My last blog post was a brief introduction into Tunisia and its long and turbulent history. I barely talked about its current situations outside of a recent terrorist attack and the economic scope of things. This blog post will be exploring Tunisian Identity in terms of nationalism and how it applies to Tunisia in the current day. I will also address equality or inequality within this nation-state. As I said in last week’s post, Tunisia has a significant turbulent past that has hindered its recent progress. I think that the Barbary Coast and the invasion of France has played a significant role in its current affairs today. In fact, within Steger’s Introduction to Globalization, the history of globalization is long and intertwined so that colonialism actually have helped shape a country’s situation today. That is the main theme of the book. Tunisia is very similar to his argument.
French authority began in 1881 which ended a dispute between three countries. These countries were France, Italy, and England. All three of these countries were vying for diplomatic power over Tunisia since 1869. France’s victory became official with the treaty of Bardo. This treaty still allowed for the ruler to remain in power, however, it was only internal much like the royal family of England today. From that moment onward, Tunisia was a French protectorate. In 1936, Nationalists begin to speak out and call themselves the Neo-Destour party. A man known as Bourguiba becomes comparable to a Nelson Mandela type of individual. He spends a lot of time within French Prisons, yet, achieves his goals. He implements his policies and eventually, in the year 1956, Tunisia becomes a sovereign country. His achievements and policies have helped shape Tunisia as it is today. One example was the revolution that created the sovereign state of Tunisia against the Barbary Coast Pirates.
On page 31 in The Post-American World, Zakaria states “In a globalized world, almost all problems spill over borders. Whether it’s terrorism, nuclear proliferation, disease, environmental degradation, economic crisis, or water scarcity, no issue can be addressed without significant coordination and cooperation among countries.” This quote echos what I stated on the previous blog post in that Tunisia is suffering from terrorist attacks much like other countries around the world. Other countries are also scared about the “what if” if Tunisia falls to terrorism. With this uncertainty looming, nationalism is relatively low. A definition for Nationalism is: An extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries. (oxforddictionaries.com/…n/english/)Specifically in terms of nationalism, Zakaria warns that Nationalism will be the downfall of a connected system. Tunisia is still very young in terms of the nation’s status. With time people will most likely become more nationalistic and buy into the Tunisian identity. Zakaria gives an example of a Chinese man who is well versed in American affairs and pop culture but then shows a strong Chinese nationalism. Ultimately, Zakaria warns that nationalism will mean a new system emerges and the growing pains associated with that new system due to countries having increased political nationalism.
I also want to discuss inequality within Tunisia. Within Tunisia, the country’s independence actually granted roughly equal gender equality for both male and female citizens. Article 21 of the constitution reads, “All male and female citizens have the same rights and duties. They are equal before the law without discrimination.” http://genderindex.org/country/tunisia. So Tunisia actually is very equal, especially within the Middle Eastern region as a whole. Tunisia actually boasts one of the highest Gender Equality ratings within the Arabic portion of the world. There are women who hold public leadership positions and education is available for both sexes. There are still some inequalities within the country and women are working to fix these, but over all, Tunisia is one of the most equal countries within MENA. If there was an inequality problem within Tunisia, I would say that it would be in the economic sphere. “That said advancement in ensuring women’s rights and access to education has not translated into women’s economic empowerment, as women’s participation in the economic sphere remains low.” http://genderindex.org/country/tunisia Once again though, Tunisia might even be more equal that the United States of America in terms of actual equality and definitely so with explicit legislation within the national constitution.
Tunisia is still learning its identity and overcoming economic struggles which hasn’t helped or hurt nationalism within the country. With the passage of time and further development, or lack thereof, Tunisia will either become more nationalistic or wane into a melting pot. Equality can also change. Tunisia has many such decisions to make in the years ahead. However dim the situation right now, Tunisia is a hopeful country that utilizes both its men and women in order to create a better country. Nationalism will almost assuredly come about as long as the nation can make progress from its 2011 revolution and strengthen the economic sector and national security. Tunisia will potentially be a strong country one day so long as equality and a healthy amount of nationalism is grown and maintained.
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