#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Tunisian president ousted - hope for Fiji?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tunisian president ousted - hope for Fiji?

VICTORY: Game over for Tunisian dictator, Zine be-Albidine Ben Ali.


Tunisia's president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has fled his country after weeks of mass protests culminated in a victory for people power over one of the Arab world's most repressive regimes.

Ben Ali had taken refuge in Saudi Arabia, at the end of an extraordinary day which had seen the declaration of a state of emergency, the evacuation of tourists of British and other nationalities, and an earthquake for the authoritarian politics of the Middle East and north Africa.

After hours of conflicting reports had him criss-crossing southern Europe by air, the Saudi state news agency confirmed he had arrived in the kingdom together with his family. Earlier, French media reported that Nicolas Sarkozy had refused Ben Ali refuge, although France denied that any request had been received.

In Tunisia, prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced that he had taken over as interim president, vowing to respect the constitution and restore stability for Tunisia's 10.5 million citizens. "I call on the sons and daughters of Tunisia, of all political and intellectual persuasions, to unite to allow our beloved country to overcome this difficult period and to return to stability," he said in a broadcast.

But there was confusion among protesters about what will happen next, and concern that Ben Ali might be able to return before elections could be held. "We must remain vigilant," warned an email from the Free Tunis group, monitoring developments to circumvent an official news blackout.

Ben Ali, 74, had been in power since 1987. On Thursday he announced he would not stand for another presidential term in 2014, but the move came after Tunisia had been radicalised by weeks of street clashes and the killings of scores of demonstrators. Today in the capital police fired teargas to disperse crowds unmoved by the president's concession and demanding his immediate resignation. A state of emergency and a 12-hour curfew did little to restore calm. Analysts said that the army would be crucial.

Last night, soldiers guarded ministries, public buildings and the state TV building. Public meetings were banned, and the security forces were authorised to fire live rounds.

Tunis's main avenues were deserted except for scores of soldiers. Protesters, some of whom had earlier been beaten and clubbed by police in the streets, still sheltered in apartment buildings. Army vehicles were stationed outside the interior ministry. Opposition leader Najib Chebbi, one of Ben Ali's fiercest critics, captured the sense of historic change. "This is a crucial moment. There is a change of regime under way. Now it's the succession," he said. He added: "It must lead to profound reforms, to reform the law and let the people choose."

Al-Jazeera television reported that a unnamed member of Ben Ali's wife's family had been detained by security forces at the airport in the capital, Tunis. Le Monde reported later that a plane carrying Ben Ali's daughter and grandaughter had landed near Paris. Hatred of the president's relatives, symbols of corruption and cronyism, has galvanised the opposition in recent weeks.

Tunisians had been riveted by revelations of US views of the Ben Ali regime in leaked WikiLeaks cables last month.

The US led international calls for calm and for the Tunisian people to be given a free choice of leaders.

"I condemn and deplore the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in Tunisia, and I applaud the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people," said Barack Obama.

Tunisia's political history and dictator's rise to power:
1946 Tunisia becomes semi-autonomous state in the French Union
1947 Special ministry set up, with Tunisian officials making up the majority
1949 Habib Bourguiba returns to Tunisia to promote independence, having been forced into exile in 1945
1955 A government with only Tunisian members is installed
1956 Tunisia becomes an independent nation. The Neo Destour party wins a landslide election and Bourguiba is elected president of the first Tunisian national assembly
1957 For the first time, women are allowed to vote in regional elections. Tunisia becomes a republic and Bourguiba becomes its first president
1964 Swathes of mainly French-owned land is expropriated by the government, with the result that Paris stops all financial assistance
1975 Bourguiba is appointed president for life by the national assembly
1987 Ben Ali ousts Bourguiba in a coup, citing senility, and installs himself as prime minister
1989 Tunisia holds elections. Six opposition parties participate on this occasion but Ben Ali is elected president with 99% of the vote. His party, the RCD, wins all 141 seats in the national assembly
1994 Ben Ali is the only presidential candidate in 1994, winning 99.9% of the vote, drawing international condemnation
1998 Tunisia signs a landmark trade agreement with the EU
1999 Ben Ali receives 99.44% of the votes in the general election to win a third spell as the country's most powerful person
2002 Ben Ali amends Tunisia's constitution to allow a president to stay in power until the age of 75 and be re-elected unlimited times
2004 Ben Ali is re-elected once more, again receiving an unlikely 94.5% of the votes. Opposition party the Democratic Progressives withdraws two days before the vote, branding Tunisia's political system "a masquerade of democracy"
2006 A dozen hardline Islamists are killed in shoot-outs with security forces in the capital, Tunis. Lawyers say hundreds of people had been arrested on suspicion of links with terrorist groups since 2003, when the authorities gained new powers of arrest
2008 In the southern mining region of Gafsa, clashes break out between troops and young unemployed demonstrators
2009 Ben Ali re-elected as president for a fifth term, winning 89% of the vote
2011 Following violent protests throughout the country, Ben Ali reportedly flees Tunisia and the prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, announces he has taken over as interim president. (The Guardian)

