The revolution in Tunisia is one gone right. In an astonishingly short time a popular uprising in this small North African nation has brought thousands of disgruntled people out on the streets in such force that the dictatorial President Ben Ali has fled the country.
But the people are not stopping there. They are still in the streets demanding the removal of his cronies who are still hanging around in the dark corners waiting for the rebellion to settle down. This makes the Tunisians smarter than their contemporaries were in Romania twenty years ago.
For decades the Romanians had suffered under the heavy hand of Nicolae Ceausescu, the ‘Dracula of Romania’.
He had stolen freely from the treasury for his extravagant lifestyle and use the state funds to build a palace ‘grander than the Versailles’, all while his people suffered under one of the most power stricken regimes in Europe.
He ruthlessly murdered or tortured anyone who so much as whispered a word against him. His Securitate secret Police where amongst the most ruthless in Europe.
Finally the people had enough and in a few short weeks went from being mute and meek to staging massive protests that even the Securitate couldn’t suppress. Ceausescu had to flee from Bucharest in a helicopter only to have the pilots have a change of loyalty in mid-air and return the hated dictator to the same people who routed him.
He and his equally blood sucking wife were given a makeshift trial, taken out and shot. Unfortunately, after decades of one man rule, the people were not sharp enough politically to demand that his aides and officials step down as well. In the confusion they took over the empty throne and ruled the country on only a slightly better level that Nicolae had.
The Tunisians are no such fools however. They are among the most highly educated in Africa and do not have the extreme religious mentality that their other Arabic allies have.
They are demanding reform from the roots up and are hanging around to see that they get it. Already an interim government has been set up, but with too many of the old school boys in it to make the citizens feel comfortable.
Not to worry about an Iran like Khomeini taking over- the Tunisians are too European to go that route. They are more self possessed. And they know what they want. And they know that autocrats and religious extremists won’t get them the independence that they crave.