They say that the only way to prepare for a changeling situation is to become fully aware of it. Although the situation in Tunisia remains volatile, one thing we can not complain about is the lack of information. On a daily basis I receive plenty of informative updates from a wide variety of sources. From family members to security colleagues, the information is pouring in.
The question is what do we do with IT?
Situation: Tunisia’s main labour union has called for a rare nationwide general strike to take place on Thursday, December 13th.
Challenges: For its part, the Tunisian government has warned against the impact of a general strike and demonstrations on the functioning of public services particularly in such vital areas such as health, transport and education, in addition to first quarter exams in different schools and universities before the winter holidays scheduled for mid-December 2012.
Analysis: The strike is significant because (A) It is only the third such strike that the union has called since 1940 (B) It is only days away from major revolution anniversaries such as Bouazizi’s self-immolation on December 17th (C) The ever-increasing tensions between the two most powerful groups in Tunisia namely the Islamist ruling party Ennahda and the main labor union UGTT.
“With the two at loggerheads, the threat of a nationwide general strike next week could plunge the economically struggling country back into chaos, endangering its government and its transition to democracy..”
December 13th Expat Readiness
Setup: From Monday December 10th- Wednesday 12th we should focus on (3) primary areas:
1. Communication (Situational Updates): Make sure you are monitoring the current developments with various reliable sources such as: local friends, Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page, Twitter @DavidSecurity, Embassy Websites, Community contacts, etc.
2. Safety & Security (72-Hours Plan): Make the necessary arrangements to have in place a practical 72-hour plan. A 72-hour plan is not about panic or exaggeration it is simply a precaution to take in the even that Thursday’s strike (or a preemptive incident) ignites wide-spread rioting.
3. Sharing Information: The spectrum of what will actually materialize on Thursday December 13th is as wide and unpredictable as the October 23rd build up. Sharing confirmed & accurate information will enable us to keep our community informed & prepared.
I wish I could end the post on a positive note but instead I have to share a “what are you kidding me?!*” update: As we all know from September 14th, there is a real possibility that international news events will trigger anti-Western demonstrations:
Travelers (Expats included)…should be aware of the potential for unruly protests in Tunisia in connection with the impending release of a low-budget film which allegedly insults the Muslim prophet Muhammad. The short film, which is due to be released in the Spanish capital Madrid on 14 December, has been produced by a Spanish national of Pakistani descent and is endorsed by controversial US pastor Terry Jones. Travelers (Expats included)… should monitor developments closely across the region and strictly avoid any related demonstrations as a basic security precaution.
We’ll continue to post updates on the Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page & Twitter Feed @DavidSecurity. In the meantime let’s continue to share information as we make our way through this next chapter in our Expat Journey.