Egyptian Chronicles: Angry Tunisia : A Small country but big anger and bigger influence

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Angry Tunisia : A Small country but big anger and bigger influence

No one ever thought that the first breezes of change , the real change in the Arab world will be from Tunisia or rather from the small governorate of Sidi Bou Zid. All expectations and all bets were on the valley of the Nile with all the action going on but no one ever thought of Tunisia thanks to the strong fist of Ben Ali and his his second wife’s family. No one ever thought that the angry protests in Tunisia will force the regime of Algeria , Jordan and Libya to rethink about its economic policies , who would ever thought it !!
Now this post will keep updated with what is happening in Tunisia , this is what you do not you read in your newspaper or you watch in your TV. Yes world media began to speak about Tunisia , still it is insisting on speaking in very shy manner comparing to Iran.
First I apologize for the false alarm I launched yesterday , Ben Ali was not toppled , he has not been toppled ,yet I received wrong info from Tunisia. There is no info about the fate of former general Rashid Ben Ammar or where he is about ,some expect that he is currently in jail or he was killed.
Sakher Al Materi , the son in law of Ben Ali and the possible candidate for Tunisian presidency has returned back from Montreal , Canada to Tunis. There is no update about his wife , Ben Ali’s daughter or her mother infamous Laila thought. Al Materi made a video to address these so called rumors.
In a pathetic attempt to control the public’s anger , Ben Ali has fired the minister of interior and bunch of his advisors and has ordered two committees to investigate in corruption in the country !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He also ordered the release of bloggers and rap singer in addition to other activists and protesters. He will address the people of Tunisia today and I do not have an idea what he will say.
The minister of foreign affairs Kamel Morjane has resigned in a new development , actually it is not confirmed yet despite in his official blog there is a strong letter “in Arabic, English and French” to the Tunisian people condemning the actions of the government against the citizens and accusing it or portraying the protesters as terrorists. Morjane is very close to Ben Ali and he was married to one of cousin , he was always from the possible presidential candidates after Ben Ali. "TV7 , the official TV in Tunisia has denied the news"
The snipers are still hunting down the protesters as most of the fatal injuries indicate so , there are fearful stories from Kasserine that police forces raped women and girls while raiding houses to search for protesters. Nevertheless thousands have taken the streets across the country their anger and their refusal to Ben Ali’s regime despite the curfew orders.There are reportedly fires across the country. In some areas the citizens attack the police stations as result from their anger from the police's actions 
This video was filmed yesterday by a mobile phone camera showing thousands marching in the street of Sfax
Ten of thousands marching in Sfax
This video has been filmed in Kairouan governorate from few hours ago showing a huge peaceful protest
Huge protest in Kairouan
Here is another protest earlier today from Monastir governorate , you can see the protestors marching and mourning the victims who were killed in the clashes by the police.
Monastir governorate protest
This video is from Kasserine , from the massacre that happened earlier this week ,you can hear the sound of automatic guns used by the security forces against the people.
The death toll has reached to 66 according to the latest estimation. The next part is extremely graphic 
This video was filmed yesterday January 12, 2010 in town of Douz in Kebili governorate where university professor Hatem Ben Taher was shot down “ Extremely graphic”
Taher Ben Hatem in Douz
This video shot yesterday shows a 12 years kid shot down by the police in the clashes , the video quality is not that good. You can hear the live ammunition in the background. It happened at Barrakat El-Sahel area.
This video from Sfax yesterday showing a 14 yeas old kid shot down by the police in the clashes.

