A young unemployed man from a deprived Tunisian region committed suicide on the 17th of last month, by setting himself on fire for being ignored by local officials. This incident sparked public uproar in Tunisia, and the anger has been spreading ever since throughout the entire country.
Deprived Algerians are following the lead by invading their own country’s streets. Similar events are very likely to occur in other Maghreb countries where socioeconomic conditions are similar to the ones in Tunisia and Algeria.
The magnitude of the demonstrations, the dramatic ensuing results, the casualties counted in dozens, the demonstrators’ demands and the lack of political leadership and opinion leaders are all factors that confirm the mere popular and social aspects of this movement.
Political deficiencies have also contributed to fueling the protest. This was particularly obvious in the mismanagement of the crisis, especially with the lack of media coverage. This silence helped stoke anger instead of calming it down, according to the decision makers.
Such a situation requires change. Various scenarios can be expected, ranging from the worst, consisting of endless chaos, to injecting temporary sedatives, bloody coups or a similar situation to that of Côte d’Ivoire.
However, if one takes into account the socio-political nature of these countries marked by the political stability of the regimes in power, as well as the political void the latter created around them, then the most likely and beneficial scenario to occur would be a system change.
It is clear, however, especially for Tunisia, that such a change cannot be made by an extraneous political actor for the regime in power, due to the lack of an alternative political power, such as the military or a religious body that is organized and equipped to implement a change of this magnitude.
Therefore, this system change must be carried out by the current political regime in power, which should undergo some sort of self-revolution by deeply changing its policies. This self-revolution must take off with changing the political elite through transparent elections at all levels, allowing citizen participation in politics and decision-making.
Such a change can only be effective if the media plays its role in terms of monitoring and reporting deviations and policy gaps. A real change requires transparency, otherwise the risk of recurrence and relapse is high.
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