24 comments:

  1. There are indeed many similarities between the situation in Tunisia before the revolt and Fiji: Firstly, the trigger in Tunisia has been economic. A corrupt regime unwilling and unable to develop the economy in line with expectations of the population failed to deliver income and jobs. A draconian censorship of all media and a brutal oppression of any view different from the Presidents created a climate of rumor mongering. As in Fiji the truth could only be spoken in the shadows. Humans rights have been trampled upon, opponents of the regime were either arrested and tortured or forced to leave the country. The corruption of the leadership was boundless and every business was controlled by the Presidents family the way Khaium controls everything in Fiji. Last but not least, the regime tried to break with any tradition and culture unique to the country. It took more than 20 years for the Tunisian people to stand up for their rights which begs the question how long it will take in Fiji.

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  2. Rubbish.

    Bainimara will carry on with his anti-corruption drive.

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  3. The billion dollar housing scam of the junta will bring the junta down with the people chasing the junta in the cassava patch when the not one but many billion dollar housing scam has been approved by the junta head without even a tender this is direct big time corruption to cost tax payers many billions of dollars and collapsed houses

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  4. Tunisia a model for Fiji? Man, I've got to give you guys ten points for optimism but none for your grip on reality.

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  5. NOQU VITI NOQU VANUA!!!!!!

    This was the mantra of the 80’s through to 2006 until Bainimarama interdicted against such phrase.

    To-day there is a new mantra driven by those pernicious individuals who rose from their slumber immediately after what can seen as a righteous coup to find their thieving world had cave in literally.

    The new mantra that emanates from abroad goes something like this:

    E Sebra Ni Soqo Vakavinaka Noda Qaunibulu E Levu Ga Noda Vosa.

    Fijians are just too scared to take to the streets they lack the most important ingredient their rectosigmoid isn’t closed in fact it would take at least half a ton of sealant to seal their gaping wound.

    And maybe then they just might pluck up the courage to take on Bainimarama but at the moment the followers of these weaklings may consider ditching these rejects and back Bainimarama.

    Jake

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  6. RATU SAID.
    ITS TIME FOR FIJI PEOPLE TO STAND AND FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY.
    BANI AND AIAZ WILL FLED TO THE ARAB OR CHINA.
    WE DONT NEED THE COUNTRY TO GET IN MORE DEBT.
    NO JOBS,MORE POOR PEOPLE.CRIME RATE WILL GO UP.
    THINK MY PEOPLE TIME TO ACT BEFORE ITS TO LATE.

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  7. There is another commonality between Fiji and Tunisia: Both economies are heavily dependent on tourism. The question for Fiji's dictator and his cronies will be where to travel when the time comes as it eventually will. Saudi Arabia? Solomon Islands? Or perhaps PNG where Bainimarama could be the chair of the MKG (Melanesian Kleptocrat Group).

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  8. All dictators are the same.They crave power and are willing to do anything to achieve their goals. Such people may appear to succeed, but they always reap what they sow. Empty slogans and promises never work for long.And the Truth always emerges.They may seem able to fool others or gain short-term gains. But they cannot fool God, the "righteous judge" (Psalm 7:11)! He sees their hearts,their real motives and their end.

