Tributes pour in for Dr. Berhanu Abebe, dead at 75.
Tributes are flowing in to Dr. Berhanu, the internationally renowned acadamicand researcher who has died in Harare on Tuesday while on duty with an electoral observation mission of the African Union. According to ENA, French president Nicolay Sarkozy sent a letter to President Girma Wold Giorgis saying the death of Dr. Berhanu was a loss not only to Ethiopia but also to Africa.
A press release from the French Embassy in Addis Ababa also said “Professor Berhanu Abebe will be sorely missed”.
“An incredible mind and a wonderful scholar, Professor Berhanu Abebe was, all through his lifetime, a committed and outstanding proponent of the Ethiopian culture as well as of Francophony.”
“A lawyer, historian and erudite , Professor Berhanu Abebe was entrusted with prestigious positions, which he owed to his great talent: an academic and researcher of great renown, he was also appointed Vice-president of the PanAfrican Congress and Deputy General Manager of the Ethio-French Railway Company.”
“Professor Berhanu Abebe authored a French-Amharic dictionary and an Amharic-French one and translated several pieces of work into Amharic (notably “le Bateau ivre”, by French poetArthur Rimbaud). In 1998, he published a remarkable history of Ethiopia in French, a testimony of his love for both Ethiopia, his native country, and France, to which he was the greatest of friends.”
“France honored Professor Berhanu Abebe’s many achievements by bestowing upon him its greatest destinations: he was made a knight of l’Ordre National du Mérite, an Officer of the Palmes Académiques (for academic excellence), a knight of La Légion d’Honneour and a Commander of “Arts et Lettres”‘.
In a letter published in the Capital, English weekly, the membership of Rotary Club of Addis-Ababa Entoto extended thier sympathies saying he was a great man and Ethiopia has indeed lost its most outstanding scholar and a nation’s pride.
Dr. Amakeletch Teferi, president of the Association of former Lycée Guebre-Mariam School Students, said the cultural life of Addis Ababa will never be the same again without Dr. Berhanu.She said he was an exceptional man and source of pride for all Lycée students.
(In the picture, Stéphane Gompertz, French ambassador to Ethiopia is handing out the knight to Dr. Berhanu.It is taken from Les novelles d’Addis, a Paris-based publication)