Algeria: Algerians salute the courage of the Tunisian people

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

After Tunisia, Algeria? Photo on Flickr by anw-fr, used under license CC BY

All Algerians saluted the resistance movement of the Tunisian people who brought down the despot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali [EN] after 23 years of unchallenged rule.   In every discussion forum, blogs and Facebook, Algerians can no longer find the words to salute the courage of Tunisians who have revolutionized their country by pushing “their” president to flee the country.

The blogger R.Z, on the blog Mots de Tête [FR] has paid tribute to the Tunisian people [FR] for its grand mobilization. In an article titled “Oil or freedom? 
Tunisians have made the choice … “ (a provocative title in connection with the latest developments experienced by the riots in Algeria, whose government has successfully reduced the youth revolt to  a story of increasing oil and sugar prices), R.Z wrote:

Qui peut rester insensible à ce qui vient de se produire en Tunisie ? Le peuple tunisien, par sa mobilisation  pacifique et sa détermination arrache sa liberté. Mieux encore, à contraindre le dictateur Ben Ali à quitter le pouvoir. Pis encore et humiliant pour lui : à  fuir son pays penaud. Honni et vomi, le tyran sort par la petite trappe de l'Histoire. Il aurait pu se retirer autrement, «dignement». Cependant sa soif inextinguible du pouvoir, l'en a empêché. Manifestement, la dignité n'est pas l'apanage des dictateurs.

Who can remain insensitive to what has just happened in Tunisia?  The Tunisian people, by their peaceful mobilization and determination have snatched their liberty. Better yet, they have forced the dictator Ben Ali to step down.  Still worse and humiliating for him to flee his country sheepishly. Reviled and lambasted, the tyrant exited through history’s small door.  He might have otherwise retired with dignity.  However his unquenchable thirst for power has prevented it. Clearly dignity is not the domain of dictators.

According to the blogger:

Les peuples opprimés ont leurs raisons que leurs dirigeants n'ont pas. Soif de liberté, la rue, elle, avait tout  compris. Elle avait compris que c'était le début de la fin d'une oligarchie. Même son soutien le plus fort, celui de son ami Sarkozy, n'a pas accouru à son secours. Ben Ali a compris, mais tardivement. La messe était dite.

Oppressed people have their reasons that their leaders do not.  The thirst for liberty, the street, has understood everything.  It understood that it was the beginning of the end of an oligarchy.  Even his greatest support, that of his friend Sarkozy, did not come to his aid.  Ben Ali understood, but it was too late.  The mass was said.

“Who’s next?” That’s the question posed by another Algerian blogger, Fragments, after the announcement of President Ben Ali’s departure [FR].

Si l’information du départ définitif du président tunisien, Ben Ali, venait à se confirmer, ce serait une grande étape de franchie pour l’instauration d’un véritable État démocratique en Tunisie. Même si tout reste à faire, il faut se réjouir de cet élan d’espoir né après des années de musellement et de répression.

If the information of the definitive depart of the Tunisian President, is confirmed, this would be a great step forward for the establishment of a true democratic state in Tunisia. Even if there’s a lot left to be done, we must rejoice in this momentum of hope, born after years of repression and silencing.

He concludes with this question:

Le départ précipité de Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fera-t-il des émules du côté d’ElMouradia (siège de la présidence de la République algérienne) ? En d'autres termes, notre tour viendra-t-il un jour ?

Will the sudden departure of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali be emulated on this side of ElMouradia (seat of the Presidency of the Republic of Algeria)? In others words, will our turn come one day?

Commenting on the departure of the Tunisian despot [FR], an Algerian internaute in a discussion forum compared Ben Ali to a rat rather than a leader.

En préférant quitter le navire en pleine bourrasque, l'ex-président Ben Ali s'est donné (pour la postérité des poubelles de l'histoire) l'image d'un rat que celle d'un vrai commandant assumant ses responsabilités à savoir mener à bon port son navire avant de le quitter.

In preferring to jump ship during gale force winds, former President Ben Ali was given (for the posterity of the dust bins of history) the image of a rat rather than that of a real commander assuming his responsibilities to carry his vessel safely to port before abandoning it.

He added:

Honteux destin pour un voleur , un criminel …..parmi tant d'autres de ses collèges
arabes et Africains.

A shameful fate for a thief, a criminal…among many of his Arab and African colleagues.

In an article titled “Tunisia-Algeria: similarities” [EN] published on his blog [FR], the Algerian writer Makhlouf Bouaich, with a shred of pessimism finds similarities between the events that have transpired in Tunisia and those that Algeria experienced in the wake of the bloody riots in October 1988.

Nous assisterons à un ‘retour à la légalité’ (en Tunisie), à un ‘retour au calme’, à des arrestations de hauts dignitaires, à des rendements de comptes, les islamistes qui (re) viendront au premier plan…Tout cela donnera, à coup sûr, un peu de répit au régime pour se reconstituer. Enfin, une certaine décennie à l’algérienne bis.

We will see a “return to legality” (in Tunisia), a “cool down”, the arresting of senior dignitaries, yields of accounts and the Islamists who will (again) come to the forefront.  All of this will, undoubtedly, provide a bit of a respite to the regime so that it can reconstitute itself. In the end, a decade similar to what Algeria experienced.

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


  • I think it’s about time for the maghreb to unite
    this is a chance to unite tunisia algeria and morroco thru the people not the leaders


    In Algeria there is an army “Praetorian”, the opposition is discredited exclude the FFS and the FIS, the civil society is fragmented and the government has its oil revenues to buy social peace. So, unhopefully the equation is totally distinctive between Algeria and Tunisia..

  • […] Jan – Algeria: Algerians salute the courage of the Tunisian people 19 Jan – Middle East: A Closer Look at Tunisia's Uprising 18 Jan – Russia: Bloggers on Lessons […]

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