By Iheb Ettounsi
With a recent escalation of violence in Tunisia’s ongoing protests, bloggers in that country are calling for a return to peaceful demonstrations. Calm and prudence are required, many say, to keep the revolution on track.
Also addressed were the hostile and violent treatment some Tunisian journalists suffered in the street, and the status of the interim government. Ongoing events in Libya were also a popular topic.
Blogger A Tunisian girl wrote of her arrival at a school to teach English, only to find the classrooms all but empty: “All of a sudden, my colleague entered the teacher hall. She was afraid and was about to cry. According to her, a group of youths from the Union of Tunisian Students entered the classroom and forced her to leave. They wanted all students to join a sit-in demonstration in the Kasbah. My colleague also noticed that some of the people who stormed the class were not students but outsiders.”
“No to street dictatorship”, wrote blogger Mon Massir. “We were about 3,000 people opposite the residence of resigned Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi. Some came to support him, while others came to express their rejection of the street dictatorship and of all that has taken place in Tunisia in recent days.”
In a photo from the demonstration, one woman holds up a sign that reads, “The UGTT doesn’t represent me; The Kasbah doesn’t represent me; Only my vote represents me; Let the government work and organise elections for us”.
ByLasKo wrote of a rise in violence against a particular target: “Tunisian journalists and the media have become like a scapegoat for the Tunisian people, who believe that their media betrayed them in the past… however, journalists who face the wrath of people on the street are far from responsible for the censorship and propaganda that continues to plague the media.”
Meanwhile, blogger Abu Moez wrote of the resignation of Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi and the political future of Tunisia. In a post titled “Remaining points of difference”, he wrote: “Mr. Mohammed Ghannouchi resigned on Sunday, and history will judge him and what he has done, either negatively or positively. I think that he shouldered responsibility when he accepted to stay as the head of government at a tough period, and that he shouldered responsibility when he resigned at a time when his presence was an obstacle to the work of government. He’s done a great job.”
Nevertheless, the blogger continued, “In addition to hesitation in some decisions, his problem and that of his government is perhaps the complete failure in media communication; something that created many dark areas in the work of government and undermined people’s trust in it.”
With Ghannouchi and other members of the former regime out, Abu Moez wrote, one of the protesters’ biggest remaining points of contention has been settled.
“Beji Caid-Essebsi was appointed as Prime Minister. I don’t think that his political efficiency and experience can be disputed. I didn’t hear any serious objections to his appointment, other than the Union’s rejection of him because they were not consulted in appointing him. However, the Union later retracted after all their conditions were accepted. Anyway, there is no figure in Tunisia today who can win the consensus of all sides to lead the government in this decisive stage.”
On the issue of Libya, blogger Calimero wrote: “Yesterday I cried for these unarmed people … a forgotten people … a peaceful people … a people who now dream of freedom. I cried because of the madman who is killing them while the world is silent and just watches. This is because these are not human lives, but ‘are only rats’, as the biggest monster described them … ‘these are mere dogs who abuse drugs, and therefore, every one of them must be killed’. I cried because he cursed them and cast doubts on their origins, and after he killed and displaced them, he is still determined … he loves to kill them. He’s still thirsty and loves to drink their blood.”
Meanwhile, Tunisian playwright Raouf Benyaglane wrote on his blog: “I would like to send greetings of admiration to the brave, heroic, resisting people of Libya, who, with their resistance are emphasizing the uprising of the Arab people against the rulers who dominate their peoples with oppression, despotism and dictatorship. A greeting of admiration to the Libyan people, whether old, young or women, who are demonstrating in hundreds of thousands, and who are united against the unjust repressive force of criminal Kadhafi. Glory to the martyrs of the Libyan people. Let’s help the Libyan people by publishing the pictures and videos of the massacres that were ordered by murderer Kadhafi so that their voice might reach the world.”