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Background and Rationale

Eleven months have passed since the Oromo nation ignited a spark of resistance across Oromia that inspired Ethiopians. The selfless young generation is paying bitter and expensive sacrifices to bring to an end, once for all, the miseries of political marginalization, economic exploitations and cultural subjugations and assimilations it suffered since the turn of the 19th century.

The #OromoProtests is shaking the TPLF Ethiopia to its core and the regime that boasted about winning 100% of national and regional elections fighting for its own life. Having lost total control of the people, the regime has declared a state of emergency for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Thanks to the #OromoProtests, the international community has awkwardly learned a naked truth; the Ethiopian regime is nothing but a dictatorship. An Ethiopia that prides itself as a haven of stability and a reliable partner of the West in the turbulent Horn of Africa doesn’t exist anymore.

At this junction, the struggle of the Oromo nation is breaking the shackles of repression and reaching its culmination thereby giving a new hope to cause of the greater Horn of Africa for freedom and justice. The height of our nationalism and national pride are opening a new chapter in our struggle both domestically and internationally.

The #OromoProtests defeated the Ethiopia regime attempt to brainwash and convert the new generation into a bunch of lunatics. For that matter the rise of the Oromo youth against the order, under which it is educated, is a shocking humiliation for TLF propaganda and a great victory of the Oromo nation. Fear is dead in Oromia, and the oppressive government use of force or a threat of the use of force hardly stops the Oromo nation anymore.

The #OromoProtests proves, to friends and foe alike, that the Oromo nation is not a collection of tribes divided along tribal and religious fault lines but a single political nation fighting for a common destiny.

Thanks to the #OromoProtests, the two largest nations of Ethiopia (Oromo and Amhara) have managed to overcome a divide and control tactic of the minority regime. The solidarity seen between #OromoProtests and #AmharaResistance is a heralds a new chapter of cooperation and understanding between nations of the country and a beginning of the death of the divisive minority regime.

The #OromoProtests shows that the Oromo nation is a peace loving nation who can live at peace with its neighbors and people living in its land.The way the #OromoProtests inspired the whole of Ethiopia with the determination and discipline of its struggle is a proof that the Oromo nation is a center of resistance for freedom, justice, human rights, rule of law, and democracy. Eternal glory to our martyrs, the Oromo nation stands tall and commanding a significant national attention and has become a symbol of inspiration and leadership for all Ethiopians.

Although the #OromoProtests achieved a great deal over the course of one year, still there is a long journey to freedom ahead of us.

First and foremost, the #OromoProtests is a mass movement driven by grassroots volunteers with no or little contribution from the so-called political forces or groups. There is no doubt that this mass movement is in need of organizational structures at every level to become an effective national change agent.

In addition to this, there is another actor in the diaspora that plays a substantial role in promoting the #OromoProtests is theOromo online (digital) activists. Oromo online activism is crucial in guiding grass root protesters, in generating publicity to this movement, in organizing the youth, in disseminating information, and in fundraising. The online activists also played a greater role in getting the words out to the international media and promoting public and private diplomacy.

In this regard, the biggest platform for online activism is social media. The use of social media the Oromo Protests breaks down the government stranglehold on a flow of information and plays a significant role in informing and mobilizing the diaspora.

Although the Oromo online activist is very productive in the #OromoProtests, there are some noticeable limitations. Firstly, there is little effort to centralize and strategize the structure of online activism. This indicates the need for an urgent action to coordinate (streamline if possible) online activists operations. Secondly, online activism is not as productive as real worldactivism, unless the online and grassroots activists create a strong bond in communicating their messages to each other. That means online and grass root activism must work in tandem with each other to be effective. There is no online activismwithout internet, and in Ethiopia, the government is a sole provider of internet connection, which it can shut down anytime. Therefore, it is important for online and grassroots activists to work together and design an alternative means of communication in the event of internet shut down. Thirdly, there is a little in the way of guiding the operation of onlineactivists who work on the same cause. Some activists, knowingly or unknowingly, disseminate destructive and divisive information causing more harm than good. Others, knowingly or unknowingly, disseminate information that may put grass roots activists at risk. Fourthly, online activists are not organized and work independently of each other most of the time. It is true that individual activism is important but it is more important and productive if those activists coordinate their efforts.

Therefore, we believe that it is necessary, useful and important to unify our online efforts in order to contribute our share in alleviating complex political and economic challenges the Oromo people are facing.

To achieve this goal, it is necessary to convene a summit of online activists to discuss the benefits and challenges of online active in general and social media activism in particular. We also believe that the summit will create a good opportunity theactivists to develop a unified strategy for online activism and grass root activism.

Objectives of the Summit

1. To enable the Oromo movement to coordinate, strategize and centralize the activities of the online activism.

2. To coordinate and streamline the operation of the activities of the Oromo activists.

To create a structure for the activists through the creation of different teams and division of labor:

3. To prepare the online activists in doing effective diplomacy in working with diplomatic community,

4. To create a team working in a coordination with other Ethiopian nations and nationality activists.

5. To create a team working on building financial capacity and fundraising (to support the struggle back home).

Outcome of the Summit

The expected outcomes of the activists meeting are:

(a) Provide strategic leadership, guidance and recommendations to the #OromoProtests and sustain the struggle;

(b) Enhance integration of the activists in terms of minimizing duplication of efforts and roles assignment. It is expected that after discussions and deliberations, the main activists’ roles would be; information and communication, diplomacy, intelligence and financial support teams in a holistic and cross-sectoral manner at all levels;

(c) Provide a dynamic platform for regular dialogue, meetings, and training to advance the Oromo contribution in the Oromostruggle;

(d) Create a focused, dynamic and action-oriented agenda in consideration of new and emerging challenges;

(e) Reach a consensus on how Oromo activists will stand with Oromo people’s struggle

(f) Create a task force to establish an association of the Oromo activists. The Association, in turn, is to build on the strengths, experiences, resources and inclusive participation modalities of the individual activists.

(g) Share from experience and raise awareness of how to work with other activists, including non-Oromo activists.

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