Here is another young protester killed by snipers  earlier today in Tunis at Hadi Kalal street.
Young protester killed by snipers in Tunis
Here is another citizen killed in Tunis , he got a shot in his heart , his name is Karim Zouari, just a remark this conversation in the hospital about whether he should be washed for the last time before burial or not , it is true martyrs are to be buried with their clothes without wash in Islam
Another citizen shot down in Kairouan 
Here is another citizen shot down in Zarzis today shot down by the security forces

From the city of Zarzis late Ayman Abdel Wahab
Late Omar Belhaj from Sfax
An American citizen was reportedly shot down by the security forces in Tunis today , I will try to get his details. There is unconfirmed news that the regime will cut off electricity from the troubled cities. There is another rumor that the villa of Soufian Ben Ali  in Hammamet city ,Ben Ali’s nephew was attacked by angry protesters and totally destroyed.
The story is developing in Tunisia.
Update : 

  • Ben Ali has addressed the Tunisians using the Tunisian dialect to sound friendly , this time he promised that he will not run for 2014 elections , he will also lift the media and internet censorship and he gave his orders to the MOI not to use live ammunition !!
  • There are clashes reportedly in city of Moknine in Monastir governorate , there are rumors that the vineyards and amusement park owned by Qyas Ben Ali , Ben Ali's nephew were burnt down 
  • There are clashes reportedly in Nabuel governorate  , there have been clashes there since the morning 

First victim from Ras Jebel ,Bizerte governorate 
Citizen Hamdi Darwish 
Citizen Mohamed Dandan 
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  1. Apparently, the resignation letter of Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane was a hoax, according to some Al Jazeera reports.

  2. It is true , TV7 has also denied it

  3. No one ever thought that the first breezes of change , the real change in the Arab world will be from Tunisia or rather from the small governorate of Sidi Bou Zid. All expectations and all bets were on the valley of the Nile

    By the way the Nile River Valley is not limited to Egypt - so that description or label is inaccurate.

    Anyway maybe it's time to tame down expectations and to dampen the delusions of grandeur.

    On our part in Sudan and in the countries of the Nile Basin, we stopped hedging on change in Egypt a long time ago.

  4. The CIA's toppling of Suharto used the same tactics as are now being used against Ben Ali. The CIA presumably controls key positions in the Tunisian security forces and so can create chaos. The US-Israel-NATO aim is to get a leader who will hand more contracts to McDonalds, Israeli hotel owners, etc. After Suharto was toppled, by CIA assets within the military, Indonesia suffered many years of pain. Saudi Arabia provided more money to promote Wahabi Islam. The gap between rich and poor widened. The same will happen in Tunisia.



  6. @Africanist: this is not a contest about who will change first. What a hater as usual. Plz show us the change in your own country and leave it to us to care for our country.

    @Anon: and the CIA will topple one of its allies out of the blue bec? They want more headache?!! Makes no sense to me.

  7. Oh my country is changing alright - if you hadn't noticed.

    Watch more closely - but then again that would be a novel thing for you (collectively).

  8. @Anon: Yes, you are right, the CIA controls everything in the world. And they do it all for McDonald's and Israeli hotel operators. Keep talking, you only make yourself look like a fool.

  9. Salam Zenobia,

    Thank you for covering this so extensively, I have been following Intifadhat al Yasmin as you called it only on Jazeera Arabic, but today had a chance to check out some International coverage, there wasn't much but it seems to be increasing.

    I couldn't believe how blatant the early Western govs reaction was, but even more explicit were the comments on sympathetic English articles where journalists compare the media (NOT gov) reaction to iran vs tunis. Shar albaliya ma yudh7ik. What takes the comment war/debate off track is variations of 'foreign intervention is a boon Tunisians don't deserve since Iraqis, Palestinians and Afghanis are not sufficiently grateful to their occupiers, so divide and conquer and/or supporting moderate arab governments is the best bet for stability'.

    As there seems to be increasing media attention, I hoped you might write about Tunisian online groups 'Against the ---- West's Intervention in our Affairs', I hope this makes it into the coverage and changes the reduction of these brave ppl to sha7atin 3ala abwab algharb.

    (Obviously the Tunisian's have and need help from e.g hackers, sympathetic journalists and ngos, I'm talking about the govs and 'free' western mass media which proved yet again that even after the iraq war they continue to identify with official foreign policy positions vs. question them. The State Dept transcripts are funny not just cos of Crowley's tying himself in knots, but the diffidence of the journalists. There really was no diff btw their questions and and Alarabiya's. The Qatari regime is just as bad as all the rest but alhamdulillah 3ala ni3mit Aljazeera.)

