Changes in Tunisia in Jan. 2011-How far are welcome?

Following large scale demonstrations over rise in prices of food grains, unemployment, corruption, authoritarian rule etc. President Zine-al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia fled the country to Saudi Arabia with his family and Parliament Speaker Fouad Mebazza has taken over as Interim President. Several countries have welcomed the changes. But how far the change is turned good for Tunisia and the world?

Today, terrorism particularly that based on religious extremism is the most dreaded problem in the world. It appears that former President Ben Ali repressed the human rights/freedom of religious extremists to ensure the human right to profess religion of choice, to religious minorities viz Jews and Christians. He is also reported to have curtailed the freedom of the people by blocking access to visit jihadi blogs /websites. He also is credited to have maintained mosques as places only for prayers and not for propagation of any particular view by the Imams. He is also said to have promoted the women’s rights.

Corruption cannot be condoned on any account. Increase in prices of food grains is a universal phenomenon but efforts should have been made to subsidize food items to see that the people are not affected badly. Unemployment could also have been tackled perhaps, easily by undertaking large developmental and infrastructural projects.
Human rights are good, but it should be of all the people including minorities. Repression is bad, but anti-social elements as also terrorists of all sorts, should be dealt with strongly. Democracy is good but it should be ensured that it is not exploited by anti-social elements and religious extremists to impose their will.

Let us hope that the new regime ensures human rights and freedom of all the people including minorities, tackles religious extremism by dialogue rather than oppression and moves towards increased production of goods and services at a faster rate.

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