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Thread: Behind Tunisia Unrest, Rage Over Wealth of Ruling Family

  1. #21
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    Re: Tunisian president toppled after 23 years

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Tunisia has one of the most censored media/internet presences in the world. I doubt that very many Tunisians have even heard of Wikileaks, much less that it was the catalyst for this.
    I read somewhere, I'll try and find it in a minute, that some of the protestors were citing wikileaks.
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    Re: Tunisian president toppled after 23 years

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Tunisia has one of the most censored media/internet presences in the world. I doubt that very many Tunisians have even heard of Wikileaks, much less that it was the catalyst for this.
    I think you're wrong on this one. The internet is in large part the reason why the revolts have been so widespread. This article is a really good summary of what led to the current unrest.

    Anatomy of an Autocracy - By Christopher Alexander | Foreign Policy

    And this is the part I was talking about:


    So why revolt now and not a decade ago? The media coverage of the last month has emphasized frustrations over unemployment and prices. However, it is easy to forget that for most of Ben Ali's rule, Tunisia's economy grew at a respectable rate. Tunisia has a larger middle class and a higher standard of living than any of its neighbors. As long as you stayed out of politics, Ben Ali's government left you alone and allowed you to make some money, buy a nice house or apartment, and live a better life than your parents lived.

    More recently, however, the Europe-dependent Tunisian economy was experiencing global-recession-related contraction -- which hit university degree-holders of the sort that took to the streets against Ben Ali particularly hard.

    Then there is social media. When the definitive history of this era gets written, Facebook will get its own chapter. Activists used Facebook to organize on the one space that the regime couldn't control -- cyberspace.

    Not long ago, police firing on protesters or funeral marchers in out-of-the-way towns like Tala or Kasserine would have remained a bit of local lore, something to whisper about. Not now. Facebook brought the events in Tala to Tunis and helped build coalitions that the government could not break.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Tunisian president toppled after 23 years

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    I read somewhere, I'll try and find it in a minute, that some of the protestors were citing wikileaks.
    I can't find the one I was thinking of, but this one's in a similar vein.

    WikiLeaks cables: Tunisia blocks site reporting 'hatred' of first lady | World news | The Guardian

    Tunisia has blocked the website of a Lebanese newspaper that published US cables released by WikiLeaks describing high-level corruption, a sclerotic regime, and deep hatred of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's wife and her family.
    They wouldn't've blocked it if people didn't have access to it in the first place.
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  4. #24
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    Re: Tunisian Rioters Overwhelm Police Near Capital

    Quote Originally Posted by Erod View Post
    Here's the scary part of this.

    Much of this is simply a food riot. People are hungry, unemployed, and going stir crazy.

    A third consecutive poor global food harvest is expected this year. Prices will go up.

    Oil is breaching $100 per barrel. Food is more expensive to transport, so prices will go up further.

    The global economy is already hurting many people, who can doubly not afford for prices to go up.

    Too many things are coming together the wrong way. Expect food riots to increase across the globe, possibly even in America.
    China is concerned about the increase in food prices... it is happening globally... even here in Taiwan and other prosperous Asian democracies, food price increases are a problem, though not likely to lead to the problems in a country like Tunisia...
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    Re: Tunisian Rioters Overwhelm Police Near Capital

    This is one of those moments where we in the west have to hold our breaths and pray not another Iraq, Iran or worse comes out of it.

    Much can be said about the now former dictator but he did run a very western style country and with him gone we can fear that it will snap back into the dark ages, just like Iran did after the Shah. And this is something no one in the west would like ... the dictator or any dictator would be preferable to Iran 2.0.. both for the west and for the women of Tunisia.

    Now on the flip side, since the country is very western, we can really hope that they also want a western style democracy and the last 20 years of brutal regime clampdowns on the radical Islamic factions in the country has pretty much killed them off, so that real democratic forces can spring up. But if the Islamists do get a foothold.. well, then we are screwed since they tend to be very good at the democratic process till the day they remove it of course.

    The next year will be critical, and I hope to god the US and the west does not get involved too much since that can have a negative backlash since it was those countries that backed the dictator in the first place.
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    Re: Tunisian Rioters Overwhelm Police Near Capital

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    China is concerned about the increase in food prices... it is happening globally... even here in Taiwan and other prosperous Asian democracies, food price increases are a problem, though not likely to lead to the problems in a country like Tunisia...
    Food prices are increasing due to global warming effects (weird catastrophic weather) and a growing population. Problem is, in places like "poor areas" of China, Tunisia, most of Africa, and similar areas, buying food takes 1/3 or much more of the monthly budget so any increase would be catastrophic.

