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Mohamed Bouazizi, l'ouvrier agricole : Relire la « révolution » depuis les campagnes tunisiennes

[Des habitants de la région de Sidi Bouzid occupent une terre agricole qui a été saisie par la banque et revendue aux enchères en juillet 2010, Regueb. Image par S. Rouissi.]

Bouazizi, l'autre histoire On pourrait commencer l'histoire au début des années 2000. Mohamed, orphelin de son père, devient responsable de sa fratrie et doit subvenir aux besoins de sa famille. Lorsque son oncle maternel, Salah, achète une terre agricole de 18 hectares dans la région de Regueb (gouvernorat de Sidi Bouzid, Tunisie), Mohamed commence à travailler sur l'exploitation. Lui, Salah et d'autres membres de la famille ainsi que des ouvriers saisonniers s'occupent des oliviers et des cultures maraîchères irriguées (tomates, melons). Le projet semble bien lancé, profitant de l'eau souterraine de bonne qualité et du micro-climat qui fait la réputation de cette ...

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'Mind the Gap: Bridging Knowledge and Practices of Activism' at the Fourth Arab Bloggers Meeting

[Image from the Fourth Arab Bloggers Meeting in Amman, Jordan. Image courtesy of Hisham Almiraat/Flickr.]

Since the political movements known as the Arab Uprisings erupted in late 2010, some of them leading to the toppling of a handful of long-lived authoritarian regimes in the area, the influence of networked communication technologies on social change and activism has taken center stage in an animated debate spanning across multiple communities and discussion sites. More specifically, the Internet, because of the participatory and social dimensions suggested by web 2.0[1] platforms and social networking sites (SNS), has often been depicted and celebrated as if it were a quintessential technology of freedom. This way, the Internet was quickly turned into the ideal ...

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Séminaire: Quel modèle de décentralisation des services urbains en Tunisie? (6 juin, Tunis)

[Outline of Tunisia. Image by Mdesignstudio via Shutterstock]

Vendredi 6 juin 2014, 8h30-17h30, Hôtel Golden Tulip, El-Mechtel, Tunis Conférence organisée par l’Association Tunisienne des Urbanistes, la Direction Générale des Collectivités Locales (ministère de l’Intérieur) et l’Unité de Recherche Droit et Gouvernance. La question territoriale a été au cœur de la révolution tunisienne. Les déséquilibres régionaux et les difficultés d’accès à l’emploi et aux services ont dès lors fait partie des thèmes les plus médiatisés sur la scène politique de l’après 14 janvier 2011. La décentralisation a rapidement figuré comme un principe phare des réformes, d’abord dans les programmes des principaux partis en course vers la ...

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New Texts Out Now: Andrea Khalil, Women, Gender, and the Arab Spring

[Cover of

Andrea Khalil, editor, Women, Gender, and the Arab Spring, special issue of The Journal of North African Studies 19.2 (2014). Forthcoming as a book with Routledge. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this special issue?  Andrea Khalil (AK): During my fieldwork in Tunisia (2011-13) working on a book, I was sensitized to the profound problems that women in Tunisia were facing since the Revolution, and more generally, the urgency to address gender issues and activism in the new context. The book I was working on at that time was not specifically about gender dynamics, but I wound up conducting a lot of interviews with women and following gender-related debates ...

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وقفة احتجاجية لعاملات الجنس في تونس


 "من كان منكم بلا خطيئة، فليرمها بحجر" السيّد المسيح  مطلع شهر آذار/مارس الفائت، وقفت عشر نساء أمام المجلس الوطني التأسيسي للمطالبة بإعادة فتح ماخور مدينة سوسة المُغلق منذ سنة وأربعة أشهر، بعد حملات نظمتها مجموعات من الشباب السلفي. يصل خبر النسوة إلى نائبة رئيس المجلس، السيدة محرزية لعبيدي (من حزب حركة النهضة)، فتأذن لثلاث منهن بالدخول للاستماع لمطالبهن المتمثلة في إعادة فتح الماخور المُغلق بناء على حُكم قضائي.يبدو أن لا أحد تساءل عن مصير عشرات السيدات اللاتي هُدمت بيوتهن ونهبت أغراضهن ولوحقن كالساحرات بعد إغلاق مواخير كل من سوسة وباجة والقيروان. تجدر الاشارة إلى أن الدولة في تونس هي التي أخذت على عاتقها تنظيم وتأطير هذه المهنة. فالمواخير المذكورة ...

