Nawaat in English

The Nawaat team

16 July 2017

There are many obstacles in the establishment and management of new local authorities. Achieving decentralization and local democracy is not limited to parliamentary debates, creating new structures and drafting new laws. The region of Sidi Ali Ben Salem in Kairouan is witnessing a general uneasiness as it refuses to create the new municipality of Abida. Residents consider the plan to have been concocted unilaterally by the central government, who some claim did not take into account historical, technical and geographical considerations.

09 July 2017

Rappers Demi Portion, Ichon and the band 3ème Œil came from France to celebrate the World Music Day in Tunis and have shared the stage with their Tunisian counterparts, Vipa, Massi and Belhassen of the band Empire. Organized by the Tunisian collective Debo and the French Institute of Tunisia (IFT), the concert Erkiz Hip Hop, presented at the Bourguiba Avenue on June 21st, intends to reconcile the rap of both shores of the Mediterranean and gather a curious public at the crossroads of the hip-hop culture and mezoued. The first of its kind in Tunisia.

06 July 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017, protesters demanding employment during the Haremna (We’ve grown old) sit-in in Meknassi, governorate of Sidi Bouzid, blocked the road to trucks carrying phosphate from Gafsa. The trucks had been mobilized to replace two trains that have been held up for the past two months in Meknassi. Sit-inners aim to put pressure on the government which has yet to follow through on its agreements with the town’s unemployed. Following confrontations between police and protesters over acts of civil disobedience in January 2017, Meknassi today lives a precarious peace as citizens continue to protest.

04 July 2017

« Keep quiet! » several men ordered a fellow sit-inner when she tried to speak up during a gathering. Such a scene is common in Menzel Bouzaiene, governorate Sidi Bouzid. For in spite of their capacity to mobilize, women are essentially excluded from public space and marginalized in social movements. Conscious of the double discrimination they face, 32 women decided to launch their own protest called « Manich Sekta », I will not keep quiet, to make their voices heard. In the summer’s blazing heat, they invited us to learn about their struggle for work, dignity, and social inclusion.

03 July 2017

For over a month, the water supply in several delegations of Tunisia’s Mine Basin has been disrupted by intermittent cuts. The situation has suscitated protests in the towns of Borj El Akarema and Segui in Mdhila, where life has become insufferable for residents. While some accuse SONEDE for not assuming its responsibilities in the maintenance and management of water pipes, ostensibly weathered and rusty, others point a finger at the phosphate industry which exhausts water reserves and pollutes the rest. Nawaat left for Mdhila to meet with residents and farmers to learn more about the water issue.

03 June 2017

On 31 May 2017, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) and the families of persons who went missing while making the illegal crossing over to Italy held a press conference to denounce a blackout of the investigation into the cases of those lost at sea. Families expressed their resentment around the procrastination of successive governments since 2008, indifference which has compelled the families to organize protests and hunger strikes in the hopes of pressuring the government to make headway into investigations. In this context, FTDES President Abderrahman Hedhili expressed his support for all protests carried out by the families of the missing migrants.

02 June 2017

The collective exhibition « Au temps du 230 » [In the era of 230] took place between May 17-21 in the Medina of Tunis. Organized by the feminist association Chouf which advocates for the rights of sexual minorities, the exhibition is the first of its kind in Tunisia. « Au temps du 230 » featured the work of 12 artists—painters, photographers and caricaturists—who denounce Law 230 of the penal code which criminalizes homosexuality. On the occasion of UN’s 2016 Periodic Review, Tunisia admitted the unconstitutionality of Law 230 but has made no move to abrogate it.

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.

24 May 2017

Since 2014 when the process of decentralization was included in the country’s new constitution, political decisions still do not seem to take the south into consideration. Ongoing protests show that after decades of dictatorship, citizens no longer accept being silenced.


03 August 2017

“Manich Msamah”: resistance in times of consensus The “Manich Msamah” [I will not forgive] campaign contests the adoption of a draft law introduced by President Beji Caid Essebsi in 2015, the law of “economic reconciliation”. The Presidency’s proposed bill addresses past economic violations, mainly financial corruption and misuse of public funds. Public uproar last week before the bill was passed on to parliament stemmed from the possibility of impunity for corrupt state officials and businessmen once the law is passed.

02 August 2017

Wars in the name of democracy and freedom have been waged all over the world to the end of taking over natural resources, mainly oil, coal and gas. Even terrorism seems to be motivated by the same interests. In 2016, members of the terrorist group ISIS in Lybia conducted attacks on military forces of the nearby city of Misrata and began to move toward Sidra, Lybia’s biggest oil port and its largest refinery, Ras Lanuf. In Irak in 2014, ISIS took control of a strategic oilfield in Alas, Tekrit.

01 November 2015

Among the dilemmas Tunisia has been suffering is financial corruption which destroyed economy, burdened the people, widened the gap -under dictatorship- between the Haves and the Have-nots and accelerated the revolt against the mafia and the symbols of corruption in the country. The slogans of the revolution included promoting equitable development, establishing justice to the oppressed and putting the thieves on trial. Five years have passed since the dictator –Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali- fled the country(January 14, 2011), yet the politicians’s viewpoints concerning the corruption dossier are still split: a sharp debate over the economic reconciliation bill, submitted by the President Beji Caied Essebsi (March 20, 2015) and consented by the Council of Ministers (July 14, 2015), took place.

17 October 2015

On October 9, 2015, the Nobel Prize Committee announced the Tunisian Quartet as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the associated award, the equivalent of 972 thousand US dollars. The Quartet will receive the prize in the Norwegian capital of Oslo on December 10, 2015.

07 October 2015

Every time I attend what seems to be a sophisticated intellectual social event and mention unresolved women issues and the need for a feminist revolution in Tunisia, it backfires on me with what I view as inconsiderate prejudices. Some educated members of civil society think that what Tunisian women have accomplished today is more than enough and that demanding any more rights might lead to turning women into better citizens than men. If this is the case with educated individuals, imagine how it is with those in remote and marginalized areas.