Tunisian Prime minister Mohammed Ghannouchi resigned from his post on February 27. Ghannouchi had become a major irritant to Tunisians behind the “Jasmine Revolution” that toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben-Ali in January and sparked a wave of upheaval in the Arab world. Thousands took to the streets to rally against unemployment, high food prices, corruption and state repression.
Hold on, Madmen. Unemployment, high food prices corruption in case you missed recent U.S. headlines those are the same things we are fighting against. Facebook and Twitter played a major role in organizing the revolution. 1 in every 10 Tunisians had a Facebook account. Tunisians posted amateur videos of police repression, firing squads and riots to their personal profile. That’s kind of like what we do here in the U.S. Many of those videos showed up in the news feeds of family and friends out of the country. They were shared hundreds of times creating a cyber hand to hand chain amongst thousands of Tunisians willing to fight for their right to feed and clothe themselves, to rally against corruption.
Ghannouchi, who vowed to stay on to guide Tunisia until elections could be organized said “This resignation is not a flight from my responsibilities, but to open the way for another prime minister who -I hope will have more margin for action than I have had, to give hope to the Tunisian people.” Interim President Fouad Mebazza has appointed Beji Caid Essebsi to replace Ghannouchi. Caid Essebsi is an elderly statesman and lawyer who served in government posts under two of Tunisia’s longtime leaders: Habib Bourguiba and Ben Ali. Ben Ali came to power in a palace coup in 1987. He removed then “President-for-life ” Habib Bourguida from office for incompetence. He promised to lead Tunisia into democracy but those changes never came. After 23 years of rule, Ben Ali was driven from power on January 14 and fled to Saudi Arabia. Now, it seems another agent of his regime stands poised to assume power.
Whether or not Tunisians will embrace the new prime minister remains to be seen. The revolution if it continues, will not only be televised. It will be Twitter-ed and You-tube-ed, and posted on Facebook for the world to bear witness.