It is with a heavy heart that we have come to hear of the passing of Afar Sultan Hanfare Alimirah in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, tonight. This loss is a devastating blow to the Afar people who have already been having a difficult year. Sultan Hanfare came into his most recent role as Sultan at the time of his father's passing in 2011, but that was only one of many roles he has had in his monumental life.
At his father's court, at a young age, Hanfare entered the service of the Afar people early as a defacto chief of staff of sorts. He learned to govern early and never stopped.
When the Derg regime took over Ethiopia and encroached on the Afar Region, Hanfare abandoned his governing role to undertake that of a warrior and founded The Afar Liberation Front to free his people from tyranny.
In the reformed Ethiopia, Hanfare undertook a new serving role as Ethiopian Ambassador to Kuwait. When duty called once more, Hanfare answered as he inherited his rightful place as Sultan of The Afar People.
To me, I could not have asked for a better brother. My life has been enriched by having him in it. From our shared childhood in Aysaita to the halls of university in Washington DC, his council, love and understanding was the most treasured thing I could have ever asked for.
Sultan Hanfare's life is riddled with stories of his unquestionable love and dedication to his people. Sultan Hanfare was a servant of his people to the very last breath.
His legacy is one that will not be easily forgotten. We can all only hope to meet our makers as he will; with a full life spent in the service of others.
Innalillahi Wa Inna Illayhi Raji'unn.