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January 04 2012

Arab World: A Year In Pictures - Our Authors' Selection

Since Mohamed Bouazizi, a young Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in the small city of Sidi Bouzid on December 2010, a wave of unprecedented popular protests is sweeping the Arab world. The region has seen unprecedented events that no one could ever imagine witnessing in a lifetime.

Three Arab dictators have been toppled, some others forced to engage in reforms, while in other places the confrontation is proving to be painful and bloody.

In any case, 2011 is likely to remain engraved in the history of the Arab world as the year when people started raising against their oppressive regimes.

As we bid farewell to 2011 and look ahead to 2012, we asked our authors to share with you pictures that in their eyes have marked the past year in their respective countries. The following selection represents their choices.


Photo by Talel Nacer, used with permission

On January, 14, 2011 thousands of protesters gathered near the Interior Ministry building in Tunis calling for the fall of the regime of dictator Zeine El Abidine Ben Ali. Later on the same day, Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia.

Afef Abroughi


Author unkown

A powerful message from “the occupied city of Kafar Nabel”, Syria.

Leila Nachawati


Photo by KrikOrion, used with permission

Even though Lebanon has not witnessed a revolution in 2011, the Land of the Cedars was highly affected by the developpements and turmoil in the area. But for Lebanese it's the high cost of living that is haunting them the most. Following each wage increase by the government and even before the plan is approved by parliament, prices soar tremendously.

Thalia Rahme


Photo by Jillian C. York, used under a CC license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Palestine: “Marching United Towards Freedom”

Jillian C. York


Copyright Shohdi Al-Sofi, used with permission

The peaceful massive marches of Yemen which never stopped throughout the year are a testimony of Yemenis' steadfast and resilience and prove ultimately, like the billboard reads, that “victory is to the people”.

Noon Arabia


Picture posted on Twitter by @almakna

The above photograph, shared by @almakna on Twitter, shows the number of areas reportedly tear gassed by the Bahrain authorities in one night. On that particular day, I myself choked on the tear gas, spending the night and the following day sick and closely followed tweets and complaints by Twitter users from across the country.

Amira Al Hussaini

Picture posted on Twitter by @SanabisVoice

This photograph, from the Sanabis Voice, shows empty teargas canisters, collected from a small area, in one day. Such photographs are found in abundance online, shared by netizens on social networking sites, and tell a story that has been recurring for 11 months - a story not much of the world cares about.

Amira Al Hussaini


Picture by rouelshimi, used under CC license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

January 25, the first wave of protesters go to Tahrir square. It's the dawn of the revolution.

Tarek Amr


Copyright Amine Hachimoto. Used with permission.

The little girl looking up at this Moroccan Superman pausing in front of the parliament seems to be wondering if he can fly. Maybe he's an ultra-nationalist trying to make a point? Or maybe he's a supporter of the pro-reforms group February 20? It doesn't really matter. Because behind this amazing photo by Amine Hachimoto lies a new reality in Morocco: 2011 is the year when the street has become the theater of nonviolent political expression. Something that is likely to continue in the years to come.

Hisham Almiraat

January 03 2012

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November 17 2011

The contradictions of the Arab Spring by Immanuel Wallerstein

The turmoil in Arab countries that is called the Arab Spring is conventionally said to have been sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in a small village of Tunisia on December 17, 2010.

Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

November 02 2011

Middle East Progress » Blog Archive » The Arab Intellectuals Who ...

We are, to the contrary, determined more than ever to proceed to realize the common objective, which we all share, of a Middle East that is at peace with security and prosperity for the people of Israel, for Palestinians, and for ...

Source:, via Google Blogs search for Middle East
Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

October 23 2011

Egypt: Watching the Tunisian Elections

This post is part of our special coverage for both the Egypt Revolution 2011 and Tunisian Revolution 2011.

