If Mohammad Bouazizi sparked the Jasmine Revolution, then Interior Minister Farhat Rajhi has rekindled the flames.
After stating in a Facebook video that a military coup was in preparation should the Islamist Ennahda Party triumph in the polls, Rajhi has been sacked from his post as head of the High Commission for Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties (HCDHLF).
Shortly after the release of the video protesters once again swarmed l’Avenue Bourguiba to be met by police wielding batons and tear gas.
Reports abound of deaths, but remained uncomfirmed; confirmed by audio-visual clips was the beating of women and the harassment of journalists covering the event.
Just as quick came Rajhi’s backtracking as he claimed the video was unethically placed online by journalists using a secret camera.
What he doesn’t realize is that he has taken a great step (unwitting or no) towards a liberal, open Tunisia.
He is paying the price for his honesty now, but given the surge of admiration for Rajhi online one cannot help but hope he sits tight and keeps talking.
Known for his vociferousness and upon taking office he fired dozens of top officials in the interior ministry, former cadres of Ben Ali’s fallen regime.
Death threats, sacking, condemnation from the government… Revolution was never going to be easy.
Until now the Revolution has lacked a figure-head – I wonder if (providing he stays strong) Rajhi could be the one?
As a final note, a rather splendid article on the virtues of Rajhi can be found here, in French.