The big question upon waking up this morning: What will today bring?
How can I make sense of all that has happened in the last week, the last 24 hours? This country used to be flooded with oversized portraits of Ben Ali – he was on the face of nearly every building. I had it in my mind to take pictures of these posters and post them on the blog with the caption, “Guess who?”… but I suppose it’s too late now. I learned early on not to discuss politics and that the Internet was heavily censored. Tunisia was encircled by a chain-link fence.
Then slowly came news of Sidi Bou Zid, of self-emulation, of Kasserine, of growing riots. As if overnight a wildfire spread throughout this country of ten million and by Wednesday the rioting had reached coastal cities including my own and the capital. Every morning I was told the same thing, “Don’t go downtown.” Downtown was disorder: large crowds, buildings on fire, damaged property, clouds of police, and looting. Videos depicting violent clashes with the police were emerging on the Internet; we were all connected, banded together. Protest was spreading on the streets and through social media. People were unbridling years of frustration and forced silence.
Yesterday a state of emergency was declared, YouTube became accessible, an earlier curfew imposed, and gatherings of more than three people prohibited. I sat huddled around the television with my family and learned that the President had fled the country: the man in multiplied over-sized posters had been brought down by people power.
And now uncertainty. What is the future of this country and what is my future in this country? I’m not sure of anything right now, but at least I have one more story to tell the grandchildren, the time I witnessed a revolution…