The Tunisian revolution preceded the Egyptian one and since then, the Tunisians pursuit of democracy has been inspiring to the Egyptians. And now the Tunisians - inside and outside Tunisia - are busy with electing members of an assembly that will appoint a new government and then write a new constitution.

The polling station in the Tunisian embassy in Cairo. Photo taken by Nessryne Jelalia

Those outside Tunisia, including those living in Egypt, started the voting process three days earlier than those inside Tunisia.

@SoniaElSakka: 20, 21,22 Oct Tunisian living abroad will vote around the world. 3 days of pride a dream we never believed could happen ta7ya [long live] Tunis #TNelec

Nessryne, a Tunisian living in Cairo, tweeted her feelings after voting for the first time in her life.

@nessryne: Such an emotional moment!! Cairo voting office is really cool and people are friendly but strict. #Egypt #TneElec

@nessryne: I need to calm down! I have to work today! Completely euphoric and HAPPY!!! #TneElec

Sonia El Sakka, another Tunisian in Egypt, wrote in her blog:

I voted ya Tunis :)
I did it … I finally voted … For the first time in my life what an amazing feeling of pride of happiness and of great hope for you my beautiful country … Praying for you to find the right path, Praying for my amazing Tunisian family, brothers and sisters to find our long awaited country the way we want it to be.
I am very optimistic very happy and no matter what many people think.

I Love You Tunisia the country of my birth, the country of my first smile, first word, first VOTE :)

Meanwhile, the Egyptians are watching the elections and expressing their happiness with it.

@esr_slam: مبروك تونس والله ساعدتي بيكم اليوم كأني كنت بصوت معاكم اليوم
@esr_slam: Congratulations to Tunisia, I swear I'm happy today as happy as if I am voting myself.
@AhmdAlish: في طريقي لسفارة تونس بالقاهرة لتهنئة المصوتين بالانتخابات
@AhmdAlish: On my way to the Tunisian Embassy in Cairo to congratulate the Tunisians voting there.

In both countries the opinion of each people about the other over the past 30 years was mostly based on their football rivalry. It is interesting to see how some Egyptians see Tunisia now, how some others used to have a different opinion earlier, and how visiting each others country has became an inspiring experience.

@btnafas7oria: لسه واخده بالى ان العلم الوحيد الى فى بيتى هو علم تونس …بكل حزم
@btnafas7oria: Just realized now that the only flag in my home is the Tunisian one … with all pride.
@kameldinho81: أنا كنت لا أحب تونس و لكن الآن تونس و مصر أيد واحدهة
@kameldinho81: I used to not like Tunisia, but now Tunisia and Egypt are both hand in hand.
@gogaegypt: يا تونس باعمل كل جهدي علشان اجيلك انا وبناتي في العيد
@gogaegypt: Oh Tunisia, I am doing my best to visit you with my daughters during Eid.

Being two of the older children of the so-called Arab Spring, many Egyptians have also started comparing how their post-revolution process is going to that in Tunisia.

@AmrKhairi: نجاح تونس التام في الانتقال لنظام محترم سيكون أكبر محفز للثورة في مصر، عشان الناس تفوق وتصحى م النوم
@AmrKhairi: The success of Tunisia in moving to a respected political system will be a catalyst for the Egyptian revolution, and for people to wake up.
@mohamedzezo92: فارق شاسع بين مسار الثورة في تونس ومسارها في مصر شئ مؤسف
@mohamedzezo92: There is a huge difference between the path the revolution in Tunisia is taking and that it's taking here in Egypt. It's a shame.

@mohamedzezo92: كنت أتمني أن مصر تبقي زي تونس وندعو لانتخاب جمعية تأسيسة لسن دستور جديد بس ع كل الأحوال تحية لأهل تونس

@mohamedzezo92: I wish we had an assembly here in Egypt to write a new constitution like in Tunisia, but anyhow I salute the Tunisian people.
@Abu_gamal: تونس بتنتخب … ربنا يسامح اللي قالوا نعم في الاستفتاء
@Abu_gamal: Tunisia is voting … May God forgive those who voted with yes in the referendum.

@MahmoudAboBakr: الناس اللى بتقول تونس احسن مننا والثورة هناك سبقت ثورة مصر، طيب وهو فيه كتاب او كتالوج بيحدد مراحل الثورة وشكلها

@MahmoudAboBakr: Those who are saying the situation in Tunisia is better than us, and that their revolution proceeded ours, do you have a handbook or a catalogue that defines a revolution and its stages?

Also it's a good chance to learn from the elections there, with the Egyptian elections around the corner.

@TravellerW: Are #Egypt-ians following the #Tunisia elections closely enough? From campaigning ideas to negative advertising, we must WATCH AND LEARN!!

And finally, despite the fact that they are both Arab-speaking countries, the language barrier sometimes stand in the way of those who want to follow the details of the events in Tunisia.

@EmanM: مش ممكن يا توانسة! اكتبوا بالعربي شوية وسيبكوا من الفرنساوي دة عشان نفهمكم، دة احنا حتى عرب زي بعض
@EmanM: I can't believe it Tunisians! Please write more in Arabic and stop using French for us to be able to understand you. We are both Arabs.

This post is part of our special coverage for both the Egypt Revolution 2011 and Tunisian Revolution 2011.

September 30 2011

March 02 2011

Tunisia: Refugee Crisis at the Libya Border

Written by Afef Abrougui

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2010-11.

The border between Tunisia and Libya has seen a massive influx of refugees since the uprising in Libya began. The journey to the border is long and tough, and for most it doesn't end there. Huge crowds of thousands have been waiting for days in freezing cold weather to cross in to Tunisia. Up to 75,000 people have fled the violence in Libya to Tunisia, since February 20, and even more people are expected. The situation at the Libya-Tunisia border is at crisis point, says the UNHCR.

The IFRC have posted this video from Ras Jdir on March 1.

Many of the refugees who are trapped at the crossing point of Ras Jdir in Tunisia are Egyptians who lived in Libya. Their compatriots in Egypt have been following the events at the border closely.

Hani Mohammed (@palestinoo7) urges Egyptians to put pressure on the government to bring back home those who are still trapped at the Ras Jedir crossing point:

٧٥ الف مصري يستغيثون في منطقة العبور راس جدير ببنقردان تونس، الرجاءالإسراع في إيصال هذا النداء الى الحكومة المصرية، الوضع بدء يتفاقم هناك وهنالك خوف من وقوع أزمة إنسانية

Thousands of Egyptians at the border crossing of Ras Jdir, in Ben Guerden, in Tunisia, are screaming for help. Please, send this message to the Egyptian government. The situation there is deteriorating and there is fear that a humanitarian crisis may occur.

Shady Al-Mahmoudi(@ShadyAlmahmoudi) tweets:

الانباء القادمه من الاصدقاء التونسيين..تتحدث عن كارثه انسانيه للمصريين الهاربين من القذافي في راس جدير الحدودية..والاعداد تفوق امكانياتهم

Tunisian friends are talking about Egyptians fleeing from Gaddafi, facing a humanitarian crisis in Ras Jdir… and the numbers have gone beyond their potential

Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian protest leader, (@Ghonim) tweets:

Thanks Tunisian brothers and sisters for hosting your fellow Egyptians. You showed them more solidarity than our careless government!

Map of libya, tunisia, egypt borders

Map of Libya, Tunisia, Egypt borders

Calls to come to the rescue of refugees in Ras Jdir have been spreading via social media, and campaigns to collect humanitarian aid have also been organised.

Hamdi Kadri(@hamdi_kadri) puts out a call for international NGOs to notice the situation:

Appel aux ONG du monde entier : la situation se dégrade sur les frontières tuniso-libyènne. Appel à l'aide.

