The BBC seems to have determined that the Tunisian narrative ended when the protesters chased the repulsive President Ben Ali. Democracy has spoken and freedom is now in the air. Except, of course, that is not the case….

But last week, faster than you could scream ‘Allahu Akbar’, hundreds of Islamists raided Abdallah Guech Street armed with Molotov cocktails and knives, torching the brothels, yelling insults at the prostitutes and declaring that Tunisia was now an Islamist state. 

As soldiers fired into the air to disperse them, the Islamists won a promise from the interim government that the brothels would be permanently closed. In other cities, brothels were targeted, too; and there have been demonstrations throughout the country — whose economy is heavily dependent on the vibrant tourism industry — against the sale of alcohol. 

Suspected Islamists otherwise preoccupied themselves with slitting the throat of a Polish Catholic priest, which, if confirmed, would be the first such sectarian murder in modern Tunisian history. And anti-Semitic slogans could be heard outside Tunisia’s main synagogue: this in a country with no history of persecution of its Jewish minority. 

When the Tunisian revolution started last month, it was hailed as a template for the rest of the Arab world. But if revolutions are judged by their outcomes rather than their intentions, then the story of post-revolution Tunisia is equally instructive. 

Why is the BBC so disinterested in what follows when the people speak in these lands? Answers on a Koran…

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  1. RGH says:

    ‘Revolutions’ should always carry a health warning on the packet.

    In the context of Islamic politics this ‘health warning’ should be written in very large letters, indeed.

    As they say, watch this space in the weeks and months ahead.


  2. Davka says:

    anti-Semitic slogans could be heard outside Tunisia’s main synagogue: this in a country with no history of persecution of its Jewish minority.
    Pardon me?
    From a community of 120,000 in 1948 the Jews of Tunisia are down to 1,500. They were marginalised, excluded from public life and forced to flee mob violence. Before the colonial era they were inferior dhimmis confined to ghettos. If more people knew the wretched story of Jewish life in Arab lands before Israel, perhaps they would begin to understand why 50 percent of Israel’s Jews come from Arab and Muslim countries.


    • Craig says:

      Wikipedia has a fairly detailed overview of the periodic waves of anti-semitism that have afflicted the Jews of Tunisia over the centuries, even under the secularist Bourguiba/Ben Ali dictatorships:


    • NotaSheep says:

      But the BBC keep telling me how much better life under Islamic rule than Catholic rule was for jews in Spain etc.  Don’t tell me they have been misleading me; I am shocked.


      • hippiepooter says:

        A very good case can be made for life being better for Jews under the Muslims than the Catholics.

        The Jews were treated so badly by the Catholics that when the Muslims came they were ready collaborators.

        When they were expelled during the Inquistion the Jews were welcomed with open arms by Muslim Turkey.


        • RGH says:

          As long as they assumed the correct position in society as ordained by Allah and remained that way. That is Allah’s will. Step out of line, act out of the dhimmi role, big time trouble.

          Israel is detested on a number of levels. The ‘theological’ problem is that Jews cannot be ‘masters’ but subject to ‘tolerance’ as Allah ordains. Uppity Jews ran to the other refusniks, the Christians, and got into trouble. Israel is ‘uppity’ supported by ‘Christians. The ultimate blasphemious conspiracy against Allah.

          Jews prepared to be patronised will be tolerated as long as they don’t act out of their divinely appointed role.


          • deegee says:

            The other blasphemy of the Jews is that Israel falls foul of the Islamic convention that any land once conquered by Islam remains part of the Waqf forever and must be reconquered when the correct conditions arise. Hence the hysteria over Israeli ‘occupation’.

            Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Armenia, India, Italy and Crete are all previously conquered countries who achieved their independence from Islam. They are all occupied.


  3. Charlie says:

    How to educate children. Or not.


  4. George R says:

    Yes, David; and Islam Not BBC (INBBC) is reluctant to follow up on the reasons why so many Tunisians (and other North Africans) are trying to get into the European Union (an Islamisation which INBBC fully supports).

    There’s more sense from ‘Modern Ghana’ than from INBBC:


    • graham duck says:

      Ask Cameron why he thinks it’s such a good idea to have Turkey in the EU. Waves of muslims flooding over the borderless EU, great idea “Dave”? or not?


  5. RGH says:

    Should be on Open thread, I know, but….just this time!

    “Did you know that Shakespeare was an Arab by origin, descended from a Mr Sheikh Zubayr, and that America derived its name from an emir by the name of Ka? These are just some of the theories advanced by Col Gaddafi over the years, according to an AFP profile.” 

    Live: LibyaRevolt 26th Feb

    Isn’t Gaddafi just daffy or eccentric?

    What a weird notion. He’s crazy on every level! says the BBC.

    Hold on BBC.


    You might just be displaying ignorance of Arab culture as well as offending a lot of Arabs.

    How about this, Beeboids?

    “Wole Soyinka’s ‘Shakespeare and the Living Dramatist’ also explores the ‘ ethnicity’ of Shakespeare and his characters through the politics of culture.

    Soyinka elegantly and imaginatively demonstrates the fluidity of racial identity in a world shaped by the politics of colonialism.

    In the Arab World, William Shakespeare has nearly the same acclaim that he posses in Europe. In fact, as Soyinka states, ‘the Arab world was not content to adopt or ‘reclaim’ Shakespeare’s works but to claim him as one of their own (p.84).

    That is, Arab writers and dramatists have argued that Shakespeare was an Arab.

    His real name, cleansed of corruption, was Shayk al Subair.

    As a consequence, the translations and adaptions of Shakespeare’s  by Arab writers  and dramatists serve to return Shakespeare’s canon to its ‘rightful’ language ie. Arabic.

    Soyinka notes that, among Arab writers,

    ‘it is claimed – as one of the reasons for endowing Shakespeare with Arab paternity – that only an Arab could have understood or depicted a Jew so ‘convincingly’ as in the ‘Merchant of Venice’. Similarly, the focus is sometimes placed on ‘Othello’ – the Moor’s dignity even in folly has been held up as proof that no European could have fleshed out this psychology of a jealousy complicated by racial insecurity from beneath the skin – an Arab at the very least. (p.87)

    Perhaps Gaddafi was speaking from the heart of the Arabic mind. Not isolated, eccentric…..but very much on-message in the Arab world.

    It shows how shockingly deep anti-semitism and racism is embedded in Arab, muslim culture.

    BBC, you must have know? (sarc/off)


  6. Mick says:

    A number of years ago the islamists forced Bradfords prostitutes a few miles away from ‘their’ area. Silly buggers, it meant that their fellow muslims needed to travel further for business with the dirty kuffur girls.


  7. George R says:

    Turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East.

     As Charles Moore points out in his analysis  below (unlike any to be found at INBBC), all this is NOT a ‘spectator sport’, for Israel:

    “Libya: What happens after we stop watching these revolutions against Col Gaddafi?”


  8. George R says:

    It should not be overlooked in all this how politically close INBBC is in its reporting of turmoil in Islamic countries to the reporting by Al Jazeera.

    What is written here could be applied to INBBC:

    “The Al Jazeera Mirror”


  9. George R says:

    What Nick Cohen says here about the absurdity of the West in largely reducing the problems of the Middle East to Israel applies, significantly to INBBC’s Bowen and co:

    “Our absurd obsession with Israel is laid bare”