Funeral services for Biwoded Sultan Ali Mirah Hanfere, one of the most prominent Ethiopians, was held on Tuesday in the eastern Ethiopian town of Assaita in the presence of family members, friends and supporters from different parts of the country, religious figures, and political leaders, including the prime minister of Djibouti.
Conspicuously, but not surprisingly, absent from the funeral was the khat-addicted tin-pot dictator Meles Zenawi.
Although Ali Mirah, 95, is a bitter opponent of Meles Zenawi’s politics, he is more than a politician. He is a spiritual leader of Ethiopia’s Afar community, and held in high esteem by millions of Ethiopians as a great patriot. His influence extends beyond Ethiopia’s borders. That’s why Djibouti’s prime minister came to Assaita to pay his respect.