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September 29, 2023

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Change comes slowly for Tunisia, Egypt

All eyes are not just watching Egypt, but are now back to looking at Tunisia two years after the Arab Springs uprisings.

This past Wednesday, the leader of the Tunisian opposition party, Chokri Belaid was assassinated in front of his home in the suburbs of Tunis, the Tunisia capital. Outspoken in the name of his cause, Belaid was a lawyer, human rights activist and part of the left-leaning Democratic Patriots party.

While President Moncef Marzouki said the death of Belaid should not affect the revolution, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali called his death an “act of terrorism” as the country erupted into protests. Belaid was an important political figure that belonged to the opposition force of the Islamist parties of Tunisia.

The death of Belaid sparked the revolutionary fire within the citizens’ hearts, calling for the fall of the regime that has replaced the former dictatorship of former president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

As the violent protests spread throughout the country, including in what was considered calm areas, police fired tear gas in order to chase away the protestors crying for a second revolution. Much like Egypt, Tunisia is no better than it was two years ago when street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest after a government agent took away his cart.

While Bouazizi’s death was not the first in thanks to the government, his death was the first spark of the Arab Springs in Dec. 2010, a month before the rest of the Arab nations saw what the Tunisian citizens did for themselves in the name of revolution.

Two years later, Tunisia is still in the same position it was predating the revolution. While the citizens had hoped for so much when an open revolt was led, the only freedom that had been granted to them was the freedom of expression.

In thanks to their new freedom of expression, citizens are able to tell the Islamic-run government that they are not happy with the government. Factors that caused the unrest include being in middle of a political crisis and waiting on the cabinet to be reshuffled to include a bigger range of the political parties that represent Tunisia.

Instead of letting the violence spread, Jebali suggested the government be dissolved and instead a technocratic government came in until an election could take place.

But the main political party of Egypt, the Ennahada, rejected the proposal, saying it had not been asked if that was the path that needed to be taken.

But if a technocratic government were to be put in place, what would the governmental body look like? A technocratic government is a short term solution until the fine layers of a governmental body can be made and put in place, including the election of a president.

The ministers that are put into place tend to be experts in the field in which they were placed, so the best of knowledge and resources can be utilized to an advantage. The ministers are not career politicians, or even members of a political party. If Jebali can get the Ennahada to approve of the technocratic government, the new system will just be a “caretaker government” until the next round of elections can be held.

As Belaid is put to rest, Tunisia is still in an uprising for change. These protests are for a better life, something other than what they’ve been living. Tunisians know what they have to do in order to achieve what they want to do, and they’ll do it.

The past two weeks have shown that in two years, not much has changed for two countries that have fought for a difference that hasn’t happened. While the dreams and expectations for Egypt and Tunisia were for a better, brighter future, it has not happened yet. But if the citizens keep fighting when they’ve felt like it’s not working, the country will eventually become what they want it to. It won’t happen today or tomorrow, but change will gradually take hold.

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