TS Update-(Sad Ramadan)

Greetings Expats,

I’ve only lived in Tunisia for 6 years so I may be out of line for saying this but I would dare say this is the worst Ramadan in Tunisia’s history.  

540711_10151520292281867_1963153007_n

A month of bad news…and to think that this may actually be the calm before the storm.

Watching from afar

Although I am technically on vacation and trying my best to stay away from the media stream, each day I find time to review the situation in Tunis.  Not only are things not going well but the truth of the matter is that the fate of Tunisia (at least for the short term) looks very negative.

A terrible month for Tunisia

Tunisia in National Mourning, Strike after Brahmi Assassination
Tunisia government will not step down: PM
Tunisian soldiers killed in ambush near Algeria border

Expat tirade 

It drives me crazy when people use death casualties as indicators to assess the safety & security of a country.  At a recent dinner party I actually heard  someone say:  “Well it can’t be that bad because people aren’t being killed…”  Are you kidding me?!  (OK…got that off my chest…)

On the other hand, expats will return back to Tunisia look around and see the beautiful blue sky.  They will go to the market and see things working relatively well.  They will go to dinner parties and comment how things aren’t that bad…

While I would agree with that assessment I would also point out that most people use archaic & ineffective methods to judge the safety & security of a country.  The safety & security of a country is not measured by gun shots, car bombs, kidnappings, or death tolls.  Where are our standards? 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs teach us that people are empowered to connect, contribute, and thrive only when their physiological & safety needs are met at a high level.  

Challenges Ahead

A recent analysis of the situation in Tunisia stated:  “The interim government now faces the question of how many blows its provisional authority can sustain before public patience runs out.” (Stratfor)

I would humbly state that we are now witnessing the end of that patience and the beginning of a new and very challenging period in the history of Tunisia.  

Let’s hope for the best and be ready for the worst.

TS Update-(Tragic Republic Day)

Greetings Expats,

images

Not good…” is all I was able to say this morning as I checked my email.  I opened my eyes at about 8:30 am (Eastern Standard Time) and wondered how Tunisia was celebrating one of their most beloved holidays.  

While reviewing my social media streams & email, it didn’t take long to realize that all was not well in Tunis.  On Thursday, July 25th gunmen shot dead (Mr. Mohammed Brahmi, 58,) the leader of a leftist Tunisian opposition party, right in front his house.  Sound familiar?  

On February 6 2013, Mr. Chokri Belaid (opposition leader) was shot dead in his neighborhood.  The similarities are striking:  obviously both were opposition leaders, they were both killed in front of their homes, the assassins used motorbikes and executed like professionals…etc., 

The Grand Chess Board 

We’ve been saying for months that Tunisia would experience major security challenges as it makes it’s way through this process.  This is just the beginning.  

Keep in mind that on Monday various media sources reported that the new constitution has been written and would be voted on in the coming weeks.  Additionally, Prime Minster Larayedh promised that elections for a new president would be held before the end of 2013.  Pretty big stuff….right?  And then today happens.  

Expat Awareness 

Expats,  let’s be honest…the next 2-3 years are going to be very challenging. Tunisia has the ingredients for both a turbulent democratic process & a successful transition.  

Immediate Action

We’re receiving a lot of information from various security sources and so far the general advise for Expats is:  stay informed, avoid downtown  large gatherings, and let’s see how this plays out.  

We should not overlook today’s tragic events and recognize that many challenges await ahead.  Let’s continue to share information & network as we get ready for this new chapter in Tunisia.  

 

TS Update-(Egypt..Ramadan)

Greetings Expats,

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and finding time to have some fun.  I’ve taken a few day trips here in Tunisia, but I am very excited about traveling on Thursday and visiting family in the United States.  Looking forward to 30 days of family, food, and reconnection.  

Egypt Factor

Jan 2011...how fast things change
Jan 2011…how fast things change.

We are following the situation in Egypt closely and we’ve been posting articles & updates on the Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page.  Although there’s so much commentary on how the developing situation in Egypt will have a direct impact here, Mr. Mourad Teyeb article Why Tunisia is NOT Egypt, allows us to take a deep breath.

Regarding the situation in Tunisia he points out that “net progress has been achieved over security, consumer prices and investment.”  He goes on to highlight  that with “events in Egypt turning to deadly clashes, Tunisians will think very hard before supporting any action against the democratic process in their country“.  

Now I know that I will receive a lot of hate mail from some of my Tunisian readers…but the man makes a point.  

Ramadan Begins Wednesday, July 10th

Well it’s that time of the year again so if you’re going to be in Tunis during Ramadan remember to activate your Expat awareness.  

Last year TunisiaLive reported that in the tourist area of Cite Ennasr, police officers were harassing cafe and restaurant owners who were open during the day. All indicators point that this year Ramadan will be even more “conservative” in terms of enforcement & the general flow of things.  

Also remember that during Ramadan the number of vehicle accidents increase and people are less patient so be on your best Expat behavior.  Still, Tunisians are gracious hosts and people find many ways to enjoy themselves during Ramadan.  

Summer Break

I will keep posting updates on the Facebook page and Twitter feed.  As always I appreciate all the emails and support.  We have many challenges ahead and I will do my best to provide the Expat community with practical & relevant security updates.  

Ramadan_Wallpaper_Pack_by_rizviGrafiks

Let’s stay in touch…

TS Update-(Next 48 Hours..Egypt-Tunis)

Greetings Expats,

Screen shot 2013-07-01 at 9.37.03 PM

Interesting developments taking place in Egypt and it’s amazing how many expats don’t see a “connection”.  A fellow expatriate causally remarked “but we’re good here…I mean Tunis is not Egypt.”   

Well, I certainly won’t argue that Tunis is Egypt, but to think that the events in Egypt are not relevant to the general situation in Tunis is simply naive.  The truth is that Tunis has all the ingredients to materialize an “Egypt ultimatum event”.  

While political experts state that Tunis is in fact missing the main ingredient (a unified opposition) for serious wide spread unrest, security professionals are monitoring the events in Egypt and they know that this will have wider implications.  

Tunisia may lack a united opposition but the masses who took to the streets their frustrations about unemployment and economic hardship still feel their claims have not been addressed.  Additionally, the political challenges post Chorki Belaid still remain and the political process itself is making marginal progress.  

Next 48 hours

We’ll definitely learn more about the situation in Egypt during the next 48 hours.  We’re already feeling small aftershocks in Tunis.  Today, while “several hundred people protested against the draft constitution outside the National Assembly”, chaos took over inside the assembly as representatives of the opposition admittedly voiced their concerns about the draft constitution. 

Let’s continue to stay in touch and share information…