The Tunisian people have just taken a major step. They are now in charge of their destiny. They must have all the tools to succeed. France, Europe, the democratic world must do everything to support them.
In fact today Tunisia is facing a great danger: the crisis has scared away tourists and slowed down the economic activity. It is likely that growth in 2011 will be much lower than expected, which means that unemployment, a root cause of the Carnation Revolution, will get worse. Rating agencies, with their usual foresight have downgraded this country, making foreign investments more difficult.
If nothing is done, the people will be disappointed by their new rulers and turn to others: it is no coincidence that the Islamists are discreet enough not to nominate candidates in the upcoming presidential elections. They are waiting in fact for the failure of the jasmine revolution to appear as a recourse.
It is therefore urgent to help Tunisia. But for now, everyone hesitates. Some because their interests were too long associated with the old regime for them to understand what is at stake and because they believe that helping a revolution in Tunisia means calling into question a secular Arab policy, though obsolete today. Others because they fear that Islamist movements will quickly take over and get hands on the aid granted. Others finally, on the contrary because they are betting on a Islamist victory and prefer to wait for the following winners before flying to the rescue of the ultimate power.
Waiting, doing nothing, washing one’s hands would be a very serious mistake. Especially for France, which has everything to gain in helping the Mediterranean neighbors evolve towards democracy.
To achieve this, Tunisia needs a quick budget aid, that France can provide, without draining public finances. It is in our interest. It is also that of other countries of the European Union. Everyone must be mobilized. This also concerns the European Investment Bank, the International Monetary Fund. And the World Bank. And all other international institutions, starting with the African Development Bank, based in Tunis. All must go fast, as was done in Eastern Europe in 1991. It would be thus a signal given to the rest of the world: all the people taking their destiny into their hands with courage will be helped by other democracies.