Time spins! After an uprising which threw 23 years under the Ben Ali regime, it took only 2 months to feel that those decades took place in a distant past. Tunisia faces a challenging transition to a democracy and global economy, but Today is about Libya.
The Libyan transition has become more difficult in the last week, and the Gaddafi’s seem to have put hands together to face the uprising and control the oil, so they keep their dad’s war machine going. And so he aimed straight to oil reserves and refineries. The Libyan people were faster to understand the importance of oil, but forces pro-Gaddafi were merciless in their counter attack and were able to recapture, Azawya, Misrata, Ras Lanuf, Brega, and now are heading Ajdabiya. Yet, Benghazi is the stronghold of the Libyan people and will not be given up easily. Gaddafi is also not likely to win an urban war, unless he destroys the city of 670,000 people. Postal! This comes bitter, and announces, not the end of Libyan uprising, but a Libyan civil war. How long? damage? deaths? All will be discovered in few years. For me the question is: why does it take so long to impose a No fly zone over Libya?
The answer may come from Tunis, as secretary of state Hillary Clinton comes in a 24 hours visit on Wednesday. Officially to congratulate the people of Tunisia, but certainly to check up the relationship between the US and Tunisia in this new era. Tunis may keep the sec of state on hold and give her an answer on July 24th after the election of the constitutional committee . This time, it won’t be a blank check behind closed doors, as politics changed recently in the Kasbah. In the meanwhile, The cheikh of the Kasbah, Beji Caid Sebsi put himself under a hectic travel schedule, as he spends Tuesday and Wednesday in Algiers and Rabat to meet Bouteflika and Mohamed VI. For me the question is: Was it that important?
Thursday will certainly be a long day!
Things are happening down here! An intense and agitated afternoon where rumours of pillage and attacks spread all over the place (As I promised I will write an article that showcases police role in this violence) Then it ended with Ben Ali’s speech:
Which at some point (5mn58) looked like this:
Very promising! huh?
The deaths and violence did not stop yesterday, and we saw, once again, the government’s propaganda machine at works: TV7.
We are not sure how things are going to be today.
But we are all determined. We will be free!
I woke up anxious and tormented and walked straight to the streets to see the remainings of last night’s battle. But, when i arrived to Cité Ettadhamen, Mnihla in the western suburb of Tunis. I wished I was blind, but the overwhelming smell of burining plastic would still describe the intensity of the violence that invaded this large underprivilidged neighbourhood.
Violence was unleashed and flames invaded most banks, a few cars, a bus, two pharmacies, a bakery, an electronics store, and several other shops, the city hall, the municipality, and the post office of Mnihla. Hundreds of people were shocked, they stood along the way in groups trying to know what happened last night. One could see that there was some pillage, and the shops that rioters couldn’t open were tagged. They wrote on them the famous slogan A.C.A.B meaning All Cops Are Bastards. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single cop in the streets today. I mean no single cop, and that is very strange in Tunis.
What happened last night?
Yesterday cops were surrounding Cité Ettadhamen and no one could either enter or leave. It seemed like cops were preparing to “clean” the area and take control of it, after hundreds of people engaged in riots during the afternoon. I won’t be able to tell you much but it seems that troops with guns and bullets engaged with unarmed groups of kids. This morning the kids were still there, while the cops disappeared leaving some souvenirs of their passage. This picture may give an idea about the outcome of the battle.
I decided to leave the scene, even though the scene wouldn’t leave my head. I headed to the University of Law of Tunis. University professors were protesting because of the murder of Hatem Bettaher, who was shot in the head by police forces yesterday. The professors were signing a petition and calling for a general strike tomorrow in Tunis, along with other worker’s union. They had clear demands, even though they were not acting under any recognized structure. Their demands included the liberation of all people detained in the last protests and the dilution of the house of representatives, and the counselors. I wasn’t able to obtain the full report but they will be announcing soon during the day.
The other news of the day is the pseudo press conference organized by Sakher El Materi, the son in law of the president and the strangely young and succesfull business man. He announced that he didn’t run away from Tunisia, but that he was just gave a ride to his wife who went to Canada. He also had an interesting discussion with @Emnabenjemaa who spoke openly with him about the recent controversies around his person. He certainly tried to negate the corruption accusations, but that didn’t seem to affect the people’s opinion.