An attempt to assassinate Tunisia's democratic experience

An attempt to assassinate Tunisia's democratic experience
Comment: Wednesday's attack in Tunis was an affront to the country's democratic and pluralistic ideals - and Tunisians are determined not to allow the enemies of freedom to win this battle.
3 min read
21 Mar, 2015
Tunisia's democratic experience saw a pluralistic society develop [AFP]
Before the bloody massacre at a Tunis museum on Wednesday, Tunisia's greatest achievement was its ability to forge on through a transitional period of its fledgling democracy.

Free and fair elections, and the peaceful handover of power, gained the world's respect.

Until Wednesday, Tunisia's second achievement was its ability to maintain stability while the remnants of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's regime are still active and while neighbouring Libya drowns in chaos.

Tunisia united

Tunisians from various political backgrounds faced the challenges of the new period of transition with dialogue and a devotion to the country and its newborn democracy.

At the end of last year, it was obvious that all Tunisian political forces were content with the progress that had been achieved in the country, such as writing a new constitution and holding peaceful parliamentary and presidential elections.

The world has closely watched the Tunisian transitional process over the past four years, with the country being the birthplace of change in the Arab world.

While most were relieved that Tunisia had overcome its most sensitive period in the post-revolutionary stage, there were local and international forces who saw that it was not in their interests for Tunisia to be a beacon of freedom.

Without pointing fingers at any group in particular, there are certain elements that were uncomfortable with the Tunisian model because it was able to overcome absolutism and succeeded where other countries had failed.

In Egypt, for example, where the counter-revolutionary forces took power through a coup, and in Syria where Bashar al-Assad transformed the country into a scene of total chaos and foreign intervention.

Undoubtedly, there are those who wish Tunisia descends into a similar bloody quagmire as its neighbour, Libya. However, Tunisians have been able to avoid such malicious traps through their civic and national awareness and their opposition to the vandalism of their country.
     There are those who wish Tunisia descends into a similar bloody quagmire as its neighbour, Libya.

New enemies

Tunisians have been able to preserve their country by realising that it belongs to all Tunisians, and is not a personal farm belonging to Ben Ali.

Further credit needs to be given to the Tunisian army that has steered clear of political involvement and helped politicians organise their disagreements with the public interest in mind.

Credit is also due to the political parties that were aware of and avoided the dangers of dividing society through exclusionist legislation.

Tunisia is a small country with a small economy, yet Tunisians were able to build a new country, its education system has developed a pluralist society, where trade unions and not the army maintain the political balance, unlike most Arab countries.

One can attribute all of Tunisia's development to the fact that the army has not become involved in political life in support of one party against the other.

Terrorism has attempted to halt the progress of the Tunisian experience, which is nothing new. Terrorism has struck Tunisia before, in 2012 and at other times.

The terrorists are not the enemies of any one party but the enemies of the Tunisian experience, given it represents a successful Arab and Islamic model.

The role of terrorists in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen has been to spread chaos that would justify the return of tyrannical security regimes.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.