Tunisians debate Ben Ali burial place
Nation divided over where ex-leader should be buried
Since Tunisian, Arab, and international media circulated reports about the death of Zein El Abedin Ben Ali, Tunisians have been divided over where the former Tunisian president is to be buried in case the rumors prove correct.
Tunisians against the idea of burying Ben Ali in the country argued that the ousted president humiliated his people and was the reason behind the widespread corruption that swept the country during his 23-year-old rule.
Rising unemployment rates in Tunisia are a direct result of Ben Ali’s dictatorship, said Nada, a professor of Political Science.
“I’ve been a professor since 2006 and haven’t been able to find a job since then,” she told AlArabiya.net. “The dictator is the reason.”
Because of this, Nada vehemently objects to burying Ben Ali in Tunisia and says he should be buried where he has escaped to.
For Haitham, a laborer at a hotel, Ben Ali committed high treason when he decided to escape from Tunisia with his family.
“Those who betray Tunisia do not deserve to be on its land,” he told AlArabiya.net.
The debate is continuing on Facebook as several youths on the social networking website said that after his death, Ben Ali’s body should remain hanging from an airplane looking for a place to be buried.
The dead in Tunisia, they say, will not accept his body and will stage a protest under the slogan “Not in our graves.”
Those who betray Tunisia do not deserve to be on its land
Tunisian laborer Haitham
On the other hand, several Tunisians argue that denying Ben Ali the right to be buried in his homeland undermines Tunisian history, of which the former president is part of. They also state that despite the drawbacks of his regime, Ben Ali has made several achievements that cannot be overlooked.
If Ben Ali asks in his will to be buried in Tunisia, his wish should be granted, said psychologist Jamal al-Din al-Salehi.
“At the end of the day, he is a Tunisian man and has the right to be buried in Tunisia,” he said.
Despite his inability to find a job, Mounir, a man his thirties, agrees that Ben Ali should be buried on Tunisia.
“I don’t mind having him buried in Tunisia provided that he gets an ordinary funeral with no media coverage,” he said.
According to Murad, a laborer in a private sector company, Tunisians do not have a problem with Ben Ali as much as with his wife Laile Trablsi and her family.
“It is his wife and her family who ruined the country and plundered its wealth,” he said.
Sheikh Osman al-Andari, an imam at a mosque in Tunis, said that the Tunisian people are peaceful and forgiving and that most probably will accept Ben Ali to be burie in Tunisia.
“As a Tunisian, he has the right to have a funeral prayer and be buried in the country,” he told AlArabiya.net. “As for the sins he committed, God is going to punish him.”
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)
As a Tunisian, he has the right to have a funeral prayer and be buried in Tunisia. As for the sins he committed, God is going to punish him
Tunisian mosque imam Sheikh Osman al-Andari