A reflection on Tunisia

This week started for me with a huge event in my family’s life – after six years of study, my wife was ordained with a rabbi, and our family celebrated with her in Colorado. It ended joyfully as well, as I watched in awe as Tunisians took to the streets and kicked out a widely despised dictator. I’ve had the honor to work with Sami ben Gharbia, a passionate Tunisian activist, for the past five years, and I’m excited for him, for all my other Tunisian friends, and for everyone brave enough to take to the streets and demand change.

This was going to be the week I stopped writing about what was going on in the world and focused on longer writing projects, but it was simply too exciting to watch history unfold without weighing in. I’ve offered some reactions on the events in Tunisia and the role of social media in a post for Foreign Policy.

The punchline of that post: assuming the events in Tunisia end up with a transfer of power, and (we all hope) a democratic and fair election, you’re going to hear any number of theories crediting Tunisia’s revolution to Twitter, to Wikileaks, to Anonymous and so on. Be skeptical. A shift this momentous doesn’t come from a single factor – it comes from millions of people, frustrated and pissed off, who find ways to come together and demand change. Oversimplified explanations do a disservice to the bravery of the people who risked – and in many cases, lost – their lives to take to the streets, and disrespect the people who’ve worked for decades for change in their country.

I hope Tunisia finds its way from overthrowing a dictator to building a stable, democratic government. I hope Sami can go home for the first time in many years. I hope people find inspiration in the actions of the Tunisian people and understand that change – real change – doesn’t come just from a new technology or leaked information, but from blood, tears, bravery and struggle.

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4 Responses to A reflection on Tunisia

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  2. kodimirpal says:

    Disunity among the Ummah is very dangerous and it may provide a murderous opportunity for the adversaries to add fuel to the fire.

    After all, Ahmedinejad had not been a corrupt, incompetent or an immoral ruler. He has scored more than pass mark (I will give him a Merit Pass) There is no hard evidence to prove that the recent election was a farce.

    Try to go back to the earliest time of Islamic history when Khalifa Uthman ibn Affan (ra) was assassinated and when Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) assumed the leadership of the nation of Islam.
    The cunning Muawiyah and his group wanted the culprits, who planned and executed the assassination to be caught and punished as soon as possible, but Ali (ra) wanted to concentrate on the peace, unity and administration of the Ummah, but his adversaries were stubborn and had a political axe to grind. This led to the weakening and disintegration of the Nation of Islam. Did Islam gain by this sort of rationalistic freedom?
    This is exactly what may happen in Iran if the followers of Mousavi pursued their selfishness and greed for political power. They may play into the hands of the enemies of Iran who have been waiting for a pretext and an opportunity to destabilize the nation and in the process help the ambitions of the greatest enemy of Islam (Israel).
    For the sake of saving the millions of innocent people of a Muslim nation, at times we have to forgive and forget the shortcomings of our leaders and rulers rather than trying to change the regime, create massive anarchy ( look at Afghanistan) by getting help from insincere and manipulating Non-Muslim world powers.
    Iraq is right in front of our eyes. Tens of thousands of People like me hated Saddam Hussein and went to the extent of morally co-operating with his opponents and dissidents in seeking help to punish and execute Saddam and overthrow his administration (Remember Dr. Ahmed Chalabi and gang). What were the consequences?
    But right now the same people feel the foolishness, naivety and immaturity of such political thinking and wish if only Saddam had remained in power and we could have saved the deaths of about 12 lakh Iraqis and about 40 lakh people becoming refugees, over 6 lac widows and about 5 lakh orphans and the nation going to the dogs. Who was responsible for this tragedy?
    Case Two: Afghanistan: Islam was trying hard to destroy group loyalty and tribalism, but the people of Afghan gave importance to their tribes: Pushtu, Hazar, Tajik, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Kyrgyzs etc, and their leaders like Burhanuddin, Ahmed Mashod, Hikmatyar and others could have reconciled for the sake of the unity of the nation and Ummah but ego and greed for political power corrupted them and brought horrendous bloodshed, devastation and sufferings to the millions of innocent people and brought a shame to Islam in the world.

    In conclusion I will say that we have to be patient, pray hard and should not try to create anarchy and confusion in Muslim societies for the sake of political power. There are hard lessons for the Indian Muslims from these tragedies. United we stand and divided we fall.
    Let us wait until Allah swt Bring about a change in leadership

  3. Pingback: Iran, WikiLeaks, Tunisia, and The Double Standards of the United States’ So-Called Internet Freedom Policy — The Sudanese Thinker

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