Talk through Photography

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Peace In Peace Out

Peace starts within ourseleves

Speak Out Tunisia

Tunisian and Proud of it

Child of Today is Man of Tomorrow

Life is not worth living without the Smile of a child

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Not as soft as Jasmine

Social media did not topple Tunisia’s dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali – but they proved to be an important tool for democratisation. Today, cyber activism is an important part of the country’s public sphere.
When broad-based protest movements erupted in North Africa in the winter of 2010/2011, the media searched for some terms to describe these uprisings. They still speak of "the Jasmine Revolution" in Tunisia, the "the Arab Spring" and the "Facebook Revolution".
Many wouldn’t agree that the fate of Tunisian martyrs who died for dignity was anything as soft as jasmine. Becoming victims of tear gas and rubber bullets was not pleasant either. Peoples’ fight for freedom and democracy in the Arab region should not be diminished to the season "spring". Nor would many cyber-activists who have suffered repression and almost lost their lives agree that profound political and social transformations basically relate to Facebook.
However, it cannot be denied that social media played a crucial role in the chain of events that led to political and social change in Tunisia. The country had witnessed two major protest movements against dictatorship before: the "Bread Revolt" of January 1984 under President Habib Bourguiba and the "Revolt of the Gafsa Mining Basin" in 2008 under President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The latter in particular proved unable to spread across the nation, so the coercive forces of the regime could easily crack down on it. In December 2010, things were quite different. Information that hurt the government spread with unprecedented speed. State agencies were unable to control digitised communication. Only 28 days of mass mobilisation changed the political climate in Tunisia completely, and, after 23 years, the Ben Ali regime fell.
In the winter of 2010/11, information spread directly from the local to the international level. The values and demands of the movement were expressed on various blogs and thus became accessible all over the world. The criminal and immoral nature of the Ben Ali’s regime was revealed for all to see.
Before the revolution, young people had basically used Facebook to socialise among each other. Then, they spontaneously used it to mobilise protests, and they were surprised to discover how effective that was. Social media became an alternative to the mainstream media, not only by reporting current affairs, but also serving as a platform for debate and even organising collective action.
A history of cyber activism
Today, many believe cyber activism started with the circulation of the pictures of Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation and subsequent videos of protests and police brutality in late 2010. But some bloggers knew long before that state agencies were afraid of information being spread on the Internet. There had been many cases of blog censorship.
"I first saw the impact of the web with the track down, arrest, imprisonment then death of Zouhair", says Abdelkarim Ben Abdallah, who started his blog Mouse Hunter ( in 2003. Zouhair Yahyaoui is considered the first "martyr of internet freedom" in Tunisia. He was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to prison for running Tunezine (, a website that criticised the government. He suffered torture and deprivation in prison for 18 months. After being released, he died of a heart attack in 13 March 2005. In 2012, March 13 was therefore declared the National Day of Internet Freedom.
Indeed, the regime repeatedly shut down blogs, intimidated contributors and judicially harassed them. The government felt threatened by cyber world and tried to restrict Internet content. Repression certainly did not begin with the imprisonment of Slim Amamou on 6 January 2011, news of which further fuelled the revolutionary movement.
A blog is accessible to all Internet users, whereas social media platforms only grant full access to registered users. To follow someone on Twitter or Facebook, one needs that person’s permission. Accordingly, governments find it more difficult – though not impossible – to monitor social media. Under Ben Ali’s dictatorship, ever more people had begun to use social media where the government was not monitoring communication stringently. Thanks to its wide reach, Facebook became a tool for revolutionaries.
Social media facilitate users making others aware of all sorts of items on the Internet. Links to video platforms such as YouTube or Dailymotion are quite popular. Both were censored in the Ben-Ali era of course, not least because rap artists used them to point out issues like unemployment, corruption and police brutality. However, freedom remains restricted, as the rappers Ahmed Ben Ahmed (known as Klay BBJ), Ala Yaacoub, (known as Weld El 15) and Hamada Ben Amor (known as El Général) could tell you. All of them were arrested, jailed or sentenced for releasing political rap songs. El Général was jailed during the revolution under Ben Ali, the other two last year.
Current affairs
Today, in the transition to a new political order, people continue to use blogs, online videos and social media to influence politics and draw attention to their causes. They benefit from ever more people using the Internet.
The blogosphere is continuously shaping the political climate. The distinction between blogs and social media is blurring however, because many contributors are active on blogs as well as Facebook, Twitter et cetera.
Many bloggers, moreover, have become social-media trainers, involving new people. Abdelkarim, for instance, has facilitated 50 workshops through "Les Ateliers de Blogging" since August 2011, where young people especially in the regions outside the capital created their own blogs and Twitter accounts and were trained on how to use them for social change and policy influence.
Cyber activism is not restricted to human-rights issues. "Citizen journalism" and "active citizenship" have become related ideas. Concerned people use the Internet to identify important issues, raise awareness and spread information.
Some cyber activists assume the role of watchdogs. A prominent example was "Sheraton Gate" in late December 2012. Olfa Riahi, a blogger, released a series of receipts from the Sheraton hotel in Tunis. She revealed that Rafik Abdessalem, the minister of foreign affairs was embezzled in a potential adultery scandal and the misuse of public money.
The minister later resigned; his case is being investigated. For his party, the Islamist Ennadah, this was a major setback. Today, Olfa speaks of "winning one battle" in the "long war" for democratic governance. She resents the authoritarian leanings of Islamist politicians.
Today, policymakers from various parties and institutions are aware of the crucial role of social media. Many have begun using social media themselves. They want to reach especially – though not only – to young people. Each party has its own official Facebook page and almost all public figures have Twitter accounts.
The role of social media in bringing down the dictatorship must not be over-emphasised. Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali did not flee from Facebook pages, he fled the country when he saw masses of people rallying in the streets against him.
Social media, moreover, cannot replace mainstream media, which have more technical and human resources for researching information and covering events. Nonetheless, social media matter – as a space for exchanging views, thinking critically and, most fundamentally, exercising one’s freedom of expression.

