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January 17, 1959 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1959-01-17
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This New African State
Is Working To Gain Stability
in an Area of the World
Plagued by Many Problems

A Liberal

Jiduca tio



Fate gave Tunisia a privi.
leged position, in the center of
the sea which has nurtured
civilization. From the balcony
of the Maghreb, Tunisia looks
both toward Europe and the
East. The hospitable coast wel-
comes both men and ideas
from either direction. Tunisia
is also, however, a cape which
reaches far out into the Medi-
terranean, providing shelter
when its waters are troubled
by the storms of men.
INDEED, the Tunisian coast of-
fers an unending arabesque of
wild capes and enticing bays.
Against an enchanted backloth
of sails, olive trees and vibrant
light, vestiges of Rome, Arab
Ribats, Turkish citadels and Span-
ish forts stand outlined, bearing
witness to the many waves of in-
vaders which have come to her
For several decades a strong
republican tendency had been ap-
parent in Tunisia. One of its aims
was realized in 1957 by deposing
the last Bey of the ruling house of
Turkish descent.
This gesture made room for a
republic with a strong executive
power. The president of the re-
public, assisted by a cabinet of
twelve secretaries and three under-
secretaries with cabinet rank,
forms the executive power in Tuni-
sia today. All bills must have the
final approval of the president
before becoming laws.
HE SHAPE of the New Regime
in Tunisia has been determined
by the political group which cre-
ated it.
Its basis is the Neo-Destour
Party, led by Habid Bourguiba,
with its 1,600 odd cells, its uni-
formed "Neo-Destour Youth," and
its powerful party direction. The
Intellectual outlook of these young
radicals should be defined as ra-
tionalist, non-clerical, republican,
so It Is of no surprise that on
July 25, 1957, theBeyswas ousted
In a bloodless revolution and the
nation declared a republic.
The religious leaders for their
part have been complaisant enough
to waive the Islamic laws against
usury so that Bourguba was able
to issue a national loan. Their ap-
proval was satisfactory also when
the government abolished polyg-
amy and modified divorce for the
interests of the woman.
GENERALLY speaking, the Neo-.
Destour Party is solidly rooted
among all classes and especially
among the worker and peasant
This was not achieved without
friction - after independence in
1956, the solid, bluff labor leader,
Habib Achour, tired of being an
appendage to a political party,
started his own independent union.
At the other end of the scale,
Ahmed Ben Salah, the young in-
tellectual leader of the UGTT (the
labor union), began to put some
pressure on the government to
carry out a more dogmatically
socialist program.
But in the end Bourguiba won
Ahmed Ben Salah, and the in-
tellectuals have been silenced and
replaced by more orthodox figures.
Habib Achour led his union back
Tunisian Ahmed Belkihodja
is at the University this year as
the Foreign StudentLeader.
skio Proiect rebresentat ve.

into the official fold, pledged to
support the government.
The more serious attack on the
regime was attempted by the ex-
treme nationalists, led by the ex-
Secretary of the Neo-Destour,
Salah Ben Youssef. But this abor-
tive revolution was crushed in a
few weeks, largely by armed de-
tachments of Neo-Destour Youth.
Ben Youssef was driven into exile
to Libya and Egypt and his fac-
tion disappeared from the political
THE MAJOR political problem
in Tunisia today, more than
in Morocco, lies in the Algerian
question. Tunis is closer in many
ways to Algiers than is Rabat,
and Tunisia is moreover caught
between the exigencies of Algeria
on the west and Egypt on the east.
Morocco has been able to take
a more detached view, although
vitally interested in a settlement,
but when H. E. Mongi Slim, the
Tunisian Ambassador, speaks for
the Algerian cause and North
African unity in the United Na-
tions, it is a life-and-death issue
for Tunisia.
"The war will go on in Algeria,"
said Bourguiba, "until France is
ready for the idea of Algerian in-
THE FRENCH occupied Tunisia
in 1881, having previously oc-
cupied the neighboring state of
Algeria. From 1881 until 1954,
France maintained complete colo-
nial control over the country's
domestic as well as external af-
Five days after gaining inde-
pendence in 1956, general elections
were held in Tunisia for a Na-
tional Constituent Assembly. On
April 14, 1956, Bourguiba became
Premier of the new nation; on
July 23, 1956, Tunisia was ad-
mitted to the United Nations; and
one year later, on July 25, 1957,
the NCA deposed the Bey, pro-
claimed the nation a republic, and
elected Bourguiba as its first pres-
The NCA's primary task is the
completion of a new constitution
for the republic. Once this is com-

