An Inner Perspective

By Khalil Azouz

On the morning of the 14th, people started pouring into Bourguiba avenue in Tunis. Most of them were in front of the Ministry of Interior, the authority that presides over the country’s police. Here’s one of the key moments during the protest, a video that still gives me chills:

They are saying “Dégage” in unison. Dégage is a French word for “get lost.” They even used this word in Egypt even though they are not French speakers. A few hours after this, it was announced that the president stepped down.

Unfortunately, in the days leading up to this event and during the week following it, a sense of insecurity was prevalent throughout the country. Indeed, The Family ordered the release of thousands of prisoners who were instructed to loot and terrorize. Add to that the 3,000 strong presidential police force, some of whom were caught with sniper rifles. Presumably, they were hoping to cause chaos and possibly return to “save” the country. We never stopped to be reminded the extent of these people’s inhumanity. The army played a huge role in reinsuring security. People also formed neighborhood protection committees against these looters. A lot of the arrests were actually made by normal people who handed the thugs over to the army or what is left of the police. After about a week of insecurity, during which very few deaths were reported – most of the casualties occurred during the weeks leading to the 14th (over 200 deaths, 72 in prison riots) – things started to feel more normal.

Now that the people overthrew the old regime, the country is working towards preparing elections in July. Things quickly went back to normal, or as normal as can be after this monumental change. Some of the concrete steps taken so far were ousting all of the ministers who were members of the RCD party, forming a committee for the investigation of all individuals associated with the Trabelsi family, forming an independent committee to ensure all parties are given equal treatment in the run up to the elections.

But a lot of people still don’t trust this temporary government led by the prime minister and the former speaker of the parliament, both of whom are old and were part of the previous regime. Many people, however, seem to support Ghannouchi as they have always felt his good intentions. The only thing people reproach him for is being passive and weak under Ben Ali. Personally, I am fine with him as he’s proven to be a good mediator with the people and a good diplomat with European leaders. It was also known that this guy wanted to quit politics a while ago but Ben Ali refused. He also asserted that he will not be a candidate in the elections and that his only objective is to create the best conditions for fair elections in the next six months.

This is during that week of insecurity, showing people forming barricades and checking vehicles entering their neighborhoods:

This is a tribute to the army:


Noam Chomsky comment:

Finally, a video showing Tunisia and promoting tourism so that the country doesn’t suffer from a mini tourism crisis:

This is the stuff I’ve been dealing with lately:

Tunisie libre, tunisie fierte, le peuple est fier. Merci Bouazizi, merci braves martyrs, merci brave peuple nos enfants se rappelleront de vous!

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