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About Human Breakage and Fragility

[ Drawing by the Jordanian artist Hasan Mnasra]

Nezar was a twenty-three year-old man with a Schizoid personality disorder. He became a regular visitor to my clinic after he entered my office once by mistake. I started to follow his case since that incident, and we developed a strong treatment relationship when I got to know him. He was in a state of severe autism but by coincidence he saw one of Salim Barakat’s novels on my desk on that day, and it took him out of his schizophrenic autism and drew him closer to me. “The pain of the tamed, undescribed, and puzzling in the voice of Sarmak,” a schizophrenic innovation by itself, was the title of the novel.  Nezar read the title, flipped a few pages before he put ...

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Tunisia’s Consensus, or When a Kiss Is Just a Kiss

[Habib Ellouze and Mongi Rahoui embrace one another following the passing of Tunisia's new constitution. Screenshot from Tunisian state media.]

With the constitution out of the way and a technocratic government appointed to oversee the country up until the election, Tunisia’s cultural wars have taken a backseat, but that does not mean they are not over. Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa replaced the Ennahda-led coalition government after it stepped down on 29 January following months of negotiations between representatives of the governing parties and leading opposition parties and facilitated by a quartet of civilian organizations. The various parties involved in the “National Dialogue" agreed that Jomaa’s government has a mandate to focus its attention on the economy and battling insecurity in the months ...

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القانون الانتخابي في تونس بين فخّ المال السياسي والصعوبات القانونية واللوجستية


استخدام المال السياسي في الانتخابات التشريعية والرئاسية هي جريمة استفحلت في جميع الدول ولكن بمستويات مختلفة. وتتباين خطورة هذه الجريمة بين دول العالم بمدى التزام كل منها بتطبيق قانون انتخابي ذي معايير دولية يراعي في كل فصوله ضرورة غلق الأبواب أمام أية محاولات لشراء أصوات الناخبين خصوصا من طرف الأحزاب الكبرى. ففي تونس مثلا سجّل المراقبون خلال انتخابات المجلس التأسيسي التي جرت يوم 23 أكتوبر من سنة 2011 آلاف التجاوزات التي تصب أغلبها في استغلال أصوات الناخبين من ذوي الدخل المحدود بمقابل مادي أو من خلال عدم الالتزام بضوابط الحملات الانتخابية والإشهار السياسي. ورغم توفر الأدلة الموثقة لدى المراقبين إلا أن خلو القانون الانتخابي من بنود حاسمة بخصوص العقوبات الرادعة لهذه ...

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The Janet Abu-Lughod I Knew

[Janet Abu-Loghod speaking at the IASTE conference, Berkeley, 1990. Photo courtesy of IASTE.]

I first met Janet L. Abu-Lughod in December 1990 when I invited her to be a keynote speaker for the biennial conference of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE) held that year in Berkeley, California. The conference theme, “First World/Third World,” was right down Janet’s alley. She was, of course, by then a recognized public intellectual and a well-established scholar whose contributions spanned fields as disparate as urban sociology, planning history, and Middle Eastern Studies. But, for me, she was the Janet who fell in love with Cairo of the 1960s, and who wrote Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious, a magnificent book ...

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ثورة كطوق الياسمين


تنفجر الثورات حيث لا يشتهي المنظرون. هكذا بنى كارل ماركس نظريته الشيوعية (التحررية) وألمانيا الصناعية (المتقدمة) نصب عينيه، فانتفضت روسيا الفلاحية (المتخلفة) وقامت جنة العمال الاستبدادية. وعلى نفس المنوال رأينا شعب كوبا راقص السالسا ومدخن السيجار يتحول إلى مصدر للاشتراكية، وأصبحت الجزيرة الصغيرة مسمار جحا الأحمر في قلب أمريكا الرأسمالية. هكذا إذاً فاجأتنا تونس الخضراء، بلد الفرح الدائم، وطن الأمن والأمان: شعبها أراد إسقاط النظام! ولشدة سلمية الشعب التونسي وهدوء أمواج تاريخه لم يتمكن المستشرقون الأوربيون من التغلب على كليشيهات العهود السابقة، فعرف حراك تونس الشعبي (17 ديسمبر 2010 - 14 جانفي 2011) بثورة الياسمين، اسم رقيق كصوت ماجدة الرومي، ومن ثم تحول إلى نسيم من نسائم ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (January 27)

