Tunisia’s President, Ben Ali, wins his fifth election since 1987 by a 99 percent margin after he decided on the candidates who could run against him. Before the result is even out he threatens anyone who questions the legitimacy of the poll with libel and possibly prison. According to him the doubters are not patriotic enough and “… have forgotten their moral duty of good behavior.” Oh, and Congo’s Senate President headed the list of foreign election observers who declared the election free and fair. (One of the election monitors compared the election to one run in Surrey in the UK. Apparently Gordon Brown decides who can run against him.)

Ben Ali can’t run again in five years because of age limits. He is 73 years old.

Ben Ali’s government is “… a strong U.S. and European ally.”


Further Reading

The house of exile

Edward Said once said of the usefulness of exile for intellectual work: it involves adopting “a spirit of opposition, rather than accommodation.” James Baldwin and Sisonke Msimang took it to heart.