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January 23 2011

02mydafsoup-01

Libyans are just as hungry as Tunisians | Hisham Matar - The Guardian 20110121

[...]

The first president of Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, 70 years old by then, sat at a simple table with a microphone in front of him and a small glass of water to one side. He wore a French suit, his grey hair was slicked back, and he had on a pair of square dark glasses. He looked like Jorge Luis Borges. But, unlike the Argentinian author, Bourguiba wasn't a gifted orator. As a public speaker, the Sorbonne graduate lacked tact and was given to excitement. "What is the point of uniting 1.5 million Libyans with 5 million Tunisians?" he asked, mockingly.

It became clear, as Bourguiba went on, that he had two objectives in mind: to deflate and mildly humiliate the young Nasserist Libyan, and to outline his vision of the Arab world. Bourguiba's thesis was as simple as it was poignant: for the Arab people to build secure states and societies, they ought to concern themselves not with Arab unity, but with education and development.

[...]

January 15 2011

02mydafsoup-01

Tunisia and the New Arab Media Space | Marc Lynch - foreignpolicy.com - 20110115

An interesting discussion has already broken out over whether Tunisia should be considered a "Twitter Revolution" -- a far more interesting and relevant discussion than whether it was a "Wikileaks Revolution" (it wasn't).    I've seen some great points already by Ethan ZuckermanEvgeny Morozov, Luke Allnut, and others, and I'm looking forward to being one of the social scientists digging into the data.  I suspect that both enthusiasts and skeptics will find support for their arguments.  For now, I would just argue that it would be more productive to focus more broadly on  the evolution of the Arab media over the last decade, in which new media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, forums and blogs work together with satellite television stations such as al-Jazeera to collectively transform the Arab information environment and shatter the ability of authoritarian regimes to control the flow of information, images, ideas and opinions.   That feels like a sentence which I've written a hundred times over the last decade.... and one which has never felt more true than the last month in Tunisia.

Calling Tunisia a "Twitter Revolution" is simplistic, but even skeptics have to recognize that the new media environment mattered.  I would suggest that analysts not think about the effects of the new media as an either/or proposition ("Twitter vs. al-Jazeera"), think about new media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SMS, etc) and satellite television as collectively transforming an complex and potent evolving media space.  ....

[...]

Saudi Arabia: Fleeing, Tunisian Ex-President Ben Ali Lands in KSA

Written by Jillian C. York

Former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is currently in Jeddah.

On Friday, shortly after now-former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia, bloggers and Twitter users began debating where his plane would land.  Some figured he'd head to France, while others thought the UAE would be his destination.  As it turns out, Ben Ali's final destination was Saudi Arabia–the same nation that hosted Ugandan dictator Idi Amin after the fall of his regime.

@ollieleach caught on immediately:

So Tunisia's President's cropped up in Saudi Arabia. The Idi Amin approach to exile… interesting.

@weddady, noticing a trend on Twitter, commented on the response of the Saudi people to Ben Ali's welcome in their country:

Interesting: #Saudi tweeps organizing on twitter 2 ask their government not to take in Ben Ali after rumors of him heading there #sidibouzid

Indeed, Saudi Twitter users have spoken up about their thoughts.  @radicalahmad asserted:

Dear beloved people of #TUNISIA: i am from #saudi and i asure you that getting#benali to land in #jeddah does not represent us #NOTINMYNAME

@Dima_Khatib reminded her followers that the decision to welcome Ben Ali to Saudi Arabia was not one made by the Saudi people:

Please guys I say it again. No need to attack Saudis for receiving Ben Ali. They have nothing to do with Royal Family decisions #Saudi

Finally, blogger Saudi Jeans, celebrating along with Tunisians, expressed displeasure with his country's decision to welcome Ben Ali:

Today was a huge, huge day for Tunisia. After four weeks of street protest, president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country. This is probably the first time we witness an Arab leader toppled by his own people. Very happy for the Tunisian people, and very proud of them. I’m especially thrilled for my friends Sami bin Gharbia and Slim Amamou, who worked tirelessly for years to see this day. The only thing that annoyed me was that Saudi Arabia welcomed the ousted dictator to find refuge in our homeland. But for now, let’s just live this historical moment. Here to a domino effect all over the Middle East.

