Monthly Archives: June 2013

Tunisian Macbeth Explores Ben Ali’s “Bloody History” – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live

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via Edwebb’s Favorite Links on wp from Diigo http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/03/04/tunisian-macbeth-explores-countrys-bloody-history/

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«ضباط الشرطة الأحرار» للوزير: لن نقمع المتظاهرين.. ونحن أقرب إليك مما تتصور | المصري اليوم، أخبار اليوم من مصر

Among the many remarkable developments in Egypt is the apparent emergence of an as-yet secret group of “Free Police Officers” among the security forces. They claim to have a presence at the top of the Interior Ministry, pledge not to attack peaceful demonstrators, and call on fellow officers in the major cities and governorates to follow suit. They will reveal themselves “when the time is right,” since apparently National Security (formerly State Security) and the police inspectorate have been instructed to investigate them.

Who can say whether this is a small group of disgruntled officers sending news releases to Al Masry Al Yom, or a broader tendency or organization? Either way, morale cannot be high among police officers.

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via Edwebb’s Favorite Links on wp from Diigo http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/1431026

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NCA Seeks National Dialogue over Draft Constitution – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live

This process is clearly not perfect. But it seems far more transparent and responsive than the chaotic way the new constitution was put in place (imposed?) in Egypt.

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  • Members of the NCA representing the local governorate, members of the Joint Board for Coordination and Drafting, and consultants for the NCA are meeting with the public, including students and concerned citizens
  • Additional meetings will be held abroad for members of the Tunisian diaspora to express their views
  • Constitutional law professor Kais Saied commended the NCA efforts to draw citizens’ participation, but expressed concern with the low level of attendance and the extent to which the public’s comments will be considered in the drafting
  • The first draft of the constitution, released in August 2012, was heavily criticized for failing to protect gender equality and free speech. Under pressure from civil society representatives, the NCA altered the clauses to remove ambiguity.
  • Dividing responsibilities and tasks among the president and the prime minister is still not decided

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via Edwebb’s Favorite Links on wp from Diigo http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/01/07/nca-seeks-national-dialogue-over-draft-constitution/

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Labor Union Demands Compensation for Families Affected in 2008 Uprising – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live

History, not just compensation, at stake. UGTT remains one of the few political forces capable of challenging Nahda effectively, not only on economic issues.

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  • The Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) spearheaded a general strike yesterday in Redeyef two weeks after the NCA adopted Decree 97 in which only the families of the martyrs and wounded of the Jasmine revolution will be compensated. The strike directly protested the “exclusion of the martyrs and wounded of the 2008 revolution” from Decree 97, stated an official statement by the UGTT.
  • The primary purpose of reviewing Decree 97 to include the affected families in Redeyef is to establish “the historical truth” of the Jasmine revolution’s timeline, said Hajji.

     

    Redeyef’s residents undertook the 2008 uprising to protest against what they considered as unjust hiring practices by Gafsa Phosphate Company after the results of a round of hiring were announced on January 8, 2008. Five locals were killed and 41 wounded in the ensuing unrest.

     

    For him and the residents of Redeyef, the 2008 uprising laid the foundation upon which the Jasmine revolution could take form on December 17, 2010 in the town of Sidi Bouzid.

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via Edwebb’s Favorite Links on wp from Diigo http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/01/04/labor-union-demands-compensation-for-families-affected-in-2008-uprising/

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Government Denies TAP Report of Insufficient Reserves – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live

Extraordinary that TAP ran a story so dangerous to the government. Definitely not likely before the revolution.

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  • TAP reported on Friday, January 4, that the state might not be able to pay public sector employees as the state’s treasury bank account had only 129 million dinars ($83 million) in December while public sector salaries for the month of January will cost significantly more than that.
  • Deputy Minister of Finance Slim Besbes clarified yesterday to TAP that the state will be able to pay public sector employees, adding that the budget has additional resources that do not appear on its treasury’s bank account.

     

    “There is no need to worry,” he told TAP.

     

    The minister of finance will be questioned before the NCA on Tuesday, January 8, in order to clarify the misunderstanding, Cheikhrouhou said.

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Opposition cries foul as Egypt constitution finalized | Reuters

The deed is done, apparently. What will the Brotherhood’s opponents do in the next few weeks as the referendum campaign takes place?

