I hope you all enjoyed the Eid break and found ways to recharge your batteries. I just came back from Hammamet we had a fun & relaxing time. It was my first time out of Tunis since September 14th so I was loving every minute of it.
It was interesting to observe and interact with tourists who were just “passing by Tunisia”…indeed their assessment of the security situation is…well let’s just say that they are much more relaxed about it. And why shouldn’t they be? Most of the guests that I talked to went from their country’s airport to the hotel and back home.
As Expats we cannot afford to be detached & uninformed …we actually live here.
Expat Security Setup
We know that there are thriving Expat communities in far more challenging cities than Tunis. We know that Expats in Rio De Janeiro, Johannesburg, Bogotá, and Caracas (just to name a few), find ways to safely enjoy their expat experience.
The major difference with Tunis is that (a) the political arena is in a state of flux & (b) security has been politicized. These factors will remain relevant at least until the next elections (June 2013?)…
September 14th was a loud wake up call for Expats…now we know…and so we have to change our setup. Taking nothing for granted, understanding that the most important components to our personal safety & security are: Awareness + Networking + Avoidance.
4-Main trouble areas
October 23rd, 2012 was probably one of the most peaceful days in the history of Tunisia. Still, there is no doubt that we’ll face significant security challenges ahead. There is simply too much friction in the political arena along with a long list of trouble areas to expect things to “settle down”.
Political Tensions: The war of words between Ennahda (Islamists) and Nida Tounes (secularists) is getting more aggressive everyday and its only a matter of time before words turn into action. Don’t be surprise to see more “political protests and unrest”…
Economy: Got milk? Went to buy a six pack of milk today…”no” said the cashier…”you’re only entitled to buy 2 at a time…oh and by the way…the price has been raised…” Don’t be surprise to see ” economic protests and unrest”…
Universities: There’s no doubt in my mind that Tunisian universities will be a central battle ground between Islamists & Secularists…things will heat up at various campuses so don’t be surprise when they start making headlines.
Conservative Shift: Finally…and probably the area where Expats will feel it the most…is the visible conservative shift that has taken place all throughout Tunisia. I will not be surprise to read more stories such as this:
“On Saturday night, a group of hardline Salafi Muslims attacked alcohol vendors in their small shops, a security official said. Police intervened to stop the violence.”
Thank you for all the nice emails & updates. Let’s keep the good flow going…remember: “We’re in it together!”