Tunisia: An Eyewitness Account from Tala

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011.

Tunisian blog Khayl wa Layl (Horses and Nights) posted a letter from a woman (Ar) from Tala, detailing some of the horrors they have been witnessing over the last few days.

Six people were killed in Tala, which is located 200km southwest of the capital Tunis, and another six injured when the police opened fire at protesters there yesterday, said news reports.

In her letter, she writes:

بدأت الإعتصمات منذ سنة 2008 لكن رغم تتاليها في السنوات الأخيرة لم يستجب أحد لمطالبهم رغم بساطتها كان آخرها إثر وفات البوعزيزي مع العلم انها كانت سلمية في ظل القمع المتواصل للسلطة و في ظل غياب ابسط الحريات كحرية التعبير كان مقاومة رجال الأمن للمتظاهرين القطرة التي افاضت الكأس فتم إحراق اول رموز النظام دار التجمع واول رموز انتهاك الحرمات مركز الشرطة
The protests started in 2008, but despite their recurrence over the previous years, no one responded to our demands, despite the fact that they were simple. The last demand followed the death of Bouazizi. We should note that the demands were peaceful despite the continuous repression from the regime, and in the absence of basic rights, such as the right of expression. The oppression of the security forces on the protesters was the final straw. This is why they burnt the first symbol of the regime, the Gathering Hall, and the first symbol of the violation of privacy, the police station.

The letter continues:

كان ذلك ليلة الإثنين الماضي… الثلاثاء 10 صباحاً حاول تلاميذ معهد الخروج في مظاهرات تم حصارهم داخل المعهد نجح البعض في الهروب فيما خنق الباقون بالقنابل المسيلة للدموع وفي تمام 12 نجح الباقون في الخروج وبدأت المواجهات. نام أهالي المدينة البارحة على أصوات الرصاص الحي و إستفاقوا على نواح أمهات الشهداء وأصوات القرأن و بدا الحداد. تم حصر عدد الشهداء وهم كالآتي: أحمد عمري 17 سنة تلميذ ، أحمد بلعابي 30 سنة ، أيمن رطيبي 14 سنة ،مروان جملي 19 سنة بكالوريا ،غسان شنيتي 18 سنة جزار العائل الوحيد للاسرة كل هذا و تونس مشغولة بلقاء الترجي التونسي والنجم الساحلي وما كنت نتيجة اللقاء بين أهل، حبيبتي تالة، الأعزل و قوات مدججة بالسلاح !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!وتواصل القمع بقطع الكهرباء والماء و كانت كل المحلات التجارية مغلقة وبصعوبة تم نقل الجرحى للعلاج وحتى دفنهم اشترط السفاحون أن يتم على يد نساء المدينة !!! وفي لحضة تشييع جثمان أحد الشهداء هوجم الأهالي بالقنابل المسيلة لدموع حتى إسقاط النعش!!! و بعد محاولة عديدة تم دفنهم وفي طريق العودة جوبهوا أيضاً بالرصاص والقنابل هذا وأفاد مصدر موثوق من المستشفى المحلي بتالة وفاة ممرض من جراء الصدمة بعد هجوم قوة الأمن
That was last Monday. On Tuesday, at 10am, students from the institute tried to leave to take part in a demonstration. They were surrounded there but some students were able to escape, while the rest were suffocated with the tear gas bombs. At noon, the rest were able to leave, and the confrontations started. The people of the town last night fell asleep at the sound of live ammunition, and woke up this morning at the sound of the screaming mothers of martyrs, and the sound of the recitation of the Quran and the start of the period of mourning. The martyrs accounted for are as follows: Ahmed Omari, 17, a student; Ahmed Bala'abi, 30; Ayman Rutabi, 14; Marwan Jamli, 19; and Ghassan Shneeti, 18, a butcher, and his family's only bread winner. All this was happening as Tunisia was busy with a football match, with total disregard to the meeting between the unarmed people of my beloved Tala and forces, armed with weapons. The repression continued with the disconnection of electricity. All the shops were shut and it was with difficulty that we were able to take the injured to the hospital. Even with those buried, the barbarians agreed on condition that they be buried by the women alone! And while a funeral procession for one of the martyrs was on its way to the burial grounds, it was attacked with tear gas, which led to leaving the coffin on the street. After several attempts, they were able to collect the body, and bury the martyr and on their way back, they were attacked once again with live ammunition and bombs. A hospital source in Tala also confirms the death of a nurse from the attack of the security forces.

The woman concludes her letter saying:

ويسود تالة ألان حزنٌ وهدوء فهل هو الهدوء الذي يسبق العاصفة؟؟؟ أم ستستمر بحار الدم في ضل صمت و إستهزاء عجيب وتونس 7 التي تنقل الحقائق على غير حقيقتها ….
Tala is now enveloped in sadness and quiet. Is this the quiet before the storm? Or will the sea of blood continue to rise in the face of the total disregard of Tunis 7 (a television station), which is not speaking the truth!!

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011.


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