HERE ARE MANY ways of i
thinking and talking about the
present generation, and I think
there are more people talking
about them than there are mem-
bers of the younger generation.
This is all to the good, provided
the talk is based on understanding
and direct acquaintance with the
young people being talked about.
This is not often the case, and the
cliches - security-minded, con-
formist, silent, beat, tired - fall
like rain on the heads of the
But it is true that each genera-
tion has its own truth, its particu-
lar reality, its private world, and
its own way of looking at life. If
educators and parents are to help
the young, and if education is to
be effective, it must begin with an
understanding of these truths. We
need to listen to the young as we
listen to music, sympathetically,
expectantly, appreciating the in-
dividual sounds and recognizing
the total intention of the music.
THERE IS, in fact, a new atti-
tude in the present generation
of Western youth. Having been
brought up in the Western world
to have no illusions, the present
generation is not so much disillu-
sioned, since it had none to start
with, but unillusioned. It accepts
the world as it finds it, having
been taught to do so.
This can have one of two effects.
As in the case of the angry young
men of England celebrated by
John Osborne, it can have the
effect of creating a tough-minded
minority who attack the com-
placency and the closed-in quality
of the life around them.
Or, as in the case of American
writers and students, who aren't
mad at anyone, it may involve a
movement away from internal
issues of politics, social conditions
or controversy, into analytical
thinking and introspection.

As soon as Tunisia achieved independence in 1956, the new government began gathering together
thousands of children from poor families and sent them to a private village where they were fed,
educated and trained in practical skills. These young people today are known as "Bourguiba's children."

pleted and ratified, the NCA will
be dissolved and new elections will
be held for the legislative body
established by the constitution.
S WEEPING reforms in the judi-
cial system have abolished the
traditional religious (Sharia)
courts and integrated these tri-
bunals with the secular courts into
a united judiciary operating on
three levels: courts of primary
jurisdiction, courts of appeal, and
the High Court.
French magistrates will con-
tinue to be attached to Tunisian
courts to assist Tunisian magis-
trates in cases involving French
These newly unified courts re-
cognize modern legal codes guar-
anteeing freedom of opinion and
of worship. Particularly note-
worthy is the Personal Status Code
of August 17, 1956, which revolu-
tionized the position of women by
abolishing polygamy, instituting a
minimum age for marriage, sub-
jecting divorce to court proceed-
ings, and guaranteeing women's
personal and property rights,

Because it is relying upon in-
creased industrialization to raise
the standard of living, the govern-
ment is giving special emphasis to
the training of technical personnel
and to higher education.
A new' Center for Economic
Studies now organizes research on
economic problems, while two
teachers' training colleges (one for
men and one for women) meet the
critical shortage of educators.
ed to modernize and unify the
existing school systems as well as
to increase the total number of
For example, the famous Mos-
lem University of Zitouna, which
is older than the 'Azhar' in Egypt,
has now become a public univer-
sity, placed under a rector re-
sponsible to the Secretary of Edu-
Besides the Zitouna University,
there is now the Institute of High-
er Education, with faculties of
arts, sciences, and law, In Tunis,
also, are located the Administra-
tive College and the National Agri-
cultural College. The percentage of
the" budget used for education,
which was 14 per cent before the
independence, is now 20 per cent.
A large number of literary and
scientific reviews, both in Arabic
and in French, are published in
Tunis, and the city is host to
numerous lectures, theatrical per-
formances, concerts, and art exhi-
A vigorous school of Tunisian
art has already produced painters
like Amar Farhat, Jellel Ben Ab-
dallah, Moses Levy and Hatim
Elmekki. Many writers and artists
make their home on the heights
of Sidi Bou Said, a picturesque
suburb which commands a mag-
nificent view of the Mediterra-
THE ENTIRE economy of Tuni-
sia revolves essentially upon
its primary production.
Agriculture and mines provide
two-thirds of the nation's total
output. Unfortunately, the most
important source of primary pro-
duction, agriculture, is extremely
unstable-in 1952 the wholesale
price for the major agricultural
products, cereals and olives, was
40 billion francs as against 23
billion in 1951.
These variations determine the
rhythm of local economic activity.

They also determine the exports
of agricultural products.
The mineral industries present
a more stable pattern of produc-
tion. There is much room for de-
velopment. The most important
mineral is phosphates.
However, with the exception of
the Djerissa iron mines, where the
high metal content of the ore and
ease ofeworking have favored in-
vestments, mining concerns are
generally under-equipped and in
many cases are only exploited in-
termittently. There are untouched
resources, particularly of iron,
lead and zinc.
The major unknown factor is
oil. Prospection has held out some
promise. There is enough natural
gas in Cap Bon to supply Tunis
for many years to come. All hope
is far from being abandoned,
despite a certain amount of pes-
The mines occupy 14,000 work-
ers on a permanent basis. They
provide the preponderant share of
rail and port traffic.
GOVERNMENT action is direct-
ed towards a rapid intensifica-
tion of production through the
improvement of agriculture (mod-
ernization of methods, increase of
the area of arable land), the de-
velopment of fixed capital both
public and private, the creation or
improvement of energy resources
and the equipment of those in-
dustries which not only satisfy
local demand but can export part
of their production and, finally,
the organization of foreign trade
with a view to making the quality
of Tunisian products better known
and to expanding export markets.
In order to attain these aims,
the public investment policy of the
government is supplemented by
a private investment policy in the
Tunisian economy,
Public investment programs
amount to many millions of dollars
each year and are largely devoted
to the development of agriculture,
whereas the expansion of Tunisia's
industrial resources is largely left
to private initiative.
Tunisia possesses public, semi-
public, and private credit agencies,
granting short, medium, and long-
term financing. In this respect,
its organization is technically
adequate and its financial policy,
both stable and prudent, can give
every possible guarantee to foreign
capital looking for suitable invest-

