Today was quite intense in Tunis. We started the day with the news of artists organizing a protest in front of the municipal theater in the main street in downtown Tunis, Avenue Habib Bourguiba. Artists were beaten up by police. Many of them were quite angry, and expressed themsleves in videos they posted on facebook videos, you can browse previous and next ones to see other artists talking.
Then the news this afternoon is that protests broke down in cité ettadhamen and cité al intilaka, two major underprivilidged areas in the western suburb of Tunis. A friend was there tonight and got caught inside, police closed down the area. I am not sure if she managed to get out.
On my side I was near the airport a few minutes ago I saw three military trucks going either towards the center, the southern suburb, or going further inside the country. I was quite happy to see them, I opened my window, saluted them, and exchanged encouraging smiles with two soldiers. The military is seen as the savior, since our police turned out to be a terrorist organization. That is not my only my own opinion. Yesterday, protestors were chanting: “The ministry of interior, a terrorist ministry”.
On the government side, the minister of communication hosted a press conference where he announced that they set up green numbers to inform journalists, and are implementing regional news offices to inform the press. I believe these actions are fruitless, we do not want new ways to gather information. We want press freedom, journalists should go wherever they want, whenever the want and write whatever they believe.
The president in his speech yesterday talked about “mercenaries and bandits engaging in vandalism”. But there’s a sentiment that these violences are orchestrated by civilian police forces to reinforce the government position. Today, all we see on Tunisian TV are pictures of burned offices and accusations of vandalism.People feel the government is scaring us to justify its own existence and its power. Yet, we know that the protestors are us, and all we are claiming is our freedom, and every time we screamed for it we are beaten up. We know that the dead are our kids, unemployed and oppressed.
Tonight i was up for a drink with friends in the suburb of Tunis, but news of protests and clashes came down along with orders from the police to shut down the restaurant of fear of protests. A strange feeling that we were victim of this terrorist government propaganda who aims at spreading parnoia, thus justifying its own existence and its use of force.But, I know, I know, I know that I lived for 23 years under the same president, I know that my government is corrupted, I know that the police has always oppressed us, I know that i can not rely on traditional media to know what is happening in my country, i know that i can not protest freely, i know that i can not access hundreds of websites, i know that two bloggers are jailed right now, i know so much about this government that i do not want it anymore… And most of all, i know how all of this started, wasn’t it when Mohamed Bouazizi was slapped in the face by a police officer, and after he tried to complain to government officials without success he immolated himself.
Beware soon, I will turn to a bandit, a mercenary…may be soon i will become an insurgent or a terrorist just like an iraqi in iraq, or a palestinian in palestine.