After “Goodness! The man who could not be president” on Moncef Marzouki, Nizar Bahloul does it again with a new book “Kaïs 1eh president of a drunken boat ”, which has just been released by“ Edito-Edition ”. On this occasion, we had this interview with him.
After Moncef Marzouki, it’s Kaïs Saïed’s turn. Why this impulse to publish books on the presidents of the Republic of Tunisia?
Because I want to fully experience our democracy. Tunisia remains the only Arab country where a journalist can afford to publish a book about a sitting president. Usually we publish post mortem books or luminous books, which is not the case with my first book or with the second. Writing this kind of books also gives a journalist the opportunity to feel free and independent.
On the other hand, I would say that it is also a professional deformation, as I am a political columnist in “Business News”, a task which consists of analyzing the president’s facts, these books are an extension of my profession.
On a personal level, do you find it amusing to criticize a President of the Republic in full exercise?
Yes ! We journalists have the benefit of doing a job that we love. It is a passion that makes us live on the material plane but also on the emotional plane and it is an exception in my opinion.
It is true that it is fun to practice this profession and to publish books as if it were an extension of journalistic work. This book proves that there has been a change in this country, that we live in a democracy whose most vital aspect is freedom of speech.
Does not the threat to freedom of expression worry you?
It’s a very comprehensive topic … But let’s say that the media world is going through a number of structural and situational issues. Everywhere in the world we are experiencing this kind of problem.
With regard to Tunisia, the government has taken decisions in a decree published on November 20 to help media companies and thus journalists. But on the other hand, the President of the Republic received neither journalists, press officers nor members of Haica to discuss the problems of the media with them. He is a person cut off from the country’s elite.
This book is presented in the form of 8 parts …
These are chapters that summarize the president’s views on several events that took place during his first year in office. The book opens just before his inauguration, his victory in the election and his entry into the Palace of Carthage and concludes with a chapter entitled “Four more years”, in which there is a reflection on this that a president is encouraged to take care of , including eg the lack of communication.
There are unpublished chapters in this book, not everything has been published before in the form of chronicles …
In fact, almost 75% of the content is unpublished. Even the articles that have been published have been updated to place the reader to show him what we thought about this topic at time “T”.
Why “Chairman of a Drunk Boat” in the title? A reference to Arthur Rimbaud’s poem?
Unfortunately, Tunisia is faltering. We are in the middle of an economic and social crisis … There were lots of promises during the election campaigns from various politicians, including Kaïs Saïed. Promises not kept because of this ship swaying between the waves like a drunken boat. This is a reference to Arthur Rimbaud’s poem.
Kaïs Saïed was elected with a large number of votes, do you think he was the right president for these stormy times?
He was elected by two million seven hundred thousand Tunisians, and he has a good foundation to this day. But unfortunately he did not keep his promises. The power of the presidency sometimes seems superior to that of the president. But my view is optimistic in the long run as we will bequeath a solid democracy to our children. In the short term, we have social policy problems, but above all economic problems, and the President of the Republic is only one link in the chain. I suggest that even if he had kept his promises, the President of the Republic could not have solved all the problems. But the problem is that in part he had not done what he was supposed to do, even though he achieved more achievements, because he was repeatedly able to stop certain slips in the level of justice or assembly, but that is too little for a year in Carthage! He is also a president who is disconnected from the country’s elite, and this disconnection from the reality of Tunisia is worrying. After all, the elite are also part of the Tunisian people. It is very important to speak on behalf of the people, but a country cannot function without its elites in all areas. If we want to create jobs, for example, we can not do without investors and business people. If we want to promote Tunisia’s image abroad, we can not do it without sport and culture. All these worlds are ignored by the president until then. It’s a lack of connection in my opinion.