Mosaic News - 01/14/11: World News From The Middle East [VIDEO]

Today's Headlines: Tunisian president flees country amid violent protests, thousands of Jordanians call on their government to resign, Gbagbo loyalists set UN vehicles ablaze in Ivory Coast, and more.

January 14 2011

Tunisia: Celebrations Welcome the End of Ben Ali's Rule

Written by Hisham

The Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali quit his country on Friday following four weeks of popular protests, putting an end to his 23 years in power. The authorities have declared a state of emergency while the Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announced on state television that he was taking over as interim President. This comes after violent clashes opposed protesters and riot police in central Tunis, the capital city. This development comes one day after Ben Ali announced he was to step down at the end of his mandate in 2014. Ben Ali's dramatic departure comes after weeks of protests that started in the central city of Sidi Bouzid before spilling into other regions and cities and finally reaching the capital city of Tunis. Twitter and the blogosphere have been flooded with reactions.

Image courtesy Nawaat.org

Amira Al Hussaini from Bahrain writes on her blog:

My Twitterfeed is going crazy - thanks to the fast paced developments in Tunisia and it doesn't look like things will slow down anytime soon. I am fortifying myself with an assortment of tea and banishing my gang of seven cats to another part of the house to sit back and watch and report on the unfolding historic events in what is now becoming a Twitterised Revolution.

Alaeddine Ghazouani cheers writing:

Les français ont leur 14 juillet. Nous avons désormais notre 14 janvier! #sidibouzid #jasminrevolt #tunisia

The French have their 14 July. We now have our 14 January! # Sidibouzid # Jasminrevolt #tunisia

Amine (@Afrinomad) writes:

Remember the fabled “Arab Street” you read about in polls & press? It has spoken and it just took down a dictator #sidibouzid

This all started four weeks ago in the central town of Sidi Bouzid when Mohamed Bouazizi, a young unemployed 26-year-old university graduate self immolated in an desperate act of protest after the police confiscated his stall of fruits and vegetables.

@JawazSafar (Moh'd Yousef) reminds us tweeting:

عربة خضار تطيح ب23 عام من الدكتاتورية #Sidibouzid

A fruit stall toppled 23 years of dictatorship.

The Arab street is watching. Some have taken to the streets. Thekrah Hazzami (@Thekra_AH) writes:

: #sidibouzid #Tunisia #Egypt الجزيرة : عشرات المواطنين في القاهرة يتظاهرون أمام السفارة التونسية احتفاء برحيل بن علي
Al Jazeera reports that tens of people in Cairo are protesting outside the Tunisian Embassy in Cairo in celebration of Ben Ali's departure.

Justice centric hopes for more Arab leaders to follow in Ben Ali's footsteps. She tweets:

يا بن علي قول لمبارك الطيارة في انتظارك #tunisia http://yfrog.com/h3251lj
Ben Ali, tell Mubarak there's a plane waiting for him too

And the enthusiasm seems to spread across the Arab world. Saudi @Mashi9a7 (Khalid &) tweets:

تصفيق داخل استديو الجزيرة على خبر هروب بن علي #sidibouzid
Applause inside Aljazeera's studio following the announcement of Ben Ali's departure # sidibouzid

@Voiceoftunisia (Voice of Freedom) calls for caution:

Tunisians, too early for congratulations, we did not succeed yet. power is still in the corrupt RCD party. #sidibouzid #tunisia #jasminrevolt

Liliane writing on From Beirut With Funk congratulates the Tunisian people. She writes:

First of all: Mabrouk to Tunisian people! You did something today, you sent away a dictator!
Second of all: Beware!

Yes! Beware, beware beware! January 14, 2011, remind a lot of Lebanese of March 14, 2005! We were very happy that day, we thought we were having a new start and it was a new beginning, and a new country in the horizon! Look at us now!

