Magazine article Herizons

Tunisian Revolution Doc Depicts Women's Courage

Magazine article Herizons

Tunisian Revolution Doc Depicts Women's Courage

Article excerpt

December 17 marked the sixth anniversary of the birth of the Arab Spring. The film A Revolution in Four Seasons pays tribute to some of the ordinary people who propelled the revolution in Tunisia, and it is also a timely reminder of the importance of fighting for a democratic society-even when it comes at a personal cost.

We are taken into the heart of post-revolution Tunisia through the stories of two women. Both are leaders deeply committed to their world view. Both women sacrifice personal privacy for public work, and both are tripped up by motherhood along the way. As we follow their journeys, we witness the sacrifice ordinary people made to bring about extraordinary changes in this North African country.

Emna Ben Jemaa, a young woman who wears a flower in her hair and no hijab to cover it, was an early blogger of the revolution. "I dream of a country that will look more like Sweden or France," she says. The Islamists "want a country like the Turkey of their dreams," in which, she fears, women's right to education, to voting, to freedom of appearance would disappear.

Jawhara Ettis, a young woman who wears a hijab, describes herself as a feminist and is elected to the first Constituent Assembly to represent the Islamist Ennahda party. "To think that for me to be a progressive I have to look like a Western person, to eat like them, to sound like them ... that harms our identity." she says in the film. "I cannot be submissive to the U.S. or to France." And so the tension within Tunisia's young democracy is set up: to pursue a Western-style democracy in which Islam takes a back seat, or to pursue an Islam-focused path along which women's rights risk being made subservient to the dictates of a conservative religious view. …

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