In this time of great change in the Arab region, political struggles are often viewed exclusively through an ideological lens, creating the impression of a binary choice between Islamists and secularists. But the fundamental choice facing the citizens living through this tumultuous period in Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Libya is not between Islamism and secularism, but between democracy and despotism.
The binary view also overlooks the considerable pluralism within the political trends in both Tunisia and other Arab countries. Islamists are not only diverse in type, but have also evolved over the last century. Whereas their primary focus was once on protecting religious freedom and defending an identity that had undergone repression, many Islamists have come to participate in political parties whose principal focus is economic and social programs aimed at protecting individual rights and achieving social justice.… Seguir leyendo »
As Tunisia prepares to hold its second free and fair election on Sunday — and continues its transition from despotism to democracy — my country offers a stark contrast to the extremes of terrorism and military intervention seen elsewhere in the region. Tunisia stands as proof that the dream of democracy that spurred the Arab Spring lives on.
Despite what some believe, there is no “Arab exception” to democracy, nor is there any inherent contradiction between democracy and Islam. The Middle East can indeed achieve stability and peace through a process of democratic reconciliation and consensus. But the road will be long and involves the challenging work of building institutions, healing old wounds and forging compromise around shared values.… Seguir leyendo »
At this critical moment in our history, Tunisia continues its struggle to secure its revolution. Ranged against it are the repeated attempts to abort not only its dreams of freedom and dignity but the dream of the whole of the Arab spring. In other Arab countries, the march towards freedom has already been violently repressed or derailed. Although the last three months have brought successive political crises in Tunisia, these have been overcome through consensus-building, making the Tunisian model the repository of hope for supporters of democracy in the region and beyond.
Last week was the second anniversary of Tunisia’s first free and fair elections on 23 October 2011.… Seguir leyendo »
On Monday, Tunisia celebrates the second anniversary of its uprising against dictatorship. Through the sacrifices of generations of Tunisians, our country is now engaged in establishing a democratic society. It is a difficult and complex process, but it is inevitable.
Tunisians are for the first time the true protagonists of their history, and are engaged in an experience that will be a model for democracy in the region. Its success will require creative solutions to the many challenges facing us: managing the explosion of social and political demands after decades of repression; establishing a rule of law that guarantees equality, and individual liberties in the face of resistance from the previous regime; building a national consensus without neutralising politics; and constructing a development model that ensures prosperity for all the country’s regions.… Seguir leyendo »
Tunisia is days away from its first elections for a national constituent assembly. Despite delays and obstructions, Tunisians anticipate 23 October with immense hope – a date that is the culmination of their revolution, of the struggle of generations of women and men of diverse political and intellectual persuasions against despotism and for freedom, equality and dignity.
These elections are not only critical for Tunisia, but for the wider region and beyond. They present an opportunity to bury once and for all theories of the so-called “Arab exception” and prove that democracy can emerge and flourish .
In these elections, Ennahda is – according to several opinion polls – set to win a considerable share of the vote.… Seguir leyendo »