July 7, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

‘My close friend the hero who was gunned down’

Hachalu Hundessa (L) and Amensisa Ifa had been friends since 2009
Hachalu Hundessa (L) and Amensisa Ifa had been friends considering the fact that 2009

The killing of Ethiopian protest singer and revered musician Hachalu Hundessa led to days of unrest in the place, and the fatalities of at minimum 80 individuals during protests.

Hachalu typically sang about like and unity, but his tunes also tackled challenges of marginalisation felt by his Oromo ethnic team.

BBC digicam operator Amensisa Ifa, who was a good friend of the musician’s and experienced filmed an award-successful video clip with him, looks again on the times considering that he died.

Short presentational grey line
Shorter presentational grey line

In some cases when I consider about Hachalu’s loss of life, I think that I would alternatively have died if that intended that he could dwell.

He was a hero to numerous, and experienced so substantially to offer his folks.

He constantly fought for them – and during those people times when a lot of artists, activists and politicians fled the region, Hachalu stayed back again boosting challenges that numerous would not dare to elevate.

‘Hachalu is in hospital’

I began acquiring phone calls and text messages after 22:00 (19:00 GMT) on Monday from friends who have been all inquiring me about what experienced transpired to Hachalu.

No-just one at the place was declaring that he was useless, but it was very clear that something had happened.

I tried contacting our other pals, but no-just one was buying up. Then I received a text concept to say that Hachalu was in healthcare facility.

I resolved to drive there and, on my way, managed to get to just one of our close friends on the cell phone and he informed me, sobbing, that he was standing next to Hachalu’s system.

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Hachalu experienced been shot useless.

Amensisa's video for Hachalu's 2015 song Maalan Jira has won awards
Amensisa’s movie for Hachalu’s 2015 track Maalan Jira has gained awards

When I acquired to the healthcare facility there was a ton of sound within the place in which the physique was.

A person uncovered it and I noticed what appeared to me like a gunshot wound to his chest.

The police ended up there, as properly as a good deal of pals.

I was calling his identify and crying. Everyone was shouting, everybody was crying.

“You should not tell me this is genuine,” we stored on screaming.

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Hachalu’s body was then taken to a different medical center so the physicians could do further investigations, and we followed the ambulance.

We stayed as a result of the evening. At about 04:00 we went outside the house and the whole space in front of the medical center was whole of persons as the news experienced distribute about Hachalu’s loss of life.

Every person was crying, calling his identify.

Then immediately after dawn, we experimented with to get the system out of the capital, Addis Ababa, to Hachalu’s dwelling city of Ambo – about 100km (60 miles) west of Addis Ababa.

‘Hachalu is our hero’

As we drove out of the metropolis in a convoy, I could see that there had been a large amount of difficulty. I could hear gunshots and the police launching tear gasoline.

We bought as far as Burayu, about 15km, the place we satisfied thousands of people who had been travelling into Addis Ababa on foot, on lorries and buses quite a few of them in shock and grief, and seeking to fork out their respects.

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These ended up people from various pieces of Oromia who had been travelling right away after listening to of Hachalu’s death. Lots of were being asking for the funeral to consider area in the money.

Sitting in my car, I read persons indicating: “Hachalu is our nation’s hero. He justifies a heroic funeral in Addis.”


Our convoy stopped there for a whilst, and then we begun the journey again to Addis Ababa.

We later found out that the federal government insisted that Hachalu should be laid to relaxation in Ambo, as it was what the loved ones experienced needed. As a consequence his physique was flown by helicopter to the town.

But I couldn’t go to Ambo for the funeral on Thursday as the roads had been blocked.

There were not many mourners at the funeral, but it was broadcast on television
There ended up not a lot of mourners at the funeral, but it was broadcast on television

Rather I had to follow the ceremony on tv, and that was the toughest moment for me.

I preferred to be with him to say goodbye thoroughly. I could see that not many men and women experienced been allowed to go to, and in our society you are unable to bury even an everyday human being with just a few individuals all-around, let alone a big hero like Hachalu.

As I was viewing, I was sobbing.

I named my mom in tears and told her: “I want to die these days.” She was also crying and I’ve been crying at any time since, just about every time an individual asks me how I am emotion.

Only a small number of mourners were able to attend the funeral
Only a smaller amount of mourners had been equipped to go to the funeral

I am continue to baffled about Hachalu’s loss of life.

Even on Thursday, when I read that some thing experienced happened to a pal of his, I instinctively started out dialling Hachalu’s range to discuss to him about it.

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I experienced talked to him a week in advance of he was shot and he told me that he had a new song that he preferred to engage in me known as “Eessa Jirta?” that means Where by Are You?

Hachalu’s artwork was not restricted to politics. He sang about culture, identification, unity, human rights and really like among other points.

I also wished to chat about a television interview he experienced just offered where by he was telling people today that he would not flip his back on his political sights.

He was talking about the legal rights of the Oromo persons, Ethiopia’s most significant ethnic group who have prolonged complained of political and economic marginalisation.

Folks experienced been accusing him of accepting revenue from the country’s new governing social gathering – the Prosperity Social gathering – but he mentioned: “No-a single can obtain me.”

He always realized that people disagreed with him, and there ended up incidents in which he had rows with some people in Addis Ababa.

But he by no means concerned for his everyday living. He generally stated another person who dies for his men and women is a hero.

“I’m no different to anybody else,” he instructed me the moment, “I may possibly die 1 day, but I am not concerned of dying.”