Friday, January 14, 2011

Tunisia: the revolution begins

President Ben Ali has fled the country amid violent protests, and the Tunisian people have achieved a fantastic success. But until the economic system that condemns Tunisians to poverty and unemployment has been overthrown, the revolution is incomplete.

Maltese air traffic controllers have said that Ben Ali is bound for Paris. Mohamed Ghannouchi, now the interim president, declared that since the president is temporarily unable to exercise his duties, it has been decided that the prime minister will exercise the presidential duties. The state of emergency announced by the president this afternoon is still on, enforced throughout the country, with curfews from 5pm to 7am. Emergency measures mean that gatherings of more than 3 people during the day are banned, and the police have the right to shoot anyone who fails to comply.

It is clear that the regime wants to use the abdication of Ben Ali to crack down. They want to preserve the structure of the regime even though its most unpopular figure has gone. The revolution is now faced with a series of choices: will it press forward and get rid of the whole regime and force a democratic solution? Will it go beyond a full democratic revolution and begin a social revolution that will be able to tackle the economic issues which began the revolution in the first place: unemployment, inflation and poverty?

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