After Tunisia’s military courts announced their verdict in what is known as "The Martyrs and the wounded of the revolution trials", some of the martyrs’ families and a number of the wounded of the revolution started a hunger strike to protest the lenient sentences against the officials of Ben Ali. Now, Tunisian diaspora joins them on social media.
Members of the former regime are accused of being behind massacres against peaceful demonstrators who took to the streets to claim the departure of the dictator. The hunger strike is in its second week but the majority of journalists and human rights organizations are turning a blind eye.
The demands of the families and the wounded of the revolution are straightforward:
– Revealing the plot of the military court that led to the announcement of lenient sentences and the release of several of the defendants on May 12, 2014.
– Stopping the execution of the judgment.
– Banning travel on the defendants involved in all the trials related to the martyrs and the wounded of the revolution.
One day after the announcement of the verdict on April 12, a group of people expressed their anger outside the Presidential Palace in Carthage. Indeed, Moncef Marzouki has expressed his support to the martyrs’ families on several occasions and in many of his addresses and speeches to the Tunisian citizens.
Later on, a committee formed by human rights activists and citizens organized several support actions, the most important of which are the participation on May 1 in the celebration of the International Workers’ Day and the organization of a demonstration during the march of the workers during which photos of the martyrs were waved and support slogans chanted.
The support committee called people to join the march and the symbolic one-day hunger strike it organized on May 3. Several people took part in the event including the journalist and human rights defender Naziha Rejiba, the singers Lobna Noomene and Yasser Jradi, and comedian Leila Toubal.
The march started in Place Pasteur and continued through the Mohamed V Avenue to end outside the Municipal Theatre on avenue Habib Bourguiba where the names of the hunger strikers were announced and slogans chanted before joining the martyrs’ families and the wounded in the apartment were they have already been doing their hunger strike for 10 days.
Members of the committee asked people supporting their actions to change their profile pictures on social networks and use a black one, showing the main slogan of the committee written in red Arabic letters: “Your Injustice is the Cause of our Hunger”. Which became the main slogan of the solidarity campaign:
Tunisians living abroad joined the actions and posted their support photos. Here we see Tunisians in Montreal who demonstrated outside the Tunisian Consulate:
In San Francisco, two young Tunisians demonstrated outside the City Hall and announced that they are on a hunger strike in support of the martyrs’ families.
Despite a climate of indifference to the cause of the martyrs and a suspicious silence from both journalists and politicians, the martyrs’ families and their defense and support committees insisted on the fact that they will keep on fighting to get the truth.
For them the transitional justice was not fulfilled and they have to work to achieve it. The major questions are can we talk about democratic transition without knowing the truth? Can we talk about transitional justice when the killers of the martyrs are still free and unknown? Can we invoke reconciliation without knowing what happened?
The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Your Middle East.