Monday, December 30, 2013

What Youth across Africa think of The Revolutions in North Africa?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"No Woman, No Cry" -Human Rights Day- #16days

No Woman, No Cry” is the famous reggae song of Bob Marley and The Wailers. The original title is “No Woman, Nuh Cry” in Jamaica tongue.The “nuh”, is a shorter vowel sound for “no”, and corresponds to the short form “don’t”. The song tends to persuade women not to cry and reassure them that everything will be alright.This is what my friend Taiwo ADESOBA  from Nigeria has explained.

However, when I see how much women in the world suffer, I wonder how can women not cry,

When 95% of the victims of violence are female and 95-98% of the perpetrators are male...
When every 15 seconds a woman is beaten, raped, or killed...
When women still don't receive equal payment and are judged only for the fact that they are WOMEN...
When women not only in Afghanistan, Republic of Congo or India but also about 2 to 4 million of American women are battered each year by their partners...

It is a vicious circle of women's suffer everywhere, everyday...

Despite this reality, We, women, have the right to Life, to Happiness and to Smile...

On Bob Marley's beat I offer women, worldwide and  whom I met along the way, this video on the Human Rights Day that marks the end of 16 Days of Activism Against Women...  as a woman I celebrate everyday with a smile and would like all women to smile EVERYDAY...
 Nooooooo Woman, Don’t Cry

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Violence Has Become A Language

In a beautiful summer day, I arrived to the largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg, as westernized and wealthy as I thought with its skyscrapers, fancy neighborhoods and highways. I have taken the Gautrain from the airport to the hotel. As I was sitting next to a young South African man in his early 30s, we eventually struck up a conversation on the country’s current situation. “Few days ago, protesters against the provincial government in Cape Town ran amok and looted stores and stalls”. I was listening to him as the image of rich-poor divide Cape Town contradicts the image I have of wealthy predominately “white” place. “Other protesters were throwing stones at police, burnt tires and blocked roads to express their dissatisfaction”, he continued.  After few minutes of this conversation, I realized that having the largest and most developed economy in Africa, “the most admirable constitution in the world”, 11 official languages and its pluralistic makeup didn’t prevent people’s discontent, violence and increasing inequalities.

The following day, the DEEEP "Building a Global Citizens Movement" conference, started. It was deeply enriching to meet participants from a large variety of civil society organizations from the 6 continents. We had a long engaging day with open spaces, participatory activities and cool networking. One of the most inspirational figures I met during the DEEEP conference was Jay Naidoo, a labor and political activist from South Africa. He was the moderator of the panel “Old Struggles, New Movements” where I was a speaker about the social movement in Tunisia. Later, I had several chances to talk with him about interesting issues. Almost 34 years difference between Jay, and me, yet I could relate to his old and new struggles for social justice. We might disagree on the strategy we build our movements but we both believe that whoever holds power, have to respect people’s dignity.