A call for the NGOs all over the world: the situation is deteriorating at the Tunisian-Libyan border. Help!

HHassine(@HBHassine) tweets:

C'est le moment de faire preuve de solidarité, d'humanité et de responsabilité: à Ras Jdir,des milliers de gens ont besoin d'aide.Aidez-les!

It's time to show your solidarity, humanity, and responsibility: in Ras Jdir, thousands of people need help. Help them!

Zied Mhirsi,(@zizoo), a Tunisian medical doctor who has volunteered to help those fleeing violence in Libya tweets:

On a surtout besoin de ressources humaines pour gerer ces milliers d'arrivant. Venez a Ras Jedir et donnez de votre temps.

We need human resources more than anything, to manage the thousands who are crossing over to Tunisia. Come to Ras Jedir and give some of your time

He also praises the efforts of the Tunisian army:

L'armee tunisienne est en train de faire un super boulot. Les nations unies sont impressionnees.

The Tunisian army is doing great job. The United Nations are impressed.

Others, were concerned that the massive flow of refugees pay put Tunisia's interests at risk during a very fragile transition period since the President Ben Ali fled the country.

Mathieu von Rohr a Foreign Affairs Correspondent of DER SPEIGEL(@mathieuvonrohr) tweets:

refugee crisis in ras jdir is another threat to tunisia's stability - international help needed quickly.

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2010-11.

February 22 2011


"Iran, the Green Movement and the USA": Hamid Dabashi On the Future of the Iranian Pro-Democracy Movement


Iranian protesters returned to the streets on Sunday to mark the deaths of two men killed during demonstrations last week. Police used batons and tear gas to break up the protests. Among those detained were Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani. “On one hand, the Iranian authorities are expressing solidarity with the democratic movement in Tunisia and Egypt and throughout the region," says Columbia University Professor Hamid Dabashi. "Then deny that very principle to their own people." [includes rush transcript]

Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and
Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His most recent book is Iran, The Green Movement and the USA: The Fox and the Paradox.
Reposted byiranelectionkrekk

January 24 2011


Les grandes puissances n’aiment pas les bouleversements politiques qui leur échappent et contrecarrent leurs plans. Les événements qui ont fait vibrer la Tunisie depuis un mois n’échappent pas à cette règle, bien au contraire.

Il est donc pour le moins surprenant que les grands médias internationaux, suppôts indéfectibles du système de domination mondiale, s’enthousiasment soudainement pour la « Révolution du jasmin » et multiplient les enquêtes et reportages sur la fortune des Ben Ali qu’ils ignoraient jusque là malgré leur luxe tapageur. C’est que les Occidentaux courent après une situation qui leur a glissé des mains et qu’ils voudraient récupérer en la décrivant selon leurs souhaits.


Washington face à la colère du peuple tunisien | - par Thierry Meyssan 20110123

January 23 2011




Tagged entries on oanth of all kind of
informations concerning the Tunisian protests:
starting from 14th Jan 2011 - here:

To find older entries (before 14th Jan 2011)
use also Tunisia or Tunisie

oanth -- muc -- 20110123

Ammar 404 vs. #zensursula

It is extremely disturbing to see other countries justify their continued censorship because we do it, too. 

Tunisian state secretary Sami Zaoui just announced that they will keep blocking websites that are "against decency, contain violent elements or incite to hate". When criticised that this is inacceptable in a democracy, he responded: "Wrong! Even the countries that are most evolved when it comes to freedom block terrorist sites"

Of course such measures have nothing to do with terrorism (or child pornography, which happens to be the excuse de rigueur in Europe). They are an excuse to create and maintain a censorship infrastructure. And even if we assume the best intentions on behalf of those who propose such measures, the damage this does to democracy by far exceeds the potential benefits to crime prevention.

I am sad to see the same excuses for Internet censorship brought up again, this time in Tunisia. The same hidden agendas, the same lies. "This is not censorship, we are just blocking criminals."  Well, criminals shouldn't be blocked, they should be prosecuted and judged before we even call them criminals.

