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  • Author: Daniel H. Rubinstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Though I came to Tunisia as Ambassador in the Fall of 2015, my relationship with the country and its people actually began in the late 1990s. In some ways, the Tunisia I returned to in 2015 is the one I knew years before—the Arabic and French linguistic mélange, the stambeli and malouf music, the local soccer and handball rivalries, the pine nuts floating atop mint tea. Yet alongside those resilient traditions, the Tunisia I returned to is now in its fifth year of the post-Ben Ali era, and is a country in the midst of an exciting but difficult transition. That transition is replete with a challenging self-realization, as the country and its citizenry redefine themselves and learn what it means to be a democracy in the wake of the 2011 revolution. Tunisians are still deciding how they want to incorporate democratic principles into day-to-day life, and through their decisions are defining what it means to be Tunisian for future generations. As a longtime friend—our diplomatic relations with Tunisia date to 1795—and strategic partner, the United States will continue to support the new Tunisia as it looks to the future.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regime Change, Popular Revolt, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Tunisia
  • Author: Gordon Gray
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's abrupt departure on January 14 set Tunisians upon a new and hopeful path to representative government and greater personal freedom, while setting off a wave of democratic protest across the region. Yet the tumultuous period from mid-December to mid-February—a time of popular uprising, political violence, Ben Ali's departure, and the early instability of a new government—has been followed by months of deliberately paced and publicly debated transition to a new government enjoying popular legitimacy. In fact, what is most remarkable about the process since Ben Ali's overthrow is how the people of Tunisia have, in a largely peaceful and orderly manner, set themselves to the immensely complex task of consolidating their democratic transition.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Author: William Sweeney
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Once the first protests erupted in Tunisia in December 2010, a wave of unrest quickly spread across the Middle East and North Africa as citizens expressed their discontent with the region's regimes. The Arab Spring was the result of mounting dissatisfaction with the status quo but also the result of blatant government corruption, brutal human rights violations, the economic downturn, low wages and rising unemployment rates. The socio-economic problems were truly the boiling point that pushed protesters, particularly youth, over the edge.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Tunisia