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

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    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!

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora