"Ben Ali Fled!"

January 14th, 2011. Imed heads downtown to demonstrate against Ben Ali's dictatorship. Night falls, and the streets empty. Imed suddenly hears a voice that breaks the silence: "Ben Ali fled!". The voice belongs to a well-known lawyer and activist whose gesture defies the lockdown, while taking to the streets to celebrate Ben Ali's departure. Imed starts filming a video with his phone that would become symbolic of this historical day.
14 January 2020
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Created by
Inkyfada Podcast
Directing - Editing - Mixing
Monia Ben Hamadi, Bochra Triki, Hazar Abidi, Yassine Kawana
Yassine Kawana
Music and Sound Editing
Oussema Gaidi
Bochra Triki
Shams Radhouani Abdi, Yasmin Houamed
Marwen Ben Mustapha

January 14th, 2011. The UGTT (Tunisian General Labour Union) calls for a general strike and demonstration in downtown Tunis to protest the Ben Ali dictatorship. Like thousands of other Tunisians, Imed decides to join. Spirits are still high on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, and he meets up with his old friend Zein. Unable to find water, the two friends decide to head to a bar on Marseille Street. 

When they finally leave the bar, they find themselves amidst an apocalyptic landscape. Teargas is being launched by the police, and the crowd panics and disperses. Navigating around roadblocks, Imed and Zein seek refuge at Zein’s place above Café L'Univers, an iconic bar on Habib Bourguiba Avenue. 

At 5pm, a curfew is announced, leaving the streets empty. On the TV there are reports of Ben Ali's departure, but to where is still unknown. At nightfall, Imed hears a male voice shouting   " Ben Ali Hrab!" (Ben Ali fled!) along the streets, his voice tearing through the silence.

The voice belongs to Abdennaceur Laouini, a lawyer who is well-known within activist circles. With this move, he defies the rules and goes out to express his joy after the dictator's departure. Imed joins him and uses his phone to record the scene. For a few moments, his hand freezes up, and he just observes full of amazement and admiration, but his excitement is interrupted with apprehension of the curfew.

Behind the windows overlooking the Avenue, countless people watch the scene with mixed emotions, and without daring to leave. Imed and his friends find themselves completely alone on the Avenue. 

The next morning, Imed returns home and decides to share the video, but he did not expect it to become viral, shared thousands of times in only a few hours, viewed all around the world, and picked up by several media outlets. 

This video immortalised a key moment of the Tunisian revolution, and became a symbolic image of this historic day.

Where were you on January 14th ?

Throughout the year leading up to the tenth anniversary of the revolution, Inkyfada looks back on the events of January 14, 2011 in Tunis. Through the personal accounts of individuals on the ground, an alternative documentation of contemporary history is formed: one that is based on several different perspectives.

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Inkyfada Podcast is the first platform entirely dedicated to original Tunisian podcasts, and was conceived by Inkyfada media in collaboration with the in-house research and development laboratory, InkyLab.
Inkyfada joined the global podcast boom in 2017, when the team produced the first Tunisian audio documentary, diving deep into the belly of the El Kamour struggle taking place in the desert.
Since then, Inkyfada Podcast has produced a wide variety of documentaries, investigations, and podcast series, as well as articles accompanied by music; covering a multitude of contemporary issues in order to offer an immersive and alternative podcast experience.
Whilst exclusively offering audio content, the Inkyfada Podcast team upholds the same core values and principles of inkyfada.com, and is committed to producing high quality content though a dynamic and meticulous production process.
In addition to the permanent team, Inkyfada podcast works closely with various journalists, artists, illustrators, musicians and other content creators in order to diversify the platform and support artistic creativity.
These podcasts differ from traditional radiophonic content in that the applied production and editing process is more akin to cinematographic techniques, in addition to being web-based, downloadable and accessible on demand.
Additionally, Inkyfada Podcast uniquely offers subtitles in French, Arabic and English for all audio content, the majority of which is recorded in Tunisian or in the preferred language of the speaker in question.

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