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.

27 May 2017

On 5 April 2017, employees of Canadian oil company Winstar held a strike after the company laid off 24 workers. When the company refused to rehire the workers, a small protest was held in Tataouine, followed by some 1200 sit-inners at El Kamour, where protesters aimed to block the roads connecting to oil wells. Sit-inners were not satisfied with the Ministry of Employment’s proposition, a 60-point proposal including 150 immediate jobs, 350 additional jobs in oil companies over a period of three months and an increase in civil liability funds. But the protest’s organizational committee explained that the propositions did not fulfill their demands for 3000 jobs, 20% of the region’s oil production revenues and a development fund for Tataouine.

11 May 2017

A l’occasion de la présentation, le 2 mai, du rapport « Les dynamiques d’inclusion/exclusion de la Jeunesse en Méditerranée », commandé par l’Agence de Développement Française (AFD), Rim Ben Ismail, psychologue, et Imed Melliti, sociologue, ont apporté sur le mal-être de la jeunesse tunisienne des éclairages que les politiques ne sont pas toujours prêts à entendre.

04 May 2017

April 25 and 26, Moncef Zahrouni and Amina Ben Doua played the role of Samira an Raouf, « two people who find themselves in a tragic situation: taken by aliens, lost in space, trapped in a cage…how will they react? what are the problems and questions to which they must find answers? » Pulling the audience between comedy and drama, caricature and suspense, Our Friends the Humans invites us to reflect on our societies, our world and ourselves.

02 May 2017

Youssef Chahed était censé se rendre à Washington pendant le weekend du 21 avril, à l’occasion des Réunions de printemps de la Banque mondiale (BM) et le Fonds monétaire international (FMI). Une occasion pour la nouvelle présidence allemande du G20 et les banques de développement pour promouvoir une « nouvelle stratégie de sauvetage économique de l’Afrique». D’après Wolfgang Schäuble, le ministre de Finances allemand, la Tunisie compte parmi les premiers cinq pays qui auraient déjà montré leur intérêt pour y adhérer.

20 April 2017

After a four month delay which prompted observers to convey their concerns and suspicions about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) « lending freeze, » Tunisia is set to receive the second installment of its four-year $2.9 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan. The Tunisian government has agreed to set to work immediately with « delayed structural reforms, » including reducing spending on wages in the public sector and devaluing the national currency.

12 April 2017

Tunisia placed 87 out of 136 countries ranked in the 2017 Tourism Competitiveness Index, an assessment prepared by the World Economic Forum. According to the Index report released on April 5, Tunisia dropped down 8 points from its position in the previous year, owing to « low safety and security…with terrorism emerging as a destabilizing force…which in turn has led to high costs on business…and an extremely rigid and uncompetitive labour market. » The same week, the Tunisian Federation of Hotels proposed a debt restructuration plan as a life line for the country’s tourism industry. The sector is weighed down by a staggering 4 billion dinars in debt according to the Federation, and the Central Bank of Tunisia reports that some 120 out of 800 hotels nationwide are unable to settle their debts.

05 April 2017

If the idea of blockchain technology is to simplify financial and administrative transactions by removing intermediaries and essentially decentralizing processes, why partner with La Poste Tunisienne, a state-owned enterprise? Walid Driss of the startup DigitUs answers his own question: « I never thought I’d be working on a project in collaboration with an administration in Tunisia, let alone on a technological project, something quite disruptive and very cutting edge… » But Driss and business partner Hichem Ben Fadhl never intended to go it alone, and although they had considered other partners at the outset, La Poste had « a clear need, and there is a gap in the ecosystem that we want to help fill. »

27 March 2017

« I’m sick, » Mahrsi smiles. « My hand is sick… Like someone who always needs to smoke, I always need to draw. » Indeed, one of the most impressive things about Mahrsi is his seemingly relentless productivity, the profusion of caricatures, illustrations and projects he has worked on since 2011. In spite of a limited market, a media landscape that thas yet to shake of the habits of censorship, and lack of recognition, Mahrsi has not let down his pen for a moment.

21 Mar 2017

Dans un rapport publié fin février 2017, le département agricole américain prévoit une augmentation de l’importation de soja en Tunisie « pour répondre à la demande croissante du secteur de transformation ». Alors que la vaste majorité de soja est génétiquement modifié et que la Tunisie n’a toujours pas de législation concernant les OGM, les importations de cette culture devrait augmenter jusqu’en 2025.