In one of our conversations, I was asking Jay about the reasons behind the continuous protests in South Africa. “If people are constantly disappointed and powerless, violence becomes a language”, Jay said. That phrase deeply reflects the situation in Tunisia, where dictatorship has entrenched the country for 23 years. The act of assembly was a language then protesting was the means to topple dictatorship, once overthrown violence has also become a language. From the self-immolation act of Bouazizi to the suicide attempts of an average of 21 cases per month since 2010 to the burning of political parties offices as well as police stations, are all a “Language”. Social explosion and regular protests have not been effective anymore, people started looking for ways to draw attention to their misery. The miscommunication and silence of the decision-makers who abuse public power for self-interests, engenders the escalation of the language of violence in all its forms. The violence in township streets throughout South Africa is much deeper than a discontent over state failure to deliver on longstanding promises of housing and social services. Likewise, the violence in the streets of marginalized regions throughout Tunisia is much deeper than a mere frustration over rising food prices and unemployment.

Looking at South Africa’s experience after 20 years of democracy adopting the most progressive constitution, I wonder about Tunisia’s “democratic” transition already blocked with 2 years attempt to write a constitution that can fully protect liberties and human rights. As an organizer, Jay is trying to revive the experience of the 70s by gathering people in networks and coalitions from faith based and civil society organizations, media outlets and independent movements to form a non- party based political platform such as the one that marked the end of the apartheid. I look back at Jay’s experience in 1976 when millions of young people went into the streets demonstrating against apartheid but were crushed. The key was not division and chaos but as Jay’s says “ we went back to organize”, and so we urgently need to organize in North Africa. We can actually be more efficient than any previous movements because of the available tools of high technology, advanced monitoring and networking systems and social media.

I stayed few days after the DEEEP conference and had the chance to attend an event in Melville on Tuesday night organized by Section27. The event was to discuss Wits University vice-chancellor, Adam Habib’s new book, South Africa's Suspended Revolution. Throughout Adam’s talk, I stopped in time when he said, “the solution is to divide your enemy and unite your capacity”. That’s what exactly the ruling part in Tunisia has done to win 2012 elections, which eventually promoted a very weak divided opposition and strong Troika, on the other hand. Section 27’ s director Mark Heywood was also speaking at the event. He concluded,  “Power resides in the constitution and the people.  If the media is the 4th force of state, people are the 5th power”. I absolutely agree that people have the power because the street belongs to the people but only if they challenge their consciousness, claim their rights and organize.

I left South Africa less frustrated about Tunisia’s situation, because social justice is a continuous struggle. I also left with a clear vision of what path Tunisia has to take in the upcoming few years. We need three clear steps into this transition; a common identity in a progressive constitution that embraces socio-economic rights, organized civil society that holds public servants accountable and youth representation in leadership position.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Racism has taken a New Form

Walking in the street, I was called "ibrony" in Ghana and "Muzungu" in Kenya which means "white". I didn't take it seriously when I interacted with people. I would just smile! but deep inside for the first time I felt segregated because of my skin color especially that I see myself Black but maybe I look White. I see myself black just because people think African means black. I then thought about our racism in someone would feel to be called "black" in a predominately "White" society as I felt being called "White" in predominately "black" societies. Very Complex Indeed!! I realized how racist and inappropriate are the expressions we use comfortably in Tunisian dialect of the word "black" like "kahloush", "ousif" or "abeed"... also how racist to internationally call a part of the world "Black Africa", "L'Afrique Noire"? so when will we be able to seriously identify and address racism?

In fact, if you google Racism in Tunisia, you will not find any articles, research, videos or documentaries while racism is intrenched in our society ... when we still refuse to mix with black people in the school... when teachers point their fingers to black students as troublemakers ... when we still have seperate buses in the southern cities  because lighter skinned people refuse to take the same bus... when blacks have to address the white with "si"=Mr.  in order to get their business done... when girls refuse to date black guys and vice versa... when marriage with blacks is seen awkward in our society... when white girls get married to black men only they're famous football players... when students who come from around Africa to study in Tunisia feel harshly discriminated... when the media is totally making blacks invisible from the Tunisian TV and society... when black babies in orphanages rarely get adopted... when black people are socially deprived from leadership positions in politics and other fields... why we talk about everything in this democratic transition but racism, what would that mean? we're a tolerant society and we don't have racism, right? it has become so normalized that we don't even talk about it. Now, it's time to first admit, yes Tunisians (majority) are so horribly racists! they commit daily abuses, look down to black people and treat them inferiorly.

