Tunisia? Tunisia! Who would have thought it!

From the Jewish Chronicle

Every morning I read The Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Financial Times and the Independent. I stay with the Today programme until Radio 4 drives me away by insulting my intelligence with Thought for the Day and look at the Economist and the New York Times if I have a moment. But I knew nothing about Tunisia.

No journalist thought it worthwhile to tell readers about the grotesque figure of Leila Trabelsi, an Imelda Marcos and Marie Antoinette rolled into one, who was looting a country millions of western tourists knew well. No one looked at how she hoarded gold on the one hand, while keeping her dirty old man of a husband sweet on the other. No one bothered to look at her equally ghastly and rapacious children, who, along with the wider clan, formed a Mafia state that forced businesses to pay off the ruling crime family.

I would have liked have to read about the brutality of the secret police, as well, and to have had a little advance notice that the subject people was preparing to revolt. Leaving all political considerations aside, Tunisia was in journalistic terms a great story from the Middle East that virtually sat up and begged journalists to take notice, but because it did not involve Israel, foreign desks looked the other way.

Carry on reading


3 thoughts on “Tunisia? Tunisia! Who would have thought it!

  1. And just as the left of the 1930s allowed its obsession to blind it to the crimes of Stalin so the left of the 2010s is allowing its idée fixe to blind it to the crimes of the Middle Eastern dictators and the Islamists.

    I realise you are playing to the JC gallery but this is an extraordinary thing to say and you know it. What is your obsession with conflating the entire left (of which for many years you were a proud, card-carrying member) into one extremist pocket? Did Orwell allow his “obsession” with Catalonia to blind him to the wrong-doings of the communists? Baffling if not entirely disingenuous.

    The fact of the foreign desks turning away from Tunisia is nothing to do with antisemites on the foreign desks, for crying out loud. Is it anti-semitism that we don’t hear about Chad? Or is that just old-fashioned racism?

  2. This is a question of genuine interest
    That batch of newspapers must cost quite a sum, day after day; being a columnist, Nick, do you get them paid for or is it from your own pocket?

  3. Nick, now you’ve given up tweeting, have you now not got a few spare seconds to answer that question?
    I’ll buy your new book if you do.

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