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Tunisia: Sarkozy's Visit Spurs Blog Reactions

The Tunisian blogosphere was buzzing last week with responses to Nicholas Sarkozy's official visit.

Cos-maux-polis has several posts about the trip criticizing certain statements made by Sarkozy as racist:

Décidément les déclarations de Nicolas Sarkozy sur le sol africain ont de quoi interroger. Voici qu'à l'occasion de son voyage officiel en Tunisie, le Président de la République a laissé percevoir sa conception du partenariat Nord-Sud : « Vous avez une main d'œuvre qui ne demande qu'à être formée, nous avons beaucoup d'intelligence et beaucoup de formation (…) ».

Clearly the statements of Nicolas Sarkozy on African soil are worth questioning. On the occasion of his official visit to Tunisia, the President of the Republic revealed his concept of a North-South partnership: “You have a workforce who do waiting to be trained, we have a lot intelligence and a lot of training (…).”

She also reported statements from Bakchich :

lors du voyage officiel en Tunisie, Nicolas Sarkozy aurait déclaré en off : « à chaque fois que je viens (en Tunisie), il y a une grève de la faim. Chaque fois que je pars, la grève s'arrête. Je le constate, c'est tout ». Il aurait ajouté: « bien sûr qu'il n'y a pas de démocratie en Tunisie. Mais on n'y a pas les mêmes critères qu'en France ».

during the official visit to Tunisia, Nicolas Sarkozy declared, off the record: “whenever I come (in Tunisia), there is a hunger strike. Whenever I go, the strike ends. I'm just saying, that's what I see.” He reportedly added: “Of course there is no democracy in Tunisia. But the criteria here are not the same as in France “.

Tunisian blogger Zizou from Djerba writes about the fall of the Tunisian opposition, which coincided with Sarkozy's visit, and insisted on the need for change while Sarkozy demonstrated his pragmatism:

Comme tout le monde l'a constate, le president francais a choisi son camps et l'a montre clairement. Sarkozy a choisi de jouer la carte du gouvernement alors que la partie visible de l'opposition , gonflee a bloc apres les evenements de Redeyef l'attendait comme un messie. Une enieme greve de la faim a ete organise et les contacts ont ete pris bien a l'avance avec des journalistes qui connaissent deja le pitch….Les propos du president Francais avaient le merite d'etre clairs et sa position est tout a fait comprehensible et limite previsible.

As everyone has noted, the French president chose his camp and showed it clearly. Sarkozy has chosen to play the government's card while the visible part of the opposition bloc, which has swelled since the [food protests] in Redeyef, received him like a messiah. For the umpteenth time, a hunger strike was organized and journalists, who already know the drill, were contacted well in advance…. The remarks of the French president had the merit of being clear and his position is entirely understandable and unsurprisingly limited.

Global Voices Advocacy Director Sami Ben Gharbia writes with irony about this visit in a post titled “Sarkozy has voted Ben Ali” (“Sarkozy a voté Ben Ali”), even embedding a video of famous French muppets ‘”les guignols de l'info”:

He writes:

Au deuxième jour de sa deuxième visite d'Etat en Tunisie, Nicolas Sarkozy est resté fidèle à la diplomatie des contrats, que certains veulent qualifier de “Realpolitik”, et nous apporte la bonne nouvelle : “l'espace des libertés progresse en Tunisie”. Enfin ! Ben Ali a eu droit aux louanges de la part de quelqu'un qui ne veut pas s'ériger “en donneur de leçons” sur les droits de l'Homme.

On the second day of his second state visit to Tunisia, Nicolas Sarkozy has remained faithful to the diplomacy of contracts, which some people want to characterize as “realpolitik”; he brings us some good news: “the space for freedoms progresses in Tunisia”. Finally! Ben Ali has been entitled to praise from someone who does not want to “lecture” others on human rights.

1 comment

  • Huh?

    “African” soil? I think the blogger should have written Mediterranean, North African soil. In the same way that Americans would write North American rather than the Americas. I think the region has been brainwashed by Gaddafi and his Banana policies.

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