Student - March 26, 2015

Meanwhile in... Tunisia

In the news: An attack in the Bardo archeological museum in the Tunisian capital Tunis took the lives of 23 people including 20 foreign

Commentary by Lamia Aouini, PhD student of Plant Production Systems, from Tunisia.

‘I heard what had happened through an email from my supervisor, who asked if my family were alright. I called my father straightaway and he assured me that I needn’t worry – the family were safe. But then he told me where the attack happened: in the museum just a few metres away from my sister’s home! Luckily she wasn’t at home at the time. An hour earlier she had gone into town.

I was in real shock when I heard the news. I couldn’t believe it – how could this happen in the museum, which was near the parliament building? It is supposed to be a very secure area. What is more, the security situation has improved a lot since the Arab Spring. After agriculture, tourism is the most important sector for the Tunisian economy. Now we’ll have to wait and see whether many tourists come this summer.

This is an attack on my country. Tunisia is doing better than its neighbours: we have a stable government, and democracy is under development. We are not there yet but it is getting better all the time. The attackers were trying to destabilize the country. But we are not going to let that happen. The president has announced that the response will be tough. And in Tunis, where it is holiday time at the moment, everyone is out on the streets enjoying themselves.

My sister is not letting it get to her either. She is trying to protect her children from the news – it is too grim – but she is making holiday plans now. I myself will go back as soon as I’ve got my PhD. We Tunisians have a duty to serve our country.’