Tunisia Reflections

Leaving Tunisia is proving to be difficult for me. It is a lovely country and the people (Tunisian and Non-Tunisian) are completely and wholly lovely, passionate, and friendly.

The landscapes are beautiful, a true sight to be seen.

The dialect is etched in my heart: “bi rabbi”, “bil haq”, “al internet mayimshish”, “qadesh”, “barsha”, “bahi”, “3asalaama”, “3ayshik”

The French I learned, (don’t count the spelling): “vwala”,”donk”, “ca va?”, “classor”, “orjudoui”, “oui” 

The love I felt.

The people I loved.

The tears that were shed.

Tunis – you will always be mine.

See you next time, I promise (If God wills).


Mabrook we have a constitution!!

Yesterday the ANC ratifed the Tunisian constitution with over the 2/3 necessary vote. Out of 216 deputies 200 ratified!!

This is a great victory in comparison to where other Arab Spring countries are…Egypt, Syria, Bahrain case and point. (Unfortunately)

Though some members of Islamist parties are not as hopeful. Some equated the new constitution to that as a still born birth.

Nevertheless, there are street parties, to which I was in attendance! They were filled with religious slogans like “al muslim la yastaslim” (the muslim does not give up/ retreat), there were nationalist songs which talked about the sun rising on the new county, and there were also traditional Arabic songs beginning with the typical mallal “yaaa baaaay”. It was amazing, I loved it!!!! (I was even temped to by a Tunisian flag, but my disdain for nationalism didn’t yastaslim thaaat much) But most importantly, the Palestinian flag was waving right by the Tunisian one.

Chick out the pictures




Making Aseeda

Yummy, I had this as a late night snack. #mawlid

Brittany in Tunisia

Today I celebrated the birth of the prophet Mohammed with my friend Hanen and her neice Freeya by making aseeda: a brown seed that transforms first into a liquid and then into a delicious goo. We were at work in the kitchen until 11pm last night swapping stirring duties as we waited for hours for the liquid to thicken, but it was a real treat when we woke up this morning!

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زيارتي الى مجلس النواب

Alright folks, Wednesday was possibly one of the best days of my life. I visited the Majlis An-Nawab. This is equivalent to the Capitol building in DC. Tunisia is in a very delicate stage in which many things are changing. The ANC (National Constitutional Assembly) is currently in the process of reviewing the constitution and voting for national positions. So I was able to spend the day at the Majlis An-Nawab meeting deputies and watching the voting process. I was accompanied by my supervisor and amazing mentor, former politician and attorney Me. Halim Meddeb, who was my gateway into this world of politics.

When we arrive at the majlis, all he did was make one phone call and then the VP of the ANC came to greet us and walk us through security. From then on, it was lights camera action! There were journalists, international observers, deputies, politicians, and even other American students partaking and watching history. It was such an honor and a blessing to be there and meet so many people. Throughout the process Halim would break down the political process step by step in small digestible chunks. Voting went very smoothly, almost too smoothly. It was near consensus for every member voted for.

I got to see some of the contacts I had made at the Human Rights conference at the Africa Hotel which took place a couple of weeks ago. Once again, I have to report how nice the people I have meet have been. A smile and an “3’salaama binti” goes a long way.


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Tunisia won my heart…

As I typed the title to this blog post, I definitely hesitated. If Tunisia has won my delicate heart, then what has The Old City of Jerusalem won? It has and will forever have my soul. But this post is supposed to be about Tunisia. So I will stick to it!

I am here in Tunis interning at the World Organization Against Torture/Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture. I would have been here for THREE weeks this coming Saturday, and I can’t believe how fast time is flying. I am in the office a lot these days, but I have found it so ease to make friends. Everyone here seems so exceptionally friendly. How many friends have I made while simply waiting for the metro? A LOT! I am so grateful to be in this beautiful city – a needed break from Morocco. Just kidding ;).

I started off my first week attending a 3-day conference which highlighted the human rights violations committed in Tunisia during Bourguiba and Ben Ali’s respective regimes. I learned so much about transitional justice in three short days. Experts from Morocco, South Africa, Poland, and Portugal shared their own countries’ experiences with transitional justice and how Tunisia can benefit from their successes and failures. I was completely and utterly inspired! From talking to some participants at this conference, I have come to find out that Tunisia has undergone an aesthetic revolution, and many remnants of the old regime remain intact. It also became clear, by the emotional reaction exhibited by some audience members, that many people still feel the imperialist yoke around their necks. Some people pointed fingers to France, America, and Zionists for the current condition of Tunisia and the greater “Arab World”. (I put Arab World in quotes for a reason….a blog post about that is soon to come!)

The bottom line is that I love Tunisia, the revolution still isn’t over, and I have learned a lot more in three weeks about international law, human rights conventions, and transitional justice than I ever expected. The key is truly valuing the conversations one has with other people, allowing for conversations to transgress the superficial, and absorbing all that one sees, hears, observes.

Wishing you all a fantastic Thursday from Tunis!


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