Sheep in Wolf's Clothing - II
Two links on Tunisia's deposed dictator.
By Henry Samuel, Paris 5:29PM GMT 10 Feb 2011
Leila Ben Ali's words of "encouragement" to her husband, Zine al-Abidine as he refused to board the plane to spirit him out of Tunisia and to Saudi Arabia were reported as: "Get on imbecile. All my life I've had to put up with your screw ups."
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As revolt rumbled in the capital, Mr Ben Ali, who was ousted after 23 years of iron rule on January 14, stood on the tarmac in Tunis airport with a small briefcase wringing his hands, and saying: "Leave me, I don't want to go, I want to die here for my country."
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During the flight, Mr Ben Ali got up and walked to the cockpit every ten minutes, asking the pilot: "My son, you are going to take me back to Tunisia afterwards, aren't you?"
"Of course, I've received instructions to do just that," replied the pilot, briefed by the military to placate Mr Ben Ali until his arrival in Jeddah.
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According to Trabelsi family members and palace officials, Mr Ben Ali was totally under the thumb of his wife, a 53-year old former hairdresser.
Diminished by prostate cancer, he had expressed the desire to end his rule in 2009, but Mrs Ben Ali ruled that out, as she allegedly harboured secret plans to rule in his place.
"In her mind, the scenario was clear: she would take care of the regency until her son Mohammed (today aged six) was old enough to reign," one family member said.
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Source: Tunisian deposed leader dominated by 'Lady Macbeth'
Los Angeles Times
February 2, 2011
-- Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem
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A comprehensive study of the Tunisian curriculum, completed in 2009 and presented before the European parliament, found that education in Tunisia cultivates equality and is much more progressive in teaching tolerance than any other Arab country.
But it wasn't always so, says Yohanan Manor, a retired Jewish Agency official and political scientist who established the research group a decade ago. According to Manor, Tunisia began instituting educational reform in the mid-1990s, when Zine el Abidine ben Ali (who was overthrown last month) appointed a political opponent as minister of education. Mohamed Charfi, who died a few years ago, was a lawyer and longtime human rights leader in Tunisia and a fierce critic of Ben Ali, in particular concerning human rights issues.
The now-deposed president had placed Charfi in charge of the education ministry, maybe so that he could keep an eye on him but also because Ben Ali was interested in letting the rights leader implement his agenda, which was separating religion and state, Manor said, noting that the issue is a longstanding one in Tunisian history.
The first phase was to extricate the school curriculum from the influence of the clerics -- not in an action against religion, but rather from the position that democracy and Islam can work together so long as "church" and state were separated. A second phase followed later on, geared to prepare for globalization rather than resist it.
The material still takes the Palestinian side in their conflict with Israel, researchers found, but not in a way that negates Jews or Israel. Above all, the study found the educational system to have a "profound understanding of equality and democracy."
Charfi's reforms shaped the younger generation in Tunisia that ultimately rebelled. "Mohamed Charfi is the true champion of Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution," Manor said.
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Source: ISRAEL: Researchers see Tunisia as a textbook revolution
This post borrowed its pic from another post with the same name
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