
FEBRUARY 14, 2016
1:00 TO 5:00 PM
At Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel
Address: 8777 Georgia Ave,
Silver Spring, MD 20910,
The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) invites all interested Ethiopians to attend an Ethiopian People-to-People Forum On Our Futureon Sunday, February 14, 2016, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.
The focus will be how the SMNE could contribute to the resolution of the urgent issues in Ethiopia of injustice, mass protests accompanied by increasing violence, imminent famine with present food insecurity and the effect of these on the future stability of Ethiopia. What happens in the next weeks, months and year in Ethiopia and how it is addressed could make a huge difference to our future.
At the public meeting, the SMNE will present a vision for next steps, based on input from diverse Ethiopians who are committed to an inclusive society. Ethiopians have much at stake, including the possible destruction of the country if mass violence escalates out of control, particularly as food insecurity creates greater desperation on the part of Ethiopians throughout the country. On the other hand, a future of continued tyranny is also unacceptable. If Ethiopians are to avoid such threats and to build a better future together; it is critically important to develop a principle-based vision for our country grounded on shared core values. It starts with constructive dialogue among diverse Ethiopians that could provide a stronger foundation as we pursue greater freedom, more equitable justice and opportunity, reconciliation, peace and greater prosperity.
The call to Ethiopians to come together is being echoed throughout the media; however, if it were that easy, we would have already accomplished this long ago. In 2016, after over twenty years under the domination of the TPLF/EPRDF, long-standing obstacles, much of it self-imposed, still block the way, including such issues as ethnicity, historical grievances, and vying political aspirations of various leaders and groups. At this point, we do not believe there is a political solution; but instead, we believe there must be a movement of the people, united by ideals and values that are inclusive, all of whom can forge a path to a better Ethiopia where political space invites participation.
There is an urgent need to be organized, wise and thoughtful in what we do if we want to avoid becoming a failed state. Neither do we want to miss an opportunity to bring positive change to the country or to become an opportunistic clone of the ethnic-based TPLF/EPRDF. To avoid these possible outcomes,we must start talking to each other rather than about each other.The first dialogue we have must be with each other, eventually leading to a dialogue with all stakeholders.
Ethiopia belongs to all its people; yet, our challenge is to come up with an agreement on what we have in common— our shared core values and principles— so we have someplace to start. Then we can look for next steps. A dialogue cannot be productive with 100 million Ethiopians at the table; however, if a core group of diverse people can come together, united already by shared core values and principles, they can work together to come up with a plan of action that hopefully, reflects the greater good to diverse groups of people,believing No one will be free until all are free.
Therefore, directly preceding the public meeting, the SMNE is organizing a 2-day strategic planning session of non-political, non-organizational, diverse voices of influence among Ethiopians. This would be a small group of individuals who strongly believe in a principle-based foundation that would include all Ethiopians as equal partners in our future.The goal is for them to come up with a working draftof a proposed vision for the country based on these same principles.
This initial proposed strategic plan would then be brought to share with the public on February 14, 2016, where more stakeholders could join in to shape this vision for our shared future. The conclusions reached at the advance planning session, including possible resolutions, would be given at the public meeting in various languages. At the meeting, more stakeholders could join in to critique the plan and give input, keeping in mind there are others willing to do this as well. We applaud them in that effort, are willing to contribute where we can, and are deeply grateful for their contributions.
As characteristic of the nature of the SMNE, our efforts would not represent a political group; but instead, would offer to the discussion, voices of reason, who could help move this vision forward towards meaningful dialogue, first among ourselves, and then among other stakeholders. These would be first steps that could lead to reconciliation, the restoration of justice and meaningful reforms.
Our future will be together due to the land we share; therefore, it is imperative that we shape the next generation by becoming good neighbors to each other, putting humanity before ethnicity or any other differences.This does not mean we give up our ethnic identities, religious beliefs, political persuasions or regional concerns; these are critically important to individuals, communities and societies. Instead, it means caring about our neighbors as we care about ourselves, making sure that the same basic rights, freedoms and opportunities are available everyone based on citizenship.
We hope many will join us as we work together to find solutions to the problems facing Ethiopians in 2016.
May God help us and all of those seeking to find a viable solution that can work for the common good of all our precious people, not only one ethnic group or a few elite.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
CONTACT: OBANG METHO