18 Feb 2011

The Jasmine Revolution

Today Francis Ghilès from the Centre for International Relations & Development Studies spoke amongst others at the Chatham House event on Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution.  
After Ben Ali’s resignation, who is currently in coma after a stroke, the media quickly moved on to other countries like Egypt, Bahrain and Algeria – where the action is. But what is happening to a country after its leader has left? Let's go back to where it all started.

Ghilès reminds of the islamic revolution of 1979 but says today it is different. The people are more individuals than 30 years ago. They have changed and the political Islam no longer finds affection. 

What fascinates the people in the Maghreb region is Turkey, Ghilès says, the combination of Islam and democracy is interesting to them. The revolution in Tunisia and also Egypt is a question of dignity. Under the repressive regime there was no room for dignity.

Ghilès tries to explain the differences between Tunisia and Egypt. As example he states that the birth rate collapsed in Tunisia and in Egypt not. Also north Africa is much more influenced by France and Europe; this is a huge difference to the Middle East.

Domino effect

Ghilès doesn’t like the idea of a domino effect. He thinks Algeria and Morocco are more stabile countries than Tunisia and Egypt. Still corruption and unemployment can be found there too. 

He says the biggest problem here in Europe is that people don’t know enough about North Africa and the Middle East and their history. In France the Middle East studies have collapsed. Journalists don’t have the knowledge to report about the whole picture. Inland Tunisia is poor. Where can we find that in the media?

Ghilès carries on and talks about the differences between Tunisia and Algeria with its revolts they have over and over again. Algeria has a diminished middle class and lost many people in the civil war. Tunisia doesn’t have those problems.

Karama stands for dignity

The rebelling all over the Maghreb region is because people want to be respected – Karama – it is all about dignity, Ghilès explains. He adds democracy won’t make things easier. And he thinks an election in Tunisia in six month time is simply not possible. It takes much longer to build political parties and to "clean up the police" that still has the old pictures in their heads.

Ghilès speaks about the demonstrations in Algeria last Saturday and is asking who is manipulation whom? 

Ghilès knows for sure the future generation of Tunisia became into being when the Tunisians lost their fear of the police. Fearless and with dignity – that’s the new Tunisia. 

Let's see what the future might hold for Tunisia.

No comments:

Post a Comment