In Memoriam — colleagues lost on 10 March 2019

A tribute to AIIC colleagues who lost their lives on Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302

On Sunday 10 March 2019, AIIC lost three of its members in the tragic accident that befell flight ET302 en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.  

As we mourn the loss of Suzan Abul Farag (Cairo, Egypt), Graziella de Luis (Rome, Italy) and Esmat Orensa (Cairo, Egypt), our thoughts are with their families, loved ones and friends, as well as with our colleague, Anna Rita Giammetta (Rome, Italy) who lost her daughter, Maria Pilar Buzzetti

As a mark of respect to all those who lost their lives, and in remembrance of our colleagues, we invite our members to wear a flower on Monday,18th March, as a fitting collective tribute to their memory. 

This page is a space for their friends, colleagues and loved ones to post tributes and celebrate their lives. If you would like to post a tribute, please get in touch.

(The In Memoriam page for other AIIC Members can be found here)

Dearest Suzan,  Gachi, Esmat and Pilar, may you rest in peace. 

Suzan Abul Farag
Graziella "Gachi" de Luis
Esmat Orensa

What a horrible day was yesterday. The tragic Ethiopian Airlines flight  took so many lives and among them two very dear friends.

Suzi, one of the most sweet, nice and lovable colleagues I've worked with. From day one she took me under her wing and treated me like a member of her family... We had lots of fun working in difficult places and conditions, still managing to shop til we dropped! The whole world will miss such a beautiful soul...

Tatou...Tatou, I'll always remember your face when I first came to class at AI Alsun with my odd Italian high school diploma looking for the right place in a new world for me. You were there welcoming and inviting. From that day on we were always together, year after year, graduating both with honors, going to Interpretation school together, studying for the exams while taking turns holding baby Khaled, struggling to land our first conference, working side by side.. Yes life took us sometimes in different  directions, but I can't remember a day where you were not present somehow with me, in a silly comment, in something we did together or in an inside joke that only the two of us would laugh about.

Last night I found myself staring at a bowl of strawberries with a dollop of yogurt, our favorite snack while studying in the summer Cairo heat, only to see it become soggy with my tears. At this age I've learned that we will have to say goodbye to dear family members or to friends, but never in my wildest dreams I would've thought that you had reached the end of the road, so soon, so sudden.... Now what am I supposed to do?

 Hala Ismail (a colleague, former AIIC member, and dear friend of Esmat Orensa)

Death leaves a heartache no one can leave. Love leaves a memory no one can steal. Esmat and Suzy will remain forever in our hearts and thoughts. You touched our lives and inspired our profession. Your life was a blessing, your memory is a treasure. You are loved beyond words and missed beyond treasure. 

Goodbye darlings.

Dahlia Kashmiry 

My deepest condolences to the families of our colleagues who perished today in the Ethiopian Airlines crash on their way to a mission Nairobi! May they rest in peace! Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones in this time of deep sorrow for their loss.

Adnane Ettayebi

My deepest condolences to the families.

Heidi Cazes

My deepest condolences to the families. Our hearts are with you.

Claudia Koch-Mcquillan

... So very very sad... And remember, in 2010 another AIIC colleague, Marla Sanchez, was also killed in a plane crash - also Ethiopian Airlines... 

She is mentioned in this Wiki article

Tanya Gesse

Deep condolences. Is there any way we might make individual and voluntary donations to the families of our colleagues? Any information of how it can be done? Thank you.

Elena Khorishko

My sincere condolences to the families of our colleagues who lost their lives in the Air Ethiopia crash. 

Cristina Boyce

Dear Gachi, I only just got to know you at a conference in Rome last week. Exactly seven days ago at this very hour, we parted saying goodbye and we probably added "hope to see you again soon" as one normally does, not thinking twice about it. And then on Sunday morning, a colleague sent me a text message with the devastating news.

I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to meet you. As you worked in a different booth, we only got a chance to talk and joke and laugh during the breaks and over lunch. Nevertheless, these were two memorable days and I, along with the whole team, miss you dearly.

Dear Phil, all your friends and colleagues are mourning with you. You know that you always have somebody to turn to (and not only to sort out awkward terms in Schwiizerdütsch ...)

Christoph Renfer, Switzerland

(Originally posted by the America Translators Association (ATA), Interpreters Division)   

Maha El-Metwally 

What an immense loss we have experienced losing Gachi. The void she leaves behind will never be filled. Te mando un abrazo inmenso querida amiga, sea donde sea que te encuentres. Nunca te olvidaré.

Alessandra Bonatti-Harabin

May the work they did be continued in their honor. Their loss is a reminder that our time here is unpredictable and our work shall speak for who we are. The outpouring of love I have seen from colleagues from all over the world speaks volumes about Suzan, Graziella and Esmat. I am new to this community and a humble learner.

Giovanna Lester

I never met any of the colleagues nor Maria Pilar's mother, but that is beside the point and does not make the pain any easier to bear... May they all be in the light. 

Marilda Averbug

Face à cette bouleversante nouvelle, c'est avec une immense tristesse que mes pensées accompagnent les familles des collègues interprètes comme celles du personnel de l'ONU...

Fatima Cherqaoui

Gachi, bruja y diosa de la interpretación, no pasaba desapercibida.

 Incluso su muerte fue de mito. Nada de bajos perfiles. Se fue dejando titulares en varios idiomas, fiel a su estilo. Arrebatada y notable hasta el final. Yo me quedo con todo lo que me enseñó, sobre la profesión y la vida en general. Con su sonrisa y comentarios hilarantes fuera de micrófono. Con la pasión que ponía a "sus causas". Con el amor con el que te perseguía con su iPad para mostrarte fotos de su familia, sus amigos y sus viajes. No puedo evitar esbozar sonrisas cuando recuerdo algunas de sus salidas.

