In Al Jazeera, the New York Times or the Economist, mainstream media mention three causes of the revolution, unemployment, food inflation and government corruption.

As far as I surveyed, the most important factor seems to be unemployment, because the revolution began with a young graduate's self-immolation in Sidi Bouzid.

However, Nassim proposed a different opinion. According to him, who has been to Tunisia and is a bit familiar with this country, this Revolution was about the Tunisian people's dignity and freedom of expression, its anger towards the regime having reached a boiling point.

He gathered information mainly from French media. He said French media pas great attention to Tunisia, compared with British and US media. For example, the NYT mentioned the uprising in Tunisia on January 12th this year, but Le Monde covered it since late December last year (the self immolation in Sidi Bouzid happened on December 17th).

Nassim pointed out that it is important that government corruption was no secret to Tunisians, being publicized to the nation via the Internet, especially by Wikileeaks and Facebook, and by the French media. Thus protest is mainly against the government corruption and lack of freedom and in other words, its purpose is to obtain democracy.

I wasn’t completely persuaded, but for the time being I have to admit that my information is biased, partly because I read neither Arabic nor French and also because there was no serious deterioration in macro-economic indicators. Though the unemployment rate is chronically high, we can’t find any proof to show the sharp increase of unemployment rate in 2010.

I think the fundamental discontent of people is unemployment or economy in general. It is different from Nassim’s idea, to make much of corruption and deprivation of liberty. Nassim said that he also  gathered information from Facebook and other social media.

However, people write in French must be somewhat highly educated people, and I think social media don’t represent the society itself transparently.

But even if facebook users turned out to represent some particular social group, not whole society, our explanation itself won’t lose validity at least as an explanation on internet. Thus for the time being, we conduct our research in Nassim’s line.




Leave a Reply.