The regime is playing its last card today in Tunisia. That last Card is the RCD (the party of the former dictator). After the formation of a so-called “National Unity Government ” yesterday, and after the UGTT (the largest trade union in the country) supported and even participated in it with three ministers, alongside three opposition ministers (from the legalized opposition under the regime), many thought that the Tunisian revolution ended up with a compromise. A compromise that left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Tunisian people and especially the youth who started this revolution and were determined to sacrifice in order to see it through.
After learning the composition of the government and the fact that it included even the minister of interior of the regime who can be held responsible among others for the killings, the revolutionary sentiment exploded again. Arab Nationalists, Islamists, and radical leftists but above all normal Tunisians with no political agenda except their determination to have a clean break with the past of repression decided to go challenge this government and demanded the outlawing of RCD and the formation of a national salvation government that even breaks with the constitution and rewrites it. These are revolutionary demands by all means and many people did not make them yesterday. However, people who knew the high level of political awareness that the Tunisian people possesses also knew that action will follow.
Today all over the country demonstrations are erupting, forcing the UGTT to retreat from the government and to embrace the revolutionary demands cited above. In many places the popular committees clashed with the police and shootouts were reported. . . . Tunisia will decide its direction in the coming days, maybe hours: would it be a revolution that goes all the way or a compromise between a revolution and a regime that will keep many contradictions under the surface, which will sooner or later lead to another clash . . . ?
Dyab Abou Jahjah is founder and former president of the Arab European League. This article was first published in his blog Abou Jahjah Comments on 18 January 2011; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.