Is Tunisia Sliding Into Dictatorship Again? Music Video Inflames Social Media

Published November 16th, 2021 - 07:26 GMT
Tunisian President Kais Saied
Tunisian President Kais Saied had made a number of controversial decision since July 2021. (AFP FETHI BELAID - Edited by Albawaba)

Since last July, Tunisians have been quite split over a series of decisions taken by President Kais Saied, in which he sacked Hisham Al-Mashichi's government and suspended the parliament. But a recent video has once again prompted social media commentators to discuss Saied's growing role in the country.

Even though President Kais Saied had justified his decisions as a comprehensive attempt for reform, especially after he chose Najla Bouden as the region's very first female Prime Minister to lead the new government, many people are still fearful for the country's fate. Kais Saied had accused the former government and parliament, both mainly controlled by the Islamist Ennahda political party of corruption.

Translation: "The Kais Saied song"

This week, a short video featuring a song performed by students at a music institution has reminded Tunisians of the pre-Arab Spring era, where people were forced to sing to glorify the former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali before he was toppled in 2011. 

In the video that went viral, the students sing for Kais Saied who is portrayed as "the honest man who stands for the good and just values." The song uses a popular music tone derived from cartoon shows.

However, online people shared the video and wondered whether the song is actually a step back for Tunisian democracy, as kids are taught "to love and to glorify the political leader with no competitors." 

Responding to the public through a radio show on IFMTV channel, the music teacher who was introduced Sidi Sami defended the song saying it was "spontaneous in describing the president". Sidi Sami was interrupted by radio anchors when he preceded to say "no one can disagree that Kais Saied is an honest man", with presenters reminding him that "the nation is already split on that".

Meanwhile, the Tunisian capital continues to draw dozens of protestors on several occasions, expressing rejection of Saied's decisions, perceiving them as "unconstitutional" and accusing him of "one-man rule".

Written by Riham Darwish

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