“The People Demand, a Civil State”, March 20th 2012

Aya Chebbi's Photography
        Tunisia’s flag has been raised up in another special occasion today: “Independence Day of Tunisia”. I’ve never celebrated the Independence Day. For some Tunisians, it would be just a day off, for others it would be a good opportunity to rest and sleep or hang out with friends, for me it has always been another day like every day. All what this day means is the declaration of independence form the French colonization on March 20th, 1956. However, today was a march and more than a mere independence commemoration.

Although some parties tried to gather in groups, holding different flags and calling for different slogans, by noon, thousands of Tunisians were standing in front of Interior Ministry, holding the same flag “Tunisia’s Flag” chanting: الشعـــب يــــريد دولــــــة مــــدنيـة  “the people demand, a civil state”, recalling the commitment of January 14th as if that day has been a second independence… independence form dictatorship, from censorship, from oppression...

Aya Chebbi's Photography
   Kids, adults, men and women from different social classes, ages, political orientations and backgrounds were holding Tunisia’s flags and placards, wearing shirts and scarfs in Red and White; Red the symbol of the martyrs' blood who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence and White for peace or as we say in Arabic                 صفاء قلوب المسلمين على بعضهم البعضwhich means "Purity of the hearts of Muslims towards each other". This is the flag's symbolism and these symbols"sacrifice and solidarity"are our weapons for a continuous struggle for the ultimate goals of Tunisia's revolution. 

         A handicapped women was marching today, holding a placard where it was written, “Tunisie Libre et Laique”, Tunisia is Free and Secular. Another young lady was wearing a T-shirt with the picture of Farhat Hached to remind the people about Tunisian leaders.Farhat Hached, in fact, was a prominent leader of both the Tunisian trade-unionist and independence movements. Two other ladies in their forties were holding a huge placard saying “The Code of personal Status is a Red Line”. An old man was painting the flag on his face and writing "Free Tunisia"on his shirt. One of the policemen was raising the flag higher and other policemen were distributing flags to the marchers.Indeed, every Tunisian had this day as his space to express him/her concerns and aspirations.
        We, Tunisians, are so diverse and our diversity makes our strength, tolerance and determination. On the one hand, by the end of the march, spontaneous circles of discussions about the country’s current situation have been formed. People were arguing and debating about different topics, kids were holding their parents’ hands with one hand and the flag with the other hand on the way back home and photographers were everywhere documenting the great day. On the other hand, a party campaigner was distributing flyers of her party and a friend of mine gave her the flyer back and said: "I would like this day to remain for Tunisia and not for a particular party's promotion". This is how Tunisians are learning how to live in a democracy and protect their freedoms.

         My love for this country is growing every day. My pride of this flag makes me smile whenever I see it around in Tunis, in other country’s protests and demonstrations, on Google search page, on national and international channels or on my room’s wall.The 56th Independence Day was a beautiful scene of the patriots of the Tunisia gathered in the streets ,commemorating the martyrs of Tunisia of 1956 and 2011 and promising the rebirth of a new history.

                                                          Aya Chebbi's Photography


SeifAllah said…
I really love the way that u described a gr8 independence day that all Tunisians were united again after more than one year of the revolution !
George Entenman said…
What an inspiring story!! Congratulations to the Tunisian people.


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