Re-imagining Democracy, Rebuilding Tunisia
In all the conversations and manifestos that have ever been, or will ever be, on the benefits of democracy, never has the word ‘easy’ come up.
No, I haven’t checked sources to be able to make such an absolute statement. There’s no need. It’s self-evident.
Being a born and bred American, and having visited the motherland - Tunisia - yearly and lived here for nearly the entirety of 2011, I’ve seen democracy in various stages of its life. The United States has nearly 240 years under its belt, so it’s problems are more developed, yet less critical, I’d say, than those with which Tunisia is struggling at present. The Tunisian democracy is on a ledge; any mis-step can doom the whole experiment to failure.
The bickering, whether in the halls of government buildings or in cafés lining avenues across the country, is constant and never-ending; the social and economic divisions are ever-present and expanding. It seems the minute you solve one problem, a hundred more emerge.
It’s a matter of immeasurable pride to be Tunisian. In no one’s wildest dreams just one year ago would we have accomplished half of what we’re seeing manifest today.
Various Commissions to Protect and Sustain Revolutionary Goals.
Kasbah Protests to Exert Pressure for True Reforms.
Independent Electoral Commission (ISIE).
Successful Elections of National Constituent Assembly (NCA) on October 23, 2011.
And now, Forming a Coalition Government.
Admittedly, everyone knew it would be difficult to form a government characterized by national consensus and unity. Negotiations over who would be President of the Republic, Prime Minister, President of the NCA dragged on for around 10 days after the preliminary results of the elections were released by the ISIE. The country found itself, once again, in a state of limbo, motionless, anxious, confused, waiting..
Desperate, there were even reports that my father, Dr. Radwan (sometimes spelled ‘Radhouane’) Masmoudi, was to be Prime Minister! Imagine my shock, and dismissive chuckles. Here’s a Business News article, correcting an earlier article on the subject: http://www.businessnews.com.tn/Accords-conclus—Marzouki-prĆ©sident,-Ben-JĆ¢afar-Ć%C2%A0-lĀ’AssemblĆ©e-et-Djebali-Premier-ministre,520,27720,1
More than one month after the elections, and final decisions about these and other key positions have yet to be confirmed by the Assembly. In truth, the NCA is still quarreling over its internal voting rules and procedures, so hopes for decisions about government positions, let alone ones involving a new Constitution, are so far pending.
Thus is democracy. As a friend aptly put it, “It’s messy, but I’d choose democracy over [a benevolent dictator] any day.”
So we move forward. We keep working. Struggling. Protesting. Demanding. Amending. Forming, and reforming, until we get it right.
تونسية، و راسي عالي — I’m Tunisian, and I hold my head up high.