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  9. And don't forget what a big role the internet played in overthrowing Tunisia's government. The marches were organised from the internet via twitter and blogs to circumvent the use of censored media. So keep the blogs going and keep the people informed as the censored media will only tell the regimes side.

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  10. Aiyaz' auntie doing the paychecks for the mob, the police commissioners wife with all ten sticky fingers in the pie, leave pay-outs, triple and quadruple salaries for the supremos, no free expression, no human rights, no accountability, no transparency, secret police listening into everybody's conversation, an economy in nose dive and everybody with ten ounces of brain leaving the country...Even docile, gullible Fijians have their limits if it comes to swallowing the crap that this regime dishes out on a regular basis. The question is how far will they be pushed down until they decide to stand for their rights?

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  11. Face reality,Fijians lack the balls to rise up against anything.Indolence and complacency has infiltrated the once warrior nation.

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  12. I am afraid anon @ 1.09 is right. A nation of cowards be kicked in the balls every day saying 'Thank you Mr Prime Minister, can we have some more...'

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  13. Because many Fijians support Frank Bainimarama and the illegal coup, it's highly unlikely, to me at least, that they would be remotely interested in overthrowing his Regime, especially while so many of them continue to benefit financially at the expense of their neighbours !

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  14. There seems to be some in this forum who believe that killing innocent civilians like Rabaka and Verebasaga does not matter in their glorification of the traitor Voreqe and this misguided coup. This type of thinking is evil and of the devil.

    Not matter what good impression this illegal regime tries to portray they will have the murders of these civilians always hanging on their conscience. The spilling of these innocent blood will forever produce an increasingly bad smell each day justice is denied them.

    There is no doubt that Voreqe and his misguided collaborators are worried about getting away with this tragic coup but their biggest concern as individuals should be the day they will stand before the throne of the Almighty God to answer for the murders of these innocent civilians.

    Everyone involved in this coup including Voreqe,will have this guilt on the back of their minds everyday.They may try to suppress the law from exposing their sins but they cannot hide from truth of the Holy Spirit...emeni!!

    The Holy spirit will daily question their guilty concience like....was this coup worth the murder of a child of God?? Were these murders worth supporting a power hungry madman like Voreqe?? Were these murders worth the so called corruption propaganda story that backfired?? Were these murders worth the promotions in rank?? Were these murders worth the positions of illegal cabinet minister?? Were these murders worth all the illegal trappings and luxuries that came from this misguided coup?? Were these murders worth writing pro Voreqe articles in this forum?? If your answer is yes then you have rejected the blood of Christ on the cross and are perilously in the clutches of Satan.

    What do these misguided coup instigators and murderers have to do to make themselves right with God?? The answer is simple and needs to be honestly confronted by each one of them.The first step is to be humble in the eyes of God and confess your sins to him and that this evil coup has gone horribly wrong.

    Secondly and equally important is that God then urges you do the same to the people of Fiji whom you have wronged.It is not too late because it takes a real man to face up to his crimes and to let justice take its course.

    A warning to all who had a hand in this evil coup is that it is time to fear God and not Voreqe. This unrepentant murderer will stand before the throne on judgment day but Christ will only intercede on behalf of his children against him.

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  15. Fijians may be scared to act against Voreqe but God is not.This traitor come murderer should take note because he will stand before the throne of Jehovah on judgment day to answer for the murders of Rabaka,Verebasaga,the tortures of civilians and for conducting a poisonous coup.God is searing his guilty conscience and that is why he cannot to sleep at night or go anywhere without a battalion around him.He beginning to jump at his own shadow.

    All cohorts and supporters in this misguided coup and associated crimes had better leave Voreqe and turn to God before its too late because he will not be able to save them on that day of reckoning.

    Rabaka is a child of God and he seeks vengeance against corrupt murderers like Voreqe whose misguided coup now stands for,"Na lasu,na tawa dodonu kei na vakadukadukali"

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  16. Like it or lump it? Regime is viewed in many villages as a "Suva problem" - only thing that will change this is if they start interfering with sensitive matters such as land.

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  17. In Fiji, life goes on as normal. People just living their lives minding their own business, happy just living from day to day with the little they have. The govt of the day is not the immediate thing in their minds, some of them at least. That's just how it is.

