Lessons From Tunisia


French leaders have for long agreed with "experts" that there will be no changes in any "Arab" country, as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has not been settled. I'm referring to "experts" such as geostrategist Pascal Boniface, former minister of foreign affairs Hubert Védrine and their friends of the BDS ("Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine") who recently pressured singer Vanessa Paradis into canceling her visit to Israel

Now the Tunisian rebellion has uncovered the plot. The fate of the Tunisian people was indeed miserable, but not because their leaders were transferring many products to the Palestinians to allow them to survive, as I have personally heard the wife of former Tunisian president Ben Ali say in 2002 on the French-language radio station during a stay in Djerba: she spoke of "necessary sacrifices" to support the effort of the Palestinian people. 

The Tunisians, but also the Algerians, the Egyptians and the Jordanians, are becoming more and more aware, especially when they see on the Arabic tv channels the standard of living of the Israeli Arabs and even the Palestinians, that the money is not going to "the Palestinian children" as has been claimed, but to big cars, a festive lifestyle and opulent villas for the military-fundamentalist mafia which has been leading those countries for decades with Western and Wahhabi support. 

That is the reality. French officials and intellectuals were not only linking the fate of the North African and Middle Eastern peoples to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but submitting it to the condition of a solution for the conflict. The truth is that the conflict has been artificially maintained by military-mafioso dictatorships and their Western accomplices, precisely to prevent a reasonable peace which could eliminate this false argument to justify the misery of these people. And because a solution is made impossible, the blame can be put on Israel. Everything fits. 

For years and years, in a haranguing atmosphere full of pedantic pity, part of the media-politico-intellectual "rent-a-thought" elite was blaming the obvious lack of real democracy in these countries on both the Arab-Jewish problem, and on the fact that these countries could not "have a democracy like ours". In fact democracy, like electricity, is a technique for organizing the Polis - in a cultural context, of course, for the same reason why France is not Germany. We do not see on what grounds, if not obviously a postmodern relativism which leads to nihilism, the democratic system could not settle permanently in this region. 

It is time that we stop giving the floor to these former supporters of communist or khomeynist dictatorships (USSR, Cuba, Cambodia, etc.), which are recycled today as "geopolitical experts" of the democratic process (no kidding), while they know nothing about it. It is unbelievable that genuine experts of democracy, such as Raymond Boudon, Jean Baechler or Pierre Manent, are never interviewed on this point, except fortunately for Chantal Delsol (whose next book will certainly make noise, I will write about it soon). 

Many Algerians have tried to set themselves on fire. One of them died. Let's hope that these sacrifices have not been made in vain, and that we realize that the socio-political situation of these countries has been obscured for decades by a flood of ignorance. It is time to open our eyes and help these people to emancipate themselves instead of sharing only pity and condescension with them. "Democracy is not a part of their culture": that is the real racism.

@ Kappert

Re: Jasmine Revolution (2)


Would it have helped  if I'd posted  in German, Dutch  (Flemish), French or Klingon? Or, as I suspect, are you  simply  incapabable of offering a rational response to my question in ANY language?  

Jasmine Revolution (2)

"The Jasmine Revolution pleases anybody who values freedom and democratic representation."

Djerba isn't Kappert Isle, never has been and never will be. So my question  is the same question I've posed to you before and one you have thus far stubbornly refused to answer, and that question is this. Should the Jasmine Revolution, or some future variant, bring about the kind of social and economic change you would wish for the people of Tunisia,  how would you suggest the Tunisian people hold on to those precious gains  together with  the country's territorial integrity without the aid of a standing army?   

Jasmine Revolution

The Jasmine Revolution pleases anybody who values freedom and democratic representation. Although, scenes that were "unimaginable only days ago" (Le Monde) were not at all so unforeseeable. Just check WikiLeaks: "By many measures, Tunisia should be a close US ally. But it is not." Why? "The problem is clear: Tunisia has been ruled by the same president for 22 years." It rumours for years in Tunisia and Algeria. It is Western military compliance (Ben Ali, un bon ami) which allows leaders to have big cars, a festive lifestyle and opulent villas for the military-fundamental Mafia which has been leading countries for decades with Western and Arab support. No, no time to celebrate. The current Tunisian constitution will bring forward only members of the old regime, a 'revolution' seems not to be possible. It will be crucial, how Western and Arab countries will act on the 'new regime'. Don't expect too many changes.

It is time to open our eyes

It is time to open our eyes and help these people to emancipate themselves instead of sharing only pity and condescension with them. "Democracy is not a part of their culture": that is the real racism.

What could possibly help toward emancipation?  There are certain prerequisites that must ground enlightened self government; these conditions cannot be imposed from outside.  If they cannot manifest within the indigenous peoples, they cannot manifest at all.


@ Lucien Oulahbib

In principle I agree with you, although you remained simplistic.

One point is important here:

Tunisia had Bourguiba and emancipated the women very early after independance.

The people didn't forget that.

The other countries didn't have Bourguiba and his free attitude to women and religion.

It's true that there will be turmoil in the other countries, mostly in Egypt and Algeria, but that turmoil will be used by the islamists to take power and then we are even further from peace.