The Arab spring lexicon: Tunisian revolution downgraded from revolution to turning point by way of uprising

The Tunisian Prime Minister, Hamadi Jebali, speaking in Berlin this week, called the events that led to former dictator Ben Ali’s departure a “turning point” – further changing the Tunisian lexicon. What began as a revolution in Tunisia was eventually downgraded to an uprising by many Tunisian and Arab commentators. The Guardian reported that ...

Are press freedoms in Tunisia really in the crosshairs? Refuting Elliott Abrams

Elliott Abrams’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post wasn’t the first to sound the danger alarm – but his op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday was clear, Tunisia is back-sliding on press freedom. The article has been cited numerous times in the last two days as evidence that the Arab Spring, even in Tunisia, is turning cold (see ...

Update on Tunisian government’s reaction to extremism

As I noted last week, some members of the Tunisian government seem to be taking a harder line against religious extremism. The latest example comes from Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, who spoke yesterday in a ceremony honoring two women who stood up to a group of Salafists who had dishonored Tunisia’s flag. The Associated Press reports: Tunisian ...

President Marzouki honors feminine heroes

Courtesy of Tunisia Live In a fitting tribute to a week in which the world celebrated women, Tunisia has two new feminine heroes. Tunisia’s feminine heros, Khaoula Rachidi and Amel Aloui. Photo via Leaders.com The first is Khaoula Rachidi. Leaders.com describes her as Tunisia’s Marianne, the national emblem of France for freedom and ...

Secular extremists the new buzzword on the Tunisian right

In an interesting parallel to American politics, Tunisia’s right wing, predominantly the Islamist party, Ennahdha, have embarked on a campaign to call out what they consider to be “secular extremists.” The Associated Press’s Paul Schemm reported this week: Said Ferjani, a high ranking member of Ennahda, told The Associated Press ...

International Women’s Day – Women fight for rights in Tunisia

Combative but defensive, International Women’s Day had special meaning in Tunisia this year. Fourteen months after the Tunisian uprising, Tunisian women (and defenders of freedom for women) are still debating whether women will benefit from the overthrow of Ben Ali. Tunisia Live reported from three different perspectives about Tunisia’s ...

Have Tunisian politicians skirted the issue of Sharia?

Short answer – not quite. But it certainly will not be secular. The official government press agency, TAP, reports today that a consensus has been found on the issue of the preamble of the constitution. This is where many conservative/Islamist politicians (e.g., Sadok Chorou) have argued Sharia (Islamic) law should be enshrined in the preamble ...

Evidence mounts that Tunisian Government is trying to control extremism

In the second announcement in a week, the Ministry of Religious Affairs reasserted the state’s role in mosques around the country. Babnet reports: The Ministry of Religious Affairs said, in a statement released Tuesday, that the appointment of religious officials at mosques is the responsibility of the Ministry and ”no party” ...

Arguing for moderation in Tunisian politics

In recent weeks, Tunisians have more and more expressed dismay over the increasingly polarized political and cultural scene. On the right, Islamists express dismay and consternation over the left’s refusal to join forces to move the country forward. On the left, secularists worry that Salafists and other extremists are manipulating the ruling ...

A democratic coup d’etat? Secularists debate the new Tunisian constitution

As debate over the new constitution begins in the Constituent Assembly, Tunisian secular activists are crying foul of attempts to introduce Islamic law in the new constitution. Ons Bouali writes in Nawaat: After months of comedy, the masks are falling off. Ennahdha’s true colors have been revealed, abandoning the charade of “a civil party ...
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