in Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of protest, 10 years of disappointed hopes


The protest as a memory. It has been ten years since the revolution began in Tunisia. Death by death, in the middle of the country, in Sidi Bouzid by a street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, led to an unprecedented uprising that led to the fall of Ben Ali. The government maintains a low profile when it comes to scoring goals on December 17, but the day promises to be tense given the small improvement in Tunisians’ everyday lives in a decade.

With our special correspondent in Sidi Bouzid, Michel Picard

The extent of the disappointment is particularly pronounced in the inner regions of the country. Demonstrations are planned in several cities to remind leaders of the slogans of the time: “work, bread, freedom and dignity”. Since this breath of hope, prices, especially the prices of basic food, have doubled, while wages have stagnated and evoked nostalgic memories now commonplace.

The main artery now bears the name of the traveling salesman, Mohamed Bouazizi, and his huge portrait adorns the facade of the post office, a few meters from the place where he set himself on fire to condemn the insecurity he ate. His work instrument is erected there as a monument.

Report, ten years later, return to Sidi Bouzid

I Sidi Bouzid, early revolutionaries demand that this day be kept as the day of the revolution instead of January 14, 2011, when the dismissed president fled. An argument raised last year in this central city by Prime Minister Kaïs Saïed. It is difficult to know whether the tenant in Carthage will renew his trip there, but today he is one of the few high-ranking politicians who can afford a visit without risking the residents’ stone-throwing.

A country on the verge of social explosion

There, the enthusiasm of the first years created deep disillusionment. The International Revolution Festival on December 17 will be followed a bit. Faced with the gloom of a half-masted economy, 16% unemployment and a loss of confidence in the political class, the country seems on the verge of a social explosion as the indicators are red.

A series of general strikes in Jendouba, Kairouan, Béja and social protest movements in Gabès, Gafsa, Kasserine or Tataouine have just reminded leaders of the urgent need to take economic action to improve the lives of their inhabitants.

■ Sidi Bouzid, a city that will remain the original spearhead of a pre-revolutionary protest

We carried out a lot of movements, to sit down to defend Bouazizi’s cause in general, but also the region.

Athouma Attia, professor of philosophy and former spokeswoman for the Sidi Bouzid Committee, which resulted in his imprisonment for several days at the end of 2010


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