An in focus background

An in focus background
by shahireh sharif

A few months before Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian president for 23 years, flee the country I visited Tunisia (you can see my pictures here).

Now the army is in the streets and a state of emergency is declared in the country, but all seemed calm during my visit. I tried to relive the experience of the country in order to remember my encounters with Tunisians outside the tourist areas. But could not identify any sign of imminent widespread rallies. I am not sure what signs I expected to have seen. Don’t think there would had been banners reading “watch out, things are about to explode”, but perhaps a trace of anger, discontent or criticism in conversations or even a lukewarm political debate initiated by a taxi driver. On the other hand, maybe what I experience was the calmness before the storm or maybe spotting repressed hints is not as straight forward as I expect or I managed to misread the signs or... 

So many places in Tunisia reminded me of Iran that I knew as a child. Some of the current images of the widespread unrest in Tunisia remind me of the revolution in Iran. I wonder if there are going to be more similarities. 

I studied my pictures from Tunisia, amongst my photos I found a couple of shots (including the one above) related to every day’s life of people with images of Ben Ali in the background. They might even have a somewhat “historic value”! (See the other picture on //



more from shahireh sharif
shahireh sharif


by shahireh sharif on

 Many thanks for letting me know

I've added the link




Dear Shahireh Sharif,

by Monda on

Thank you for the wonderful sharing of your travel to Tunisia.

(The other historical photo which you mentioned at the end of your blog, is missing!)