To commemorate the day, blogger Jawaz Safar quotes an Arab poet Ruba Yassin:

“One day inshallah we will tell our children that we witnessed the end of an oppression, and that no matter how dark things get, with faith and determination they can change their world” ~ Ruba Yassin

Right after they heard the news about Ben Ali's departure, many Tunisians took to the streets to celebrate. Nawaat.org, a Tunisian independent blog, posted the following video on its YouTube channel showing the people of Tunis cheering and chanting the national anthem:

Tunisia: Ben Ali Has Left the Building

Written by Tarek Amr

News of the Tunisian coup d'etat or may be the Tunisian revolution made the headlines across the Arabic blogosphere. Bloggers from all over the Arab world wrote to congratulate the Tunisian people.

From the United Arab Emirates, YM, tried to summarize what's been going on in Tunisia in the past three weeks.

فالبداية ، كانت احتجاجا على الغلاء والبطالة .. اندفعت الشرطة لقمعه ، سقط ضحايا برصاصهم ، تطور الاحتجاج إلى دفاع عن النفس ، وامتد إلى أماكن أخرى من البلاد .. اتسع النطاق أكثر ، نزل الجيش بآلياته ، ازداد عد الضحايا برصاصه ، أقيل وزير الداخلية ، استهجن الأوربيون الاستخدام المفرط وغير المتكافئ للقوة ضد المتظاهرين ، ودعت أمريكا مواطنيها إلى تجنب زيارة تونس في غير حالة الضرورة ..
At the beginning, there were protests against the rising cost of living and unemployment. The police went in full force to suppress it. Victims fell to their bullets and the protests developed to self-defense. It spread to other parts of the country. And the confrontations became bigger. The army, with its machinery, was deployed. The number of victims increased. The Interior Minister was sacked. The Europeans spoke up against the disproportionate use of power to subdue the protesters. And the US warned its people against travelling to Tunisia.

Egyptian Abo-Marwan wrote about the Tunisian revolution, and how it might be the spark that could start successive revolutions in the neighbouring countries:

الأحداث تتسارع فى تونس والتى قدر لها أن تكون أول دولة عربية تسقط الطغيان والاستبداد بثورة شعبية
كان انتحار شاب تونسى فقير لا يجد عمل هو الشرارة التى أشعلت الثورة والأخبار الآن تؤكد هروب الطاغية بن على وأن الجيش أصبح مسيطر تماما على الأوضاع
فسلام على شهداء تونس سلام على الدماء الذكية التى سالت سلام عليكم أحرار تونس وستكون إن شاء الله الثورة والشرارة التى ستنطلق لجميع الدول العربية التى تئن تحت وطأة الإستبداد والطغيان
Developments are fast-paced in Tunisia, which has become, by the will of God, the first Arab country to squash tyranny and authoritarianism through an uprising of its people. The suicide of a poor Tunisian young man, who could not find a job, sparked this revolution, and news sources confirm that the tyrant Ben Ali has escaped and that the army is in control of the situation now. Peace be on Tunisia's martyrs, on their pure blood. Peace be on the free people of Tunisia and by the will of God, this revolution will be the beginning of revolutions across the Arab world, which is suffering at the hands of tyrants.

In fact the lack of job opportunities and all the current events in Tunisia are not the only reason behind the Tunisian people's uprising. The Tunisian ruling party and the president, who has been in power since 1987, have been accused of corruption. Mohamed Shackow from Syria published here a Wikileaks cable [Ar] which he believes was one of the reasons behind the people's uprising, while the Egyptian blogger, Diaa El Din Gad, mentioned here reports that he believes contains evidence to Ben Ali's corruption.

وذکرت تقارير اخبارية نشرت في وقت سابق أن الأموال التي تم “تهريبها بشکل غير شرعي” من تونس نحو بنوك أجنبية خلال الفترة ما بين 1987 (تاريخ وصول بن علي للحکم) والى غاية سنة 2008 فاقت 13 مليار دولار أي ما يعادل ميزانية البلاد خلال عام واحد.
News reports published earlier state that the money funneled illegally abroad from Tunisia to foreign banks in the period from 1987 to 2008 exceeded $13 billion, which is equivalent to the country's budget for a year.

