Arab · Politics

The Curse of Humiliation is Defeated

A Tunisian woman waves the national flag
Photo by Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images

Since the victories of the European Revolutions of 1848 then the rise of the Empire on which the sun never sets and later the accession of the United States of America as the only world power, Arabs are preached on Democracy.

We had our ups and downs during French, Italian, and British colonization and Arab-Israel war. Mostly humiliations and defeats but we had our victorious moments. We will never forget the battle of Algiers or the Libyan hero Omar Mukhtar , or may be the 1973 war. But what happened after 1973? I was born in 1973, since then Arabs are walking head down. We were told we are weak and we were accused of being terrorists and Jews haters.

When I have children I don’t want to read them bedtime stories form 1001 nights or Kalīla wa Dimna. I want to tell them a heroic story that I knew and experienced; one that happened during my life time. I want to tell them how excited and happy I was during the events of this story. I want to tell them the story in detail, try to make them visualize every single scene the way I watched it on Al-Jazeera*.

Three hundred million Arab are in a state of ecstasy, except for few for obvious reason. Arabs are happy now! It is not because the Tunisians toppled their government or because they kicked their dictator leader out of the country. Arabs are happy because finally they defeated the curse of humiliation. For once after 38 years Arabs had a good story to tell their children and to  tell the world. They now can look straight in the eyes of Europeans and Americans and tell them we don’t need to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of civilians and waste trillions of dollars for the sake of democracy.

Yes, democracy needs lives to be sacrificed. That is what Lebanon learned after its civil war.  But for once Arabs prove they can take matters by their own. For now I want to feel the happiness the man in the video is experiencing and I want to cry out of happiness like the the woman shooting the video. I didn’t stop watching it since I first knew about it, two days ago. It is a very emotional clip that made every Arab weeps like a baby. Nothing is compared to feeling free. Happiness in contagious.

Here is my translation to what the Tunisian man is shouting about:
The Tunisian people got their freedom
The great nation of Tunisia
Long live Tunisian people
Long live Tunisia
O free people of Tunisia, you are free now
There is no criminal named Bin Ali now
Bin Ali the criminal fled. He fled the Tunisian people
Bin Ali the thief. Bin Ali the dog
Fear no one, raise your heads
We are free
The Tunisian people are free
Tunisian people will not die
The great nation of Tunisia
Long live Tunisia
Glory to the martyrs
Freedom for Tunisians
O Tunisians the immigrants
O Tunisians who were tortured
O Tunisians who were beaten
Long live Tunisia
Bin Ali fled, Bin Ali fled
The criminal fled…


O people of Tunisia, thank you for making us restore our dignity back. May Allah be with you and grant you wisdom during this transition.


* I will never forget how on Friday Jan 14th I nervously switched between Fox, CNN, and MSNBC TV channels trying to hear the story of Tunis. Alas, a story of Arabs peacefully rioting against their government and eventually causing their dictator leader to flew away was not a story worth showing to the American viewers. American media’s motto is clear to me now; don’t show news about Arabs if they are not blowing themselves up. Typical to the American media, the story is worth covering now. Arabs are trying to restore order while looting their country, this is a headline Americans want to read. Shame on you, American mediae. I am mad at you, shame on you. You lost a viewer to Al-Jazeera.


26 thoughts on “The Curse of Humiliation is Defeated

  1. I am happy for your happiness 🙂 and for the Tunisians. But this is not over yet – there is not yet freedom. Just change. And time will tell where the change will take Tunisia – but I have hope.


  2. This is a great achivemeny for the Tunisian people I hope the rest of the Arab people will learn from them 🙂


  3. مشهد عظيم والله قلبي يهتز… شعرت هيك مرة وحدة بحياتي بس لما حسن نصرالله طلع عالتلفزيون في حرب لبنان عام 2006 وحكا إنا عم نقصف الآن البارجة الإسرائيلية على شواطئ بيروت وعرض التلفاز مشهد البارجة وهي مولعة نار… شعور بالفرح ممزوج بالفخر والغبطة.. وهنيئا للشعب التونسي والعربي.. والله رجعلنا الأمل.
    في شغلة تانية لازم تحكي عنها كيف شباب تونس مبارح واليوم عملوا لجان محلية للدفاع عن أحياءهم ولمنع السلب والنهب والإجرام وكان الوضع اليوم أهدأ وبكرة أهدأ وأهدأ… خلي الغرب يقارن شبابنا ويشوف كيف دول ثانية في هيك ظروف بتغرق في القتل والإغتصاب والإجرام بس إحنا لأ..
    خليهم يشوفوا الفرق بين الشريف صاحب الدين والأخلاق وبين اللي ما عندهم شرف.


  4. Naddoush,
    You are right it is still a long journey till freedom is achieved. Yet, even such change is unprecedented in the Arab world. We hope all the best for Tunis.

    Yes, it is a great achievement. We need to remember that Tunis is among the very few if not the only Arab country that the military is not under the full command and control of the leader. If the military did what Bin Ali asked them to do, that is stop the demonstrations this would not have happened.