Count on it: having an authority that can put you on a blacklist will be abused - especially given the characteristically vague rules for what is verboten. (You can be sure that under Ben Ali, the blogs of Slim Amamou, Astrubal etc. would have been blocked for containing violent elements and inciting to hate!)

I will be following this debate and its results closely. I still remain optimistic at this point. Perhaps the Tunisians will succeed where we failed. But this whole thing certainly is disturbing on several levels.

(Thanks to @Astrubaal @rafik @taziden @smarimc and others for our brief but insightful conversation on the subject.)


imho a too optimistic perspective - oanth || cf:
Washington face à la colère du peuple tunisien | - par Thierry Meyssan 20110123
Reposted fromkyrah kyrah
YouTube - Riz Khan - Is social media driving reform in the Arab world?

AlJazeeraEnglish | 21. Januar 2011

What impact will Tunisia's popular uprising have on neighbouring countries and could social media become the driving force for political reform in the Arab world? Riz Khan talks to Sami Ben Gharbia, the co-founder of the Tunisian website, Nasser Weddady, the outreach director at the American Islamic Congress, where he promotes civil rights through social media, and Wael Abbas, an Egyptian blogger and activist who regularly reports on corruption.


// there are a lot of commentaries on this matter now in the international media scene: imo, for those who are familiar with the subject the first 10 min may be scipped. - oanth


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 19 2011

Middle East: A Closer Look at Tunisia's Uprising

Written by Amira Al Hussaini

As Tunisians continue to grapple with the fast paced events of the few previous days which saw the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his escape, Arab bloggers continue to share their thoughts and reflections on the Tunisian uprising and what it spells for the rest of the region.

Syrian Abu Kareem, at the Levantive Dreamhouse, explains what is ‘invigorating' about the Tunisian uprising to its Arab neighbours. He says:

It is perhaps its spontaneity, its lacks of designated leaders that give it the feel of a genuine, popular uprising and not an ideologically-driven coup destined to serve the desires of a narrow constituency. It is easy as an Arab, to resign oneself to the fact that the region's stagnant and sclerotic political systems are immovable and immutable. It is exactly this state of hopelessness and inertia that most of the region's leaders strive to instill in their people. It kills hope, prevents progress and keeps the leaders in power. So I hope that the leaders across the region take note and that a cold chill runs down their spine as they watch the events in Tunis unfold; perhaps it will make them reconsider their ways.

Bahraini Emoodz broke his blogging silence vow to chant VIVE LA TUNISIE!

He remarks:

I watched with great excitement the events as they unfolded in Tunisia; in all honesty I had very little hope that the events will evolve and reach where it reached today. No matter how much research I carry out I still can’t understand how the Tunisian were able to overthrow a regime in a month’s time.

Emoodz adds:

There is this great sense of excitement going around the Arab World over what had happened, news agencies and political analysts are all of a sudden talking about how Tunisia is just the beginning to what is expected to have a domino effect and extend to other Arab governments in the region, which I think is highly improbable…

In a post entitled Tunisia, Prove us Wrong, Saudi Hala_In_USA poses the following questions:

In the aftermath, all eyes in the Arab world is tuned to Tunisia, would this be a new beginning of unprecedented democracy in the Middle East? would it lure other countries to follow? or would it fall in the grab of Islamists or the same old Bin Ali‘s men under different labels?

