The Tunisian Revolution is, perhaps, the only success story, so far, of what has been acclaimed as the Arab Spring. It was peaceful, dignified, and moderate. In its case, the rhetoric of reaction, examined by Albert Hirschman in a small, but immensely illuminating book, does not apply. It was not futile, it did not create a more dangerous situation than before (jeopardy), and its unintended outcomes (perverse effects) have not outweighed its benefits.
Political change in Tunisia has worked for the better. This happened, to a great extent, because of the coalition committed to negotiations and dialogue during the 2013 turbulence which justifiably did receive the 2015 Nobel Peace Price.I am sure that my former graduate student Laryssa Chomiak, who wrote an outstanding dissertation on civil society in Tunisia, rejoices this moment!
The road to the 2010-2011 revolution was prepared by the slow, incremental growth of initiatives from below. Grassroots activism is a premise for such extraordinary events. This is what political scientist Ken Jowitt had in mind when he titled his foreword to Adam Michnik’s Letters from Freedom, “In Praise of the Ordinary.” Freedom cannot be built on vengeance, endless recriminations, or forgetfullness.
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