Well, I can’t say I’ve been on top of this whole “new start” month, but I was thinking that the startling revolution and transition to a new government in Tunisia is kind of a big deal: a totalitarian Arab state’s leader is overthrown by the people after 22 years in power? And then I realized: I know almost nothing about this situation. SO, I thought I’d do a little research, and here it is:
Some fact about Tunisia: Well, first off, let’s see where this place is . Check it:
Here are some factoids from the CIA World Factbook – The population is about 10.5 million people. It became a French “protectorate” in 1881 and after WWI spent decades trying to get independence. It was recognized as independent in 1956. The country is 98% Arab and 98% Muslim.
According to this article from Canada, Tunisia is in some ways a paragon of success among African and Muslim nations. They have had a strong economic growth rate (5%). They aren’t a theocracy. Women can vote there. Westerners vacation there.
The Problems and Revolution
Despite the good, there has also been some bad in Tunisia, according to various articles. They’ve only had one leader in the last 22 years and free speech and protest aren’t tolerated very well. They’re one of those places where the incumbent always wins 99% of the vote. That’s always a real believable stat lol. Government corruption is also a problem.
Plus the Government apparently tried to hack facebook for their whole country to stop the online movement against them. For real. lol…I shouldnt laugh.
One big issue lately has been unemployment. Along with the leadership not being trusted or liked, its inability to lower unemployment led to a lot of Tunisians becoming angry to the point you get an armed revolt in the streets…
Some notable people in this story….
Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali: Ousted president. Had held the office for twenty two years. Accused of corruption by the people. He fled the country after the revolt began
Leila Ben Ali: The President’s wife. Held a lot of high charity positions but also disliked by the people for her spending and accusations of her nepotism. I guess she left with her husband.
Mohamed Bouazizi: Tunisian man who set himself on fire to protest his fruit cart being put out of business by police – he said for not paying a bribe. He eventually died from the burns and became a catalyst for the “Jasmine Revolution”.
Mohamed Ghannouchi: Awesome last name…Tunisia’s new president and former prime minister. Some say he is too connected to the old regime to please the people. Apparently they called him “Mr Oui” as in “Mr Yes” because he was always just going along with the president.
Amhed Nejib Chebbi: Leader of an opposition party – The Democratic Progressive Party – and a potential next president. Unlike Ghannouchi, he was not connected with Ben Alin. Check out his website- interesting.
It seems the main issue now is whether the new government will be the same as the old one – comprised even of some of the same people- or whether the new parliament and leadership will change Tunisia, allowing for more democracy and economic improvement. The revolution was just the beginning. Hundreds have died in the “Jasmine Revolution.” What will their deaths amount to?
Stay tuned, world….