[A Tunisian man holds up a portrait of Chokri Belaid during a march against the country's ruling Islamist Ennahda party. Three years and two high-profile assassinations later, Tunisia voted yesterday on the adoption of a new constitution. Photo courtesy of Aimen Zine/AP Photo.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Thursday night of every week.] Algeria Présidentielle #dz2014: les jeux sont (déjà) faits. Baki 7our Mansour predicts a fourth term for the ailing incumbent Bouteflika. Algérie: Un géant vert en devenir? Amir Lebdi highlights Algeria’s plans for solar energy. Benflis le saint, Bouteflika le diable Ghani Gedoui makes a case for why Bouteflika will see another ...

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Crise politique et question territoriale en Tunisie

[Manifestation à Sidi Bouzid, ou quand la dimension physique de l’espace public manque à la dimension politique. Photo de Chokri Yahyaoui.]

La question territoriale a été un des fondements du soulèvement en Tunisie à la fin de l’année 2010: développement des zones défavorisées de l’intérieur du pays et accès à l’emploi et aux services étaient parmi les principaux slogans de la révolte. Les inégalités régionales et le mode de gouvernance territoriale ont continué pendant quelques mois à marquer le débat politique, figurant notamment parmi les points forts des programmes des partis politiques en course vers la constituante. Après le 23 octobre 2011, date des élections de l’Assemblée Nationale Constituante, l’enjeu territorial a progressivement été masqué par une succession de crises politiques.  Les ...

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Tunisia: The Collective Making of a Constitution

Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA) session held on 26 January 2014 did not put an end to disagreements among its members. However, it did represent the culmination of the work done by members. These members were elected by people on 23 October 2011 to draft the provisions of the Constitution of the Tunisian Republic. The draft was ratified during the January session. The ratification of the constitution has thus pushed quarrels and political conflicts among assembly members from center stage ...

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Turbulent Muslim Renaissance in Tunisia: Interview with Ennahda's Yusra Ghannouchi

The political transformations that occurred after the Arab Spring saw the emergence of political Islam with new force. This occurred not only in Tunisia, where the revolutions began, but more widely in the whole Middle East and North Africa region. More than three years after Ben Ali’s fall, Islamists are still part of political processes in Tunisia, whereas in some other places (like Egypt) their role in politics has been significantly restricted. This interview with Dr. Yusra Ghannouchi, the ...

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Tunisian Heritage is Not for Sale: Privatization Threatens Country’s Historic Sites

In a rather low-key, overlooked way, the Tunisian Minister of Culture, Mourad Sakli, announced yesterday on a radio program on Jawhara FM that the ministry plans on privatizing Tunisian heritage sites. The plan is to have private companies lease the sites for periods of twenty-five to thirty years. The minister justified the privatization plan by referencing the dire state of affairs over at the Tunisian National Heritage Institute. Namely, how the Institute only has six offices (in a total of ...

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Event Report-Back -- Reflections on the 22nd Annual Cairo Papers Symposium: Disabilities, Revolution, and the Politics of Hope

On 15 March 2014, the Cairo Papers in Social Science (CPSS), in collaboration with the Middle East Studies Center at the American University in Cairo, hosted its twenty-second annual symposium titled “Disabilities, Revolution, and the Politics of Hope.” The CPSS, established in 1977 by social science departments at AUC, is a quarterly monograph series under the direction of Iman Hamdy. The symposium brought together both academics and activists, in order to explore how different social thinkers and ...

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Trente ans de recherche sur Tunis et les grandes villes tunisiennes

Recension: Morched Chabbi, L'urbain en Tunisie. Processus et Projets, (Tunis: Nirvana, 2012). Durant les trois dernières décennies, Morched Chabbi a mené de front deux activités: l’urbanisme et la recherche en sciences sociales, principalement sur Tunis et les grandes villes tunisiennes. Ces deux activités se complètent et s’enrichissent mutuellement, et cet ouvrage paru en 2012 en offre l’illustration. Rassemblant les principales publications de M. Chabbi depuis les années 1980, L’urbain en ...

