PC583 Remember how the people thought Obama meant big change for America
- after 10 days , Monastir, Madhia, Sfax, Mahares, x, Gabes (met some CSers Sulin again, and the Korean teacher and Ameth), Mareth (line museum), Djerba (met CS ), Medininne, Tataouine 3 days (Lksors and Theatre festival), Gumrassen, Lksors Hallouf (2days), Douz (1 night didn't like cos Toouristy), Kebili (abandoned medina in the palmerie), Tozeur (1 night didn't like cos Toouristy), Metlaoui (big market, but boring), Jan 2nd Had to hitch to Gafsa cos transport crazy cos of end of holiday ...thanks to Slim and his friends for the ride - north west ...Sbeitla, Kasserine, now Le Kef, Jendouba saw 2 sets of ruins, Ain Dracham; Beja, Bizerte, Marsa, Tunis Medina, Friday arrivel in Nabeul centre

These so called "riots" are all rather boring to me

- Here in Tunisia People are obessisvely following on Facebook what they called "riots", but it's all rather boring to me.

- Freedom of speech is restricted by the dictator here, but under 25s have been gathering together to shout against the government .. They start to throw stones at a police or government building and inevitably someone throw some fire and the police react and everyone runs away. I guess 5-20% of the time the police end up shooting .. in the UK the police would be smarter . they would use cameras and then huge numbers of police.

- but this is Africa so violence breeds violence

Tue Jan 3rd Dodging Riots and overcharging
moved to page pc587

Tunisian politics is none of my business
By accident I have past these "riots" 3 times The first time when I saw it 300m down the street I diverted myself widely around that area, but I had to stop and stare as a 14 year max old boy, walking with 2 girls threw a stone towards police .. if it had been England I would have gone over and dragged him away telling him not to be an idiot as it's not a game and he could end up shot by trigger happy police ... 5 days later the police shot 6 boys there one of which was 12 years old

- So far it all seems so stupid to me; if you want changes then you think smart and coordinated. It's dumb to throw stones at police who have guns, but you know most people like to live in a fantasy world where everything is simple so many people are obsessively following it all on Facebook, like its a TV drama or The World cup etc . They think that cos they have a lot of information they understand it all just like my Mum thinks she knows Iraq cos she's been watching CNN for 6 hours. But quantity of information doesn't give perspective and understanding.

- I predicted kids would get shot; but I can' predict what will happen next I suppose the violence will keep getting bigger until. - a demonstrator starts a fire which spreads and to neighbouring buildings and kills some innocent grandmothers and destroys peoples cars etc. or - a secret agent pretending to be a demonstrator does something like that. Then the demonstrators will seem less like angels and it will all get rather messy.

What's the end game then ?
- Maybe Tunisians will get richer in the next 5 years, but in the next 2 years there will be higher unemployment as foreign investors will scared away from investing if there is a risk that their factory will get burnt down. And things will get more expensive in Tunisia as the risk will cause the Dinar to fall , so you need more Dinars to buy each imported product.

Seen it all before in so many other countries

- ; people always think other men have more money and more sex than them. And end up half destroying their own country in an attempt to find a quick simple improvement, but things are never so simple as they first appear . Unless they come up with a smart strategy it will be the same here.

but 50% of other countries are in worse condition.
- It seems to me Tunisia is a lucky country; but people are aware of it.

- people say the cause is cos graduates cant find jobs and Youtube is banned, and food prices but surely it cant be anything to do with that There is far less evidence of poverty in Tunisia than in 50% of countries, and most people spend more on their cellphones than I do. But they have never been to really poor or really oppressive countries.
- the "riots" here seem boring to me other countries have worse situations

Now police secretly beating and killing people well that's a different matter; but I know nothing about that and still say it's not smart to fight fire with fire.

Bizerte Tue 11th - some hooligans; some middle class.
- Things are never as simple as they first seem When I was in the square at 6pm it seemed the people were mostly middle class; so there does appear to be a lot of broad support for demonstrations. But other stuff does look like young hooligans letting off steam . with supermarket and shop windows smashed.

- Of course commiserations to the families of all people hurt; whether they were protesters or members of the police etc.

-conveniently for the US governement Wikileaks released the cable showing The US has concerns about the current government ; Good BBC Background info

Fri 14th leave Tunis -
Jan 12th hope to be at the CS meetup in Marsa - no that got abandoned cos of curfew, Thursday moved into Medina - safe but museums and 90% shops closed and 8pm curfew, Friday heard a big march in morning but no problem to get to smaller town of Nabeul, but police are losing control (maybe only protecting businesses if they pay), life mostly normal so went to museums but then suddenly there was a 6pm curfew things moved fast, later BBC confirmed president had left, a surprise to me I thought he would hang on for another week while the country continues to destroy itself.. so some good news hooligans might stop now,

Sat - Will the Calm Return ?
- Sat - steadyish 5% of businesses open, no hooligans seen, should get steadyish .. but in the long term Tunisia will be poorer before it gets richer and peoples expectations are far too high, they don't understand the real world, and will believe the miracle promises of new politicians before they get cynical like us. For them its simple, but for me it's very complex with the truth being hidden a Russian Doll inside another Russian doll etc.

Dumb President, dumb protesters, dumb police, dumb students, dumb hooligans, dumb tourists

-Tunisia should be far poorer than Greece, but people here are spoiled they think in 2 years they will be like France ... change is good now, but it could have been done without deaths .. Dumb President, dumb protesters, dumb police, dumb students, dumb hooligans, dumb tourists (risking their lives taking photos), dumb journalists, dumb Jordanians .... but maybe smart person who made a lot money manipulating the situation.. but if thats true he's a murdering bastard

- Met Harvey a 125 country traveller from Chicago by strange coincidence he has been travelling anticlockwise whilst I travelling clockwise

Up until yesterday night the country was a bit nuts
30% of demonstrators were hooligans who were smashing up banks and supermarkets you know it would be one street at one one time while rest of life continued

- I was in the Medina of Tunis for 24 hours; thats safe cos its streets are too narrow for protests I left to come out to a small town, it had a lot of vandalism, but life continued so I went to 2 museums etc

- then when I came into town centre someone s at 5pm aid that there was a curfew at 6pm, this actually became 5pm, so I just managed to get a sandwich in the last shop that closed. a kid had shot the previous night near the hotel (actually false)... the vandalising kids think they are invincible and it seems the police have been hiring themselves to banks and shops .. so they 10% of the time shoot the hooligans

- so we heard gunshots last night and thought it was more of the same turns out it was people celebrating

- only 5% of businesses open today but can get food internet , should be that the hooligans have no excuse to continue and now middle class will no longer support them

- there might be reprisals against police etc now

- but still absolutely no sign of targeting tourists etc everyone knows its there bread and butter

- only my tunisian number works my UK number is off
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