Middle East

Tunisian Revolution


The protests in Tunisia—known in some circles as the world's first WikiLeaks revolution—have apparently ousted a president:

Yes, I originally had a different picture here. This one is better.

President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia has left the country amid growing chaos in the streets, French diplomats say, and the prime minister went on state television Friday night to say he is in charge.

A French Foreign Ministry official said authorities did not know where the president had gone, and representatives of the president were not immediately available to confirm the report….

In his speech to the country, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi said that "as the president of the republic is unable to exercise his functions for the time being, I have assumed, starting now, the powers of the president."

bOING bOING has a roundup of links here.

A critique of the "WikiLeaks revolution" narrative is here.

Big-picture reading: "Five Reasons for Optimism."

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  1. Tunisia is a close United States ally in the fight against terrorism.

    My guess is not for much longer.

    1. Now that they’ve pushed out their harsh dictatorial strongman, I’m sure everything there will turn out great. You know, just like in Iran.

      1. According to our Secretary of State, the US is “not taking sides,” so apparently we don’t actually care.

        1. That’s a refreshing change.

        2. Nobody tell Kaddafi. Or the Algerians. As a matter of fact, it’s better if we don’t say anything at all.

      2. Actually there are other articles saying Islamic extremists have no influence over the young, liberal urban professionals behind this uprising. Apparently there was an Islamist rebellion back in 1989, but the guy behind that just got run out of town by the protestors.

        1. If anything, the changes this revolution could cause will make Islamic revolution much less likely.

        2. Weren’t “young, liberal urban professionals” behind the Iranian Revolution, as well. Let’s not get too optimistic, here: revolution and its political effects are always a game of Russian roulette.

          1. Weren’t “young, liberal urban professionals” behind the Iranian Revolution, as well?

            Yes, they were, or at least that’s what the fools in the liberal media wanted to believe.

          2. “revolution and its political effects are always a game of Russian roulette.”

            Well played, sir.

          3. Tunisia and Iran are virtually incomparable. Tunisia’s been a secular country for a very long time.

            1. Yeah, I’m sure you really know the country and the culture quite well.

      3. hurrrrrpaderp

    2. i just take a place here

  2. Is it really known that the protests were touched off by Wikileaks, or even have anything to do with the leaks, or is it a nice ex-post-facto narrative?

    I’ve heard the competing narrative that the whole thing was touched off by a street vendor setting himself on fire because his license to run his apple cart was taken away.

    I’m in the middle of reading Nassim Taleb’s, “The Black Swan”, right now, and I just can’t take seriously anymore the press’s nice, pat explanations of why this or that event happened: the Tucson shootings, this event, why some stock price rose or fell a few points, whatever…

    1. WikiLeaks played a role, but it definitely wasn’t the only factor. If you click on the link, you’ll see a pretty balanced assessment of its place in the revolt.

    2. Yeah, it seems like Wikileaks was a motivating factor (by exposing government corruption). That’s not to say it couldn’t have happened without it, but it probably helped mobilize popular support for the revolution.

  3. This sounds like it was a good thing all around. The protestors were the secularist middle class rebelling against their government’s corruption, ruling class opulence and authoritarianism.

    Congratulations, Tunisia. Please don’t let the power vacuum get taken over by someone even worse, but this is a good first step.

  4. That is staggering for impoverished Tunisia. Yea dictators don’t seem to last long! Def interesting how much anger is being thrown the wife’s way

    1. Impoverished is relative. Tunisia is better of than its’ neighbours. That’s the reason there is a political aware middle class.

  5. Send in George Lucas.

    1. I thought Harry Plinkett overthrew him.

  6. Wasn’t there some kind of mass shooting in Tunisia last weekend? Something about a little girl, and somebody in the legislature. Why Sarah Palin would shoot a bunch of people in Tunisia, I’m not sure.

    Perhaps Reason could put up a post on it?

  7. Fuck the politician.

  8. In other good news, I challenge you to find cooler pictures than these.

  9. How long before someone blames wikileaks for the protestors killed in the streets or that wikileaks is responsible for bringing instability to a US ally formally thought to be stable?

  10. Actually, given that it all started when an unlicensed vendor had his business confiscated, this could be the first Institute for Justice, Clint Bolick revolution.

  11. If there’s anyone still hanging around Reason HQ, they may want to head over to the Tunisian embassy (1515 Mass. Av.).

  12. There can be no freedom in Tunisia until the workers throw off the shackles of capitalist oppression!

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