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Acclaimed Tunisian activist, Lina Ben Mhenni, passes away


Acclaimed Tunisian activist, Lina Ben Mhenni, 36, died yesterday after a long illness. Ben Mhenni was in the frontlines of the revolts which toppled longtime former president Zein el Abidine Ben Ali and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for chronicling the protests. She is dubbed one of the first journalists and bloggers to travel to the remote province of Sidi Buzid, the cradle of the uprising when street vendor, Mohammad Bu Azizi, set himself on fire protesting against the confiscation by police of his goods on December 17, 2010. Ben Mhenni wrote for years about the human rights violations during Ben Ali’s rule, posting on social media pictures and videos she shot during the early revolts against the despot’s regime. Ben Mhenni, English instructor at the University of Tunis, suffered from a chronic illness in her final months and wrote denouncing the state of hospitals in the capital. She published her latest article on the political status quo in her country. Since the announcement of her death, tributes have poured in from many public and official figures for the ‘strong woman’ activist and the voice of resistance against dictatorship. The designate prime minister, Elias Fakhakh, described her as the ‘icon of the popular movement’. (An Nahar, January 28, 2020)

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