Special Lecture by the Tunisian President

There was a special lecture by Tunisian president on 3rd June at Tsukuba University.

This script was translated into English by me; the lecture was in French and I listened to it in Japanese interpreter. So this means the article below was translated twice and there might be some problem of literal accuracy; I am sorry for that.

“I prefer this lecture to the Conference because I have taught for twenty years,” Dr. Moncef Marzouki, the President of the Republic of Tunisia dropped a joke. He came to the classroom twenty minutes later than schedule due to the African Development Conference.

*     *     *

What let the Jasmine Revolution do well was the solidarity against problems such as autocracy in Tunisia. However, the problems which occurred after the Revolution were more complicated and difficult. Politics need to gain democracy, freedom of speech and security. What enables these ideas is the Constitution; but nevertheless, there are many sects e.g. Islamists, communists and reformists. This situation has prevented the Constitution from establishing. Democracy is not just majority decision, that is, even if 51 per cent citizens agreed with an idea, the leader should include the opinion of the rest of 49 per cent. I think majority should respect minority, that is, consensus is the most important thing in politics. And the most difficult problem so far is how we realize this ideal situation.

Stability brings wealth. After the Revolution, people with dissatisfaction often went out on strike. This action would discourage the success of the Revolution and even make the society and economy worse.

Concerning security, this is also a big issue. During and after the revolution, the police have gone and the number of crime has increased. Extremists like Jiadists have been giving us headaches. The Jasmine Revolution was a secular revolution because its most important purpose was not to be against each other but to break the regime. But after the Revolution, many sects which did not even join the Revolution began actions to get control of the country by using violence with capitalizing upon the chaos. In order to prevent the country go chaotic, I opened the official residence and mixed secular politicians and Islamic politicians in the Cabinet.

The enemy Tunisia hate the most is long chaos. I aim at making Tunisia be safe and completely controlled by January 2014. In order to realize this purpose, I promise that I would make the moral of police better and strengthen the Forces to fight against terrorists. There are some youth called “the New Proletariat,” which are sometimes addicted to drugs. These terrorists and sects are hindrances to maintaining security, therefore the leader must make the efforts toward solving this problem.

The revolution was occurred in countries where many problems were conspicuous. Even though the problems were not conspicuous, the changes were occurred in very many countries such as Egypt, Syria, Italy, Spain, Greece, And even in New York. This movement will certainly spread. The dreamlike scenario after the Revolution is that the chaos only continues shortly and consensus goes right. On the contrast, devilish scenario is that the chaos continues long and it makes economy and security be destroyed. The devilish scenario could destroy whole Tunisia and separate the country, so the leader must prevent the devilish one.

For now, everything is going well in Tunisia. There are some demonstrations and debates, indeed, but I try to improve economy by politics. I aim to abolish poverty and strengthen the police and the Forces. During Ben-Ali period, there were no hope. But now, Tunisia is the first success in the Revolution helped by many friends like Europe Union, Algeria, Libya and Japan. The world praised Tunisia as a pioneer of Revolution. This is glad for Tunisians, but “the first country revolutionized” also has stress. People say Tunisia should be the leader of liberated countries and have to steer the whole revolution to success. Tunisia has to show the world how she managed to succeed in the Revolution. For now, there are few conflicts between Sunni and Shiah. Tunisia has more advantageous backdrop to succeed the Revolution than Egypt because Egypt has much more population than Tunisia.

What we Tunisians would like to learn from Japan the most is Japanese heart. Techniques of Japan are very important for Tunisia, of course, but Japanese price of value is more important. We would rather like to make The Jasmine Revolution mental revolution than physical revolution, that is, Japanese perfectionism and realism would help Tunisia in recovering and improving the country. Tunisians are now living in unnecessary bureaucracy and the governmental officers of Tunisia do not have professional awareness. We should learn a lot of Ethics from Japan. (He emphasized this word.)


Asked by a professor of Tsukuba University:

Q: I went to Tunisian election to interview in October 2011. People there are all smiling and were proud of the Revolution. They said they were the pioneer of revolutions and they had to show the way of liberation. Why has the Constitution of Tunisia, one of the ways of liberation, taken so much time to establish?
A: The draft of the Constitution has almost done. Delay in establishing the Constitution is all about consensus. There are many sects such as Islamists, Moderates and so on. It was very hard work to make the Constitution. Establishment of the Constitution would bring Tunisia more stability. Tunisian young brains have been out of the country, so I am expecting their returns.

Asked by Japanese student who had studied in Tunisia:

Q: What do you hope for Japanese youth?
A: Of course Japanese technique is one of what are important for Tunisia, but the most important thing for Tunisia is, as I said, Japanese price of value, Japanese way of work and Japanese earnest; in other words, Japanese ethics. I would like Japan to spread virus — virus of earnest.

*     *     *

The President himself was a very humorous person. He made some jokes after the lecture was over — what I regret was that I did not understand French. I prepared some questions to ask the President, but I could not ask any because he appeared in the classroom late and he had less time to do talk with us.

I did not agree with his idea that everything in Tunisia is going well. Indeed, you do not see the word Tunisia on news so often for now. But it does not mean Tunisia is damn peaceful utopia. In May, there was a clash between Salafists called Ansar al-Sharia and the police after Tunisian Government prohibited the assembly of the group. Related to this incident, at least 11 police officers and 3 people were injured; the leader of this group was arrested. In June, terrorist group supported by Ben-Ali killed 2 soldiers by a wayside bomb. This lecture was not a meeting to attract tourists to Tunisia, president. You should have talked more openly.

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