By Nada Bakri,  BEIRUT: Columnist and political activist Alia Solh, who was the eldest daughter of former Prime Minister Riad Solh, died on Thursday in Paris. She was 75. Solh died of a heart attack a few days after checking in to the American Hospital of Paris. Known as "the daughter of independence," Solh was heir to the towering legacy of Lebanon’s first prime minister, a politician who helped lead the struggle to drive French troops out of Lebanon. her father was also widely considered to be a pillar of the pan-Arabism movement.

Alia Solh started a long career of advocacy, writing about and influencing Lebanon’s po- litical life from the campus of the American University of Beirut in the early 1950s. On campus she was known for leading demonstrations for women’s rights, and she wrote extensively about Lebanese and Arab causes for a variety of publications.

When the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War entered its eighth year, Solh left Beirut to settle in Paris. "I preferred to leave and to take my memories with me, so I could tell the world about them and the Lebanon I knew, so that people would not forget the pearl that lies under the dirt," she said during a 2001 interview published by The Daily Star.

She was known for publicly criticizing the Syrian presence in Lebanon at a time when most Lebanese politicians feared to air any disagreement with the regime in Damascus.

Solh said in the 2001 interview that the problems Lebanon had suffered since the end of the Civil War lay in a class of leaders who were "carefully raised" by late Syrian President Hafez Assad. She described Assad "a man of extreme intelligence" who convinced the Lebanese Parliament to acquiesce in Syrian control over Lebanon while keeping people busy seeking food, education and health services.

When in the early 1980s she told Yasser Arafat that the roadto Jerusalem did not pass through Sabra and Shatila, her sharp remark drew the famous retort: "The road to Jerusalem passes through Jounieh."

Solh lamented the plight of the Lebanese, whom she said had been transformed from a people "made for success" into a people "doomed to failure."

She returned to Beirut with a vision to establish the Riad Solh Association after watching  a steady flow of Lebanese youths driven from their country by frustration with continuing political and economic difficulties.

Solh will be buried in Beirut on Saturday. She is survived by a son and a daughter.