She also shares her anxiety:

I have  a mixed feeling in this regards, while I share the same fears of Robert Fisk of the ugly truth, that countries in the region as well as in the West will probably never support a true democracy in Tunisia, for fear that it may bring unfavorable outcomes, that the people in power would only accept Arab state that would support Western best interests, the hate toward Iran and a tight control of their people… Yet,  I still believe that lessons of oppression and corruptions have been taken well by Tunisians, that they will not easily forget the body in flames of Bouazizi, they will always remember the days of oppression, poverty, and limited resources brought about by totalitarian regimen, I hope that Tunisia would lead the way for a new era, to see justice and experience for the first time a people government, to prove us wrong, and to prove that people do have a choice, can have a choice and can make a better future for themselves…

Algerian-American Kal, writing at The Moor Next Door, is also apprehensive. He notes:

The Tunisian case, with all its idiosyncrasies (the legacy of Bourguiba, secularism, its high rate of education and women’s rights) it represents something new in Arab politics that observers must continue to pay attention. Early on the Sidi Bouzid events were dismissed as bread riots and were not appreciated for they ended up being. This blogger was cautious, mostly for the same reason others were: things like this weren’t supposed to happen in countries like Tunisia. What was written here during the uprising happened only because it happened in the Maghreb (and because it seemed . . . strange). What should be very sad is if all the work Tunisians put into their intifada was hijacked by old party people and officers and put on course for rule by committees or strong men as has been the case following so many times before. The question remains: what will be done?

From Israel, Yael, at Life in Israel, predicts that Egypt could be next:

The events in Tunisia –the first collapse of an autocratic regime in the Arab world due to a popular uprising that has implications for the wider region –are unlikely to, at least in the immediate future, spark a domino effect of uprisings and overthrows in other countries in the region. But pretty much all the experts are saying to keep a very sharp eye on Egypt because it is quite possible that Egypt is going to be the next one to go.

She adds:

The Arab masses (not just in North Africa but the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula) have watched the fall of the Tunisian regime blow by blow, creating the possibility that the public in many countries may find inspiration in the Tunisian experience. It is too early to say how things will unfold in the Middle East and North Africa, as each state has unique circumstances that will determine its trajectory. What is certain, however, is that a regional shift is under way, at least to the extent that governments can no longer continue with business as usual.”

Syrian Qunfuz takes a closer look at whether this “domino effect” is possible in the region. He writes:

If there is a domino effect, it won’t be immediate and it won’t proceed evenly. Current conditions in Iraq obviously will not permit a unified national uprising against the government. Such language is not even relevant. In Syria the president is reasonably popular, even if the regime around him isn’t. And if the president were to fall dramatically from popular grace, Syrians fear that revolution would lead to sectarian war and Israeli intervention – both real possibilities. Saudi Arabia is too tribally divided, and many sections of society are too comfortable, for revolutionary disruption. The angriest population in the kingdom is the oppressed Shia community, but any action on their part would be fiercely opposed by the Wahhabi heartland. Bahrain, with a politicised and intelligent Shia majority facing an oppressive Sunni ruling family, is a more likely candidate for change. Egypt is the unknown quantity. On the one hand, the failure of Mubarak’s gangster regime has been resounding. On the other, very many Egyptians do not have the leisure to think about anything except their next meal. They don’t follow events on Facebook or even on al-Jazeera. And we can be almost certain that any serious attempt at popular revolution in Egypt would result in thousands of deaths. (But that can play both ways – nothing generates a revolution like a series of funerals. See Ali Farzat’s picture above.)

Perhaps in six months’ time non-Arab commentators will decide that the Tunisian revolution was a mere anomaly in an eternally stagnant Arab world. But they’ll be wrong. The revolution will exert a long-term pervasiveness throughout Arab culture, as the Iranian revolution did before it. It will change the air the Arabs breathe and the dreams the Arabs dream.

Meanwhile, back in Bahrain, Mahmood Al Yousif is worried that Tunisia will now go from one extreme - to the other. He writes:

I’m willing to bet that the pendulum now will swing from the one extreme of robbing the Tunisian people of one important element of their identity, religion – through to the other end and we’ll see the rise of Islamism and Islamist sentiments.

So who and what gets sacrificed at the alter of extremism? Common sense and moderation.

