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Sombre celebration Thursday as Tunisia marks a decade after revolution

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FETHI BELAID/AFP or licensors


It would likely be a sombre celebration in Tunisia on Thursday as the North African nation marks a decade since the ouster of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

The movement that led protest leading to the exit of the Tunisian president in 2011, has given way to hopelessness among the one third of young people with jobs.

Moslem Kasdallah, got wounded during the revolution. Ten years after the revolution, he describes the current state of affairs as a ‘’shame’’.

"Ten years (after the revolution) is a shame. Believe me, it's a shame! Those children of Tunisia who gave to the country, don't they deserve the recognition (by authorities) of their revolution? The revolution took place. As far as I'm concerned, it was to write history. There are many wounded like me who don't need to have their names (on a list). We want the authorities to recognize the revolution, for the sake of history", Kasdallah said.

Unlike most of its regional neighbors, Tunisia, has kept the momentum a fragile democracy alive. But popular discontent is now forcing many to leave.

"There is no political will to publish this list (of victims of the revolution). There are also other parties that do not want this list published, such as the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Defense. Because if it is said that there is a certain number of martyrs, it means that there is a criminal responsibility", Lamia Farhani, lawyer and sister of a victim said.

Tunisians made up the largest number of irregular migrants. Last year, more than 12,000 of them arrived in Italy on boats crossing the Mediterranean.

Revolts began in Tunisia where young street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, cheated and humiliated by local officials, set himself on fire on December 17, 2010.

His desperate protest was the spark that set off a wildfire of popular revolts across North Africa and the Middle East. It briefly raised hopes of bringing political freedom to millions.

While those hopes were broadly dashed, and Syria, Libya and Yemen were plunged into brutal wars, small Tunisia steered a more hopeful path following Ben Ali's flight to Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2011.

The country has since had nine governments in ten years, but the transfers of power have been peaceful, despite initial turmoil and the deadly Islamist attacks.

In 2015, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Tunisia's so-called Quartet of human rights, legal, labor and business groups "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011".

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