Saturday, January 15, 2011

viva tunisia!

When it comes to international news, during the past couple of days I've been gripped by the Tunisian overthrow of its president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, whose image is plastered everywhere in the country.

Tunisia: President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali Forced Out

Tunisia Leader Flees and Prime Minister Claims Power

I was fortunate to visit Tunisia twice and absolutely had a wonderful, enriching experience there. I was treated with so much warmth and hospitality by the country's people. Tunisia remains a special place in my heart.

The rapid speed in which Ben Ali's government collapsed is quite remarkable considering that Tunisia like all of North Africa and almost all of the Middle East is run by autocratic strong men. Although touted as a beacon of liberalism and stability, it is a police state whose poor mark on civil liberties was overlooked by Western powers because of its tough stance against Islamic terrorism.

This is definitely great news for the wonderful people of this small North African country. However, for a country that has been repressed for generations, will its people be able to construct a representative government without chaos? What kind of government will follow? Will the next government finally give its people the freedoms and economic opportunities that they have been deprived of for so long?

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