The only person who seems exempt from this harsh assessment is an elderly North African, a lawyer by training and a former militant in the anticolonialist movement: Béji Caïd Essebsi, the president of Tunisia. The good Arab revolutionary of the moment is a 90-year-old head of state.
If this statement sounds surprising, it’s because people in the West have yet to take the true measure of this man’s political finesse, including his ability to slowly consolidate a difficult consensus between democrats and Islamists. Tunisia admittedly is experiencing some problems, especially economic ones, as well as an intense controversy about a law — supported by Mr. Essebsi — that grants amnesty to former officials accused of corruption. But the president of Tunisia has also become the leading figure of reformism in the Arab world by advocating equal inheritance rights for Muslim women and their right to marry non-Muslim foreigners."
Read article by Kamel Daoud from The New York Times.