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  18. The battle belongs to God. He shall fight for us. Thanks be to God who always cause us to triumph in Christ Jesus.

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  19. It is not about balls. It’s just that most civilized people do not want violence. I am glad that the people of this country are putting peace first. However having said that there will come a time when people will have had enough and i fear we are not too far off. To put things into perspective the cost of living in Fiji almost doubled since Vore took over. He will blame everyone accept himself for the devaluation, the increase in duty on most items from 27% to 32% and now to protect Hari Punja (Aussie passport holder by the way) and a few others like him the introduction of 15% exercise tax on all chips, confectionaries, biscuits etc on top of the 32%. We are forced to eat locally produced junk. I am all for local production but the quality must be equal to or better then what is imported and it must have at least 90% local content. Most if not all ingredients in all local production is imported. Most items are just re- packed into smaller retail sizes under the guise of local production. Add all of these to the fact that our customs rate is compounded on the cost of the goods plus the freight and insurance and then the increased vat of 15% we “kaiviti” are paying through our teeth for everything we eat and drink. While the whole world is opening up their economies to increased competition we are going backwards by protecting the already rich who have access to the current leadership and thus can play their own agenda. Only fools will fall for the half arsed measures of cutting vat for school items till Feb and the stupid price controls as the only reason prices have risen are described above.
    I was never a supporter of Qarase but i will now reluctantly say that we were better off under him at least we were able to put food on our table without thinking about the source of the next meal. To all those who are sitting abroad and making comments this is the ground reality of the lives of the Fijians. We live to satisfy the greed of a few in this country businessmen and politicians alike. Fijians in general of all racial heritage are some of the most passive people I have ever seen. We will have to wake up some day.

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  20. RATU SAID.
    MY TAVU FRO BUA SAID THAT FIJIAN PEOPLE ARE THE MOST LIUMURI PEOPLE IN FIJI.
    I ASKED HIM WHY.
    HE SAID BECAUSE THEY ALL CHANGE THIER TUNES STARTING FROM THE CHIEFS TO THE POOR MAN IN SECONDS.YES MAN TO ALL NEW GOVT AND PEOPLE.
    EXAMPLE RATU SULI,RATU NAIQAMA,OTHER CHIEFS.ALL SUPPORTED CAMV THAN SDL AND NOW BANI/TALIBAN AG GOVT.
    THEY ALL SUBJECTED TO AG TALIBAN AND BANI.

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  21. RATU SAID.
    MY TAVU FRO BUA SAID THAT FIJIAN PEOPLE ARE THE MOST LIUMURI PEOPLE IN FIJI.
    I ASKED HIM WHY.
    HE SAID BECAUSE THEY ALL CHANGE THIER TUNES STARTING FROM THE CHIEFS TO THE POOR MAN IN SECONDS.YES MAN TO ALL NEW GOVT AND PEOPLE.
    EXAMPLE RATU SULI,RATU NAIQAMA,OTHER CHIEFS.ALL SUPPORTED CAMV THAN SDL AND NOW BANI/TALIBAN AG GOVT.
    THEY ALL SUBJECTED TO AG TALIBAN AND BANI.

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  22. @Anon 10:34 - Great comments and I totally agree. Unfortunately a lot of people can't seem to grasp those facts possibly due to all the misinformation being fed to them from the censored media.

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  23. @ Anon 10.34

    Very succinct response. Agree totally - I would never have said that the Qarase government was a great government but even they could not have driven us as far back as Frank has. I hope 2011 will be better for all of Fiji.

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  24. RATU SAID.
    WHEN WE WILL READ AND HEAR GAME OVER IN FIJI FOR BANI/HIS GOVT.
    WE ARE READY TO MARCH BUT PEOPLE ARE LAMULAMU.
    ONCE WE WERE WARRIORS NOW IT SEEMS TO BE LAMULAMU.
    WHEN WE WILL WAKE UP WHEN WE HAVE NO FOOD/MONEY.
    WE DONT WANT TO GO TO OUR DARK AGES.
    ONLY NAITASIRI CHIEFS FOUGHT ALL THIS TIME.
    THE REST OF THE CHIEFS ARE LAMULAMU SEEMS LIKE.

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