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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How economic woes are threatening Tunisia's revolution

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Hopes dashed (bbc)


One year ago this weekend Tunisians overthrew the dictatorship of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in the first popular revolution of the Arab Spring. It was an uprising fuelled as much by the frustrations of the unemployed but as Wyre Davies reports from Tunis, the economic situation has not improved.

A year ago, the streets of Tunis were a battleground. Uniformed and plain-clothes police clashed with pro-democracy protesters.

Those were the dying days of a dictatorship that had ruled for 23 years.

Today the shackles of oppression have been discarded. People amble through the same streets with smiles on their faces - no longer having to whisper, for fear of who may be listening.

On the surface, at least, this is a much-changed country. 

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Not Ben Ali's Fault after all ? ...

by Darius Kadivar on

BBC has uncovered statistics that show hundreds of people continue to set themselves on fire in Tunisia, despite the onset of democratic rule ...

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Hundreds continue to set themselves on fire in Tunisia after Rev

by Darius Kadivar on

Desperate men who set themselves alight (VIDEO BBC)


Tunisia will take its place in history as the country that started the phenomenon known as the Arab Spring.

A little over a year ago, a young market trader frustrated with corruption and a lack of opportunity set himself on fire and his death triggered protests which eventually forced out the president.

But the BBC has uncovered statistics that show hundreds of people continue to set themselves on fire in Tunisia, despite the onset of democratic rule

Wyre Davies reports from Tunis. 



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Tunisia ex-leader Ben Ali faces trial over killings

by Darius Kadivar on

Tunisia ex-leader faces trial over killings (cnn)



Tunis, Tunisia (CNN) -- Tunisian authorities are trying former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in absentia Tuesday for his alleged role in the death of protesters in January 2011.

Ben Ali was ousted in the first uprising of last year's Arab Spring and fled the country. A military tribunal is hearing the case of the former president and dozens of former senior officials.

The trial focuses on who gave orders for snipers to shoot 41 protesters, an emotionally charged question in the north African country.

Nearly 250 people died over the course of several weeks early last year before Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia. 

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Tunisia unveils Bouazizi statue

by Darius Kadivar on

Tunisia unveils Bouazizi statue (bbc)


Tunisians unveil a statue in honour of the man whose act of self-immolation a year ago unleashed the Arab Spring. 

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Islamist supporters face off with secular liberals in Tunis

by Darius Kadivar on

Islamist supporters face off with liberals in Tunis (France 24)


Thousands of Islamist supporters traded insults with liberals rallying against extremism on Saturday as a new constitution was being drafted in Tunis. Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party holds the most seats on the constitutional assembly. 

Esfand Aashena

Darius jaan why they want a President and Prime Minister both?

by Esfand Aashena on

Iraq has a similar thing where they have both a President and PM but in the Iraq case neither seem to have enough power since their last election.

Who would be the head of state in such an arrangment?  Who is the commander in chief? so to speak. 

Everything is sacred

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human rights activist: Tunisia 'will be a real democracy'

by Darius Kadivar on

Marzouki: Tunisia 'willbe a real democracy' (BBC Video)


Tunisia's leading political parties are negotiating over the make-up and powers of the unity government that will run the country while a newly-elected assembly writes a constitution.

Moncef Marzouki, a human rights activist from the centre-left secular Congress for the Republic party, which came second in recently elections, is widely expected to become president.

Hamadi Jebali, from the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, the largest party in the assembly, is set to be prime minister.

Mr Marzouki spoke to BBC Afrique about concerns among some Tunisians over the balance of power in the new government, Ennahda's position on women's rights, and the fate of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in January after 23 years in power. 

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Islamist Hamadi Jebali of Ennahda 'to be Tunisian PM'

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Tunisia 'makes deal on top posts' (bbc)


A senior official from the Islamist Ennahda party, Hamadi Jebali, is to become Tunisia's next prime minister, as part of a coalition deal between the three biggest parties, sources say.

The Congress for the Republic will hold the post of president, while Ettakatol will choose the speaker of the constitutional assembly, sources added.

Ennahda won the largest share of the vote in assembly elections last month.

The deal has not been officially announced.

The caretaker government will oversee the country until a general election, following the drafting of a new constitution. 



by amirkabear4u on

maybe tunisia should.

I thought you may like to see this article;


Fairness and Equality in Justice


What Does Claudia Cardinale Say?

by Faramarz on

DK Jaan,

Any report about Tunisia must include a clip by Claudia Cardinale! Please provide an appropriate clip. Thank you.


you're not on the wrong foot at all..

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

You must know, I am an engineer, not a master of political scince like the rest of the folks on this site, so I am always learning, even from  15 year olds!

I bet you are very good at chess like the rest of your compatriots I have come across with at work.

Take care and good night Rea. 

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Roozbeh G.

by Rea on

Well, when you are non-Iranian on IC, you are always on the wrong foot, no matter what you say.

This is where I come from.


Greets from Europe, nite. 



by Roozbeh_Gilani on

And happy 50th B'day next month! Dont feel too bad, In ten years time we'll be the same age!

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Roozbeh G.

by Rea on

Upon reading Cole' article, have you learnt something new, something you hadn't known before? If so, let me know what.

PS. I'll be 50 next month, terrribly old.


"A 15-year old could've written ..."

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

And could you, who somehow strike me of somebody many, many decades older than 15?!

