Tunisia: Political Police vs. Political Progress

As the dust settles following the elections, Tunisian society is finding itself in a new political environment that is Islamist in flavour, liberal in aspiration and democratic in birth.

Yet there remain legacies untouched; while Egypt had its Amn al-Dawla, Tunisia still struggles with the memory of the secret police, or, mukhabarat.

The question of how a society moves on from glancing over one’s shoulder and checking quips before engaging in open, academic debate is addressed by Kate Doyle at Unredacted.

One man recounted how an agent showed up at his door to detain him, “And when I asked, do you have an arrest warrant?, he pulled twenty blank arrest warrants from his pocket, all signed by the Interior Minister, and said, I can have as many as I want.”

Convened on November 12-13, the event brought security experts, archivists, intellectuals, journalists, bloggers, artists and activists together with members of Tunisia’s interim government to discuss strategies for obtaining and preserving the records of the old regime’s hated security apparatus.

Central to the article is the conference, The Archives of the Political Police: A Challenge for Transitional Democracy?, held by the Tunisian NGO Le Labo’ Democratique and the Geneva-based Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

Also in attendance were four international specialists with experience in archives: from Poland, Germany, Romania, and the National Security Archive.

For the full report (highly recommend), click here.

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This entry was posted on December 1, 2011 by in Tunisia and tagged , , , , , .
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