While I was visiting my family and friends in Tunisia this summer, I came across a new feeling, or maybe it is an impression -- a feeling or impression that I never encountered before in the country that is proud today to be called the sparkle of the "Arab Spring."
I grew up there in the '80s. I remember seeing in people's eyes the fear of authority, humiliation, loss of dignity, the sorrow of poverty, suspicion, but I didn't see the "fear of terrorism." Even in the darkest hours of the country, during the '80s, when there were violent incidents attributed to Islamist militants, I didn't hear from people around me that they were afraid.
In April, a brutal Egyptian judge known locally as "the Butcher" handed down a mass death sentence to 683 men. To most civilized observers, this kind of action is associated with the world's most tyrannical regimes.
But to the Harper government, this is the behaviour of a country "progressing towards democracy."
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I never liked the term "Arab Spring"; it has a connotation of over-optimism that can't be rationally understood in a region that painfully emerged out of French and British colonialism to quickly fall into a new era of cultural and economic colonialism where foreign soldiers were replaced by TV satellite dishes, Coca-Cola and Star Academy-like shows.
Haiti's New Dictatorship: The Coup, the Earthquake and the UN Occupation
In this interview with Matt Adams, Justin Podur, author of Haiti’s New Dictatorship, discusses his new book. The book, which takes a look at the country's history of the past seven years, from the 2004 coup against Aristide to the devastating 2010 earthquake, reveals a shocking story of abuse and neglect by international forces.
Podur unearths the reality of a supposedly benign international occupation, arguing that the denial of sovereignty is the fundamental cause of Haiti’s problems.