    Anti-US intervention facebook page=

    Anti-French intervention =

    I'm guessing this started esp. with the suggestion of the French police helping Ben Ali. There are some understandable but wild rumours of American Blackwater/Xe involvement, pics of the same 'tear gas' canisters as used in the West Bank etc...I actually thought it was a pro gov page at first, e.g on the US page a comment calling for the protests to 'plz stop' so 'we don't become an excuse for them to enter the country - once they enter a country it is almost impossible to get them out and they leave unimaginable destruction behind them'

    on the french page:

    اننا مقدمون على خطأ لن يغفره لنا التاريخ فآخر الأخبار تفيد نية فرنسا بعث فرقة من الجيش لحمايةتنا وأمريكا تبحث مع مجلس الأمن إمكانية
    نداء عاجل لإيقاف جميع أنواع الإحتجاجات تونس قاعدة تضيع من بين إيدينا
    يا شعب، بلادنا مراقبة من قبل أمريكا و فرنسا، عنا وقت قصير بش نوقفو إلي قاعد يصير، مكانش بنزرت إلي خرجت اخر جندي فرنسي، تدخل أول جندي أمريكي.
    وزيرة الخارجية الفرنسية تقترح رس...ميا اليوم في جلسة لمجلس النواب الفرنسي ارسال قوات بوليس فرنسية لتونس و الجزائر

    I don't know if the above are sincere or gov plants, but the rest of the coments are all anti foreign intervention AND pro protest. Obv. v. educated, determined and inspiring ppl.

  10. I really envy the Tunisians their confidence and courage, they set an example for all of us. I can understand this:

    للعلم أنه لا أمريكا تـحبلنا الخير و الديمقراطية و لا أروبا و لا الدول العربية اللي تعيش حاليا حالة رعب من عدوانا من الحرية المرفوضة من قبل العالم الحر المزعوم .

    but we all wish them well precisely because they have shown us that we can act even when we are between the hammer of the threat of deadly 'liberation' from abroad and the anvil of our regimes. Inshala Tounis tkon awal blad 3arabiya titharar min nithamha alqam3i, ili yuasis li 7urub ahliya wa infisal kul balad 3arabi ila duwailat. 7atta law la sama7a allah tam il gatha2 3ala intifathat alyasmin, fa il twansa dhakruna ina 'alhurria tu2khadh wala tu3ta'. Rabi ysabir ahl alshuhada2, w yunsur kul ilmadhlumin.

    I've blabbed on forever, but just need to ask if Laila is from a Libyan family given her last name? If so my sincerest apologies to the Tunisian ppl. Inshalla they will all get kicked out, even if only to live abroad on their stolen billions instead of facing justice.

    Again shukran for covering this so well, bookmarked and i'll be obsessively checking back for updates on the latest news/rumour. Allah yjazik for your efforts.

  11. Silly Libyan Girl, go back to your playground. This discussion is too serious for your stupid anti-West rants.

  12. @Africanist: ya far7et Omak beek sara7a. Your country is changing by splitting and both sides face huge challenges and potential wars. Sure, rejoice about a change that is more like divorcing an abusive husband who is now sitting wondering how will he survive now that the wifey took all his money. Sure, its amazing to see a country splitting based on racial, tribal and religious basis. No thanks, thats a sad "change", Id prefer a positive change a la Tunisia.
    Again, this is not a game of who will change first but who will change right. Can your think hateful mind comprehend that?

  13. @Libyan Girl: my dear from a fellow Egyptian our time will come, we just need to be ready. The majority of citizens of MENA are young and are angry and we need to take control of our future otherwise well face more divided nations and more destruction. We have loads of resources but the majority live in poverty while the rulers are now worth billions of dollars along with their families.

  14. @Anon: racist, hating Anon, you are the one who needs to crawl back under the rock you belong to and the West is hypocritical as proven lately by the position of the Western media and governments from the Tunisian uprising.