14 March 2017

The body in cinema was the theme of the 17th edition of Cinéma de la Paix? organized by the Tunisian Federation of Film Clubs (Fédération Tunisienne des Ciné-Club, FTCC) in Tunis. March 8-12, at the Quatrième Art theater downtown, cinephiles, directors, students, FTCC members old and new filled café tables and spilled out into the street, clutching programs and caricatures sketched out by an on-site cartoonist. On Sunday evening, a musical performance by Pardon My French marked the end of the festival, five days of reflections and discussions on what the body in cinema reveals about society.

08 March 2017

In anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8, Tunisian civil society organizations are campaigning for the expedient adoption of legislation concerning the elimination of violence against women. The Tunisian Association of Women Democrats (ATFD), the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LTDH), and other non-governmental associations who are the first recourse for women victims of violence, are pushing for the adoption of a pending draft law, even while one of their primary critiques regarding the text is its failure to recognize the essential role played by non-governmental actors.

03 March 2017

On February 25, Youssef Chahed announced the appointment of new heads to several ministries. The UGTT lost not a minute in denouncing what it called a politically-driven and unilateral decision to replace Abid Briki, former UGTT Under Secretary General, with Khalil Ghariani, head of social affairs for the UTICA, as Minister of Public Service. In a statement published on February 26, the UGTT deemed the move a deliberate provocation, and made in the interest of unblocking the second installment of a $2.9 billion loan from the IMF. The conflict, which culminated in Ghariani’s refusal to accept the nomination and the subsequent suspension of the Ministry of Public Service on March 2, is the most recent flare-up in the tenuous relationship between the current government and country’s largest workers union.

27 February 2017

Since the beginning of February, the EU’s revamped strategy to reduce the number of migrants arriving on European shores has suscitated fervent reactions from south to north of the Mediterranean. On February 3, European Council members met in La Valetta, Malta, where they signed a declaration committing to « step up our work with Libya as the main country of departure as well as with its North African and sub-Saharan neighbors. » On the heels of the summit, the Tunisian government has, more or less, followed the lead of its European partners, having been promised sizeable economic packages in exchange for cooperation in curbing the human flow across the Mediterranean.

20 Feb 2017

Le 26 juin 2015 à Sousse, les forces sécuritaires auraient raté une intervention rapide et efficace en raison d’une « simple lâcheté » et d’un « retard délibéré et non-justifiable », selon un rapport confidentiel du pôle judiciaire de lutte contre le terrorisme en Tunisie. Un résumé de ce rapport a été présenté lors d’une audition à la Cour royale de justice de Londres le 8 février 2017. Alors que les médias anglophones assistent de près au déroulement des auditions, le silence en Tunisie devient pesant.

15 Feb 2017

Hier, mardi le 14 février, la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel a insisté pour accélérer l’expulsion des tunisiens demandeurs d’asile déboutés. Youssef Chahed, en visite officielle à Berlin s’est montré ferme en estimant que c’est les autorités allemandes qui ralentissent la procédure d’expulsion. Derrière ce dialogue de sourde, les tensions d’une gestion sécuritaire, et depuis peu, militaire des flux migratoires.

12 January 2017

Broad-faced, imposing Qsar Essaïd in Tunis was the palace Sadok Bey, one of Tunisia’s many rulers under the Ottoman Empire. It was here where Sadok Bey adopted Qanoun Eddawla, the country’s first constitution. Two decades later, he signed the Treaty of Bardo, marking the beginning of the French protectorate. Today, sixty years after independence and six years after the revolution, Qsar Essaïd has been opened to the public with “The Awakening of a Nation,” an exhibition on a period of Tunisia’s history (1837-1881) that modern regimes preferred to forget.

14 December 2016

From the center of Gabes, a 365-degree view of the city offers a stunning panorama of the world’s only seaside oasis, an urban setting scattered with green-grey palm trees, a blue-grey sea, and, jutting up from the main port, the Tunisian Chemical Group’s sky-high factory topped by thick plumes of smoke. It is a grey December morning on the weekend of Gabes’ short-film festival, “Life is short.” Even in the midst of a three-day cultural event animated by film directors, artists, university students, and cinephiles, the unsettling omnipresence of the factory close by inspires the festival’s title with sharp irony.

04 Dec 2016

Aprés le feu vert de l’administration sortante de Barack Obama pour établir une base secrète au Moyen-Orient, le Commandement des Opérations Spéciales de l’Armée américaine (JSOC) renforce sa mission antiterroriste à l’étranger. Le vendredi 25 novembre, le Washington Post annonce l’initiative du gouvernement américain qui vise à « élargir les pouvoirs de l’unité élite militaire pour chasser les combattants étrangers au niveau mondial ».