Tunisia is the birthplace of the “Spring” that shook the Arab world in 2011. Indeed, it is the only country where the democratic reforms called for by the so-called “Jasmine Revolution” had a great effect politically and institutionally, resulting in one of the most progressive constitutions in the Arab world. But a decade of democracy has not brought prosperity and good governance. Tunisians have instead become disillusioned with politics and the extensive corruption of their elected representatives, which has generated a very deep and ongoing economic crisis.
Recent statements made by President Kais Saied – in office for three years – about sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia have created some consternation, especially in certain international circles. On February 21, 2023, at a meeting of the National Security Council, he called for “urgent measures” to end what he described as an incessant flow of migrants, who are, allegedly, at the root of violence and crime in the country. He went on to decry “the increase, since the beginning of the century, of criminal activity aimed at changing the demographic composition of Tunisia.”
In his conspiratorial interpretation, the president also claims that the secret goal, desired and financed by foreign countries, is to strip Tunisia of its historical Arab and Muslim identity and reduce it to being solely African.