    When cooking oil goes up 100% in a matter of weeks, as it did in Tunisia, then you know you are in trouble. Milk in certain areas of China is more expensive than in the US (or so I have heard).. only positive thing is that most Asians are lactose intolerant heh.
    PeteEU

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    Re: Tunisian Rioters Overwhelm Police Near Capital

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    ....The next year will be critical, and I hope to god the US and the west does not get involved too much since that can have a negative backlash since it was those countries that backed the dictator in the first place.
    There's no reason for the US to get involved in the internal affairs of Tunisia. Whatever happens there is exclusively their business to resolve, and not America's business.

  8. #28
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    Re: Tunisian Rioters Overwhelm Police Near Capital

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    This is one of those moments where we in the west have to hold our breaths and pray not another Iraq, Iran or worse comes out of it.

    Much can be said about the now former dictator but he did run a very western style country and with him gone we can fear that it will snap back into the dark ages, just like Iran did after the Shah. And this is something no one in the west would like ... the dictator or any dictator would be preferable to Iran 2.0.. both for the west and for the women of Tunisia.

    Now on the flip side, since the country is very western, we can really hope that they also want a western style democracy and the last 20 years of brutal regime clampdowns on the radical Islamic factions in the country has pretty much killed them off, so that real democratic forces can spring up. But if the Islamists do get a foothold.. well, then we are screwed since they tend to be very good at the democratic process till the day they remove it of course.

    The next year will be critical, and I hope to god the US and the west does not get involved too much since that can have a negative backlash since it was those countries that backed the dictator in the first place.
    That's my concern as well. I really hope the Islamists don't take over.
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  9. #29
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    Re: Tunisian Rioters Overwhelm Police Near Capital

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    Food prices are increasing due to global warming effects (weird catastrophic weather) and a growing population. Problem is, in places like "poor areas" of China, Tunisia, most of Africa, and similar areas, buying food takes 1/3 or much more of the monthly budget so any increase would be catastrophic.

    When cooking oil goes up 100% in a matter of weeks, as it did in Tunisia, then you know you are in trouble. Milk in certain areas of China is more expensive than in the US (or so I have heard).. only positive thing is that most Asians are lactose intolerant heh.
    Here in Taiwan, milk IS more expensive than in the U.S., and consumption of it per capita is higher than in China. Young people here generally are NOT lactose intolerant, but it isn't a staple like it is in many Western societies...

    Food prices going up is partly due to climatic issues as well as the increase in the price of fuel used to produce and transport food products...

    For most in affluent societies like Europe, the U.S. and Canada, as well as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, it will be an inconvenience ... though one that could put strain on some governments, but for less affluent societies, like Tunisia, there could indeed be problems... as there were in 2008...
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  10. #30
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    Re: Tunisian Rioters Overwhelm Police Near Capital

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    This is one of those moments where we in the west have to hold our breaths and pray not another Iraq, Iran or worse comes out of it.

    Much can be said about the now former dictator but he did run a very western style country and with him gone we can fear that it will snap back into the dark ages, just like Iran did after the Shah. And this is something no one in the west would like ... the dictator or any dictator would be preferable to Iran 2.0.. both for the west and for the women of Tunisia.

    Now on the flip side, since the country is very western, we can really hope that they also want a western style democracy and the last 20 years of brutal regime clampdowns on the radical Islamic factions in the country has pretty much killed them off, so that real democratic forces can spring up. But if the Islamists do get a foothold.. well, then we are screwed since they tend to be very good at the democratic process till the day they remove it of course.

    The next year will be critical, and I hope to god the US and the west does not get involved too much since that can have a negative backlash since it was those countries that backed the dictator in the first place.
    Tunisia is the last country in Africa/ME that will collapse to Islamists.
    People forget this is a highly educated, secular youth driven country. It has very small (if any) element of Islamists.
    Egypt ... sure. Although I do also hope Egypt's leader gets overthrown, the extremists element is a threat there. I do not think Egypt helped matters by its suppression of the brotherhood, it fed them fire to grow

    US and the West ... but especially US indeed has to back off and if anything give a few encouraging words here and there but not give any would-be dictator ammunition.

    When the elections happens in 60 days and if it occurs successfully. This will give many in the Arab world in similar and worse positions hope. A example. A democracy in the Muslim/Arab world through the people and not by the end of a gun. I have hope for Tunisia and its future
    Last edited by Laila; 01-15-11 at 03:29 PM.


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