Sunday, 16 January 2011

'A Difficult Happiness'

The Grauniad has landed in Tunis and Angelique Chrisafis reports on the state of affairs.

It's bad. Shooting, looting, snipers on top of buildings that held Ben Ali's torturers in basements. The army seems to be on the side of the people though.

And there are further horrible revelations.
Meanwhile, the full horror of repression over four weeks of demonstrations is beginning to emerge. Human rights groups estimate at least 150-200 deaths since 17 December. In random roundups in poor, rural areas youths were shot in the head and dumped far from home so bodies could not be identified. Police also raped women in their houses in poor neighbourhoods in and around Kesserine in the rural interior.

Sihem Bensedrine, head of the National Council for Civil Liberties, said: "These were random, a sort of reprisal against the people. In poor areas, women who had nothing to do with anything, were raped in front of their families. Guns held back the men; the women were raped in front of them." A handful of cases were reported in Kesserine and Thala last Monday. Rape was often used as a torture technique under the regime; opposition women report they were raped in the basement of the interior ministry, as were men, too.

But where there's courage and good will, there's hope.
On national state radio, a tool of regime power until days ago, DJs spoke freely for the first time, but had to regret that the joy of a dictator's departure had been tempered by a fear of the militia attacks.

"Ours is a difficult happiness," sighed one music show presenter, before putting on another 1960s resistance song.


The Mound of Sound said...

Have you read the NYT's piece on WikiLeaks and the Tunisian uprising? US diplomatic dispatches suggest America was alarmed at popular unrest and mentioned strong support of Ben Ali for his help in the "war on terror." These same notes, however, chronicled the kleptocracy of Ben Ali and his extended family.

Will the uprising succeed or will Tunisia merely pass into the hands of the next strongman or perhaps a junta? I doubt very much that it will spread to Lybia or Egypt. Mubarak and Gadhaffi are two shrewd and brutal to let a similar uprising take hold.

fern hill said...

MoS: Yes, I've read and reconsidered my early, ignorant take on it.

Mubarak may be shrewd enough. But Ghadaffi is scared shitless. You don't need to understand Arabic to see it. (How many ways are there to spell the freak's name?)

Read Mona Eltahawy.

deBeauxOs said...

By the way, if any phenom can be said to have triggered the uprising in Tunisia, my vote goes to the unemployed man who set fire to himself, and most certainly NOT to Wikileaks.

double nickel said...

Grauniad? ;)

fern hill said...

double nickel: The winky makes me think you know the background. For others who may not.

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