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  • In English, French, and Arabic, Ben Mhenni's accounts of the revolution highlighted her engagement against the dictatorship.

    In English, French, and Arabic, Ben Mhenni's accounts of the revolution highlighted her engagement against the dictatorship. | Photo: Facebook

Published 27 January 2020

Tributes have poured in to honor the young woman who embodied the struggle of a whole generation.

Tunisian human rights activist and blogger Lina Ben Mhenni, one of the principal symbols of the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, died Monday at the age of 36, of the consequences of a long illness, her family said.

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Using her name and taking significant risks, Ben Mhenni founded the blog, "A Tunisian Girl," to report and speak out against the human rights abuses during the rule of Ben Ali, who banned her blog in 2007.

But in 2011, she started blogging once again and was the first to report on the protests after street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight on December 17, 2010, sparking the Arab uprisings.

In English, French, and Arabic, her accounts of the revolution highlighted her engagement against the dictatorship. They were a crucial source of information about the violent crackdown on protesters by security forces, particularly in Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the revolution, and in other disadvantaged cities in the interior of the country.

Her work rapidly gained international attention, and she won El Mundo’s International Journalism Prize for her “fight for freedom” in 2011. She was also awarded the Deutsche Welle International Blog Award and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

After the 2011 revolution, and despite suffering from a chronic illness, she never stopped to fight for human rights and freedoms. In recent years Ben Mhenni participated in numerous panels and cultural events such as the Arab Women Literature Festival while campaigning for Tunisia’s youth and a reading initiative in Tunisian prisons.

Tributes have poured in to honor the young woman who embodied the struggle of a whole generation.

"After years of battles, both physically and mentally, Lina Ben Mhenni has left us," fellow activist Amira Yahyaoui wrote on Twitter. She "will be remembered as the most amazing citizen."

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