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Carthage was the first Republic of History.
Posted on May 16, 2017 by Abdelaziz Belkhodja (Translation from French by Ali Khemili)
La Nation: https://www.lanation.tn/carthage-fut-la-premiere-republique-de-lhistoire/

In “Politics”, book 2, chapter VIII, Aristotle states that Carthage has always been a republic and that the people have always exercised an important part of power there.

Carthage has two stories, one of which has been narrated by her enemies, the other has been patiently reconstructed by generations of historians, the curious and admirers, who quickly realized that the ancient version of history is not very reliable, especially since the greater part concerning the history of Carthage was reported to us by Polybius, who was in the service of Scipio Aemilianus, destroyer and genocidal of Carthage.
Most of the other texts we have are after Polybius, they are very much inspired by his work or some other works now missing.
What is known, on the other hand, is that the Carthaginians were particularly cultured and that the libraries were numerous in the Punic capital. Polybius himself recounts that after the destruction of the city, “the books of Carthage were abandoned to the African princes,” Rome retaining only the books of Mago, the first agronomist in History, books considered as the greatest prize of war  from Carthage for Rome.

After the genocide and the enterprise of domination that Rome launched on the World, the history of Carthage suffered censorship and disinformation. To justify her crime, Rome had to absolutely demonize that Republic which it had erased from the surface of the Earth. Thus, the Carthaginians have been accused of being without faith or law, of being interested only in money, of being perfidious, of having barbarous practices, such as those of child sacrifice.

All these accusations, and many others, have proven to be false. They have often been refuted, already by the ancient authors. On the other hand, science has repeatedly proven that child sacrifice had never taken place.

Disinformation has long obscured the greatness of the Carthaginian civilization and the perfection of its political system, praised by Aristotle (4th century BC). “Carthage enjoys a constitution more complete than that of other states.” Aristotle also states: “The Carthaginians […] possess excellent institutions; And what proves the wisdom of their Constitution is that, notwithstanding the power it grants to the people, Carthage has never seen a change of government, a remarkable thing, nor riot nor tyrant. ”
Let us retain the phrase “Carthage has never seen a change of government” this assertion of Aristotle clearly shows that Carthage never knew a monarchy, which means that since its foundation in 814 BC. Carthage is a republic. It is thus the first Republic in History since the one that is usually retained for being the oldest, the Roman Republic, was established in 509 BC. It is therefore younger than that of Carthage by more than 3 centuries. Besides, it is remarkable to note how much the Roman Republic borrowed from the Republic of Carthage, as the presence of 2 Consuls at the head of the executive – 2 suffrages for Carthage. However, despite several resemblances, the Carthaginian Constitution has created much richer institutions, as Aristotle demonstrates in his text on the Constitution of Carthage.

Thus, Tunisia has not simply generated, as is commonly asserted, the first Constitution of the Arab world, but rather the first Constitution and the first Republic in history of Mankind. It should also be noted that this is also the most lasting republic in History since it lasted 666 years.

In “Politics”, book 2, chapter VIII, Aristotle states that Carthage has always been a republic and that the people have always exercised an important part of power there.

Carthage has two stories, one of which has been narrated by her enemies, the other has been patiently reconstructed by generations of historians, the curious and admirers, who quickly realized that the ancient version of history is not very reliable, especially since the greater part concerning the history of Carthage was reported to us by Polybius, who was in the service of Scipio Aemilianus, destroyer and genocidal of Carthage.

Most of the other texts we have are after Polybius, they are very much inspired by his work or some other works now missing.

What is known, on the other hand, is that the Carthaginians were particularly cultured and that the libraries were numerous in the Punic capital. Polybius himself recounts that after the destruction of the city, “the books of Carthage were abandoned to the African princes,” Rome retaining only the books of the first agronomist in history, Magon, books considered as the greatest prize of war for Rome from Carthage.

After the genocide and the enterprise of domination that Rome launched on the World, the history of Carthage suffered censorship and disinformation. To justify her crime, Rome had to absolutely demonize that Republic which it had erased from the surface of the Earth. Thus, the Carthaginians have been accused of being without faith or law, of being interested only in money, of being perfidious, of having barbarous practices, such as those of child sacrifice.

All these accusations, and many others, have proven to be false. They have often been refuted, already by the ancient authors. On the other hand, science has repeatedly proven that child sacrifice had never taken place.

