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AFRICA / A last revolutionary lesson: Lina Ben Mhenni's coffin was carried by female fellow fighters
Date of publication at Tlaxcala: 29/01/2020
Original: درس أخير في الثورة… نعش لينا بن مهني على أكتاف رفيقات الكفاح
Translations available: Français  Italiano 

A last revolutionary lesson: Lina Ben Mhenni's coffin was carried by female fellow fighters


Translated by  Rim Ben Fraj ريم بن فرج
Edited by  Fausto Giudice Фаусто Джудиче فاوستو جيوديشي


While the mere fact of women attending a funeral is unacceptable in many Arab and Islamic countries, the funeral of the Tunisian 'rebel girl' Lina Ben Mhenni reflected a revolution that she began, calling for gender equality. 

Her female fellow fighters did not walk behind her coffin, but carried her on her shoulders, bidding her farewell with 'yewyew' (ululations) and strong chants calling for women's equality with men in inheritance.

"Carnation" or "Tunisian Girl", as she was nicknamed, being associated with the Tunisian revolution of 2010-2011, passed away on the morning of January 27 at age 36 after years of struggle with kidney failure.

The burial was carried out on tuesday in the Jalaz cemetery in the capital, Tunis, after a solemn popular and national funeral that took place from her home in the az-Zahra neighborhood of Ben Arous district.

The passing of Lina Ben Mhenni left a wound in the hearts of her loved ones, but it also left a determination to move forward on her revolutionary approach against all hurdles, starting at her funeral.

It was not an usual funeral, but a human rights march in the strictest sense, as her female comrades stood outside the house receiving the coffin with yewyew and waving jasmine, chanting the Tunisian national anthem "O defenders of the Homeland, We die for the sake of our land."

Soon the revolutionary chants that Lina had repeatedly echoed in her life, including "equality for women" and "I'm not forgiving, we're not forgiving" and "Work, freedom and national dignity", could be heard.

Thousands of both sexes gathered for the funeral of the Tunisian rebel girl in a grand "popular" funeral as her father wished, not an official funeral as some of her comrades requested, while a number of her companions carried the coffin until the ambulance that carried her to the grave in the Martyrs' Square.

Before the body landed in the grave, the ululations rose again, hands waved goodbye.

And through social media, commentators noted that Lina Ben Mhenni with this distinguished funeral refused to give up even after her death, and others considered this "a final lesson from Lina before the last goodbye."

They praised the Tunisian women for "giving freedom a meaning."

The dominant rules on women's' presence at funerals in Islam says “it's nadvisable and should be forbidden,” according to the majority of preachers.. Lina's funeral remembers a precedent in Afghanistan in 2015 when a group of human rights activists carried the coffin of a 27-year-old Afghan woman who had been beaten to death by a group of men before setting fire to her body and dumping her body in the river, for allegedly having burned a copy of the Quran.

During the funeral, activists demanded justice for the murdered and to bring the perpetrators to trial, and set a shocking precedent in a society dominated by extremists and males.

Courtesy of Tlaxcala
Publication date of original article: 28/01/2020
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Tags: Lina Ben MhenniWomen's' LibTunisia

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