Feet in shit and head in the stars

The masters of the absurd like Kafka or the great Albert Camus would surely have found a huge playground in Tunisia in 2022. This would have at least allowed something positive to come out of all this recession that has waded through the country for several years. A people who live to the rhythm of disasters, lack. A people whose political scene is characterized by hatred, populism, incompetence and ignorance cannot develop in any way.

Let’s start with those who seem to be the most numerous: the supporters and fans of the President of the Republic, Kaïs Saïed. It must be admitted that they are endowed with an extraordinary nerve which allows them to teach lessons to the world while supporting a regime that begs from the World Bank to buy wheat, which is sent for aid through Unicef, and which has pleaded with the IMF for almost a year to be able to pay wages.

Without trembling, they talk about reshaping the approach to political action by invoking nonsense such as the governance of the bases, community society or penal reconciliation. Not only is the regime they support unaware of this, but it also rejects them on several occasions. And yet, right in their boots thrown in shit, they continue to praise the head of state Kaïs Saïed, his courage and his vision.

Ahmed Chaftar, one of Saïed’s biggest fanatics, even said in an interview that we would see miracles after the parliamentary elections in December 2022. You still have to be damned tall to believe such a lot of falsehoods and populism. They always have an excuse for a president who isn’t even looking for one. “They don’t let him work”, “he is not a politician, he has to learn little by little”, “the Islamists are everywhere”, are all catchphrases used by Saïed’s fans to justify the indefensible and excuse the inexcusable. Néjib Dziri even ventured to say that Allah had allowed Bourguiba to build the nation-state and Saïed to develop it and move it forward. It is said that the statue of Bourguiba on the avenue has been trying to start since that day…

There are also aficionados of Abir Moussi. Compared to Kaïs Saïeds, they lack neither populism nor violence to defend “Erraïssa” (the president), as they call her. It must be said that in their defense it is their boss who has always played one-upmanship. It must always be the first of the opponents, the loudest in any case. No doubt her actions under Bardo’s dome are tolerated, no reflection on the consequences of this permanent one-upmanship is allowed, you just have to clap and shout that Abir is the best.

If you dare to say that Abir Moussi largely helped pave the way for what happened on July 25, you become an Islamist who must be exterminated. Everything is tolerated, except criticizing Abir Moussi. But her fans, who are Tunisian nationals, are also paying a high price in terms of their purchasing power and have the same concerns as their fellow citizens, but their concern is to ensure that Abir Moussi becomes president. They have an almost pathological need to be commanded, directed and presided over. It doesn’t matter if their favorite ends up being the president of a pile of ashes whose wick she wants lit. Immediately after the march organized by the PDL in the center of Tunis, Abir Moussi began a hunger strike for which no one understood the reasons or the goals. This act of protest, totally foreign to the habits of the Destourians – as they never challenged anything – did not last long, barely over 24 hours. What was left? Apart from the desire to put on a show, not much…

There are also the Islamists who should be thanking Kai Saïed much more than attacking him. There are no serious questions on the agenda for them either. Yet they are directly implicated in a disastrous decade of running the country’s affairs. Not always with the same force, yes. Not always with the same number of ministers, that’s right. With allies, including the Echaâb movement, which now supports the president, yes. But that in no way exempts us from being accountable to a country that aspired to so many good things in January 2011.

Among Islamists today, it is the most comfortable situation: that of the victim. For them, things are simple: Abir Moussi and the others reviled political action and parliament, paving the way for Kaïs Saïed to overthrow power. They are the simple victims of these tragic circumstances. Obviously, the reality is much longer than that. And then hearing Rached Ghannouchi, the one who tried by all means to remain at the head of his party, who multiplied the maneuvers to become and remain the Speaker of the Assembly, talk about democracy is frankly amusing. Even more amusing is that those who oppose Kaïs Saïed today overwhelmingly voted for him in the second round of the presidential election on the orders of their boss Rached Ghannouchi. This same Rached Ghannouchi, who presented the party’s co-founder, Abdelfattah Mourou, as a scapegoat, and who had promised them that he would never team up with this corrupt Nabil Karoui. After so many mistakes in just three years, one must at least have the nerve of a kaïssiste to come today to give lessons about Tunisia’s democratic progress.

But for better or for worse, all these beautiful people will stand in long lines to get fuel or to buy sugar or vegetable oil. All these beautiful people want to see their children flee this country, legally or clandestinely. All these beautiful people will find that in the long run their wages are no longer enough to guarantee a decent life. All this without talking about transport, health, education, climate change etc. But who cares about that?

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