Disinformation has long obscured the greatness of the Carthaginian civilization and the perfection of its political system, praised by Aristotle (4th century BC). “Carthage enjoys a constitution more complete than that of other states.” Aristotle also states: “The Carthaginians […] possess excellent institutions; And what proves the wisdom of their Constitution is that, notwithstanding the power it grants to the people, Carthage has never seen a change of government, a remarkable thing, nor riot nor tyrant. ”

Let us retain the phrase “Carthage has never seen a change of government” this assertion of Aristotle clearly shows that Carthage never knew a monarchy, which means that since its foundation in 814 BC. Carthage is a republic. It is thus the first Republic in History since the one that is usually retained for being the oldest, the Roman Republic, was established in 509 BC. It is therefore younger than that of Carthage by more than 3 centuries. Besides, it is remarkable to note how much the Roman Republic borrowed from the Republic of Carthage, as the presence of 2 Consuls at the head of the executive – 2 suffrages for Carthage. However, despite several resemblances, the Carthaginian Constitution has created much richer institutions, as Aristotle demonstrates in his text on the Constitution of Carthage.

Thus, Tunisia has not simply generated, as is commonly asserted, the first Constitution of the Arab world, but rather the first Constitution and the first Republic in history of Mankind. It should also be noted that this is also the most lasting republic in History since it lasted 666 years.

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INTERVIEW WITH EMEL MATHLOUTHI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On June 30, 2017, the talented Tunisian singer/composer Emel Mathlouthi graciously gave the following interview to The Community Gazette.

TCG. As an organization whose mission is intercultural outreach, the Tunisian American Center is delighted that the Tunisian Music’s Ambassadress in the United States, is… “The Voice of the Revolution”!. You may be surprised to learn that many members of our community (and other fans) were not aware that you had taken up residence in New York for a while now. How long have you been a “Tunisian Yankee”?

I came here in April 2014. I came for something new, after seven years in Paris, to learn new things, and also for family reasons as my husband lived here and we were starting a family.

TCG. Could you tell our readers about the life journey of Emel Mathlouthi, the person as well as the artist/activist.

My journey starts in family. My parents exposed me to so much – to the beach on the weekends in Chott Meriem and to great music, literature and history during the week in Tunis. Since I was young I knew I wanted to be an artist and a singer, and as I grew up, I also started to have a lot of ideas about freedom and fighting oppression. I think together those influences make me who I am today.

TCG. When it comes to making music, were you late or an early bloomer?

An early bloomer. I would say.  When I was quite young, I would learn Celine’s songs and others when nobody was listening. I taught myself completely how to sing.

TCG. When exactly did start performing in the United States?

My first show…and then add: a big show, here was in May of 2013 in New York at the French Institute. That was a time when there was a lot of excitement about Tunisia because of our remarkable historical experience – and I had a nice opportunity to play. I did my first tour of the US in the summer of 2015, along with my new daughter,  and visited the East Coast, the Midwest and the West Coast. It was a great way to get to know some of this huge country!

TCG. You have performed in Europe for several years; how do your experiences on each side of the Atlantic compare?

One big difference is that in Europe usually at least 25% of my audience is Tunisian, North African or otherwise Arab, whereas in the States less so. Part of that is of course because there are fewer Tunisians here, but another is that I don’t think the Arab community in the states has discovered me much yet.

So in the States I’ve had a lot of interesting chances to be the first person that people are hearing singing in Arabic, and it has been very powerful to hear their reaction especially in a time when there is so much negativity directed at us.

TCG. It is known that you sing in languages other than Tunisian; how many languages do you sing in?

I sing in a bunch of languages, mostly Tunisian, but also sometimes English and French, and I sing a few songs in Turkish and in Kurdish and even one in Ladino, the Sephardi language. I love singing in Tunisian because I think that people are the most moving, the most genuine in their own language. Also, I don’t really understand how it was decided, and by whom, that the whole world should sing in English 😊.

It is funny, in Scandinavia for example, most of the big singers and bands sing only in English. I wouldn’t feel right doing that, but at the same time, I think I should be free to do so, if I wanted to.

TCG. So, your audience is literally worldwide and, thanks to the Internet and other digital tools, you are connected to it. What live performances do you have planned. What are those, for near term?

