What began in the middle of 2018 as nightly chants of “ciao, ciao Adare” (‘goodbye Harari’), pack your bags, and “kinyyaa” (‘this is ours’) culminated with the Harari National League (HNL) surrendering half of the administration of Harar to the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP). Unchecked, this will end in the complete removal of Hararis from Harar—politically and physically.
Today, virtual silence. While there is no war, a serious crisis is taking place. Ethiopia recently gained the unfortunate distinction of having the largest number of people internally displaced by conflict, almost 2.9 million in 2018, surpassing war-torn countries like Syria. As Ethiopia grapples with the challenges of political change and reform, Harar faces its own challenges.
In 2018-19, Harar experienced a litany of abuses: Municipal services such as water and garbage removal were disrupted and cut off for weeks and their return was extorted for great sums of money; ethnically motivated mobs marched the streets of Harar chanting racist and incendiary slogans; historical mosques have been occupied and their religious leaders chased out; several Harari properties and lands have been illegally looted and stolen. And, when the government does respond, they do so at the speed of molasses.
full article:While Hararis wait for the government of Ethiopia to address their grievances, those borne out of inter-ethnic strife, a new crisis befell Harar in January 2020, one that is religious in nature. It has now been widely reported that, amid the Orthodox Christian Celebration of Timket in Harar, Amhara celebrants and Oromo residents fought over the draping of the former Ethiopian imperial flag—a controversial symbol amongst Ethiopians.
Amhara and Oromo have had numerous clashes over this same flag. This time, however, some used this incident as a rallying cry, claiming Christianity was under attack. Thereafter, a faction of Ethiopian Christians attacked mosques, Muslims, and Muslim properties in the city of Harar and Dire Dawa.
In Harar, local authorities reported, two buildings were set ablaze while another 11 had their windows smashed, two cars were set on fire, and several properties were damaged; several of the properties and buildings belonged to Hararis. The loss of two lives was also reported. One of the lives lost, of the two, was a Harari man, Riad Hassan. After having lunch with his parents, for the last time, Hassan left taking his usual path, unaware of any conflict. Caught up in the confusion, Hassan was shot by police and died three days later.