A year after the independence revolution forced out Syrian troops and brought in a new Lebanese government, Nayla Tueni is chairing a meeting of students discussing a unique project. The idea is to form a shadow cabinet of young people to keep tabs on the country's actual Ministers. She stays cool when the talk gets a little raucous, yet no one harbors a greater passion for the plan. It is the brainchild of her father, newspaperman and Lebanese M.P. Gebran Tueni, who was assassinated at age 48 in a bomb attack last December in what was widely seen as revenge for his fearless criticism of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Lebanese allies.
That thrust Nayla, 23, to the forefront of the unfinished struggle to end Lebanon's domination by sectarian warlords and their foreign backers. She is on the way to becoming one of the country's most influential freedom advocates, as heir of the newspaper An-Nahar, founded by her great-grandfather in 1933 and long a leading voice of reason. It's a risky task; last year assassins killed An-Nahar columnist Samir Kassir. Nayla's latest essay brimmed with her father's customary defiance. "You can kill as many as you like," she taunted her father's assassins. "By killing us, you revive us."
Nayla's father's dream was to tap the young generation and create a modern, nonsectarian, united Lebanon. "They are pushing us to change," he told Time at the height of the protests. "We are not afraid," Nayla says. "When they killed Samir Kassir, we cried. My father said, 'We don't have to cry, we have to fight.' We will fight to the end."