    الكيل بمكيالين,
    Insha’Allah, the situation is going to be better in Tunis. I have hope for this country. Tunisians are well educated and civilized and I hope they can work it together and restore safety very soon.


  5. I’m in agreement about the Western media. Case in point: my father is always sending me negative news items asking my opinion with a genuine desire to understand what is true, what is hype… what is REALLY going on over here.

    A couple of weeks ago I was on the phone with him and I asked him if he had seen the news about the Muslims as human shields for the Copts in Egypt. No – he hadn’t heard of it, but asked me to send him the story.

    You know what? I searched… and I searched… and I SEARCHED – I wanted to send him something from the Western media, not a Middle East newspaper translation. There was almost nothing there! Finally I found a brief piece in the Washington Times that was actually just a story from a Middle Eastern newspaper – no original reporting. WOW! I guess good news about the Middle East doesn’t interest people?


    1. Yes, Muslims reactions to the Alexandria’s Church bombing was not mentioned at all on TV. I follow a local newscaster on twitter. She tweeted about it and asked big networks to cover this story but of course no one cared about it.
      It really hurts when the only news about the Middle East is the one that involves bad things. Couple of days ago, I had a chat with a neighbor. This was our second at the parking lot 5 minutes chat. During our conversation he told me that he hates Christians. He is a white American, Anglo-Saxon if I may say. Living in America for 8 years I know people here are not open like in Jordan to discuss religion and politics. But he said what he said because I am an Arab and he was taught that Arabs hate Christians and Jews. When he saw my face expression he swiftly corrected himself by saying “not all Christians.”
      People should read and travel more that is my solution.


    1. اذا كان قصد التونسيين. نعم. نسأل الله ان ينعم عليهم بالأمن والسلام في أقرب وقت.ـ


  6. I don’t trust any one news source. Be careful with only Al J, too. Every one of them is owned by someone who has a stake in defining the narrative to their own profit.

    I am glad for change in Tunisia, but pray for righteous leaders who will put their own ambitions aside to truly serve their people; not step on their backs for personal profit.

    Jaraad, are you defining success and humiliation only in military terms? The Arab world, collectively, has MANY post-73 success stories. Letting Israel’s military win be the lense through which you filter your regional successes gives them a role in defining what it means to be Arab.

    If anything, the Arab successes achieved in spite of the oppression make them all the more noteworthy. Maybe that is my tainted inner- imperialist speaking, let me know.


    1. You are VERY right about not depending on one news source. Al Jazeera is not my only news source. I wrote a draft about Al Jazeera some time ago but never completed. I wrote about it to explain its success, among Arabs, to non-Arabs.
      “If anything, the Arab successes achieved in spite of the oppression make them all the more noteworthy.” very true.
      I was in the heat of the event when I wrote my post. So I may have exaggerated a little bit. I did not mean to be strong and proud only if we are military strong 🙂 But regardless of the consequences, what happened in Tunis is still unprecedented, or at least rare, in the Arab world. Since 9/11 Arabs and Muslims are not in a good shape. They are accused by the west of not speaking out against terrorism. Although, many Muslim scholars denounced all act of terrorism. But again western media and Arab media are selective of what they broadcast. Please read my comment reply to Emi.


      1. Jaraad, I validate your right to both write from the intensity of the heat AND exaggerate. 😀 (you will let me do it then, too, yea?)

        I am praying for Tunisia, that this really unique uprising will result in a successful, workable government. That would be something the entire Arab (and Western) worlds could rejoice in.

        The whole thing about speaking out against any act of terror I believe has cultural roots (maybe we talked about this before). Although I didn’t do it myself, each time there were 9 abortionists killed, I voiced my condemnation as a pro-life advocate. Each killer slandered my cause, and my condemnation validated and affirmed the cause and distanced me from one who would kill in the name of life (so bizarre). I didn’t like doing it, but found when I did, people’s hearts were softened. There are many white Americans like your friend who hate Christians.

        Great comment to Emi. That link, surprisingly enough, got lots of links in the Evangelical Christian realm of news. Any time there is a Muslim denouncing violence, I send it to friends and post on fb so people can see what they may not see on CNN.


      2. I just want to mention he is not my friend. He is a new neighbor who started the conversation.
        Sometimes one feels overwhelmed to denounce every terror act done in the name of Islam or Christianity. But you are right of what you wrote. Should keep pushing.


  7. just wait, things will not settle down , not anymore, people all around arab countries realized that there are nothing impossible now, if one young man managed to kick a dectatorian man outside the country , then everybody can do it!!!
    i am just saying!


    1. Yes, it gives hope to others. But nations should be careful. Tunis has a different story. Please read my comment to Tele. it is related to your comment.


