Welcome to Kalamna, the student blog of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Tunisia After the Revolution"

Tunisia, the tiny brave nation the sparked the Arab uprisings, relies heavily on tourism. But the revolution, subsequent instability and a months-long civil war in next-door Libya convinced many tourists to look elsewhere. 

The national climate has gotten a lot better in the last several months after the historic free and fair October elections. Protests, riots, and strikes are a near daily occurrence but now in a normalized manner befitting a democracy as opposed to a general state of insecurity.

One of the reasons for the revolutionary upheaval was the state of the economy, especially high youth unemployment. Creating a thriving economy remains a laborious task and unemployment has actually risen since the revolutions as businesses have shut doors and tourism taking a fall.

You can do YOUR part but checking out this beautiful country.

That is why I was quite pleased to see the New York Times travel section do a very nice piece on Tunisia this past week:

BELOW the watchtower of the ancient fortress known as the Ribat, a panoramic view of the Tunisian city of Sousse unfolds. To the east lies the Mediterranean coast, where the Carthaginians moored their navy during epic battles with the Roman Empire. To the south and west, the labyrinthine passageways of the medina, the city’s old walled quarter, extend to the vanishing point amid a sea of tightly packed houses and minarets.....
For those further intrigued, a few years back the Times did an even better piece - less a blow-by-blow travel account and more a poignant memoir on Tunisia - that featured one of my favorite places in the country:

The crowd that gathers at El Firma, a 1920’s colonial farmhouse-turned-restaurant on a desolate stretch of land outside Tunis, is as sexy and stylish as any in the world. The work of two young Tunisian brothers, Sadri and Iyed Tej — one trained in Nice, the other at the legendary Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon — and a Tunisian designer, Mona Mechri, El Firma is an incredibly beautiful place: antique cushioned chairs reupholstered in fuschia and furs play off the rough, warm texture of old stone walls; in the long, narrow dining room, a large plate-glass window frames a tumult of vegetation outside, lighted from below. On a soft night recently, when the seating moved out into the large, open courtyard, I found young Tunisian fashionistas just home from Paris or Rome sitting on sofas backed by elaborate antique headboards while their mothers (even more stylish) remained at tables deep in conversation in a jumble of languages. Above it all, a canopy of sheer curtains billowed sensuously in the soothing breezes of the North African night.... 

Check it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No comments: