Fruit seller gives opinion on October Elections - Tunis
Hedi Fakourun, who is not dissimilar to Mohammed, the fruit and vegetable seller whose suicide sparked the Jasmine Revolution, say's it's unlikely that he will bother to vote in the first free elections in three decades. Tunisia. 16th September 2011
TUNIS, Tunisia - The days are long and hard for Hedi Fakourun. At 4AM he awakes and prepares to push his rickety barrow miles into central Tunis to sell fresh palm dates to passers by. For his extensive labours, he earns around eight to ten Tunisian Dinars a day (around four pounds or so). He is not dissimilar to Mohammed, the fruit and vegetable seller whose suicide sparked the Jasmine Revolution here in January 2011 and what has later become known as the Arab Spring.
“He (Mohammed) was a hero,” he says, while skillfully peeling a date with a small knife for a customer. “But I am not hopeful about the elections,” he adds. Hedi says there is very little to encourage him to vote and that he has no time and no interest in voting. He thinks that there is not a lot any politician can do to improve his situation - which is mostly one of back-breaking work and dire poverty.
This indifference to the upcoming elections (the first free polls in three decades) - which are due to be held on the 23rd October, 2011 - is common among many Tunisians.
While he does not intend to vote, the fruit seller Hedi (and many like him) will be hoping that whoever wins the October poll, life will improve for the country’s legions of poor and disposessed.
Hedi has already benefitted from the Jasmine Revolution in terms of his human rights. “In 2010, I was arrested by the police for selling fruit without a license and held for six days. I was often asked to pay bribes,” says Hedi. “Now this (solicitation of bribes) is rare and usually the police just ask me to move along instead of arresting me,” he adds.
When asked if he has any idea of who will win the election, he looks skyward, opening his hands as if in prayer and shrugs. “I’ve no idea. God willing,” he says, before picking up his barrow and trudging off to find a few more customers for his palm dates.