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In Conversation with Artist Nadia Ayari

Since the start of her artistic practice over a decade ago, Nadia Ayari has engaged painting and the history of its development with marked intensity and seriousness. Adding to the complexity that one finds in her usage of the medium is her subject matter, which is not easily decipherable; figural but somehow abstracted and simultaneously sensual with tinges of the grotesque. Her “figures” are outwardly peculiar, psychologically laden, and allegorically political—a combination that is accentuated by the ...

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Jihadism and Contraband on Tunisia's Borders

 [The following briefing was published by the International Crisis Group on 28 November 2013] Jihadism and Contraband on Tunisia's Borders Executive Summary and Recommendations Tunisia is embroiled in recurrent political crises whose origins in security concerns are ever more evident. While still of low-intensity, jihadi attacks are increasing at an alarming rate, fuelling the rumour mill, weakening the state and further polarising the political scene. The government coalition, dominated by the ...

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Nouveau Webdoc: Au centre de Tunis: géographies de l’espace public après une révolution

Un nouveau web-documentaire intitulé Au centre de Tunis: Géographies de l’espace public après une révolution est paru sur le net. Il s’agit d’une recherche universitaire réalisée par des géographes de l’Université de Cagliari (Italie), du Politecnico de Turin et de l’Université Montpellier 3 (UMR GRED), conçue et produite avec des professionnels des médias (photographes, vidéastes et journalistes), en collaboration avec l’agence Prospekt Photographers de Milan, et financée par la Fondazione Banco di ...

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The Tunisian Constitution: The Process and the Outcome

The National Constituent Assembly (NCA) recently passed the new Tunisian Constitution on 26 January (and endorsed it officially on 27 January), to emotional and widely reported scenes. This constitution may be as important in the way it came about as in what it actually says. In both its formation and its content, much is at stake for Tunisia, the continuing revolutions in the Arab world, and beyond. In a previous extended article, I discuss the culture of constitutionalism in Tunisia, and how this ...

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عن الكسر والهشاشة الإنسانيين

كان نِزار شاباً فصاميّاً عمره ثلاثة وعشرون عاماً. صار يتردّد على عيادتي بعد أن دخل مكتبي مرّة على سبيل الخطأ. صرتُ أتابعُه بشكل مُنتظم منذ تلك الحادثة، وقد نشأت بيننا علاقة علاجيّة متينة. لمّا عرفته، كان في حالة انطواء شديد، لكن الصّدفة التي شاءت أن تكون إحدى روايات سليم بركات مرميّة على مكتبي في ذلك اليوم، هي التي جعلته يخرج من عزلته الفصاميّة ويتعلق بي. «لوعة الأليف اللاّموصوف المُحيّر في صوت سارماك» كان عُنوان الرّواية في حد ذاته تقليعة فصاميّة. نزار قرأ العُنوان، ثم تصفحّ بعض الصّفحات، قبل أن يضع ...

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Tunisia’s Judges: The Intra-State Struggle for Independence

On 2 May 2013, a much-awaited statute pertaining to the formation of a Temporary Judicial Council (TJC) to supervise the judiciary was issued. The statute entitled judges to elect half of the members of the council. The judges, along with legal experts, expected the establishment of such a council to end the hegemony of the ruling authorities over the judicial authority, and to launch an era of an independent judiciary. The TJC began in earnest to prepare the judicial rotation for the years 2013 and ...

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الأدب والثّورة: حوار مع حسين الواد بمناسبة الذّكرى الثّالثة للثورة التونسيّة

نوري ڤانة: أوّلا، كيف تعرّف بنفسك؟  حسين الواد: من مواليد منتصف القرن العشرين بالمكنين (جهة الساحل الشرقي) لأسرة تدهورت أوضاعها في عهد الاستعمار الفرنسي. تعلقت بأبي قضية مع "الجندرمة" الفرنسية سرعان ما تطوّرت إلى حكم بالإعدام ففرار من المعتقل لتستقر على المؤبد. عرفت، باكراً جداً، أن فساد أصحاب النفوذ لا دين أو عرق أو حدود له، فرئيس مركز الحرس مثلاً، وهو فرنسي، كان يطالب، من بين ما يطالب به، بكبش العيد مقابل غض الطرف عن ملاحقة والدي طوال مطاردته ثم، عند اعتقاله ثانية، مقابل التدخل لتسريحه. ...

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