Interviews Available with Tunisians: “A Third Way”

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available with Tunisians: “A Third Way”

WASHINGTON - Protests continued today in Tunisia, with the ruling party's headquarters surrounded and its signage dismantled.

RADIA DAOUSSI
Daoussi, a Tunisian native, is the president of the Vineeta Foundation, a
non-profit focusing on public health and human rights. She also works
for international organizations, including UNDP, UNICEF, and the World
Bank. Daoussi said today: "Tunisians have not let down their movement,
it's not like Ben Ali is out and we can all go home. The Ben Ali regime
was supported by the U.S. government for years with hundreds of millions
of dollars. Ali came to visit the U.S. under Bush. Tunisia has
apparently been a major player in the ‘rendition' program. Tunisia
followed the IMF structural adjustment programs, cutting subsides for
food and fuel. It was heralded by the IMF, by France and the U.S. as a
model for the Third World because of its growth, but it was dependent on
tourism. It did provide good education, but not many jobs.

"For all the talk of democracy by U.S. officials, this was a
homegrown movement, not planned out by the U.S. military or government.
It's past time for people in the U.S. to ask what price there is for
‘stability.' There's a third way - not pro-U.S. authoritarianism or
repressive Islamic rule - a true democracy." Daoussi is speaking at a
forum tonight in Washington, D.C.

The following activists are available for a limited number of media
interviews form Tunisia (please call between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Tunisia
time, which is 6 hours ahead of U.S. ET):

HOUEIDA ANOUAR, on Twitter
Anouar is an independent Tunisian activist with a strong background in
both civil society traditional advocacy projects and digital activism.
She has been involved in human rights and freedom of speech campaigns
since the year 2000, as a blogger and editor of an alternative online
media outlet (http://www.reveiltunisien.org). She is a former program
officer at Freedom House.

She said today: "Ben Ali has left, but we still have his party.
People are in the streets every day now calling for officials from this
party to step down from the interim unity government and for that party
to be dismantled. This party is very powerful, with offices in every
neighborhood. Many people feel that this party infrastructure is still
doing the dirty work. People in this party and other Ben Ali loyalists
still control lots of institutions and media outlets.

"People want to see real change and argue that these officials cannot
be trusted given their history - including the current prime minister -
and that these officials should step aside and this repressive
structure should be dismantled. Someone set loose militias that killed
people - we don't know who that was and the interim unity government is
not communicating in a straightforward manner, further leading many
regular people to conclude that these officials cannot be trusted with
power."

FARES MABROUK, on Twitter
Mabrouk is a Tunisian activist and entrepreneur. In 2009, Mabrouk
founded the first Tunisian company providing mobile financial services
to the unbanked population. Prior to that he developed and managed a
Tunisian private company offering logistic solutions for the oil
industry. Before moving to the private sector Mabrouk was in the
Tunisian Administration as member of the Cabinet of the Minister of
Energy and Industry. He received a MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School.

He said today: "This is not only about Tunisia, this is about the
relations between Arab people and their leaders. We must address the
real question: Is democracy possible in the Arab world and Tunisians are
saying ‘Yes'. ... There was not a single slogan in the street related to
religion; all slogans were calling for dignity."

Mabrouk added, regarding Obama's speech last year calling for
dialogue: "This is an window of opportunity to give the Cairo speech a
second wind." Mabrouk has recently appeared on Democracy Now

Follow on Twitter: #Sidibouzid
(the #Sidibouzid hashtag refers to the town of Mohamed Bouazizi, the
street vendor whose self-immolation sparked protests in mid-December.)

For translating from Arabic and French websites and Twitter feeds, use translate.google.com

See Al-Jazeera English report on Bouazizi - live feed is available via livestation.com

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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