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The Trouble with Tunisian Values

Protesters march on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in downtown Tunis on January 14, 2011. After the revolution, the Islamist party Al Nahda (or Ennahda) won 40% of the Constituent Assembly.

Protesters march on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in downtown Tunis on January 14, 2011. After the revolution, the Islamist party Al Nahda (or Ennahda) won 40% of the Constituent Assembly.
Photo Credit: L. Bryant / VOA Photo

For his part, Gharbi has vowed not to return to his homeland and warned others to stay away. Instead of speaking about the moderate values of the Tunisian people, his message was far starker. “As soon as you leave the gilded prison of hotels and beaches, you are at the mercy of gangs of Salafists who reign with terror. People who see eye-catching adverts for white beaches … should see what goes on behind the scenes. They mustn’t fall into these people’s claws.”

The Tunisian people and the Egyptian people have spoken. It may be time for Bertrand Delanoe, Jean-Francois Cope and Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum to accept their verdict and to do what is necessary to prevent their own countries from falling into their claws.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

About the Author: Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli born blogger and columnist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His work covers American, European and Israeli politics as well as the War on Terror. His writing can be found at http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press.


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7 Responses to “The Trouble with Tunisian Values”

  1. Khouloud Soula says:

    Funny coincidence, I am a Tunisian 27-year old girl, and I was wearing shorts all day yesterday. Not at a hotel or resort but first where I live in the Marsa neighborhood, then downtown, and in the bustling streets of the medina. I wasn't beat up, or insulted. I didn' t hear comments about my outfit. Another funny coincidence is that I am from Bizerte, the town where M. Gharbi was unjustifiably attacked by those salafi Islamists. I wore shorts there too, albeit only on the beach. I also swam in the beach in my bikini. This is not to say what happened should be tolerated or that it could even be justified. On the contrary, those people should be arrested (and they actually might have been. I don't have an exact report). Now that that incident and similar ones should be used to write such a summary article that questions "Tunisian values" altogether and as such, that's also a problem. Contrary to the writer, Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris whom he quotes here only to criticize is also a native of Bizerte. He comes here every summer, and when he speaks about Tunisian values and foreign, non-representative values, he knows what he is talking about. Although Al Nahdha won the elections, it was not on a platform of religious extremism. It was thanks to dubious campaign resources and by promoting moderate, progressive islamic values precisely. There are currently more and more signs that people are gradually alienated by the government's lenience with the perpetrators of such acts, especially that Tunisians never identified with them, or for that matter with non-Tunisian terrorists the writer cites in parallel as a facile shortcut, whereby Tunisia is denounced as a Salafi hell that the "socialist French" are helplessly trying to mask, and where Tunisian values are epitomized by intolerance and violence. As much as a sympathize with Mr. Gharbi, the statement quoted in this article is simply not truthful. Now how about an article about the recent lynching of an Arab boy in Zion square by a group of Israeli young people? You might give it "The Problem with Israeli Values" as a title. Perhaps we'dl see some of the insight and truthfulness lacking in this article.

  2. Khouloud Soula says:

    Funny coincidence, I am a Tunisian 27-year old girl, and I was wearing shorts all day yesterday. Not at a hotel or resort but first where I live in the Marsa neighborhood, then downtown, and in the bustling streets of the medina. I wasn't beat up, or insulted. I didn' t hear comments about my outfit. Another funny coincidence is that I am from Bizerte, the town where M. Gharbi was unjustifiably attacked by those salafi Islamists. I wore shorts there too, albeit only on the beach. I also swam in the beach in my bikini. This is not to say what happened should be tolerated or that it could even be justified. On the contrary, those people should be arrested (and they actually might have been. I don't have an exact report). Now that that incident and similar ones should be used to write such a summary article that questions "Tunisian values" altogether and as such, that's also a problem. Contrary to the writer, Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris whom he quotes here only to criticize is also a native of Bizerte. He comes here every summer, and when he speaks about Tunisian values and foreign, non-representative values, he knows what he is talking about. Although Al Nahdha won the elections, it was not on a platform of religious extremism. It was thanks to dubious campaign resources and by promoting moderate, progressive islamic values precisely. There are currently more and more signs that people are gradually alienated by the government's lenience with the perpetrators of such acts, especially that Tunisians never identified with them, or for that matter with non-Tunisian terrorists the writer cites in parallel as a facile shortcut, whereby Tunisia is denounced as a Salafi hell that the "socialist French" are helplessly trying to mask, and where Tunisian values are epitomized by intolerance and violence. As much as a sympathize with Mr. Gharbi, the statement quoted in this article is simply not truthful. Now how about an article about the recent lynching of an Arab boy in Zion square by a group of Israeli young people? You might give it "The Problem with Israeli Values" as a title. Perhaps we'dl see some of the insight and truthfulness lacking in this article.

  3. Micah B. Goldwater says:

    "half the country identifies as Islamic, thus attacks on children are inevitable." identifying which acts of a country's citizens are implementations of a country's values

  4. Inès Soula says:

    Totally agree!!

  5. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Khouloud – I hope you will be able to continue to dress as you wish. If you live in Tunisia, why is it that your location is identified as University of Illinois at Chicago? BTW, my husband was born in Tunisia.

  6. Khouloud Soula says:

    @Chaiya Nice to meet you. I've just moved back to Tunisia and haven't updated my info yet. I don't think it's about dress code, at least not for now. The problems are real, but they're more problems of free press and social justice. From what I see people are rejecting the few elements of extremism that are developing because they've never been part of our long history and therefore cannot be transplanted that easily. People have also realized it is the same dictatorship, this time in a pious garb. Micah I don't usually go there but it popped out on google news and considering the title I had to take a look.

  7. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Nice to meet you, too. My husband told me many stories about Tunisia that he was told by his father. He's too young to remember – he was five when they came to Israel. I hope you're right. What brouoght you back to Tunisia?

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