Journal Entry, The Struggle for Democracy in Tunisia

Written on Wednesday, March 20, 2013
POMED Event hosted at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Kenney Auditorium


Tunisia’s Revolution ignited a flame of political rebellion that quickly spread to Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria. The Arab Spring enters its third year and Tunisia struggles for democracy that is hit with by escalating ideological and violent conflicts.

I enjoyed the Professor at the Faculty of Law and Politics at the University of Manar, Mohamed Chafik Sarsar. Mr. Sarsar discussed how Tunisia’s revolution has “escaped typical patterns” of transition. Certain characteristics of the uprising provide hope for a new kind of democratic transition, including its comparative peaceful nature, absence of leadership directing the transition process, and consensus achieved in the high authority of the revolution.

In addition, these difficulties have added tremendously since the elections a lack of achievement of political consensus, a need to implement a democratic constitution and to regain confidence of the citizenry and international actors, deteriorating security situation, and economic instability.

The three principal challenges for the government remain: 1) resolving the timing problem—delays in achieving electoral and transitional justice undermines the legitimacy of political actors, 2) reconstruction of the political landscape, and 3) the “double problem” of reforming the justice system and achieving transitional justice. To meet these challenges dialogue should take place so that consensus can be achieved.

Agreed. Mr. Sarsar’s points showed the audience members, including myself, how vital and beneficial dialogue can be to any given situation. If his words were heard, I do hope the opposing party listened. Bloodshed is never the answer.


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