This summer I am playing in a few huge festivals that are very exciting. First is the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon, a historic festival that was started during the civil war there and is held in an old Ottoman fortress up on the mountains. And also, I am excited to say that I am returning to Tunisia to play at the Carthage Festival on August 12. That’ll be very exciting! I’ll play with a big band, a big orchestra and, Inshallah, it will be a great show. I’ll be happy to play in front of my whole family and friends too. Finally, this summer I will also play at SummerStage in NYC which will be a lot of fun.

TCG. You have taken an active part in the events of the Tunisian Revolution: youth in Tunisia found something new in the songs and the music videos that spoke of dignity and freedom, and that were circulated on the Internet from 2005 to 2009. Today, 6 years later, do you feel that you still assume the status of a spokesperson for the Tunisian youth?

First and foremost, I am an artist and I think that artists should have the right to be just that, to build their expression and creation for the pure sake of art and nothing else.

But it is true, a lot of my music has come from my thoughts about the difficult situation we were in as Tunisians, as young people, and I hope I have shown to young people that if you believe enough in your talent and don’t give up you can make it. That’s the most important thing for me. I don’t want to speak for anyone, but if I show a positive example and inspire a young person, I am very touched.

TCG. When was the last time you performed live in Tunisia?

I have not performed there for five years! I hate to say it, but the old guard is still in charge of the cultural sphere and arranging shows is very difficult. There is a lot of corruption, and still, I think a lot of fear of the new and the challenging. But we will see what happens this summer.

TCG. We would like to end this interview with you telling us about your performance at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

That was more than a dream come true – I mean, because how could I ever had dreamed such a thing? It was an honor to represent my country and also say a word of support for Tunisian young people, in Oslo. It was very emotional and the room was amazing. I remember they told me the night before, that I had to keep it to five minutes, but I played for nine minutes and the energy was really amazing, with the Tunisian Quartet there and also the Norwegian Royalty and many other interesting people.  I was very proud also to have many Tunisians in the audience, as well as my husband and my daughter. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but the pride I felt in being Tunisian at that moment will be with me forever.

TCG. Thank for your time. For sure, Tunisian-Americans look forward to being at your concerts during your next US Tour.

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TRUMP AND AID TO TUNISIA

The Trump administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal released on Tuesday (5/23/17) includes significant cuts in aid for Tunisia, part of an overall proposed cut of 32 percent to the State Department. The proposal requests from Congress $54.6 million for Tunisia, a reduction of $85.8 million from the FY 2017 request.

Trump’s budget would end foreign military financing grants (FMF) for Tunisia, which totaled $45 million in the FY17 request. It instead offers FMF loans to Tunisia and several other Arab countries (Trump’s budget keeps FMF grant funding for Israel, Egypt, and Jordan). The administration’s budget justification argues that the switch to loans “allow recipients to purchase more American-made defense equipment and related services than they would receive with the same amount of grant funding.”

The proposed FY 2018 budget would slash Economic Support Funds (ESF) to $40 million, down from $74 million in the FY17 request. Of this, $21 million is proposed for democracy and governance activities, a decrease from $23 million in FY17, and funding directed to economic growth initiatives would be cut to just under $19 million, a drop of 62 percent from $50 million in the FY17 request. The Congressional Budget Justification, which the administration prepares to accompany the budget request, states that the ESF for Tunisia will “support economic and governance-related reforms to advance Tunisia’s transition to a stable and prosperous democracy.”

Congress ultimately controls U.S. government spending levels, and will begin hearings on the budget request later this year.  [Source: pomed.org] 

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INTERVIEW WITH Dr. ONS MAMAI

TunisianCommunity.org

Q. First of all, congratulations on your selection for having been selected as the 2017 honoree of the Ibn Khaldun Award©.

A. I feel privileged by getting this recognition. Many thanks for contacting me.

Q. Many of the readers of the last issue of our newsletter expressed their interest in knowing more about Ons Mamai, the scientist as well as the citizen and the person. Let’s start from the beginning: In which part of Tunisia were you raised?

A. I was born in Sousse. Both my parents are Sousse natives, also. I was brought up in a modest family with two brothers and one sister (I’m the oldest), in the family home with my grandmother at the Medina. I went to the primary and secondary schools in the same city.

Q. Tell us about your educational background?

A.I got my secondary school education at the Lycée secondaire de Garçons de Sousse from which I received my Baccalaureat (Section: Experimental Sciences; main session). My first four years (2001-2005) at the University were at the Higher Institute of Biotechnology in Monastir, Tunisia where I obtained a bachelor degree in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences.

