Rami G. Khouri is the well-regarded Editor-at-large of The Daily Star, in Beirut, and Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon.
Writing in "The Thrill and Consequences of Tunisia" on agence global:
"Local and international observers who wonder how Tunisia mirrors the rest of the region would do well to note the core grievances that Tunisians articulate during this transition, because these grievances are widely shared across the nearly 90% of all Arabs who are poor – and thus they point the way to needed reforms across the region. They are about corruption, lack of political and fiscal accountability, non-credible electoral and political systems, absence of democratic principles, abuse of power, and excessive reliance on unchecked police power. Consequently, heading off similar revolts in other Arab countries would seem to require that long-serving rulers reflect on the need to make real changes in four principal areas: freedom of press and expression; more honest political representation of the citizenry in parliament; greater accountability in government budgets (including ruling and royal family spending); and civilian oversight of the police, security and intelligence services. These changes will not come easily or quickly.
Tunisia’s ongoing transition will have continuing impact around the Arab world, especially with the massive television coverage from Jazeera-led satellite services. What a thrill – what an absolute, exhilarating thrill – it is after half a century of mass Arab citizen degradation and dehumanization to watch one self-determinant Arab citizenry start to make a transition to something more noble, or simply more normal."