Tributes are flowing in this evening for Ramon Casha, chairman of the Malta Humanist Society, civil rights campaigner and a frequent commenter on Times of Malta, who has passed away.
Michael Briguglio, former chairman of Alternattiva wrote in a Facebook post: Rest in peace Ramon Casha: honest, free-thinking and non-partisan civil society campaigner within Malta Humanist Association and so many causes.
Raphael Vassallo, journalist and fellow founder of the Malta Humanist Association added:
'...We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.'
Sleep peacefully, Ramon.
Insite, the University students' organisation described him as "a strong speaker and supporter of numerous worthy causes, particularly women's rights."
Mr Casha, 46, an IT specialist, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident last July.
In a statement, the Malta Humanist Association paid tribute to its founder.
"Ramon was more than just a fellow humanist, chairperson of our organisation for several years, and a friend. He was also a generous philanthropist, a committed social activist, an invaluable contributor to informed public debate, a tireless champion of secularism, and a voice of reason who will be sorely missed.
Few have done more than Ramon to further the cause of secularism locally.
"Few have done more than Ramon to further the cause of secularism locally. One of the founding members of the association, he was a most energetic and committed contributor by far. As chairperson (and earlier as deputy chairperson) he worked towards the creation of an Ethics Programme in the National Curriculum, and to establish a humanist celebrant service – the first initiative of its kind in Malta. Ramon himself celebrated the first humanist ceremony, a wedding.
"Ramon also actively supported the introduction of divorce, same-sex unions and emergency contraception, long before such views became mainstream. Often he was the lone voice of reason in a cacophony of extremism on the subject of female reproductive rights. He also provided valid contribution in the local discussion on LGBTQI equality, an area where Malta now ranks first in Europe.
"His courage and energy in helping to transform this country into a better place was not in vain.
"Ramon’s loss is the loss of a valued voice in the Maltese free-thinking community, among who he was highly respected for his honesty and intellectual integrity. These qualities were also recognized by individuals who disagreed with him."