When I was in the United States, I lived in the "Deep South", the state of Georgia, one of the most racist southern states. I remembered that in high school during my English courses I studied the different racist expressions that I shouldn't use to call a black person such as "Negro", "Slave"or even "black", it is preferred to call him/her African American and describe them as dark skinned. When I lived in Georgia though, people were comfortably using all these expressions. I realized then racism is alive and well. Indeed, I started observing injustices and inequalities based on racial prejudice. White people eventually get better education and better jobs not only because of their social class but mainly the racism among schools and employers that are predominately white.  As in most of the democratic and undemocratic societies, politics is disconnected from the reality of the communities. The historical moment of a black man running for the highest office in the United States and holding power for two terms consecutively, didn't change much of the racism around the US. Blacks are still associated with crimes, robberies and drugs and only black neighborhoods are considered dangerous!

Now, here in South Africa, racism is also alive and well. In other African countries, maybe it is never about the color of one's skinIf the racial bigotry in the US was fed by slavery, what are the roots of racism in South Africa then? The picture is so sarcastic because only 10% of the population here are white but they are the rich, the elite, the business and landowners. It is even more sarcastic that in the government, blacks hold the office yet black people are the poorest and most marginalized. Most of the South Africans I met outside of South Africa were white and so I thought I would see as many white people in Johannesburg as blacks. Yet, when I arrived at the airport, I didn't see any single white person at the visa desk, customer check or exchange bureau! my first conclusion was that black people are used for the labor force just like in the States. Amazed by the infrastructure and the westernized South Africa, it seems that economic well-being of white people is intertwined with racism and unless it is addressed intentionally and thoroughly, a community building effort will not reach its full potential.

The following day, I went out with a group of friends from different African countries including South Africans,  to an area called Rosebank, cosmopolitan commercial and residential suburb. It was a popular hangout, shopping destination and quite mixed in terms of race. It has a thriving nightlife with cafes, bars and clubsThen, we head to the "Greenside", very fancy area with about a dozen high-end restaurants but predominately white clients. As we were walking around looking for a nice place to chill, someone among the group felt frustrated and said  "OMG Look at those Caucasians!! I hate white people, I don't want to stay here, let's go back to my people". I was just observing the "hatred" and "racism". We went back to Rosebank and another friend in the car said with a smile: "back to Africa". "now they are coming to us" another girl said.

We were standing on the street talking, where a beggar passed by. From all the people around he chose me to ask for money! as I was the only one who might look "white" for him so I should be "rich", makes sense right? now the funny thing is that few days later, my friend that I just knew for few days asked to borrow money from me instead of asking her friends whom she knows for  years. Both the beggar and my friend looked at me as a mere "rich white woman" -that I am not-

I realized that racism has taken a new form. The racism of white people has given birth to a racist generation of black people too because it perpetuates the unearned privileges of some and imposes undeserved restrictions on other. Young people look up to the history, to how their parents are treated... how people look down to them... how their lands have been literally confiscated... and experience racist expressions and treatment sometimes on a daily basis  so they react also with more racism...

Now the roots of racism in South Africa are more complex. Section 9 of Chapter 2 in South African constitution clearly outlines non-racialism. So people are protected by law from racism. However, the issue has become more of classism and inequality. As wealth remains in the hands of the few that happens to be white. 

The experience in South Africa made me think that racism will continue to escalate to the potential for hostility and shape in further new forms if we don't implement policies to stop such institutionalized prejudice. I think in Tunisia, It's time to condemn the Act of Racism in the media, in service organizations, in the workplace, in neighborhoods, at school, in local government... virtually every area of daily life. Therefore, our institutions and systems have to implement policies that promote racial equality to prevent inequality. It starts from an anti-racism education in the school curriculum to recruiting people to board members, executives and managers regardless of their skin color. 

On the other hand, as black Africans we cannot go into such a vicious cycle and say: "when they treat us well, we will treat them the same". We cannot feature that enemy as a scapegoat to be blamed for historical injustices. I think with this mentality, it has become no more an outsider stereotype that Africa is "Black Africa", but we are confirming it to ourselves by claiming that's the Africa we want. We shouldn't associate ourselves with the victimization of our social or economic state but actually stand up confident and proud in the "white" circle claiming our existence. Black people who read this, unless they know how African I am, may say: "it's easy for you to say it because you're not black"!  but I believe we can't just wait for the "White" to engage with us and give us a space but we have to claim our place. Eventually, we should change our mentalities while changing the other person's mentality. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Semi-Finalist for PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival

I have started my advocacy commitment for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding among Americans and Arab Muslims during my stay in the US last year. Coming from North Africa and being faced myself with many stereotypes while engaging in sincere conversations, made me realize that the first step to bridge both cultures is to expose those stereotypes, explore information from both parts of the world and tell a different story of the mainstream media. 

