By Nadhii G. Hawaas
Note: I wrote this piece two weeks ago, and I have since been agonizing over whether to publish it or not, for fear that it may create an unnecessary side issue for the easily-distracted among us. I’ve now decided to publish it, because of a deplorable assertion made recently by a certain “social-media activist” regarding the existence/non-existence of the OLF.
I knew Hacaalu Hundeessaa when he was a struggling artist, long before he became the cultural force that he is today. It does not surprise me that he has attained greatness only a few can achieve. If you spent some time with him as I did, you would instantly notice his intelligence, eloquence, fearlessness, humility and sharp humour – qualities that perhaps explain his current towering public persona. Let me offer a personal testimony about another admirable quality of this young man yet to be fully appreciated by the general public, and that is his charity. A few years ago, Hacaalu refused to accept a payment for services he offered at a special concert organized by a friend, telling him (I’m paraphrasing here), “I couldn’t, because you are a student now, and a future asset of the Oromo. My payment comes in the form of your service to our nation.” I was present when this remarkable exchange took place, and these words will stay with me as long as I live.
More to the point. Here is why I think Hacaalu’s latest single, JIRRA, is a powerful antidote to the Shira that has been spreading among some segments of the Oromo diaspora for a while now. You have to be obtuse to miss the cultural significance of this song. It must, of course, be pure coincidence that the single came out in the same week as the insidious machination that the song is tackling is exposed for what it represents, with a few unscrupulous Oromo characters in the diaspora audaciously and maliciously misrepresenting the ongoing Oromo Protests led by Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromo, as one organized by the Ethiopian government without a shred of convincing evidence. That the originators of this vicious propaganda are using as evidence, TPLF’s predictable move to exploit their insinuation, shows how dangerous these characters can be if they are not challenged in a timely manner. These unmoored Oromo persons must know that The TPLF is not that negligent not to use an opening they are handing it – a ‘Hail-Mary scoring opportunity’, as it were – to confuse and potentially divide its mortal enemy, the Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromo. Perhaps, most Oromo activists who are pushing this spurious argument mean no harm – they might even be convinced that their treacherous role-models are God’s gifts to the Oromo; even so, they are guilty of misidentifying cause (the allegation that TPLF is orchestrating the ongoing Oromo Protests) for effect (TPLF’s desperate attempt to capitalize on it).
It is such a disconcerting state-of-affairs among the Oromo diaspora that Hacaalu is bearing witness to when he sang the following lines in his inimitable ways. No wonder he chose the precariousness of life in Oromia over the “comforts” of living in the diaspora under these lamentable circumstances. In my view, these powerful words (see below) encapsulate the essence of the instant classic, JIRRA. Shira nu irratti dalagamaa turee fi ammallee dalagamaa jiru ifatti mul’isa. In eight minutes of superb artistic brilliance, he not only exposes the contemptible Shira that a few in the Oromo diaspora have been cooking, but he also rejects it emphatically, running into the warm embrace of his *true love* in Gincii, Gullisoo, Dadar, Shaallaa and other localities in Oromia (contemplate the careful sequencing of the towns!), signalling the political maturity of the Qeerroo back home (for whom Hacaalu is a great example), representing an auspicious development for the Oromo people – a long-suffering nation which has been prone to debilitating confusions and divisions induced largely by a Machiavellian propaganda machine from within, unbefitting the GADAA people. JIRRA captures the shifting zeitgeist in the Oromo political landscape, entwining Hacaaluu with the thriving Oromo cause for the ages.
Abba Wabii, Qaxalee Ilmaa; Ilmi-dhugaa siif ha dhalatu. Wabiin wabii siif ha taatu, akka ati saba keetiif wabii dhugaa taatetti.
Nan mammaaka – na mammaaksisaa
Uumamni seera uumaa dabsee
Raajii bara kanaan raajakaa
Erga buqqeen dhagaa cabsee
Nan mammaaka – na mammaaksisaa
Raajii bara kanaa yaa jamaa
Bolla keessa teessee boolla qottii
Dhaala Abbaa ishii ilmoon rirmaa
Shira shiranii, garaa fi qalbii kiyya hatanii
Akkan sirraa cituuf yaadanii
Maal godheen ani sirraa citaa.
Maal goheen ani sirraa citaa!!!
Si fudheen Gincii koo lixa
Si fudheen Gullisoo lixa
Si fudheen Dadar koo lixa
Si fudheen Shaallaa koo lixa
JIRRA, JIRRA, JIRRA…….