As for my post-graduate education: in 2007, I received a Masters Degree, Human Genome Research (Monastir). In 2015, I received my PhD in Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, with High Honors and the selection board commendation (the equivalent of “Magna Cum Laude” in the USA).

Q. What got you interested in the medical field?

A. My main interest was in human genetics and inherited disorders. I was fascinated mostly with gene identification pathway explanation. For this reason, I was looking for a PhD project in a Teaching Hospital to get a project in human genetics.

Q. Tell us about your post-education career in Tunisia

A. As I mentioned before, I earned a PhD in Biological Sciences and Biotechnology from the Higher Institute Of Biotechnology at the Monastir University, administered by Professor Ali Saad, Director of the research Laboratory on Human Cytogenetics, Molecular Genetics, and Reproductive Biology at the Farhat Hached University Teaching Hospital in Sousse. The Thesis: Identification of genes involved in two rare dermatological diseases: Familial multiple keratoacanthoma and palmoplantar keratoderma of Buschke and Fischer-Brauer.

Q. Could you elaborate, please.

A. The research is related to human genetics and molecular biology application. My PhD. project was dedicated to identifying the causative genes of two rare genodermatosis (a genetically determined, congenital skin disease). The first part was about Lod Score calculation and linkage analysis, and two papers were published, one reporting the results and the second was for the gene identification and the effect of the mutation in skin physio-pathology. We also published an article about the AAGAB gene (published in Nature Genetics) causing the type I palmoplantar keratoderma (thickening of the skin of the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands). A third paper was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, about a newly inherited skin cancer (MSPC, OMIM#616964) described for the first time. With the valuable collaboration with Dr. Bruno Reversade, we published a Cell Paper about the causative gene (NLRP1) of this pathology and the new theory about the innate immune system implication in the cancer initiation and regression. I have also collaborated with several teams working on human genetics, especially for gene identification of rare genodermatosis (under publishing).

Q. How did you get involved with the Singapore-based research team?

A. In 2010 that team published a paper about an identical pathology of the skin disorder of which I was trying to elucidate the genetic cause. They had discovered the gene, so I contacted them to ask about some details, and I explained to them that I have a negative result for the disease with their described genetic locus. They were intrigued about this result, so we shared our findings and the clinical features of our patients, and they suggested that I should come to their institution and study this new phenotype. They offered me a 2-year scholarship and a research assistant position in the human genetics lab in the Institute of Medical Biology with Dr. Reversade.

Q. What exactly did your work involve, within that team?

A. During that 2 years collaboration, we had identified two genes causing rare skin disorders: the first was in 2012, the AAGAB gene causing Type-I Palmoplantar Keratoderma and the second was the NLRP1 which is our current discovery and a new skin disorder that we are currently working on publishing.

Q. Describe for us the type of research that you are conducting at the University of California in San Francisco.

A. My new project is still in the human genetics of rare diseases. We are working on a modifier gene of the Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia or HHT ( a genetic disorder that leads to abnormal blood vessel formation in the skin and mucous membranes), to explain the role of this in human development and especially in angiogenesis. I have also a new part that links my discovery of the new skin cancer to a functional study of therapeutic strategy.

Q. How did you end up in the United States, anyway?

A. Attending an American University was always a dream of mine and I considered the USA to be a better destination for a scientific career. I’m glad to start a new scientific adventure in a prestigious university as UCSF, as I have many ambitions to build a great career by working with all these distinguished scientists. Much more than just ambition, I can say that I was looking for a new experience and a much larger experience in Science.

As I was looking for a post-doc, with a specific experience in Human Genetics, I applied for this position via research gate, I was accepted the same day!

Q. The Editorial Board of the Community Gazette had learned that you are no longer active within the “ATDocs” organization. Are you currently involved with any other Civil Society entity(s)?

A. Yes, actually I’m active with the Young Tunisian researchers in biology YTRB (http://tnbio.weebly.com/about-ytrb.html). This group is looking to extend the collaboration network of Tunisian scientific teams with those in other countries by planning a knowledge exchange between teams of young researchers.

Q. Is your organization planning any activities in the near future? (what, where, when)

A. Yes, we are actually planning the second International Symposium of Young Researchers in Biology (http://tnbio.weebly.com/program.html) on May 2018. The first event (May 2016) was a great success with the participation of 200 Tunisians and international research scientists from different nationalities (French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian, Singaporean and German).