  15. Anonymous, for the millionth time you obviously don't know anything about Sudan's history or about the history of the struggle of the peoples of South Sudan.

    Typically you see things in terms in superficial and materialistic terms - money, oil...

    People and ideas matter more than oil and dollars.

    You should be congratulating the Sudanese on having the courage to give the peoples of South Sudan their right to self-determination, on stemming the unnecessary shedding of blood, on establishing peace...

    But you can never ever see things beyond the remit of your national interests which are as narrow as the strips either side of the Nile on which you live.

    The people who were leading Sudan espoused the wrong types of ideas - Arabism - which does not reflect the Sudanese people.

    Thankfully the new generation has moved on from these defunct notions and I'm still optimistic that a far greater change will come than the one that is unfolding.

    You also don't know what living through a civil war is like so please go and do some reading so that your views can have some validity.

    So you were saying something about change in Tunisia?

  16. @Africanist:
    My comments are in reply to two points you made:

    a- how we Egyptians need to be more modest since change is coming from Tunisia. What kind of mentality comes up with a comment like that? Is this a game? Did you read or see any Egyptians not happy for the Tunisians, admitting that any positive change in any of the regions country's could be a positive push for those demanding change in other countries? Its the usual hateful comments trying to create illusions of rifts bet us and others. You are not Egyptian or Tunisian, so keep your nose out of how we mutually feel.

    b-The usual rhetoric about the refugees. No one here said we like or agree with what the Egyptian regime is doing with the refugees. In fact several local rights groups were the first to call attention to inhumane treatment and problems of refugees in Egypt. What we do not accept is idiots like you exploiting this cause to blame it all on us. You are the ones ultimately responsible for creating the refugees situation and failing to make them feel they are safe enough to go back. The UN also has a responsibility and your gov has a responsibility. Why didnt we read that the Sudanese president held talks with Egypt and Israel to find a solution? Or that the Sudanese gov sent out planes to return the refugees and compensate them? The stupid naive comments of how nice Israel is towards them speaks volumes of how superficial you see things. Who do you think agreed with our regime to shoot them down? what kind of jobs and living conditions are they given there? what makes you deny reported racism in the Israeli community not only against them but in general against Africans? Have you read what the Israeli president said yesterday about how "those Africans" have flooded the country?

    Northern Sudanese did not willingly give the South the freedom to make a choice. They were forced into it and they know very well they cant deal with the result of rejecting that. So, stop making this something you guys decided. Northern Sudanese failed to create positive gestures to even try and convince ppl in the South that unity might be a choice, and this is per statements from Southern Sudanese in news reports.
    Now, Im really happy for those in the South, despite believing their cause is being exploited by other powers but thats for them to deal with. As for the North where I have many friends, I pray they find a way to pick up the country but with mentalities like yours, so caring for the "labels" the "races" the " Its not our fault but Egyptians" Im not sure this will be possible. BTW, If you arent to blame for the war bec it was caused by earlier generations, you are responsible for not treating this particular issue and all we get from you is talking about the past. Again, where is your sense of responsibility esp since one of you was flaunting the freedom of choice the Sudanese now have, which we dnt :D

    "So you were saying something about change in Tunisia?"= as usual strange phrases with no connection to any thing. Tunisia's change is nothing like your failure, which you see as a success BTW :)

    All my questions are not waiting for your response and I dnt care for ur responses or to continue this. Its really sickening exchanging posts with a sad and dark soul like yours. May God give those around you the ability to put up with your crappy thoughts and may God give Sudan wiser ppl who bear no hate or complexities to others and who live in the present not search in their past for reasons to be nasty by thoughts, words and actions.

  17. You won't admit that the Egyptian media depicts the Sudanese, blacks and black Africa in general in an extremely demeaning and racist way.

    You won't admit that the 500+ Sudanese in Israel are happier than they were in Egypt - and there is video documentation of this on youtube.

