Historian of Tunisia: Life without Ben Ali





...Tunisia scholar Kenneth Perkins, professor of history at the University of South Carolina, says “it is true that Tunisia’s economy appeared to be prosperous, but while some people benefitted, many outside Tunis, in remote areas, did not see the results of Tunisia’s prosperity.”

Author of A History of Modern Tunisia, Tunisia: Crossroads of the Islamic and European Worlds and Historical Dictionary of Tunisia, Perkins says one example is students who completed university degrees but often found it difficult to obtain employment commensurate with their skills unless they were willing to go to Europe.

One area of Tunisian society that will be closely examined is the middle class, reputed to be larger than other countries in the region. One question to be answered is what will happen to this segment of society as the so-called "Jasmine Revolution" takes hold.

“It has the potential to benefit the Tunisian middle class because this has been more of a middle class movement than normally occurs during civilian upheavals,” said Perkins.

The University of South Carolina historian also says the Tunisian middle class has not only been concerned about economic matters, but is interested in political freedom and the ability to openly express themselves without threat of retaliation....

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