EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

The Tunisian Moving Seminar

Today, January 14th, exactly five years ago, Tunisian president Zin El-Abidine Ben Ali was the first Arab dictator to be removed by the will and strength of an Arab nation, ushering in a wave of Arab rebellions. Because of the negative and destructive course taken by these revolts in Egypt, Syria and Yemen, many deem it pointless, futile or indecent to try to speak of their achievements. Nonetheless, having …

EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Tunisia: Invisible Alienation, Visible Violence

A relational view of Tunisian youths

Analyzing the youth is notoriously a difficult task. How should we define this social group? Can we even speak of “the youth” in the singular? With regard to the Arab Uprisings (a phrase which I prefer to the loaded “Arab Spring”), many did not …

EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/PublicsScience

Just a Peaceful Quartet?

Reasons for celebrating the Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize

The news has just been released: The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for its “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.” This news is cause for rejoicing given the symbolic weight attributed to the role the Quartet played in 2013 in managing to force both a very unpopular government to step down …


When the Far Enemy becomes Near

Reflections on the Charlie Hebdo killings

The heinous killing of 12 journalists and staff from Charlie Hebdo needs to be interpreted with at least two different focal lenses. There is a French (or French-European) dimension, but there is also an international dimension of these killings, one that connects the spread of ISIS with the strategy of the two killers.


Visualizing the Occupation

Lessons from the maps of the war on Gaza

Anyone remotely familiar with the intricacies of Gaza’s survival has heard that the 365 square kilometers that constitute the Gaza Strip are an open-air prison. Some might have heard that access to the sea in front of the strip has been limited time and again for Palestinians to make a living from fishing. From the 20-nautical mile deep fishing area foreseen during the initial Oslo talks in 1994, Palestinian fishermen were pushed back to an always smaller fishing area, ending to a minimal 3 miles in 2009 (that is 15% of the total amount allocated by the Oslo promises). …


The Other Victim under the Rubble of Gaza

Words and the path to negotiation

For more than ten days, the Gaza strip has again been under attack by Israel, and although missiles are fired everyday by Palestinian factions into Israel, the causalities are massively (if not uniquely) on the Palestinian side. Twenty-four hours after the beginning of a sustained ground operation on Thursday, July 17, one may rightly fear that the number of victims, like the dozen Palestinian children killed in the past week, will increase to indecent proportions.

This renewed operation by Israel, initially hidden behind the media frenzy of the World Cup and now of the Malaysian plane shot down over Ukraine, is another round of collective punishment against Gazans — a gesture that has not gathered much international attention despite the gravity of the situation.

The point is not only to count the number of dead bodies under the rubble of Gaza …