Author: Silvia Marsans-Sakly
This is the first work in English to address the significance of Tunisia's 1864 rebellion for understanding Tunisia's 2011 experience, and its reverberation across the Arab world.
"When the young Tunisian street vendor, Muhammad Bou Azizi, set himself alight in December 2010, he ignited a movement that in three weeks toppled the twenty-three year old dictatorship of President Ben Ali. Tunisia's 2011 uprising took experts by surprise. Few in the West looked to Tunisia's history of dissent and rebellion as a way to understand the present moment. However, in the country itself, headlines read "2011 revives the memory of 1864". This is the first work in English to address the significance of Tunisia's 1864 rebellion for understanding Tunisia's 2011 experience, and its reverberation across the Arab world. Using a variety of sources - from state archives and scholarly monographs, to poetry festivals, theater productions, radio and TV programs - the book reveals a documented history of political manipulation and popular resistance to it. 'Power and Protest in Tunisia' traces the battle for the memory of the original anti-tax, anti-centre rebellion of 1864 that brought Tunisia's tribes into a fragile but year-long alliance with coastal town populations. It uniquely places the recent revolution in the context of past social struggles emerging from the same interior regions. The book demonstrates how and why various regimes used the 1864 revolt to justify political agendas across the longue durée, from the liberal 'reform' era of the beys (Ottoman provincial governors) to the postcolonial present. Successive regimes have used this history to instill fear and suppress dissent, but this book shows that popular memory has preserved the event as a powerful symbolic example of collective mobilization against injustice and corruption--one that nearly toppled a dynasty."--