NIGHTWATCH EXTRACT Tunisia: Update. The Tunisian army fired into the air to disperse protesters from the headquarters of former President Ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Rally (CDR) in Tunis. The CDR has been disbanded but some demonstrators want the building razed. The state of emergency remains in effect.
The interim government met for the first time today. The session concluded with a number of decrees.
The government ordered a general amnesty for all political prisoners, reduction of the curfew everywhere except Tunis, and the reopening of schools and universities next Monday. It also agreed to recognize all previously banned political parties and declared three days of mourning for the 78 people killed during the recent uprising.
In his address, the interim president and former Speaker of the Parliament stressed the temporary character of this government, and determined its tasks to be:
– to make sure that all enterprises get back to normal business;
– to prepare for the forthcoming presidential elections.
NIGHTWATCH Comment: The interim president and the prime minister both resigned from the RCD, in which both had been longstanding members. They directed other hold-over cabinet members to resign in today's cabinet session.
The political activities are almost surreal. The holdover political leaders apparently think a “do-over” will be sufficient to correct the authoritarian excesses of the past 23 years. Thus far Tunisians are acquiescing in this bizarre exercise. Meanwhile, the economic grievances that gave rise to street demonstrations remain unaddressed.
Phi Beta Iota: The well-mannered unethical among us will be quick to scorn the above headline, but the comment says it all. Buckminster Fuller was among the first in modern history to point out that the White House was theater, and many others have addressed the huge gap between reality and the images that Wall Street and Washington seek to communicate. Advanced cyber-information operations have been perfected by the financial crime network within which the two political parties are fully complicit co-conspirators. There are 63 other parties in America that have been disenfranchised, and the electoral system is as corrupt as any abroad including that of Tunisia. The current financial and political leadership of the USA really thinks that a “do-over” (the other term is “make-over”) will quiet things down. This isn't just moving deck chairs on the sinking Titanic; this is re-arranging deck chairs floating in the icy waters of the North and pretending the ship of state is still there.