One year after the revolution that ended President Ben Ali's 23 years of suffocating rule, Tunisia is in the thick of the painful process of transitioning toward democracy. Protests and strikes have become the norm in this country where the official unemployment rate has shot up from 13 percent to 20 percent in a year.
Historically a secular nation, post-revolution Tunisia has exhibited a steady re-embracing of religion. This trend was cemented in the first democratic elections in the fall of 2011 when the Islamic Ennahda party won over 40 percent seats, making secular “modernists” fear that the liberties they fought for a year ago are now under threat.
As the pioneer of the Arab Spring, Tunisia is locked under a microscope. The world is waiting to see if this nation that sits at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East can set a democratic example of coexistence and progress for the rest of the region.