Tag Archives: Tunisia

The Tunisia emergency: From Arab Spring ideal to military poster child

In a now-signature move, the government of Tunisia on 16 May again extended the state of emergency that has been in place since a series of deadly attacks carried out by Islamic State (IS) in 2015.The Los Angeles Times explains that Tunisia’s emergency law “gives the government stepped-up powers to deal with suspected terrorists but also curtails to a degree the rights of ordinary citizens”, such as freedom of assembly.

Source: The Tunisia emergency: From Arab Spring ideal to military poster child | Middle East Eye

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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Africa



Tunisia’s new government must quickly reform or face unrest

Surprisingly, Youssef Chahed, the new Tunisian appointed Prime Minister, succeeded on Friday in securing the confidence of the parliament after long rounds of negotiations among political parties and civil society organizations. 
With 167 out of 2017 votes, members of the parliament officially advocated Chahed proposed cabinet of 26 ministers and 14 secretaries of state.

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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Africa



Ghannouchi, like Mandela, risks all for reconciliation and democracy

Outside the front door of our hotel in downtown Tunis a ceremony was taking place.

Habib Bourguiba – viewed by some as the founder of the nation, by others as a notorious despot – was restored to his former glory in the form of a bronze statue. Bourguiba on his horse dominates the main drag, an echo of the Champs Elysee.   

One of Bourguiba’s final acts as president before he was deposed 30 years ago, was to order the retrial of a prominent member of the opposition. Life imprisonment was not enough for Bourguiba. He wanted to execute the man.

That man on death row was Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi, the spiritual leader of the Arab Spring – and revered by many as the founding father of post-revolutionary Tunisia.

Ghannouchi, like Mandela, risks all for reconciliation and democracy | Middle East Eye
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Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Africa



‘I was terribly wrong’ – writers look back at the Arab spring five years on

Five years ago the Guardian asked me to evaluate the effects of the Tunisian uprising on the rest of the Arab world, and specifically Syria. I recognised the country was “by no means exempt from the pan-Arab crisis of unemployment, low wages and the stifling of civil society”, but nevertheless argued that “in the short to medium term, it seems highly unlikely that the Syrian regime will face a Tunisia-style challenge”.
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That was published on 28 January 2011. On the same day a Syrian called Hasan Ali Akleh set himself alight in protest against the Assad regime in imitation of Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in Tunisia. Akleh’s act went largely unremarked, but on 17 February tradesmen at Hareeqa in Damascus responded to police brutality by gathering in their thousands to chant “The Syrian people won’t be humiliated”. This was unprecedented. Soon afterwards, the Deraa schoolboys were arrested and tortured for writing anti-regime graffiti. When their relatives protested on 18 March, and at least four were killed, the spiralling cycle of funerals, protests and gunfire was unleashed. In 2011, I wrote that Assad personally was popular, and so he remained until his 30 March speech to the ill-named People’s Assembly. Very many had suspended judgment until that moment, expecting an apology for the killings and an announcement of serious reforms. Instead, Assad threatened, indulged in conspiracy theories, and, worse, giggled repeatedly.

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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Africa, Middle East


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In Egitto sta tornando la primavera

A cinque anni dalle rivoluzioni arabe, in molti parlano di arretramento e di peggioramento nei due paesi faro delle “primavere”, l’Egitto e la Tunisia. Ma se l’oggi è peggiore di ieri, di quale ieri stiamo parlando? E se tutto fosse colpa non delle rivoluzioni ma del fatto che non sono state ancora portate a termine? I rivoluzionari sono disperati ed esausti ma allo stesso tempo parlano della prossima rivoluzione.

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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in Africa, Middle East


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‘I Wish I Could Die’: Meeting the Man Who Helped Trigger the Arab Spring

Hosni Kaliya pulls a cigarette out of his pack with his mouth. When he poured gasoline on his body and set himself on fire, most of his right hand was consumed by the flames and all that remains is a stump without fingers. He still has four fingers on his left hand, but they jut out like claws, burned, stiff and contorted. His fingernails are curled. He wears black wool gloves with the fingertips cut off, so that they won’t dangle emptily. A knit cap protects Kaliya’s head, where his hair was burned off, and his unusually small ears. But the disfigured face, the work of doctors using old and new skin, how could he hide that?

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Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Africa, Middle East


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How the U.S. Created Middle East Mayhem

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet “for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy… in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.” The Quartet is a group of four organizations — two national labor unions, a business group, and a lawyers’ association — whose work helped prevent Tunisia from sliding into civil war in the years following that “revolution.”

    Seeing the peace prize go to an organization that actually seems to have kept the peace is cheering news in a month that witnessed the military of one former Nobel laureate destroying a hospital run by another winner. Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) certainly earned its 1999 Peace Prize by providing medical services to people in more than 80 countries, often working in some of the most dangerous places on earth. On the other hand, as far as anyone can tell, a weary Nobel committee gave Barack Obama his prize in 2009 mostly for not being George W. Bush.

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in Middle East, North America


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Tunisia is sacrificing its democracy for safety

After two years of division and various provisions, Tunisia’s democratically elected 217-member unicameral parliament legislated a new counterterrorism law on July 24.

It was passed with overwhelming approval: While 172 voted in favour, 10 members abstained, and only a limited number of members objected the law.

This bill may have been legally adopted, but that doesn’t make it right .

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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Africa



Tunisia’s misguided declaration of war

Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebi recently gave a speech in response to the deadly June 26 Hammam Sousse beach attack. This speech was a kneejerk reaction which casts doubt upon his government’s abilities to contain terrorism within Tunisia.

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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Africa



L’extension du domaine de la terreur

« Toujours, les hommes qui prétendent combattre pour Dieu sont les plus insociables de la terre ; parce qu’ils croient entendre des messages divins, leurs oreilles restent sourdes à toute parole d’humanité. »

Stefan Zweig, 1941

via L’extension du domaine de la terreur – Karim Émile BITAR – L’Orient-Le Jour.


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