Vanessa Szakal

Vanessa Szakal

Vanessa studied French, Spanish, and Arabic at the University of Washington in Seattle. She currently interns at Nawaat where she is able to pursue her interests in news media and the universal right to access to information.

03 April 2014

That this report diffuses information which was previously inaccessible is a feature not to be overlooked or undervalued. In the wake of revolution and the unfolding democratic transition, the study’s objectives are relevant, its approach and resources transparent, its conclusions meticulously drawn and valuable to common knowledge and future research…However, a subtle but noteworthy contradiction associated with the confused designation of Tunisia as victim of state capture and as a role model for other countries reflects a greater, underlying discrepancy that exists at the institutional level.

30 March 2014

In the past month during which Tunisia celebrated its fifty-eighth year of independence from France, political parties have crowded public space and consciousness—an ebullient Ennahda rally on Avenue Habib Bourguiba, Hamadi Jebali in news headlines, and rumors that Tunisia-Libya border tensions have been exacerbated by political party backing.

27 March 2014

The ‘open’ letter to Secretary Kerry, endorsed by and intended for US government officials, is written accordingly, in polished diplomatic terms where the return of every initiative is measured in dollars and proposed projects and investments perpetuate the image of the US abroad as a benevolent (soft) power.

23 March 2014

“What we have in our favor is that current politicians are not used to politics and can be pushed to accept the needs and rights of citizens. And there is no better judge to hold politicians accountable than the citizen. When we make information public, people know what is going on. Transparency must become obligatory.”

21 March 2014

What Jomâa did not say regarding contrasting political visions amongst the Gulf countries visited on his trip will weigh heavily not only on international relations and the actual support that Tunisia might receive from its alliances, but on the conditions for the support (if any) offered. Meanwhile images of blood-stained earth and bullet hole-scarred buildings permeate national news following clashes between national security forces and militants in Jendouba and Sidi Bouzid.

16 March 2014

After perusing the American Embassy Tunis Facebook page, the page welcome statement seems either a laughable euphemism or an endearing show of naïveté. The description is accurate to the extent that the the page accomplishes what it promises and what one would expect from an embassy Facebook page, for it serves as a cultural counterpart to the official Embassy of the United States Tunis website’s services and procedural information and news updates.

04 March 2014

With the electoral law on the table for discussion, the nomination of several ministry candidates, and the naming of eighteen governors, it is not surprising that election campaigns have rolled into action. Security remains a prominent issue in the National Dialogue and national media, and although the common concern is that insecurity is a block for the political process and efforts to precipitate democratic elections this year

16 February 2014

Another week in Tunisia’s politics is charged with mixed emotions. For now, in light of the unresolved and reinvigorated confusion surrounding the Belaid case and the elusive progress being made in election-planning processes, public demands for truth, accountability, and productivity reflect a citizenry eager for change, and still waiting for signs of it.

14 February 2014

The show of US interest in Tunisia since the beginning of the revolution is significant, both in mainstream media and discourse as well as in US official investigations and reports. Whether docked at the capital port, or congratulating the prime minister, or releasing large sums of loan money into the economy, or advocating for a successful democratic transition, the United States has made it clear that it has a vision for Tunisia.