A year and a half has passed and the dreams of a better future have passed away.
The town where the revolution began is still cursed by the evil of poverty and marginalization. Frustrated workers who have not been paid for weeks went onto the streets of Sidi Bouzid on Thursday to protest and were joined by dozens of angry protestors over miserable living conditions. They are furious that their town has remained impoverished and their youth have remained unemployed and the promises of development projects have remained ink on paper. There was an attempt to set fire to the government building in Sidi Bouzid.
Demonstrators also tried to set fire to the local headquarters of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, symbol of disappointed promises that vanished once the elections were over. The newly elected legitimate government ‘troika’ leading the country seems to have not learned the lesson yet. The same citizens that left their homes filled with the hope to topple the corrupt president and the whole system of injustice to protest against the unfair policies of Ben Ali have made it again onto the streets to continue fighting for equal opportunities and any opportunity at all.
Ignored for years under Ben Ali, Sidi Bouzid inhabitants like their neighbors in adjacent towns are still demanding “bread, freedom, and social justice”. The rupture with the past seems to be hard to achieve, since the government is still appointing in sensitive posts symbols of the past and the remnants of Ben Ali regime. “To reduce poverty and unemployment and to preserve the independence of the central bank”, the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) on Tuesday appointed as the new central bank governor, Chedly Ayari, who was recruited as an adviser for Ben Ali.
Day after day the scale of inequalities widen as the poor get poorer and struggle to provide a decent iftar feast for the member of their families, especially now that prices have risen and the month of Ramadan seems to have further accelerated food prices. The festivity of Ramadan has been boycotted by most Tunisians this year, since rising prices have prevented many families from buying as much food and gifts to celebrate the holy month and be as hospitable as Arabs have always been.