TS Update-(Personal Safety)

Very busy at work but still we need to keep practical & relevant security information flowing…

Personal Safety-Expats on the Run…

Sometimes security folks get too involved with geopolitics and tend to over analyze security information.  As Expats we simply need practical security information that enables us to explore and navigate safely through the countries we’ve chosen to live and work in.

We came across two incidents this week which reminded us about the importance of personal safety and the value of situational awareness. 

The first took place in the suburbs of La Marsa and involved two Expats who were harassed while out for a early morning jog.  The car with about 4 or 5 males came to an abrupt stop near the two ladies while they were on their run.   The ladies rightly felt that something was wrong and used good situational awareness skills to maintain a good distance away from the unusual vehicle.  The males then began yelling and acting in a hostile manner.  At this point the ladies ran away from the scene feeling shaken up by the incident.

Personal Safety-Motorbike Muggers

Another incident involved an Expat mugged in broad daylight.  On a beautiful afternoon this Expat was mugged by two men on a motorbike.  The victim (Expat/Age 40), was wearing some jewelery but not enough in her opinion to call attention to herself.  Still because she was all alone and in a fairly empty area, the muggers saw her as an ideal target. 

Although this type of incident happens all throughout the world, it is important to note that “incidents of mugging, pick pocketing, bag snatching and petty theft are on the increase.”(UK-Embassy).  

 
Expat Safety Tips:
  • Situational Awareness:  Simply pay attention to your surroundings 
  • Don’t walk and text. You’re likely to be distracted and you are giving a potential thief a chance to see what type of phone you have 
  • Be aware about the valuables you are carrying and don’t show them off. Talking on your mobile phone, carrying a laptop, or showing your friend your new gold ring all show thieves that you are worth robbing 
  • If you feel unsafe…call somebody

Feedback

Thank you for all the positive & informative feedback.  Please continue to send us security updates so that we can continue to empower Expats with practical & relevant security information. 

TS Update-(Bizerte Incident)

What are expats to make about the recent disruptive activities on the part of  Tunisian Salafists?  The answer to this question is the major difference between a news website and a blog such the Tunisia Security Update.

News by definition is ‘information of any kind that is not previously known to someone’ and informational based.  If a newly arrived Expat read  the countless articles on the recent Salafists violence he or she would have one very important question:  So what?

The So What? Factor…

What can easily be labeled as an empty question is actually a powerful tool for expats.  “So what does this have to do with me…so what can I do to prepare for this…so what is this all about???”  These are but a few of the many powerful questions that empower expats to make sense of local security developments.

Bizerte Incident

On Thursday August 16th, salafists armed with swords and other improvised weapons, attacked the Bizerte music and theater festival.  Although five people were wounded in the attack, the bigger issue is the motives behind the act and the developing trend that’s emerging.

Before Bizerte, salafists disrupted other cultural events which they deemed to be un-Islamic.  This trend is a major concern not only for expats but for all Tunisians genuinely concerned about their freedom of expression in this new environment.

Staying Ahead

Expats by nature are less sensitive to cultural nuances so the added “salafists approval list” makes the need for good situational awareness even more critical.   Still, we should note that salafists activities have been primarily focused on the general Tunisian population and the issue is still very much in-house.

As Expats, news analysis & intelligence only serve us if we’re able to use it in a practical way.  In the case of these recent salafists activities we should note the following:

  1. Aside from the political changes, Tunisia is also going through an arguably more significant cultural challenge
  2. The Salafists factor is not going away and we can assume that there will be more actions such as the one in Bizerte

So What?

So don’t be fooled by the Summer Haze…Tunisia is still “Under Construction”…As Expats we need to remain informed, vigilant, and above all patient.

So continue to practice good situational awareness, connect with your community, and let’s keep sharing good information.

Check out these stories for more information on the Tunisian Salafist Dilemma:

 

 

 

 

TS Update-(Flare Protests)

My wife is by far no activist so when she told me that she had to attend tonight’s women’s day protest on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis, I immediately started doing some analysis.

Why Protest? 

Aside from all the politics, basically the main issue is a proposed article in the new constitution that many women see as an “Islamist ploy to reverse the principle of gender equality that made Tunisia a beacon of modernity in the Arab world when it was introduced six decades ago.”  According to Lawyer Sadok Belaid, the proposed article is a “challenge to one whole model of society”.

Flare Protests

With the end of Ramadan and the start of a nation wide constitutional debate, we can expect protest activities to pick up in Tunis.  Expat related areas that will be affected most by protest will be:  Downtown Tunis and Bardo.

A look at the definition of  ‘flare’, puts the term ‘flare protests’ into context.  Flare:  “a sudden burst of intense emotion”…”suddenly become manifest in a person or their expression”…”suddenly become angry”.

 In other words, we’ll get back into our routines when all of sudden another controversial article gets proposed and voilà flare protests throughout Tunis.  The challenge for Expats will be staying informed throughout this vigorous process while avoiding the trouble zones with ease.

We look forward to empowering Expats in this process and continue to hope for the best for Tunis.

TS Update-(Expats Return)

Call me a security geek but I love the subject of Risk Management.  What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the term “Risk Management”? 

Most people think of it as something organizations do to deal with chaos & struggle.  Although being prepared for chaos & struggle is part of Risk Management, it is only one piece of a very useful concept that should be part of every Expat’s toolbox. 

One of my favorite quotes on the topic really puts it into perspective:  “We talk a lot about “risk management”—a nice hygienic phrase. But in the end, risk is necessary. Things can and will go wrong. Yet some have a better capacity to prepare for the possibility, to limit the damage, and to sometimes even retrieve success from failure.”

A sound risk management program is empowering, practical, and dynamic.  For Expats, a basic understanding of risk management empowers them  to thrive in their host country.

 As Expats begin to make their way back to Tunis in great numbers it’s important that we catch up on things and evaluate the current situation. 

Risk Analysis-News

Although the state of emergency was extended for an additional month, many security professionals agree with the assessment that there is a “notable improvement in the general security situation in Tunisia“.  While we agree with that assessment, there are just too many wild cards for Expats to lower their security posture.

The following article is a good example: 

  • ArticleMedia, strikes threat to Tunisia unity: Ennahda (AFP)
  • Significant Quote:  “At the level of the media, the political parties and currents have begun stirring things up against each other using a language that would suggest we are at war,”-Ennahda’s  leader Rached Ghannouchi
  • Expat Impact:  Simply put, the playing field is just too volatile to give a general and long lasting security assessment. 

Expat-Connection

Now is the time for Expats to start their own personal risk assessment.  Be proactive and think of new and fresh ways to improve your personal security and safety.  Connect yourself to organizations like InterNations, host an Expat Event…or simply email us your best Expat Security Tip and we will share it with the flourishing Expat Community.