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Ennahda is a building force and Tunisia is on the path to freedom

June 12, 2014 at 9:11 am

By the grace of God, the Ennahda movement is partaking in the celebration of the 33rd anniversary of the press conference on June 6, 1981, during which the establishment of the first Islamic movement adopting democracy in a comprehensive way was announced.

This year, the celebration has a distinct character, as this authentic movement overcame a new challenge, having had to sacrifice its position in the elected government for the sake of Tunisia. They made this sacrifice for the sake of the freedom of all Tunisians, for the sake of protecting our democratic transition from relapsing. Thus they contributed, along with our political and civil society partners and our steadfast people, to making the “Tunisian exception” the last standing fortress of the Arab Spring. We, Tunisians, are proof that the Arabs too are fit for democracy, and Tunisia is proof of this.

Just as a third of a century ago, we chose to adopt democracy and peace as our opposition approach, during its time in government and after leaving it, Al-Nahda has proven that Islamists are not as some of their ideological opponents have claimed, enemies of democracy, and that their rise to power would inevitably lead to the establishment of a fascist regime that represses freedoms, monopolises power, and changes social lifestyles, as well as other falsities.

These allegations were broken down by our democratic civil commitment and our dedication to our national interests. The schemes and plots had come close to causing the loss of the freedoms for which generation after generation since independence made sacrifices, and for which scores of martyrs, dozens of whom were members of Ennahda, died for the sake of these freedoms, and we ask God to have mercy on their souls and pay tribute to their brave families and to all the martyrs who died for the sake of our country’s freedom, as well as political prisoners and their families. We believe that Tunisia is, God-willing, on the path to freedom; a path ridden with many risks and difficulties.

Ennahda is committed and determined to be a primary driving force for the success of this path and is committed to protect it from any relapses until it reaches its goal.

This is our choice and commitment; it is a promise we made to our people before the revolution, after the fall of the tyrannical regime, and after we won the majority in the National Constituent Assembly elections. We renew our promise today, as we commend our people for the achievements they have made, including the consensus on the great constitution of the revolution and the electoral law, as well as forming an independent electoral commission, and choosing a technocrat government that takes measures towards completing the third transitional phase safely and steadily. We stress that the country is in urgent need of more consensus around achieving the goals of the revolution.

Since it was founded, Ennahda has chosen to be a building force and this was not easy to achieve in light of the persecution and repression it was subjected to before the revolution and the attempts to thwart its experience in government, but the determination of its members was, with the help of God, stronger than the challenges and adversity we faced.

Dictatorship failed to derail Ennahda from its peaceful approach and turn it into a violent force. Our path has been clear over the past decades of repression; we would prefer to sacrifice our party over begin a reason behind a rift amongst Tunisians.

This has brought us global regard, despite the attempts to distort our image and despite the fact that the overthrown regime dedicated great efforts, resources and various propaganda campaigns to demonise us and accuse us of violence.

Our experience in government did not make us power-hungry nor did it cause us to seek domination, instead, it rooted in us the need for our movement, which withstood the greatest oppression, to act with forgiveness, tolerance and moderation in the country and to be the furthest from the culture of vengeance, revenge and rancour, following the actions of our Prophet (peace be upon him) when he dealt with harsh and oppressive polytheists. Is it not more fitting for us to be tolerant of those who oppressed us from our own people and religion; should we not be of those who “hold in check their anger and pardon their fellow-men because God loves the doers of good” (Al-Imran, 134)?

We have expressed this in our choice of coexistence between Islamists and secularists in the Troika alliance and our stand against all the laws that would bring about discord amongst Tunisians. We extended our hands to all those who were involved in the revolution and those who defended it in order to manage the upcoming phase in the context of unity and peaceful coexistence and the avoidance of anything that may cause us to revert back to partisan tension and conflict.

Ennahda’s experience in the face of dictatorship and in leading the first elected government after the revolution was based on a firm vision of remaining a building force that preserves the unity of the state and society and protects our revolution from abortion and from rushing into the unknown, which has caused similar experiences to end in disasters and division.

In order to achieve this, Ennahda has made painful concessions throughout its history, as well as sacrifices only bearable to a strong cohesive body whose members realise their duties towards their country and are able to accurately read the internal and external balances, such that their leadership possesses the wisdom that allows it to side-step the traps set up for them, their revolution, their country and for democratic Islam.

In this moment in time, we reflect on the past in order to benefit from its experiences, preserving its successes and correcting its mistakes. The purpose of doing so is to progress into the future as a unified entity in order to face the stormy weather hitting the region and the dangers surrounding our country, most importantly terrorism which, despite the harsh blows it was dealt from our national forces and army, still has not abandoned its evil foolish plan to shake the stability of the country and derail our successful transitional path.

Just as we are grateful that we could celebrate the anniversary of Ennahda’s founding at a time when we have overcome the difficult situation our country went through during the last year, we urge all the Tunisians, political parties and players to preserve the current atmosphere of national consensus, and to make the elections everyone is awaiting a vital chance to support civil peace and a chance to support the opportunities of reconciliation amongst Tunisians, rather than a reason for the return of polarisation, tension, provocation and incitement.

The sign of the elections’ success is not the victory of one party or the other, as in democracy there is never a permanent winner or loser. The true measure of success is the ability to conduct fair elections in which everyone participates, having everyone accept the results of these elections, and holding the elections this year- all else is secondary detail.

Allah said in the Holy Quran, “We alternate these days of varying fortunes among mankind” (Al-Imran, 140), and we have reiterated our deep conviction that it is not possible for one party to govern Tunisia in the upcoming phase. Our country needs a national unity government that gives all the main trends a chance to contribute to the success of the next phase and to help overcome the difficult challenges that we face.

In this context, we call on everyone to make the national interest a top priority in resolving the issue of the election date in order for us not to be distracted by narrow-minded partisan priorities and the possible gains of this party or the other.

We have only insisted on holding legislative elections first in order to guarantee that a large number of parties participate in the next phase in order for us not to face the scenario of an authority and an opposition, and in order to avoid the possibility of one political party dominating the others.

We also call on everyone to continue supporting Mr. Mehdi Jomaa’s government as long as it remains committed to executing the road map, being at the same distance from all parties. We continue to stress that it is necessary to encourage the national citizen contribution initiative in order to achieve the greatest possible financial stability for our country.

I reiterate and urge Tunisia’s partners, neighbours and friends to help our country in order for our economy to flourish once again, and in order for our government to succeed in governing the rest of its term in accordance with a policy that takes into consideration the needs to preserve citizens’ purchasing power, especially those with limited incomes, and provides incentives for businessmen to launch projects, particularly in internal regions of Tunisia.

I also call on Tunisians outside the country, as we approach the season of their return home, to actively contribute to the development efforts. We hope their currency exchange provides a resource that enhances the incomes during the tourism season, which we hope will reach record levels.

This is a historical moment in which Ennahda proves it is a deeply-rooted plant in this pure land and that it acts as a building force for Tunisia, and works for the prosperity of its people and achieve the goals of their revolution.

This historical moment is also full of hope that our country continues on its path towards safety despite all the challenges, hardships and dangers which should strengthen our determination and commitment to consensus and national unity, without any exclusion.

“Verily this is My way leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from His (great) path: thus doth He command you that ye may be righteous” (Al-Anaam, 153).

Translated from Al Jazeera net 8 June 2014


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