sunny.png
Sunday May 9th, 2021 12:39PM

AP PHOTOS: Tunisian revolution's victims plea for help

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Some lost a leg, some gaze out from permanently scarred faces, others live forever bound to a wheelchair. All these men were damaged in Tunisia’s democratic uprising 10 years ago, and they are begging the government to recognize them as official victims of the revolution.

As Tunisia this week marks the 10th anniversary of the revolt that unleashed the Arab Spring, those injured in the tumult feel disappointed and marginalized.

Since mid-December, they have been holding a sit-in at the office of the Agency for the Revolutionary Martyrs and Wounded, demanding recognition. They voice their demands through megaphones, sit and share stories, or rest on mattresses on the floor.

Some have even tried to set themselves on fire, to emulate the street vendor whose self-immolation in desperation over poverty and police abuse sparked Tunisia’s revolt.

Rached El Arbi, now 30, has been paralyzed since being shot while protesting the autocratic regime of Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown on Jan. 14, 2011. A photo of him hospitalized at the time went viral across the Arab world.

But now, instead of El Arbi supporting his family, they’re now supporting him. El Arbi was 20 when he was shot in the neck during a protest and had to undergo three complex operations. He said he was in a coma for four months before he started to recover.

His family wasn’t prepared for the huge medical costs. His mother said she has three other children, and for a year, “they had to be hungry, so Rachad could eat.”

Protester Hosni Kalaia set himself on fire during the uprising. Now 49, he lives with permanent scars on his face and missing fingers. His brother self-immolated in 2015 and died.

Walid Kasraoui lost a leg and has relied on crutches for a decade, but says he has no regrets.

“If I went back in time to the events of the revolution, I would participate again,” he says.

Families have pushed for years for official recognition of those who lost lives or limbs fighting for democracy, and for government financial support. An unofficial list released by the martyrs’ agency counts 129 people killed and 634 injured.

They hope for an official government list to be published on Thursday, the anniversary of the revolution, to guarantee the rights of victims. The government has long promised to formalize such a list after it verifies each case, but efforts have stalled amid other pressing problems.

Kasraoui is running out of patience and says he plans to seek asylum abroad if this list is not published in the next two days.

___

Mehdi El Arem and Bouazza ben Bouazz in Tunis contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP World News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
AP PHOTOS: Tunisian revolution's victims plea for help
Some lost a leg, some gaze out from permanently scarred faces, others live forever bound to a wheelchair
7:32AM ( 11 minutes ago )
NIreland stores see empty shelves as Brexit trade rules bite
The U.K.’s biggest supermarket chains are warning that food supplies in Northern Ireland face disruption because of new checks imposed by Britain’s departure from the European Union
7:22AM ( 21 minutes ago )
What to watch as House moves to impeach Trump for 2nd time
President Donald Trump is on the verge of becoming the first president to be impeached twice, as lawmakers move quickly to punish him over last week's deadly Capitol attack
7:16AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Kremlin foe Navalny says he will fly home despite threats
Top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny says he will fly home to Russia over the weekend despite the Russian prison service’s latest motion to put him behind bars for allegedly breaching the terms of his suspended sentence and probation
5:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
Indonesia starts mass COVID-19 vaccinations with president
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has received the first shot of a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine after Indonesia approved it for emergency use
5:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
Estonia's PM resigns over corruption scandal in his party
Estonia’s prime minister has resigned over a corruption scandal in his Center Party that led to key party officials resigning overnight
5:07AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
NIreland stores see empty shelves as Brexit trade rules bite
The U.K.’s biggest supermarket chains are warning that food supplies in Northern Ireland face disruption because of new checks imposed by Britain’s departure from the European Union
7:22AM ( 21 minutes ago )
What to watch as House moves to impeach Trump for 2nd time
President Donald Trump is on the verge of becoming the first president to be impeached twice, as lawmakers move quickly to punish him over last week's deadly Capitol attack
7:16AM ( 27 minutes ago )
The Latest: Germany: Some Moderna shots may have spoiled
German authorities in Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg say they’re holding off on using the first batch of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine over concerns it may have spoiled by not being kept cold enough during transport
7:05AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Japan widens virus emergency for 7 more areas as cases surge
Japan is expanding a coronavirus state of emergency for seven more prefectures, affecting more than half the population as infections spread across the country
6:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
Fury at the shaken Capitol over the attack, security, virus
Last week, a furious mob overran the U.S. Capitol
6:31AM ( 1 hour ago )