North Africa

North Africa

Dear President Obama, I followed your actions in reference to Tunisia, where I was born and have an attachment to, as for generations my family has lived in that country, long before the French took it over as a protectorate.  And my distant family has lived there from the time before the Arab conquest and settled there, maybe with the Phoenicians or the Romans. You can see why I am personally interested in this particular country and furthermore in North Africa in general.

I followed the three debates and until now, neither you nor Governor Romney have brought up the subject, particularly whether it was right for the United States and its president to mix themselves into the interior affairs of those countries, and even act as a dictator by saying to President Ben Ali and later to President Mubarak of Egypt to get out. I was shocked to see an American president and a Democrat ordering a president of another faraway country to get out.

Honestly, I was appalled. I thought that in the United States, dictatorship was not acceptable. I didn’t believe my ears and told to myself is this democracy? I searched in the library to find an explanation for such orders or attitude. Finally, I found that only in Africa and in communist countries such rules existed, but our president is born in Hawaii, so he could not be the source of this education and these orders. Finally I closed the ranks of my thoughts and remembered that our president’s father was from Africa. Then I realized from where this attitude was coming.

I was not satisfied with my explanation, I was asking myself, how come that the Ennahda, the new ruling party in the government of Tunisia, is an extension of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood?  Their share in Tunisia is normally no more than five percent of the population. Now they have won in the national election. There must be some tricks also in Tunisia; I should not be astonished, as even in the United States such tricks exist.

I remembered that a few days ago I read that one of the leaders from the Nida party, another party, which opposes the new government, was murdered with stones. Here, in the United States, no one said a word about it. At the same time as the Benghazi attack, the American Embassy in Tunisia was attacked too. The damage was – all the cars that were parked around the embassy were burned to the ground, and the American school, which was not far from the embassy, was also burned.

At the same time, our embassy in Cairo was attacked and harassed and the protesters burned the American flags. No one from our government said a word about it. In fact the entire Middle East was in uproar. But our government was completely in panic or troubled because they had to deal with Benghazi. This was the big success of the Arab Spring, of which our government seemed to be very proud.

Dear Mr. President, with all due respect for the presidency, yesterday in the debate you seemed to ridicule your opponent, Governor Mitt Romney. When it came to the military power, you seemed to diminish his knowledge about the power of the army. Mr. President, at my age, and as a former officer, I can tell you that this was not elegant from your part. Mr. Romney is a very intelligent and smart man who has more experience in life than you had. Beside this, he is a father of five great sons and his experience in life is bigger than yours when you ran for president. As my president, I feel obliged to tell you that your reaction was not presidential.

Copyright 2012 Emile Tubiana

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