Abed Younis: A true champion of freedom of the press

Letters to Editor
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IT was sad to learn that my good friend Abed Younis recently passed away. The two of us used to have a weekly lunch a few years ago. We would talk about local politics, about the state of education in the CNMI, and about other subjects and events in the Northern Marianas.

I have known Abed since I got out of law school in 1974. He had already begun publishing Marianas Variety News & Views two years earlier. It was then a weekly paper.

As I think back about Abed’s life in the Northern Marianas, the thing that struck me most about him was the fact that he chose to become a news publisher, a very difficult profession. But the news reporting profession, as it turned out, is one that truly matched his character, his personality, his strong belief in basic human decency, and in the pursuit of the truth.

The names — Abed Younis and Marianas Variety — are inextricably intertwined. Each one implies the other; and the aim of both Abed and the Variety is the search for the truth and to truthfully inform the public.

Both Abed and the Variety never aimed to please the reader, but to inform the public. Interestingly, the irony with freedom of the press as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution is that in the process of reporting the facts and the truth, there will be those who do not like the truth reported. Still, in reporting on matters that are sometimes controversial, Abed and the Variety always stood firm and unbending in the paper’s reporting. Abed was never afraid of threats of personal harm or of economic harm to the Variety. Such is the reason for the Northern Marianas public’s continuing reliance on the paper’s reporting, for almost half-a-century now.

I shall close this farewell tribute to my friend Abed Younis by saying that his lasting legacy to the people of the Northern Marianas and Micronesia will always be his unbending search for the truth and his lifetime defense of freedom of the press in the islands. On this legacy for reporting the truth, Abed Younis will be very difficult to match. The people of the Northern Marianas will surely miss him.

As Gonno, Saipan

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