Democracy in the making

Meanwhile in Tunisia, 90% of the electors went to vote.
The first democratic elections in the state after the Ben Ali era are running smoothly, and the results, that are gonna be official tomorrow afternoon, seem to decree the victory of the Islamist party Ennahda.

My friend Camille, who works in Tunis at the FAO, is thrilled as we chat on Skype: “it’s awesome, whatever the results are gonna be”, she tells me.

Her boyfriend Paolo, whom she met a few years ago in Rome during her Erasmus semester in my college, went to see her for the occasion.

It’s democracy in the making, and it’s a show worth attending.

I ask her why she thinks that Ennahda is winning. She explains that it could be a symptom of a certain will among the Tunisians to reassert the religious freedom that was opposed by the Ben Ali regime, which insisted on secularism as a staple of modernity.

Another reason, she believes, can be the fear of radical change. Stepping into the democratic era without the Qu’ran’s safety net would be disorienting.

Moreover, the multitude of new and unknown parties competing, and their hardly understandable, too technical proposals and language, couldn’t beat the call to the traditional values of Ennahda, a party that, Camille tells me, has a very strong base.

Another interesting insight on the topic comes from the NYT, whose correspondent from Tunisia tells the story of how the broadcast of the animated film Persepolis has raised controversy in the country’s political debate over the last few days.

The trailer says a lot. Hopefully not about Tunisia’s future.

2 thoughts on “Democracy in the making

  1. Great post! What Camille said about Tunisians being disoriented without a religious safety net rings true here in Egypt in a big way. There is a lot of argument against Western-style secularism and separation of church and state. But now that it appears Ennahada has won, it was a relief to me that they stated publicly that they intend to model themselves on Turkey more than Iran in terms of religion’s place in government. I’m sure people in the US are freaking out that an Islamist party won either way… Harumph.

    • Thank you!!! I believe what’s really interesting is the recurrence of this “revolutionary pattern” in the Middle Eastern states, and Egypt is surely an interesting observatory to predict what’s going to happen in Tunisia. How are things over there?
      The fact that they picked Turkey as a model, not Iran, is definitely a relief, but admittedly the Islamic precepts (think for example of the Qu’ranic regulation of gender issues, and women’s rights related problems) are hardly adjustable to the ones of “democracy-as-we-know-it”, whatever that means in our Western-and-going-crazy world. We’ll see what happens…and I really hope it won’t look like Persepolis at all!

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