A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meanwhile in Tunis, They're Worried About Low Voter Registration

From the ongoing tragedies unfolding between Israel and Gaza, through the smoldering wreckage of the Syrian and Iraqi states, and on to Afghanistan where a possible resolution of the electoral dispute has been overshadowed by yesterday's market bombing that produced the highest death toll since 2001, the region seems to be aflame.True, the Iranian nuclear negotiations still offer some grounds for hope, but Egypt seems more authoritarian each day, and violence and kidnapping are continuing in Libya.

So it's nice to report a (somewhat) brighter scene in the only real (and still unfinished) success story of what was once called Arab Spring:  "Tunisians Divided Over Electoral Participation," and "Ask the Experts: Why Have So Few People Registered to Vote?" By comparison with its neighbors, that's almost a :First World Problem."

Other recent pieces at TunisiaLive include "Grabbing a Bite Out of Sight: Sidestepping Ramadan in Tunisia" (somewhere, Habib Bourguiba is smiling), and "Being Gay in Tunisia: Still in the Shadows." (I'm sure it's bad, but compared to, say, "Being Gay in the New Caliphate" . . .)

Now don't get me wrong: Tunisian democracy is still a work in progress. (Western democracy is still a work in progress, or maybe in  regress these days.) There are still threats to the emerging political order. But I thought noting the contrast might be worthwhile on anoher really awful day in Gaza and elsewhere.

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