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.
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.
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:
- Aside from the political changes, Tunisia is also going through an arguably more significant cultural challenge
- The Salafists factor is not going away and we can assume that there will be more actions such as the one in Bizerte
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:
- Salafists attack Tunisia festival, 5 wounded
- Emergency Security Meeting in Bizerte held after attacking festival
- The demon or the demonized? Deconstructing “salafism” in Tunisia