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Living with History


City of Carthage, June 18, 2013

It’s not everyday that one gets to see a UNESCO World Heritage such as The Roman Ruins in Carthage. I know I’ve spent 17 hours in 3 different airports to get here.

What do you know? The people in Tunis are living with the ruins every day of their life. It’s on the way to work in Les Berges du Lac. It’s on the way home to Manouba. It’s on the way to their favorite wine bars in Sidi Bou Said. It’s in your neighborhood. What’s new? It’s in your own backyard in the city of Carthage. New rulers tend to destroy the formers’ legends. That’s OK. The people of Tunisia continue to build their future on top of the ruins. Life goes on. History is not only alive in their heads. It’s physically alive in their homes!

“We are not Arabs. We are not African. We are simply Tunisian. And we are lost.” That seems to be the common concept of identity in this country. After all people here speak their own dialect, French arabic, that is not understood by any other Middle Eastern arabs, and a whole lot of other languages – French, Spanish, Italian…. So what’s next? Will the revolution of 2010/2011 helps define the identity of this country and its hospitable people? No one knows. Tunisia is on hold waiting for the next election which needs to be figured out in a country where dictatorship has kept it under control until someone set himself on fire. “We have to work out how to run an election first” says a Tunisian friend of mine.

Until then, life is still thriving along the coastline, the upcoming European-lifestyle suburbs of Tunis. One thing for sure, history will continue to have its share in the backyards of this amazingly beautiful country.

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