Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Democracy Comes to Tunisia, Or Does it?

The Arab Spring began in Tunisia.

But, what with the turmoil in Egypt, Syria and Libya that nation’s path to “democracy” has received little attention.

Souhir Stephenson offers a sobering picture in the New York Times. 

Having voted in an election one year ago, Stephenson sees little progress:

A year later, we have no democracy, no trust in elected officials, no improved constitution. Human rights and women’s rights are threatened. The economy is tanking.

Tourism is dwindling. Who wants to vacation among bands of bearded savages raiding embassies, staking their black pirate flag over universities or burning trucks carrying beer? Meanwhile, our government and puppet president watch, without arresting these Salafist extremists.

Stephenson still holds out hope that somehow democracy will arrive in Tunisia. For the time the nation seems to have taken a turn toward Islamist governance:

Today, Tunisians are somber, anxious, rattled by daily tragedies. Recently, a secular party representative was assassinated by an extremist group. A woman gang-raped by the police was later prosecuted. Salafists attacked the U.S. Embassy and burned its school (attended by Tunisians) while the government failed to dispatch police, firemen or soldiers.

The Islamists placed their relatives and buddies in powerful positions. They tried to insert into the Constitution that women are “complementary to men,” which would have reversed 50 years of equality. We did not vote for fanatics to twist our Constitution into Shariah law.

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