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Dessale Berekhet

Eritrean writer

Dessale Berekhet was born in Eritrea in the mid-1970’s.  He has dedicated his working life to journalism, literature and to the promotion of the Tigre and Tigrinya languages through radio programmes and two independent newspapers, in which he wrote weekly opinion columns.  In terms of more literary work, he has published two cultural books and five children’s’ books.

As a journalist, he has turned his texts into a weapon against the injustice and widespread lack of democracy in his country,  In 2001 the regime of dictator Isaias Afwerki, in an unprecedented and forceful move, banned all private press and the situation became stifling for any media not fully aligned with the regime.  Dessale founded the Tigre-language magazine, Takiyat, which, due to the political situation, was short-lived.  He bore witness to the imprisonment and persecution of many of his friends and colleagues, which led him into self-imposed exile in Uganda.  From there, in partnership with other Eritrean journalists, he launched the website  www.unitedheartz.com, with the aim of providing free and truthful information.  The website was, however, shut down.

Currently, he is the Writer In Refuge in the Norwegian city of Bø, which forms part of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), along with Barcelona and Girona.  Recently, he founded Eritrean PEN.