Home > Middle East and Muslim World > Whither hast thou flown Ben Ali?

Whither hast thou flown Ben Ali?

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

BC Commentary:

Where are you now, Ben Ali?  Whither hast thou flown? Why have you left the shores of your beloved land? Did you leave in happiness or did you depart in pain?  Will you ever see the shores of Tunisia again?

Will you ever again wander the winding alleys of Tunis ? You once did my friend; a long long time ago. Will your eyes once more caress the Dahar? Will you ever enjoy the smell of the souk? My friend, Son of Tunisia, you were born here and you belong here. Nowhere else can ever be your home. Tunisia, She is your mother, He is your father. Why, Ben Ali, why did you desert your own? Will you find happiness in some villa in Riyadh?  Why Ben Ali?

You may find some comfort, Ben Ali, some comfort, in mingling with new found companions; you can enjoy the spiritual company of the Shah; or of Marcos or the host of others who sought to find the sigh of satisfaction in setting themselves apart from their sisters and brothers.  Did you all want wealth? Did you want power?  Did you realize manhood by being a lord over others?

It’s all in the brain Ben Ali, it’s all in the brain. There is a spot there that tells you “I am feeling good”. This is all you ever wanted, isn’t it, Ben Ali; all your friends ever wanted;  that is what we all want, eh, Ben Ali, to ‘feel good’. 

But do you know my friend, that you can experience that feeling of “I am feeling good”, in many different ways? Do you know that your brother, the son of the same Father, who set himself on fire, to speak to your power; did you know that he would also have felt it? Even as the agony of the fire scorched his skin, your brother’s skin, even as he mustered fleeting thoughts of his mother; even as he tried to tear his garments off; even as his tears of frustration, frustration of a young man, a boy, innocent youth, trying to make a living for his siblings; even as those tears were evaporated by the fire of his burning fat; he would have felt it, Ben Ali; he would have experienced the sigh of satisfaction; Yes, I am doing good; I feel the pleasure of sacrificing for others; I am experiencing the ecstasy of knowing that I am shedding my skin so that my siblings might eat. My heart is still pulsating with the excitement of knowing that my starry eyed young brothers and sisters, still not knowing what frustrations lie ahead of them – that they may have a chance at life; may find a meager job; may have the hope of getting married and having a home; of becoming fathers and mothers and raising children; children of the same room; children of the same street; children of the same land; that they may find the sigh of satisfaction of loving and caring, in richness or in poverty; sacrificing for each other, realizing the pleasure of purity. That they may find happiness in giving and not taking; that they may find joy in sharing and caring.

It’s all in the brain Ben Ali; all on the same spot. That spot would tell them that they are feeling good; walking the alleys of Tunis; barefooted on the sands of the Sahara; smelling the smells of the souk; listening to the call of the vendors.

Where are you Ben Ali? Will you ever come again? Will you ever see the innocent smile of a child of Medenine? That smile, Ben Ali, it may hit the spot. It may replace an account, a mansion or a yacht. And there could have been many smiles Ben Ali; countless smiling angels; had you walked the street Ben Ali, as a leader, a people’s amir; had you felt deeply for the welfare of the poor; had you stayed awake a few hours wondering of the mothers who were crying over the pain of their sick children; had you had the courage to say I am for my people a servant; you would have felt it, Ben Ali; in the same spot; but more intensely; you would have experienced ecstasy that the fine wines could not have evoked; the silky clothes could not have contained; you would have felt it over and over again. You could have felt it day after day Ben Ali, just by walking the paths of Bellala, looking into adoring eyes; accepting the hands reaching out to touch; kissing a dirty forehead.

Do you not remember the stories of Omar ben Khattab, Ben Ali, he would have felt it too. His spot would have been like an active volcano. He walked the streets at night, in disguise, looking out for his people; he shuddered at the thought of a donkey stumbling on a street of a town a thousand miles away; on a pot-holed road that he was responsible for.  He was a leader Ben Ali, and he did not have to flee. The same spot Ben Ali, the same spot of his would be ever stimulated, with generation after generation singing his praises; its all in the brain, Ben Ali, and Ben Khattab experienced it by giving and not taking, by sharing and by caring.

How is your newfound company Ben Ali? of what do you speak? Do you  remember your palaces, your courtiers; your jesters? How was it then Ben Ali, in your palatial jail? locked out from the alleys of Tunis; barred from the souks? Your toes unable to sift the sands of Ghannouch; how was it then Ben Ali; was the spot touched very often? Was it ever hyperactive? Did it ever become a raging inferno? Had you allowed your head to bow in humility while walking the streets of Gafsa, the spot may have been touched, may have been struck, and you would have felt it Ben Ali, it would have told you “I am feeling good”.

Life is generous Ben Ali, it gives us time.  Can you find new ways to hit this spot? Call out to your comrades in Algiers and Cairo; tell them to let their people go. Tell your friends, Ben Ali, in Paris, In London and Tel Aviv and Washington, although they now have left you abandoned; tell them, my friend, that they can stop. They can reign in their armies; they can bottle their greed; it can be very simple; all they want is for that spot to say “I feel good”; tell them Ben Ali, it does not have to be difficult; tell them, Ben Ali, it’s just in the brain.


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