Dr. Taye Woldesmiat emphasized the need for all Ethiopians to work together

by Mesfin Mekonen
On Sunday, Nov. 19, Dr. Taye Woldesmiat, president of the Ethiopian Teachers Association and Ato Kifle Mulat, president of the Ethiopian Free Press Association addressed a Town Hall meeting in Washington, D.C.
They provided updates on the situation in Ethiopia and discussed future plans for restoring democracy and improving the human rights situation.
Dr. Taye Woldesmiat emphasized the need for all Ethiopians to work together to use peaceful means to bring about democratic change. He called for a halt to unnecessary fighting among those who are united in their pursuit of democracy. He called for an immediate focus on the release of political prisoners, journalists, and leaders of civic society. He warned that the structure of Ethiopian society is unraveling as the educational system disintegrates, children drop out of school and there are no economic opportunities. Students will continue to play a key role in efforts to bring democracy to Ethiopia, he said. Dr. Taye also stressed the important role that women must play.
Ato Kilfle described the important role the free press played during and after the elections to inform the Ethiopian public. He added, however, that the Ethiopian press has paid a heavy price. Most independent-minded journalists are suffering in jail, although they are guilty of nothing other than reporting the truth. His hands were chained together in remembrance of the Ethiopian journalists who are in jail, as well as those who have been killed. He expressed strong disappointment with the lack of interest in the international community, and the failure of governments and organizations in free countries to intervene to help Ethiopian journalist. Those suffering in Ethiopian jails include Sirkalem Fasil, a journalists who was pregnant when she was arrested and who delivered her baby in prison.
The large number of Ethiopians who attended the meeting applauded Dr. Taye and Ato Kilfle. They also loudly and clearly requested that they work hard to organize a conference bringing together all Ethiopian political and civic organizations to craft unified positions. There was strong agreement among audience members representing a variety of political groups, as well as by Dr. Taye and Ato Kilfle, that democratic change can only be achieved if civic organizations are involved in the effort.
Following a very active question and answer session, Dr. Taye proposed the following basic elements for future action:
Civil society must play an active, constructive role in transforming Ethiopian society from dictatorship to democracy.
All of the political parties must work together.
Ethiopian intellectuals must work for the common good of Ethiopia society; they should network among themselves.
A civil society support committee should be organized.
There should be strong links between those working for democracy inside Ethiopia and those in the rest of the world.
Ethnic and religious conflict must be avoided.
Orqanized by Addis Dimitse radio, ENC/EAC and other civic groups

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at11:38 PM


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