Thursday, January 13, 2011
These are Ben Ali's last days
Almost everything that has to be said this Thursday eveninghas already been said by the above video of this massive demonstration against the rule of Ben Ali in Kairouan. Is there, after having seen pictures like that, anybody left with a grain of doubt about what will happen to Ben Ali's reign?
I just read Brian Whitaker's blog Al Bab. I don't always agree with him, but today I do. Completely. Not only was I like him impressed by the scenes in Kairouan, but like him I also had the intention to write a wrap up of today's events in Tunisia. Like him I came to the conclusion that it is in fact almost impossible. Too many accounts of dead and wounded. I have no doubt that the human rights organisation will come up with tha facts and the figures in a few days, but right now, it's just too chaotic. Also security wise it is too complicated. Too many reports about cities and towns where the police and army gave up the control and withdrew to the outskirts, leaving the city to the protesters.
And then on top of that there was this speech by president Ben Ali, in which he promised that the shooting with live ammunition as off now will be stopped, that press freedom will be introduced and the blocking of the internet will be halted. And that he, Ben Ali, will not seek another term in 2014.
Well, that date of 2014 seems too ambitious. It is almost for sure that Ben Ali is not going to make it till then. Promises like this carry all the characteristics of too little too late. This is rather more a man in a state of despair, than of a ruler who still is master of the situation. Why should the Tunisian people give him the opportunity to stay on till 2014, if they just have delivered ample proof that they are able to finish him off right now? Why would Ben Ali - and his relatives and family for that matter- deserve more time after all these killings of the last days and after he and his inner circle have been robbing Tunisia so thoroughly for so long a time?
My guess is that Ben Ali is finished and that he had better pack his coffers right now, when it might not be too late for him to escape (it was in the news that his daughter and son in law areand projected successor, are already in their house in Montreal). It is over with him. I really don't think that he will stay in office longer than one or two days.