From Libya, Abdel Nasser El Baah, wrote about Ben Ali's departure and the consequences of the coup d'etat there.

أعلن رئيس الوزراء التونسي محمد الغنوشي اليوم الجمعة توليه السلطة الرئاسية في تونس بعد عجز الرئيس التونسي زين العابدين بن علي عن ممارسة مهامه حسب بيان السلطة
وغادر بن علي بلاده اليوم،.
Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced on Friday that he has assumed the presidency in Tunisia after President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was not able to function, according to the official statement.

Abdel Nasser however wondered if it is really a coup d'etat, or is it too soon to judge.

ولا يستبعد أن يكون ’’ التغيير التاريخي ’’ انقلاب قصر من أجل حماية النخبة المحيطة بابن علي من موجة الاحتجاج التي طالبت بإسقاطه.
We should not be surprised if this historic change is a palace revolution, to protect Ben Ali's inner circle from the rage of the protests that have called for his demise.


My2Cents
wrote here to congratulate the Tunisian people on their revolution:

تونس حرة
بن علي برة
يارب عقبال كل الشعوب العربية
اليوم تحرر شعب تونس من رق اﻹستبداد
اليوم ضرب رجال تونس ونساءها اﻷحرار المثل الرائع لكل الشعوب العربية أن هبوا وأنتفضوا فى وجوه جلاديكم
إذا الشعب يوماً أراد الحياة فلا بد للقيد أن ينكسر
إذا الشعب يوماً أراد الحياة فلابد أن يستجيب القدر
أما الشعوب الميتة فقد كتبت على نفسها الرق والذل
هنيئاً لشعب تونس الحر
وياشعوب العرب من المحيط الى الخليج – تعلموا الدرس وإستيقظوا من ثباتكم العميييييق
Tunisia is free
Ben Ali is out
My prayers go for the rest of the Arab people
Today Tunisia frees itself from slavery
Today the free men and women of Tunisia are a great role model for the rest of the Arab people to stand up against oppression and revolt against the tyrants
If people wanted to live, they will need to break the chains
If people wanted to live, destiny would have to respond
Dead people, however, have brought living in slavery upon themselves
Arab people, from the ocean to the Gulf, learn this lesson and wake up from your long slumber.

From Egypt, Magdawia, wrote about what is going on in Tunis, which is always considered as a rival to Egypt when it comes to football matches, but this is the first time for the Egyptians to sit in the spectators seats and support the Tunisians.

هؤلاء الشباب الأخضر من تونس الخضراء الذي أريقت دماءه الطاهرة في سبيل الحرية والحياة الكريمة هم الإجابة
ونحن ما زلنا بملابسنا السوداء والصفافير ووقفات الحداد في مدرجات المتفرجين نشجع اللعبة الحلوة
وننتظر نهاية مبارة شعب تونس مع نظامه الديكتاتوري ولأول مرة نتمنى أن تنتصر تونس وتفوز علينا في ريادة رفض الذل والخنوع
Those young people from Tunisia, whose blood was shed for freedom and a better living, are the answer. We continue wearing our black clothes, and carry our whistles, and stand in mourning at the spectators' stand, waiting for the good game. We watch the end of the football game between the people of Tunisia and their dictatorial regime, and for the first time, we hope that Tunisia wins and succeeds over us and becomes a pioneer in refusing to continue being downtrodden and despised.

And finally Dr. Farid wrote a post in the blog of The Egyptian Democratic Students Union to congratulate the Tunisian people, and wish for their revolution to continue till they have a democratic country and for other people to learn from them.