Me quedo con la sensación de gratitud de haberme cruzado con ella, de haber conocido y trabajado con un mito. ❤

Gachi, que descanses en paz.

Lucía Marino

Graziella que j'ai connue lors de la grande conference africaine de Yaoundé sur le Sida en 1988 en meme temps que plusieurs autres collègues du monde entier est celle avec laquelle je suis restée en contact personnel.

Nous avons passe des jours inoubliables chez moi vers la fin de mon passage au Tribunal penal international pour le Rwanda. Etant bien renseignée sur les meilleures formules de Safari en Tanzanie, je me suis faite une joie d'en organiser pour Gachi qui voulait voir autant d'animaux que de belles chutes etc. Je me souviens de la course folle vers un arbre refuge quand le guide nous a avertis qu'un troupeau d'elephants s'approchait dangereusement de notre groupe et vous pouvez imaginer le fou rire de Gachi dont le rire joyeux demeure pour moi une marque de sa chaleureuse personnalité.

Dire que je suis dévastée d'apprendre que celle a qui j'ai fortement pense quelques jours auparavant est décédée n'est que la vérité.

Que sa famille reçoive ici l'expression de ma chaleureuse compassion 

Martine Epee (Retraitée)

Gachi DE LUIS 

“Posso raccontare in pubblico un aneddoto sulla Seleskovitch?” Queste le prime parole che mi rivolse a una conferenza che tenni su Danica Seleskovitch il 25 marzo 2018. Mi colpì immediatamente il fatto che chiedesse proprio a me il permesso di raccontare tale aneddoto, ma soprattutto mi colpì la sua energia, il fiume in piena delle sue parole, la sua capacità di instaurare un contatto immediato. Mi disse che abitava a Trastevere e di chiamarla se fossi passato da Roma: il tempo per andarla a trovare purtroppo non l’ho trovato e me ne rammarico, ma quell’invito è rimasto a galla nel mio cuore. Ciao Gachi, ora sarai negli spazi profumati dell’eternità.

Roberto Pietro Guerrino

AIIC Sign Language Network: a message of condolence, explaining that interpreters and friends around the world are wearing a flower on Monday, 18 March: as a mark of respect to all those who lost their lives on flight ET302 and in remembrance of our AIIC colleagues Esmat, Gachi & Suzan.   

Maya de Wit

AIIC Italia (via twitter)

Julia Poger (via Twitter)

AIIC UK & Ireland (via twitter)

Red Vertice (via twitter)

Monika Ott & Anja Grew (via twitter)

Maria Baker (via twitter)

Translation Talk / Jonathan (via twitter)

PEEMPIP (via twitter)

Sad news indeed. May they and all those in the plane rest in peace

Summer Mouallem (via LinkedIn)

My sincere and deepest condolences to the families.

Hulya Gray (via LinkedIn)

I am so deeply sorry for this.

Susanne Frank (via LinkedIn)

My deepest condolences to those left behind.

Anne Simonsen (via LinkedIn)

My condolences and my most sincere sympathy to the familia and friends. Rest in peace

Kattya Matorras (via LinkedIn)

Tatina Kaplun (via twitter)

Martin Barrère (via Facebook)

Trois de nos collègues et la fille d'une autre ont été brutalement arrachées à la vie. Alors que notre métier est fait de mots, les mots sont bien pauvres et impuissants à exprimer notre tristesse devant une telle tragédie. La mort est toujours effroyable, surtout pour ceux que l'on laisse derrière soi. Dire qu'elle est injuste n'a guère de sens car cela reviendrait à la classer dans une catégorie morale. Et pourtant, il est immense le sentiment d'injustice qu'on éprouve après un tel drame ; pourquoi elles ? Pourquoi si jeunes ? Pourquoi si tôt ? Pourquoi, pourquoi…? Aujourd'hui, c'est toute notre profession qui est touchée au cœur. Nous qui passons une bonne partie de notre temps à voyager, il nous est déjà arrivé de faire un vol agité, et, ballottés par les turbulences, de nous rassurer en pensant aux statistiques qui font de l'avion le plus sûr des moyens de transport. Mais lorsqu'un accident se produit, les statistiques sont bien incapables de sauver des vies.
Je pense aux victimes, je pense à leurs familles, à leurs proches, à leurs amis, et je pense à la grande famille des interprètes si cruellement éprouvée aujourd'hui.

Edgar Weiser

My deepest condolences to the families and may our dear colleagues rest in peace.

Jacqueline Fu

AIB, Agrupación de Intérpretes de Barcelona (via Facebook)

Lodovica Confalonieri (via Facebook)

Edgar Weiser (via Facebook)

Anne-marie Widlund-Fantini (via Facebook)

Aurora Humarán (via twitter)

Maha El-Metwally (via twitter)

TKTD - Conference Interpreters Association of Turkey (via twitter)

Marzia Sebastiani (via twitter)

IAPTI – International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (via twitter)

Aujourd'hui, la FAO à Rome a pris congé de Gachi, Susan, Esmat et Pilar. Nous étions une centaine d'amis et collègues.

Angela Keil (via Facebook - 21.3.2019) 

Recommended citation format:
AIIC. "In Memoriam — colleagues lost on 10 March 2019". March 14, 2019. Accessed May 29, 2020. <>.