April 3, 2011 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Nawaat, a Tunisian group blog (mostly in French).
posted by nangar (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A little more for you non-clickers... is an independent group blog run by Tunisians. It gives voice to all those who, through their civic engagement, take, carry it and spread it. Our editorial choices are guided by among other concerns that affect the daily lives of our countrymen and our fellowmen.

Aware that the conquest of freedom is a battle to be fought every day with complete independence, blog Nawaat is independent of any association, organization or government and receives no public subsidy and is funded by any political party.

Quite telling that they have an RSS feed at the bottom for a section they call "Tunileaks."
posted by mykescipark at 5:11 PM on April 3, 2011

I hadn't intended to link to any specific articles, but Farouk Fekih Romdhane has posted an excellent article on Libya and western powers' "dictator-milking robots." (Once properly trained, the dictator is fed treats on an optomized schedule and the wealth extracts itself automatically.)

I thought it was worth trying to hand-translate some bits.
War and death have become too commonplace for everyone. This time, there has been no count-down to midnight, no waiting, nerves on edge, with fireworks in the skies of Tripoli. The dictator has just hunkered down, waiting for the storm to pass. We have to remember he's already had a taste of the terror of Tomahawks and cruise missiles. In 1986 he was pummeled by his bĂȘte noire, Ronald Reagan. That day, he pulled off an escape. The Algerian, Chadli Benjedid, tipped off by the Russians, whispered the attack date into Gaddafi's ear. With an untroubled heart, he sacrificed his adopted daughter to pose as a "victim of American imperialism." Today, times are changing, his people are changing, and I'm sure he's more scared of his population than than he is of the coalition.


But the people know now that freedom isn't free. They have to sacrifice, give up their treats. Each nation does get the government it deserves. I respect the young Yemenis who overcame their addiction to qat, the psychoactive plant they chew regularly. At first their demonstrations didn't last more than a couple hours. After that everybody evaporated into thin air, off to get their treats. I never thought it could amount to much. Now they're staying there permanently, and their dictator's days are numbered.

... The Western powers have chosen on their own accord to attack the Arab world's leading pariah, the weak link in the chain of Yemeni, Syrian, Jordanian, Bahraini revolutions, leaving the Turbans of the Arabian peninsula free to check their rebellions behind closed doors. Western leaders are endulging in playing political power games on the backs of Arabs to improve their own political capital. But looking at this from another side, let's be rational, the fall of Gaddafi is vital for our country, and is a matter of international consensus. Arabs still stand outside of the circle of history and decision-making. The one thing left to us is hope for an expedited victory by the Libyan rebels, averting an intervention by the American marines who are waiting off the Libyan shore, ready to invade our neighbors.

Google translate has the gist of the rest of it, including the bit about milking robots.
posted by nangar at 7:04 AM on April 4, 2011

A bit more on Nawaat. It's been in existence since 2004, and was founded by a set of Tunisian dissidents, including Sami ben Gharbia, a free speech activist who fled Tunisia more than a dozen years ago. Ben Gharbia is one of the most visible Tunisian dissidents who worked to end the Ben Ali regime - he is director of advocacy for Global Voices ( and one of the most interesting and controversial voices on the power of internet for political change. His essay "The Internet Freedom Falacy" is a must-read for people interested in questions of the internet and activism:

Nawaat has closely documented the missteps of the Ben Ali regime, the regime's approach towards internet censorship, and acts of resistance against the Tunisian government. The Tunileaks RSS that mykescipark refers to was a project Nawaat undertook to distribute the Wikileaks cables that focused on Tunisia to Tunisian readers. This wasn't easy to do - Nawaat has been blocked for years in Tunisia, and as they distributed the documents on different platforms, those tools were blocked as well.

Nawaat had a key role in ensuring coverage of the Tunisian revolution. When the family of Mohamed Bouazizi (the vegetable seller who'd set himself on fire in protest of being shaken down for a bribe) began protesting in Sidi Bouzid, Mohamed's cousin began documenting the protests on Facebook. Nawaat started aggregating links to this content, and helped networks like Al Jazeera find footage from the ground. Again, easier said than done - Ben Ali had blocked all local and international media from the south of the country so that no one could report from Sidi Bouzid.

In the wake of the revolution, Sami and others are discussing plans to turn Nawaat into a journalism training organization. Tunisia hasn't had real independent media for decades - if the country is to make a transition to democracy, one of the many institutions that needs rebuilding is a free press.

(I'm the co-founder of Global Voices and have worked with Sami since 2005 - he's a dear friend as well as close colleague.)
posted by obruni at 11:25 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

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