Both at home and abroad, Kais Saied is—more than ever—alone. Well before his scandalous remarks concerning sub-Saharan migrants, he had already erected the walls and forged the bars of the cell that he occupies today. And with his isolation, Tunisia is condemned to devastating paralysis.
El Faouar, Kebili governorate: the lack of water, encroaching sand, plummeting revenues from date palm production, and inability to invest in lands in order to make them arable have put much of the local population in an impossible situation. With little or no hope left for the future, many locals are leaving El Faouar in search of new horizons.
Rising fuel prices, a failing public transportation system, air pollution… More and more Tunisians are turning towards the two-wheel solution: bicycling.
As water levels in Tunisia’s dams have fallen, the country itself has fallen below the water poverty line. Water levels in the country’s dams are at a record low in comparison with previous years, at 28.5% of reserve capacity, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Financial Resources. This drop has had a direct impact on agricultural activities and contributed to soaring prices, while also causing interruptions in the supply of water used for irrigation and human consumption.
Tunisia’s president has accused civil society of fomenting the country’s colonization by undocumented migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Kais Saied denounces those who wish to « change the demographic composition » of Tunisia, evoking their « violence and criminality ». His proof? Contacted by Nawaat, the Interior Ministry affirmed that it does not have statistics regarding the number of migrants implicated in criminal activities. A glimpse at the facts exposes the president’s xenophobic fiction for what it is.
Tunisian president’s shocking statement on sub-Saharan Africans in the country sparked xenophobic violence, police arrests, and evictions against them. It reflects Tunisia’s non-receptive migration policies and a security-focused approach. The wave of repression is linked to EU externalization of migration policies, and it is possible that Italian pressure and lobbying by the Tunisian Nationalist Party played a role. In the aftermath of the statement’s release, the Presidency has taken steps to address the criticism that ensued.
A political party recognized by the Tunisian government is openly displaying its xenophobia and rejection of sub-Saharan migrants. « Racism is a heinous crime punishable by the law. This racist discourse includes the incitation of violence and violates the provisions under Article 9 of the law combating racial discrimination », one jurist says. And yet members of the Tunisian Nationalist Party are clearly benefiting from its ins with authorities, even receiving airtime on television.
In a recent video diffused on different social media accounts, including the account of one highly-followed Tunisian Instagram personality, a crowd of Tunisians vehemently protest the presence of sub-Saharan African migrants in the country. The display of unabashed racism, especially by those who insist that their grievances have nothing to do with racial prejudice, is frighteningly familiar.
Extremely low participation in the first round of legislative elections has brought the government face to face with a dilemma: how to set up a regime intended to be the expression of the people’s aspirations…without the people?
On 2 June 2022, three police officers in civilian clothes knocked on my door in the Bab Souika neighborhood of Tunis, and asked me to follow them to the local police station without providing any reason. Upon my arrival at the station, my Indian passport and the temporary residence permit (carte de séjour provisoire) that I had carried with me were taken away. I was informed that the subject of my summons was a tweet I had published the day before.
The government has ignored all the warning signs. Now, rising water levels are threatening to submerge the archipelago of Kerkennah. Report.
As the CEDAW Committee prepares to examine the situation for women’s rights in Tunisia, feminists fear the Convention’s demise. In 2011, Tunisia withdrew its reserves regarding the CEDAW. A political decision that was not followed by legislative reform.
Presented as a crucial political moment, the December 17 legislative elections were supposed to be the final act of Tunisia’s state of exception which began on July 25, 2021. If nothing else, this affirmation deserves to be put into perspective.
Their names are Baya Zardi, Hanène Elleuch, Najla Ettounssia, Rania Toumi… What they share in common: a certain representation of beauty and knack for creating a buzz. And indeed, they devote themselves body and soul to this end—even when it sets them against other women.
« Tunisians residing abroad (TRE) have suffered a double penalty: first of all, the number of their representatives’ seats decreased from 18 to 10. Second of all, the requirement for obtaining 400 sponsors is absurd and unfair » says one candidate who did not make into the upcoming legislative elections. Indeed, the country’s new electoral law has clearly diminished TRE’s chances of benefiting from representation in parliament.
New figures quantifying the candidacies presented for Tunisia’s upcoming legislative elections are cause for concern. According to numbers reported by the Independent High Authority for Elections, equality between men and women is naught. Furthermore, not all Tunisians will necessarily benefit from parliamentary representation. And candidates’ visibility in the media is problematic, as coverage will be focused on individual runners not on electoral lists as usual.
Tunisia’s new agreement with the IMF is just two months away from becoming operational. The government, however, is far from being prepared to navigate what follows once it begins the precarious task of dismantling the subsidies system which covers basic goods and hydrocarbons. Rather than alleviating pressure on the country’s most vulnerable groups, it is likely to incite anger and indeed set off the social time bomb that it had hoped to disarm.