There’s No Khomeini in Tunisia… Yet, I’m Assured: Tunisian journalist

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Articles
Wednesday, 16 February 2011


tunisian_journalistTunisian journalist Kawthar Al-Bashrawi said the Tunisian revolution is distinguished because it’s a revolution of a nation, not a revolution of political parties.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Manar website, Bashrawi said that the Tunisian revolution has no leader, unlike other historical revolutions,
She also told Al-Manar website she’s assured of the revolution despite attempts of some of the former dictatorship’s symbols to return to political life. She expressed belief that the Tunisians do not scare anybody anymore, since they overthrew all the fears at the moment they toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Q: The revolution in Tunisia was named by some observers the 'Jasmin revolution.' As a journalist, how can you describe to us the Tunisian Revolution?

A: We’re talking about a revolution of a nation, a revolution of martyrs. That’s why we should not talk about jasmine. The name of ‘Jasmin Revolution’, however, has French roots given that France sought to undermine the revolution. The revolution’s youth did not use the jasmine in their movement and even more, they had no enough money to buy it. Therefore, it’s better to label the revolution in Tunisia as the “revolution of the nation.” We, as Tunisians, are unknown in our history, in our geography, in our poets, in our revolutions and we’re still so. We’re proud that our revolution is orphan and had no supporters at all. This is a headless revolution. I can say that what happened in Tunisia is a historical miracle.

Q: How do you find Tunisia following the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali?

A: Of course, we’re talking here about a series of victories. First, the revolution has succeeding in overthrowing the fears and dropping the wall of silence ahead of overthrowing Ben Ali himself. Dictatorship is an interlocking system, including the head but also the body. We triumphed in toppling the head because it’s the most remarkable. But what’s even more dangerous is the dictatorship logic, which in fact produced the dictator. The logic of the people stands first behind the dictator’s presence because it’s a logic of surrender, silence and subservience. The blow to Ben Ali did not exclude the United States and France. We all know who Ben Ali was. He’s one of the most dangerous suppression’s machines in the Arab World. He was a bulldozer. New Tunisia, however, imposed on the United States a new reality: the necessity to study the ways of dealing with the nations before the rulers.

Q: You talked about the collapse of the head without the body. In your opinion, what’s the best way for Tunisians to get rid of the regime’s constituents?

A: When you cut the regime’s head, a lot of other heads return to life in one sense or another. There’s absolutely no dictator who accepts defeat. That’s why Ben Ali left behind him some symbols seeking to kill the revolution, and that’s what the transition government is currently seeking to do. I will give you one example. Following the revolution, the government appointed 25 new mayors in a number of regions, including 16 who follow the embattled regime. At this point, the people took the initiative and fired the appointed mayors. That means that the revolutionists, even if they returned home, are still cautious for any potential move that could pave the way for the regime’s symbols to return to political life.

Q: Are you assured of the revolution?

A: Yes, I’m assured of the revolution. First, Tunisians are still united and were not split. Second, whoever is not scared anymore of Ben Ali will not fear Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi or any other president, and will not be scared of the army or anyone else. That’s why things are under control. All Tunisians want a civil rule, separation of powers, independence of law and some amendments to the Constitution. If we reach a parliamentary civil regime, we would not care who rules. Whoever overthrew the fear of Ben Ali will not fear a communist or a secular or an Islamic ruler. The Tunisians, who toppled Ben Ali after 23 years of dictatorship, will be able to overthrow any new ruler after one or three years.

Q: We’re currently witnessing a form of confusion in the Tunisian scen amid the absence of a leadership of the revolution. Why?

A: What happened in Tunisia is a revolution of people without heads. This is a historical event that didn’t happen before, neither in the French Revolution nor in the Iranian Revolution. Imam Khomeini led a revolution. But in Tunis, we had a revolution without a head. We wish we had a leader like Imam Khomeini. But this is the originality of our revolution. What’s also admirable is that the heads of the Tunisians parties did not dare to claim that they took part in the revolution, and this proves that the Tunisian people are cultivated and educated. Now, all parties should follow the people, and whoever rejects this reality will be removed of the map. We want first a civilian regime; this is agreed on among communists, Islamic activists, seculars and others. It’s unacceptable anymore to use expressions such as succession in the open Tunisian society. We want a parliamentary system and the people are the ones who will choose their representatives through democratic polls. We don’t need heads because the Tunisian people are aware of their needs. We want a secular regime that separates between religion and state and guarantees the freedom of expression and opinion for everyone. Here, I should specify that the secular regime we’re calling for is not atheism as some would think, it does not contradict with religion and belief.

Q: In your opinion, what’s the role of the Tunisian woman at this stage?

A: I don’t believe in discrimination or in differentiating between the role of men and women. The whole nation is concerned, with its men and women. Concerning the Tunisian woman specifically, I believe that the rights given to women since the fifties were not provided in order to end discrimination, but to make the woman a tool to fight religion. The woman was employed to help the ruler in challenging the religion. That’s why I consider this cause a lie, with respect to some fundamental rights of course. But some laws in Tunisia made the woman look as unjust and tyrant. I urge the Tunisian woman to be proud of herself, her son and her husband. She doesn’t need another cause to justify her existence.

