On February 12 and 13, 2011, Ethiopians in Houston and Dallas, Texas, held public meetings with Dr. Birhanu Nega of Ginbot 7 Movement and Ato Neamin Zeleke of the Alliance for Freedom, Democracy and Justice. The meetings were held at Houston Baptist University, Houston and at Double Tree Hotel, Richardson, TX.
Ato Neamin spoke on the need for the Diaspora to come together and act in unison to help the
Ethiopian people join in the emerging uprisings to oust dictators like Meles and replace them with
people’s power. In his speech, he made specific calls for action to the Diaspora to
* Organize itself world-wide under a single umbrella
* Engage in economic fight with the TPLF through mechanisms such as non-official remittance transfer and through effective boycott of the TPLF and so called EPDRF affiliated companies
* Refrain from getting sucked into being political hostage of the TPLF by participating in its official sham investment schemes
* Support for ESAT and other similar measures.
Dr. Birhanu addressed the audience on the timely topic of the people’s uprising in the Middle East and North Africa and its implication to us Ethiopians. The speech dealt with an analysis of the significance and causes of the revolution that is sweeping our region. He emphasized the fact that the drivers of this revolution exist in Ethiopia in an even more pronounced fashion than in Egypt or Tunisia. His speech also acknowledged and identified some of the negative barriers for people’s uprising that exist uniquely in Ethiopia. Finally, he enumerated the steps that must be taken by the opposition groups, the youth and the people of Ethiopia to enable the revolution in the Ethiopian condition.
We believe the speeches by Dr Birhanu and Ato Neamin are must-listen speeches for all Ethiopians. Watch below:
After the public meeting, the participants of the meeting had an extended informal conversation over dinner with the guests about the present condition in Ethiopia. In Houston, the focus of the discussion revolved around the implication of the absence of a large middle and educated class in Ethiopia for carrying a revolution like we witnessed in Egypt. Dr. Birhanu insisted that this fact is irrelevant for the fight against dictatorship in Ethiopia. He said, “everybody including peasants can and will fight for their freedom and self government”.
In Dallas, the focus of the dinner-conversation was instigated by the provocative question from Dr. Birhanu. He asked the dinner participants on why there were only 200+ participants in the meeting in a city where there are over 20, 0000 Ethiopians. These led to a very productive exchange of ideas in what we all have to do to broaden the participation of the larger community in such event in the future.