The Uprising of the Tunisian People … Analysis and Concerns
Translation from Arabic
president El Habib Burgiba held a unique place in Tunisia’s recent
history. Despite his numerous faults and some unforgivable actions,
he was the leader of the nations’ struggle against colonialism and
the “father” of Tunisian Independence. During his tenure he achieved
many great feats for his country including spreading constitutional
awareness among the Tunisian masses which consolidated the principal
of a peaceful transition of power in Tunisia. This constitutional
awareness was so ingrained in the people that towards the end of the
Burgiba era it was impossible for the army to play a decisive role
in political life.
failed to live up to those constitutional values when he refrained
from relinquishing power even though his advanced age and
deteriorating health impeded him from ruling the country competently
His ever grateful people
reluctantly indulged him in appreciation of his historical role and
his unquestionable devotion to his country and the wellbeing of his
people throughout his reign.
Public constitutional confidence was encouraged by the fact that
Burgiba had named no successor or heir.
constitutional foundations he had laid made the peaceful transition
of power a formality. Upon his death a new president would be sworn
in by means of a modern constitutional mechanism. The world would
witness the first successful democratic process in the Middle East
outside of Israel. Tunisia would never again fall from that modern
and sophisticated path, and would escape the primitiveness of Arab
world politics. In so doing, Tunisia would set a precedent in that
politically pitiable part of the world.
This process however
did not meet western designs for the region.
The common western
influenced cycle of power transition was employed to begin to
eradicate this democratic process. A western backed agent (Ben Ali)
was introduced to peacefully usurp power from the “senile president”
invoking a “legal” revolution for the so called “benefit” of his own
people and stability of the country.
In so doing Ben Ali
and his backers, in my view, efficiently aborted a potentially
successful Tunisian experiment, thus depriving the region of a
successful precedent that could easily spread throughout the region.
President Ben Ali
ruled Tunisia with obvious western backing for 23 years, and erased
a great deal of Burgiba’s constitutional legacy. By usurping power
as he did the first precedent of a peaceful and democratic
transition of power in the Arab world was purposefully nullified.
The Burgiba generation
is now all but gone and has been replaced by the Ben Ali generation
with the Tunisian public no longer able to bear the corruption of
the Ben-Ali regime. The West, in my view, deemed the time right to
execute the final part of the plan and push Tunisia back into the
quagmire of Arabian politics.
Western support for
Ben Ali was lifted with a sudden loud expression of displeasure at
the “excessive use of force” against his own people in order to
maintain power. The traitor was abruptly abandoned and left with no
option but to flee the country; but not before deploying the army to
“maintain law and order in the streets.”
Now that the army is
the de facto ruler in Tunisia, will it retreat to its barracks once
a new government is decided upon? Or will the constitutional
establishment Ben Ali left in tatters be incapable of completing the
Tunisian precedent of a civilised and peaceful transition of power,
causing the country to descend into chaos and leaving the people
with no option but to turn to the army to save them?
This, in my opinion,
is what the -USA led- West is relying on, in order to maintain
Israel as the sole real democracy in the region.
Mohamed Ben Ghalbon
25 January 2011