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Tunisia and the final page of its history

July 28, 2021 at 9:39 am

A screen grab captured from a video on July 26, 2021, shows Tunisian President Kais Saied meets union leaders in Tunis, Tunisia. [Tunisian Presidential Image – Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia is the answer. This is, and has been, what we’ve been saying and believing all along. Even before writing this article, Tunisia was the answer to all possible and impossible questions. It has been so since Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire, declaring the beginning of the Arab Spring, whose last page has just been written by the counter revolution in the form of Tunisian President Kais Saied.

This is a coup against the constitution, against the revolution and against legitimacy and democracy. It’s an old, yet new, statement that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi used to announce his military coup against the democratic experience in Egypt in July 2013, and now Kais Saied is using similar words and decisions to declare his coup, with the support of military leaders, as images prior to his statement had shown.

Chapter 80 of the Tunisian constitution states that the Tunisian president cannot take a decision to dissolve the Tunisian parliament in the event he is making exceptional decisions that affect security and public peace in the country. However, Saied did not care about this constitution neither did he respect the state’s institutions when he decided to freeze parliament’s work and lift parliamentary immunity from MPs. He also gave the Public Prosecution’s Office the freedom to pursue its members. This is an exact replica of what Al-Sisi did in Egypt, when he suspended the constitution and appointed head of the Constitutional Court as the interim president of the country, allowing the army and the police to arrest anyone.

READ: What is Article 80 which Tunisia’s president has used to justify his ‘coup’? 

The manual for military coups is clear and has been followed by forces of the counter-revolution, led by the UAE, and implemented by Al-Sisi and his military council. Images of the burning of the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Egypt, assaults on its leaders, the destruction of their public and private properties, and claims that these are acts by revolutionaries angry at the Brotherhood are similar to images we’ve been seeing in Tunisia lately, which included the burning of and attacks on the headquarters of the Ennahda Party, and the destruction of the properties of its members, both public and private.

Tunisian security officers hold back protesters outside the parliament building in the capital Tunis on 26 July 2021, following a move by the president to suspend the country's parliament and dismiss the Prime Minister. [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

Tunisian security officers hold back protesters outside the parliament building in the capital Tunis on 26 July 2021, following a move by the president to suspend the country’s parliament and dismiss the Prime Minister. [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

I will lead the executive authority, I will head the government, I will choose the head of government who will nominate ministers and I will have to approve of them. I will do the work of parliament, the prosecution and the work of the court, if necessary. I can freeze parliament and strip its members of immunity and hold them accountable. I also freeze the constitution. Kais Saied had a Mussolini Gaddafi moment, in which he combined Hitler’s tyranny, Al-Sisi’s madness, Bin Zayed’s cunning and Mohammed Bin Salman’s criminality.

There is no doubt that this is a coup that the counter-revolution is using to write the final page in the story of Arab Spring revolutions. The Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia do not want any Arab Spring revolution to succeed. They welcomed Kais Saied, supported him, and taught him what to say, what to do and when to do it. Tunisia now has a president who wooed the army and the military, attacked elected institutions and violated the constitution while ranting about respecting it until he found the appropriate moment in which to pounce on the revolution and its men.

As if it has become forbidden for Arabs to have a sense of freedom, and for supporters of the Arab Spring to live according to their own will. What happened in Tunisia confirms that there is no hope of life for Arabs as long as the likes of Al-Sisi, Bin Zayed and Bin Salman remain on their thrones. These leaders do not care for freedom, democracy or social justice; they only care about staying in office; to hell with the people.

Past experiences have shown that the likes of Kais Saied, just like Al-Sisi, do not respect the constitution and do not tolerate a civil life led by elected institutions. They have been blinded by megalomania and seduced by the support of the rulers of the Emirates. The ball is now in the court of the Tunisian people. They should not accept such a coup that was orchestrated in the ruling palaces in Egypt and the Emirates. The Tunisian people must act immediately to protect their institutions from the coup, protect their revolution from theft, and protect their voices from being wasted by a president who sold his people for the sake of Al-Sisi and the Emirates.

READ: Tunisia’s exit from the crisis 

This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 25 July 2021

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