Sunday 23 January 2011

Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution and Tamil Eelam- a comparison

Tunisia was a relatively new country to me, except that i learnt somewhere its capital was Tunis and it is in North Africa. But Tunisia has been in news recently and the asylum granted to Tunisian Ex President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali by the Saudi Arabian Government has hit the news stands here. It is in the best interests of the Tunisian people that Ben Ali has been granted asylum in Saudi Arabia with strict conditions that he will no be permitted to be poilitically active on Saudi soil. Looking back at the history of Tunisia which Ben Ali ruled with iron hand for almost 23 years from 1987 to 2011, i cannot help but compare it with SriLanka and Tamil Eelam.

The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia started somewhere in January 2011, the coup by the common man that overthrew a suppressing regime. The ignitor of this fire was the self immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi, a vegetable vendor in Sidi Bouzid. Bouazizi was a poor man trying to make his ends meet, feeding a family of 5, earning what he could by selling vegetables in hand cart. All his job applications ended in bins and police confiscated his hand cart too as he did not pay bribes to them. The last straw that broke him was the physical assault on him in public by a female municipal official who beat him, slapped on his face and insulted his father in full public glare. Now the Tunisian Government was run by many people like this woman who owe allegiance to Ben Ali's corrupt regime.

Mohamed Bouazizi, March 29,1984- January 4, 2011.

Unable to stand the insults any longer, Bouazizi sent a message to his mother through facebook, see the English excerpt here-"I’m travelling, mother. Forgive me. Reproach and blame is not going to be helpful. I’m lost and it’s out of my hands. Forgive me if I didn’t do as you told me and disobeyed you. Blame our time. Don’t blame me. I am now going and I will not be coming back. Notice I haven’t cried and no tears have fallen from my eyes. There is no more room for reproach or blame in the age of treachery in the People’s land. I’m not feeling normal and not in my right state. I’m travelling and I ask who leads the travel to forget."
He set himself ablaze in front of a local government building and died later due to severe burns. His immolation kicked off street demonstrations and protests in Tunisia, where umemployment, poverty, corruption and lack of freedom of speech ruled the roost. Ben Ali tried to suppress the uprising, but it grew by leaps and bounds, thanks to facebook, twitter and sms. He was ousted from power and fled to Saudi Arabia which granted him conditional asylum on the grounds that he will not interfere in Tunisia's poilitics and governance. The protests still continue, demanding for dismantling Ben Ali's party RCD. We keep our fingers crossed awaiting the outcome of these protests.

K Muthukumar, who self immolated in January 2009, against Tamil oppression by Lankan Govt.

I cannot help but compare this Jasmine Revolution with Tamil Eelam War. When K. Muthukumar self immolated himself in January 2009, the Srilankan Civil War was in its final stages. His death ignited many such self immolation bids by Tamil youth- Murugathasan, Amaresan, Pallapatti Ravi, Gokularathinam, Tamilvendhan,  Sivaprakasam, Raja, Ravichandran, Ramu, and Sivanandam. The protests by Tamil Film Industry fizzled out in a few weeks and protests by students lost fizz in a few months. The CM Karunanidhi's duty was finished by sending a few telegrams to the PM and the PM's duty was over when he sent the External Affairs Minister on two half a day trips to Colombo. We all read about it in newspapers, watched it in television and promptly swept the issue aside in a few days. The Tamil Diaspora still continues its efforts in asking for an International War Crimes Tribunal which the Lankan Government vehemently denies to. But i would like to ponder on one issue here- what makes Tamils different from the Tunisians? The answer is pure SELFISHNESS, the attitude of I must live, let anyone die. Lankan Navy is now killing one Tamil fisherman a week and we remain obnoxious, as usual. Had the Indian Government helped mediate in Lankan Issue, now we wont be losing lives mid-sea. Also, i wonder where our Navy and Coast Guard are, when these poor fishermen are being fired at.

Tamils can never be Tunisians, we are more interested in what is happening in Kollywood than what befalls our own brothers and sisters. As for the Jasmine Revolution of Tunisia, i wish Tunisians all good luck to find democracy and peace!


  1. 1.In history we had heard French/Rusian Revln but nevr a one of desi story. It mean our Indians are TAMASIs. thats we prefer to be chumma instead of doing some work.wher as Westerners are Hyper actives they always need to do some thing. so they need DYnamic meditation .
    2..We had pref our leaders to be passive likes of MK Gandhi, J N, PV N Rao, MM Singh etcs to their counter parts Viz., Bose, Vallabai, Advani , Jaya aunty likes. In 1996 in a press interview advani pleaded press not to project him as an aggressiv person. Bcaz Indians do nt like aggressve ppl.
    3.Aft Muthukum immolation ther was an wide spread anger among public which was blanketed by MK family and his media conglomerates. and IDC to all colleges of TN helped to put the issue in Back burner.
    4.i feel like Family politics and its side effect of maintaing the chair to their reigns in state and cnter isbeing a big hrdle fr nation now. rem KAMARAJ . his plans wer all 30-40 yrs focussed Manimuthar Dam, Mettur dam,BHEL, NLC , IIT Chenai, RECT, etc etc /all fetches fruits aft 20-30 yrs for next two generations. here where are those kind of schemes and leaders. 75 Lakh Cr Rupees at swiss banks were these politcans or barbarians savings for atleast nxt 10 generations.
    5.Forour selfish nature we are loosing our rights over Mullai periyar, Caveri, Krsna, Fishing at Bay of Bengal every thing we loose. To Top it all we can't even help TAMILS during MAY2009 Massacre conducted by cousin Bro of Adolf HItler or IDI AMIN part II or merchant of Human muscle. Only god knows howmany molestatioons and harrasemnts wld have takn place at those IDP Camps.
    6.we dont have rights to claim MAHAKAVI , VOC, Subramaniya Siva, to our hall of fame.
    7.More than how we have understood ourselves ... the prob is understood Very well. and that is the Bone of contention.

  2. Of all the issues you have touched, the best one is about family politics. We are caged in a country that worships children of political dynasties starting from Rahul Gandhi to MK Kanimozhi. As individuals, these lot have achieved nothing, not even the trials and tribulations of a lowly party worker who hangs banners and erects cutouts. Its a shame our people ruled by Kings and autocrats for centuries now let the same happen, under the pretext of democracy. Our democracy is such a sham that i have lost all hope in it.:(


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