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  • a referendum to be held as soon as mid-December on a text the Islamists say reflects Egypt’s new freedoms
  • the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies have called for pro-Mursi rallies on Saturday. But officials from the Brotherhood’s party changed the venue and said they would avoid Tahrir Square, where a sit-in by the president’s opponents entered an eighth day on Friday.
  • Egypt’s benchmark stock index fell on Thursday to a 20-week-month low
  • Eleven Egyptian newspapers plan not to publish on Tuesday in protest at Mursi’s decree, one reported. Al-Masry Al-Youm also said three privately owned satellite channels would not broadcast on Wednesday in protest.
  • 234 articles
  • legitimacy of the constitutional assembly has been called into question by a series of court cases demanding its dissolution. Its standing has also suffered from the withdrawal of members including church representatives of the Christian minority and liberals
  • Brotherhood argues that approval of the constitution in a referendum would bury all arguments about both the legality of the assembly and the text it has written in the last six months
  • Mursi is expected to approve the adopted draft at the weekend. He must then call the referendum within 15 days. If Egyptians approve the constitution, legislative powers will pass straight from Mursi to the upper house of parliament
  • caps the amount of time a president can serve at two terms, or eight years. Mubarak ruled for three decades. It also introduces a measure of civilian oversight – not nearly enough for the critics – over the military establishment
  • Activists highlighted other flaws such as worrying articles pertaining to the rights of women and freedom of speech.

    “There are some good pro-freedoms articles, but there are also catastrophic articles like one that prevents insults. This could be used against journalists criticizing the president or state officials,” said human rights activist Gamal Eid.

    “We wanted Egyptians to get more freedoms and less presidential powers and were unhappy with the end result in those areas,” said Edward Ghaleb, who had been sitting on the assembly as a representative of the Coptic Orthodox church.

  • Egypt has been without an elected legislature since the Islamist-dominated lower house was dissolved in June
  • “The secular forces and the church and the judges are not happy with the constitution; the journalists are not happy, so I think this will increase tensions in the country,” said Mustapha Kamal Al-Sayyid, a professor of political science at Cairo University. “I don’t know how the referendum can be organized if the judges are upset,”

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via Edwebb’s Favorite Links on wp from Diigo http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/30/us-egypt-president-idUSBRE8AM0DO20121130

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585 – Poitiers All Over Again: Pastry, Islam and Isoglosses | Strange Maps | Big Think

Our cultural memory is baked into our food.
Poitiers All Over Again: Pastry, Islam and Isoglosse http://t.co/Et0GpT6D

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via Edwebb’s Favorite Links on wp from Diigo http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/585-poitiers-all-over-again-pastry-islam-and-isoglosses?page=all

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Racism in Tunisia: Breaking Down Taboos – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live

That Tunisian identity is under construction at the same time as its post-revolutionary institutions are may seem self-evident, but is worth emphasizing. Revolutions mean risks and opportunities.

Tunisians of my acquaintance often emphasize the country’s cosmopolitanism, historically, linguistically, culturally etc. It may be that the multi-racial history of the Mediterranean, and of the different peoples who have settled in what is now Tunisia, has been stripped of some of its elements in order to emphasize the dominant narratives of Europe-facing and Arab identities. Tunisia’s African identity should be a source of pride and strength, and not reduced to the history of slavery.

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  • “Slavery is not uniquely related to blacks. There were many white slaves, who were called Mamlouk, but after being freed, those Mamlouk went from being former slaves to acquiring a social category while Black former slaves went to a racial category, which is as freed slaves,” said Salah Trabelsi, a Tunisian historian.
  • many Blacks in Tunisia still bear the legacy of slavery in their identity cards. Some have written in their cards “X, emancipated slave of Y,” or, for instance, Ahmed Atig (freed slave of) Ben Yedder
  • Many blacks in Djerba still shudder at this anachronistic reference in their identity cards
  • Tunisia is still under construction, and now  after the revolution people still did not fully grasp the meaning of who they are
  • “I think that Tunisians are receptive to the idea that other Tunisians may not be Muslim… So in that way, they acknowledge religious diversity in their country, yet I doubt they acknowledge the racial diversity in the same way,”
  • in my talks with black Tunisians, they shared with me that even though they speak the local language and some even wear the headscarf, they are still perceived to be foreigners in their own country

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via Edwebb’s Favorite Links on wp from Diigo http://www.tunisia-live.net/2012/10/19/racism-in-tunisia-breaking-down-taboos/

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Government Responds to Journalists’ Demands Following Media Strike – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live

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  • Key among the journalists demands were the implementation of decrees 115 and 116. Issued after the revolution, the decrees were an attempt to ensure the freedom of the media. The prime ministry announced on Wednesday that the two decrees would be put into effect in the wake of the strike.
  • Some journalists are not so sure that the government concessions will be fully implemented to the degree striking journalists want.

     

    “It’s just a statement. We’ve seen no action. In fact, all that we’ve seen is stalling,” said Hayet Essayeb, a journalist from Dar Assabah, the newspaper that initiated the strike

  • an announcement by the government that they will be establishing a new internet-only television station. Called Kasbah TV, it will seek “to end the isolation of the government in local media and be able to provide information to citizens about the achievements of the government,” Economy Minister Ridha Saidi told Reuters

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