    You won't admit that you really don't know anything about the Southern Sudanese struggle - if you did you would know that unity based on 'new principles' - the Afro-centric principles of the 'New Sudan' were Dr Garang's brainchild and his alone.
    And his untimely death shattered that dream forever as far as the Southern leadership is concerned, especially when they withdrew from the elections at the 11th hour so they can get secession...
    However man and women die but ideas don't - and the ideas and ideals of the 'New Sudan' are alive and thriving and time will exonerate them even after secession.

    You won't pinpoint any purportedly 'Islamophobic' thing I said.

    You refuse to understand that no one is 'blaming' Egypt for past wrongs but...people are saying that there is a problem in mutual understanding, a problem in mutual discourse, a problem of respect.

    An example is when the whole world says 'well done Sudan' for living in peace or separating in peace and Egypt says no Sudan stay united even if the empirical evidence has shown this to have cost over 2 million lives...

    The Northern Sudanese were forced by who exactly to recognise the Public International Law principle of the right to self-determination...?

    In 1995 when the Sudanese opposition recognised that right with the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement in Asmara?

    In 1997 at the Khartoum Peace Agreement with Dr Riek Machar...?

    Please do 'some' research.

    It is arrogant when you speak of Africa's longest civil war, and its fall-out in these terms.

    We blame our misguided leaders who were on the same page as Egypt in terms of ideas and defunct Arabism.

    Our qualms are with the present: the racism in the Egyptian media at present, the delusional recycling of slogans from Egypt about Sudan that could not be further from the truth...and the arrogance: towards the Southern Sudanese issue and that's already been covered, towards potential relations with Israel with Egypt already has, towards the issue of international arbitration in order to rectify the dismal situation in Halayeb, towards the perspective and rights of other States in the Nile Basin.

    Zeinobia was sarcastic about South Sudan's referendum and about South Sudan's President.

    This is nothing but arrogance.

    Have you readd the ridiculous article on al-jazeera about Wafd and Tajammu' proposals for a referendum in North Sudan on Confederation with Egypt?!

    The Wafd MP was arrogant and spoke about Sudan with a sense of entitlement which is not acceptable.

    Resorting to emotionally laden allegations is the alibi of someone who doesn't have a case.

    There 'is' a problem - I hope you and those like you develop the maturity and courage to address it.

    And ultimately it is not the UN, nor a Sudanese soldier, nor an Israeli soldier who shoots Sudanese and other African refugees who cross into Israel, it is the Egyptian soldier who does so: factus reus.

    Congratulations to the Tunisians btw - we brought down two military administrations that had groomed ties with Egypt in 64 and 86 that were not to our benefit (especially 1964 with the 1959 Agreement) and God willing we will be third time lucky.

  18. All rests on one fact, will the protestors get fed up with the killings, or trust politicians empty promises and go home?

  19. Ben Ali ceased to be a US ally some time ago. In 2000, Ben Ali decided to break all diplomatic ties with Israel. Ben Ali increased ties with China. Time magazine reported that if Ben Ali failed to line up with the requirements of the US 'war on terror,' Washington might consider replacing him. The Council on Foreign Relations made it clear that it wanted Ben Ali toppled. So, stories were spread by the CIA, via its friend Wikileaks, about how bad things were in Tunisia. (In fact Tunisia is a great success story -a Moslem country with a high standard of living). The CIA most likely used its friends in the Tunisian military to shoot demonstrators and burn banks. The CIA's Muslim Brotherhood could be used to swell domonstrations. What happens next is that Tunisia will suffer like Iran, after the CIA toppled the Shah; or like Indonesia when it has been destabilised and bombed by the CIA.