One of the harsh statements that an Arab can hear is attacked of being "a terrorist" because of the act of few! my short video "Arab Muslims living in the USA" highlights the views of Americans and Arab Muslims living in the US who have a different story to tell than that of hatred, skepticism and intolerance.

I entered with my video an international competition on PLURAL + 2013 Youth Video Festival  a joint initiative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAoC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with many important international agencies which encourages young people to explore migration, diversity and social inclusion, and to share their creative vision with the world.

During this competitive year, my video was a semi-finalist among 250 submissions from over 70 countries around the world! Feeling proud! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reportage on Women's Day #Tunisia

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Les Femmes de La Révolution

"à l'occasion du 13 août, Fête Nationale de la Femme"

Les tunisiennes ont impressionné le monde entier en se levant pour défendre leurs droits en tant que femmes et en tant qu'êtres humains. Epaules contre épaules elle se sont soulevées aux côtés des hommes afin de défendre leur nation pendant la révolution. Ceci dit, le mouvement des femmes tunisiennes remonte bien avant le 14 janvier 2011.

Dès le début du 20e siècle les femmes tunisiennes ont joué un rôle déterminant dans l'obtention de l'indépendance de leur pays. Comme les hommes furent arrêtés et emprisonnées après le manifestations qui ont amené les français et leur protectorat à se retirer et à reconnaitre l'indépendance du pays le 20 mars 1956.

Moins de 5 mois plus tard, le 13 aout 1956, le premier président de la Tunisie, Habib Bourguiba, faisait un discours où il citait un extrait du code civil défendant les droits des femmes. Le codex interdisait la polygamie et le rejet unilatéral au profit du divorce, il promulguait entre autre, une régulation du droit des familles, du mariage,  de la couverture sociale, ainsi que le droit liés aux procédures d'accouchement et l'avortement. Il donna aux femmes un statut leur permettant de créer leurs propres entreprises, d'avoir un compte en banque et la possibilité de faire seules leur passeport. Grace à ce code civil, aujourd'hui plus de 50% des femmes sont étudiantes, enseignantes, juges ou encore avocates.

L'émancipation des femmes tunisiennes

Depuis des années, les tunisiennes sont considérées dans le monde arabe comme des femmes exemplaires et sont souvent dépeintes comme des femmes indépendantes, libérées et émancipées. Mais si on regarde de plus près, à écouter les voix de certains témoins on se demande si cette image correspond à la réalité. Dans le droit, par rapport aux mentalités et dans l'émancipation spirituelle. La société tunisienne est très diversifiée et chaque conversation profonde avec une de ses femmes est différente, et chacune d'entre elle est différente des autres. La seule chose qu'elles ont toutes en commun est leur amour pour leur pays. Comme le dit Inès Zaghoudi, jeune fille de 22 ans, membre de l'organisation Femina : "Tout dans ce pays nous concerne, ça concerne les femmes". 

Les Activistes

Les femmes militantes méritent une distinction spéciale, en particulier celles qui ne reçoivent aucune récompense pour leurs efforts. Parmi elles il y a Asma Cherifi (fondatrice du réseau d'organisations non-gouvernementales TACID). Son activité au sein de la société et le haut statut professionnel qu'elle a acquise se résume, comme elle le dit, a : "l'éducation, les compétence, l'expérience et le patriotisme".
"Mon entourage me surnomme "la milicienne" - souligne Asma - "Je ne comprenais pas pourquoi l'on m'affublait de ce surnom jusqu'à ce que je devienne une activiste dans la société civile". Le travaille d'Asma requiert un grand sens de l'organisation, un grand sens des responsabilités et de la méthode. Ses activités regroupent : actions humanitaires et caritatives, activités éducatives et éducation civique. Elle mène aussi une campagne de sensibilisation à la conscience citoyenne.
Elle a commencé ses activités à l'université durant l'élection du conseil d'administration des étudiants. Elle raconte : "J'ai arraché une feuille vierge de mon cahier et j'ai voté blanc de façon symbolique pour souligner le fait qu'aucun des candidats de la liste ne me représentait vraiment. J'ai montré que je refusais de faire partie de ce système, sans pour autant renoncer à mon identité".

