Monthly Archives: June 2011

Abd Aljalil Albedoui, the General coordinator of the Tunisian Labour Party, gives feedback on Tunisia’s current state.

The Situation in the country is characterized by the existence of many problems that give rise to fear and predict continued instability.

The government has not yet shown indicators of the existence of a consistent will to prosecute those who were involved in tyranny and corruption. Compared to the Egyptian government’s reaction towards the symbols of the Mubarak regime, the Tunisian government seems to be reluctant. As a result, the situation has caused a lack of confidence between citizens and existing institutions.

Furthermore, violent episodes witnessed lately in Metlaoui are signs of those who a dreaming to seethe return of a tyranny. These groups stand in many cases behind the movements aimed at  demanding the impossible, more than aiming to achieve the demands of legitimacy.

In all cases, do not forget that we are in a delicate stage characterized by a transition from a state of suppression of freedoms,  absence of dialogue , and weakness of political culture,which would complicate the process of democratic transition and make it risky.

But in such circumstances, the elite should fully assume its political, social and cultural to build a better Tunisia for tomorrow.


Written by Miriam Ben Ghazi

A press conference was held in Africa Hotel on June 8th by the Emrhod Consulting Institute to shed light on the results of the latest survey conducted by the institute about the election of the constituent assembly. 1000 persons were questioned about “Political Parties and the Democratic Transition”. The survey showed that 51% of Tunisians have no idea about which party they would vote for, while the rest were divided as follows: Al-Nahdha came first with 45.8%, PDP (Progressive Democratic Party) came second with 20.3%, POCT, in the third place with 12.5%, Al-Tajdid Movement was fourth with 11.1%, and CPR (Congress For the Republic) came in fifth place with 7.3%. Some new parties have started to assert their presence. For instance, the Party for Justice and Equality got 4.5%, followed by , the Socialist Left Party with 3.2%, MPUP with 3.1%, the Direct Democracy Party with 2.9%, and Al-Majd got 2.2%

Emrhod Consulting Institute described the results of the survey as natural considering the lack of communication between people and the majority of parties

As for the delay of the election day, 66% were for maintaining the date of July 24th and 28% were not, the remaining 6% were neutral.

Giving all the circumstances one can expect that the majority of people will not vote for any party but the survey showed that 85% are willing to vote.

The huge concern that remains irritating for Tunisians, is whether or not any political personality would be able to lead the country in such a crucial situation.

Written by Ibrahim Ben Slama

According to TAP, the check point of Ras Jdir witnessed, on Wednesday June 8th, a high number of foreign arrivals, especially Libyans. This is the result of continuous military operations in various parts of the western areas in the capital Tripoli. The number of refugees is estimated to exceed 6 thousand. It is also worth mentioning that about 200 families crossed the border. They used the Saharan paths to enter Tunisia through the desert, escaping the worsening security situation in Libya. Moreover, the port of “Al Ktif” (in the region of Ben Guerdene) received a boat from Libya carrying at least 18 people. They are civilians and military personnel, including high-ranking officers in the army, lately seceded from the Qaddafi regime.

This flow of people has put a lot of pressure on the region. “La Presse” reports shortages in fuel in Ben Guerdene. The newspaper quoted a worker at a gas station who said “The number of customers in our gas station did not exceed ten per day, currently it reaches thousands”.

Jeune Afrique discusses the impact of the wealthy Libyans who took refuge in Tunisia. According to the magazine there are thousands of them living in hotels and renting houses in the island of Djerba, one of the most attractive regions for tourists. In a way this is a blast for the residents since 80% of them rely on tourism to earn their living. This has benefited the tourism sector, especially that the number of tourists has dramatically decreased.

Written by Ibrahim Ben Slama

On June,7 ousted president Zeine-El-ABeidine Ben Ali broke the silence through the statemnts of his French lawyer, Jean-Yves Leborgne. Leborgne said on behalf of Ben Ali that the corruption charges represent a “masquerade”, and that the former president does not own assets outside the country. One day later, the Ministry of Justice replied to these statements.
During the 6th periodical conference held on Tuesday, June 7, by representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the ministry expressed its surprise at the statements of Mr. Jean-Yves Leborgne. Kadhem Zine El Abidine, the spokesperson of the Ministry, added that lawyers are free to choose the methods to defend their clients and that “we are particularly surprised by these statements, especially that we have no evidence that this lawyer, or anyone else, has asked to read the file of the two lawsuits filed against the deposed president”.

It is worth reminding that Mr. Kadhem Zine El Abidine mentioned that the judge relied on a set of clues to address the charges against the ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. These clues include the seizure of firearms and, drugs at the palace of Carthage, as well as jewelry and, foreign currency at the palace of Sidi Dhrif.