  20. The french revolution, created modern Europe, will the Tunisian revolution do the same for the Arab world?

  21. As a person who likes justice and peace for all here is my opinon for better or worst. Let us not be naive here, Tunisia is located between two Oil rich states, Libya and Algeria. For the past few decades Tunisia was run as a client state under a ruthless dictator and at 71 totally hated by his people and as far as his paymasters are concerned he has passed his sell by date. Having said that, a way must be found for this client state to quickly remain a client state yet give the impression that the country was moving towards democracy just like Iraq. a situation similar to another ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein who like Ben Ali, previously had ruled the country as a client state autocracy, and when he passed his sell by date was terminated under the banner
    of democracy paving the way for the Iraq invasion the reason goal of which was Oil.
    The Tunisian youth who are highly educated and intelligent were never going to fall pray to
    the same trick, they simply will not buy it. The best way for the paymasters therefore is a spark to trigger public anger which was simmering for decades under the pretext that it is about a 14.5% unemployment rate yet at the same time Tunisia was praised for its economic and political stability within the Arab world.
    Once the riots are taking place, the paymasters will not get involved giving the impression that they have nothing to do with this novel Arab freedom expression, gaining popularity like in Poland in the early 80's. What is taking place in Tunisia right now is a process of rebuilding a client state Neighboring Libya and Algeria by giving hope to the youth that opportunity, democracy and freedom is well within reach, just like Iraq, an Iranian neighbor, another Oil rich state who wish not to be a client.So back to Tunisia in reality, just like Iraq, a coalition government will be put in place that will be forced through economic mechanism which will translate to political pressure to continue to serve the paymasters for another thirty years or so. Who are the candidates? well probably an articulate president with mass appeal, good personal and economic abilities. Having said that there are no expertise in Tunisia in terms of who can run the country effectively for the benefit of the people, it never happened in Tunisia or any Arab state.. This is exactly what the paymasters want, just like Iraq, a coalition will muffle opposition and will be born to give the impression of democratic debate, but in reality, nothing will change and the economic gap between rich and poor will continue.
    So who is to blame? In my humble opinion, it is the politicians who branded the first Arab liberation movement as "civil unrest", then the armed forces and the security forces who fired on the protesters and held the street at ransom with their tanks and guns against the youth. In every Islamic state without exception it is the Armed forces who in the end will have the last say since nearly every Islamic state is either a military or police state or both protecting their own interest and that of their paymasters mostly. it would be a double tragedy if crazy Islamic extremists were allowed to take advantage of this, as then there will be an excuse for Tunisia to become a permanent victim of its own call for democracy, just like Iraq, with a strawberry flavor...

  22. @Sudanese Trolls:


  23. Sudanese Optimist1/17/2011 02:13:00 PM


    And they actually write about it in disparaging terms and have campaigns against it...

    Do you???????


    What's fatti?

  24. achtung fatta!1/17/2011 04:59:00 PM

    Fatti is either the plural for fatta or the process of preparing fatta. Fatta is a meal made of toasted bread, garlic and vinegar cooked in chicken or beef broth, there're also vegetarian types cooked sans broth. Fatta is normally eaten as a sidedish with chicken, pigeons, lamb chops or shitaka mushrooms. It's supposed to fatten you up fast if you're undernourished..hence the name fatta/fatti derived from the word fat.

    I can also be fattieing this rubbish up.

  25. LOL!!!

    Yes we know what fatta is, we just don't use it as a verb.

  26. FATTI= is talking crap, talking about things you dont know, saying inaccurate stuff. We also have campaigns against the treatment of refugees and those who spoke first about Mohandeseen events were Egyptian activists. You know very well that and nice try but the fact is you are talking crap and your silly lies about Israeli havens for Sudanese refugees are yet again proven wrong by their own admission.

  27. Sudanese Optimist1/18/2011 08:04:00 AM

    You have campaigns against racism against blacks in Egypt?

    No you don't.

    In Israel they do.

  28. Sorry Taharqa, Sorry Achtung, but I think the word "Fatti" here means the top religious man who gives his opinion about Islamic shari3a (Mufti) wallah a3lam.

  29. That's really bad Arabic...

  30. @Taharqa: bad arabic?!! Its Egyptian slang and its very creative and applies to most of wt the Sudanese trolls post here :D

  31. Repeating what Sudanese Optimist said, in case you're that same 'Anonymous':

    You have campaigns against racism against blacks in Egypt?

    No you don't.

    In Israel they do.

    As for fatti - with all due respect to Egyptian slang, it's atrocious Arabic!


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