Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lina Ben Mhenni and Yoani Maria Sanchez Cordero

Revolutionary Blogger and Freedom Fighter in Tunisia Lina Ben Mhenni
Sat, 01/22/2011, Story from mjperry@umich.edu (Mark J. Perry)

Cuba's got a revolutionary blogger and freedom fighter - Yoani Sanchez, who blogs at "Generacion Y," and has been frequently featured on Carpe Diem. This morning I heard about Yoani's counterpart in Tunisia - 22-year old Lina Ben Mhenni (pictured above), who blogs at "A Tunisian Girl," and who was featured on NPR this morning on NPR.



"Blogging in Tunisia has traditionally been a risky business. Online activists have been subject to harassment, imprisonment and targeted "phishing" attacks by the government in the past.


But this week's turmoil has ushered in a period of relative openness. Lina Ben Mhenni runs the blog A Tunisian Girl, which, until now, was banned in her own country. During the protests, she risked her safety, criticized the government on her blog and published images of the dead.

"I wrote this about Yoani Sanchez in 2009, and it could probably apply equally to Lina Ben Mhenni:

"When the history of Cuba's freedom movement is written, it's likely that Yoani Sanchez will be recognized as a national hero and freedom fighter, the equivalent of Lech Walesa in Poland and Vaclav Klaus Havel in the Czech Republic. Yoani Sanchez demonstrates that we should never underestimate the power of one courageous individual with a computer, a blog, and intermittent access to the Internet, or the individual's power to change the world in the Information Age, especially with a message of freedom and individual liberty.

The fact that the president of the United States, who is often recognized as the most powerful person in the world, has praised Yoani Sanchez's blog and responded to her questions is a remarkable and historical event.

Intellectual figures like Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, and Thomas Jefferson would be proud of Yoani Sanchez and her powerful message of individual freedom in one of the only remaining regimes of totalitarianism left in the world."

1 comment:

  1. "When the history of Cuba's freedom movement is written, it's likely that Yoani Sanchez will be recognized as a national hero and freedom fighter, the equivalent of Lech Walesa in Poland and Vaclav Klaus in the Czech Republic."
    I think you mean to say "Vaclav Havel." Vaclav Klaus is currently the presendent of the Czech Republic, but no one, not even he himself, I suspect, would call Klaus a "freedom fighter.' Havel certainly was, and the analogy with Yoanni Sanchez is good for another reason as well: both Sanchez and Havel are good writers, a quality that gives them the power to stand out among their peers.

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