When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

blog

8 Reasons Tunisia Is Not Egypt (And Vice-Versa)

Two revolutions, two months apart, that launched the Arab Spring. Three years later, the respective quests for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt are in very different places.

8 Reasons Tunisia Is Not Egypt (And Vice-Versa)
TUNIS – What came to be called the Arab Spring began in December 2010 after a young vegetable seller in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid set himself on fire in protests. The anti-regime protests soon spread to the capital, and not long afterward across North Africa to Egypt, the largest and most influential country in the Arab world. In two months, the long-ruling dictators of both countries had been deposed, and democracy movements appeared on their way to victory.
Much has happened since in Egypt and Tunisia, and elsewhere in the region, even as a full-fledged war continues to rage in Syria. But this past week has also seen two starkly different pictures in Tunisia and Egypt that are worth noting.
In Cairo, the military-led government has pushed through a new Constitution, and looks more ready than ever to assert its full control of the country after deposing popularly elected Mohammed Morsi in July. Meanwhile, Tunisia is again celebrating – and being celebrated as a democratic example for the region – after the passage by Parliament of a new Constitution, reached after hard-won political compromise amongst all major components of civil society.
The respective quests for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt are indeed in very different places, and here are some basic reasons why:
1. Tunisia's military is comparatively weak and not a dominant force on the political scene. Egypt's army is everywhere.
2. Tunisian television, unlike Egyptian TV, does not broadcast sycophantic clips of the army hard at work.

3. Tunisia's new government of technocrats was achieved after Islamists agreed to give up power, rather than have it wrested away from them by men in uniform.
4. Tunisia's constitution, produced by an elected Assembly, does not name Sharia law and guarantees gender equality before the law (women's rights were also inserted into the new, recently approved Egyptian constitution that was de facto imposed by Egypt's military-backed government)
5. Tunisia's main Islamist Party has not been declared a terrorist organization by the state unlike what has happened with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
[rebelmouse-image 27087766 alt="""" original_size="640x426" expand=1]
Members of Tunisia's main Islamist party Ennahda take part in approval of constitution (Ennahda)
6. The post-revolutionary Tunisian Islamists never had the same clout as Egyptian Islamists — Tunisian Islamists, with only about 40% of the seats in the parliament, were required to compromise and work with non-Islamist allies.
7. The new Tunisian constitution was not pushed through by Islamists against the wishes of a significant portion of the population, as happened under Morsi in Egypt last year.
[rebelmouse-image 27087767 alt="""" original_size="500x375" expand=1]
St. Mark Church, Cairo Bakar88
8. Unlike Egypt, Tunisia is not home to significant groups of religious minorities. Almost all Tunisians are officially registered as Muslims, and almost all of those Sunni. Egypt's Christian minority has been a target of pro-Brotherhood, anti-army Egyptians, who blame Christians for their leaders' prominent support of the summertime coup. This has led to widely publicized violence, including the burning of churches, fanning the flames of anger and distrust across society.
(cover image: Tunisia's President of the Republic Moncef Marzouki after having signed the new constitution - photo Chokri Mahjoub/ZUMA)
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Future

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
Rachel E. Gross

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