Tunisia: Regime Remnants, Women and the Clown - Tunisia's Revolution Three Years On

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analysis

Perceived threats against women's rights in post-revolution Tunisia have also galvanised women like never before and propelled their voices into the public sphere. The revolution has also brought about - or brought to the public - a new type of woman activist: the veiled Islamist woman, a phenomenon to contend with.

Three years on

Three years into the revolution, Tunisia has changed in important ways. The direction of this change is still not clear, though it is hard to deny that important gains have been made.

Chief among these are: greater freedom of the press and association; demystification of political power and of politicians; and the loss of a political culture based on a personality cult.

Another achievement has been the consolidation of civil society and the unprecedented coming together of unlikely bedfellows, such as with the UGTT and employers' association managing national dialogue and mediating between conflicting political parties.

There have also been some less hopeful changes, however, such as the incursion of political violence into public life; an atomised political scene; and the growth of "Islamic" identity politics.

Three years on, Bouazizi's story has been rewritten a number of times but, as a new photo of his grave shows, he has receded back to his former neglect, just like his hometown Sidi Bouzid. The economy has deteriorated but the economic model remains unchanged.

From a wider perspective, Tunisia has decidedly shifted from being romantic tale to a tricky testing ground for transnational political Islam, the global market economy, and progressive politics. At this stage, none of these sides can claim victory. However, no side has been defeated either.

Dr. Omri holds a BA from the University of Tunis and MA and PhD from Washington University. Before joining the University of Oxford, Dr. Omri was Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis in the US.

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