Tunisia could benefit from bitter lessons of Iran’s clumsy '79 revolution


Tunisia could benefit from bitter lessons of Iran’s clumsy '79 revolution
by Darius Kadivar

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." - Mark Twain 

Carter's infamous "Island of Stability" Speech in Tehran toast the Shah of Iran at Niavaran Palace:

President Ben Ali admonished on lack of democracy by then US President George W. Bush:



Unrests in Tunisia and the passionate reactions it has triggered in a nation often hailed as an “Island of Stability” in the Maghreb could benefit from the bitter lessons of Iran's clumsy "Islamic" revolution in it's legitimate struggle for Democracy.   

See Related News Here )

Ironically just like in Iran 30 years ago In Iran with the Cinema Rex Tragedy what triggered the protests in Tunisia was an isolated incident which symbolically concentrated the nation's discontent towards it's leaders that of of a graduate who set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid over lack of jobs. The clashes and violent incidents to date have led to dozens of deaths ( however tragic although fairly limited given the violent circumstances).

Ironically Tunisia just like Imperial Iran is largely a Secular Society deemed an "Island of Stability" in the Maghreb which despite an Authoritarian regime enjoys social progress and particularly emancipation and equal rights for wormen as no where else in the Muslim world apart from maybe Turkey.

A Report on the Situation of Women in Tunisia ( English Subtitles):

The major difference in the current unrest with the revolution in Iran 30 years ago is that for the time being the Tunisians are lucky not to have a mad Ayatollah leading the opposition to the regime. There may be a less dramatic outcome to this "revolution" than was the case for our unfortunate country.

Opening scene of Ferid Boughedir's Film Un été à la Goulette:

With Cameo Roles with Claudia Cardinal and Michel Boujnah

French Tunisian Comic Actor /Director Michel Boujnah Jokes about Tunisians on French TV:

But there I am merely being cautiously optimistic.

Only time will say if the departure of President Ben Ali and the announcement of a provisionary government by the Prime Minister will lead to a more constructive outcome for a people legitimately struggling for Democracy within an Authoritarian ( yet hardly Tyrannical ) environment.

For indeed history often tragically illustrates that far more difficult than the task of toppling an Authoritarian or dictatorial Regime, the Greatest Challenge for a Nation is to construct and maintain a democratic one. 

May the Tunisian People overcome the challenge of succeeding their Democratic Transition in a constructive way and without giving in the destructive temptations of vengeance which often characterizes national upheavals and often dooms the legitimate hopes of a nation when at crossroads in it's history.


My thoughts are with the Tunisian People and Friends of that Beautiful country in these challenging times.



Jan 14th, 2011 

Paris, FRANCE 


Recommended Photo Essay:

Golden Blue by shahireh sharif (Iranian.com)


******************************************************************** ********************************************************************


Miscellaneous Footage as a Comparative Study 





Shah of Iran in London say's People will not revolt in Iran (1963 or 1965 ?):   An overconfident Shah shortly after a failed Assassination attempt on his life speaks to the international press and diplomats. During this period Iran faced unrests triggered by an unknown Ayatollah Khomeiny protesting against the Shah's White Revolution and Land Reforms. 

British ITV Report on Shah faced with the early uprisings against his regime in 1979:

(NOTE: To Watch Double Click Here)

  Shah of Iran's Last Public Speech the nation:   Shah Speech acknowledges Voice of the Revolution butrefuses to abdicate and promises to Respect the Constitution once Calm andOrder is Restored.

Pro Bakhtiar demonstrations in Support of the 1906 Constitution:
Tunisia's President Ben Ali's last speech:

Anti-government protests continue despite Ben Ali's promise to stand down
Thousands of people took to the streets of Tunis Friday to protest the rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. This despite his promise Thursday not to seek another term and his orders that police stop using real bullets on protesters. 

Flights continue to Tunisia despite unrest:

Iran's IRI's Press TV coverage of Tunisia's Unrest:

French Coverage of Tunisian Revolution:

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