Tunisians caught between the crowd and the political scene


At the end of the day, most of the political sphere disagreements are not of any importance to the ordinary Tunisian and they ought to be resolved away from the public sphere.

Kacem Jlidi
9 December 2012

It is fascinating to see how any everyday conversation in Tunisia cannot escape politics. I recently had one, which began with comparing eastern European revolutions to the Tunisian one, which is largely agreed that it is far from being accomplished.

Some think that at the time, Eastern Europeans had a clue of what they wanted when they revolted against the system. By contrast, Tunisians, have no clue what ‘good’ looks like and that’s what is slowing down the hoped-for democratic transition, or even preventing it from happening. 

‘Why Tunisians have once again taken to the streets’ is an easy question to answer – one element  of the answer being the drafting of the Country’s new gender-sensitive Constitution that respects human rights conventions and declarations and provides a base for economic growth. Instead, we come across an endless circle of disagreements and accusations within the political circle that are systematically channelled into what remains stubbornly an impoverished society.

A democratic principle implies that it is desirable to have the people actively involved in decision making, as it makes them more informed about the public affairs affecting their lives. This is desirable under one condition: the people’s involvement is positive and constructive; according to La Presse editorial.

However, in the Tunisian case, this principle when applied in practice is leading to serious dissociative and violent effects. Tunisian society, weakened by unemployment, rising costs of living, deep inequalities and injustices is faced with the political elites disagreements which pushes them from unity into adopting different camps, religion or secularism, parity or the limited participation of women, and more recently people are torn between choosing whether the Labour Unions and the Leagues protect the revolution or whether it is the Ennahda Islamist party who should be trusted to lead us.

At the end of the day, most of the political sphere disagreements are not of any importance to the ordinary Tunisian and they ought to be resolved away from the public sphere without calling for the crowd’s support, which distracts efforts to meet the revolution’s goals.

Building confrontational camps can only lead to more violence and insecurity and is in no way supportive of the country’s economy. The constant but increasing rate of people going on strike is one symptom of a potential crash waiting to happen between ordinary Tunisians asking for a stable life and the politicised camps motivated by religion and various other electoral agendas. 


Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData