Haacaaluu’s December show did just this. As soon as he occupied the stage, the scene immediately felt magical. His opening greetings – “ashamaa, ashamaa, ashamaa” – electrified an audience who understood his use of the traditional Gerarsa repertoire and its unconscious grammar. As he strode lion-like around the platform, he evoked a rare outpouring of exuberance in his adoring audience. And speaking at a moment in which the Oromo protests had been building momentum for over two years – and, unbeknownst to the crowd, just months before one of their own would become chair of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition – Haacaaluu repeatedly asked the audience Jirtuu (“are we here?”), driving everyone justifiably nuts.
this whole episode makes me ill and it’s going to get worst before it gets better. i remember once a confrontation of sorts at university of washington between the oromo students and the amhara students. was a sad day then as is now
Nonetheless he felt he had to speak out. “[The] Ethiopian government [is] killing my people. So wherever I stand, [I stand] with Oromo protest anywhere because Oromo is my tribe. At this time, any people, all my relatives in prison, in prison. Daily I worry, I worry…If you talk, you write [about the protest], they kill you. So I stand with Oromo protest anywhere,” Lilesa said.