  8. Maybe things will not settle down – but is that necessary a good thing? People are dying in Tunisia these days, militia, random shootings and fights in the streets and neighbours helping each other to keep their families safe. Maybe it is the price to pay for change – I don’t know – but I really hope that the leaders will find a way to settle things very soon, without any further loss of lives, and that they – as Kinzi said – will put the nations best ahead of their own personal interests. But with only 60 days to have an election – time is short and the tasks many.


    1. No one likes wars but sometimes it is inevitable but to go to one. Tunisians reached a state that they felt they had to do something. You have to hear from Tunisians about their situation not from the media.
      What will happen in Tunis for the next 60 days is still unknown. The problem is 60 days is very short time to elect a new president who is not a member of the previous government that is what I heard from a video when they talk about the Tunisian constitution. Hopefully, things will turn to the best eventually.


  9. الفيديو اول مرّه وصلتله قبل كم يوم بمدونه مش متزكره مدونة مين للاسف
    يمكن سمعته 10 مرات ….الكلام و الهدوء بدخل بالقلب وبهزّه هز و بس زغردو البنات شعور غريب صابني

    المشكله ان في ناس مش قادرين يعيشو سعادة اللحظه و لانهم بفكرو باسؤ اللي ممكن يصير بعدين….
    الله يكثّر من امثال اللي برفعو الراس بعالمنا العربي و ربنا يهدّي الاحوال و ان شاء الله يجي رئيس من الشعب و بعرف معاناة الشعب وما يجور او يتغير بيوم


    1. نعم الفيديو مؤثر جدا. سمعته كثير. وفعلا بكيت خصوصا لما كنت اسمع كلام الست التونسيه. زي ما ذكرت في بعض الناس عنا بالأردن مش حاسيين باللي صار. لازم الواحد يسمع من تونسيين شو كان يعمل بن علي حتى يحسوا. بتعرفي انه الشرطي من حقه يوقف اي سياره اذا شاف واحده مغطيه شعرها ويأمرها انها تخلعه والا مش راح يخلي السياره تمشي حتى لو كان زوجها او قريبها معها. تخيلي لما الرجل يصير معاه هاد الموقف ومش قادر يعمل شيء.ـ


  10. This is a powerful part of the Arab history. I’m also glad that I was able to witness it. I hope we get to see many more of these stories.

    I’m not surprised about the American Media at all. It’s a sad truth but it can be changed. I hope at least.


  11. طبعا ً التونسيين قصدي 🙂

    *I like the new header! Sadly I couldn`t listen to the song -your latest entry-! but the lyrics are really beautiful.



  12. I’ve been so excited seeing what Arabs have done in their countries this year!! (With a very close Arab friend I think I’ve been a bit more interested in this news than many other Americans.) Some places it’s been much easier than others, but I admire Arabs for finally demanding freedom *in spite of* their fear. I am now rooting for the Syrians who desire freedom!

    By the way, how are things in Tunisia now? I rarely hear of it and thought since you can read Arabic news, you can give an update. I’ll keep reading to see if you did. Maybe you could do a post about the Arab Spring in review…success and works in progress. I’d enjoy that! *hint, hint* 😉

    Great post!


    1. The news from the MENA countries are overwhelming this year. I can hardly follow the stream of news from Syria or Jordan. So, I am not sure what is going on Tunisia, Egypt or Libya. My source of news about North Africa is from friends only. Unfortunately, the media whether in the west or in the Middle East have something in common, they are after more viewers not just conveying news. So, most of the news from the Arab world nowadays are based on enticing the viewers.

      Although, my prayers are for people in Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia I am concerned most about Syria. I have relatives there. Unfortunately, Since Syria is not as rich as Libya the west is not concerned much about what is going on there although the atrocity there is no less than Libya.

      Leaders of the Arab countries BELIEVE they are immortal. They just can’t accept the fact that people had enough.


      1. I love that last line! So true!

        Yes, Syria is my biggest concern as well since one of my dearest friends is from Damascus and his family currently lives there! (He, on the other hand, has been studying in Germany the last 2 years.) Samer is the reason I got interested in the Arabs and Muslims and he opened the door for me to know about his people. So I try to keep up with Syrian news not only from him (we talk nearly every day via Skype), but through Facebook sites dedicated to sharing the news:

        Shaam News Network (English for me) and Syrian Days of Rage – English.

        I guess I can’t believe Americans wouldn’t know about it since I constantly see videos and articles on my FB News Feed.

        Thanks for your reply. Maybe I can find out about Tunisia from someone else. Reading your post this morning just got me interested in knowing how things are turning out for them post-revolution!


      2. Damascus has less problems, for now, than other cities in Syria. My family are doing well. Thanks for asking.

        I am glad you found an Arab friend. During my stay in the US I found that Americans who have been overseas are more open to other cultures than those who have never been outside the US. Personal experience is much more effective than just watching horrible news on TV. And it was the same in my case. What I knew about Americans and America is different than what I know now.

        I know I should be more concerned about Tunis and Egypt post-revolution unfortunately I no longer follow the news as I used to. What is happening in Libya and Syria is really troubling.


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