A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Assassination of Chokri Belaid

Chokri Belaid
It was becoming fashionable to say that the Tunisian Revolution seemed stalled, its future direction uncertain, but the assassination this morning of secular leftist political figure Chokri Belaid marks a violent turn that is now provoking protests in the capital and elsewhere. President Moncef Marzouki has returned from a visit to Europe and canceled his participation in the Islamic Summit in Cairo, which opens today.

The Party's Emblem
Belaid, 48, was Secretary General of the Movement of Democratic Patriots, a leftist and pan-Arabist party with a fiercely secular and anti-Islamist agenda. It has one seat in the 217-seat Constituent Assembly. He was shot dead in front of his home this morning.

Protesters and Belaid's brother are reportedly attacking the ruling al-Nahda Party for the assassination. At a time when the country is increasingly seeing violent confrontations between the secularists and Islamists, the assassination of Belaid is likely to further destabilize the situation.

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