News / Africa

Tunisia's Youth Bitter at Revolution Fallout

Unemployed Tunisian graduates hold signs as they shout slogans during a demonstration in Tunis to demand jobs and call for the resignation of the ruling government, September 29, 2012.
Unemployed Tunisian graduates hold signs as they shout slogans during a demonstration in Tunis to demand jobs and call for the resignation of the ruling government, September 29, 2012.
Lisa Bryant
Young Tunisians were at the forefront of the country's 2011 revolution. But today, many are unemployed and bitter about its fallout.

Twenty-five-year old Tarek Zeid wants to become a computer engineer. But his only job prospects right now are wrapping up Tunisian carpets at a tourist shop.

Like tens of thousands of Tunisians, Zeid was on the streets in early 2011, in demonstrations that ousted former strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. But today he says, the revolution hasn’t brought many benefits.

Zeid says unemployment is too high. Hopes for democracy aren't panning out.

Nor is Zeid alone. Among many youth here, there is a sense of bitter disappointment - or at least impatience for results - after Tunisia's revolution. 

Some of the young bloggers who spearheaded the revolt have become successful in business and media. But roughly one-third of young, working-age Tunisians are unemployed.

In many ways, says former education minister Hatem Ben Salem, they are an invisible generation.

"The ones who made the revolution are the young Tunisians," he said. "You never see them anywhere today. Not in the government, nor in the institutions. Nowhere. They are nowhere. They are the lost part of this revolution, although they were the biggest part of it."

Last year, thousands of young Tunisians voted with their feet, . setting off for Europe on rickety boats. Fewer are making the dangerous crossing this year. But earlier this month, for example, a boat carrying 100 Tunisians sank off the Italian coast of Lampedusa.

Others, like 31-year-old Kamel Ayari, pass their hours in cafes, hoping their fortunes will turn.

Ayari says he's applied for lots of jobs, both before and after the revolution. Employers always promise to call. He's still waiting.

"Failure to reform"

Part of the problem, says former minister Ben Salem, is the government has failed to reform the education system. He also blames the ruling Ennahda party for making promises it cannot deliver.

"When you say you will create 500,000 jobs in Tunisia, that's a lot. You could never create such a number of jobs in such a short time," he said.

But Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi says the government is slowly turning the economy around.

Ghannouchi says unemployment is slightly down. Government statistics also show Tunisia's economy grew 3.5 percent during the first half of this year - compared to negative growth last year.

Still these upbeat statistics don't comfort university student Hajer Ben Jemaa. Ben Jemaa says she voted for Ennahda. She hopes the party will help Tunisians like herself find jobs.

But shop worker Zeid says he has lost all faith in the current government.

Zeid says he hoped Tunisia's revolution would bring freedom. But today, he says, the only time he feels free is at the stadium, during a football match.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: TEG from: USA
October 01, 2012 7:06 PM
It takes TIME and too many have waited too long! Sadly, thanks to the violence and hatred, in violation of the Koran, many people of Tunis will not have work because are not coming to a country run by thugs and using HATE and DEATH for ALL when so few are responsible. The lovely beach area, Les Ombrelles, Le Golfe...are they filled with tourists, especially AMERICANS who frequented the hotels and restaurants? Housekeepers, shop owners, waiters, teachers, have the religious fanatics to thanks for losing business.

The GOVERNMENT needs a PLAN. Government jobs should be plentiful with so much to do...recycling, trash pick up, technology, water distribution, health care,environmental. So many opportunities LOST due to unrest. The YOUTH need to have their voices heard. THEY are the future. The people of Tunis all deserve to be equal and free and NOT under tyranny! My heart goes out to the people, especially in Tunis. They are vulnerable to BIG BUSINESS and BIG MONEY, however, with that comes CONTROL. BUILD a better TUNIS not a Tunisia run by fear and hatred!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid