28 October 2014

Tunisia -- a win for secular democracy

Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring began, has held its first national election under its new democratic constitution, and the results are encouraging.  Tunisia has two major political parties -- a religious party and a secular party (hey, just like the US), and the vote count so far shows Nidaa Tounes, the secularists, comfortably ahead.  Even better, the leadership of Ennahda, the religious party, gracefully conceded defeat and congratulated the winners.  For democracy to work, it's crucial that the results be accepted as legitimate by the losers.  I suppose one could imagine a faction of Ennahda taking to the streets waving teabags, carrying signs in misspelled Arabic, and accusing the head of Nidaa Tounes of being born in Kenya, but probably most Tunisians have too much of a sense of dignity to engage in such antics.

There's still a lot to do.  For example, while Tunisia has long been advanced on paper in the field of women's rights (it legalized abortion eight years before Roe v. Wade), the reality has not always kept up, notably in rural areas.  The new constitution endorses gender equality, but it will be up to the government to fully realize that.

Still, there is sometimes good news from this part of the world -- it's not all ISIS and executions and terrorist attacks.  Tunisia serves as an example to countries further east that it is possible to have a decent life, by accepting the rules of modernity and keeping the real crazies under control.

6 Comments:

Blogger LadyAtheist said...

wow, a refreshing change. I hope democracy will be contagious in that part of the world as they see it work for muslims

28 October, 2014 03:40  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It won't be fast, but I think they'll get there. I have high hopes for democracy in Egypt and Iran, given some time.

28 October, 2014 17:59  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

May it happen in my lifetime.

29 October, 2014 15:09  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I hope so.

30 October, 2014 01:33  
Blogger uzza said...

and this happened without any military intervention by the US. Gee, ya spoze there's a connection?

30 October, 2014 10:56  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, Tunisia has long been a lot more socially advanced than most of the Arabic-speaking world, and there's no threat similar to ISIS anywhere near it. Those factors are probably the main reasons both for the successful election and for the lack of any Western military intervention.

Never forget, we need to free ourselves from the mistaken belief that Western actions are the main drivers of events in the Middle East.

30 October, 2014 17:49  

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