Ethiopia: the murder of singer Hachalu rips deep wounds

The population of the country rich in the Horn of Africa was dominated in the last six years of severe political instability. The first four of which were chara

Ethiopia: the murder of singer Hachalu rips deep wounds

The population of the country rich in the Horn of Africa was dominated in the last six years of severe political instability. The first four of which were characterized by protests in the regions of Oromia and Amhara, which often led to violence and deaths. Hachalu Hundessa provided the Soundtrack for this of the Oromo-led, anti-government-oriented protest movement. The right to self-determination and an end to human rights violations at the heart of the claims of the opposition groups: they wanted to change.

In the year 2018, the then-ruling "Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)" and committed itself to reforms. They released political prisoners and took in the exiled representatives of political parties, journalists and activists back into the country. Soon, however, politicians and activists, in the meantime, to the "Prosperity Party" umgetauften government party threw its promises. In particular, politicians of the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia's multi-ethnic state, the government, the security agencies arrest continue to be members of the Oromo and kill.

After the death of the prominent 36-year-old singer Hachalu Hundessa, there were violent riots in the Oromia Region, and in particular in his home town of Ambo. Since then, unrest will shake the whole country, the information of the DW according to this, dozens of people are killed.

art is resistance

Hachalu songs, the history and marginalization of the Oromo people addressed frequently. His Hit "Maalan Jiraa!" ("Where are we?") from the year 2015, his grief reflects on the never-ending oppression of the Oromo in Ethiopia. Also, the historically-based claim of the Oromo in the capital, Addis Ababa, called on Oromo Finfinne, is the subject of the Song.

The artist saw it as his task to make the music for his people strong. In an Interview with DW in January 2018 - shortly after the award of the Odaa-price-for-influence Oromo rich-musician - described Hachalu his Motivation: "I think with music, you will analyze the political, social, economic, and social life. Personally, I feel happy when I sing resistance songs. To sing such songs is in me, because I am part of the society," he said. "If there is a repressed society, and I am one of the oppressed, I Express my disappointment about this oppression through my music. Art is a tool, to tell the truth and to expose the tyranny".

in the past week, Hachalu took advantage of the Oromia Media Network (OMN) as a platform, its planned re-release of the title "Eessaa Jirta?" ("Where are you?") present. Hachalu was 36 years old and leaves behind three children.

Oil on the fire

dozens of demonstrators were came reportedly in the Region of Oromia, in the meantime, killed or arrested, the government has moved military units into the Region. In the capital city of Addis Ababa, three bombs exploded in the riots after the death of Hachalus.

The authorities have switched the Oromia Media Network, and arrested the man at the top of the media organization: Yawar Mohammed. In his last Interview with the OMN Hachalu had spoken of the death threats of those to whom his work is not liked. He did not want to bow to the threat, however, he says at the time. Now, the human rights organization Amnesty International is calling for a rapid investigation into the killing. They urged the government to hold an independent investigation of what happened. "There must be justice for the killing of Hachalu Hundessa," urges Sarah Jackson, Deputy Amnesty regional Director for East Africa.

Yawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba are among the more prominent protesters, and politicians, who are in police custody. Security forces arrested the two after it at the memorial service for Hachalu to the dispute was whether the funeral in Addis Ababa or in Hachalus place of birth Ambo, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) West of the capital, is to take place.

the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed said in a televised address a day after the assassination Hachalus that forces within and outside the country for which death is responsible. In addition, the same forces would prevent the singer could be brought to his place of birth back. Abiy did not, however, about who exactly these inner and outer forces.

the protest movement is Coming back?

Bekele and Yawar are members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), one of the parties that have a large following in the Federal state of Oromia. Because of his political commitment to the rights of the Oromo Bekele has spent in the past, time in prison. His son and his daughter were arrested this week also, location is information of Human Rights Watch that unknown.

"The detention of these people will not change what goes on in this country," said Professor Merera Gudina, Chairman of the OFC, compared to the DW. He called on the government, "you are free to not allow this, since their detention is for the peace and stability of the country eager to help."

According to Kjetil tronvoll on location, Professor of peace and conflict studies at Bjorknes University in Oslo, shows the public reaction to the murder of Hachalu, that he was regarded as a "strong supporter of the rights and interests of the Oromo". "Through his songs, statements and appearances, he was regarded as the Person, the current constitutional framework supported and defended," said tronvoll on location in the DW-Interview. Actually, the Federal Ethiopian Constitution leaves it to the regional States with far-reaching power of the state in the past that didn't work, but often good, so tronvoll on location.

according to observers, the death of the singer could lead to a return of the protest movement in the years 2014 to 2018. "Yawar was perceived during the four or five years as one of the main leaders of the protesters. Both Yawar, as well as Bekele strong proponents of the constitutional framework," said tronvoll on location. "Therefore, it is perceived in the arrest of people in Oromia as an attempt to disempower the opposition party and to urge before the election, to the edge."

Excessive state violence

The murder of Hachalu, and the subsequent killing and arrest of demonstrators by the security forces, were in use in real-time in social media. Condolence expressions and anger on the part of the Diaspora flocked to the platforms. Also US-American politicians, including Congressman Ilhan Omar, a diversification.

With the Growth of the protests, the Ethiopian government turned off according to Reports, the Internet. Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International complained that this step will have made it difficult to verify reports of people who had been at the ongoing protests killed. "The authorities of the country-wide, flat-rate Internet should lift lockout immediately, and the people access to information and the free grief to the musicians," says Jackson.

Laetitia Bader, Human Rights Watch, responsible for the Region in the Horn of Africa, warns of more instability due to the Internet Shutdown: "Instead of restoring law and order, could worsen the Internet shutdown, the obviously excessive use of force and the arrests of political opposition more." The government must take measures immediately to undo, since otherwise there is the danger that the country is sliding deeper into the crisis.

dialogue as a remedy?

critics accuse the Prime Minister, Abiy, that his government had not transformed the country from a repressive political System in a democratic. Professor tronvoll on location, according to many complained that the current political course of Ethiopia will give no answer to the deeper grievances. "The strategy of coercion and violence could fail. You could rather call an even stronger counter-reaction, by leading to even more protests, perhaps, in Oromia and beyond," said tronvoll on location. This could destabilize the country, may "seriously".

The Chairman of the opposition OFC, Merera Gudina, is in the DW-Interview with hope: A real "national dialogue" could lead the country out of its political instability out. But: "Without the fundamental political problems and to achieve without a real agreement on the future of this country, I do not believe that we can move forward," he says to the DW. "We are at a very critical crossroads. The in Power party should be to help this country, through a genuine national dialogue. National reconciliation is really necessary."

author: Merga Bula (ms)

*The post "Ethiopia: the murder of singer Hachalu deep wounds tears" published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 02 July 2020, 14:27

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.