Q. You have been in the US less than a year; how easy was it for you to feel “at home” in San Francisco? Did members of the Tunisian-American community play any role in making you feel at home in America?

A. My first year was comfortable and an easy start, mostly because I’m a very open and tolerant person and can integrate and adapt myself within any new team and within a new society. Several individuals from the Tunisian American Center (NDLR: namely Dr Ali Guermazi, Ibn Khaldun Honoree-2016) were very welcoming and really helpful, introducing me to several good contacts in the San Francisco Bay area.

Q. Would you like to announce the core message of your Ibn Khaldun Award acceptance speech? Or do we have to wait until May 13th?

A. It will be an opportunity for me to express my gratitude to the organization and to members of the community and ask all of us to live by Ibn Khaldun’s spirit of kinship and solidarity. I would also remind us that “Tunisia will either find a way or make one”, to paraphrase our illustrious Carthaginian General, Hannibal Barca.

Q. Finally, for many students in Tunisia, as well as in the United States, who are looking up to you as a role model, what three pieces of advice would you like to give them?

A. 1) I have to advise all the young Tunisian, and especially students, to set a goal for themselves and to make it one as beautiful as can be. 2) To believe in themselves, because when “we want we can”. 3) That every success starts with a good strategy and a strong ambition. 

[February 23, 2017]

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THE WORLD BANK   NEWS RELEASE

TunisianCommunity.org

 

 

University Presidents Launch Network to Support Higher Education Reform in the Arab World

Widespread embrace of World Bank-designed tool for evaluating institutional performance

RABAT, December 11, 2012 – More than 100 university presidents from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) gathered to develop a common strategy for higher education reform and the use of the University Governance Screening Card (UGSC), a tool for measuring the quality of university management. The meeting agreed to launch a Network for Higher Education linking experts from participating countries and international practitioners to support ongoing research for the regular updating and refining of benchmarking tools and the promotion of knowledge sharing.

“The size of this meeting was a clear sign of the regional commitment to change,” said Adriana Jaramillo, World Bank Education Specialist and leader of the team that developed the screening card. “There is a shared goal of creating universities that will equip young people with the skills they need to prosper, and the screening card and proposed network will help them achieve it. “

The regional workshop, Lessons Learned from Benchmarking University Governance in MENA, was hosted jointly by the British Council, the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), and the World Bank. It was organized to evaluate results from over 100 universities that had participated in the screening card process. University presidents from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and the Palestinian Territories, were joined by a range of senior government officials, representatives of quality assurance agencies, students and members of both US and European international and donor organizations.

“The British Council works with universities across the region; many of which have asked for support around governance issues. Governance is critical as good governance leads to better university outputs and as a result, a better educated and skilled workforce. The British Council is pleased to be in partnership with World Bank and ISESCO around this initiative which we believe will in the longer term, impact meaningfully on the quality of higher education in the MENA region,” said Sally Ward, Regional Manager of Higher Education in the British Council.

There was broad consensus on the impact of university governance on the quality of education, and that the UGSC had proven to be an invaluable analytical tool for identifying strengths and weaknesses. It had proved especially useful in helping universities compare themselves with international standards, define their own unique set of goals and establish benchmarks to assess the progress in achieving them. The demand for the USGC, from inside and outside the region, has been growing steadily as a result of the positive results from those institutions which first adopted it.

“The network will be an invaluable resource for universities,” said Martin Rose, British Council Country Director for Morocco. “Their efforts to become more effective and responsive institutions will be supported by a vast interconnected system of people, expertise and ideas.”

In the two years since its launch, the use of the UGSC has expanded quickly, driven by demand from many regional universities. What began in 2010 as 41 universities in four countries has now grown to more than 100 universities in seven countries. The tool not only responds to the need in systems of higher education for methods of evaluating performance, but also to the regional imperative for more transparent institutions and better services, a key demand of many of the current regional political transitions.

The evolution of the UGSC into a network represents a positive step in the region toward the universal adoption of a set of best practices which will lay the foundation for healthier institutions and improved educational options for young people, said Jaramillo.

Contacts:

In Washington: Lara Saade, (202) 473-9887, lsaade@worldbank.org;

In Rabat, Sally Ward, Regional Manager for Higher Education at the British Council, +971 506459371, sally.ward@ae.britishcouncil.org

For more information, please visit: http://www.cmimarseille.org/highereducation

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