Monday, February 14, 2011

How are things, you ask?

I don't think I know. My sense of Tunisia's stability depends entirely on whom I talk to. Every weekend, there is something bad going on in the south, and last Wednesday, there was an "interesting" event at our local mall. The employees struck because the mall reduced their hours from 8 to 6 and reduced the value of their meal tickets as well. The mall food court is too expensive for its employees, and they don't get enough time to go home, so it represented a real hardship. Well, in the middle of the walkout, "bad elements integrated themselves" into the crowd and tried to get back into the mall to loot. (Many people are of the opinion that these "bad elements" that keep popping up are part of Leila Trabelsi's militia, whom she continues to pay from her hideout in Libya. Who knows?) Anyway, there is a tank and armed soldiers in the mall parking lot, a new fixture, so these ne'er-do-wells did not go unnoticed. Shots were fired into the air to change their minds.

You see, I wouldn't have liked that if I had been there. I don't like hearing live ammunition while I park my car to do the groceries. The good news is that the mall employees got their hours and meal tickets restored. The bad news is that all the malls and large intersections and beaches and and and have tanks on them with armed soldiers. I am not getting used to that, and have trouble - unlike the Tunisians - associating their presence with security. Plus, they take up about 8 parking spots. ;-)

The downfall of Mubarek in Egypt helps a lot. There's no going back now. Eyes are trained on Algeria now. Tunisians are justifiably proud of what they started in this tiny country. What the US military couldn't accomplish in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan in two huge wars and hundreds of millions of dollars, the youth of Tunisia brought about in a week. Amazing times.

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear from you. Everyone was rivetted to the TV last week watching Egypt. They don't have democracy but it was a strong message to corrupt leaders. Now to get some of the money back.