News / Middle East

Tunisians Question Future After Politician's Death

Tunisia Struggles With Religious Divisionsi
X
February 11, 2013 7:05 PM
The shooting death of opposition politician Chokri Belaid has brought to a head simmering tensions in Tunisia and deep political and religious divisions. As Lisa Bryant reports for VOA from Tunis, this North Africa country, once heralded as a model for Arab democracy, is struggling for a way forward.
Lisa Bryant
The shooting death of opposition politician Chokri Belaid has brought to a head simmering tensions in Tunisia and deep political and religious divisions. The North Africa country, once heralded as a model for Arab democracy, is struggling for a way forward.

A slain politician.  An outpouring of rage and grief.  Thousands of Tunisians attended Friday's funeral for opposition politician Chokri Belaid.  Many blamed the ruling Islamist Ennahda party for his death.

Mourad Habaid showed up with a Tunisian flag wrapped around his shoulders. Habaid says many Tunisians feel that their 2011 revolution has been derailed.  He does not know where his country is going.

Tunis University professor Hamadi Redissi says people are fed up with Ennahda for many reasons.  The once popular party has failed to deliver. "Ennahda has no more credentials.  Ennahda has lost its moral values.  Ennahda did not improve economics.  Did not make what it promised to people. So politically Ennahda is very weak today," he said.

Basic public services have deteriorated. Insecurity has skyrocketed - including attacks by hardline Islamists against secular politicians and artists.

Two years after uniting to throw off a dictatorship, Tunisians are divided on the way forward.  Some, like taxi Fuad Kedimi, are nostalgic for the past. Kedimi says people lived well under the old regime.  There was security and lots of tourism and work.  Life was good.

Ennahda and its supporters say they are being unfairly blamed for Belaid's death - and for Tunisia's post-revolutionary problems.  Some claim outside forces want to destroy Tunisia's revolution.

English teacher Fatah Ousleti, who joined a pro-Ennahda rally in Tunis on Saturday, defends the party. "We think Ennahda is good.  It worked a lot.  It went through difficulties and hardships all along its life.  It went to prison.  It went abroad.  They were deprived of all their rights.  And now they are the ones who rule Tunisia ... it was a gesture of gratitude toward them and their struggle against tyranny and dictatorship," she said.

The divisions on Tunisia's streets are reflected in the government.  Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali threatens to resign unless a new, non-political Cabinet is named to defuse the tensions.  His own Ennahda party has rejected the proposal.

Ennahda's Meherzia Labidi, the National Assembly's deputy speaker, wants the coalition government to find a compromise.  She agrees the country's tensions are worrying. "Tunisia is divided, but not only by religion ... I think we have two extremes.  We have extremists on the side of secularists - they want Tunisia to be without religion at all ... they are a small group.  And there is another small group of religious people that wants Tunisia to be only Muslim, practicing ... but let me remind you of the huge mass of Tunisians who are in between," she said.

That, Labidi says, is where Tunisians can find common ground.

But for now, Tunisia appears adrift.  Unsure of the next step after Belaid's death.

You May Like

Photogallery Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid