News / Middle East

    Scholar: Tunisians Celebrating, but Keeping Eye on Egypt

    Celebrations in the streets of Tunis, January 22, 2011
    Celebrations in the streets of Tunis, January 22, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio

    In Tunisia, the second government in as many weeks struggles to keep the country running, and stability seems a long way in the future. However, in the midst of chaos, say observers, there is joy, as a people long used to suppression of free speech and other basic freedoms are finding their voices and rights again. Larbi Sadiki teaches Middle East Politics at Britain’s University of Exeter and arrived in Tunis on Sunday. He told VOA’s Cecily Hilleary that as Tunisians are celebrating their new-found freedoms, they are also carefully monitoring the popular uprising in Egypt.

    Listen to the full interview with Larbi Sadiki:

    Asked about the mood on the streets of Tunis, Sadiki describes it as “unbelievable,” adding that new-found freedoms have given rise to a number of new groups in the country all representing different agendas.

    “People on the margins of society and the economy are coming in from the hinterland to represent their own causes.”

    Exeter University senior lecturer Larbi Sadiki sees pan-Arab solidarity emerging among cyber activists
    Exeter University senior lecturer Larbi Sadiki sees pan-Arab solidarity emerging among cyber activists

    “It’s like they have re-discovered sovereignty,” says Sadiki after he observed a group of Tunisians gathered in front of the Interior Ministry building protesting the appointment of the incumbent prime minister.

    Sadiki does acknowledge that there is a lot chaos and uncertainty, but adds that the changes are almost “therapeutic” for Tunisians, and “amazing to see.”

    The Exeter scholar says that Tunisians are also keenly aware of what is going in Egypt, realizing the scale of events there and the strategic importance of Egypt, with implications that add Israeli, US and EU dimensions.

    Sadiki also says that there are contacts between Tunisian and Egyptian cyber activists, and that information is being exchanged between them on matters like how to deal with security forces and how to keep the momentum of the protests going. It seems like some kind of pan-Arab cyber solidarity is emerging between the Tunisians and the Egyptians, and it’s all over Twitter and Facebook, says he.

    Overall, says Sadiki, the winds are changing and they are blowing from Tunisia further to the east. “No one ever expected this to happen and now it’s happening before our eyes,” adds he.

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora