Tunisia's dictator flees! Hurray!

See here: http://www.rferl.org/content/tunisian_police_tear_gas_demonstrators/2276551.html

In the face of massive protests, longtime dictator President Ben Ali has fled Tunisia like the spineless, feeble old tyrant he is. It’s unclear whether this will lead to actual democracy - the Prime Minister claims to be running things at present - but it’s certainly opened up a hopeful political vaccum.

Man, I love moments like this. Watching tyrants fall cheers my day right up - I loved watching the color revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine (even though the results were sort of mixed), and I’m hoping that this pays off in real democratic goodness.

But that’s for the future. For today, it is enough that the people of Tunisia have forced an autocratic thug out of power. Congratulations to the citizens of the Tunisian Republic for that. I wish them all the luck in the world in building a new, free Tunisia.

I read this as “Tunisia’s dictator flees! Hurry!” as in “Move your ass, there’s a job opening! Great benefits! Not so great retirement plan!”

yeah amazing. And there’s been reports of unrest in Algeria too

I found it amazing too. I had a vague hope that the situation would degenerate so badly that the Ben Ali could be overthrown, but didn’t believe it, thinking he had too firm a grasp on power for this to happen.

In fact I was doubly amazed. Even it could happen, I thought that it would take a full blown revolution or something like that. In fact, the agitation didn’t last for long, was geographically limited to some areas, and though there has been some deaths, I would never have believed that Ben Ali would pack up and leave so easily. I was properly astonished when I heard the news.
A joke about Ben Ali (which probably has been told about other dictators) :
A Tunisian walking on the sea shore finds a beautiful, antique, bottle. Out of curiosity, he picks it up and opens it. And suddenly, in a big puff iof smoke, a genie appears.

“Thanks for freeing me from that bottle”, says the genie. “Of course, as it is customary, I will grant you a wish”

The guy thinks about it, and finally says “Well…I’ve relatives who emigrated to America. What I would like is an auto bridge between Tunisia and the USA so that I could drive there to visit them”

“A bridge across The Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic?!!!?. Do you even for an instant imagine how incredibly difficult it would be to build one? Yes, I’m a genie, but even us have some limits. Please pick a more reasonnable wish”

The man thinks again and says “Then I’d wish that Ben Ali and his family would stop being corrupt”
And the genie : “So…how many lanes, on your bridge?”

5 to 1 an Islamic Fundamentalist State, or a new Dictator, replaces him.

I hope my father didn’t pick the wrong week to go to Tunisia, he’s leaving tomorrow or the day after.

There was a no-fly-zone declared earlier, and the main airport at Tunis was seized by the army at one point, but some of the UK travel companies have got flights out of the regional resort airports.

Be very surprised if they allow him to go. Airlines are all suspended and the airport’s closed.

The Pres. did seem to pack up quick. Makes you wonder whether the army switched sides. Which makes you wonder whether this is a coup or a revolution. And what the army’s going to do next.

There hasn’t been any religious elment to this unrest. Islamic revolutions tend to happen when they are the focal point of opposition before the revolution. When they are the only allowed non-political group so the only option people have.

But here the people decapitated the state without needing the religious mob so why would they use them now? I’m cautiously optimistic.

Jeez way to hurt Mr Ali’s feelings. Maybe he’s a NICE evil dictator. :slight_smile:

Well - in fairness, he kind of was. Harshly repressive, but he also genuinely fostered development in the country. One of the reasons for the revolution was that so many college grads couldn’t find work - but hey, there are a lot of college grads, and Ben Ali had more than a little to do with that.

Don’t get me wrong - man was a tyrant, and deserved a boot out the door. But Tunisia could have done a lot worse.

Turns out my dad and his friends (a group of four retired people, they were going to a hotel in a small town on the Mediterranean, leaving Sunday) changed their minds. :slight_smile:
They cancelled their tickets and are staying home in Switzerland instead.

Now that you know he’s OK, I can mention that this sounds like a line out of Airplane.