Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Revolution Is Not Over Yet

by Hamadi Redissi

New York Times

July 15, 2011

Six months ago, after weeks of protests, the Tunisian people gathered in front of the Interior Ministry to demand that their longtime president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, leave the country. He fled for Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14.

But the country’s future remains uncertain. Giant sit-ins by opposition groups plagued the interim government that replaced Mr. Ben Ali. As in the French Revolution, they came armed with “Lists of Grievances.” The standoff ended when an interim prime minister, Béji Caïd Essebsi, an old hand in Tunisian politics, took office at the end of February. He managed the trick of both placating the impatient and not alarming those who want nothing to change.

The key to establishing a new democracy will be how the interim government deals with members of the old regime. Unfortunately, it has been reluctant to bring them to justice immediately, opting instead to leave this pivotal responsibility to the government that will take power after elections in October.