Tunisia: 10 years later, was it really a revolution?

The analysis of professor Ben Achour

18 January, 20:19

    The Tunisian revolution celebrates its tenth anniversary. It is inevitable to attempt an analysis of the 10 years since the ouster of the powerful president at the time, Ben Ali, which started on December 17, 2010, with the desperate gesture of a young street vendor in Sidi Bouzid, which led to an insurrection. But was it a true revolution? On January 14 each year, some celebrate the event while others denounce it as a plot. Both camps have arguments to back their position. Yet, though history will have a final say on the matter, Yadh Ben Achour, a university professor, has analyzed the issue on the monthly Leaders. Achour is a former president of the High Authority for the Revolution and a current member of the UN Human Rights Committee Ben Achour recalled first of all that ''a revolution is a social trauma and not the realization of paradise on earth'' and therefore ''expecting tangible and immediate advantages from a revolution means misunderstanding the history of revolutions in the world and being trapped in a 'miraculous conception' of revolution. Such a conception obviously leads to disillusion. This is the psychological state that captures the public opinion on the tenth anniversary of the revolution''. The second reason - according to Ben Achour - ''is that the Tunisian revolution has fully realized at least half of its message, or the implementation of a democratic regime''. ''We must not limit this democratic conquest only to freedom of expression, as we often hear. The freedom of thought and expression is certainly one of the pillars of a democratic regime, but it does not represent the exclusive element. Although the current political scenario is marked by a chaotic organization, which explains the lack of experience and discipline of its actors, Tunisia has nevertheless succeeded in the democratic experiment that concerns together ideas and arts, political parties, the use of power, the control of institutional checks and balances, transparency and the regularity of elections, freedom of meeting, of demonstrating, etc. It is therefore wrong to believe that the revolution in the end didn't lead to anything''. ''The third reason - he added - is that this analysis, which attributes to the revolution the difficulties of the present, even denying it entirely, is based on an incredible intellectual shortcut. In effect, what is important in a revolution is the message and the symbolic resources that it leaves to future generations. A revolution is the basis for a new way of thinking, new social and political perspectives, new rights and new freedoms. It can't be judged based on the immediate historic events that precede it. I think it is wrong to linger on the current situation in our country, and conclude that the revolution did not occur, that it did not change anything or that the dictatorship was better. This latest statement is nothing less than a monstrosity. These judgements hold no value, they rather express instinctive and confused reactions. If we looked more closely at the political scenario of our country, with a regard that is not ardently overloaded by daily news, we would see that the message of the revolution remains surprisingly able to mobilize and be present - in thoughts and actions. A revolution is not judged by fluctuations on the stock market, by inflation rates or by the rate of economic growth. It is something deeper that is revealed by the strength with which the message of the revolution remains a constant political and social reference and a permanent source of mobilization. Today, ten years after the revolution, its message remains very much alive and will remain well embedded in collective representations of politics''. Tunisian society after the revolution is therefore, according to the professor, ''in a situation that requires urgent corrective actions that must be inspired by principles traced by the revolution''.

    Ideologically, it is imperative to defend Tunisian society from the grip of the Islamization of society and of the State, he said. ''For this, it would be necessary not to set up a political party but a large-scale secular movement based on the principles of the national revolution of independence and the conquests of Bourguibism''. (ANSAmed) 

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