Les jours de la révolution

Pendant la révolution Asma fut très active via les réseaux sociaux, mais elle est aussi descendu dans la rue, elle se souvient: " c'était le jour où le premier Tunisien a été tué par balle. Ce fut la limite de notre tolérance et des manifestations pacifiques".
Le 14 janvier au soir elle ne s'est pas rendu à la manifestation car comme elle le dit, elle ne pouvait pas regarder les discours ironiques de l'ancien président Ben Ali et la stupidité des gens qu'il avait soudoyé pour qu'ils se rendent dans les rues afin de l'applaudir et de le supporter. "Dans la nuit du 14 janvier, j'ai été retenu dans le bâtiment du Ministère de l'intérieur- raconte Asma- "là-bas j'ai vu le vrai visage de notre police et de la force d'intervention armée, et ce n'était que le début…"
Aujourd'hui Asma considère que la révolution peut faire changer les mentalités au sein de la société. "Dans notre culture on pense toujours que le rôle des femmes est d'être mères, épouses, filles mais on ne les voit pas comme des êtres humains, pas comme des femmes" - dit Asma- "Nous avons besoin d'une révolution culturelle. Nous avons besoin de former des femmes pour qu'elles deviennent jeunes leaders. Elle doivent apprendre la communication, la négociation, connaitre leurs droits élémentaires et savoir comment participer à la vie en société et à la vie politique. Grace à ces compétences ces femmes seront vraiment conscientes de leurs droits et de leur vrai place au sein de la société. Il faut encourager ces femmes à devenir financièrement indépendantes.
Inès quant a elle, est formatrice au sein de l'organisation de terrain Femina. Bien qu'elle ait participé à l'organisation des dernières Journées Internationales de la Femme, elle pense que ce genre de manifestation n'est pas suffisant. "Nous voulons avant tout fournir plus d'information durant cet événement, car beaucoup considèrent ces journées comme une occasion de s'amuser - explique Inès- mais les femmes n'ont toujours pas obtenu tout leurs droits". Ironiquement, nous ne vivons pas en paix, mais nous célébrons la Journée Mondiale de la Paix et la condition de la femme ne lui permet pas de célébrer pleinement la Journée de la Femme.
Inès pense que les droits de la femme sont en danger et elle a peur qu'il y ait une régression. "En fait je pense qu'il n'y a pas encore eu de vrai révolution - dit t-elle - Apres une vrai révolution une processus de changement doit être enclenché, pour l'instant nous n'avons fait qu'un tout petit pas dans ce sens". Il n'y a pas qu'Ines qui soit de cet avis. Une femme sur deux, engagée dans la révolution, avec lesquelles je suis en contact sur Facebook, réfléchie longuement afin de répondre à la question "Avons-nous fait ne serait-ce qu'un premier pas, avant de penser à en faire un deuxième ?".
Selon Inès les organisations féministes ne devraient pas seulement se focaliser sur la défense des droits de la femme mais la défense de tout les droits qui sont importants pour celles-ci. Son organisation s'occupe par exemple des blessés de la révolution en leur fournissant une assistance gratuite. Comme elle dit "il faut montrer du respect à ses gens".

Les femmes et la politique Tunisienne

Les femmes sont marginalisées dans pratiquement tout les domaines, et partout on retrouve les mêmes problèmes. "Nous devons trouver de nouvelles méthodes de fonctionnement, afin d'inciter les gens a réfléchir -insiste Inès.- Les manifestation sont devenu monnaie courantes".
Asma aussi pense qu'il faudrait limiter le nombre de manifestations, car elles ne sont suivies d'aucun résultat.
Inès souligne que les femmes tunisiennes sont considérées comme une exception dans le monde arabe grâce à la garantie du respect de leurs droits, mais ce n'est qu'une garantie sur le papier.
"Nous devons nous concentrer sur le changement des mentalités".

Aujourd'hui les Tunisiennes sont plus fortes, plus sures d'elles et plus déterminées que jamais  à faire valoir leur droits. L'égalité entre homme et femme en ce qui concerne les droits de l'homme, l'éducation et que l'emploi devienne une réalité dans chaque aspect de la vie en Tunisie.

Grace à sa législation la Tunisie s'est placée à la tête des pays arabes militants pour les droits de la femme.   

En fait les préoccupations des activistes comme Asma ne se portent pas sur un changement des droits déjà acquis, il porte plutôt sur la manière d'encourager les femmes à utiliser leurs possibilités qui leurs donneraient accès non seulement à différents métiers et a différentes branches de l'industrie, mais aussi un accès a la vie politique.

"C'est l'un des éléments clés pour l'émancipation des femmes", souligne Asma.

