Tunisian Society: The Mouse That Roared

Ben Ali’s ire knows no bounds.

It is not enough to continue the senseless persecution of bloggers, nor turn a blind-eye to the self-destruction of young lives – rather, the net of persecution has been widened to incorporate musicians:

“Some 30 plainclothes policemen came to our house to arrest Hamada and took him away without ever telling us where to. When we asked why they were arresting him, they said ‘he knows why’,” he said.

Ben-Amor is known to fans as The General. Last week he released a song on the internet titled ‘President, your people are dying’ that talks about the problems of the youth and unemployment.

And here is the offending act:

When will dictators learn: the more you squeeze, the stronger the people will resist.

Earlier this evening an Iranian colleague mused that Tunisia was the last place one would expect unrest, since “it has been the most stable and peaceful” of all countries in the Middle East and North Africa region.

I would counter thus: it is not peaceful, it is stifled.

It has been democratic (or as some would say, “European”) in outward appearances only: like a monkey in a Versace suit, it can smoothe its lapels and tweak its pocket-handkercheif, but ultimately, it is still a monkey.

Crude though the surmisal may be, it is an apt rendering of Ben Ali’s regime.

Peaceful on the surface, tolerant in words only, beneath the surface is censorship, intimidation, corruption and oppression.

These past few weeks are proving the fruits of the seeds of repression, and the more arrests, the more riots.

Tunisian society is rapidly morphing into the mouse that roared and eventually even Ben Ali will have to listen.

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This entry was posted on January 7, 2011 by in Africa, Censorship, Politics, Tunisia and tagged , , , , , .
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