15 FEBRUARY 2011


It looked like a surrealistic scene. One curfew night. The streets in Tunis were empty. No pedestrians allowed. No one in sight. Sharpshooters will hit on the spot. Suddenly a man appears alone. Running alone. Looking in every direction alone. Shouting, alone.

He was screaming from the top of his lungs. "Tunis." Many words were injected in between. Yet the only recurring words from his mouth, from his heart, were: "Twansah," the people of Tunis. He was an older man; perhaps early fifties. He looked almost crazed. Pacing the street. Jumping from one side to another. Screaming, whispering, promising, threatening, loving, cajoling, repeating almost the same words with different tones.

The region's habitually repressive police looked stunned. How could a Tunisian soldier kill a man who pronounces so much love for their country.

Leave him alone. He's a crazy man. A man alone. Most likely, it was a theatrical scene. Made for authorized cameras.

Yet in the morning, with rays of sunshine, came crowds of people; one after another; men, women, children joining from all directions. They were screaming their demands, raising their voices, their hands, and fists. Their unstoppable march had one unifying word: Tunis, Tunis, Tunis.

The corrupt despot ran away. The lonely man was no more a surreal show. "Twansah" took over. Tunis remains.