Friday, February 4, 2011

Fahem Boukadous (PCOT) at Gara

Today at Gara[es] Alma Allende interviews Tunisian activist and journalist Fahem Boukadous (left) of the Worker Communist Party of Tunisia (PCOT). I translate here some excerpts:

The Revolution took big powers stepping on the wrong foot. Naturally now they maneuver in search of "stability" but they are certain that they cannot stop the process of changes. 


Tunisia unexpectedly got going an avalanche that is not just "imitative"; it is a true "revolutionary rivalry" or "positive competence" now shattering Egypt, the epicenter of the Arab World. What will happen there will in turn affect this country.


The capital is a mirage. The Revolution ascended from the center and the south and goes back there and stays there. We have to go to the villages and not be obsessed with the Qasbah. (...) the Revolution began in the regions and it is still very active there. The other day 80,000 people demonstrated in Sfax and then the city was paralyzed by a general strike. In Gafsa, in Sidi Bousid, in Tela... there are concentrations and protests.


In the age of Bourguiba, the relationships between the Tunisian and European left were very strong. Then, under the very harsh repression of Ben Ali, the solidarian contacts have been mostly at individual level but they have helped us a lot to resist. The PCOT keeps relations with some forces of the Marxist left in France; in the Spanish state specifically with the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) of Raúl Marco. These days demonstrations in various European capitals have been very important, not just as moral support but also as pressure to the EU governments, so complacent with the dictator.


Our party has always defended the independence of the [West] Sahara and that of the Basque Country as well. Spanish people will never be free if they do not liberate first the Basque Country and the other nations of the Spanish state. The right to self-determination is a central tenet of our program. 


In Tunisia there are thousands of left-wing militants. Through the worst years of repression our forces dispersed and hid. But now they come back. The problem is that we do not have cadres to canalize the new militants.

Fahem Boukadous has dedicated most of his life to militant journalism in Tunisia. In 1998 he denounced the mafioso activities of the five oligarchic families, what got him into the torture chambers of the regime and into prison for 19 months. 

In 2003 he became correspondent of Al-Badil in Gafsa, in 2006 he lead the emission of Al-Hiwar TV in Tunisia, which became a central counter-information vehicle in the miner uprising of 2008 in the Gafsa area, that preluded the ongoing revolution. 

That is what I call popular media: hundreds of youths, whose emigrant relatives had gifted them a camera, became journalists. I just had to gather those images and circulate them. 

In January 2010, in a farce-trial which lasted only five minutes, he was sentenced to four years of prison. He used his time in prison to write a book on the 2008 Gafsa uprising and to educate and indoctrinate common prisoners.

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