On the 10th anniversary of the revolution, Tunisia witnessed what has become a usual spike in the number of protests carried out across the country especially during January. What distinguished 2021 from the rest was the diversity of backgrounds and motivations that propelled demonstrations. Among hundreds of Tunisians detained, many were minors; there were illegal night raids, arbitrary arrests, investigative reports that failed to respect detainee’s most basic rights; the suspicious death of a man in his thirties following his arbitrary arrest; another young man was tortured, one of his testicals removed. Neither the perpetrators nor those in power were held accountable for these repressive practices.
A notable achievement since Tunisia’s adoption of law-58 on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 2017 is that it has broken the taboo on speaking about domestic violence. Yet, while spousal violence has received significant attention, it can be seen as representing the trees hiding the forest: family violence, and its multifaceted implications for women in their adulthood, remains a kind of family secret. It is time to shed light on this dimension of violence against women.
The war between Russia and Ukraine threatens to weigh heavily on Tunisia’s fragile economic balance. Soaring oil prices will aggravate the burden, with the barrel price having far surpassed the 100 USD mark, not to mention the estimated 75 USD on which the country’s budget was based. Meanwhile, the tourism sector is likely to suffer for want of Russian visitors who once filled Tunisian beaches and hotels.
Revelations made in early February by the Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi Defense Committee were nothing short of explosive. Certain magistrates, including the president of the High Judicial Council, have been accused of covering up the truth and collusion with Ennahdha.
You take a walk by the seaside, thirsty for the Tunisian scenery and the beauty of the azure waves brushing the strands of beach sand. Instead, the first things your eyes catch are stray plastic cups, bags, straws, and the list goes on. Marine pollution in Tunisia has always been, but only became a red flag in the past few years when international NGOs started to loudly voice their concerns about the disastrous levels reached in the Mediterranean Sea.
It was with sealed lips that the Bouden government elaborated a draft law concerning the organization of associations. Recently leaked to several NGOs, the proposed legislation contains provisions which hint at why authorities might prefer to remain tight-lipped about the measure in question.
Launched on January 15, President Kais Saied’s national consultation has been presented as a democratic means to sound out the Tunisian people. That this mechanism remains unevenly accessible to citizens appears not to have shaken the president’s will to see his project through to the end.
“Halal meat will be banned starting from July 2021!!!” This message was issued by the Great Mosques of Paris, Lyon and Evry, which criticized the French government for banning the halal method of animal slaughter. The Islamic slaughter rite – like the Kosher one – prohibits stunning before death and requires the butcher to kill the animal by swiftly slitting its throat with a single slash to the neck. The announcement received massive media coverage and had a strong impact on the French Muslim minority.
January 14, 2022, marked the eleventh year Tunisia has initiated what can be referred to as a ‘democratic process’. The state of play is now drastically different compared to a decade ago, to the extent an observer should ask: what does January 14 represent for Tunisians in 2022, if anything at all?
A varied fare was on the menu for the first edition of Nawaat Festival, held on December 10-12 at our office in Tunis. Featuring the photo exhibition « Black Label » by Malek Khemiri, film screenings («The Oasis», «Kerkennapolis» and «Plasticratie»), a debate on « The 25 July Regime: Rupture or Continuity? » plus a concert by Vipa and VR Corner, the first edition of Nawaat festival kicked off what promises to be a landmark event on Tunisia’s cultural scene.
There will be no fiscal revolution for Tunisia in 2022 as many might have once hoped. The country’s new finance law remains loyal to the same business model under which physical persons, including the most disenfranchised segments of the population, contribute a significantly larger portion to tax revenues than do businesses.
Innawaation is a creative media projects incubator structured around a series of residencies and events. These collaborations will take place during sessions that span 3 to 6 months of work.
Over several days in late November 2012, police used birdshot against protesters in Siliana, injuring hundreds of people including demonstrators, journalists covering the demonstration, and bystanders, according to an Amnesty International report at the time. One investigative report by civil society put the number of injured at 178, and at least 20 people lost eyes or sustained severe damage to their eyes. Now, a decade later, these people are still calling on authorities to cover their healthcare costs, extend their social benefits, and hold the officials responsible for the use of birdshot accountable.
This year’s annual Tunis International Book Fair—the 36th edition and held at the Kram exhibition center from November 11 to 21—was eagerly anticipated since last year’s fair was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, the event was marred by some of the practices and symbolism reminiscent of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime.
On October 15, 2021, I was stopped at the Tunis airport and denied entry into Tunisia on the basis of the same piece of paper that the police in Bab Souika guaranteed as allowing me the liberty to enter and exit Tunisia – a carte de séjour provisoire [provisional residency card]. It had been a year since I had submitted my file demanding a carte de séjour; as an Indian citizen who needs a visa to enter Tunisia, I had hoped that this card would make my research in and on Tunisia easier.
On Saturday, October 30, around 30 people in downtown Tunis protested the President’s new decree mandating vaccination passes for all public spaces. It’s one of several small protests that have occurred around the issue in both Tunis and other cities.
In recent years, there has been increasing tension around the use of haphazard landfills as residents nearby these toxic sites protest the serious short and long-term hazards they face.
In another world, Mohamed Gabsi would have studied technology and probably specialized in computer science. Instead, because of the limited access to study material accessible to disabled people like himself in his preferred field, he enrolled in the Faculty of Letters of Sousse. “I am a French graduate, technophile and blind,”the young man likes to introduce himself—both in everyday life and during his activities as a disability justice activist.