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Torture in Tunisia and the return of the conditions for a revolution

April 26, 2016 at 2:07 pm

In a report that is scheduled for presentation to the UN Committee Against Torture this month, Amnesty International offered an embarrassing description of the post-revolution human rights situation in Tunisia. The organisation also pointed out that the brutal methods of dealing with prisoners and detainees, considered a deeply rooted tradition followed by tyrannical regimes when dealing with the Arab masses, have returned.

The report monitored two main factors. First, the increased physical and moral violations exercised by the security forces against citizens. These violations reach the level of physical torture, rape, threats of rape and resorting to a number of brutal torture methods with detainees, such as beatings, simulated drowning, and other exercises we have seen by the cowboy army in Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.

The second factor is more dangerous and lies in the state’s suspicious silence in the face of such violations, which have become a known fact to everyone. This may expose an official involvement in these violations or the participation of the state’s official agencies.

The international report is not new and only contains factors and information widely known by all those in Tunisia, especially those who experienced the brutality of some security units in dealing with helpless innocent detained or suspected civilians. The law is enforced against the weak and not against the influential individuals, gang members and prominent criminals.

This method of Arab individuals dealing with their fellow Arabs is in fact the common link tying the behaviour of the Arab tyrannical regimes together. This is a purely Arab security culture in which individuals are raised to torture, humiliate and dishonour others.

The security, police, National Guard, and even the army in some Arab countries have become synonymous with torture, oppression, looting and humiliation. These forces that were created to give the people a sense of safety and security and respect the law and state institutions no longer do so. Instead, in many instances, they exercise violence and intimidation, which are two characteristics of state terrorism.

Ben Ali is the second colonial representative, preceded by the first colonial representative, Bourguiba. They governed Tunisia with an iron fist, brutal security forces and torture cells spread all across the country, from the north to the south.

Ordinary citizens do not have much value in Tunisia, and those who demanded dignity and freedom during the 17 December 2010 Revolution are still witnessing all types of humiliation and degradation by all state institutions.

Immigration, suicide, terrorism, deviation and other similar behaviours are nothing more than reactions to the state’s humiliation of the people and their dignity. Physical humiliation and the violation of people’s honour and dignity are the most dangerous types of poison that can spread within a society. This is because it unknowingly predisposes them to eruption and implants a spirit of revenge in them; an issue that we witnessed destroy and fragment a number of Arab societies in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

The silence in the Tunisian and Arab media, which only addresses what pleases Uncle Sam, in the face of terrorism is shameful. This media does not address the issues of torture and violations inside prisons and jail cells and during interrogation. Compared to these cells, the prisons in Europe and America look like five star hotels.

Torture in “developed countries” or countries that respect their people is considered a red line that is not crossed except in rare cases of disorder. However, the social and political culture of the official Arab state reflects the deterioration of the collective behaviour of the state. This is a violation to the deeply rooted Arab and Muslim values that criminalises the violation of human rights.

However, when the essence of the human search was an instinctive tendency towards freedom, which is a main condition of human dignity, then all of the state’s oppressive actions and its violations of human rights and dignity becomes a means to renew revolutions, which are considered the most powerful manifestation in which people demand what makes them human.

Accordingly, all manifestations of violence and oppression against the Arab people individually or collectively are motives and incentives that will accelerate the fall of oppressive regimes and push the people and their collective consciousness towards further realisation of the oppressive regime’s brutality and inhumaneness. This has been proved clearly and substantially through the Syrian lesson.

Translated from Arabi21, 24 April 2016

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.