It’s not easy to know what the truth is sometimes. Or how it’s communicated. In Tunisia the military is switching sides and winning the confidence of the people. The military switching sides is a sign of great distrust in the current regime and could very well make it fall. A problem with a military take-over is of course that a new military regime will take Ben Ali’s place (see for instance Madagascar, Chile, Argentina, Mauretania). On the other hand, the military sometimes intervenes for the better, like when corruption was weeded out of Bangladesh after the military put its foot down and said ”No more” (bear in mind, the people rioted against). That’s me being overly negative – the benefits are greater than the disadvantages, for instance in the fact that police officers will not go around killing and maiming civilians which is a great up.

Another big event today is that Ben Ali has issues an order to release all prisoners and detainees arrested since the riots began. The Minister of Internal Affairs, he says, has handled this situation exceptionally badly which is, undoubtfully, very true. The question is on whose orders, if anyone’s, he acted badly.

Piratpartiet issued a press release which is, after some careful and perhaps even cowardly (on my part, at least) cautious in its optimism.

Somewhat ordinary people (it can probably be questioned) have been making a joint global effort is something quite new, and as far as cyberprotests go it is certainly much more impressive than relying on the internet oligarchies. I’m dismayed I have not participated in any such actions, but then again I guess my role as a politician is to be opinionated more than making a change in how my role is made, basically, obsolete (or at least very much different).

I am truly the most cheerful individual on the planet but I swear I am much more amusing in private. :p

The Tunisian net activists are a fiersome (spelling?) community though. Also one of the more active on Look at this report from Algeria for instance. Their regime is technically… A bit worse in that they don’t actually tell anyone where they bring detainees to (this is a bit like the former military regimes of Latin America which really caused a lot of people a lot of harm), or so I’ve heard. It appears their political activist community is a bit more disparate, whereas I see a lot of unity in the Tunisian protests.

15 years of EU trade relations haven’t really stopped unemployment levels from keeping steady at a high percentage. Perhaps because the biggest export product appears to be olive oil which is not really labour intensive. Tourism brings better prospects. So does, apparently, the EU projects to invest in sustainable energy – among others solar energy – which also works perfectly with the EU ambition to have a larger exchange of students (though this is made very difficult if the Tunisian regime closes down the universities). I am still very critical of exporting nuclear technology to Tunisia even if my Žižekian side tells me it is more fair if everyone has it than if we sit around keeping it for ourselves.

  1. Magnus
    januari 12, 2011 kl. 23:55

    Turkey is another place where the military sometimes has intervened in a good way, seen from from our perspective, defending the secular Ataturk-tradition against more religious ideas. But on the other hand, seen from the other perspective it is always scary when the military put its heavy hand in the politics.

  2. januari 13, 2011 kl. 00:32

    Its difficult to know exactly whats going on in Tunesia, but we do know this; powerty and starvation wont decrease in 2011, neither will the social unrest around the globe in general.

    The people of Tunesia have to restore their republic themselves, as you mention I dont think sanctions would really work.

    The pirate party stand so far, in my eyes have been ok, not cowardly but perhaps slightly naive but what are we to do?

    Im sure there are ways to help our comrades in Tunisia, we just have to find them.

    PS: I agree on the nuclear issue btw.

  3. Amelia Andersdotter
    januari 13, 2011 kl. 13:36

    Beh. The problem with military intervention in Turkey is really that Atatürk is also regarded with an almost religious reveration because of his resistance to… Islamism.

    Also, with trade sanctions, it matters a lot when they are applied and when they are not. The trade sanctions we constantly put in place against Belarus for instance, I am not sure are always good. Guarding the border against refugees through visa-restrictions might even be counter-productive (my way of criticizing Carl Bildt). We are also making somewhat stupid regional and structural developments in Eastern Europe if we really find it a concern that Belarus, Ukraine and Russia have enormous power of Eastern European electricity supplies – maybe we should instead use our regional development funds to do a Frankfurt/Malmö/Denmark-like investment in renewable energies?

    I also think that would be productive in Tunisia, removing nuclear technologies from the ”sustainable” technologies we provide. Technically, they’re a desert country, so there has to be lots of sun for instance (=me being prejudiced).

    I think it also wouldn’t be bad, if we feel the human rights situation in Tunisia is simply too awkward, stop praising them in the European parliament and instead put in some 5% higher tariffs on olive oil. Only thing that concerns me is that our tariffs are probably quite high to begin with, aight, because the European Union is quite protectionist when it comes to certain products and olive oil is a major export of Andalucía and Greece as well.

    But here… Austrian OMV just made an investment of $833 million(!!!) in Tunisian oil industry. That’s not a good way of discouraging a military regime. Sending some angry letters that will never get read by anyone in the Tunisian administration is also probably not discouraging them, but it might make them smile dismissively when they throw the letter in the bin. The military seems to be reacting for completely different reasons as well (since not much has actually been published in Europe about this).

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