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From Tunisia To Palestine, The Cause Of Freedom
And Human Dignity Is One

By Salim Nazzal

18 January, 2011

More than 80 years ago the young Tunisian poet Abo Al Qasim al shabi wrote one of the most remembered poems in the history of Arab poetry:

Once people decide to live in dignity
Fate shall answer their demand
The darkness of the night shall disappear
And the chains shall be broken. (My own translation)

Al Shabi died in 1934 at the age of 26. He did not live to see his poems the banner of the Tunisian revolution which its echoes are heard in the whole Middle East and the world. The Tunisian revolution is par excellence the revolution of the young people who strives to enjoy a decent life in a democratic society.

Its slogans “Bread, Freedom, Dignity” have become the Arab form to the slogans of French revolution, Freedom, Equality, and Brotherhood.

The Arab masses have welcomed the Tunisian revolution considering it a beginning to a real change in the region. Many observers believe that its impact on the Arab world would be similar to the French revolution on Europe.

Palestinians who live under the Zionist daily assault on their people, land, mosques, churches, culture, nature and history have greeted the Tunisian revolution with great enthusiasm because it consolidated their hope that there will an end to the Zionist occupation. Indeed the question of freedom and human dignity is one whether the atrocities come from an internal occupation or from oversees occupation.

What is remarkable about this revolution is the fact that it has been the movement of the young people from rural and urban areas as well which makes of the Tunisian folk revolution a good example to inspire the left wing and the democratic forces in the Arab world? In the last decades there has been an increase of religiosity in the Arab world which expresses rather the frustration among the new generation which has no hope in the future under the shadows of the despotic regimes. In most Arab countries the young people are able with the net and the satellites TVs to know better about the bad condition of their life compared with other places in the world. They feel that it’s their right too to live in a decent country which responds to their rights.

The question is what would be the impact of the Tunisian revolution on the Arab region? Most Arab observers believe that the Tunisian revolution would not be limited to the Tunisian border. In their view the Tunisian revolution has broken the barrier of fear from the despotic regimes. They argue that the political and the social conditions in most of the Arab countries are more or less the same. Big unemployment among the young people, lack of democracy etc, this would sooner or later lead in their view to a confrontation between the young generations the old regimes. Some Arab intellectuals call for a new social contract since the old regimes does not fit any longer. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Arab observers agree that even if it is difficult to know to where things would go in the future what is sure that the Arab region is not the same after the Tunisian revolution.

Dr. Salim Nazzal is a Palestinian-Norwegian historian in the Middle East, who has written extensively on social and political issues in the region.



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