Day By Day

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tunisia Update -- Voting With Their Feet

Tunisians are voting with their feet on the results of the "Jasmine revolution". AP reports:
LAMPEDUSA, Italy (AP) - A month after massive protests ousted Tunisia's longtime dictator, waves of Tunisians are voting with their feet, fleeing the country's political limbo by climbing into rickety boats and sailing across the Mediterranean to Europe.

More than 5,000 illegal immigrants have recently washed up on Italy's southern islands - an unintended consequence of the "people's revolution" that ousted autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and inspired the uprisings in Egypt and beyond.

European powers cheered when Tunisia's 74-year-old ruler fled into exile in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14, but the fallout a month later has tempered their enthusiasm. It has also exposed a dilemma for western countries that allied with repressive leaders in North Africa seen as bulwarks against extremism, and now must build new diplomatic relationships in a still-uncertain political climate.
This is precisely what Prof. Ferguson was warning when he appeared yesterday on MSNBC. The smug assertions by the hosts that the Egypt crisis was a triumph for the Obama administration were far too early and were unwarranted. The situation is still quite uncertain and very bad things could easily happen and there are many reasons to believe that they will. Young people are very good at tearing things down. They aren't very good at building things up. 

The fact that people are leaving post-revolutionary Tunisia in droves points up the uncertainty of the situation. By the measures applied by the MSM Tunisia's bloodless revolution was a complete success, driving out a corrupt and authoritarian leader. But what is to replace Ben Ali? We don't know. And the economic problems that contributed mightily to the revolutionary situation have not been addressed. That is why so many Tunisians are taking to their boats and moving north. They are not fleeing political repression. They are worried about the future and are seeking refuge in the relatively stable lands to the north.

No comments: