Expats living in Muslim countries “know the deal”…We know that during the month of Ramadan things change. We know that whether we like it or not we have to adjust our daily activities. Ramadan offers us a great opportunity to both feel the experience of living abroad and evaluate our daily flow.
From a security perspective, the moth of Ramadan is an ideal time to take a step back and evaluate your routines, driving routes, walks, runs, neighborhood, etc.
There is a confirmed report that two shops located in the main Carrefour food court area were closed yesterday by the police. According to one report the officers closed the shops for the “protection of the store attendants”. It is no secret that a small number of conservative Muslims have been going around town trying to persuade cafe owners to close their stores during the day.
Nevertheless, there are many cafes and restaurants open during the fasting hours. A contact on twitter reported that in the “Lac 2 there are a lot of restaurants doing very good lunch business.” Additionally, it is good to know that we live in a mostly tolerant and friendly Muslim country and most people understand that not everyone is fasting. Conversely we should respect local customs and “when in Rome…”
Empower yourself with solid information and enjoy Ramadan…
Tunisia Live Ramadan Survival Guide
Gulf News Ramadan Guide for Expatriates
Tunisia.com Ramadan Forum
Looking forward to taking this blog to another level by providing Expats with a brief & practical audio update.
Click on the link below to listen to the Tunisia Security Update Podcast or watch the video version on Youtube.. either way feel free to share some feedback and let’s keep the good information flowing.
Tunisia Security Update Audio Podcast-June 2012.
Tunisia Security Update Video Podcast
Good job on all the Expats out there who pulled together and made the necessary adjustments to continue their normal colorful lives while at the same time acknowledging the serious security situation we have before us. Although the grand Friday did not materialized, at least we were able to benefit from the experience of going through these last few days.
Successful 1st Half
It appears that the first half of this much anticipated Friday will come to a successful end, but we will continue to monitor how the night will unfold, and what if any impact the curfew will have. Last night there was a wedding in my neighborhood well after the curfew and the feeling in the air was festive.
One thing is for sure, if the day ends with no incidents we can honestly say that the situation has taken a turn towards the better.
We’ll keep cheering for Tunisia and empowering Expats with practical security information.
Lots of positive developments have taken place that may lead to a better than expected Friday. The key decision on the part of the Tunisian government to expressively ban marches that were scheduled to take place today is a big positive step forward in terms of minimizing any risk of possible violence throughout the country.
Still the question remains: Will the “salafists” back down…or will they challenge the State? The picture on the right is a great snap shot of why this is such a complicated question. Security coordinators have quickly learned that the term salafists is simply an “umbrella term” for a coalition of troublemakers.
Wait & See Approach
The best approach for Expats is to simply wait and see. After today things can definitely head in the right direction…or as we all know…it can easily go downhill. Either way we need to keep our eyes open (situational awareness) and our information flowing (community connection).
Stay safe…and feel free to send us feedback…let us know what’s going on around your area.
As reported by various sources, there was a major security challenge throughout Tunis on the night of Monday, June 11, 2012. I received several emails and SMS regarding gun fire and vandalism taking place near Expat neighborhoods. It seems like there was a coordinated offensive on the part of the salafists in retaliation to a recent controversial art exhibition and this time the police reacted with force.
We can confirm that gunfire, barricades, and vandalism took place in Carthage, La Marsa, and other towns around Tunis. At this point it is important to remember that although things may calm down and return to business as usual: A State of Emergency still exists and curfews or other temporary movement restrictions may be imposed or changed with little or no notice. You should observe instructions given by local security authorities and are advised to carry a copy of your passport, or other form of photo ID.
Neighborhood Awareness (Confirmed by various Security Sources):
- Le Kram( west) (high activity/burning/vandalism)
- Intersection near the Phoenix in Carthage.
- Army units deployed at the Zephyr center.
An announcement was made this morning about the strike of petroleum transporters for the 14, 15 and 16 of June.
Evaluate & Adjust
If you have been following this blog you are not panicking nor overacting to this information because you know all about situational awareness and big picture analysis. You have already empowered yourself with practical information to successfully navigate through the ever changing security situation in Tunisia.
As informed Expats, this is a good time for us to evaluate our daily activities so that we can make necessary adjustments that will allow us to continue our journey here safely. Awareness is better than panicking and planning is more effective than isolation. Tunisia is going through some major changes and we will continue to face challenges but with the right attitude and approach we can thrive and cheer for Tunisia to make it through the storm.
As a security coordinator my drive is to empower Expats with practical and relative security information. In order to accomplish this I have to make sure that the information I put out is reliable and leans towards the side of caution.The stage was set for things to go wrong on Saturday’s protest and although a lot negative developments unfolded on the political side of things; security wasn’t an issue.
Assessing the potential for trouble is no easy task, sometimes you’re right but most times your information is seem as overly cautious because it is easy to be knowledgeable about an event after it has happened.
As Expats we have to make sure we error on the side of caution and take extra measures especially during these transitional times.
What we’re witnessing now is a “triangle of negative communication” between the current government, Salafists, and everyday people (secularists). While this development has the potential for compromise and cooperation; it can easily swing the other way.
In the meantime we will continue to monitor the situation in order to keep providing the vibrant Expat community in Tunisia with practical, relevant, and empowering information.
<<< Coming Soon Tunisia Security Update
Summer 2012 Security Guide>>>
I’ve been hearing a lot nervous chatter about the “salafists” so I wanted to post something to Empower Expats. The crime triangle teaches us that in order for a crime to take place, three factors have to get into perfect alignment: Desire on the part of the criminal, Ability of the criminal, and the Opportunity presented by the would be victim. Although the recent salafists activities do not fall under the crime model, we can use proven situational awareness strategies to feel empowered rather than nervous while we are out enjoying beautiful Tunisia.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK has recently updated their website with important information related to the recent salafists activities. I have underlined several key words and phrases…as it is always important to read between the lines…
“There have also been some reports of fringe groups seeking to impose their interpretation of Islamic dress/ behaviour upon others through violence against individuals. While the primary target of these groups has been Tunisian women and businesses serving and selling alcohol (outside of the main tourist areas) this behaviour could affect foreigners. These attacks have been very rare, but visitors should be aware of the potential for such acts in tourist areas, on beaches and in restaurants and cafes especially during religious holidays. Such attacks are illegal and the Tunisian government has stated that it will seek to prevent any such violence.”
Salafists Situational Awareness
First we should note that most of the “salafists incidents” have taken place either on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Next, let’s remember that most have taken place outside tourist and (what we like to call) non-Expat areas like Sejene & Jendouba.
Now that we have that established let’s put the Safety-Security Update in perspective. These so called “fringe groups” are mostly concerned with everyday Tunisian issues and they have not (until now) shown any interest in targeting foreigners. As for “businesses serving and selling alcohol”, once again the targets have been”local style bars and centers of alcohol distribution”.
The Tunisian Salafists movement does not operate like a gang or mob. If you’ve ever seen a video of one of their public meetings you will quickly learn that they are well organized and politically savvy. Their actions are calculated and planned out which makes them easier to predict and avoid.
You don’t need to have a military background to exercise good situational awareness. Effective situational awareness skills are natural and part of living a full Expat life. Remember to find out more about the places you are going to visit (pre-plan). Ask around and be sure to pass on good information so that our “Expat Info Network” stays current. Finally trust your instincts, if something is telling you not to go, you’re probably should avoid going.