Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began when a Muslim man full of sexist fury at being slapped by a female police officer set himself on fire. From such glorious beginnings, the Arab Spring spread across the region bringing Islamist victories with it.
The Islamist Ennahdha Party took Tunisia but then faced a major backlash as the Salafists began terrorizing the country with the apparently complicity of the government.
Labor riots turned violent and bloody as fighting between liberals and Islamists broke out across the country. Now Jebali, who was bad enough, has resigned and is being replaced by Islamist hardliner Ali Laarayedh.
Ali Laarayedh was the Minister of the Interior and was therefore held responsible for the the brutal crackdown on labor protesters. While Ennahdha pretended to be interested in reconciling with liberals, the elevation of a thug like Ali Laarayedh sends another sort of message entirely. And the message is that the Islamists will continue to engage in the violent suppression of Tunisians who want a free country.
But violent crackdowns on protesters is not all that Ali is known for. Aside from his undistinguished tenure as Minister of the Interior, when he accidentally or deliberately allowed the Salafist attack on the US embassy to take place, Ali was caught up in a gay scandal when a videotape was released of him having sex with another man while in prison.
UPDATE: Multiple comments have come in from Tunisia claiming that Ali Laarayedh is “a gay”, “not a guy and honor man”, that the video tape was fake, that the video shows Ali being raped, that Ali was drugged at the time and that Ali was not gay, but his gay sex partner was.
Finally there is this message from Free Tunisian
To this sick author ….
Congrats … You just made yourself famous among +10 millions Tunisians proud of their revolution
We will never forget.
Now I feel just like Sally Field.