Egyptians called it "The Tunisian Solution." Others called it "the Tunami."
Many of you watched as Tunisians brought down a dictator in January in what was the first successful popular revolt in the Arab world in decades. Some of you might even be aware of ongoing protests in the country and the continuing political turmoil. But as most attention is focused on Egypt or Libya these days, there isn't enough information flowing out of Tunisia now, and there is much we don't know of the aftermath of the revolution. We should, though: There are still lessons to learn and stories to tell from this small North African country.
That is what we propose to do.
We, two reporters, want to go to Tunisia for 10 days and report on the situation there. We already have a few stories in mind. They include:
-- What bringing down President Ben Ali actually cost the Tunisian people (besides casualties), what lessons are there to be learned for Egypt and others in the region as well as the West. This story will focus on the socio-economic repercussions for average Tunisians: What the situation is like right now and what is being done to help. We want to know how sustainable the revolution is.
-- We also want to explore the process of rebuilding institutions: police and security services, government, media and the business sector. How does a society retrain its officials after decades of being conditioned to operate under a repressive regime?
-- There is a little-known and unreported factor in the revolution’s success and the US government’s odd and inadvertent role in it.
And of course as reporters, we are sure we will stumble across other stories we can’t even imagine at the moment because we aren’t in the country, talking to people. For these stories, we will report in Tunis but also in the central region where the revolution started. We also want to visit the coastal cities that saw so much destruction and are in a dire situation at the moment because of disruptions to the economy. .
We need help funding part of the reporting costs: mainly travel. We speak multiple languages (between us, English, German, French and Arabic) and have contacts in the country so we don’t need to hire a fixer or translator.
The stories will be published, either by established news outlets (some have expressed interest but no commitments yet) or by ourselves on our website (www.ara-network.com). In addition to English, we want to publish these articles in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and the Scandinavian languages because we want to tell these stories as widely as possible. Some of the money will go toward translation costs.
You might ask why we need funding when we will be working for news outlets. The truth is, since the financial crisis (and the one in journalism that started before), hardly anyone pays for reporting trips anymore, particularly for freelancers. And if anyone takes the stories, the remittance is still too low to cover our costs. At the same time, no major media outlets (American, British) that I know of have correspondents based in Tunisia except possibly the news wires (AP, Reuters, etc). So these stories are likely to go untold.
We believe that even though Egypt and, of cource Libya, is the main focus of the world right now, and rightfully so, Tunisia is still a very important story. Please help us tell it.
Follow our reporting trip through out blog: http://www.ara-network.com/ara-tunisia.htm
Some others links: About Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA), our reporters' network: http://www.ara-network.com/ara-about.htm A story on Tunisia I wrote: http://ara-network.com/articles/1101-Tunisia.htm Samples of ARA's work: http://ara-network.com/ara-samples.htm
- (30 days)