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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tunisia - The Revolution


Kairouan - The fourth holiest city in the world, and centre of theological thought in Tunisia, seems to also have a penchant for revolutionary thought.
The streets of Sousse in touristic Tunisia are full of men hanging around, stood in squares, drinking tea in cafes; trying to sell the same counterfeit goods you can find the world over.

“Hallo, wie gehts?”
“Gut.”
“Wo Kommst du?”
“Aus Gross Britannien.”
“Ja?”
“Ja!”
“So you speak English?”
“Yes I do mate”
“Ha ha ha mate”.
“What’s your name?”
“Chokri”
“Chokri?”
“Chokri, you know?”

His colleagues have to tell him whom I mean, and he starts to play the dumb villager. I shake this short rotund mans hand and casually notice the three lions badge on his shirt. Before he gets chance to cast his pitch I’m already leading the conversation. Short rotund man is one of the 18% of unemployed Tunisians, still trying to increase his chances of life survival by trying to deal with a 10% inflation of the national currency.

A t-shirt hanging up in an adjacent shop, which reads GAME OVER – Tunisian Revolution, 14th January 2011, instantly distracts me. Unfortunately it has a picture of three poster boy protestors stood in front of a flame below the text, so I’m instantly turned off.  The revolution is always a t-shirt away.

The revolution is only a billboard advertisement away
Despite my requests they have no t-shirts of Chokri Belaid – a left leaning lawyer who was leader of the opposition against the current ruling moderate Islamist party, before he was assassinated in broad daylight. I walk away, and I am instantly beckoned back over by the shop owner. He gives me a copy of a local newspaper as a memento, as it has a picture of the deceased on the back cover. He explains to me that since his death, more and more people have started to see that he was the only one speaking about the ordinary daily struggles of the common Tunisian citizen. The hopes of a revolutionary majority once again dashed by this premeditated attack.

I ask for directions to a supermarket where it is possible to buy beer. Nothings changed. 

I dragged my partner away from the resort to a second division football match featuring Ksar Hellal FC and all I got was this lousy ACAB photo. We weren't allowed into the ground as it was 'sold out'. I tried to offer the police officer some cash, and he said "revolution now, no bribes". Perhaps some things have changed.

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