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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.