Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 4 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 1/20/11

Tunisia's Cry for Justice

By       (Page 2 of 2 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.
(# of views)   3 comments
Author 1624
Message Mark Harris
Become a Fan
  (5 fans)

What's Next for People's Power?

In response to the backlash from the regime's diehards, I asked Gaigi what the people in the neighborhoods were doing to protect themselves. "Barricading the streets after curfew," he said in an email on Sunday from Tunis. "All the youth are gathering to spend the night together and make sure no one passes unless they know the person, the person is not suspicious, or it is the army. Even the police have problems crossing the barricades since they are part of the problem. The people will let them cross if they know them, and if they do not look suspicious, otherwise they would immobilize them and deliver them to the army. The army is closely collaborating with people in different neighborhoods to catch the [security] militias."2

Such a description suggests the larger challenge now facing Tunisia's Jasmine Revolt, as it is now described. The "people's power" that toppled the rotting edifice of dictatorship and crony capitalism of Ben Ali represents the fertile soil for a new, democratic Tunisia. But for this vision to succeed it will take a sustained effort to organize and mobilize ordinary Tunisians in defense of their own power, for democratic rights and economic justice.

As the dust clears now from the first modern popular uprising to depose an Arab dictator, both the strengths and the weaknesses of the people's revolt are being revealed. To a large degree the Tunisian national uprising was a spontaneous social phenomenon, thriving on its own self-generating momentum. In fact, there were no existing political organizations with enough influence to derail, for the sake of some rancid compromise, the rising wave of the people's power.

Critically, the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), the country's only legal trade union and long a regime supporter, turned against the president in the days leading up to his downfall. In various regions of the country, local unions reportedly played key roles in the mobilizations. Can the once moribund UGTT now serve as a rallying force for new, sustained mobilizations in defense of ordinary Tunisians economic interests? Or, will new organizations arise out of the struggles of a now awakened population?

Significantly, new Tunis street demonstrations are already taking place, demanding that the new government exclude all representatives of the old regime. Currently, the defense, interior, and foreign ministries remain in the hands of members of Ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Rally party. It remains to be seen how these challenges will play out.

In the end, the people of Tunisia have taught the entire world that the cry for justice is more powerful than the tanks and torturers of despotic regimes. Indeed, who would have thought a month ago that Mohammed Bouazizi's desperate act setting himself on fire would eventually set an entire nation on fire?

Such is the power of a people who are no longer afraid.


Mark Harris Website: http://www.Mark-T-Harris.com.

Footnotes

1. "Tunisia: Protests Continue." Al Jazeera English, Jan. 14, 2011. click here

2. Tomboktoo blog, Youssef Gaigi. http://tomboktoo.wordpress.com .

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Supported 2   Must Read 1   Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Mark Harris Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Mark T. Harris is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. He is a featured contributor to "The Flexible Writer," fourth edition, by Susanna Rich (Allyn & Bacon/Longman, 2003). His blog, "Writer's Voice," can be found at www.HarrisMedia.org.

Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

NATO in Chicago: Protests Are Here to Stay, and the Warmakers are Afraid

Where Are the Slander Merchants Taking Us?

Sinead O'Connor: Music's 'Uncooperative' Celebrity

SiCKO and the Health Insurance Rip-Off

The Mystery of Robin Williams: Reflections on Depression in a Troubled World

The Progressive Sensibilities of James Garner

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: