Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Ben Ali to Step Down in 2014

Not the news everyone had hoped for, but news nonetheless.

An email from Youssef Gaigi:

Today’s speech shows definitely a major shift in Tunisia’s history.
Ben Ali talked for the third time in the past month to the people. Something unprecedented, we barely knew this guy. Ben Ali talked in the Tunisian dialect instead of Arabic for the first time ever.
He spoke directly to the police forces and ordered them not to shoot, unless in cases of self-defense. On the same line he said a commission will investigate in the murders that occurred.
He also said that people misled him in several areas, and particularly in the areas of politics and freedom. He admited that he didn’t achieve his goals or dreams in these areas.He granted that all liberties will be given to the people of Tunisia. He stated that the right of setting an organization, a political party, or a media will be totally opened. He said all censorship online or on traditional media will be stopped.
People are still cautious and doubt these words. We are talking about billions of $ stolen by his family. A political party, RCD, which is much much stronger than other parties. We are also talking about 150k policemen who acted like a terrorist organization for decades and particularly lately. Turning his words into action will be a very difficult mission.
We will probably start by checking his words tomorrow.


I missed another major point in his speech, probably because of the excitement of this moment.
He announced that he would not run for president in 2014.
Again, I am not sure this is sufficient. Yet this is a step forward.

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  1. I was surprised that Ben Ali specifically mentioned that Internet censorship will end. This seems like a niche demand, albeit central to people who read this blog. How did this issue rise to the top of the reform agenda during the protests?

    • Honestly, I don’t think it did – my guess is that was either a reaction to international perception/media, an ouverture to pacify the public, or a diplomatic concession (to which government, I couldn’t say).

  2. That is staggering for impoverished Tunisia. Yea dictators dont seem to last long! Def interesting how much anger is being thrown the wifes way

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