Campaigns about the fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia: how the media serves the ‘democratic’ bourgeoisie
For weeks, all the democratic states, with France at their head, have been supporting Ben Ali’s blood-soaked regime. There was an almost total black-out of information even though all these governments knew exactly what was happening in Tunisia. All the bourgeois media justified this disinformation by letting on that the country was experiencing riots but was in a confused, chaotic situation which was very difficult to understand. We were supposed to think that no one really knew what was going on. Lies! The savagery of the repression was known about all over the world. Thanks to the video footage put out on the internet by the young demonstrators, by tourists and journalists, all this information was by no means hidden. The reign of silence regarding the crimes of Ben Ali’s murderers was deliberately imposed by the governments and their tame media. The strikes, street demonstrations, revolts in high schools and universities were blacked out so that proletarians in the democratic countries would not feel concerned about the repression of the movement and show their solidarity. Now, after the fall of Ben Ali, tongues are untied and all the cameras are focused on the ‘revolution’ in Tunisia. Immediately after the official announcement of Ben Ali’s departure, when a state of emergency was being imposed and the army was being deployed all over the country, the French TV networks showed us pictures of the Tunisian community celebrating, especially in Paris. But prior to that, for week after week, nothing was shown of the daily demonstrations which were being repressed by the police, whereas images of the immense crowds thronging Bourguiba avenue in Tunis on 14 January are suddenly being broadcast by all the TV networks. Representatives of the political class, experts and special envoys are now being invited to join a grand democratic debate about the situation in Tunisia. And now of course this whole crew is taking its distance from the Ben Ali regime and glorifying “the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people”, to use Obama’s own words. The fall of Ben Ali is now on the front pages of the newspapers whereas for weeks previously the torment of the Tunisian population was not seen as being worthy of much ink. This kind of hypocrisy is not gratuitous. If the media are now inundating us with real time information after weeks of black-out, it’s certainly not because the ruling class of the democratic countries is now “on the side of the Tunisian people”, as the French government declared with such boundless cynicism , three days after offering its services to Ben Ali’s repressive forces! If the bourgeoisie of the democratic countries, with its whole apparatus of media manipulation, has now changed its tune and is praising the “jasmine revolution” in Tunisia, it’s because it is in its interests to do so. The fate of Ben Ali has given it the opportunity to unleash a huge campaign about the benefits of democracy.
The bourgeois media continue to lie when they present the lawyers’ strike of 6 January as the motor force behind the revolt. They lie when they claim that it is an educated youth belonging to the “middle class” which brought the dictator down. They lie when they claim that the only aspiration of the exploited class and the younger generation who were at the heart of the movement is to obtain freedom of expression, They lie when they hide the deeper reasons for the anger: poverty, the near 55% unemployment which affects young graduates and which provoked a number of suicides at the beginning of the movement. It is this reality, a result of the aggravation of the world economic crisis, which the media campaign around the fall of Ben Ali is now trying to mask. The only objective behind the media enthusiasm for the “Tunisian revolution” is to intoxicate the minds of the exploited, to derail their struggles against poverty and unemployment onto the terrain of defending the democratic bourgeois state which is just another, more insidious and hypocritical form of capitalist dictatorship