This week it is ten years since the deposed strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia, the first to fall when the Arab Spring of 2011 took over North Africa and the Middle East. Although democratic progress has been made, many Tunisians feel that the revolution’s promise of a better life was never really achieved, especially in the country’s poorer south and interior. Jowhargives you the fourth and final part of a series of reports from Tunisia, a decade after the dawn of the Arab Spring.
Wadii Jelassi formed a lasting picture of Tunisia’s uprising when, as an unemployed 21-year-old protesting against Ben Ali’s regime, he was photographed with a small cage upstairs.
“It was not me who held the cage on January 14,” he said, “it was the Tunisian people, the young people. I attached the flag to it, the cage opened and the pigeon flew away as if it were freeing itself. For 23 years we were imprisoned, trampled, marginalized and poor. ”
With the old regime gone, Wadii turned his hand to politics but quickly became disillusioned. Now he has returned to activism.
“Ten years after the revolution, nothing has happened,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. We are poorer and even more marginalized. There is more misfortune, the country’s road to the wall. The powerful still steal from us. ”
Myriam Bribri also took part in the 2011 uprising and has a more positive view of the effect of the revolution on contemporary Tunisia. “The revolution was not just a moment, it is an ongoing process,” she said.
“The revolution has removed the fear factor,” Bribi continued. We were not afraid anymore … I feel there are so many things I can do. ”
FRANCE 24’s Karim Yahiaoui, Mohamed Farhat and Chris Moore report. Click on the video player above to watch it.