Statement on the Brutal Killing of the Oromo Hero – Artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa
Oromia Global Forum
6909 Laurel Ave, Suite 5219
Tacoma Park, MD20913
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
We, the Oromia Global Forum (OGF), a global alliance of Oromo Civic, Professional and Faith-Based Organizations and individual proponents of Human Rights, residing in North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa, strongly condemn the calculated assassination of Haacaaluu Hundeesaa (Hachalu Hundessa), the popular Oromo artist and national hero, in Finfineee (Addis Ababa), on June 29, 2020. The tragic and untimely death of this great artist is a huge loss for his family, fans and the great Oromo nation. Yesterday, we not only lost our beloved singer but any glimmer of hope that the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed could protect the Oromo and bring justice to a nation in huge grief. The Oromo people have sustained numerous assassinations and killings since the advent of Abiy Ahmed came power, but that of Haacaaluu is just a strike in the heart of the Oromo nation.
We express our condolences to the family of our hero Haacaaluu Hundesaa and wish all of us the strength to overcome this national tragedy.
The brutal killing of Haacaaluu Hundeessaa comes after the Oromo nation had suffered many losses in the hands of the TPLF/EPRDF regime for 27 years and its successor, the so-called Prosperity Party of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. We still vividly remember the assassination of Eebissaa Adunyaa and imprisonment, torture and killing of great Oromo artists such as Usmayyoo Muusa and others by the TPLF regime. When these artists died, Haacaaluu quickly stepped in and elevated the Oromo struggle for freedom to the highest level through songs and lyrics. Although the rogue TPLF/EPRDF government jailed Haacaaluu for five years to silence him, he continued his struggle after he was released from prison. During the Oromo Protest Movement (2014-2018), his songs and their clarion call for justice motivated all of us. Maalan Jiraa and Jirraa, timely songs released in 2015 and 2017, respectively, captivated millions of Oromo youth (Qeerrroo) to rise up against the repressive TPLF regime. During the protests, Haaccaaluu adapted the uniquely Oromo and African call-and-response style—Qeerroo Jirtuu? followed by the audiences’ roaring response – Jirra.
The assassination of this great artist is an open declaration of war on the whole Oromo people. Whoever did this heinous crime deliberately acted not only out of hatred for the great artist, but to inflict the maximum emotional and psychological damage to the Oromo people. For the moment, we may not know who actually committed this crime. But we clearly know who are implicated, one way or the other. First, while we mourn the fall of our hero, we know, the enemies of the Oromo people are rejoicing openly or secretly. These are responsible for the death of Haacaaluu, whether they pulled the trigger or not. This is also part of the historical crimes perpetrated against Oromo leaders—such as General Tadesse Biru, Lt. Mamo Mezamir and Haile Mariam Gemeda—to deny the Oromo nation statesmen who could advocate for and lead the people.
Second, the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also fully bears the responsibility for the death of Haaccaluu Hundeessaa. Over the last two years, the Ethiopian government and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in particular, have created the specter by deploying soldiers to different parts of Oromia, establishing illegal military command posts in Wallaga, Guji-Borana and other zones of Oromia, imprisonment of thousands of Oromos, and by being complicit in or failure to stop the death of hundreds of citizens.
Preceding Haacaaluu’s death, just in the last two days, several killings were reported in different parts of Oromia, including Professor Lamessa Bekele at Metuu University and six other Oromo youth in Bojii-Choqorsa district of West Wallaga. These victims are killed by government soldiers.
As we mourn the death of Haacaaluu Hudeessaa, we are witnessing the other aggressive and deadly actions by the Ethiopian government. On June 30, 2020, a day after Haacaaluu’s death, the government has completely shut down all internet connections in the country; closed down some independent media outlets such as the Oromo Media Network (OMN), Oromia News Network(ONN); detained prominent Oromo political leaders such as Bekele Gerba and Jawar Mohammed of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFCO) party and some OMN journalists; and is killing or injuring tens and hundreds of protesters throughout Oromia. Many graphic details of these killings are unfolding every hour. The situation is very critical and many innocent lives are at risk.
