“Who lost Tunisia?” This question may well haunt future European leaders. As Hervé Morin, a former French defense minister, recently warned, Europe — and France in particular — cannot afford to wait until the black flag of the Islamic State is hoisted above the presidential palace in Tunis.
Sadly, this bleak scenario can no longer be dismissed as an alarmist exaggeration. Only weeks after the Bardo National Museum massacre in March, a jihadist struck again in June, this time at Sousse, a popular beach resort, killing dozens of European vacationers. The attack’s clear objective was to destroy Tunisia’s tourism industry, destabilizing the economy and undermining the new democratic state.… Seguir leyendo »
In the terrorist attack last week that took the lives of 21 people, most foreign tourists, at the National Bardo Museum, Tunisia itself was under attack. And it will remain so because it is a secular democracy in an Arab world that is not democratic and, with the exception of Lebanon’s power-sharing arrangements, has never known democracy.
Responsibility for the outrage was claimed by the Islamic State, although officials have identified a cell of militants with various allegiances, including the local Salafist extremist group Ansar al Shariah. The Arab world is reeling from an unprecedented wave of Islamic extremism, in part financed by sympathizers in oil-rich Persian Gulf states and unfortunately exacerbated by America’s “war on terror.” The West must now decide whether the young Tunisian democracy is worth saving.… Seguir leyendo »
“You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.”
President Obama delivered these words in his Cairo speech, five years ago today, when he reached out to rehabilitate Islam and Islamic civilization in the eyes of the world — and redeem America in the eyes of the global Muslim community after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.… Seguir leyendo »
Los países mediterráneos están experimentando turbulencias no se veían desde la época de la descolonización y la independencia. Las revoluciones populares en Túnez y Egipto han barrido con arraigadas autocracias. En Libia, Muammar Gadafi resiste con uñas y dientes, y líderes políticos de Argelia y Marruecos se esfuerzan por mantener la autoridad.
¿Puede surgir de esta vorágine un espacio mediterráneo que se nutra de valores democráticos , intereses y esperanzas en común?
Los países mediterráneos son el hogar de 475 millones de personas: 272 millones de europeos, entre ellos 20 millones de musulmanes, y 200 millones de árabes y judíos no europeos.… Seguir leyendo »
As I try to grasp the full meaning of the Tunisian Revolution and gauge its future, I am looking at my desk, where I have spread two issues of The New York Times, both featuring Tunisia on their front pages. The two issues are dated 23 years apart.
The first is a yellowish, wrinkled copy from November 7, 1987. The article beneath the headline, “A Coup is Reported in Tunisia,” reported the fall of Habib Bourguiba, the aging founder of modern Tunisia and a hero of its independence. He had been ousted in the dead of night in a bloodless coup staged by his prime minister, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.… Seguir leyendo »