AB11, Arab Bloggers Conference, but in time to catch the hot Yasmine Sun, we leave for Tunis next Monday. Thirteen days before elections will be held between some 110 parties. Elections to form an assembly that will write the new constitution of Tunisia after 23 years of dictatorship by president Ben Ali. His regime was toppled on January 14th 2011.
These elections are an epreuve of democracy. Technical issues - 400.000 voters lacking a voter card - caused delay, but now it seems to really set off.
Tunisia was the first Arab country that rose against its' rulers and appears frontrunner as well on establishing new forms of government. While in Egypt the military SCAF (Supreme Council of Armed Forces) muffles the voices of the revolutionary, keeping bloggers like Maikel Nabil in prison for expressing their views and moving on in the tradition of Hosni Mubarak surpressing freedom with harsh whippings and bullits. While in Libya Sirte is under fire, in Yemen activists go on protesting under Saleh's siege, but, no doubt feel supported by the Nobel price for peace for Tawakul Karman and Assad from Syria keeps firing at his people, Tunisia is on the turn.
The small North African country with a population of 11 million people may become the David of the Arab world, beating Grabbling Goliaths in a non-violent way. At least, that is the good hope.
It was a small voice that spirited the Arab Spring, a Tunisian voice. Mohamed Bouazizi, 26 year old, whose name is now chanted in streets that are renamed after him, became the revolution's hero. Next to him are millions of Arab youngsters, fathers, mothers and wifes who shout out for their right to be free.
Chances are that Tunisia takes the lead once more into giving these voices a stage in the form of a transparent and representative democracy.