17 March 2012 8:41 pm | | 12


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Democratic Leader of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi expressed her worry over the state of women’s rights and media freedom in Tunisia during meetings with Tunisian government officials yesterday, according to an official in the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The US Congressional delegation, led by Pelosi, met with Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Speaker of the Constituent Assembly Dr. Mustapha Ben Jaafar. According to the source, the meetings focused on strategies to boost foreign direct investment and financial assistance to Tunisia.

For Pelosi, it was imperative that Tunisia maintain an untarnished image abroad if American businesses are to feel comfortable in investing in Tunisia, stated the official.

Recent events gave Pelosi the impression that media freedom and womens’ rights are under threat in Tunisia, confirmed the foreign ministry official.

Pelosi mentioned the arrest of three newsmen for having run on the front page a racy photo of Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira and his girlfriend Lena Gercke and the growing visibility of religious hardliners in Tunisian society as alarming trends that caused some concern, according to the Foreign Ministry official.

Tunisian officials reassured Pelosi and the other members of the US Congress that the government is committed to upholding civil liberties as the country continues down the path of its democratic transition, said the source.

The Congressional delegation included Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Congressman George Miller of California, and Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia.

Today, the delegation was in Libya to meet with Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Keib.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Hichem says:

    Unfortunately, alot of work lies ahead before we can be fully independent. Americans apparently want us to be a prototype of one of their states; otherwise, they won’t be satisfied with whatever we do. Worse still, they seem to rely on one particular biased source of information in their judgements. Hence, we have no other choice than to double our efforts in all aspects of economy to get out of our urgent need to these Americans who won’t be happy with us unless we become fully Americanized…

  2. Afif says:

    @European, and Mohamed:

    This is what the Americans are saying:” You can’t make it without us. We want to help, but as long as you respect basic human rights.”
    The both you can put your little purses together and save the country from an almost certain economic dissster.
    These derogatory commments about this site and the former speaker of the house do not normally deserve a response, but as a Tunisian I want the world that you two do not represent me or Tunisia.
    Call me a CIA agent too silly!!

    • Mohamed says:

      @Afif dontbeanidiot.org, please mate!
      Until you are a little more knowledgeable of your country’s past, please save your time and effort and keep your advice for yourself. America has never cared for human rights in Tunisia, let alone economic and political progress. They were well aware, and at times supported, torture, economic fraud, oppression, .. in Tunisia. Go and google “realpolitik” before you sound like an idiot.

      A word from one of their politicians is insulting enough, let alone from the FORMER speaker of the house, who was in action during Tunisia’s suffering. Would she be complementing or critiquing human rights in Tunisia if Ben Ali was still in power? what do you think?

      And as a True Tunisian, i still have the decency to still call you a Tunisian. Your comment however, is pathetic. Do Tunisia a favor and learn your past!

      • Afif says:

        @Mohammad:
        As to the past, Tunisians and Tunisians alone have themselves to blame for allowing the former regimes to deprive them of their human rights. Those who know Americans will tell you that they would have taken up arms against their own government in a week if what happened to us happened to them.
        Please realize that there is no where written that America and other countries have an obligation to protect us from our own government. They deal only with governments that the people have allowed to take power, unless the U.S. interests is threatened. This holds true for any foreign power that wants to protect its interests.
        The obligation of the American government is limited to protecting only its own citizens. Additionally, I do not see the French or others offering to help us with our economic woes. The French would love to keep us on their leash, as they have always.
        Please note that the Americans are not begging us to help us. We are the ones asking them for assistance, including our own freely elected current government. The current government is making promises of a democratic society to assure the Americans that we will be have minimum standards that are consistent with the American principles. So, by insulting Congresswoman Polosi, the leader of the minority party, you are biting that hand that will end up feeding you.

        It does not bother me what you call me, but we need to have the decency to show appreciation for those who are willing to make an effort to help our economy, when their conditions are quite reasonable. This is just common sense brother!

        Wassalamu Alaikum Warrahmatu Allah Wa Barakatu.

        • Mohamed says:

          @Afif
          What America is giving us is Economic “Help”. Help that has large interest rates on it and contracted on many terms&conditions that place us as the losers in the deal. Nonetheless, it is pretty much appreciated as all the world is suffering from financial shortages, including America. This however does not mean that we can not criticize comments that are coming from them, nor does it mean they are now morally superior. If we are truly free, and if Tunisians want to stand up to the hard earned Dignity that the revolution has given us, than that means when comments like this come from our past dictator’s mates, then we should not take it as is.

          BTW we are receiving much larger economic “Help” from the gulf than we are getting from America. Yet we criticize them freely. Seems to me that you, and sadly many Tunisians, are still mentally oppressed. There is large political & economic worth for the US when they support Tunisia at these times. If you can not see this, then tell me and i’ll expand on it in the next comment.

          And you are very wrong by stating that the EU is not helping us much. Our Trade is largely dependent on them and they have provided much incentives for their companies to stay in Tunisia during these troubled times and they have persuaded many others to open up now and in the near future. The economic worth of this move is much more valuable to Tunisia than america’s much publicized “help”.

          If me and you want to help Tunisia become respected among the world, we have to hold others who accuse us responsible and provide us with proof of their criticism. Comments like “you are biting that hand that will end up feeding you” Cant work. Money does not entail political advice my friend, let alone moral advice about Women Rights. Specially one that is hollow!

          Wassalamu Alaikum Warrahmatu Allah Wa Barakatu.

        • Mohamed says:

          plus i never said america was responsible for our dictators and the general state of oppression in Tunisia’s past. I only stated that they SUPPORTED it. Either by turning a blind eye to it, commending the past dictator for achievements that were fake, and recently for turning a blind eye to Tunisia’s Revolution until the very last days.

          A country like this clearly should have no say about our Women Rights. But that was not why i wrote my first comment, which you criticised. If you read it carefully, you would realise that i wrote it to complain that the article has made an issue out of it, and by re-iterating a worthless statement by this country that should have been ignored. Instead it was on the front page.

      • Afif says:

        @Mohammad,
        Sorry forgot to mention that I did not find that websitedontbeanidiot.org !! Send me a link..thank you for being a Tunisian brother willing to help another Tunisian without preconditions!

  3. Mohamed says:

    What a useless article?? restating a useless communique for no other reason than to support the ideology of this News-site.
    The only reason i, and possibly most of the audience, continue to visit this website is because its the only English News site for the state of Tunisia.

    Tunisians need to provide something better than this blog!

  4. European says:

    Tunisian people shouldn’t listen to this Israel-lover, gay marriage-supporter and murder-supporter (she supports abortion).

    • 1984 says:

      Who should they listen to? Their own religious extremists? That would be going from one prison into another.

      Part of the high-living standards in Tunisia comes through the support of reproductive rights. Women shouldn’t be there to breed one children after another.

      There’s nothing wrong with gay-marriage. I live in a country in which it is supported and it has no effect on me as a hetero.

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