|Posted on May 13, 2011 at 10:55 AM|
LA PRESSE NEWSPAPER INTERVIEWS FOREIGN RESIDENTS IN TUNISIA
EXTRACTS FROM ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY HAJER AJROUD
THE FOREIGN COMMUNITY IN TUNISIA
Tunisia is currently living one of the toughest periods in its modern history and the repercussions are felt in all areas. We all believe that this is a transient period and the day will come when everything will be fine. Meanwhile, tourists are deserting the country, which is understandable, but they will soon return ... The Ministry of Tourism is working hard to convey a good image of Tunisia, still standing proud, despite its wounds, still open. It is true that there are troubles ravaging some areas, but that in some regions of Tunisia, nothing suggests that a revolution has passed through the country ...
But if between Tunisians, we try to find solutions and we are also concerned about the arrival of tourists who still contribute to keep the economic machine running, there is a community that feels lost and trying to live a situation and deal with it ...
It is the foreign community, many living for decades on the Tunisian soil. They are men or women in business, half Tunisians, entire families who have decided to settle here, teachers, or others. In short, they are a society in our society they consider theirs.
How do they live the situation in Tunisia? Are they afraid? Will they ever decide to leave this country which is dear to many of them, or at least representative of their home?
We then tried to collect some testimonials ...
Alina Wozniak, Polish artist
"I'm afraid, but I remain optimistic"
On the political front, I fear that the Islamists will come to power. I then asked the question on what will be the fate of Christians in case it happens. I would not want to fall into the religious problem. I fear the possibility of an experience of Algeria at the time of the FIS ... I wonder if I would then be accepted as a resident foreigner here. I also fear that the revolution in Tunisia will raise a wave of price increases globally.
I certainly do not feel safe, I avoid venturing downtown, I go less to church, and even if I go, I go to the one in La Goulette rather than in Tunis. Other people in my community continue to live normally, and if by chance they find themselves in the midst of demonstrations during a visit to the city centre, they do not feel any fear. As for me, although I'm fearful, I will not leave Tunisia. It's beautiful here!
And despite all these concerns, I remain optimistic ... I fully understand that a revolution does not give its fruit in a few weeks or months, we must learn to wait.
That's why when I hear of a Tunisian immigrant having left Tunisia for the Europe following the revolution, because he has not been offered employment, it surprises me. Many Tunisians are impatient, yet patience is required!
In Eastern Europe, we also experienced a revolution and political issues, but the situation was different. Not only was there the army, but we are naturally cold blooded. People here are excited and passionate, "hot blood" as they say, it affects the reactions ...
Emmanuel Caltagirone, French businessman
"Strikes and claims hamper the competitiveness of enterprises"
On a personal level, I worry about my safety, but also for my goods, due to the increase in burglaries! Even walking downtown, is becoming risky for us. When you see what happened in Morocco, we are concerned that may also happen in Tunisia. Much of the army is maintaining order in the south of the country, the borders are "short" and the police overwhelmed. Anything can happen then.
The curfew also worries me. I wonder if it will continue until 24 July?
On the political front, there is a blur and we do not know what is going to happen. Everyone tries to be reassuring, but the situation proves otherwise. I believe that our fate and that of 1,250 companies and 110,000 jobs offered by French investors will be decided after the election. This may decide whether we should stay and invest more ...
As for the manifestations held downtown, it does worry me, but it's far from the neighbourhoods where the majority of the French are living.
As a businessman I have faced strikes and demands for both tenure and for the salary increase, which leads to higher prices and it hurts us in terms of competitiveness. Besides this, the strikes make it difficult for us to honour our commitments and deliver on time. And we must not forget that Tunisia is not only competing with the Maghreb countries, but also with those of Eastern Europe.
Camille. The freelance journalist
"We must learn to be patient and wait"
Since coming to live here, just after the revolution, I have no fear, in fact I live in the Medina and I haven't had any problems. Sometimes I fear the complications that can happen in any democratic transition, as in the few days we have just experienced, but I was prepared knowing that there will be no democratic transition without problems. I also realise that safety is not always assured. I remain optimistic about the elections. It is true that I have not yet departed from Tunis, but everyone I talked to here seems moderate. And on the political scene, there are also several moderate political forces ...
Be patient, do not require it to go faster. One should not expect everybody to agree about how to run the economy!