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.

12 أوت 2017

تذهب التصريحات الرسمية إلى أن القطاع السياحي يشهد انتعاشة لسنة 2017، إذ أشارت وزيرة السياحة أول شهر أفريل الفارط إلى أن عدد السياح الوافدين على البلاد تطور بنسبة 33,5 بالمائة مقارنة بسنة 2016. من جهته أشار تقرير المنظمة العالمية للسياحة إلى أن تونس تعد من بين الوجهات السياحية العالمية القابلة للتطور في المستقبل. الإقرار الرسمي بانتعاشة السياحة التونسية ينطلق من مقاربة كمية لعدد السياح الوافدين على البلاد. ولكن إلى أي مدى يساهم الارتفاع العددي في تحسين حياة الفاعلين في القطاع السياحي؟ في سياق البحث عن إجابات لهذا التساؤل، ذهب موقع نواة إلى المدينة العتيقة بتونس، التي تعد وجهة كلاسيكية للسياحة، هناك يتحدث التجار عن تصوراتهم للواقع السياحي لسنة 2017 من خلال تجاربهم الخاصة.

05 August 2017

A pair of worn sneakers dangles from an electric wire stretching between telephone poles, of little consequence to the pigeons perched close by and pedestrians on the street below. How many of them look up and wonder about the shoe fixture slung overhead? This is just the sort of mundane urban detail that intrigues Mourad Ben Cheikh Ahmed, creator of the blog « Lost in Tunis ». In his most recent post, Mourad shared a series of photos accompanied by a brief explanation: « shoe tossing, or shoefiti (shoes + graffiti) is undeniably a form of street art ».

03 Aug 2017

Sur la côte du nord-ouest tunisien, à 18 km de la frontière algérienne, s’étendent les plages rocheuses de Tabarka. Sur leurs nids perchés en haut des poteaux, les cigognes ressemblent à des statues. Des lauriers-roses bordent l’autoroute qui mène vers la ville. Un énorme saxophone de 6 mètres occupe le carrefour à l’entrée de la ville. Ici, et aussi sur la gigantesque contrebasse au centre-ville, des affiches bleu-ciel annoncent le Tabarka Jazz Festival, qui s’est tenu du 22 au 29 juillet 2017. Cette édition qui marque le comeback du festival, permettra-t-elle à la ville de redorer son image et accroitre sa compétitivité en tant que destination touristique ?

30 July 2017

Eighteen miles from the Algerian border on Tunisia’s north-western coast are the rocky shores of Tabarka. Heading into town from the east, voluminous pink and white oleander border the highway. Storks stand statue-like atop their nests, perched at the top of electrical towers. A massive bronze saxophone occupies the turn-about just outside of town. Here, and pasted onto the big contrabass which sits at the harbor downtown, are sky-blue posters announcing Tabarka’s jazz festival, which takes place this year July 22 through 29. As historical as the festival is, will its come-back this year succeed in promoting Tabarka as an attractive and competitive tourist destination?

24 July 2017

The Tunisian Court of Auditors knocked a government initiative to reboot the country’s tourism sector. In its 30th annual report released on June 30, the Court takes stock of the Ministry of Tourism’s Program for the Renovation of Hotel Establishments (PMNH) launched in 2005. More than ten years later, the time lapse, funds invested, and paperwork amassed are considerable, according to numbers crunched by the Court, whereas the program’s contribution to the quality and competitiveness of Tunisia’s hotels is less clear. What is evident is the initiative’s failure to ensure funding went where it was needed most.

27 May 2017

Since 2011, Tunisia’s social movements have not only held their place in public life, but have adapted forms and strategies even as authorities and the mainstream media have remained intolerant of dissent. On May 10, President Beji Caid Essebsi made a speech in which he reprimanded protesters for blocking oil production and reiterated the imperative of foreign investment for development. He further affirmed that demonstrators’ demands « are impossible to meet » and that the State is unable to provide employment and development.

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.