Jawar Mohammed

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Jawar Mohammed
Jawar Mohammed.jpg
Born
Jawar Siraj Mohammed

(1986-05-12) 12 May 1986 (age 33)
EducationStanford University (B.A.)
Columbia University (M.A.)
OccupationActivist[1][2][3]
Political partyQeerroo: International Oromo Youth Association
Spouse(s)
Arfasse Gemeda (m. 2009)
Children1

Jawar Mohammed (Oromo: Jawaar Mahaammad, born 12 May 1986) is an Ethiopian-born political analyst and activist.[4][5][6] One of the founders of the Oromia Media Network, Jawar was a leading organizer of the 2016 Ethiopian protests[7] and the key intellectual inspiration for the International Oromo Youth Association (National Youth Movement for Freedom and Democracy), popularly known as Qeerroo ("Youth"). With 1.75 million Facebook followers, he is a popular figure amongst many Oromos, but has also been referred to as "the most controversial man in Ethiopia."[8][9]

Early life and education

Jawar Mohammed was born on 12 May 1986[10] in the small town of Dumuga (Oromo: Dhummugaa) on the border of the former Arsi and Hararghe provinces.[11] His father was Muslim while his mother was an Orthodox Christian; their inter-religious union was considered novel but was ultimately accepted by the community.[11]

Jawar began his formal education at a Catholic school in Asella. He then attended secondary school in Adama until 2003, when he was awarded a scholarship to study at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore, from which he graduated in 2005. He described his experience at the UWC as awakening his consciousness to his own Oromo identity.[11] He then studied at Stanford University, graduating in 2009 with a degree in political science. He went on to pursue graduate studies in human rights at Columbia University, receiving a master's degree in 2013.[11]

Activism

In 2006, while a student at Stanford, Jawar founded the International Oromo Youth Association (IOYA), intended to serve as an umbrella organization for Oromo youth groups around the world, which has engaged in advocacy in front of United Nations bodies in Geneva and held demonstrations to protest Ethiopian government policy.[12][13] Jawar first gained prominence as a writer and speaker on Oromo and Ethiopian politics, chiefly amongst the US-based diaspora.[14] He was a notable critic of the Oromo Liberation Front and their perceived failure to effect meaningful political change in Ethiopia and advance Oromo interests.[11]

Jawar has been an important political coordinator for the Qeerroo youth movement, even in exile.[15] However, he has been controversial.[16][17] Following his return to Ethiopia in 2018, he has been accused of stoking inter-ethnic tensions and mob violence.[8] Following the Burayu massacre perpetrated by the Qeerroo in September 2018, he claimed that 43 Oromos had been killed in the Addis Ababa neighborhood of Saris Abo, but presented no evidence.[18]

In October 2019, he reported that late at night members of the police had attempted to force his security detail to vacate the grounds of his home in Addis Ababa; alleging they planned on later mobilizing a mob, intimating that they had done so at the behest of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The previous day, the Prime Minister had given a speech in Parliament in which he had accused "media owners who don’t have Ethiopian passports" of "playing it both ways," a thinly-veiled reference to Jawar, adding that "if this is going to undermine the peace and existence of Ethiopia... we will take measures."[19][20] The reports sparked nationwide clashes by the Qeerroo, leaving at least 67 people dead, including five police officers.[21][22] After weeks of clashes had ended, Abiy said the death toll had risen to 86, included 50 Oromo, 20 Amhara, 8 gamo, 2 silte, 2 Hadiya, 1 Guraghe, 1 Argobbaa and 1 unknown 84 of which were men.[23][24]