Les femmes tunisiennes travaillent déjà dans l'industrie et dans tout les corps de métiers, même dans ceux traditionnellement réservés aux hommes comme les pilotes, les juges, la police en uniforme ou l'armée. En réalité elles sont 28% à travailler dans le service civile. Le Secrétaire d'Etat au département du droit des femmes et des familles voudrait voir plus de femmes dans le secteur publique. Il pense que c'est seulement quand les femmes occuperons des postes au sein du gouvernement que tout le monde sera certain que des progrès significatifs et durables auront été fait pour les droits de la femme en Tunisie.

Les activistes soulignent que le modèle tunisien base sur l'égalité pour tous les citoyens posera les fondamentaux solides et et durable visant à faire évoluer le pays sur le plan économique, social et politique.

Religion, Tradition et Egalité des droit

Tahar Haddad, chercheur à la grande mosquée Zituna, a déjà appelé à libérer les femmes de toutes les traditions qui les restreignent, et ce dès le début du XXe siècle. Dans le livre "Our Women in the Shari 'a and Society" publié en 1930, il a recommandé une éducation basique pour les femmes et il a assure que l'Islam avait été déformé et interprète de façon à ce que les femmes ne soient pas conscientes des responsabilités et des avantages dont elles pourrait bénéficier. 

Le débat sur la Shari'a est aujourd'hui l'un des thèmes les plus controversés en Tunisie, où la liberté de culte, qui avait disparu pendant des années a été réintroduite.
"Ce n'est pas l'Islam qui discrimine les femmes- dit Asma- Mais les musulmans et la façon dont nous comprenons le Livre (Coran). Je ne sais pas d'où on a tiré la conclusion que plus on est strict avec les femmes, plus on est en accord avec la loi islamique."

La Tunisie est le premier pays de tout le monde arabe à avoir une constitution et des syndicats. C'est aussi le premier pays arabe et africain à mettre en place une organisation pour la défense des droits de l'homme (Tunisian Human Rights League).

 L'Islam et les droit des femmes
Taher Haded a démontré que dans l'islam les hommes et les femmes sont égaux par rapport à leurs droits et à leurs responsabilités. Il a encouragé les femmes à appliquer le droit pour avoir un contrôle total sur ce qui leur appartient. Les femmes étaient écartées des taches administrative et n'avaient aucun recours en justice. Taher Haded a expliqué que l'islam n'a jamais empêché les femmes de jouir de certains droits. Il a enseigné que les personnes qui représentent la moitié de la population de la terre avaient aussi droit à l'éducation et qu'elles devraient être impliquées dans toute les sphères de la société.

La réforme de la société est déterminante pour la réforme du statut social des femmes.
La femme inspire l'effort de l'homme et elle est aussi un des acteurs qui insufflent la vie à l'âme patriotique. La liberté sociale peut être atteinte en contournant les restrictions qui ont entravé l'émancipation des femmes tunisiennes et les femme des pays du moyen orient en général.
Cette liberté passe par l'abandon d'un modèle de société chimérique qui se base sur des convictions anachroniques dépeignant la femme comme un être inférieur. Cette liberté requiert un certain niveau de conscience et une confrontation avec les us et coutumes qui nuisent non seulement aux femmes mais également aux hommes et à tous ceux qui interprètent l'Islam de façon erronée.

La loi actuelle, qui ne va pas à l'encontre les enseignements de l'Islam, garantie aux femmes l'accès à l'éducation, et les protège contre le mariage prématuré par exemple ou toute atteinte à leur intégrité commise non pas par la religion, mais par les traditions. En d'autres termes, la religion ne préconise pas ce genre de pratique, il s'agit d'une mauvaise interprétation des versets du Coran qui amène à la négation des lois, qui sont garanties aux femmes par la religion.

En soulignant la dimension sociale et historique du statue de la femme, on peut espérer une  évolution des mentalités qui aboutira à la complète émancipation des tunisiennes. Emancipation, rappelons-le, qui a débuté dès l'avènement de l'indépendance, avec la parution du Code du statue Civil datant du 13 aout 1956.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

11 Days of Non-stop Sit-In in Tunis

This blog post is a reportage on what's happening in Bardo sit-in that lasted for 11 days so far.
#Bardo #Ra7il #Brahmi #Belaid

Photo Album on August 3rd, 2013 at Demotix

Photo Album on August-06, 2013 at Demotix

Reportage on the mass rally on yesterday commemoration of Belaid's assassination.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tunisia: Between Political Instability, Terrorism & Police Repression

When journalists are arrested because they've taken photos for their articles, we ask, where is freedom of expression? When there is denial of accessibility, we ask, where is transparency? When the corrupt hands are out of jail, we ask, where is accountability? but when political leaders are assassinated during a "democratic transition", what shall we ask for?

