Tunisia now, and where it's going
Demonstrators shout and wave signs in front of the Tunisian parliament on Monday in Tunis.
February 8th, 2011
04:42 PM ET

Tunisia now, and where it's going

A transitional government is overseeing sweeping changes in Tunisia after massive demonstrations forced out the country's longtime president and sparked similar protests across the Middle East.

Under president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the news media was tightly controlled. Internet activity was monitored and access to some sites was restricted. Police routinely stopped people without cause to check their identity and question them - it was a policy that the government said was needed to prevent terrorists from gaining a foothold in Tunisia. Tunisians limited what they spoke about with friends and neighbors for fear that someone might be a police informer.

Today, internet filters have disappeared and there is unfettered access to all websites. Journalists are learning how to create a free press as they transform their newspapers, radio broadcasts and television stations. People express their opinions openly in the streets. Reforms are taking place in every region of the country, which is home to about 12 million people.

The question is, will these changes last?

"People want to go back to normality. They want things to be sorted out," said Francesca Russo, who moved from Italy to Tunisia with her husband a few years ago for work.

But she said there is still uncertainty in the air. Rumors of kidnappings are abundant, although many have been debunked on social media websites. Small incidents continue to disrupt daily activity in Tunisia. These incidents are widely believed to be perpetrated by people who once worked for Ben Ali's secret police and are aiming to destabilize the transitional government.

Still, the sentiment among the people who fought for change in Tunisia is that there is no turning back.

"People are moving in the right direction and I’m really impressed," Russo said. "Nobody wants to go back. Everybody is saying it will take time, it will be difficult, but we can do it."

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soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. carlos from mex

    Elton John and Ricky Martin are sooo cute. I want a husband so bad for love, attention, and to avoid deportation.

    February 9, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. carlos from mex

    Oh, two Cesars, yum yum!!!

    February 9, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. salsea

    im sure its a new era for us tunisians to enjoy..we can reconstruct, renew and give rebirth to many lost rights, wrong deeds and false decisions of the old blind regime

    February 9, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. carlos from mex

    @Cesar of 8:00. I have been stalking you. I think you are so cool and clever. I think I'm in love. Are you gay?

    February 9, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cesar

      No carlos,I'm not. If I were you,I wouldn't tell people I'm gay knowing how ignorant they are,especially the hateful,ignorant,foul-mouthed Tea Partiers!!!

      February 9, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. TOMAS

    this is great news for the world. We should this change is a message of freedom. For so many years we've let our govt. Injure the pride of fredom by siding with greedy traitor like the ranaway president and the other one in EGYPT. TUNISIANS FREED THEMSELVES, LOOK, THE NEWS IS THERE ARE GREAT CHANGE TAKING PLACE IN FAVOR OF ALL THE PEOPLE. HOPE EGYPT SUCCEED. HOPE THE CIVIL SOCIETY NETWORK GROUP LEARN A LESSON FROM THE TUNISIANS' NEW HISORIC MESSAGE AND ACTUALLY DO MAKE SURE CORRUPTIONS AND BAD POLICIES STOP OVERTAKING NATIONS HARMONY. TO THE OBSERVERS: HOW EASY WAS IT FOR THE SMALL MAN TO TAKE BACK HIS PLACE IS TUNISIA?

    February 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Dr. Ali Hamdi

    The situation in Tunisia has worsened since Ben Ali was compelled to flee the country following a coup in which many parts have conspired to take over. After sacrificing more than 250 men and women, we saw nothing to suggest that the revolution has succeeded by virtue of the atrocities of the actual ruling gang. The situation abroad is even worse as our ministry of foreign affairs has still been maintaining the same ambassadors, consuls and of course the bunch of spies who have always been keen to the dictators and their dubious spying activities. After few months of being ruled by an expired haughty man, it will not surprise me to see the gang dig out the bones of Bourguiba and put them on the presidency chair to rule an almost dead nation; however, I am sure that the "shadow regions" will very soon resort to the United Nations to acknowledge their separation from the apartheid regime in the capital Tunisia; whereupon the referendum results will unlike South Sudan will be 100%.

    May 8, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Dr. Ali Hamdi

    The situation in Tunisia has worsened since Ben Ali was compelled to flee the country following a coup in which many parties have conspired to take over. After sacrificing more than 250 men and women, we saw nothing to suggest that the revolution has succeeded by virtue of the atrocities of the actual ruling gang. The situation abroad is even worse as our ministry of foreign affairs has still been maintaining the same ambassadors, consuls and of course the bunch of spies who have always been keen to the dictators and their dubious spying activities. After few months of being ruled by an expired haughty man, it will not surprise me to see the gang dig out the bones of Bourguiba and put them on the presidency chair to rule an almost dead nation; however, I am sure that the "shadow regions" will very soon resort to the United Nations to acknowledge their separation from the apartheid regime in the capital Tunisia; whereupon the referendum results will unlike South Sudan will be 100%.

    May 8, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
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