» Not without some controversy: A notable Islamist figure in the country, Rachid Ghannouchi, was heckled as he came out of the voting booth today. “You are a terrorist and an assassin! Go back to London,” one shouted. Ghannouchi, the leader of the moderate Ennahda party, spent over two decades in Britain, exiled from the country where he was once imprisoned for his political views. He returned earlier this year, and his party is expected to do well today.
Now I am happy that my son’s death has given the chance to get beyond fear and injustice. I’m an optimist, I wish success for my country.Manoubia Bouazizi, mother of notable Tunisian self-immolator Mohamed Bouazizi • Discussing her son’s death and the spark for democracy it provided both in her own country but throughout northern Africa and the Middle East. Tomorrow Tunisia holds its first democratic election after the toppling of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali ten months ago. (Ben Ali is now in exile in Saudi Arabia.) The Islamist Ennahda party, banned while Ben Ali was in power, is expected to garner the most votes, but not without controversy due to the long-encouraged secular culture in the country. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. source (via • follow)
He boarded the plane with his family after ordering the crew to wait for him in Jeddah. But after his arrival in Jeddah, the plane returned to Tunisia, without waiting for him, contrary to his orders. He did not leave his post as president of the republic and hasn’t fled Tunisia as he was falsely accused of doing.A statement by Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s lawyers • Claiming he didn’t actually leave Tunisia amid protests as was reported by just about everyone. Instead, he claims he was basically ditched. Seems like a fascinating thing to say … six months after the fact. A Tunisian court is trying Ben Ali in absentia for a series of crimes, including theft and illegal possession of firearms and other things he probably shouldn’t have had. source (via • follow)
Corruption? Unemployment? A restricted press? Not according to Colonel Qaddafi. The Libyan leader, who has held power for over forty years, weighed in on Tunisia’s collapse, blaming “WikiLeaks which publishes information written by lying ambassadors in order to create chaos.” As The New York Times’ Robert Mackey observes, this may be a reiteration of a conspiratorial belief birthed from Iran’s leadership; that Wikileaks is acting as a propaganda arm of the United States, strategically leaking false cables to American benefit. But seriously, Julian Assange as a government shill? You’ve got a long road to hoe, Muammar.