Good link Hoshang, Thanks. I have read some of cole's articles and although cant agree with everything he says, he seems to know his subject well. I'll certainly read his take on Tunis... 

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


What's so special about J.Cole and worth citing ?

by Rea on

A 15-year old could've written the same thing. 


جوانی که خودسوزی اش شعله انقلاب را در تونس برافروخت

Hooshang Tarreh-Gol

A graphic photo from the self-immolation of the young man that sparked their revolution.

With thanks  to D.K. for provingn this space.

Warning: Not suitable for children.

جوانی که خودسوزی اش شعله انقلاب را در تونس برافروخت



Juan Cole's two cents on this matter,

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

The First Middle Eastern Revolution since 1979.


Esfand Aashena

Iran's revolution is called "The last of the great revolutions."

by Esfand Aashena on

This is turning out to be a military coup in Tunisia.  You can be sure that in their military meetings the brass is citing Iran as an example that they don't want to end up like!

Islamic Republic has been used as a scare crow for many of the uprisings and coups since 1979.  We may see another revolution in Iran (we have the know how :-) but not in other countries.  At least not until we have our second one! 

Everything is sacred


It was all over the loaf of baguette guys!

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

Ali shariati,  zionists or Gaza strip had nothing to do with it this time! 

 Bread, Jobs and freedom!

Clear, to the point , yet uncompromising, those were the demands of Heroic Tunisian people, and those were the demands the tunisian dictator could not meet and had to flee as the result!

I Congradulate the Heroic Tunisian people for consigning their dictator to the dustbin of history and look forward, with certainty,  to seeing the same happen to our own tin pot islamist fascist dictators, ahmadinezhad and khamenei and their islamist so called republic.

Towards Democratic secular republic of Iran!

Down with the fascist islamsit regime!

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."

G. Rahmanian

Ahmadinejad & The Mullahs

by G. Rahmanian on

Are Pissing In Their Pants!


Too early to tell

by Rea on

But even so far, it goes to show one thing. There were many who supported the Iranian Rahbar. And majority still do. Sad but true.

Niloufar Parsi

well at least

by Niloufar Parsi on

you didn't compare it to the 'greens' as others have.

i hope the Tunisians can learn from 'iranians' and are working hard at uploading videos on you tube so that 30+ years from now they will be able to write/spam blogs with multiple versions of pointless videos that no one will have the time to watch.

btw, is Tunisia really experiencing a 'revolution'? seems to me that so far only one single leader has been changed.



Iran '79, Tunisia '11

by SargordPirouz on

And those other Arab dictators are shaking in their boots. For now there is the Iranian example of '79 and the Tunisian of '11.



by oktaby on

Tunisian's movement is secular in nature and no need to worry about islamization. Islamic devolution has served as both a warning, and a tool, for various despots. Hopefully, Iran along with other ME people will take a hint or two from Tunisians.



camel dung!

by benross on

That's a perspective that made me almost like this Sarkhord!


Prince Darius

by SamSamIIII on


DK jaan;

As for those shedding skin overnight post-june 15th to the "new I,s" ;::)). We both know the %80 on this very site who openly cheered mullahs on before jume 15 2009 with their military/industrial/social promos.. Its the luxury of anonymity.. Since then a large herd came back with new id,s.. a few flocks got lost & a large groupies who simply changed tone, deleted old blogs & became mild proponenets of reform from within.. mind you a looooooooong loooooong reform so just enough to cash in ;). Compare to these charlatan fence sitting lobby groupies I find the likes of Sargord as decent enough folks who still do their cheering in the open. No wonder they cheer the dude on his blog since he does in the open what these gutless closet hezbos wish they could do post-june 15th so they identify with him subconsciously . Mind you they make up for that loss with plenty of their old timer rethoric on Zio this shah that imperialist this neocon that Arabo omaru camel dung bs.

Cheers pal & keep up the "rehabilitation sessions" going for the failed crowd !!! 


Path of Kiaan Resurrection of True Iran Hoisting Drafshe Kaviaan //iranianidentity.blogspot.com //www.youtube.com/user/samsamsia

Darius Kadivar

Oh Mon Pauvre Ami ... Mon Oeil

by Darius Kadivar on

And since when did you become a Pro Bakhtiar ?  Overnight ?

Shapour Bakhtiar Suggests REGIME CHANGE based on Restoring the 1906 Constitution


No one Highjacked Your Revolution back in '79 but Yourself thanks to your Own Poor Choice:

Hichi !! 

Others ... that Minor Few knew better and refused to join you in this national Suicide: 

pictory: Bakhtiar Denounces Bazargan's Provisionary Government in exile (1979)

SPIRIT OF RESISTANCE: Iranian Intelligenstia Remembers Shapour Bakhtiar 

So Spare me your Moralist Conclusions based on your Bankrupt Arguments ... 

Cause Frankly You Jomhurykhah's Ain't Qualified anymore ... 

Mousavi & Tunisia 

As for Tunisians I wish them the best : 

'Que Sera Sera' in "The Man Who Knew Too Much"

Bonne Nuit aka Shab Khosh ! 


who is hijacking who?


you are now claiming that I suggest revolutions are the answer. clearly a lie and revisionist nonsense coming from you.  I posted an article (like you always like to do in reply to others) which seemed to show the parallels of 79 and todays Tunisia. It was not to agree or disagree with the Tunisians. (maybe you were offened by the facts contained within the article seeing how you like to defend your Shah and revise history in every one of your posts).