A decade after the folks in Thala celebrated their first free and democratic election, all power in Tunisia has become centralized in the hands of President Kais Saied. Yet, paradoxically, Thala’s election organizers were not sad to see the Parliament go. It seems to be a testament to the widely perceived notion that what had manifested after the small successes of the Arab Spring was, in effect, a corrupt and ineffective Parliament, which hadn’t made a difference in people’s everyday lives.
Ten years on, many members of the Ben Ali-Trabelsi clan remain in exile, scattered across the world. But the question that has dogged Tunisians for a decade remains — what happened to the money? Where is it hidden, and will Tunisians ever be able to recover what was stolen from them?
For me, it’s the olfactory sense that first awakens the resurgence of childhood recollections, and the first trip to Tunisia that we took together. I remember the aroma released by a jasmine plant that we had outside the window of our family home.