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Zerihun Tesfaye

Zerihun Tesfaye is an Ethiopian journalist and human right activist living in exile. He has worked in exile as a correspondent for Deutsche Welle, Germany's public news organization, and as an editor of Addis Neger Online. Zerihun has also worked as a political and economic commentator for the Ethiopian weekly Amharic-language newspapers Feteh, Addis Neger, Le'elena, Addis Times, and Negadrass. Since fleeing Ethiopia in 2009, in addition to his journalism activities, Zerihun has been working on providing and translating digital security materials to journalists and human right activists in Ethiopia. He is a 2011 recipient of a Hellman/Hammett Award from Human Rights Watch.

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Kenya

Exiled journalists in risky places need helping hand

The dangerous neighborhood of Eastleigh is home to some exiled journalists. (AP)

It was well past mid-day in Eastleigh, a shanty district on the east side of Nairobi, Kenya. The billows of dust rising from the rock-scarred road showed a government that had long lost interest in the neighborhood. A young man, struggling with horribly dry conditions, was fighting with his patrons. "Welahi, today's khat is so small. I need more," a Somali customer was complaining. "Pole, hakuna unvua" ("Sorry, no rain"). "Khat is getting expensive in these days," the young man tried to convince him in Kiswahili and English. Few knew that the young peddler was once a journalist in Ethiopia. They cared neither about his profession nor the reasons he had fled his home country. For them, he was just a dealer of khat, the mildly addictive green leaf that is chewed in East Africa. It was as simple as that. 

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