At this point in time, it is generally agreed upon by political scholars that the “Arab Spring” uprisings against autocratic governments in much of the Middle East were a false dawn, with the Civil War in Syria putting a bloody exclamation point on the sentiment. The lone success story is little Tunisia which has become more democratic (according to Nongovernmental Organizations which quantify democracy) since it deposed of dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. However, the country most famous for being the real life setting of Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars is running into a familiar spot of trouble which if not addressed could lead to some dire consequences for the country’s continued freedom. The problem of youth unemployment which helped spur the initial uprisings in 2011 against Ben-Ali has not been sufficiently addressed in the country’s poorer regions, away from the coast with the latest stats, figures, and estimations available putting the overall youth (18 to 24 demographic) unemployment rate at a painful 20 percent.

The result of this lingering problem? Demonstrations that are shutting down oil pipelines in the southern part of Tunisia which although lucrative are also notorious for not hiring local workers which seem to be foolish for the government to allow. These are not just any young workers either as many have education both at the university level and due to increased freedoms since Ben-Ali fled; democratic action. Rather than immediately addressing or putting on the window dressing of tackling this huge problem the government seems to have skipped those democratic action courses and gone to the same sessions as Ben-Ali sending the National Guard in to attack the protester’s camps, although the government has also sent in the economic minister to try and negotiate. Hopefully, common sense prevails and even if unemployment isn’t corrected in the short term, there will be long-term stability and benefits to Tunisian citizens. If not, young Tunisians already tossed out one autocrat and they certainly might do the same to a democratic government if they are further neglected.

Facebook Comments