واصلوا طريق الثورة .. و اجعلوا الانتفاضة فنـَّا يتعلمه كل شعب مقهور .. أقيموا مؤسساتكم الديموقراطية وصدروا الثورة للجوار .. حتى تعيش الثورة بسلام وتنمو فى عمق وطن حرّ طالما حلمنا به .. فلربما نحتفل سويا بذكرى 14 يناير حين نلحق بكم على درب التقدم والحرية والعدل ..
الخـلود لشهداء الانتفاضة ..
المجد لشعب تونس
Continue in the path of revolution. Make your revolution an art other downtrodden people can learn from. Build up your democratic institutions and export your revolution to neighbouring countries so that the revolution lives in peace and grows in the womb of a free nation - a nation that we have always dreamed of. Perhaps we will all celebrate the January 14th anniversary when we catch up with you on the path of development, freedom and justice. May the martyrs of the Tunisian revolution live in peace.
Long Live the people of Tunisia!

Arab World: Welcoming the Fall of Ben Ali

Written by Amira Al Hussaini

Looking at my Twitterfeed, one would think that the Arab world has been waiting for this day forever. Tweets celebrating the escape of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from Tunisia have created a riot online.

For Bader Al Aujan, from Saudi Arabia, it is a day of pride:

شكرًا شكرًا شكرًا أهلنا في تونس فما كان يخطر على بالي أن أعيش مثل هذا الشعور بالفخر والعزة والأنجاز
Thank you, thank you, thank you, to our relatives in Tunisia. I never thought that I would ever live this feeling of pride and achievement

And Saudi Mohammed Al Dugailbi is as happy:

أنا من زمان ما فرحت مثل هال فرحه ودي اوقف السيارة واسلم علي الي يمشون في الشارع تعيش تونس يعيش الشعب التونسي الحر الابي
I have not felt this happy in a very long time. I wish I could stop the car and shake hands with all those people walking on the street. Long live the free people of Tunisia

Dima Khatib draws parallels to the occupation or liberation of Iraq, and says:

I hope Mr George Bush is not too busy at his ranch to watch how people get truly liberated. Not with foreign greedy armies

Youssef Chaker urges Tunisians to go all the way:

, don't replace one dictator with another… Go the full mile and complete the job

From Bahrain, Hashim Alawi tweets:

الجبناء من يطالبوا بالحرية والتغيير والعظماء من يصنعوها على الارض .
Cowards are those who call for freedom and change. Great people do that on the ground.

Yacoub Slaise notes:

Hoping the Tunisians did their homework and read Animal Farm, so as not to end up with a “Napoleon”

And Bahrainman replies:

Tunisia had a “Napoleon”, and they just got rid of him. They LIVED Animal Farm for 23 years!

While Mahmood Al Yousif tells Tunisians to bask in the glory of their achievement, at least for a day:

do I detect buyer's remorse in some tweets now? that didn't take long! c'mon, smile and be optimists at least for today!

Majda72 also sends a special tweet:

Note to the West, this was not an Islamic uprising! Take your Arab world as monolith stereotype and shove it.

In what has become a Twitterised revolution, Egyptian writer Mona ElTahawy reminds us:

didn't cause . Daily protests of courageous did. Twitter gave us - the world - front row seat.

And Sameer Padania notes:

So looking forward to a day when a long-worked-for revolution happens & no one feels need to instantly claim it's due to the power of tech.

ElTahawy alsoadds:

In ‘ brave protests brought down , dictator of 23 yrs. 1st real post-colonial revolution in world

Ahmad Fahad, from Oman, cannot take his mind off Twitter:

How am I supposed to work while governments are being overthrown live on Twitter?

And Andy Carvin adds:

I just love how the conversation on just shifted to people reading the Tunisian constitution in great detail.

Egyptian Ahmad Badawy hopes that what had started in Tunisia does not end there. He tweets:

يابن علي قول لأخوك . شعب مصر بيكرهوك
Ben Ali, tell your brother (Mubarak) that the people of Egypt hate him.

Stay tuned for more coverage from Tunisia.

Ben Ali chassé de Tunisie

Après plusieurs semaines de manifestations, le président Ben Ali a été contraint de fuir le pays. Son premier ministre Mohamed Ghannouchi l'a remplacé, et a annoncé une ouverture dans tous les domaines. S'il est trop tôt pour savoir comment va se développer la situation, ce qui s'est passé est déjà (...) / Tunisie, Démocratie, Mouvement de libération - La valise diplomatique
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