References

  1. ^ "Report: Ethiopia continues malware attacks on dissidents in other countries". africatimes.com.
  2. ^ "Prominent activist may challenge Ethiopian PM in 2020 election". aljazeera.com.
  3. ^ Gardiner, Tom (20 August 2018). "Jawar Mohammed's red-carpet return signals Ethiopia's political sea change". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2018. Few doubt the importance of Jawar in recent Ethiopian history. Perhaps more than any other single individual, he took the once-marginal politics of Oromo nationalism and made it mainstream.
  4. ^ "Report: Ethiopia continues malware attacks on dissidents in other countries". africatimes.com.
  5. ^ "Prominent activist may challenge Ethiopian PM in 2020 election". aljazeera.com.
  6. ^ Gardiner, Tom (20 August 2018). "Jawar Mohammed's red-carpet return signals Ethiopia's political sea change". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2018. Few doubt the importance of Jawar in recent Ethiopian history. Perhaps more than any other single individual, he took the once-marginal politics of Oromo nationalism and made it mainstream.
  7. ^ Gardiner, Tom (20 August 2018). "Jawar Mohammed's red-carpet return signals Ethiopia's political sea change". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2018. Few doubt the importance of Jawar in recent Ethiopian history. Perhaps more than any other single individual, he took the once-marginal politics of Oromo nationalism and made it mainstream.
  8. ^ a b Peralta, Eyder (December 6, 2018). "How An Exiled Activist In Minnesota Helped Spur Big Political Changes In Ethiopia". NPR News. Retrieved 18 October 2019. At 32, with a mischievous smile and a round, boyish face, he keeps the air of a startup CEO, but Jawar is without a doubt the most controversial man in Ethiopia.
  9. ^ "Ethnic violence threatens to tear Ethiopia apart". The Economist. 2 November 2019.
  10. ^ Mohammed, Jawar (12 May 2018). "Jawar Mohammed on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 25 September 2018. Today is my birthday.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Jawar Mohammed Biography: The Interesting Profile of an Influential Man". allaboutETHIO.com. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Rally in D.C. for Oromo rights". April 3, 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  13. ^ "IOYA shines spotlight on child rights abuses in Ethiopia". OPride. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  14. ^ Abichu, Siban (May 21, 2010). "Where is the Oromo Youth?". OPride. Retrieved 26 September 2018. However, I believe that youth like Jawar Siraj Mohammed, might be a hope in the future. Certainly, Jawar is a rising star Oromo young man of this time.
  15. ^ Gardiner, Tom (13 March 2018). "'Freedom!': the mysterious movement that brought Ethiopia to a standstill". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2018. He highlights, in particular, the work of Jawar Mohammed, the controversial founder of the Minnesota-based Oromia Media Network (which is banned in Ethiopia), in amplifying the voice of the Qeerroo even when internet is down. '[Jawar] gives us political analyses and advice,' Haile explains. 'He can get access to information even from inside the government, which he shares with the Qeerroos. We evaluate it and then decide whether to act on it.'
  16. ^ Borago, Teshome (19 August 2018). "JAWAR: from Oromo radical to Ethiopia's leader". Ethiomedia. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  17. ^ Gardiner (2018). "He and Abiy both dismiss the assumption, widespread in Ethiopia, that Jawar remote-controls the protests."
  18. ^ "Jawar Mohammed must reveal names of 43 people he claimed were killed in Saris area". SodereTube. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  19. ^ Dahir, Abdi Latif (24 October 2019). "Protests in Ethiopia Threaten to Mar Image of Its Nobel-Winning Leader". New York Times. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  20. ^ Tiksa, Negeri (24 October 2019). "Ethiopia activist calls for calm after 16 killed in clashes". Reuters. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  21. ^ Peralta, Eyder; Dwyer, Colin (24 October 2019). "Nobel Peace Prize Winner Faces Protests After Activist's Late-Night Standoff". NPR. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  22. ^ "Anti-government protests leave 67 dead in Ethiopia - police". TRT World. 25 October 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Ibsa MM Itoophiyaa Abiy Ahimad: Lakkoofsi namoota lubbuu dhabanii 86 gahe". bbcafaanoromoo.com.
  24. ^ "Ethiopia PM Abiy says death toll from recent protests rises to 86". reuters.com.

External links