News / Middle East

Tunisians Ready to Embrace Democracy, Says Journalist With Inside View

Protesters during the Tunisia riots (file photo)
Protesters during the Tunisia riots (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio

Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in an uprising last week, ending more than two decades of authoritarian rule. The anti-government protests in the North African country were generally fueled by high unemployment and a popular yearning for democracy and basic freedoms.

Listen to the full interview with VOA’s Lamia Gritli:

The ouster of Ben Ali, who fled to Saudia Arabia, has laid the ground for Tunisians to take steps towards free elections and the establishment of a government representative of its people. Is the country ready for it, especially if one takes into account possible regional repercussions? VOA’s Susan Yackee posed that question to Lamia Gritli, a native of Tunisia and journalist at VOA’s French-to-Africa Service.

Lamia Gritli, a native of Tunisia and VOA journalist, believes Tunisians are ready for democracy, but acknowledges that internal and external challenges remain
Lamia Gritli, a native of Tunisia and VOA journalist, believes Tunisians are ready for democracy, but acknowledges that internal and external challenges remain

According to Gritli, Tunisians have been waiting for this moment for years, but were only talking about it in private for fear of repressions.

Quoting Maya Jeridi, the general secretary of Tunisia's opposition Progressive Democratic Party, with whom she spoke, Gritli says that the recent protests demanding democracy, freedom of speech and other basic liberties are proof that Tunisians are ready for democracy.

Asked about the challenges Tunisians face in their attempt to build a new country, Gritli believes that the most serious among them, aside from conducting free elections, will be restoring order and tackling the current high unemployment rate.

Describing the new mood in the country as “happy,” Gritli is particularly encouraged about some of the immediate changes that have followed Ben Ali’s ouster. Among the most momentous, says she, has been the government’s loss of control over the media. According to Gritli, mundane glorifications of the country’s leaders in print and on television have been replaced by spontaneous and unfettered reporting.

Gritli does acknowledge that the change came unexpected and that it might not have happened at all had it not been for a desperate act by one lone man. She was referring to 26-year-old unlicenced street merchant Mohamed Bouazizi who set himself ablaze after police confiscated his cart. His self-immolation last December is widely believed to have triggered the riots that removed Ben Ali from power.

Regarding the lack of media coverage recent events in Tunisia have received in some other Arab countries, Gitli says she is not surprised as some regional strongmen might fear that these events could be a prelude to a larger revolution.

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

You May Like

Video 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