"That was the only reason [I returned]. She sent me a message. She was crying."
"It was no longer the Tunisia that we were all familiar with."
TUNIS, Tunisia -- Exactly five years after the Arab Spring, Tunisia's revolutionary achievements have disappeared. Once considered the country that resisted the chaos that took over most of the MENA region after 2011, it seems to be sliding back into its pre-revolutionary situation. There is only one cause for this: poor leadership.
When I got the news that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to a "quartet" of four Tunisian civil society groups, I was in the "AFOUFA" hair salon in La Marsa, an upscale suburb of Tunisia doing something I rarely do: getting my hair done.
One could argue that the only place where the revolutions of the Arab Spring have actually made a change for the better is Tunisia. The North African country has had its own issues since 2011, but perhaps Tunisia's downturn has much to do with its close proximity to terror hotbed Libya.
He wrote a poem. Recited it in his apartment to a group of seven people. Unknown to him, the poem was recorded and uploaded on YouTube. That was in 2011. Now he sits in prison in Qatar, serving a prison sentence of 15 years!
It's unusual to write about Ph.D. dissertations, but when the topic deals with digital firewalls and Internet censorship, it's an attention grabber in an era of disclosures on surveillance by countless governments.
While Tunisia has been spared the large-scale human rights abuses and chaotic turmoil of the other post-Arab Spring states, a growing al Qaeda presence threatens to destabilize the country and undermine the democratic aspirations that fueled the Jasmine Revolution.
Unfolding this month at the Boston Review is "China's Other Revolution" -- an essay by MIT political scientist Edward S. Steinfeld and a series of responses, all on the subject of whether and when real democratic reform will happen, in authoritarian, oligarchic China.