He also recalled that according to Tunisian law, a foreign lawyer can not defend someone who has Tunisian nationality. In addition, the bilateral agreement signed between Tunisia and France, in 1979, provides that a French lawyer can defend a Tunisian person only if he obtains the prior permission from the Tunisian Ministry of Justice and must be accompanied by a Tunisian lawyer. He continued by stressing that a foreign lawyer may defend a Tunisian if the client is present at the trial, which is not the case here, since the deposed president fled the country to Saudi Arabia.

source: TAP

By: Angela M

I’ve been living in Tunis on and off now for about 8 years. While I enjoy the warm weather and the fruity seasons, the thing that will never stop to amaze me is the audacity of Taxi drivers. As a foreigner, there is the good, the bad and the ugly. This comes with the territory as Tunisia is not my country. I can deal with the racial slurs, the weird and open looks, even the recent dirt and odor of Tunisian streets…I mean, its not easy but that is life. However..what I have an absolute low tolerance for is Taxi Drivers. In my opinion, they are the meanest, rudest people I have ever encountered in Tunisia. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way or fashion insulting Tunisian hospitality but as this is the opinion section, I have every intent of being brutally honest. As you read along, perhaps you will understand why.

Scenario 1: You know those days when it is terribly hot. You decided to venture out in the morning,while it is cooler to do some shopping but now it is noon and you are ready to go home. So you walk..and walk until you get to the junction so you can easily find a cab. You stand there with your arms out..waiting! as the sun heavily beats on your head. After 30 minutes of waiting…five taxi’s have passed you. All empty..and none of them have agreed to stop for you. Despite the fact they are going in your direction and even if they refuse to drop you, can’t they at least drop you somewhere close? Would it be so hard to stop? Aren’t we as the passengers paying for this ride? I know your tired, hot and bothered in the cab all day, driving people around..but you are not the only one. What ever happened to human courtesy?

Scenario 2: Perhaps the foreigners can relate to this better; You have a visitor at home..or maybe not, either way you decide to venture to the Medina in Avenue Bourghiba to go site seeing. Now it is time to go home. You walk down the street, pass the Cathedral. There are almost twenty cabs lining the streets, all of which are empty. Some of the drivers are sitting inside, others are standing outside waiting. As you walk down, you continue to ask the drivers if they are free so you can get a ride. All of them say no..why? 1. You’re not a tourist. 2. you know their REAL rates (so they cannot trick you into paying triple the amount). 3. you speak French. All of these factors contribute to their loss of making a profit, therefore they deny you. So you wait…almost an hour before finding a cab that will agree to take you. Again, I ask..what ever happened to human courtesy?

Scenario 3: On your way somewhere, you have an idea but are not too sure of the location. So you find a cab. Your ready to go. This cab driver has a mind of his own. Instead of asking you what route you want to take or where exactly you want to go, he decides to take his own route. You have exactly 5 dinars to get you to the destination and back. He takes some long route that ends up costing 4 dinars. You, annoyed at his antics to try and get more money than needed for the ride, get annoyed and ask him why? He in turn starts 1. cursing you out in Arabic. 2. responds with an attitude 3. insists he knows where he is going but has no idea at your expense. This scenario can end in two ways..either he will finally find the place and agree not to charge you the extra for the lost time or he will tell you to pay him, kick you out of his cab and take off-not before spitting in your face. (Yes, this has happened to me before).

Scenario 4: What is it about Taxi drivers  asking you where you are going and if THEY feel it is too close or there is too much traffic (a lot of times, there is not), they refuse to take you. Or something simple as stopping a cab driver to ask him for directions. All he will say is no, I don’t know. Your not even asking  for a ride and he has already decided to kick you to the curb..whatever your asking, he is not trying to hear it. Human courtesy? anyone? someone?

I can go on and on about Taxi Drivers and the drama I have experienced with them during my time here.  I mean, it is their cab and it is their prerogative to say no. But at the end of the day, that is after all their job! is it not? We are paying them for a service. Why be on the road if your intent is not to take anyone anywhere? We all know your hot, bothered and tired…so are we! your Passengers! The only difference is, you have a wheels and we don’t.Yet you deny us when you see us on the street in the rain, or frying in the heat….carrying a bunch of groceries or stranded somewhere desolate in the dead of the night. How would you feel if our places were reversed? Then you preform strikes to earn more money..I mean, If you were nicer to your passengers…more people would tip you and be pleasant. I know I definitely would! I’m a foreigner and have been taught the western way! In fact we would even rally behind you and support your cause! It can’t be easy doing what you do! Different people, different faces..working all day! getting shouted at. Sometimes verbally abused! Car breaks..the list goes on..but you are not the only ones suffering! don’t take is out on the rest of us!  All I’m saying is, we are all human. Lets stop the mean attitudes and help each other out!  As Taxi drivers, you also represent Tunisia, your nation, your people. We as foreigners interact with you more than anyone else! One bad experience can ruin onces perception forever! Not a good look. To the very few, very rare nice Taxi drivers I have encountered, Thank-you! To the others,  a little courtesy goes a long way! I’m just saying….



