Mother Tunisia hurt by her disobedient sons

Mother Tunisia hurt by her disobedient sons
Comment: Wednesday's attack on a museum in Tunisia shook the nascent democracy. Many theories remain about the culprits, but the nation has stood fast in the face of extremism.
3 min read
20 Mar, 2015
Tunisians mourned the dead outside the Bardo Museum in Tunis [AFP]
Tunisia's president, Beji Caid Essebsi, told the nation he wants the people to "absolutely understand" the country is in a state of war with terrorists. 

Addressing Tunisians in the wake of an attack on the Bardo Museum in the capital, which left at least 21 foreign and Tunisian tourists dead, Essebsi reassured Tunisians that "democracy and accord will survive in the country".

"We will defeat these brutal cells, which I liken to a slaughtered rooster breathing its last," Essebsi said.

Nation united

Essebsi spoke of his gratitude to all world leaders who had expressed solidarity with Tunisia.

Following the attack, civil society, human rights activists, and political parties staged a massive demonstration on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in central Tunis to share their opposition to extremism.

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People held an extraordinary session on Wednesday when MPs discussed the attack that shocked Tunisia.

Mohamed Najem Gharsalli, Tunisia's interior minister, told journalists at the scene of the attack that the crime would have negative repercussions on the national economy, particularly during the upcoming tourism season.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with Tunisia.

Also condemning the attack was the Arab League.
     Democracy and accord will survive in the country.
- Beji Said Essebsi, Tunisia's president

Attack on democracy

"The wisdom of the Tunisian leadership and the awareness of the Tunisian people and their free will confront terrorism and protect the accomplishments of the Tunisian revolution based on laws and through the legitimate institutions of the Tunisian state," a statement by the League said.

Many analysts described what happened on Wednesday as a "catastrophe".

But others viewed it as a "reaction" to the preemptive operations recently carried out by Tunisian police, which have resulted in the arrest of a number of "suspected terrorists".

Alaya Allani, a political analyst and expert on extremist groups, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that there were many theories about who was behind the attack.

"It could be a reaction to the detention of around 400 terrorists. This operation carries the fingerprints of the terrorist groups," Allani said.

The analyst said the most likely culprit was the Uqba Ibn Nafi Brigade, a group reportedly linked to al-Qaeda, although it also carries the hallmarks of angered "smugglers".

"[Their] interests were recently harmed with the restriction of their activities, the confiscation of their goods, and the sequestration of millions of dollars," Allani said.

Since then, the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

MP Mbarka Brahmi, widow of the assassinated politician Mohamed Brahmi, told al-Araby the attack had been "a catastrophe in every sense of the word".

"Colonialism does not wage wars through armies. Wars are rather being led by our disobedient sons and with our own resources. Tunisia, its land, people, guests, economy, and tourists, have been targeted."

This article 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.