“His only crime is courage” journalist Martin Schibbye regarding his colleague Dawit Isaak
Today the Swedish-Eritrean Journalist Dawit Isaak turns 50. A wonderful event for those who are free. A day to celebrate amongst friends and family. This will not be the case for Dawit Isaak. He has been held in Eritrean prison since 2001 without trial. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and has called for his immediate and unconditional release. He is the only European citizen held as a prisoner of conscience.
In honour of Dawit Isaak we today premiere 10 unique reflections from actors, journalists and opinionleaders who all participated in the video for the earlier released song “Fågelsång” (Birdsong) as a call of action to raise awareness for Dawit Isaak. Martin Schibbye, the Swedish journalist who himself has a deep knowledge of being held for wanting to tell the truth is the first one to share his reflections. He spend 438 days in Ethiopian prison. This is his personal reflection on Dawit Isaaks case. Recorded in a replica of a cell that we use in Sweden in order to raise awareness about Dawit Isaaks situation. Even Desmond Tutu has visited this replica during his last visit to Sweden.
Dawit Isaac was presented a choice
He could have choosen another job, another profession.
He could have stayed in Sweden
But his love for Eritrea, journalism and his fellow human beings got him to stay and write
That decision brought him to the dark cell.
His only crime is courage
I think Dawit will hold it together,
because despite his physical freedom being taken away or even his clothes, he still holds on to the most valuable possesion which nobody can take from him, the right to decide who he is.
Dawit is a journalist and every day is just another day at the office.
The big fear for Dawit I believe is to be forgotten, attention is more important then bread and water, it keeps him alive.
Words put him in prison and words will set him free.
Martin Schibbey, journalist and jailed in Ethiopia for 438 days for doing his job as a journalist