Disse bildene fra opprørene i Tunisia minner ikke lite om det vi så fra Teheran sommeren 2009: Sikkerhetspolitistyrker som banker opp sivilbefolkning. Legg også merke til det betydelige innslaget av politifolk i sivil (eller folk fra sikkerhetstjenesten) – som om man på fridagen stikker innom jobben og bidrar til å rydde opp av ren altruisme.
Wikileaks-telegrammene som beskrev den overdådige livsstilen til tidligere president Ben Ali spilte trolig en sentral rolle i hans avsettelse. Her er en fremstilling av begivenhetene fra en ung tuniser:
The internet is blocked, and censored pages are referred to as pages «not found» – as if they had never existed. Schoolchildren are exchanging proxies and the word becomes cult: «You got a proxy that works?»
We all know that Leila has tried to sell a Tunisian island, that she wants to close the American school in Tunis to promote her own school – as I said, stories are circulating. Over the internet and under the desks, we exchange «La régente de Carthage» [a controversial book about the role of Leila Trabelsi and her family in Tunisia]. We love our country and we want things to change, but there is no organised movement: the tribe is willing, but the leader is missing.
The corruption, the bribes – we simply want to leave. We begin to apply to study in France, or Canada. It is cowardice, and we know it. Leaving the country to «the rest of them». We go to France and forget, then come back for the holidays. Tunisia? It is the beaches of Sousse and Hammamet, the nightclubs and restaurants. A giant ClubMed.
The key here on both occasions was not the constitution but the army.
In 1987 the army moved to secure stability as an increasingly senile and paranoid President Bourguiba threatened to bring the country to a political and economic crisis.
Today it has moved to restore that same stability by removing a president whose person and family have become synonymous with corruption, growing wealth disparities, and political repression.