Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tunisia And The Fears Of The Revolution

By Mohammad el-Ashab 
This commentary was published in al-Hayat on 10/05/2011 

This is the era of running away from the revolution towards the revolution. This is how the picture looks in Tunisia from a less optimistic point of view. And since the masses of illegal emigrants started to move in thousands from the Tunisian coasts in the direction of the Italian islands, a major question was raised about the indications of fleeing away from a country with high hopes of change.

Some interpreted this phenomenon as being the result of the absence of security control on the coasts in light of the regression of the security grip that used to impose its iron fist over the country. Some thought that these are the scenes of the explosion of bottled-up emotions and dreams. But at a time where Italy and its European partners were busy with the repercussions of this issue – to the extent that France hinted at a possible breaking of its Shengen agreement commitments – the phenomenon did not raise a sufficient interest in the concerned country. The revolution has some priorities that entail arranging the interim phase with the least possible amount of losses and damages.

There was a prevailing belief that the young Bouazizi had set himself on fire so that his body would turn into a torch lighting the road of the revolution. But the Tunisian experience, which produced regional and Arab extensions, has failed to prevent the domestic fears. These fears are sometimes represented under the name of the counter revolution; and at other times, under the slogan of the continued control of the ousted regime. The bet that defines the path of the revolution is standing still. And the least to say is that one cannot imagine that the road of change is paved with flowers.

The main question concerns the identity of those who are behind these distortions, regardless of whether they are indeed present under this size and this importance or whether there are some sides who are interested in opening side doors in order to give an unrealistic presentation of the bets of change. It is not important to keep standing at one point, but to uncover the sides who are manipulating the desperate scene in a way that causes a loss of hope.

The first hypothesis is that if things were to proceed in the right direction towards the implementation of the upcoming deadlines in a way that will end the interim phase through the establishment of legal and executive institutions born out of the voting ballots, then this will put an end to all the pretexts that are being used by the conflicting sides. One might think that the abundance of mutual accusations in the Tunisian arena aims at preventing the reaching of this crucial phase where there will be no more room for throwing arrows and where submitting to the popular choice will become a must provided that this choice is democratic, honest, and free of errors.

There is a need for additional confidence and trust in order to achieve this crossing over. Thus, it is possible that the doubts and tendencies to scream - that the Tunisian scene is subjected to - are nothing but new attempts aimed at placing sticks in the wheels of the historic movement that is changing on the rhythm of hope. Perhaps the best way is to move, right now and right here, to the logic of the state where everyone is to be held responsible. The fact that the same image of the shake-up is also repeated in Egypt is no coincidence. There is a similarity between the two experiences, and there are common challenges with the difference of the local dimension and the specific issues.

The Tunisian Prime Minister, Al-Baji Ca'ed al-Sebsi, for his first tour outside Tunisia, chose to tour the Maghreb capitals because he thought that the Maghreb space is the closest space that can assimilate the [Tunisian] experience and provide it with regional guarantees that revive the hopes. And the Egyptian Prime Minister, Dr. Issam Sharaf had opted for stressing on the openness towards the countries of the GCC. Perhaps the difference in the two directions lies in the fact that the Gulf people are prouder of their experience that has been able to resist all the shake ups. Meanwhile, the Maghreb Union has had less luck and more obstacles. But the most important thing is that no country is capable of overcoming its difficulties alone and without relying on alliances.

There are strong signs to the matching between the domestic and regional bets. The role of the neighboring countries consists of supporting the countries that are having internal changes on finding their way clearly and confidently. This has nothing to do with any kind of interferences. This is rather an embodiment of the solidarity signs in the hope that the revolutions would not fall in the traps that are being readied for them from every side.

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