Publié le 14/08/2013

Nele Katharina WISSMANN

Shortly after the fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben, the Ministry of the Interior was opened briefly to school groups. What then happened is a good illustration of how Tunisia treats the heavy legacy of the Ben-Ali-years. The children painted the walls of the former interrogation cells with crayons. Painting over the past, however, cannot be a satisfactory response for society and will continually be scandalized by democratic principles. If today we fortunately enjoy freedom of expression, this should not lead to wishing members of the Ennahda party back into their previous prison cells as soon as the people want to punish the government. The most important role of government agencies and civil rights groups will accordingly be to defuse the explosiveness of the political debate and raise it to the level of civil society. Former prison cells must be opened for viewing by civil society so that there will no longer be political prisoners in Tunisia"s young democracy and victims should be compensated or recognized for the first time as victims, regardless of their political orientation. [1]

With the project Scholars in Residence, taking the processes of transformation as point of departure, the Goethe-Institut seeks to promote intercultural dialogue in the area of academic research and to strengthen scientific relations between Germany and the Arabic world on a long-term basis.

Scholars in Residence is part of the German-Egyptian and German-Tunisian transformation partnership 2012-2013. The project is an initiative by the Goethe-Institut and being carried out in cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (KWI) and the Ruhr University Bochum"s Centre of Mediterranean Studies (ZMS). Funded with special grants provided by the German Federal Foreign Office.