Al Yousif adds:

We have quite a lot to learn from the “Tunisian Experiment”, and the wise will benefit most if they take time to understand what transpired and why and try to enact those lessons in their own societies with the inculcation of the respect for human rights and their freedoms of faith, association, thought and speech, and not to shove one doctrine or another down people’s throats.

La semaine qui a fait tomber Ben Ali

Dès le 4 janvier 2010, jour de la mort du jeune Mohamed Bouazizi, qui s'est immolé par le feu le 17 décembre 2010 à Sidi Bouzid, « Le Monde diplomatique » a décidé d'envoyer un journaliste en Tunisie. Du jeudi 6 janvier au jeudi 13 janvier, il a sillonné le pays, de Tunis à Tozeur, de Metlaoui à Gafsa, de Sidi Bouzid à Sfax puis Sousse. Son article paraîtra dans notre dossier du numéro de février. En attendant, voici le récit au jour le jour d'une semaine qui est d'ores et déjà entrée dans l'histoire (...) - Lettres de... / Tunisie, Mouvement social, Violence, Dictature, Répression
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Juan Cole: Tunisia Uprising “Spearheaded by Labor Movements, by Internet Activists, by Rural Workers; It’s a Populist Revolution” (Democracy Now!) | Informed Comment


JUAN COLE: Well, it’s a revolution—you know, all revolutions are multiple revolutions happening at the same time. So there’s a strong element of economic protest. There’s a class element. Twenty percent of college graduates are unemployed. There’s extreme poverty in the rural areas. And the regime was doing things that interfered with economic development. They would use the banks to give out loans to their cronies, and then the cronies wouldn’t pay back the banks, so they were undermining the financial system. And that made it—and the extremeness of the dictatorship, the demands constantly for bribes, discouraged foreign investment. So the regime was all about itself. It was doing things that were counterproductive. And it injured the interests of many social groups—the college-educated, the workers. Now, the three ministers that pulled back out of the national unity government today were from the General Union of Tunisian Workers, which is an old, longstanding labor organization. So, it was a mass movement; it included people from all kinds of backgrounds. ‘


Read the whole thing.

January 18 2011


Interim Tunisian government sworn in amid protests - 3rd Update | Earth Times News 20110118

Tunis - Tunisia's new transitional power-sharing government was sworn in Tuesday, with the exception of four ministers, including one from the opposition, who resigned on the first day or were absent.Three ministers from the General Union of Tunisian Labour (UGTT) stepped down in protest over the reappointment of several ministers from ousted president Zine el-Abidine ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party.A fourth minister, Mustapha ben Jaafar, leader of the Union of Freedom and Labour party (FDTL), one of three opposition leaders named to the government, was also absent for the swearing-in.Sources within his party told the German Press Agency dpa that Ben Jaafar had refused to join the government, also in protest over its weighting in favour of the RCD, which is widely seen as corrupt.The prime minister, minister for foreign affairs, finance, interior defence are all RCD members, who kept their jobs in the new administration.The resignations came as thousands of people continued to demonstrate for more reforms.In capital Tunis and in the southern cities of Sfax, Tataouine and Medenine, Tunisians took to the streets to protest the RCD's ongoing grip on power.Riot police fired tear gas and baton-charged demonstrators in Tunis, in scenes reminiscent of the protests that toppled Ben Ali, albeit far less violent.Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi defended the reappointment of the RCD ministers, saying they had "clean hands and plenty of competence."They kept their portfolios "because we need them in this phase (of building a democracy)," Ghannouchi, who also kept his job, told France's Europe 1 radio.Tunisia's Islamist movement Ennahda denounced what it called a "government of national exclusion."The government is charged with restoring stability after a month of demonstrations in which 78 people died, and organizing parliamentary and presidential elections within six months. <!-- google_ad_section_end -->
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What Sparked Tunisian Revolution?
Samer Shehata: A police state exercising total suppression of freedoms is more brittle and open to falling than a semi-authoritarian regime
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