Heiko Khoo and Nadim Mahjoub
The downfall of Tunisia’s President Ben Ali and his flight from the wrath of the street, may signal the opening act of an awakening of the poor and oppressed of North African and the Arab world. The rulers of these police states are traditionally propped up by the finance and support of either the United States or European allies.
Tunisia was a French colony from 1881 until decolonization in 1956; France retains considerable interest in Tunisia through 1174 French companies. Independence did not bring the Tunisian people a say in their own destiny. The country was plagued by a police state run by a handful of ruling families living in obscene luxury. These families plundered their country with impunity under the protection of a repressive security apparatus, that the United States so kindly helped to establish.