As in Egypt, Muslim fundamentalists in Tunisia have tried to use 2011’s opening to impose their own repressive agenda. The challenge today is to effectively counter that fundamentalist agenda in non-violent and rights-respecting ways. Democratic forces need international support to achieve that.
TUNIS — MOHAMED BRAHMI, the left-wing politician who was assassinated outside his home here last Thursday, was born in Sidi Bouzid, the same town where a desperate fruit vendor set himself on fire in December 2010, triggering the Tunisian revolution — and the Arab Spring.
In your Introduction to Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2012, “Time to Abandon the Autocrats and Embrace Rights,” you urge support for the newly elected governments that have brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Tunisia and Egypt. In your desire to “constructively engage” with the new governments, you ask states to stop supporting autocrats. But you are not a state; you are the head of an international human rights organization whose role is to report on human rights violations, an honorable and necessary task which your essay largely neglects.