">  including the French and Iranian prominent ones.

She also told Al-Manar website she’s assured of the revolution despite attempts of some of the former dictatorship’s symbols to return to political life. She expressed belief that the Tunisians do not scare anybody anymore, since they overthrew all the fears at the moment they toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Q: The revolution in Tunisia was named by some observers the 'Jasmin revolution.' As a journalist, how can you describe to us the Tunisian Revolution?

A: We’re talking about a revolution of a nation, a revolution of martyrs. That’s why we should not talk about jasmine. The name of ‘Jasmin Revolution’, however, has French roots given that France sought to undermine the revolution. The revolution’s youth did not use the jasmine in their movement and even more, they had no enough money to buy it. Therefore, it’s better to label the revolution in Tunisia as the “revolution of the nation.” We, as Tunisians, are unknown in our history, in our geography, in our poets, in our revolutions and we’re still so. We’re proud that our revolution is orphan and had no supporters at all. This is a headless revolution. I can say that what happened in Tunisia is a historical miracle.

Q: How do you find Tunisia following the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali?

A: Of course, we’re talking here about a series of victories. First, the revolution has succeeding in overthrowing the fears and dropping the wall of silence ahead of overthrowing Ben Ali himself. Dictatorship is an interlocking system, including the head but also the body. We triumphed in toppling the head because it’s the most remarkable. But what’s even more dangerous is the dictatorship logic, which in fact produced the dictator. The logic of the people stands first behind the dictator’s presence because it’s a logic of surrender, silence and subservience. The blow to Ben Ali did not exclude the United States and France. We all know who Ben Ali was. He’s one of the most dangerous suppression’s machines in the Arab World. He was a bulldozer. New Tunisia, however, imposed on the United States a new reality: the necessity to study the ways of dealing with the nations before the rulers.

Q: You talked about the collapse of the head without the body. In your opinion, what’s the best way for Tunisians to get rid of the regime’s constituents?

A: When you cut the regime’s head, a lot of other heads return to life in one sense or another. There’s absolutely no dictator who accepts defeat. That’s why Ben Ali left behind him some symbols seeking to kill the revolution, and that’s what the transition government is currently seeking to do. I will give you one example. Following the revolution, the government appointed 25 new mayors in a number of regions, including 16 who follow the embattled regime. At this point, the people took the initiative and fired the appointed mayors. That means that the revolutionists, even if they returned home, are still cautious for any potential move that could pave the way for the regime’s symbols to return to political life.

Q: Are you assured of the revolution?

A: Yes, I’m assured of the revolution. First, Tunisians are still united and were not split. Second, whoever is not scared anymore of Ben Ali will not fear Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi or any other president, and will not be scared of the army or anyone else. That’s why things are under control. All Tunisians want a civil rule, separation of powers, independence of law and some amendments to the Constitution. If we reach a parliamentary civil regime, we would not care who rules. Whoever overthrew the fear of Ben Ali will not fear a communist or a secular or an Islamic ruler. The Tunisians, who toppled Ben Ali after 23 years of dictatorship, will be able to overthrow any new ruler after one or three years.

Q: We’re currently witnessing a form of confusion in the Tunisian scen amid the absence of a leadership of the revolution. Why?

A: What happened in Tunisia is a revolution of people without heads. This is a historical event that didn’t happen before, neither in the French Revolution nor in the Iranian Revolution. Imam Khomeini led a revolution. But in Tunis, we had a revolution without a head. We wish we had a leader like Imam Khomeini. But this is the originality of our revolution. What’s also admirable is that the heads of the Tunisians parties did not dare to claim that they took part in the revolution, and this proves that the Tunisian people are cultivated and educated. Now, all parties should follow the people, and whoever rejects this reality will be removed of the map. We want first a civilian regime; this is agreed on among communists, Islamic activists, seculars and others. It’s unacceptable anymore to use expressions such as succession in the open Tunisian society. We want a parliamentary system and the people are the ones who will choose their representatives through democratic polls. We don’t need heads because the Tunisian people are aware of their needs. We want a secular regime that separates between religion and state and guarantees the freedom of expression and opinion for everyone. Here, I should specify that the secular regime we’re calling for is not atheism as some would think, it does not contradict with religion and belief.

Q: In your opinion, what’s the role of the Tunisian woman at this stage?

A: I don’t believe in discrimination or in differentiating between the role of men and women. The whole nation is concerned, with its men and women. Concerning the Tunisian woman specifically, I believe that the rights given to women since the fifties were not provided in order to end discrimination, but to make the woman a tool to fight religion. The woman was employed to help the ruler in challenging the religion. That’s why I consider this cause a lie, with respect to some fundamental rights of course. But some laws in Tunisia made the woman look as unjust and tyrant. I urge the Tunisian woman to be proud of herself, her son and her husband. She doesn’t need another cause to justify her existence.

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