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Let's be proud of Joshua
Aaron Berhane - November 25, 2002

Never have I ever been so proud to have Joshua to be my colleague! When we founded SETIT (the first private newspaper in Eritrea) in August 1997, we were looking for some talented writers to enrich the content of our paper. Right then, Joshua joined us in November 1997. He accepted our invitation. To our satisfaction, he started to explore his creative mind. He wrote one short story to explain the housing problem in Asmara, the title of which was ADEY KIRTASH. In his beautiful story, he tried to criticize the rough relationship of landlords and tenants, the land policy of the government and selfishness of some people. ADEY KIRTASH was published as a series for about seven parts. During that period, the circulation of our newspaper was increased by 7 percent. It was really a very popular story.

Not only that, Joshua was a hard working and far-sighted man. He was doing his best to contribute something good to the society. He wrote several articles to improve the knowledge of the people in social, political and cultural issues. He interviewed many officials to find concrete answers to the complaint of the people. Even though he worked with us part-time, he was really an engine of our newspaper. His contribution was very enormous. Had he worked his full time, he would have done much more. Definitely, our appreciation would have gone higher. However, all his good contributions, like other Eritrean journalists, are forgotten by the government. Instead of appreciation, they put him in jail. It is really sad. On the other hand, it is also a success. So many big human rights organizations and advocators of press freedom stand to safe the Eritrean press freedom. They have been calling to Eritrean government to release the jounalists who are under arrest. Their effort, definitely, is going to bear fruit in the near future.

Realizing the hard work of Eritrean journalists, different organizations have been trying to give credit to the Eritrean journalists. Amnesty International awarded Milkias Mihreteab in July 2002 for his courageous work in advocating human rights. And now, CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) is going to award Fessehaye Yohannes (Joshua) an International Press Freedom Award on Nov. 26, 2002. Those courageous people are not only called to their name, but to the Eritrean Press Freedom. Particularly the award of Joshua has special meaning as it is the award of press Freedom. So, the success of Joshua is the success of Eritrean Press freedom as a whole. It is the success of all Eritrean journalists who are behind the bars of the government.It is the success of all journalists who live in exile. Moreover, it is the success of Eritrean people who really nourished the independent press. Thus let's take pride in Joshua.Let's be proud of the journalists who are in jail. It is really a big celebration for all Eritreans who advocate to free press.

On the contrary, it is an effective blow to PFDJ (People's Front for Democracy and Justice) authorities who killed the physical part of Free Press, but failed to kill its spirit. I hope, PFDJ will learn a good lesson from this. It is useless to put journalists behind bars while their fruit is growing richly in the hearts of all Eritreans. The award of Joshua and the arrest of my colleagues (all Eritrean journalists in jail) are going to remain a corner stone of the Eritrean Press Freedom in the future. So, let's be proud of them.

Aaron Berhane,contributed and has sole responsibility for the content on this page. For comments you can contact the writer by e-mail: Aaron Berhane
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