(Via OPride.com) – Irreecha massacre survivor Milkessa Midega explains how the Oromo Thanksgiving festival turned into a day of terror
by Milkessa Midega
On Sunday morning at 7 a.m., I, along with nine other friends, arrived in Bishoftu, a town 25 miles southeast of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, for the annual Irreechaa festival. We were searched by police before entering the town.
Once in the town, a traffic police told our driver that cars cannot pass an area called Chuqala or Zuqala. So we left the car behind and started walking toward Lake Hora, where the Irreechaa ceremony takes place. We reached the sacred lake, known in Afaan Oromo as Hora Arsadi, after about an hour. Everyone heading to the lake was in white Oromo cultural clothes. Many walk in small groups, singing cultural songs — mostly “Hoo! Yaa maree hoo” — a song usually performed on the day of Irreechaa. Others sang cultural songs from different regions of Oromia.