45 to 60 Days

The world is fixated on Egypt for the last 7 days and for good reason. However elsewhere in the world things are also changing in different ways and it is important that good journalists and critical minds don’t all converge in one place.

Just over two weeks ago much of the attention in the international press was focused on Tunisia, again, understandable considering the powerful and historically breathtaking images from the streets of Tunis. The departure of the president/dictator was a great victory for anyone who favors an open and democratic Tunisia. The event is hailed as the inspiration of Egypt and possibly a growing list of nations where iron fisted rulers are suddenly scared of what fate may await them.

You’ve heard about these things, but what of Tunisia since January 11? An acting President and a whole new slate of ministers, including a political party and cabinet member that had been banned and jailed under the tyrannical rule of Ben Ali. According to the constitution, in 45 to 60 days from the moment the acting president steps in, an election must be held. At this point no date has been set, but that doesn’t deter the questions of who will run, what parties will come forward, how will they work together in an eventual government, and what will be their program. I‘ve heard analysts say left of center, or islamic left, but I still wonder how it will all play out.

In the meantime there is word of many new freedoms, especially when it comes to the press. This is of course a great and essential development, but it is important in such a critical aftermath of a revolution, when the world’s short attention span has moved on, that critical and concerned observers not sit back and assume all will be well. Part of what ensures this process really takes place and has long lasting value, is that we keep asking questions, and keep up the pressure.