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In passing

Sun., Sept. 12, 2004

Samira Bellil, 31, women’s rights leader

Paris Samira Bellil, whose book recounting gang rape she suffered as a teenager put her in the avant-garde of a small movement fighting for French Muslim women’s rights, died Friday of stomach cancer, according to her publisher Editions Denoel. She was 31.

Bellil’s 2002 autobiographical narrative, “Dans l’Enfer des Tournantes” (In the Hell of Gang Rape), explores the violence she endured during her childhood in a tough Parisian suburb, from drugs to gang rapes at the age of 13.

The book, written in the street language Bellil grew up speaking, was the final step in her fight to regain a sense of self-worth and quickly became a best seller.

Bellil was considered the “godmother” of the women’s‘ rights group “Ni Putes Ni Soumises” (Neither Whores Nor Submissive.)

Antoni Escriba, 73, famous pastry chef

Madrid, Spain Antoni Escriba, an award-winning pastry chef who worked wonders with chocolate and once used it to fashion a replica of the Vatican, died Monday after a fall. He was 73.

During a career spanning 60 years, Escriba received honors as a master chef from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, and a cultural medal from the town council of Barcelona.

Escriba came from a family of pastry chefs but wanted to be a sculptor. The death of two siblings forced him to join the family business, and over time he melded his two passions by becoming what he called a sculptor of chocolate.

Ernie Ball, 74, maker of guitar strings

San Luis Obispo, Calif. Ernie Ball, a pioneer maker of rock ‘n’ roll guitar strings used by legions of artists, from the Rolling Stones to Merle Travis, died Thursday. He was 74.

His strings and instruments were used by music stars over the past four decades, from B.B. King to Metallica. Beginning with a small music shop in the San Fernando Valley, Ball built a business with annual sales of $40 million and a worldwide reputation.

In 1962, complaints from customers that they couldn’t find lighter-gauge, flexible strings for their rock ‘n’ roll instruments prompted Ball to create sets of strings he called “Slinkys.”

They were a hit. He later branched out into instruments and accessories.

Today, Ernie Ball items are sold in more than 5,000 music stores and exported to more than 70 countries.


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