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The Story of the Tunisian Revolution

Samuel Tadros

The simple narrative of a frustrated Tunisian street vendor’s desperate act igniting the flames of Arab revolutions has captured the world’s imagination. Yet no serious examination has been undertaken to understand what actually took place in the halls of power that led to Tunisia’s strongman, Zein El Abedine Ben Ali, fleeing his country. In this essay, Samuel Tadros examines an important book written by two Tunisian journalists investigating the revolution. The story offers us important insights into the nature of Arab regimes, their inherent weaknesses, the culture of mistrust they sow, and how the powerful house Ben Ali had constructed was figuratively built on sand. The story of what transpired in Tunisia during its revolution stands as a cautionary tale regarding the narratives that have come to dominate the way the Arab revolutions and events in the broader region have been reported and understood.

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