With all the negativity that always seems to be flooding these forums, I figured I'd post this. I'm surprised there hasn't been any thread on this
already (at least none I could find using the search), so here it is.
The "Arab Spring" which started out in Tunisia, has finally borne fruit. Despite all the naysayers who had been talking about how the Middle East
and Arabs/Muslims are mentally incapable of democracy (while simultaneously defending the dictators in place), last Friday, the constitution the
Tunisians had been working on was formally adopted by Tunisia. It was written up AND fully supported by the secularists AS WELL AS the Islamist ruling
party (who last month voluntarily agreed to step down to make way for an interim government before elections later this year), with only 12 members of
the 216 strong National Assembly voting against it.
It may have some issues in terms of interpretation- while it emphasises freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression and outlawed calls of
apostasy (you can't say "That person is no longer a muslim!"), it also mentioned "protecting sanctities and preventing attacks on them". And
while it guarantees freedom of religion and freedom of belief (or nonbelief) and secular law, and disallows places of worship from "partisan
instrumentalisation", it still holds Tunisia to be a "Muslim nation".
Still, this constitution also explicitly guarantees equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women, even specifically mentioning balancing the
number of men and women serving in elected bodies, as well as promising to combat violence against women. It also states that preventative healthcare
and treatment is the right of every Tunisian citizen.
While they are high ideals to live up to, at least the ideals are now there, set in place. And I'd like to reiterate, they were put in place by the
secularists AND the Islamists, in the spirit of cooperation.
Among the many international students in my Human Rights course were some fantastic Tunisians. I am certain that they did not return home to sit on
their hands but rather kept plodding and carrying things forward. I feel so very proud for them all, because I know it was not easy and that all is
not over. However this is one HUGE leap forward. Thank you so much for sharing this!
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