The Harari community in the Dallas area met on March 9, 2019 at the MAS Islamic Center to discuss how best to aid the ongoing emergency in Harar, Ethiopia. Since late 2017, reports of civil unrest against ethnic Harari people have erupted in the region, resulting in forced evictions, disruptions in water and sanitation services, destruction of cultural landmarks, restricted access to farmlands, and sporadic acts of violence.
As a part of the global Harari community, we wanted to understand what could be done. How might we become involved and help our brothers and sisters in Harar?
Dr. Zaki Sherif, M.D. Professor of Medicine and long-time Harari activist, helped us dissect this complicated question and understand the most viable solution. In his talk, he touched upon the history of Harar: its past, present, and the strategies to ensure its future. Serving as both the former president of the largest Diaspora Ethiopian Muslim Organization and consultant to the United Nations Development Program, Dr. Zaki’s unique perspective has helped him to understand how best to raise awareness to these kinds of issues, including the need for evidence-based reporting and strong alliances with other organizations.
Above all, Dr. Zaki stressed the importance of unity. Without unity, we as a community are at a disadvantage. Harari people are already a minority within Ethiopia and our voice can only be heard when we are united. This crisis is a cause for which we must stand together.
The Crisis Committee has devised an action plan, one intended to put us on the right path to aid those in Harar.
ACTION PLAN TO AID CRISIS IN HARAR:
Nationwide Crisis Committee – We will be reaching out to various Harari communities and ask for representatives that can join the Crisis Committee. This will enable us to coordinate rallies, events, and other networking and outreach campaigns.
Kuba Town Hall Panel – We plan on inviting IHMS and other representatives that are well-versed in this topic to host a town hall meeting during July 4th Kuba festivities, with the goal of deciding on a day to hold a Unity March.
We will continue to work hard to build on this action plan and are grateful to any additional advice. If you are interested in helping or have any questions or feedback, please contact Abdurahman Abdisubhan or Jalal Addus.