Given the enormity of the situation, the Oromo Global Form urges the following immediate actions to be taken by all Oromos:
- To rally around and support the family of Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, comfort them and each other, and give a hero’s funeral service that the great artist and Oromo national icon deserves.
- Since we are in the middle of a global COVID-19 pandemic, to be mindful of the health risks and take appropriate measures as we all mourn and protest the death of our hero.
- To protest and express our anger; and demand justice for Haacaaluu and other fallen heroes and heroines in a systematic and coordinated fashion. All our actions should be worthy of the high caliber, dedication and determination that the life of Haacaaluu has taught us and the legacy he has left behind.
- Demand the government to release all detained political leaders and journalists immediately.
- Request the government to open the internet and independent media outlets immediately. Denial of information in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic is huge violation of human right.
- Since both the Federal and the State of Oromia seem to be unable or unwilling to adequately protect Oromo lives, each Oromo should be vigilant and ready to defend his/her neighborhood, community and the Oromo people, the whole of Oromia, and Oromummaa from any criminal attacks.
- Since Abiy’s government has repeatedly failed to investigate the deaths of various victims and bring the perpetrators of these crime to justice, we do not have any confidence that it would successfully investigate and bring Haacaaluu’s killers to justice. Thus, the Oromo people should demand an internationally recognized independent commission to be established to investigate Haacaaluu’s death. It is imperative that an independent commission produce transparent and credible report on Haacaaluu’s death. This is particularly important not only for Haacaaluu’s family and the Oromo people, but for the very survival of Ethiopia. Here, we would like to warn in advance that any mishandling of the investigation of this tragedy could lead to an immediate disintegration of the Ethiopian polity.
- Overall, Haacaaluu’s death is the latest very sad day in Oromo history. The Oromo People have endured many such days and survived for many years. While we mourn the death of our great artist and hero, we should lift-up our heads and confidently march forward with the spirit of Haacaaluu and rededicate ourselves to defend his legacy and the Oromo Nation. It is time to lift a banner of OROMO LIVES MATTER to correct the past national humiliations and ascertain the dignity of the Oromo nation. It is time to say enough is enough.
- We would like to underline that the assassination of Haacaaluu Hundasaa has all the footprints of series prior assassinations by Abiy Ahmed’s security forces; it confirms to an already established pattern. Hence, the government of Abiy Ahmed’s government of Neo-Neftegna is the sole responsible of the heinous crime.
- We ask the Oromo people to demand that Haacaaluu’s body has to rest in Finfinnee, in the heart of Oromia, for which he has been fighting the whole of his life.
- We ask all the oppressed nations and nationalities in Ethiopia, and the international community to stand with the Oromo nation and demand justice for our people.
Oromia Global Forum: a global alliance of Oromo Civic, Professional and Faith-Based Organizations
- Bilal Oromo Dawa Center
- Canaan Oromo Evangelical Church
- Charismatic International Fellowship Church
- Gaadisa Sabboontottaa KP
- Global Gumii Oromia
- Global Oromo Advocacy Group
- Global Waaqeffannaa Council
- Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
- Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
- International Oromo Women’s Organization
- International Qeerroo Support Group
- Mana Kiristaanaa Fayyisaa Addunyaa
- Oromo Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Oromo Communities’ Association of North America
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Washington DC Metropolitan Area
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society
- Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organization
- Oromo Legacy, Leadership and Advocacy Association
- Oromo Lutheran Church of Baltimore
- Oromo Parliamentarians Council
- Oromo Political Prisoners Association
- Oromia Support Group
- Oromo Studies Association
- Tawfiq Islamic Center
- Union of Oromo Communities in Canada
- United Oromo Evangelical Church
- Washington DC Metropolitan Oromo SDA Church
Unity is Strength!!!
Oromia Shall Be Free!!!