The assassination of Chokri Belaid on February 6th earlier this year, is a sorrow for Tunisia not only because it is an act of killing a human being but also an act of extreme censorship to a leader who revealed corruption and vocally criticized Ennahda, the Islamist ruling party. This is not censoring YouTube or Daily-motion, hacking blogs, Facebook Pages and Tweeter accounts or dispersing protests with teargas. This is censoring the heartbeat forever. In less than six months of Belaid's murder, during the Republic Day which is our annual celebration marking Tunisia's foundation as an independent republic, we witness the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi, leftist politician and member of the National Constituent Assembly. Both secular opposition figures were killed in a similar attack. However, while the first assassination is an act of extreme form of censorship, I would describe the second assassination as a pure act of terrorism to spiral the country into more  unrest and impunity. Both were marginal leftist politicians but the assassinations had different escalating intentions and threats. Belaid's murder maybe attempted to censer the voice of the voiceless but Brahmi's murder, hit by 14 bullets, for sure sought to create a climate of chaos putting Tunisia at the edge of a civil war. 

One the one hand,  people's reaction towards Belaid's assassination was marked by shock, frustration, gloominess and multiple questions where the government at the time remained silent and promised investigation. The assassination of Brahmi, however, disrupted immediately demands for the dissolution of the Islamist-led government with anger, fear and panic. One of the main reasons of peoples demands is the statement of the government itself that the same gun had been used in Thursday's killing as in the Belaid attack. The minister of interior also announced that "authorities have identified 14 Salafists suspected of involvement in both assassination, and most were believed to be members of the local hardline Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia", Tunisia's most prominent Salafi jihadi movement.  

The announcement meant to calm down the popular anger by providing concrete detection. However, the blame on the salafists as the scapegoats didn't work.  People, indeed, questions the competence and honesty of the government and delegitimizes the Constituent Assembly. Baring in mind that the assembly has been delegitimized during the last few months because of its failure to manage public expectations, finalize a new constitution and prepare the elections within one year, as promised and even its members have been accused of holding onto their seats. Lastly, I would consider the police repression as another reason of the increasing number of protesters. The police violent management of mass demonstrations has always been a continuous turmoil since the revolution which makes people feel that their freedoms are at stake.

On the other hand, the reaction of the key opposition leaders was marked by opportunism.  Within 24 hours of Brahmi's murder, the opposition called for a "National Salvation Government", which will obviously be an unelected body to “save” the country. A clear shift in positions of some opposition leaders raises the question of short-term personal gains over long-term stability for the country. For instance, AhmedNejib Chebbi, the leader of Hizb al-Joumhouri, changed his position overnight from refusal to dissolve the assembly to instant call for the dissolution.
Beyond public division, political instability and Police violence, I want to end on positive note despite of the gloomy picture of Tunisia's transition. These two tragic events in Tunisia's history are marked by two powerful women that clearly showed Tunisia's woman as an icon of fight in the frontline of the battlefield.  Basma Belaid called yesterday for breaking the fast in front of the National Constituent Assembly in Bardoo which was positively received by thousands of people who joined the sit-in, in solidarity. Brahmi's wife and daughter were the first to occupy the street where Mbarka Brahmi delivered an immovable speech at the heart of the protest to unite the people. The Tunisian woman is not the woman who will stay home crying her heart out for her dead husband with the hope for the authorities to protect her but she is that women who makes her sorrow a national demand for justice and accountability.

This article has been published on the International Political Forum:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Get Your Inspiration from Global Power Shift 2013

During my representation of Tunisia at Global Power Shift, I've been very inspired and empowered by the speakers and participants' stories, passion and strives for Climate justice fight.  I'd like to share with you some of the most inspirational moments. 

During the workshop on Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA), Heather Milton Lightening shared her story: 

At the same workshop, Hannah Strange, trainer at Greenpeace USA in San Franciscofaciliatated an interesting session on campaigning for Climate Justice: 

During the plenary session, Christiana FigueresExecutive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), delivered a very emotional speech,

Following Ms.Figueres's speech, Kumi Naidoo, the South African activist and Executive Director of Green Peace International took the floor,  

Finally, I made this video to gather some of the memories from GPS in order for us to carry them in Phase2 and keep the same spirit and energy. Enjoy!

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