KAMEL RIAHI's op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Times, describing his and his family's experience in the current uprising there, is profoundly moving, describing on the one hand the sincere thrill that comes from the sudden realistic hope for liberty, and the horror of social chaos on the other. Riahi is a professional writer, and it should go without saying that those who express themselves for a living have, in addition to the basic needs of human dignity that demand liberty, the most to materially gain from a free environement. Yet the true force of his article comes from the way he observes that he, his wife, or his child may be killed by any faction at any time for any or no reason. The matter-of fact way he describes this reality, (in the manner of a Seattle man taking an umbrella with him on a clear day, because you never know,)should act as a stern rebuke to anyone who romanticises political strife or struggle, anyone who seeks psuedo immortality by subsuming themselves into a great cause and denying the frailties of human life; the universality of suffering, futile love, and unattainible hope that is the true bond of loyalty between us all.
Good luck to these Tunisians and whatever neighbors of theirs may be inspired by their example to fight for their humanity. And do keep in mind that force of numbers is obviously your biggest strength; so, these cases of people burning themselves alive are really counterproductive, to say the least. This is a battle for life, wouldn't you agree?