WE NOW HAVE in the American
colleges the first generation
of understood children brought up
by understanding parents. Being
understood by parents puts a spe-
cial kind of burden on the child-
the burden of personal decision.
In the absence of a strong line
of parental authority, the child
has little to rebel against, and in
a world in which he is not ordered
around but told to choose his way,"
he may stifle in an atmosphere of
kindly over-all approval.
In such a liberal atmosphere of
acceptance and freedom from re-
striction, young people often feel
a deep emotional fatigue from
continually being forced to make1
their own decisions before theyI
have had enough experience to
feel able to do so.
In the previous generation, whatt
children needed was a release from
the constrictions of authority laidI
down by tradition, academic con-f
vention, parental rights and social
custom. They received such release.;
But having received it, and having1
also received a higher degree of1
self-understanding combined with1
a higher degree of tolerance for
deviations in all human behavior,I
they now wish to be relieved of1
some of the burden of self-respon-
sibility, and even of the burden}
of self-understanding.
As a result we often find college
students bored by discussion, tired

"a studs
of asking questions. Give us the
word, they will say. You know
more than I do, what is the an-
swer? Tell me.
R, ON THE other hand, stu-
dents will say - What is the
point in so much student self-gov-
ernment? We had all that in high
school. Let's get on to the more
interesting things, I don't have
time for making rules about cur-
few and bicycle permission.
In some colleges the machinery
of student government has run.
down simply because many re-
sponsible students do not wish to
run for office. They would prefer
an orderly arrangement of stu-
dent life which worked fairly and
automatically. They would prefer
to have some one other than inex-
perienced students do the ad-
ministration of student affairs.
Having been imbued with the
spirit of liberalism, having been
given their freedom, they find that
it works well, but is a bore to ad-
THERE ARE other effects of
modern liberalism in its psy-

ant .. is granted the priceless advantage of looA
openly at the world to discover its secrets."

chological dimension. Here is one
of them, stated by a young man
who seems to me to have come
close to defining a large segment
of his age:
"We are the generation of the
third eye," he says, "the eye
of self-consciousness, the eye
of self-criticism- The char-
acteristic fear of our genera-
tion is our horror of finding
ourselves ludicrous."
The person who acts sincerely,
boldly, enthusiastically, can be
brought down in full flight by a
sneer or a cynical smile, and in a
negative time like ours, it is wiser
for the young not to risk their
self-confidence by a show of public
enthusiasm or idealism.
I believe that this may be an-
other effect of "understanding"
by the older generation. Being
sensitive to the psychological im-
plications of behavior, parents andI
their children have become ac-,
customed to thinking of strong;
action or assertion as some form
of aggression, or ego gratification,
and have tended to create a degree
of self-consciousness in personal
relations which makes every action
a subject for discussion rather
than an occasion for delight,
praise or blame. Thus we get a,
monotone of feeling, with no one
risking the larger emotions of joy,'
anger, dramatic action, and pre-
ferring the gentler pleasures of
approval and adaptation.
The level of ideal is thereby
lowered, and the young, having{

been taught to do so by their
parents, do not choose the bigger
issues, the difficult way, the higher
ideal, and are absorbed in whato
has been called a "fun morality"
in a period of high prosperity.
those at Princeton who have,
been said to be the unsilent gen-
eration, states a common ideal!
for young and old alike when hel
"Success for me would mean 1
a job that I could leave after I
eight hours and that would l
provide for self - fulfillment I
within a framework of in- l
conspicuous luxury."
Now surely this is a modestr
demand and surely this is much
less a demand than the young
should be making.
We and they can ask much morel
than this. But we have not asked'
much more than this of ourselves,I
and therefore our children, having
been understood rather than in-
spired, have not learned to look
beyond the limits of their presenti
This is not because this genera-t
tion is less idealistic than its pre-
decessors. In my judgement it is
more talented, better educated,
better able to handle its problems,1
and genuinely concerned with hu-t
man values. It has been taught to1
recognize the advantages of ma-
terial and personal security, it
has been taught the meaning of
liberal democracy, but not the


Harold Taylor is president of Sarah Lawrence College
and one of the most provocative and articulate spokesmen
for liberal education and academic freedom in the country
today. The article printed here is part of a speech, the Hey-
awrd Keniston Lecture, delivered at the University in No-
vember. The first part of the address, which has been omitted
here, was devoted to a discussion of liberalism as a philosophy.

Tunisia has organized an efficieit, well-trained police force. Here
the traffic police march in the 1957 independence day celebration.

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