Am so saddened to learn, on World Press Freedom Day of all days, that we have lost a Titan of journalism, who I count it a deep privilege to have met and worked with.
Aaron Berhane co-founded Setit, the first independent newspaper in Eritrea, and was editor-in-chief on the day the country’s fledgling democracy was extinguished by Isaias Afewerki on 18 September 2001. He managed to escape arrest, unlike so many of the pro- democracy journalists and officials who remain detained incommunicado in brutal conditions, and continued the struggle for a free and democratic Eritrea from a new base in Canada, despite the pain of being separated from his immediate family for around a decade, and the detention and torture of close relatives in revenge for his escape.
He was a man of deep integrity; insightful, a true justice seeker, and a fundamentally decent human being, whose unblemished reputation both proceeded and will succeed him.
Rest in Peace and Rise in Power, Aaron. Praying for the God of all comforts to surround your family and friends at this extremely painful time, and for Him to actualise your dream of a free Eritrea even sooner than we could ever imagine.
Dr Khataza Gondwe
3 May 2021