TUNISIAN GIRL: TEN YEARS ON

A woman, a camera, a blog — how one young woman’s brave words, shared online, calling for a free Tunisia helped to topple a dictator in 2011, but ten years on, who will continue her generation’s struggle for freedom of speech and human rights in the new and fraught terrain of post-revolution?

“Like many young people today, I have a dream: I want the world to change. But nothing will change if information does not, if the truth does not, all the dictators of the world fear the net, because the first thing they always do, is to control the information”
– Lina Ben Mhenni


BACKGROUND ON THE PROJECT:
January 2021 will be the ten-year anniversary of the Arab Spring.

Tunisian Girl, Ten Years On looks at the legacy of the iconic Arab Spring blogger Lina Ben Mhenni (aka Tunisian Girl) and how her journey as a firebrand cyber activist and courageous citizen journalist opened the floodgates for other young activists who, after beating the dictatorship, were faced with the emerging new challenge of politicized religion and extremism. Lina rose to prominence during and after the Arab Spring for her defiance of censorship and advocacy for women’s rights, and was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, but early this year she tragically succumbed to Lupus at the young age of 34.

Can Lina’s dream survive in the battle for ideas and the competing dreams of the growing population of disenchanted youth of Tunisia and the rest of the Arab world? Many feel they have no future and are falling prey to the competing forces of consumerism and religious extremism: the age-old battle between the future trying to be born and the past that stubbornly wants to reassert itself at any price.

WORK-IN-PROGRESS, shooting in Tunisia in 2021

Co-produced and Directed by: Amie Williams
Co-Produced and Directed by: Rana Haddad