Let's Talk Narratives, Privilege and Power

My contribution toACEVO’s 30th birthday, 30 things to think about at#acevo30
Published originally at

Narratives For the next few decades, the world will continue to be constructed around narratives. Who shapes the narratives? And whose voice is heard? Take young people as an example. Last year I researchedyouth radicalisation, carrying out a comparative study between Al-Shabaab’s recruitment in Kenya and Daesh’s recruitment in Tunisia. My most important finding was that the victimhood narrative of marginalised youth is contributing to youth radicalisation. The victimisation narrative is used by extremist groups to recruit and sustain support. Many young people have internalised the idea that they are marginalised and are perceived to be heroic when they join these violent groups. We need to start asking ourselves, are we contributing to narratives of empowerment or disempowerment? Do we offer counter-narratives, or create new narratives about you…

Ma réponse à son Excellence Monsieur Emmanuel Macron

Rappelons le discours de Thomas Sankara à Addis Abéba le 29 juillet 1987

Ma réponse à son Excellence Monsieur Emmanuel Macron, de la #Tunisie;
Vous dites "Je suis aussi contre l'impérialisme" mais c'était encore un discours du colonisateur monsieur! encore de la francophonie impérialiste? de l’impérialisme français? un discours pour défendre la présence des bases françaises en Afrique? Applaudir les soldats français? ridiculiser des questions pertinentes des étudiants burkinabés? defender le CFA, monnaie d’essence coloniale? blâmer les Africains pour l'esclavage en Libye (blâme deja vu au 18e siècle) pendant que vous financez essentiellement des milices pour arrêter les flux de migrants en mer? la politique de "garder les migrants en Libye à tout prix"! vous êtes aussi criminel que les trafiquants monsieur !!! et parlons de la protection de Blaise COMPAORE? Parlons de soutien aux régimes corrompus? Parlons de la justice? de la dette? parlons des richesses…

Youth Radicalisation and Distrust

Published at Open Government Partnership “Youth Radicalisation and Distrust”

7,000 young Tunisians have joined Daesh1 in Syria, constituting the largest foreign fighters’ group to date (The Soufan Group, 2015). My 22-year-old cousin could have been among them. He explained that while others have taken advantage of the political vacuum of the revolution, “I felt more marginalised”. Since 2012, Tunisia has projected into the public imagination a rhetoric of fear and surveillance to justify the treatment of youth as potential terror suspects. This perception of fear is gradually translating into policies that have further radicalised disaffected youth. An accurate understanding of the factors leading to radicalisation is essential in developing an effective policy response. We need to prevent radicalisation in the first place and address the need for youth to find nonviolent social and political identities. This ca…

Letter to Mr. the Civilized…[including Donald Trump]

They promote democracy but not if it brings Islamic fundamentalists to power… They call our states rogue /undemocratic states but they tolerate human rights violations … They are watching when their intervention is needed but intervening when they need to watch… They preach non-proliferation in Iran but not in Israel… They massively repulsed aggression against oil owning Kuwaitis in the 90s but not against non-owning oil Bosnians… They consider Afghanistan the way is ruled by Taliban a threat but not Saudi Arabia the way is ruled by monarchy…

Dances With Spirits

Published at Brownbook Magazine Though it’s not necessarily considered Tunisian, stambeli can only be found in Tunisia.

A ritual dance belonging to Tunisia’s Sub-Saharan community, stambeli can occasionally be seen performed on the streets of Tunis, when members of the community dress up in masks and costumes to wander the medina as they sing, dance and play the shqashiq.

Despite its gradual demise, there remains a few dedicated practitioners of the tradition, like at Dar Barnu – the last surviving house where those of Bornu origin continue to congregate in Tunis. Here, Belhassen Barnawi, the only son of Abdul Majid Barnawi – the late head of Dar Barnu – continues to perform stambeli as a musician and singer. According to Barnawi, the word ‘stambeli’ is rooted in the Sub-Saharan term ‘sambeli’, and refers to the spirit possession ceremonies that continue to be performed in parts of Nigeria and Mali. The ritual made its way to Tunis during the Ottoman Empire. Many Sub-Saharans arrived …

Hard times for Tunisia

Published at the German Magazine D+C Development and Cooperation

If the nation looses too many of its marginalised youth to Islamist extremism, it cannot gain stability. Security measures alone will not do, because economic development and social equity matter just as much.  On 18 March, the international community was shocked by the terror attack at Bardo Museum in Tunis. 21 people, mostly European tourists, were killed. On 26 June, the international community stood shocked again with the tragedy of Sousse, where a fanatic murdered 38 tourists. This attack occurred in the holy month of Ramadan. Sadly, terrorism has been haunting Tunisia since early 2013.  Attacks occurred during Ramadan in 2014 and 2013 too. The Islamist hardliners want Tunisia’s young democracy to fail. After the revolution toppled the Ben Ali dictatorship in 2011, I think terrorism started with the assassination of the opposition leader Chokri Belaid in February 2013. A few months later, Mohamed Brahmi, another le…

People Powered Accountability Discussion at the AfDB Annual Meetings #AfDB2015

The Forum for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has been just an idea few years ago. However, last week, during its 2015 Annual Meetings in Abidjan, the African Development Bank hosted a full day of panels and discussions dedicated to CSOs. The CSO Forum is aiming at promoting closer cooperation and engagement among CSOs, the Bank, and regional member countries in order to optimize development results and sustain development impact.