By Lotfi Saibi

AS the instigators of the Arab Spring, what responsibility do we have towards the indiscriminate killings
taking place in the Arab world, is a question worth looking in to. The Arab spring has taken many forms
of protests and counter protests by ruthless dictators willing to go to any length to stay in power. I feel
a sense of guilt every day as I see the scores of innocent young Arabs slaughtered aimlessly. Do these
killings justify the need for democracy, I sometimes ask myself? Have we prepared them for what was
to come? Have we thought about these animals in power with billions of dollars to spend on militia, and
how they might seek revenge? Have we educated these freedom fighters on how to better organize and
seek International help? Least of all, have we considered how the dictators, supported by the largest
military and intelligence machines the West has to offer, might conspire with one another, as is the case
between Israel and its Oil rich countries, to keep our people from ever making it to the ballet boxes for
the first time ever? This basic right of self expression is a very dangerous ingredient for these lifelong
rulers, as is the case for the “club of five kings”, presided by KSA and recently joined by Morocco and

The Tunisian authorities decided to put into practice curfew following bloody clashes between two tribes, which led to three deaths and 90 injuries.

The clashes took place on Friday night [June 3rd] and Saturday morning [June 4th]. According to TAP, the clashes started when two people from two different tribes got involved in a fight. Their relatives then joined the fight by throwing rocks, molotov coktails, and using batons, and haunting rifles.
The curfew is going to take place from 8pm to 5 am.

(Mosaique fm) Following a dispute concerning the criteria of recruitment in the company Gafsa Phosphate, violence erupted on  June 3rd between two tribes in Mitlaoui -“Aouled Bou Yahya” and “Jridya”. Around 50 were slightly wounded.
The clashes and acts of violence scaled up in the morning of Saturday, June 4th which resulted in 3 deaths and new injuries. According to the same source, 15 people are in critical condition.


On June 3rd, the bodies of 150 African refugees, fleeing the conflict in Libya were found off Tunisian shores, said a UN official. “Up to now, 150 bodies of refugees have been found off the shores of Kerkennah,” Carole Laleve, an official with the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, told Reuters.


However, according to Tunisian official sources only two baodies were found.
“We recovered only two bodies yesterday (and) we suspended search operations because of bad weather,” coastguard director Lotfi Baili told AFP. Moez Barkallah, a Red Crescent doctor, told AFP that 123 bodies had been transferred to a morgue at the Sfax hospital.

On Tuesday, fishing boats carrying 850 people illegally heading to Italy, encountered problems, reports TAP. The Tunisian coastguards and army managed to save 570 illegal migrants, while between 250 and 270 others were reported as missing on Thursday.

Search operations for survivals and bodies are continuing. Adrian Edwards, the UNHCR spokesman, said that women and children are among the 150. He adds, the incident “”appears to be one of the worst and the deadliest incidents in the Mediterranean so far this year.”

Ever since the beginning of the uprising in Libya, about 16,000 migrants arrived in Italy and Malta, according to the the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


The political scene in Tunisia has witnessed the birth of a new political force: The Modernist Democratic Pole. This pole is a coalition of a number of political parties and civic associations. Mr. Riadh Ben Fadl and Mr. Mustapha Ben Ahmed, the founders of the pole, believe that it is crucial for all entities that having the same political ideas to unite. This would offer them higher chances to attract more voters, succeed in the elections, and therefore contribute in a deeper way to the creation of the new Constitution.

According to TAP, the initiative came to  mind after they noticed that there are three main political groups: the left,  Islamist movement(s) and the remains of the former regime.

The main goal of the new pole consist of establishing a republican regime based on the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, freedom and the pacific alternation over power. The Modernist Democratic Pole is willing to “preserve our gained modernist values and to promote our Arabic and Islamic heritage.” The rally’s first communiqué covers many fields such as politics, justice, culture and the stressed importance of each one of them.

The parties, associations and independent figures taking part in this initiative declared that a unique program will be announced and that they will be in one electoral list under the umbrella of the Modernist Democratic Pole. “The Ettajdid Movement”, “The Left Socialist Party”, “The Movement of Democratic Patriots” and “The Republican Alliance”, are among the parties that joined the coalition. The doors to join the pole is open to all parties, associations, and independent figures sharing the same ideas with the pole. However, partisans of the former ruling party the “RCD” are not welcomed to join the pole.

Abdelaziz Bel-Khouja, a member of the Republican Alliance, expressed his disappointment concerning the refusal of some parties, such as the Progressive Democratic Party, to adhere to the pole.

The pole is preparing for a vast electoral campaign uniting all the members and should reveal its program very soon.