SOURCE: JOE BARTUAH, FORMER MANAGING EDITOR
It was just in December 2013 that Ena sent me a condolence message about
the passing of Musue Haddad. It is unbelievable that another young lady
(born 1973) with whom I worked in the 1990s has died so suddenly. When I
reflect on the struggle that we all went through in resurrecting The
News newspaper following the April 6, 1996 chaos the engulfed Monrovia
in the ’90s, I’m overcome by grief.
Operating a newspaper in warlords-controlled Liberia in the ‘90s was like a curse on journalists. Many patrons and beneficiaries of the status quo at the time despised us, but with the encouragement and support that we received from the larger society and all of our staff, we remained vigilant. The late Bobby Tapson, Musue Haddad and now Ena Harmon were all at the frontlines during those memorable moments.
Just imagine being a reporter of a newspaper that the president of your country has declared a “dissident newspaper.” Just think about your newsroom being invaded by hordes of cane-caring “veteran” rebels. Even though Ena worked in the sports department, when those drugged hoodlums stormed our offices, they didn’t pick and choose; they attacked anyone in sight, because their chief patron had mandated them to do so.
But together, we went through those hellish experiences until the year 2000, when Ena got the nod to cover the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. I was so happy that another young and enterprising reporter from The News had been given the opportunity to prove her capability. Following my stint at the Monrovia Central Prison on frivolous “sedition” charges, when I eventually landed here in the U.S., Ena who had by then moved to Canada, was one of those who warmly greeted me on the phone.
We were in touch on many occasions and when she asked me to prepare some document for her Immigration process, I swiftly did that and dispatched it to her. A couple of weeks later, Ena called me and said, “Chief, thank you so much; I got my citizenship.” I was so elated that former staff members of The News were gradually making some progress.
Since moving to Sierra Leone to work with a Canadian NGO, we have been in touch via the magic of Facebook. I didn’t know of any ailment; as a result, I screamed when I received a very brief text message from Mr. Cyril Tarpeh, our former Business Manager that Ena had passed away.
Indeed, this is another spasm of tragedy that has struck The News family, Ena’s parents, other family members and relatives. Death is always a painful experience for everyone, but the experience of burying one’s child is very gloomy, especially so when family members are far apart (her mother resides here in the U.S.).
To all members of The NEWS family and especially to the Harmon family, I extend my deepest condolences for this unexpected tragedy. May the soul of Miss Ena Kebbeh Harmon rest in perfect peace.