The Murdered Haacaaluu Hundeessaa (hachalu Hundeessaa) Was Supposed To Sing Songs Of Patriotism To Ethiopia, Unfortunately He Was A Crooner Of Ethnic Jingoism
This article condemns the politically motivated gun-men that shot dead Hachalu Hundeessaa, the Ethiopian singer from the Oromia community, Hachalu, was 34 years old political musician from the community of the Oromo people living around the federal region of Addis Ababa. It is sad; he was only a young life serving his community through art and music. Within a week of his death, violent riots and protests erupted leading to the deaths of other a hundred plus people.
In the same stretch, this article also condemns the ethnic mindset that guided art and music of Hachalu, his songs were focused on one ethnic community of Oromo, and Hachalu’s music never appreciated the strength of Ethiopia as a multi-ethnic, Multi-racial and multi-class society supposed to thrive political strength for its nationalism and state-hood from this demographic diversity. But anyway, Hachalu is dead, yes, but his music is to be faulted for being nothing else other than crooning of a Jingoist who always struggled to ignite feelings of war-like hatred among the people of Oromia against their non-Oromia neighbours, his pretext for perpetrating such type of social anachronism packaged as art and music of protest was a fallacious brand of political sentimentality existing as a tangible monster in form of socialized attitude among the Oromo people that because we are the largest ethnic community then the we must enjoy substantial size of political power in Ethiopia. No, this was a goof; it was a shameful moment of art and music goofing in communication and practice of political thought.
Unfortunately, Hachalu is not alone in using art and music to promote the feelings and sentimentalities of ethnic superiority; he enjoys a plethora of similarities in the ancestry of African art, music, poetry and political thought. For example, in Nigeria of the last century, there were sorriest cases of very well educated poet and writer, Christopher Okigbo, he was shot dead while serving the war-front at Nzuka; he was fighting as a pro-Biafra warrior. The intellectual paradox of the matter was that, all the spiritual and intellectual religion behind the Biafra movement was the gospel which like this; because the Igbo of Eastern Nigeria are the largest ethnic community then they must enjoy substantial political power in Nigeria, if not they secede themselves from the Federal republic of Nigeria to form their own one tribe country of Biafra. This gospel was wrong and fallacious, the Igbo and their Biafra can only make sense if they are part of Nigeria, but they can be socially very useless and eugenically lugubrious if taken away from Nigeria.
Looking at the Igbo and Biafra politics through the eyes of logic hatches us an observation that it is so unfortunate for most of us in Africa to live under the buckling weight of a phenomenon that the more a person goes school the more he or she becomes an ethnic Chauvinist, this phenomenology of education giving birth to tribal chauvinism was clearly seen in Achebe’s intellectual and emotional senescence that saw him shamelessly write Girls at War, and then some years later, There was a Country. As if it was not a lesson to us, and as if she is a star destined to be named only by men but not gods, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is also wildly romping in the pro-Biafra literary energy that has made her to ejaculate out tirelessly the novels that worship self-idolatrous Igbo cultural and intellectual superiority over the rest of mutl-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-racial Nigeria.
Is it not a curse of multi-cultural resources in Africa to learn that the big tribe tribal syndrome was also the type of political thinking that underpinned political psychology and socialization of Chief Manguzuthu Buthelezi who was tempted into monkey-wrenching the process of independence in South Africa by placing an ethnic hurdle on its path in the name of the Zulu’s being the largest ethnic community in south Africa then they must be allowed the substantial political power or else no need for freedom from tyranny of Apartheid. Under this context let us not be faulted to judge chief Buthelezi for being so unfair to the liberation politics of South Africa. In a nutshell; the large tribe syndrome has done Africa more harm than good, it led us down to the curse of irrational division of Sudan and so far we the people of Africa have not seen any benefit that Africa has earned from Southern Sudan, in fact Southern Sudan is a political disgrace to Africa, Southern Sudan is political jejune in form of the big tribe of Dinka Bor enjoying ethnically selfish opportunities to arm its tribal militia into ruthless killing of the smaller tribes. What I mean is that the big tribe syndrome in African politics is the key factors behind all the political volatilities in Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Cameroon and so forth. In fact, the people of Africa must wake up to the truth of the moment that any mealy-mouthied-leather- tongued-politician preaching anent persiflage in the name of the big tribe as a preferred ideology to work as basis of government in Africa must be condemned to what he or she deserves .
Back to Hachalu and his music of Oromia supremacy which gives me an opportunity to remember my 2019 experience of travelling by bus from Moyale through Addis Ababa to Lalibella in 2019 to attend the East Africa’s Literary and Cultural Studies Conference that was supposed to be held at the University of Wodia. However, I was not able to attend the conference due to the fact that it was called off by the pertinent government in Ethiopia; the conference was called off because the programs had topics on literatures of Transgender, Queer lives, bi-curiosity, intersex, lesbianism, Gay and other aspects of non-binary as well as gender-fluid sexuality. This was my first moment of encounter with institutionalized homophobia in my life. During my journey by bus, I tarried for long time in the region of Oromia, I was very much harassed with the culture of politically sponsored hostility on foreigners, farragoes of people pretending to be beggars lay begging siege on me, they perpetrated paroxysm of begging on me with all manner of wildness that left me in the recurrent zugzwang during my journey, this was so because giving them and not giving them was one and the same thing, they could still spit at you and hurl at you an insult; Frangis! It was so harrowing experience of my first time encounter with institutionalized ethnicity, Xenophobia and auto-racism which made me to wane mentally in my sense of self-esteem and wallow in dizzy-like self-thoughts that maybe I was not a human being, but a non-protagonist character in Dagnachu Worku’s Thirteenth Sun.
How so sad that tendencies of social exclusion like the ones highlighted in my Oromia experience are the unseen pillars of the political culture that Hachalu has been singing for, calling for Addis Ababa the capital city of Africa to be made a private property of the tribe of Oromo. No, Hachalu was wrong, he was wrong in his tribally inflammable song of Maalan Jira roaring like the poem of Nibelungen lied in its ethnic duty of calling the Oromo young men and women to get arms and fight till they get the palace of Ethiopia to be owned by the Oromo people. This was not patriotism, not even music of protest, but ethnic jingoism fuelled by mistaken sentimentalities that get the nourishment from negative ethnicity, Xenophobia, auto-racism and collective behaviour in support of social-cultural exclusion so that those of us who cannot speak Oromia can be defenselessly vilified and insulted; Frangis! Whenever we are on a visit in Addis Ababa.
By-Alexander Opicho from, Lodwar,Kenya [email protected]