A heated debate started on July 19 when Mahmoud Baroudi, a member at the National Constituent Assembly (NAC) described Interim President Moncef Marzouki, as the “President of Banana Republic.” The declaration caused complete disorder inside the NCA. MPs affiliated with the three party coalition government called upon Baroudi to take back his words. He refused. “Only when you have a President of a Republic, who does represent the Republic we can talk. I'm not going to take my words back Mr. the President [referring to the NCA President]. It is a Banana Republic, and all you [MPs] represent a Banana Republic,” said Baroudi in response to the outraged MPs.
Baroudi used the term “Banana Republic” to comment on the controversial presidential decision to sack the Central Bank Governor. He was mainly mocking a presidential document appointing a new Central Bank Governor. The document was dated July 11 – which was one week before the decision to sack the former governor was approved by the NCA.
The English Oxford Dictionary defines a “Banana Republic” as “a small state that is politically unstable as a result of the domination of its economy by a single export controlled by foreign capital.” The derogatory term is often used in political science to refer to politically unstable countries, especially in central America, which rely on one export such as bananas.
Tunisia: “A Fascist Banana Republic?”
The author of Le blog Boukornine added the adjective “Fascist” to the term “Banana Republic” to describe the “new Tunisia.” The author explains his choice [fr]:
“République bananière” parce qu'aucune institution n'est respectée et qu'il n'y a aucune hiérarchisation des décisions et aucun respect de la légalité même des plus hautes sphères du pouvoir.
“Fasciste” envers les TUNISIENS non-musulmans, envers les TUNISIENS athées, les TUNISIENS juifs, chrétiens, agnostiques, déistes, diabétiques, insuffisants rénaux… envers ceux qui ne veulent tout simplement pas jeûner et qui ont tout à fait le droit de se rendre librement dans un café pendant le ramadan ! (…)
From an Olive Country to a “Banana Republic”:
Tunisia, a large producer, and exporter of olives, is now a “Banana Republic”, wrote Ali Gannoun for Tunis Tribune:
Le pays de l'olivier est tout simplement devenu une république bananière ou des singes règnent en maitres et des citoyens qui subissent à longueur de journées les turpitudes d'une bande de malfrats et d'imbéciles…Pauvre Tunisie!
Tunis Tribune also published a photoshopped version of Ennhdha Movement logo. Ennahdha presides the current three-party coalition government in Tunisia, and controls more than 40 per cent of the seats in the NCA.
In the photoshopped version, a banana replaces the pigeon, and four other bananas circle the star of the Tunisian flag. Ennhdha Movement (Ennahdha means Renaissance) is replaced by Nakba Movement (Nakba means Catastrophe, and it is usually used to refer to Nakba Day in 1948 during which thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes). “Liberty, justice, development” is party's motto. It was replaced by “Bananas, bananas, bananas. Nothing but bananas.”
“Banana Republic” National Anthem:
On YouTube, netizens also shared Banana Republic's national anthem: