EnÂ Tunisie, FranÃ§ois Hollande veut apaiser les Â« blessures Â» du passÃ©Â Â (Hugh Fitzgerald)
Â Why should Tunisia, suffering economically because Western tourists no longer wish to go there, be offered 500 million Euros by Hollande? That merely reinforces the idea that France owes Tunisia something — and Hollande spoke, on his visit, of “blessures” (wounds) in the Franco-Tunisian relationship that needed healing, impliedly by France making some kind of amends.
Amends for exactly what? Ben Ali was a greedy crook and his regime corrupt, like all Arab Muslim regimes. He sits now, with what loot he could take, not in France but in Saudi Arabia.
It is Tunisia, or the cultured class in Tunisia, that now possesses the French language, and thus has access to French literature, French art, French science, and to the wider world, and — because of the inheritance of secularism left by Bourguiba, the right attitude to take advantage of all of that, or at least take more advantage than Arabs and Muslims anywhere else. Tunisia owes everything to France, France owes nothing, per contra, to Tunisia except some outposts of the Club Mediterranee. No need to even hint at an apology. It reinforces attitudes, by the Tunisians — of resentment, of feelings that the French infidels owe them something, owe them a great deal — that have to be not encouraged, but rejected, mocked, deplored.
As for the half-billion euros now being sent to Tunisia, why can’t Qatar, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Oman or Libya or Algeria, with all their oil (and gas) revenues, unearned and undeserved and amounting, now, to nearly 20 trillion dollars since 1973 alone, give or lend Tunisia, a fellow Muslim and Arab country, whatever money it needs?
And this nearly billion dollars in aid will simply help Tunisia’s government, and Rachid Ghannouchi of Ennahda, the true-blue Muslim party that is calling most of the shots, to survive, when it ought not to be shored up, least of all by the French government.
Tunisia has its own Tamarod movement, akin to that in Egypt that helped topple Morsi, headed by one Mohammed Bennour.Â He can’t be happy to hear that another 500 million Euros is being sent by France to shore up Rashid Ghannouchi. What’s wrong with the French in their calculations? They should do nothing to help the current Tunisian government.
And one more thing. Is France now so rich, is the French economy so flourishing, are the French young all so well-employed, that the government of France can afford to send this kind of money to the southern rim of the Mediterranean,Â la mer blanche du midi?